Creating a strategy and planning for success

BRAND STRATEGY

What is a brand strategy?

How have McDonalds, Apple and Manchester United continued to be household names, despite having periods in each of their lifetimes when their products have been considered as poor. In the case of Apple, its hard to imagine they nearly went out of business not too long ago! 

During these tough times, these companies continued to market aggressively to improve their declining reputation whilst working on their ‘next thing’. In the case of McDonalds, they added healthier options to their menu, Apple brought back Steve Jobs and launched the iPod and Manchester United are trying to get back to their glory days under a former player (a popular PR move) but are a long way off.

Other companies such as Blockbuster and Toys-R-Us didn’t fare so well. During tougher times for them they continued to do what they always done; provide solutions to customers through retail outlets. Extraordinarily Blockbuster didn’t attempt to compete with Netflix by launching their own online service until it was already too late and Toys-R-Us allowed Amazon to sell their own toys online, introducing busy parents to online toy shopping.

Why do I need a brand strategy?

A brand strategy allows you to:

  • Look at the existing marketplace through a SWOT analysis.
  • Service your customers better through identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in the marketplace.
  • Provide improved solutions to customer problems in a changing market, alongside knowledge of your competition. This allows effective communication with your target audience contributing to an increase in revenue.

What benefits will my business see from a brand strategy?

Imagine you’re a consumer or buyer in a marketplace where there are hundreds of options available and every companies vying for your attention. 

Using fast food as an example, how do companies such as McDonalds and Burger King continue to stay relevant in a world where healthier eating has never been more accessible. People know these foods are bad for you (this is a Threat to either company in the marketplace, using our SWOT analysis). 

One way to counter such a threat would be to consider when and how to introduce these foods in to peoples lives as part of your brand strategy. Rightly or wrongly, kids are less aware of the health consequences of eating fast food and parents are sometimes stretched for time after a long day at work. Both McDonalds and Burger King look to introduce themselves in to kids lives using their Happy Meals and Kids Meals. Providing a toy is appealing to the child and the quick meal is appealing to the adult, satisfying both needs. By introducing the brand at a young age, both companies desensitise children to the dangers of fast food and get them ready for continuing to purchase their foods in to their teenage and adult lives. 

How do I perform a brand strategy?

You can begin creating your brand strategy by laying your SWOT analysis out in a grid, with each of your 4 sections labelled:

  1. Strengths
  2. Weaknesses
  3. Opportunities
  4. Threats

Consider each section of the grid, as below:

Strengths

  • What are the internal strengths of your business?
  • How does your product or service meet the needs of your customer?
  • How well do you understand them.

Weaknesses

  • What are the internal weaknesses of your business?
  • Are customers confused about your offering?
  • Is the marketplace moving so fast it’s a struggle to adapt?

Opportunities 

  • What external opportunities are there for your business?
  • Have you unearthed some new insights amongst your customer base, that could allow you to develop a better solution to your customers problems than the competition.

Threats

  • What external threats are there to your business?
  • Is the market shrinking due to increased competition or has there been a development within the marketplace that will make it harder to sell? 

Above are just some things to consider within your SWOT analysis. If you would like us to assist you in conducting your own SWOT analysis to support your brand strategy free of charge, get in touch here (link to contact us page).

What else do I need to know?

Understanding both your internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats is critical in helping you develop a brand strategy that supports your business. Too few businesses understand in-depth the internal or external environments they’re operating in. 

Doing so will allow you to create a product or service and supporting marketing, which fulfills a need for your customers and contributes to generating more revenue for your business.

At Need to Know Marketing we love providing information for SME’s so they can grow. We also understand this work can be time consuming and difficult to begin with. To support this we provide a free of charge one hour consultation (link to consultation page), where we have an open discussion about your business objectives and what you’re looking to achieve. 

Following the consultation we will provide you with a marketing strategy, advising how we recommend meeting your business objectives through marketing. 

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“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”

Walt Disney knew telling a story is always always easier with pictures. It crosses all barriers. The best story tellers are always the best at engaging their audience.