When it’s time to create or modernize your business’s branding strategy, you may be wondering, “What makes branding effective?” Looking at brands that have effective branding strategies in place can provide us with inspiration and a springboard for our own strategizing and designing efforts.
But before we dive into some of our favorite brand examples, it’s important to understand what a branding strategy is.
What is a Branding Strategy?
A branding strategy is a long-term plan you develop and carry out to convey your brand’s mission, the promises you make to your customers, and how your audience identifies and perceives your brand.
The long-term goal is to achieve your goals and make your customers remember your brand in a positive way.
Your branding strategy is about more than just a gorgeous logo and color palette – it’s about creating space for customers to recognize, interact with, and enjoy your brand and its products and services. And over time, your branding strategy can drive positive awareness, equity, and sentiment for your brand.
How Do You Create an Effective Branding Strategy?
According to MarTech, you need to develop a branding strategy that answers these three questions:
- What does your brand stand for?
- What promises do you make to your customers?
- What is your brand personality?
But first, you need to be able to identify who your customer is and what your brand story is. When you know who you’re serving and why you are serving them in your unique way, you can better understand your brand – from origin to your future goals.
From Plan to Practice
A branding strategy is like developing a company culture or creating an overall marketing strategy: in the end, it relies on how it is perceived by your audience. But that doesn’t mean you don’t develop a branding strategy! In fact, it’s very important to create a branding strategy and the related brand identity for your brand in order to help show your audience what your brand is all about.
But make sure you don’t stop there. You can’t just talk the talk – you need to walk the walk. So if you aim to be the most affordable, the most effective, or provide the quickest delivery, for example, you need to be able to carry out those brand promises. If you can’t keep your brand promises, your branding strategy cannot change your customers’ perception of your brand.
What is a Brand Identity?
Brand identity is the visual elements of your brand, including your logo, color palette, fonts, product packaging, and other designs that help distinguish your brand from other brands to your customers.
Remember: You should have the strategy in place before you create or update any of your assets. Otherwise, they may not fulfill your branding strategy.
Examples of Effective Branding Strategies
Most articles on this topic dive into the branding strategies of big businesses like Nike, Apple, Tesla, and Starbucks. But we believe that SMBs are the backbone of our society, so we’ll feature smaller businesses in this article.
As we mentioned above, an effective branding strategy needs to be memorable. Now you don’t need to have a global corporation to be able to have a memorable brand. You just need a brand that is memorable to your customers.
SHEFIT is a women’s athleticwear brand known for its Ultimate Sports Bra® and Boss Leggings™.
What works: This brand, including its logo, is infused with pink crowns because it is fearlessly feminine. The brand’s models represent real-life women who are bosses in fitness, sports, and life.
SHEFIT isn’t afraid to take action or take on big-name brands like Nike.
Takeaway: If your brand aims to inspire, infuse it throughout your branding strategy and brand identity. Make it clear through your brand identity who the brand serves.
The Grand Hotel is a hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan that is known for its old-world hospitality, charm, and tradition.
What works: The logo, a horse-drawn carriage, connects directly to the fact that no modern vehicles are allowed on Mackinac Island – just bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. People immediately know that this is a traditional hotel that will take you back to bygone days – even if you don’t know that it was featured in the 1980 film, Somewhere In Time.
Most of its brand identity focuses on the hotel itself as well as the experiences it offers.
Takeaway: If your business focuses on history and tradition, it may be best to keep your brand identity and branding strategy simple and timeless.
The Surfin’ Spoon is a frozen yogurt and ice cream sandwich shop in Nags Head, North Carolina.
What works: This brand is clearly playful, which is ideal for kids and adults who are hunting for some yummy treats near the beach.
They also infuse surfing verbiage in their product names and other messaging, which is a great example of how branding and messaging strategies should work together. This also shows how Surfin’ Spoon creates treats for those living healthy lifestyles, which is apparent in their organic ingredients.
Takeaway: If you have a fun brand, let it show!
Jenna Kutcher helps business owners take control of their social media, email, and podcast marketing efforts through digital courses and coaching.
What works: Jenna built her business around her passions and her life, and her branding strategy makes this clear. Through her brand identity, she makes people believe that they, too, can leave their boring 9-to-5 to build a successful business – just like she did.
Takeaway: If you have a personal brand, don’t be afraid to get in front of the camera and put yourself out there. Your audience wants to get to know you before they learn what you can offer them.
Verb Energy sells caffeinated snacks, including bars and drink mixes, for people who need energy on the go.
What works: Verb Energy’s products are caffeinated, which directly relates to their brand name and logo – they create products for people in motion. Otherwise, they keep their brand identity simple – just like the ingredients in the products.
To meet their busy customers wherever they are, Verb’s customer service is available primarily via text. This is one example of how the Verb team carries out its brand strategy.
Takeaway: You can offer a personal touch to your business even if you don’t share photos of your team. After all, your team is one of the greatest assets that your business has, so use them to carry out your mission.
Create an Effective Branding Strategy
We hope these American small businesses inspire you to create an effective branding strategy that helps support your mission and connect with your customers.