Nike, Apple, Gucci, Starbucks. What do all of these companies have in common? They all have outstanding brand equity! Brand loyalty is so elevated that their customers are willing to pay a premium only to be associated with the company, regardless of the product itself. The higher the brand equity a company has, the less likely their customers will turn to their competitors. Ever meet someone so obsessed with their Nike shoes that you never see them wearing any other brand? How many Apple fanatics you know of that have purchased all of their products regardless of their elevated prices? This is the power of having a strong brand! Regardless of your personal opinions on their products, one thing is for sure: the logo sells itself. However, these companies did not get to where they are by mere coincidence. Developing a brand takes time and thoughtful planning.
A successful brand strategy takes three steps:
- Segmentation: Being able to identify and separate the various types of customers is crucial. The only way of having a clear understanding of your audience is by segmenting them into groups determined by different factors. Keep in mind that there is no clear-cut way of separating customers into groups. An option is to segment based on where customers live for example, or what income level they are in. However, it ultimately depends on the product or service that is being provided and how that segmentation relates to it.
- Targeting: The next step is to evaluate the several groups and determine which is the most favorable to target based on a company’s SWOT analysis. It is important to note that although the group that the company should focus on depends on the SWOT, being able to fulfill this group’s needs is critical. Many times companies attempt to target customers who they are not able to attract due to the business’s characteristics. The customers must be attainable by the company!
- Positioning: After the target group has been chosen, the company can begin to position itself in a manner to attract this specific audience. The business must develop and implement marketing strategies that cater to the specific needs of this group. This is when Consumer-Based Brand Equity comes in. This tactic takes the perspective of the consumer in order to understand how they feel about the brand in order to implement strategies to strengthen that connection. Being able to understand the customer’s needs and feelings towards the company can lead to more successful marketing efforts.
Hopefully, this has brought you closer to understanding what a successful brand strategy looks like. These three steps, if followed correctly, should lead to a stronger brand. However, keep in mind that the branding process takes time! The companies mentioned above took several years, some even decades, to get to where they are at. Although it might be farfetched to aspire to develop a brand of the sort, the point is that branding is not done overnight. However, with proper implementation, a well-developed branding campaign will surely reap rewards in the future!