Brand Marketing Strategy for New Companies: Strategies that Unlock the Power of Your Unique Brand By James Tredwell on December 18, 2021 What’s in a brand? Is it a great logo and a signature font? While these assets help define a brand, they’re not what a brand is. At its heart, a brand is the promise of an experience for a customer. Every aspect of a business, from its messaging and communications to colors, fonts, and logos, are intended to reinforce the concept and perception of a brand. A strong brand is vital to getting a startup off the ground in the first year, but many startups get too focused on developing the product. Branding strategy becomes a burden or expense, rather than an opportunity and investment. Building Long-Term Success with Brand Strategy Keep It Customer-Centric The brand story is a key component of telling your customers who you are as a brand and what you’re about. Done well, the brand story can shape your future interactions and provide an excellent first impression for your customers. The modern consumer isn’t about the lowest prices or best deals. They’re looking for a connection with a brand that reinforces their beliefs, values, and sense of self. The brand story can be used to create this connection and attract ideal customers without a lot of your marketing budget. Keep in mind that your brand story doesn’t need to be groundbreaking. Successful stories keep the focus on the customer and the problem it’s trying to solve. Consider the Touchpoints Throughout the Customer Journey Touchpoints are the points when a customer interacts with your brand. Each touchpoint reinforces your brand and leaves and impression, so it’s important to ensure that impression is the one you want. Consider every touchpoint in your customer journey and make sure it’s consistent with the brand and messaging. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – what would your impression be? Think about things like the first impression of your brand, how you differ from competitors, and whether your messaging is attractive. Think like the customer and you can ensure the touchpoints motivate your audience and leave a lasting positive impression. Let Customers Inform the Strategy The product is the driver for your business, so it makes sense that you want to market it with all the bells and whistles. Product features matter, of course, but they’re only as good as the benefits they provide. If you highlight the real-world benefits, not the features, you can connect your product and solution to the customer’s pain points. Put the features and benefits in context to show the customer how the product fits into their lives. Brand Marketing Strategies to Fuel Your Business Growth Focus on CX User experience (UX) is a buzzword that refers to the experience a user has when they use a product or service. This generally focuses on performance metrics and the experience of using a product in a vacuum – not the overall experience of interacting with a brand. Customer experience (CX) is the larger strategy. UX is part of CX, but you need to focus on the whole customer experience with your brand. CX has numerous advantages, especially if you’re in a saturated market with a lot of competitors. UX matters, but your CX separates you from the pack. Develop a Customer Advisory Board All marketers try to view a brand and product from a customer’s perspective. But when you’re so far into your business and product development, it’s difficult to see things like a customer. Fortunately, a customer advisory board can give you real, direct insights from customers. No more guesswork or assumptions – the customers on the board will provide feedback and insights into your product, brand, and development process to ensure you’re on the right track. You’ll learn what’s working, what isn’t, and what customers would like to see. Get Ahead with Brand Communications Strategic brand communications ensure you’re directing your marketing efforts (and marketing spend) toward the right customers at the right time in the right place. Targeted communications should include the following: Refined audience: Define the target audiences you’re marketing to. Goals and objectives: Set goals and objectives for your communications and align them with the larger organization goals, such as boosting profits or brand awareness. Copy and messaging: Create clear messaging framework to tell customers who you are, what you do, and how you accomplish your goals. Tactical planning: This involves a blueprint for communications and should include a strategy that outlines how you’ll reach your goals and objectives. Metrics: Metrics consider your results and whether your efforts are achieving your goals and objectives. Each goal, platform, and campaign should have its own metrics. Turn Employees into Brand Advocates Employees are a valuable tool in promoting a brand and creating a sense of community and trust with customers. You can turn your employees into brand advocates by empowering them to promote your brand on their own. To achieve this, give your employees the tools and training to advocate for your brand at events, in person, and on social media. When you have employees who are just as passionate about your brand as you are, it lends a lot of authenticity and trust to your brand interactions. Set a Process for Feedback Customer suggestions, recommendations, and feedback can be used to improve your product, content, and overall brand. But not every idea deserves your efforts and attention, so you need a plan in place to decide which ideas have merit. If you have a lot of feedback, a process can help you review ideas and choose the best ones. Good ideas can go a long way for your brand, but bad ideas can waste time and money while damaging your reputation. Be Ready for Change Change is inevitable in the business world, and even more commonplace in startups. Staying ahead may mean shifting quickly when the market conditions, internal challenges, or cultural changes occur. If you’re not ready for a pivot, you may not be able to stay ahead. Implementing contingency plans ensure you’re agile in a volatile business landscape. When you have a backup plan, you can pivot quickly when your primary strategy is no longer feasible and protect your brand reputation. — Author: Patrick Smith With ideas for leading brands, Patrick solves real-world business problems for enterprise organizations, startups, and everything in between. Prior to C2 Creative, Patrick developed marketing campaigns at several leading advertising agencies and hybrid digital organizations. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design from Illinois State University.