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How to grow your company’s brand in 4 steps with strategic brand management

Your company’s brand is like a community garden. You can nourish it with the right tools, branding elements, and marketing strategies to promote the products or services that you offer. But if only a select few people know about what you offer, the rest of your community can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you want to grow your company, you need a winning strategy in place.

With strategic brand management, you can maintain your brand, grow it, and reap the benefits of a flourishing brand. There are four stages to the strategic brand management process. Determining a plan for each stage will help you continue growing your company and maintain a resilient brand.

Strategic brand management vs. brand building

Strategic brand management helps you and your team maintain and monitor your brand’s reputation as it grows. Brand building, on the other hand, is work that initially goes into developing a brand identity that guides all of your marketing efforts. Branding is the seeds you plant in your garden that determine its look and feel. Brand management is the head gardener that assesses the plants as they grow, carefully analyzing which plants fare better than others.

1. Determine your brand positioning and values

Brand positioning is the action of setting your brand apart in the minds of your consumers. Your values should shape your company goals, which will help you decide the best brand positioning strategy to use. Consider your brand values. Do they provide your brand with a purpose that aligns with your company goals?

For Lush, a cruelty-free bath and body products company, its goal is to spread awareness and increase sales of its products in order to carry out its purpose: fighting animal testing. Part of what makes it a successful brand is this unique selling point and its attractive brand personality.

A screenshot from Lush’s site about its fight against animal testing.

Positioning strategies to increase growth

Understanding the different types of positioning strategies is key to evolving and growing your brand over time. From quality-based strategies to convenience and price, the best positioning strategy will be the one that aligns with your brand, product, or service.

For example, Zappos prides itself on its excellent customer service and therefore uses a customer service-centered positioning strategy. The company is known for its customer-first business practices, including free and fast shipping and a 365-day return policy. The company also makes it very easy to get in touch with a customer service representative.

While some brands may hide their customer support options so as not to be inundated with questions, Zappos creates a menu option that highlights its customer service options. Not only is this a great way to keep its current customers happy, but it’s also a great way to engage new visitors and turn them into customers.

Screenshot of Zappos’ homepage that features a clear and easy-to-find customer service dropdown menu option.

Amazon uses a convenience and price-based positioning strategy to increase its growth. People all around the globe recognize the Amazon brand name and associate it with convenience and lower pricing.

Amazon’s slogan is “Spend less. Smile more.” Consumers know that with an Amazon prime account, they can find better deals and get products delivered right to their door in record time. Amazon’s promise to help people save time and money leads to its sustained retention and consistent growth.

A screenshot from Amazon’s website with the headline: “Spend less. Smile more. Discover all the ways we help you save time and money.”

Tesla is a company that uses differentiation as a positioning strategy. Not only is its product inherently different from other cars on the market, but the company is also opposed to paid advertising. Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted: “Tesla does not advertise or pay for endorsements. Instead, we use that money to make the product great.”

During the 2022 US football Super Bowl competition, Tesla stayed true to this declaration. Tesla was one of the few EV car companies that did not have an ad during this highly televised event, an unusual decision when most car companies compete for the best spot.

If you’re not sure which brand positioning strategy is best for your brand, consider picking one and experimenting with it. Are you known for being a leader in your field? Are you the most popular brand in your industry? Do you want to be famous for your social media presence? You can always adjust your strategy as you discover what works and what doesn’t for your brand.

2. Develop brand campaigns

Once you have your positioning strategy in place, you can develop effective brand marketing that highlights your USP (unique selling point). From the examples above, Zappos might create a campaign that highlights its customer service team. Amazon might feature a single-parent family in which the parent manages to go to work, do childcare, and shop for affordable presents on Amazon after the kids are asleep. And Tesla might create a mini-documentary showing how it puts its money to good use by revealing the behind-the-scenes technology and innovation of its cars.

