Why brand strategy matters and how to cleverly craft one

Branding strategy is one of the foundational pillars of business. [iStockphoto]

The world’s most successful companies all have one thing in common - a powerful brand.

Branding strategy is one of the foundational pillars of business.

Simply presenting a unified brand message can increase profits by nearly 25 per cent and companies pour hundreds of millions every year into crafting the right approach to branding. 

This article captures the main reasons why branding strategy is crucial for business success. 

This year (2022), marks Jubilee Insurance’s 85 years of existence since its incorporation as the first insurance company in Kenya in 1937.

As part of our 85th year anniversary, we are taking the time to reflect on amongst other things our brand strategy, brand story and the evolution of our markets and customers.

This will then allow us to define our brand journey for the next 85 years.

So, what Is Branding Strategy?

The term “brand” or a brand is the company’s whole customer-facing identity. Brand refers to perception. Brand perception can simply be understood as the experiences, attitudes, and feelings people have with a product or service.

Positive brand perception among target customers is what moves the needle for brands. 77 per cent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to others after having a positive experience with it.

Think about it: Every advertisement seeks to sway the emotions of consumers to create a favourable brand perception.

In this case, it’s the customer who determines their perception of your brand. Regardless of the kind of product that you are marketing, the way consumers perceive your brand can either make or break your brand.

In the end, it’s the role of a brand to understand its target audience and do what it takes to improve its perception.

A brand owner may feel that they understand exactly what their brand stands for. However, their brand image may only reflect their aspirations, rather than what consumers want to see and feel.

For example, a study by Bain and Company shows that, although 80 per cent of companies believe they offer great services, only eight per cent of consumers actually agree.

Though it may be a tough pill to swallow, consumers are the owners of brand perception, not you.

No matter the type of message or image you want your brand to project, it all comes down to how consumers think and feel about it. When consumers hear, see or interact with a brand, they develop feelings and thoughts towards it.

It’s the sum of all these feelings and thoughts — by all consumers — that truly make up brand perception. Running a branding strategy is about coordinating the different elements of that identity, including advertising (so that it’s “on brand”), product packaging, website look and feel, workplace culture, and more.  

So what are some of the reasons why strategic brand building is so important?  

Branding communicates a company’s value proposition 

A value proposition is more than a collection of unique selling points.

It’s the whole package of benefits that customers can expect when they buy from a particular company. 

These selling points, which comprise the overall value proposition, are communicated in a myriad of different ways, including through the logo, tagline, website look-and-feel, and customer after-care.  Fundamentally, a well-developed branding strategy communicates a package of benefits across numerous touchpoints, enticing new customers and convincing them to forgo competitors.  

Branding develops trust and loyalty  

“People don’t buy products, they buy brands,” is an old business saying that gets to the heart of what branding is all about. In a word: Trust. 

Eye-catching, meaningful, and memorable brand elements foster greater recognition and connection among customers. Over time, this relationship develops into one of trust.  

Branding strategy is the catalyst by which customers understand, purchase, and eventually come to rely on a particular company or product. By creating a concrete identity, branding fuels the assumption that a product will reliably provide the same results time and again. 

Branding distinguishes a company from the competition 

Branding enables prospective buyers to distinguish between alternatives in the market. By leveraging an effective strategy, these companies have forged out clear market positions. This makes it easy for prospective customers to evaluate them in comparison to the competition.  

Branding boosts company value 

Because brands are powerful drivers of trust, repeat purchases, and wide-scale recognition, they are incredibly valuable business assets. 

Branding attracts (and keeps) the right employees 

Because an effective branding strategy communicates not only a company’s benefits but also its values and mission, it’s a useful tool for attracting and keeping the right people.  

When a company is clear about what it stands for, it will naturally appeal to an engaged and skilled workforce that shares the same ethos.

What’s more, employees are more likely to stick with a company that aligns with their sense of purpose.