How To Develop a Winning Branding Strategy in 12 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 22, 2022 | Published March 1, 2021

Updated November 22, 2022

Published March 1, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A person sitting at a cluttered desk in a busy office, using a laptop.

An effective branding strategy can help companies build awareness of their offerings, differentiate themselves from competitors and boost customer loyalty. If you're new to branding strategy, understanding the fundamental steps can help you focus your efforts successfully. Equipped with the relevant skills and knowledge, you can drastically influence the success and competitiveness of a brand.

In this article, we explain branding strategy, discuss why branding strategy development is important, and offer 12 steps to build a successful strategy for a brand.

What is a branding strategy?

A branding strategy is an approach an organization uses to raise awareness of its brand's values, purpose and offerings. This helps audience members better understand the company. Customers often support brands that align well with their needs, values and interests. Organizations can influence consumer behavior and build brand loyalty by executing a successful branding strategy.

Branding strategies offer organizations a useful guide for their marketing efforts based on the company's purpose, vision, mission and values. This can set companies up for both short- and long-term success. A brand strategy is essential to ensuring a company can continue to grow and flourish within the marketplace. Branding strategies typically include:

  • A cohesive idea of what the brand represents

  • A messaging strategy for raising brand awareness

  • A unique value proposition

  • Metric tracking systems

  • Market analysis data

  • A target audience

Related: What Is Brand Recognition? (Definition, Strategies and Tips)

Why is branding strategy development important?

Branding strategy development is important because it helps brands clearly and consistently communicate who their organization is to their target audience. Creating a branding strategy encourages companies to craft cohesive messaging, develop well-planned materials and strategies and determine who their business is at its core. Each aspect is essential in establishing and maintaining the company's reputation and visibility in the marketplace.

Branding strategy development is also important to help companies separate themselves from their competitors. A company's target audience may already know the products it sells or the services it provides. However, through an effective branding strategy, businesses can ensure customers understand the unique value the company offers.

Related: What Branding Is and Why It's Important

How to develop a branding strategy

Here are some steps to follow to develop a branding strategy:

1. Analyze your overall business strategy

Begin developing your branding strategy by reviewing the organization's overall business strategy and goals. Determining what the company hopes to achieve can help you determine its values and purpose, making it easier to offer a cohesive brand image to customers. The company's existing goals and overall strategy provide context for what you hope you achieve. Check back often as you develop your branding strategy to ensure it aligns with the business's overall strategy and goals.

Related: How To Create a Brand for Your Business in 11 Steps

2. Develop an internal brand

Ensure all parties within the company have a shared understanding of the company's existing brand. This involves determining the internal brand of the company. To do this, establish the company:

  • Purpose

  • Vision

  • Mission statement

  • Value proposition

A branding strategy aims to strengthen a company's image within the marketplace. The brand must accurately reflect each of these things to best represent the company. It's also important for the beliefs, behaviors and commitments of brand leaders to align with these internal aspects of the company.

Related: Why Is a Company Mission Statement Important? 

3. Define and research your target audience

Determine who the company is trying to serve. It's important for you to focus on serving your ideal customer rather than pursuing customers unlikely to purchase your product or service. Your target audience includes people with a need or pain point you can satisfy or resolve. Knowing your customer can help create a message that resonates well with them. Be as specific as possible, and determine your target audience based on factors like:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Location

  • Occupation

  • Values

  • Income

  • Interests

  • Habits

Once you determine your target audience, learn more about them. Regular research may help you develop a more thorough branding strategy that best serves their needs. Consider using tools like polls, surveys, focus groups and general economic trends to learn more about your target audience.

Related: 20 Targeting Questions To Understand Your Target Audience

4. Research your competitors

Evaluate the existing marketplace to learn more about your competitors. Determine the unique selling points of your competitors to better understand the value they offer to the same customers you're competing for with your offerings. Setting the company up for success is important by offering a unique value from what's currently available.

Consider using a tool like a SWOT analysis during your competitor's research. With this tool, you analyze the organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It can help you better understand gaps in the marketplace that the company you work for can fill.

Related: SWOT Analysis Guide (With Steps To Perform and Examples)

5. Develop a positioning strategy

Use your target audience and competitor research to determine how you want to position the company in the marketplace. This strategy should communicate the value the company offers to make its products or services the better choice compared to competitors. Write a few sentences establishing your value proposition. It's important for your positioning strategy to be realistic with promises you can deliver on. Still, it's also beneficial to be aspirational to provide the company with additional goals to work towards.

Related: Guide to Strategic Positioning (Definitions, Benefits and Tips)

6. Create a brand personality

Develop a brand personality with the characteristics that your target audiences seek and favor. Create a personality that audiences can connect with, but also one that's genuine. As you develop this personality, consider the tone of voice you want to use to communicate with audiences. Your tone of voice and communication styles can help strengthen the brand's perceived personality.

With the brand's personality in mind, create a brand name and tagline. The brand name doesn't have to be synonymous with the brand identity, but it is an important aspect of developing the brand. Choose a name and tagline that communicates the company's identity and what it offers. It's also important to choose something unique that attracts your target audience and is easy for them to remember.

Read more: 4 Steps to Building a Brand

7. Develop a messaging strategy

Determine what you want to tell your audiences, and craft tailored messaging that includes similar core value propositions for individual audiences. Choose messaging that tells your target audience you can resolve their issue and helps them understand the brand and what it can offer them. Focusing on messaging that creates an understanding of the brand may help solidify its position in their mind and set the company up for success.

8. Create a brand identity

Developing a brand identity is more than choosing a name and writing a tagline. It also involves strategic decision-making for various design elements that represent and symbolize the brand. A complete brand identity typically includes the brand:

  • Logo

  • Color palette

  • Typography or fonts

  • Image style

  • Iconography

  • Graphics

It's important for the brand's identity, especially its logo, to accurately reflect its personality. It should also resonate with its target audience. If possible, consider completing market research with the target audience to see which of your brand identity choices they like the best and why.

Related: What Are Brand Guidelines? (Plus How To Create Them)

9. Build your marketing toolkit

Develop assets and marketing materials that accurately reflect the brand's personality and identity. These tools can help you promote the brand so audiences learn more about you. Consider building marketing assets like:

  • A website

  • Videos

  • Social media accounts

  • Content, such as blogs

  • Business cards

  • Brochures

  • Sales sheets

  • Flyers

  • Promotional items

10. Create a brand awareness strategy

Develop a brand awareness strategy to identify the most effective ways to connect with your target audience. Researching your target audience likely revealed their habits regarding things like where they get their information, how they shop and how they make decisions. Evaluate the effectiveness of each communication method available, and estimate the potential results for each of these channels. Create tailored messaging for each channel for optimal communication with your target audience.

Related: Brand Messaging Framework: The 8-Step Guide to Creating One

11. Launch the brand and implement your strategies

Once you complete your research, develop the brand personality and identity, build brand assets and determine how to best communicate with your target audience, it's time to launch the brand. Implement any specific brand awareness strategies, like a social media campaign. It's important to remember the size of the available budget may affect the impact of the brand launch, and it's important to approach the launch with realistic expectations.

12. Monitor performance and evolve your strategy

To achieve and maintain success, it's important to review the effectiveness of your methods and efforts frequently. Track the success of your branding strategy, including the product launch and implementation processes. Monitor the company's success compared to competitors, and evaluate how your target audience received the brand. Make any necessary improvements to your strategy, and continue to track and review the success of any modifications.

Explore more articles