They respond to quality and good service. So start strategizing by bringing your focus back to the brand basics: what makes your company great? And what customer need are you addressing? Build from there.

The Brand Identity

Brand strategy 101: conceive of a solid brand identity. There are many examples of companies reinventing themselves only to lose sight of who they are. For example, in an effort to transform themselves from a “mid-tier retailer” to a “quality brand establishment” J.C. Penney lost sight of their brand identity. They overreached, trying to appeal to an upper-crust clientele, forgetting that they built their success in the mid-range market. Branding is all about dogged consistency: carve out a niche and stick with it. That’s not to say reinventing is impossible, but it is always risky. To change is to risk losing your hard-earned customer trust. It’s this trust that helps a solid brand thrive. So, it is critical to think hard about who you are and who you want to be. A mission statement will help you define yourself too. The mission statement and the brand should work together to create a clear picture of the company’s identity and goals.

Think About the Story

While a brand identity should be clear and consistent, the story surrounding the brand might change. That’s because you’re marketing your brand to different audiences in different places at different times. The story you weave around your brand should reflect those audiences while staying true to the brand identity you’ve developed.

Connect Your Brand to Your Business Model

Or, better yet, make your brand your business model. For example, consider brands like Oprah or Martha Stewart. Everything offered by these brands relates to their personal/brand identity. Martha Stewart wouldn’t sell a product she didn’t want to put her name on, and she wouldn’t market in a way that contradicted her brand aesthetic. It may be easier to understand in these cases because these brands are also people, but the same principle applies to non-person-based brands too.

Make an Emotional Connection

A brand isn’t just a logo, an ad and a company. It’s a service. It helps people who need something. Make psychology part of your brand strategy. In other words, in your branding strategies think about how you can create a brand that people will want to identify with. The perfect example of this is Apple. Steve Jobs managed to create a lifestyle and culture around his brand. Some might even call it a cult (in a good way).

Be Ready to Make Small Adjustments

Flexibility keeps brands relevant. While changing the brand in fundamental ways is dangerous, making regular small adjustments in critical. As the market changes, competitors encroach, and demand increases or wanes, adjust your product offerings, prices or customer experience accordingly. Stay nimble and adapt to succeed.

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