How to Create a Brand Development Strategy for Today’s Market

Category

Branding

Read Time

16 min

Published

26 February, 2024

In today’s marketplace where customers have endless choices, investing in brand development means more than just visibility – it is a critical strategy that helps brands differentiate their offering so that they are competitive and stay competitive.

Consumers are often bombarded with options when it comes to buying just about anything, so the challenge for brands is not just to be seen, but to be memorable, and to resonate on a level that goes beyond the physicality of their products or services.

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Continuous refinement and strategic brand evolution are key, ensuring that your brand stays at the forefront of your customers’ minds regardless of what other choices they are presented with.

This process of brand development is a testament to a brand’s resilience and authenticity, enabling it to stand out among a sea of competing brands.

Through regular reassessment and realignment, a well-developed brand ensures that all resources are focussed in the right direction, crafting a narrative and experience that customers buy into time and time again.

That said, let’s delve further into the importance of creating a brand development strategy.

What Is Brand Development and Why Is it Important?

Brand development is the strategic process of shaping and nurturing a brand’s identity, image, and reputation.

It involves defining the brand’s core values, mission, and unique attributes, along with creating a distinct visual identity and compelling brand story. Brand development is crucial as it establishes a brand’s position in the market and differentiates it from competitors.

Furthermore, brand development plays a key role in building a strong relationship between a brand and its customers.

By revisiting and refining your brand regularly, you ensure that your brand always remains relevant to your audience. This ongoing process keeps your brand in touch with your branding goals and the needs of your target audience, preventing it from losing touch with its original purpose.

In today’s competitive market, brand development is essential for businesses seeking long-term success. It shapes how customers perceive and connect with the brand, ultimately driving growth and profitability.

magnet with customer icons pulled to it

Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

First up is identifying your brand’s USP as this is the reason why customers choose you. It outlines what makes you different which is often the driving force behind why customers buy your products or services over someone else.

To define your brand’s USP, step into the shoes of your customers and view your brand through their eyes.

Ask yourself:

  • “What makes us the preferred choice over competitors?”
  • “Why should customers care about our brand?”
  • ”What value do we bring customers that other brands don’t?”

It’s about pinpointing what sets your brand apart in a meaningful way. For example, for a bakery, it isn’t just about the fresh bakes or delightful tastes as these are expectations, not differentiators.

Instead, focus on unique offerings such as exclusive pastry flavours or customer-centric promotions like a free hot drink over a certain spend as both of these things are compelling. These elements add distinctive value, making your brand the go-to choice.

Take Canva as a real-world example.

Among a range of other design platforms, Canva’s USP, “Empowering the world to design,” strikes a chord for the simplicity of its tool.

This message isn’t just a tagline; it’s a reflection of Canva’s commitment to making design accessible for everyone, regardless of their expertise. Unlike Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator which is aimed at professionals, Canva welcomes all types of users.

It’s a perfect example of how a USP can distinguish a brand from its competitors while resonating with its target audience.

How to Communicate Your USP

Communicating your USP requires more than just stating it; it’s about making it felt across all brand touchpoints.

From the visual storytelling on your website, to the customer experience in-store or online, every interaction should echo your USP.

Using the example of Canva, this could mean ensuring that the design platform remains intuitive and user-friendly across all updates so that it never loses touch with what makes it unique in the first place. Otherwise, it becomes just like its competitors and is no longer giving customers anything different.

In summary, a USP is not just a marketing tool but the heartbeat of your brand. It guides your strategies, inspires your storytelling, and shapes the customer experience, setting the stage for a brand that not only stands out, but also stands for something unique.

Develop a Strong Brand Positioning Statement

Developing a strong brand positioning statement is like laying the foundation for a building—it sets the direction and supports everything else that follows.

At its core, this statement defines what a product or service is, who it is for, and the unique value it offers, addressing specific customer needs in a way no other product does.

It combines critical components such as the target audience, the product category, the brand’s promise, the brand’s identity, and the brand’s values to form a cohesive narrative.

This narrative not only aligns marketing activities, but also provides a blueprint for all brand-related decisions, from product development to marketing strategies, ensuring consistency across all touchpoints.

