Ideas + Insights

What even is Brand Strategy? A definitive guide.

Tess Robinson

A brand without a strategy is like a sports car without an engine.

Sure, it might look slick, fast, and like a set piece from Fast and the Furious, but without an engine (and Vin Diesel in the driver’s seat) it’s not going to get you where you want to go and you definitely won’t be winning any illegal street races.

That metaphor may have gotten away from me, but I think you get the (Tokyo) drift.

A strong brand strategy serves as the blueprint for effectively positioning your brand in the market and resonating with your target audience.

It is the foundation upon which all your branding efforts are built – the bread on which you build your sandwich.

As with anything, a brand strategy can be an exhaustive, highly expensive and very fancy-schmancy document, or it can be a one-day affair written in a humble Google doc, or somewhere in between. It can be done using a template online, or it can be done using a team of experts.

And just like most things, you get out what you put in.

What are the key components that form a brand strategy?

Before we delve deep into the components that form a brand strategy, let’s start with what it is not:

  • A brand strategy is not a business plan. (Say what? Get the low-down here.)
  • A brand strategy is not your brand identity.
  • A brand strategy is not an elaborate and exclusive document reserved only for Fortune 500 companies.

A brand strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how a company aims to establish, position, differentiate, and manage its brand in order to connect with its audience.

And, I might be biased, but every brand, no matter its size or years in action should be equipped with one. 

The primary goal of a brand strategy is to create a unique and consistent brand experience that resonates with customers, builds trust, and sets the business apart from competitors.

But how do we create one? And what do we include?

How to create a brand strategy

A (good) brand strategy typically involves the following components:

Positioning Statement:

A positioning statement introduces the overarching brand narrative and sets the stage for the entire brand world to unfold vividly.

Generally speaking, a positioning statement is a bold, anything-but-timid declaration distilled into a captivating message.

It should outline the very core reason this brand exists and what it aims to change about the world on a macro and/or micro level. 

Brand narrative: 

Your brand narrative is the story that draws the audience into your orbit and holds them there. 

It’s not just about what you offer; it’s about why you exist, the values you uphold, and the impact you aim to make.

Your brand narrative is the heartbeat that resonates in every interaction; it’s the emotional journey that unfolds every time someone engages with your brand and at the very least, should articulate what you mean to your audience on a fundamental level.

If your brand doesn’t have a story, why should your audience choose your product over your competitors?

As humans we crave connection; a compelling story that expresses the solution to the problem in a way that captivates the audience is the key to this connection. It’s the brand manifesto of sorts.

Every brand has a story. Whether it is the founder’s story, the story of the business, or the story of the customer.

By understanding your market and your brand’s position, you can develop brand stories that resonate with your customers to further cement connection, over time encouraging loyalty and referrals.

When a customer buys your product, they are aligning themselves with your brand narrative and what that story reflects back to them about themselves. 

Brand Purpose and Values: 

Every brand needs a guiding compass, a point they can return to for decisions big and small that ensures they are always aligned with their core drivers.

Defining the fundamental reason for a brand’s existence and its core values is how we guide all actions and decision-making. This means establishing a clear brand purpose and how it differentiates you from competitors, as well as, identifying and articulating your brand’s mission, vision, and values.

It’s your raison d’être, your ‘why’, your driving force, so it’s important to be as clear and specific as possible when creating them, as these pillars will inform everything you do.

Brand Positioning: 

After your ‘why’ and your ‘who’, next is your ‘how’.

Determining how you want your brand to be perceived requires you to be market-oriented. To be market-oriented is to shape your business, the brand, and the product to what the market needs, rather than what the business thinks the market wants.

This doesn’t mean the market needs to know they want your product.

There are plenty of examples of disruptive brands and niches where their consumer didn’t know they even needed the said product or service until the problem was presented to them – and a solution shown.

Such as online banking, online meal delivery, and ride-sharing.

Your brand positioning refers to where your brand sits relative to competitors, highlighting its unique value proposition and differentiation. 

Market Opportunity:

The success of a product is inherently tied to the level of demand it garners.

So, is there a market opportunity for your idea?  Here’s where we dive deep into that question.

A market opportunity is the enticing call of an untapped need or an emerging trend, a chance for your brand to step forward and offer something truly valuable.

We use insights, trends, research and analysis to uncover where the opportunity lies for your brand, and how best to harness it. 

Analysing a market opportunity involves a thoughtful blend of observation, research, and critical thinking to unveil hidden opportunities and potential growth avenues.

We begin by pinpointing the market segment, industry, or specific need you’re exploring. What seems like a gap or unmet requirement?

Then we dive into in-depth market research, studying market trends, consumer behaviours, and the competitive landscape. We gather data on demographics, preferences, and purchasing patterns. We use trend insights to identify potential shifts, emerging technologies, or changing customer demands.

