Why Brand Strategy Starts with Understanding

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Cliche? Maybe. True? Absolutely.

The world of digital marketing is hyper-optimized and dynamic. 

Every category is chock-full of both new and established brands vying for the same target audiences. If you don’t have a pulse on a strategy to navigate this climate, you’ll get lost in the noise.

That’s why Mabbly shines a guiding light with our two promises: 

  • To Elevate through Understanding.
  • To fall in love with your Pivotal Problems to deliver Impactful Solutions.

We can only chart a course between your Pivotal Problems and the Impactful Solutions by identifying what’s creating the barrier in the first place. And we can only identify those barriers by starting with a well-established brand strategy.

What Is Brand Strategy?

Brand strategy is meant to chart a path of meaningful progress towards clients’ goals. It starts with understanding, taking in the context of your brand and industry to create a roadmap that guides you toward a focused and distinctive brand. Think of it as the bridge that connects your core values and your actions in the marketplace.

The Difference Between Brand Architecture and Brand Strategy

Brand architecture (also called brand foundation) takes your mission, vision, and values and synthesizes them into the enduring essence of your brand.

Brand strategy takes that foundation into action to address your Pivotal Problem by tapping into target audience needs, the competitive landscape, and your brand’s unique strength.

The two are intrinsically linked—you can’t strategize without a foundation and you can’t put your foundation into action without strategy.

The Mabbly Method for Brand Strategy

Let’s bounce back to the two promises we mentioned earlier:

  • To Elevate through Understanding
  • To fall in love with your Pivotal Problems to deliver Impactful Solutions.

But how do we manage to keep these promises? We rely heavily on our strategic vision and our commitment to learning everything we can about our client’s brand and purpose.

  1. Build Upon Understanding

Every brand strategy should originate in deep understanding. And we’re talking A LOT of understanding. 

It does not come from gut instinct or a knee-jerk reaction to recent industry trends. True strategy roots itself into insights, patterns, and your original branding idea. To craft a strategy that delivers Impactful Solutions, we need to understand:

  • What motivates your audience?
  • What is driving their need for your product?
  • What are your strengths and opportunities within the category?
  • What unique service do you bring to the category?

We dive deep with primary and secondary research, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and any other relevant research strategies to find what makes your brand tick. We discover problems to solve, which reveals more opportunities to leverage. We contextualize all of the research and nuances we’ve revealed up to this point to anchor your strategic north star in the right place.

  1. Turn Purpose into Action

Brand strategy starts with defining your brand architecture—the mission, vision, and values that create a clear picture of what your brand stands for.

But a brand strategy is more than just a mantra that reiterates what you stand for. Brand strategy creates a plan that puts your foundation into action. It homes in on your Pivotal Problem—the challenge that keeps you up at night—and sets up a plan of attack that helps you overcome it.

  1. Define Expression

Take yourself back to 2011. You’re watching Storage Wars on the A&E network and have no choice but to sit through the ads in between segments (unless you were graced with a DVR). Back then, commercials were at their zaniest—all in an attempt to grab your attention long enough to stay in your mind long after the ad aired. 

There was a strategy behind all of that creativity, regardless of how unhinged it may have seemed in the moment. A strategy that clearly outlined and informed brand development and expression.

If you leave brand expression with no real guidance, the result is less than productive. Maybe it doesn’t distinguish your brand enough or does a poor job of properly representing what your brand stands for.

Brand strategy, in turn, delivers the possibility for a unified, overarching expression. It makes designing brand identity a more focused process while leaving plenty of room to take calculated risks.

Distinction > Differentiation

When you consider how your expression can set you apart from the competition, remember to look beyond differentiation. If you only focus on what you’re not, you won’t build enough of an identity to showcase what you are and what you stand for. You end up focusing too much on how to be different and not on how to be interesting or memorable.

Instead, we must consider how you can create distinction in your brand—a unique way to say what you do. Focus on what you are and how that distinguishes you from the competition.

  1. Contextualize the Future

Your brand should maintain a consistent presence, even if that presence slowly evolves. Brand strategy shifts with the needs of the brand’s goals and surrounding circumstances. Regardless, our brand strategy keeps all future possibilities in mind.

With a future-forward lens, we can grab hold of a positioning approach that delivers a tonally consistent yet flexible message that remains amid changing circumstances. Brand strategy cements how you make your mark in the marketplace and the minds of your audience.

This isn’t to say brand strategy is a “set it and forget it” type of service. As you progress as a business, you may find new opportunities to pursue, products to push, and competitors to rival. Or you may decide to overhaul your strategy completely during a brand refresh.

As long as you properly identify the core truths of your business, there will always be a seed to grow your strategy from.

  1. Deliver Peace of Mind

It’s no longer a question of if you need a brand strategy—the answer is yes. The current digital marketing landscape is too optimized to shoot from the hip. Virtually every category is crowded with innovators and opportunists trying to make a name for themselves. 

Rooting yourself in strategy ensures you have firm ground to stand on as you navigate the complexities of your marketplace.

Not sure of your strategic foundation? We’re happy to help out. Our Strategy Studio is at the ready with our strategic stethoscope to learn the rhythms of your brand’s beating heart. 

Reach out to learn how having Mabbly as your digital marketing agency partner will change the game.