It helps in maintaining focus, guiding the creation of messaging that resonates with the target audience, and shaping the overall brand experience.

How to Develop a Strong Brand Positioning Statement

To develop a brand positioning statement, you need to analyse several key elements that form the backbone of your brand’s identity:

  1. Identify your target audience by understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points. Knowing who you are speaking to is crucial for tailoring your message to resonate with them on a personal level.
  2. Next, define your product category clearly to position your brand within the context of the broader market. This helps in setting the stage for differentiation.
  3. Understanding customer pain points is another critical step. It allows you to craft your brand promise in a way that speaks directly to resolving these issues, thereby positioning your brand as a solution to your customers’ problems.
  4. Incorporate your brand identity and values into the statement to ensure it reflects what your brand stands for and believes in. This adds depth to your positioning, making it more than just a statement about what you offer but a declaration of your brand’s ethos and character.
  5. To weave these components into a cohesive brand positioning statement, focus on clarity and simplicity. Ensure the statement is straightforward, easy to understand, and communicates your unique value proposition effectively. It should be a succinct expression of how your brand solves a specific problem for your target audience in a way that is distinct from your competitors.

By combining these elements, you create a powerful brand positioning statement that aligns all of your marketing efforts, product development, and customer engagement strategies, ensuring every part of your brand is aligned with its core promise and values.

illustration showing man in red top holding a pencil

Craft an Authentic Brand Story

Next up in your brand development strategy is crafting an authentic brand story.

This involves sharing the origins or journey of your brand to forge a deep, genuine connection with your audience.

The importance of authenticity in a brand story cannot be overstated as this is what fosters trust and loyalty with your audience.

A brand that lives up to its claims, aligning its marketing and messaging with the reality of its products, services, and actions, earns the trust of its customers as it’s not pretending to be something it’s not.

This trust is vital, as it turns casual customers into loyal advocates. To ensure authenticity, brands must be honest and transparent in their storytelling, avoiding the pitfalls of overpromising and under delivering.

How to Craft An Authentic Brand Story

An effective brand story resonates with the target audience by being relatable, engaging, and true to the brand’s core values and identity.

The process involves several key elements:

  • Understanding your audience: Know who you are talking to. What are their interests, needs, and challenges? A story that speaks directly to your audience’s experiences and aspirations is more likely to engage them.
  • Being transparent: Share real stories about your brand, including the struggles and successes. This transparency shows humanity and builds empathy.
  • Consistency across channels: Whether it’s through social media, your website, or in-person interactions, ensure your brand story is consistent. Mixed messages can weaken your brand’s authenticity.
  • Incorporate core values: Your brand story should reflect the values that are important to your brand and your audience. This shared value system helps build a stronger community around your brand.
  • Invite customer participation: Encourage your customers to be part of your brand story by sharing their own experiences and testimonials. This not only adds authenticity but also deepens the relationship between your brand and its customers.

By focusing on these elements, brands can craft stories that are not only authentic but also deeply resonate with their target audience, establishing a strong, trust-based relationship that goes beyond transactions to create loyalty.

Conduct Market and Customer Research

Market and customer research is a vital process that allows brands to get ‘feel’ for how their product or service will be received.

This prevents a potential waste of resources by ensuring the market opportunity is viable.

To conduct effective research, brands can use a range of tools and methods some of which we have listed below:

  • Statista – this tool provides access to well-organised data from reputable reports, making it easier for researchers and marketers to gain insights.
  • SurveyMonkey – this tool empowers brands to create in-depth market research surveys, shedding light on market trends and consumer preferences.
  • Temper – this tool allows people to grab a snippet of code and add it to their website, giving them a quick glance of how your customers are feeling. Using a smiley face, a ‘meh’ face, and a frown face, people can quickly make a snap judgement.
  • Glimpse– this tool offers quick snapshots of customer sentiment, helping brands gauge initial reactions and receptiveness to new offerings.
  • Ubersuggest – this tool simplifies content and keyword research, aiding in the identification of competitive content landscapes.

Including customer feedback and research findings into your brand strategy is essential as it ensures that the brand’s direction aligns with market realities and customer expectations.

