An effective brand — more than just a clever name and attractive logo — represents the very core of a business. Your brand defines your purpose and communicates your value within the marketplace. It is your most valuable asset as a business. Without a strong brand, your audience will not know who you are or what you can provide them. Branding is a way that you can stand out against competitors and create a relationship with your audience.

With this in mind, developing a brand strategy will help you to better understand your own business and communicate more effectively. Whether you’re a start-up or already have an established brand, all companies need a brand strategy. There are certain elements that need to be considered and defined in order to execute an effective brand strategy.

Define Brand Objectives

The first step in developing an effective brand strategy is determining what the goals are for your brand. To help establish your brand’s objectives, ask yourself what your brand is trying to achieve and what it communicates. What problem is your brand attempting to solve? Answering these questions will provide the foundation with which to build your brand strategy. It will establish your brand’s purpose and drive all other aspects of your brand.

Identify Your Audience

Also crucial when developing your brand strategy is identifying your target audience and positioning. This will strengthen your brand’s effectiveness by providing focus for your messaging. In order to initiate effective communication, your brand must conduct market research on your target audience so you can understand their needs and formulate communication that resonates with them. Through this research, you can anticipate the potential pain points when customers interact with your brand, allowing you to plan ahead and provide them with solutions so that they can have a positive experience. A thorough competitive analysis will also give your brand an opportunity to differentiate itself from the competition that exists within the industry.

Create Your Brand Identity

Once you have established your brand’s objectives, target audience and positioning, you can dive deeper into creating a cohesive brand identity. This is more than just your name, logo or website. While all of these are essential elements that symbolize your brand, it is also critical to solidify your brand’s messaging. To be successful, your brand needs to have consistent communication that resonates with your target audience, evoking their emotions and convincing them to take action. Your brand should tell the story of who you are and what you promise to deliver to your customers. Your brand should have a unique personality that your audience can recognize.

The takeaway for creating your brand strategy is understanding. Understanding who you are as a brand, who your audience is and what value you give them. With that knowledge, you can develop a successful strategy that forges a connection between your brand and your audience.