Hi! My name is Daria Volkova. I’m a brand strategist, communication specialist and product marketer. This article is an essential intro to working with a brand strategy based on my experience. I start working with any brand with questions that may seem too simple, but only until the moment when business owners or top managers begin to answer them thoughtfully.
These are the three questions:
- How is your brand perceived today?
- How do you want it to be perceived in the future?
- Who is your ideal client?
Try to answer them for yourself. These questions will help you focus on choosing the direction of your brand strategy from now to where you need to be in 1, 3 and 5 years. This is a long-term vision that is often blurred by ongoing operational challenges.
Let’s look at each question in more detail.
✅ How is your brand perceived today?
People often answer “we are leaders in the market” or “we are perceived as newcomers”. And this is how business people think of themselves. Perception is the opinion of your users or customers about your company, and they endow your brand with some characteristics. These are often adjectives: bold, cunning, transparent and open, arrogant, etc. But it’s not the adjectives themselves that are important, but the situations in which people think and talk about you.
✅ How do you want your brand to be perceived in the future?
Once you have a vision for the future, your competitive set will change. The people who stand in your way are not those who make similar products with similar features today but those who will meet your customers’ needs in the future.
In the mid-to-late 2000s, many start-ups in the field of tourism appeared in the United States — each new company announced a revolution in the industry. Two large companies — HomeAway and Airbnb — have developed brand strategies for the future, but only one of them has taken the risk of narrow positioning. And we all know which company is the leader in the holiday home market today 😉
✅ Who is your perfect client?
This is an important question because in many businesses, especially those still in their infancy, the portrait of the current and desired customer can be very different.
For example, you have a cafe in the city center with fantastic desserts and the perfect coffee. Your desired customers are IT people from an office center, next to which you opened. But after working for a few weeks, you noticed that there are not many such clients, and your regular visitors are families with children and tourists.
You’ve done your research, and it turns out that office workers go out for lunch lunchtime and want something hot. In this case, you have two options:
Option 1️⃣ Don’t radically change the menu, but change the communication strategy and shift the focus on the benefits, naturalness and originality of tastes to continue to attract moms and tourists who are greedy for everything new.
Option 2️⃣ Change the menu by adding hot dishes, salads and salty pastries. Run ads on this and other nearby business centers and identify those items on the menu that are most in demand. Print flyers, get to know HR departments and office managers personally, and possibly arrange corporate catering with them. In this case, your original strategy — to sell desserts — changes significantly. As a business owner, you must decide how flexible you are and how much your ideas about the ideal client coincide with your future vision.
Creating a brand strategy requires decisive action that accurately affects every aspect of your business. Therefore, asking the right questions and giving honest, not superficial, answers is essential.