One notable example of a brand using customer feedback to refine its strategy is Apple.

The tech giant has consistently solicited feedback from its user base, which has led to improvements in product design, user experience, and feature enhancements. This customer-centric approach has been instrumental in shaping Apple’s brand strategy, cementing its reputation for innovation and customer satisfaction.

How to Carry Out Market and Customer Research

Conducting comprehensive market and customer research is a comprehensive process and it can be difficult knowing where to start.

Here are steps to guide you using some of the tools listed above:

  • Define your objectives: Clearly outline what you aim to achieve with your research. Are you looking forinsights into customer preferences, market trends, or competitor analysis? Setting specific goals ensures focused research.
  • Identify your target audience: Understanding who your potential customers are is key. Demographics, behaviours, and pain points should all be considered when defining your target audience.
  • Leverage data visualisation tools: Tools such as Statista are invaluable for transforming complicated data into digestible insights. They consolidate information from reputable sources, providing a robust view of the market.
  • Create in-depth surveys: Tools such as SurveyMonkey allow you to craft surveys tailored to your research objectives. These surveys can uncover consumer preferences, market gaps, and emerging trends.
  • Gauge customer sentiment: Tools like Temper and Glimpse provide quick snapshots of how customers feel about your brand or a particular product or service. These tools offer valuable real-time feedback.
  • Conduct competitor analysis: Investigate what your competitors are doing. Ubersuggest can assist in content and keyword research, helping you identify gaps and opportunities in the market.
  • Seek customer feedback: Engage with your customers directly. Their feedback can be a goldmine of insights into areas where your brand can improve or innovate.
  • Revisit and refine: The research process should be iterative. Continuously analyse data, adjust strategies, and refine your brand development based on the insights you gather.
  • By following these steps and using the right tools, you can uncover valuable insights, helping to shape your brand development strategy ensuring it resonates with your audience.

    box and rocket icon with arrows extending around the edge

    Use Brand Extensions and New Brand Strategies

    Using brand extensions and new brand strategies can be a strategic move that leverages existing brand equity to expand a company’s product or service offerings.

    A brand extension, in particular, is advantageous when a company wants to introduce a new product while capitalising on the reputation and customer loyalty of an established product.

    By doing so, the company builds upon an existing audience base, tapping into the trust and familiarity cultivated over time.

    This approach proves to be cost-effective, as it avoids having to establish a new brand identity from scratch. Successful brand extensions empower companies to diversify their portfolio, potentially gaining a competitive edge over rivals that lack similar offerings.

    Essentially, the existing brand acts as an effective and inexpensive marketing tool for the new product.

    How to Make Brand Extensions Work

    It’s not a good move to just add a new product to your existing portfolio without giving it careful consideration and ensuring that it’s a good fit.

    To do this successfully, follow the steps outlined below:

    1. Market research: In-depth market research is vital to assess the demand for the new product or strategy. Understand customer needs, preferences, and pain points to ensure alignment with market trends.
    2. Brand fit: Evaluate how well the proposed extension aligns with the core values, identity, and promise of the existing brand. Consistency is key to maintaining trust.
    3. Customer feedback: Gather input from your existing customer base. Their insights can reveal whether the extension aligns with their expectations and needs.
    4. Competitive landscape: Analyse the competition to identify gaps and opportunities. Determine how the new offering will differentiate itself in the market.
    5. Financial viability: Assess the financial implications, including costs, revenue projections, and potential return on investment. Ensure the extension aligns with the company’s financial goals.
    6. Brand image and reputation: Consider how the extension might impact the overall brand image and reputation. Will it enhance or detract from the brand’s identity?
    7. Marketing and promotion: Develop a comprehensive marketing and promotional plan for the brand extension. Clear messaging and effective communication are crucial for success.

    By carefully evaluating these factors, brands can make informed decisions regarding brand extensions and new strategies, increasing the likelihood of a successful launch that resonates with their target audience and reinforces their brand’s position in the market.

    Determine Your Brand’s Visual Identity

    Now moving onto your visual identity, this is a key step in establishing a compelling brand presence.