Target Audience: 

Once you’ve established your ‘why’, it’s important you define your ‘who’.

By understanding your audience on a fundamental level, you’ll instinctively be able to give them exactly what they want. 

The aim of strategic work isn’t to win over every man (and his dog)’s heart. But rather to answer the question, “Who will love you most”.


Because quality trumps quantity when it comes to brand equity. This means identifying and understanding the specific group of customers or market segments that the brand seeks to serve and connect with.

In order to do this you must define your target audience and understand their needs and aspirations, which will in turn, inform you on the best way to connect with them.

We do this by analysing market segments looking to target the most opportune audience and defining avatars for that audience, to flesh things out and get even more specific.

Undertaking the research necessary to create a world-class brand strategy always involves understanding the emotional triggers, cues, and benefits your brand needs to tap into so you can define the consumer’s emotional relationship with the brand.

Competitive Landscape:

Get to know your rivals – who they serve, how they communicate, and what sets them apart. 

This will help you carve out a unique space for your brand and deliver value that stands out. 

Who else is operating in this space?

What are their strengths and weaknesses?

How does your product differ?

How does your story differ?

Identify gaps in their offerings that you could exploit.

Unique Value Proposition: 

This is your elevator pitch. Your raison d’être. The thing that sets you apart.

A crucial piece of a brand strategy (and often one of the hardest to get right) is your UVP.

A brand strategy identifies and communicates a unique value proposition that sets the brand apart from competitors. It articulates the distinctive benefits, features, or qualities that give your brand a true edge to stand out in the market.

It should be a powerful proclamation that states how you differ from your competitors and highlights how your brand uniquely addresses the identified market gap.

Imagine your UVP as a magnetic force that draws your audience in and makes them choose you over the rest.

We think of it as your brand’s secret recipe, the distinct flavour that makes you unforgettable. Because it’s not just about what you offer; it’s about how you offer it differently, uniquely, and irresistibly.

Brand Promise:

Now you know your unique value proposition, you can work out how you best meet your customer needs – this is where you decide your brand promise. When articulating your brand promise, it’s important to craft one that is compelling and will resonate with your target audience, it’s not just what you’re promising but how you’re promising it and the style with which you intend to deliver it.

By aligning your brand promise with its core values and capabilities your key drivers remain clear and at the forefront throughout your entire brand experience.

A brand strategy is an opportune time to flesh out what your brand promise is. What will you deliver to your consumers time and time again? 

Your brand strategy enhances brand credibility and trustworthiness by ensuring the brand delivers on its promise. 

Brand Personality: 

Now we know our brand’s UVP, values and brand promise, the next part is how we relay that to the consumer.

If we’re looking for real connection with our audience, it’s best we think of our brand as a person in order for consumers to find common ground to relate with.

This is where we must ask if our brand was a person, who is our brand? How do they express themselves?

Brand personality is constructed by creating brand persona and tone of voice. Within creating how we speak with our consumers, we must decide upon our brand’s key Traits and Attributes – these are the nitty-gritty of how you will craft every word you will write for your brand.

Brand Experience: 

Now you’ve created a persona it’s time to create some lasting memories with your consumer:

Creating consistent and memorable experiences that align with the brand’s values and resonate with customers at every touchpoint, whether it’s through products, services, customer service, or marketing communications.

This can be achieved through customer experience, product experience and touch points big and small.

Verbal Identity: 

Your brand’s tone emerges from a thoughtful process that ensures every word, every sentence, embodies its personality.

Verbal identity is the way in which your brand will speak to its audience. Influenced by the brand personality, your brand’s TOV should pedal a unique flavour of language. Building out your verbal identity guidelines should be an intentional endeavour that is built using equal parts creativity and strategy.

And once done, will ensure your brand speaks to its audience exactly as it’s meant to. 

Brand Identity: 

Developing a distinctive and cohesive brand identity, including elements such as the brand name, logo, colours, typography, and visual assets that visually represent the brand.

Brand Guidelines: Documenting and communicating the brand’s visual and verbal guidelines to ensure consistent application across all brand communications and touchpoints. Including logo and graphic device usage, typography and colour palette, photography direction, 

Some closing thoughts on brand strategy

A well-defined brand strategy provides a roadmap for building a strong and differentiated brand that connects with customers, builds brand loyalty, and drives business growth.

It serves as a foundation for all brand-related decisions and activities, guiding marketing campaigns, product development, customer experiences, and overall brand management.

Building a strong brand strategy takes deep thought, time, effort, commitment and of course, a solid lashing of creativity.

And that’s where many people give up and jump ahead to the confetti part — launching into the doing, without first engaging in the thinking.

If you’re ready to kick off or refresh your brand strategy, get in touch with us here.

We’d love to hear from you.

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