Brand campaign ideas to optimize growth

Developing a brand campaign idea can be a fun and creative pursuit but knowing whether it will help increase leads and conversions is another story. There are a few ways you can optimize your campaigns for growth:

  • Incorporate emotional branding.Emotions influence what we buy. Consider ideas that affect human emotions, such as using humor or a touching story to humanize your campaign and relate to your audience.
  • Determine the best platform. Avoid ubiquitous marketing communications. When you focus on just one or two distribution channels at a time, you’ll be able to better track and measure your efforts and can make adjustments accordingly to increase engagement.https://stories.starbucks.com/uploads/2021/04/Starbucks-2020-Global-Environmental-and-Social-Impact-Report.pdf
  • Hire influencers or start a brand ambassador program. Influencers and brand ambassadors can be a great way to spread awareness about your brand and increase leads. Influencers are especially effective in the beauty and personal care products industry, followed by clothing and food.
  • Use video. Video content performs best, especially on social media. Video drives twice the amount of ad clicks as images on Facebook.
  • Have an event. When you put on a launch event (think Apple events for new product launches), you generate a lot of excitement and awareness before, during, and after the event occurs.
  • Keep it consistent. Maintaining a consistent brand identity within each of your campaigns will help increase brand recognition.

You can use Canva to design your content for Instagram Stories and beyond. Design from scratch or choose from any of our templates and incorporate our library of videos, images, and other brand elements.

3. Measure your brand performance

Measuring and tracking the performance of your campaigns and overall branding efforts will help you understand what is working and what needs to be adjusted. Setting internal and external benchmarks will help you determine what you should be tracking and why. To create a benchmark, begin by figuring out your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) like growth rate, engagement, and conversions. To get more insight, you can research your competitors based on company size and average purchase value using tools like Google Analytics and LinkedIn.

Key metrics to measure your marketing efforts

Your benchmarks will likely include four key metrics: awareness, brand perception, brand consideration, and advocacy.

  • Awareness/Brand Recognition: Measure awareness by analyzing search volume through tools like Ahrefs, as well as social media mentions and hashtags through tools like BuzzSumo.
  • Brand Perception/Familiarity: Measure how familiar people are with your brand through bounce rates and time spent on your site (through Google Analytics or your own internal analytics dashboard), social media mentions, and customer reviews.
  • Brand Consideration/Purchasing Intent: Measure your customers’ level of purchasing intent by tracking click rates to buy pages, abandoned carts, and other purchasing engagement.
  • Advocacy/Referrals: Measure how many people refer to your brand through mentions on social media and referral links. You can also send surveys asking customers to rate how likely they are to recommend your brand.

You can use Canva templates to create production dashboards and annual reports. Share them with your team or present them in a meeting to keep everyone informed on your company’s progress.

4. Maintain and improve your brand equity

Brand equity can be defined as a brand’s perceived value according to its customers. A brand has positive brand equity when people think highly of the brand. It has negative brand equity when it disappoints consumers, and people recommend avoiding it. Managing brand equity helps you boost your brand’s reputation.

Tactics to build positive brand equity

You can build relationships with your customers by establishing brand trust in order to increase brand loyalty. Brands with a high level of trust—especially global brands—tend to focus on reputation management by increasing transparency surrounding their business practices.

Strong brands like Starbucks have high brand equity and trust, thanks in part to its focus on sustainability. By taking corporate social responsibility, Starbucks proves to its customers that it cares about its environmental and social impact.

A screenshot from Starbucks’ Global Environmental and Social Impact Report with images of a masked barista, a person surrounded by coffee bean trees, and a close-up of a pour-over coffee.

Increasing brand awareness can also help companies build positive brand equity. Some ways to increase brand awareness include offering free services or product trials, referral programs, or influencer collaborations. One of the ways Dropbox is able to increase brand awareness (and reach $10 billion in 10 years) is through a referral program. When a Dropbox user refers a friend to try out Dropbox, they receive 500 MB of extra storage space as a reward.

A screenshot from the Dropbox help center page outlining instructions on how to earn more space by inviting friends to use Dropbox.

You can also improve your brand equity by setting yourself apart from your competition with a unique customer experience. For example, Squarespace is known for its excellent help center and customer support. Users can easily find support articles to help them build their websites or talk to a real person through a convenient chat feature.

A screenshot from the Squarespace help center.

Conclusion: Share your strategy with your team

Informing other key team members about your strategic brand management plans helps keep everyone on the same page. As you continue to maintain and increase growth in your company, you can work as a team to adjust your strategy. You can even work across teams. A member of your sales team might be able to guide your brand toward an optimized positioning strategy. Your social media manager could provide input on how to increase awareness through influencers.

There are many opportunities for change and adaptation. The key is to maintain a clear management system that reflects your vision for your brand and holds everyone accountable to that vision. Once you are on this path of checks and balances, you will get one step closer to boosting your brand reputation and increasing profitability.

All Canva designs are working documents. You and your team can leave comments and make changes to your brand management presentations and ideas asynchronously. Try out a brand strategy presentation template with your team today!

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