    Your visual identity encompasses the elements that customers immediately recognise, such as the logo, colour palette, typography, packaging, and more. It’s the visual manifestation of a brand’s personality – an essential aspect that distinguishes it in the marketplace.

    While it’s important to note that ‘visual identity’ is just one part of ‘branding,’ it plays a key role in creating that first impression.

    Imagine a scenario where your product, like our client Noochy Poochy’s pet food, competes on a crowded shelf. Among a sea of similar products, your visual identity becomes the initial point of contact with potential customers. It includes the choice of colours, imagery, icons, and your brand name.

    This visual identity serves as an instant cue, capturing the attention of unfamiliar customers and enticing them to explore your brand further.

    One powerful example of the impact of a visual identity makeover can be seen in the case of Airbnb. In 2014, the company underwent a significant rebranding effort that introduced a new logo, website design, and visual elements.

    The updated visual identity moved away from a simple house icon to a more abstract and dynamic symbol called the “Bélo.” This transformation not only modernised the brand but also conveyed Airbnb’s mission of creating belonging in the digital age.

    How to Determine Your Brand’s Visual Identity

    When it comes to determining your brand’s visual identity, start by gaining a deep understanding of your brand’s essence, core values, and the story you want to tell.

    Throughout the process, keep your target audience at the forefront, allowing their preferences and tastes to influence your visual choices. For instance, choose a colour palette that reflects the desired personality, understanding that colours evoke emotions and can convey trust, excitement, or sophistication.

    Craft a memorable logo that encapsulates your brand’s essence and uniqueness, ensuring its versatility and recognisability. When it comes to typography, select fonts that align with your brand’s voice, as typography plays a significant role in your brand’s communication.

    Remember consistency is key, so ensure that your visual identity remains uniform across all brand touchpoints, from your website and social media to packaging and promotional materials.

    Internal brand growth strategy

    Implement a Strategic Brand Building Process

    Now you know what goes into creating a brand development strategy, you need to take steps to execute it so that it transforms from theory to reality.

    It’s essential to conduct thorough market research, gather customer feedback, and consistently monitor the brand’s performance. These steps ensure that the brand stays in-line with market changes and customer expectations, leading to long-term success.

    In addition, the frequency of revisiting and potentially revising the brand development strategy depends on market dynamics and evolving customer preferences.

    Regular assessments are key to adapt to changing trends and maintain relevance. Brands should be agile and open to adjustments, whether it’s an annual review or a more frequent evaluation, to ensure their strategy remains effective and resonates with their target audience.

    How to Implement the Brand Building Process

    Implementing a strategic brand building process involves turning your brand’s vision into tangible actions that align with your business goals.

    To do this successfully, consider the following steps:

  • Define your core identity: What are the fundamental values, mission, and vision of your brand? How do they align with your business objectives?
  • Craft a compelling narrative: How can you create a brand story that captivates your audience and builds emotional connections?
  • Select the right engagement channels: Which platforms and channels are most suitable for reaching your target audience effectively?
  • Conduct thorough market research: How can you gather insights into market trends, customer preferences, and competitor landscapes?
  • Gather customer feedback: What mechanisms can you put in place to continually gather and analyse customer feedback?
  • By addressing these questions and following these steps, brands can successfully navigate the brand building process, align their strategies with business goals and market demands.

    How to Create a Brand Development Strategy for Today’s Market

    Brand development is an ongoing process to ensure a brand is consistently achieving its goals.

    By taking the time to build and revisit your brand on a regular basis you can ensure all of your efforts are aligned with your brand identity, your customers, and your values. You’re not just operating on a whim; you’re empowered to make strategic decisions that continue to make your brand the go-to-choice for consumers.

    Of course, lots of things change as a brand grows and develops. Whether that’s extending into new markets, merging with another company, or changing your internal structure, change is inevitable.

    That’s why brand development is ongoing as it extends beyond initially creating your logo and tagline and involves revisiting these things and strengthening them to ensure they are still relevant.

    At Canny, we help small marketing teams achieve their goals through their branding and website. Working in partnership with you, we can help you create a brand that makes an impact in the marketplace, giving customers a reason to consistently choose you over your competitor. To find out more about how our partnership could help you develop your brand, get in touch with us for an informal chat!

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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