We recently sat down with Matt Entringer, HenkinSchultz’s Director of Brand Strategy to understand the importance of actually having a brand strategy.
Matt’s had the chance to work for multiple Fortune 1000 companies including Union Pacific and Sprint. At the latter, Matt was a Marketing Manager who helped lead the wireless company’s in-store marketing at over 3,000 locations across the country.
In 2016, Matt joined the HenkinSchultz team. His prior experience across a variety of different marketing areas gives him great insight into the creation of a complete brand strategy. Now let’s take a look at how to determine your brand strategy with Matt.
What is a brand strategy?
At its most basic level, a brand strategy is simply a long-term plan an organization puts together in order to reach its goals. What that plan looks like and what it includes will depend on what type of organization it is. An international humanitarian non-profit will have much different goals than a local flower shop.
Regardless of the organization, there a few things every organization needs to take into account when determining its brand strategy.
- What’s our purpose?
- What are our values?
- Who is our audience?
- Who are our competitors?
- How are we different?
- What are we trying to achieve?
These questions get at the heart of your mission. Every organization was created for a reason, and by taking the time to answer these questions you’ll start to build a foundation for your brand strategy or road map to success.
What all does a brand strategy include?
As mentioned before, a lot will depend on what type of organization you are. However, it’s definitely about more than your name, logo, and website. It’s about the comprehensive approach to internal and external communication you take to reach your idea of success.
If I ask what’s your favorite restaurant, which one do you choose? There’s a reason for that.
It’s likely not just because the food is good. It’s the entire experience. From how the staff greets you to the décor to the advertising you’ve seen, all of these influence the way you view and experience a restaurant.
And yes, the food helps. But imagine if your favorite restaurant had white walls with no décor, plastic plates and silverware, and the employees visibly did not want to be working there. Would it still be your favorite?
A successful brand strategy takes into account every element of how your audience recognizes and experiences your organization.
Why does internal communication matter in creating a brand strategy?
Organizations that don’t prioritize internal communication often fail to reach their full potential. Employees are the public face of your company, even those that don’t interact with the public. They are the driving force behind your organization and without everyone paddling in the same direction, it’s going to be a difficult journey.
It’s important for your employees to be well versed in how they should be communicating with customers and representing your organization. If there are no formal expectations or basis for decision-making, your audience can be left with a disjointed and inconsistent experience.
Strong internal communication is important to make sure every employee understands the company’s values and actively feels like he or she is a part of its mission. Companies that fail to do this often have a higher rate of turnover and spend more time focused on short-term needs rather than a long-term brand strategy.
What brands do it well?
There are a lot of great brands in the region, but one in particular that I like is GreatLIFE. Whether it’s a television commercial, a brochure, or gym signage, the brand always feels cohesive. And that’s because GreatLIFE has a strong brand strategy that touches every part of its internal and external communication.
GreatLIFE has developed a strong corporate culture by putting significant effort into its internal communication. And as the company’s brand strategists, HenkinSchultz helps oversee a growing number of affiliated websites, print materials, television and radio advertising, billboards, direct mail, digital advertising, Google AdWords campaigns, and interior and exterior signage.
This leads to a great member experience and is why GreatLIFE has grown to more than 20,000 members in only four years.
Why is a brand strategy important and how can HenkinSchultz help?
A brand strategy serves as a road map to your organization’s success. It takes you from where you are to where you want to go. It’s about having a long-term strategy that takes into account every element of your private and public communication.
Having a brand strategy will make your communication across all channels more consistent and cohesive. And will help make sure that regardless of where and how someone interacts with your organization, that experience drives the values and mission of your organization.
Only your organization can decide your values and mission, but HenkinSchultz’s brand strategy team uses research, industry information, and trends to help better inform and create your brand strategy. We’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the region and with over 26 years of experience, we have branding down to an art form.
We know what aspects are key to creating a strong brand strategy, how to uncover those for our clients, and how to best position brands to their target audiences. By combining your organizational knowledge with our years of developing successful brand strategies, we create a successful road map that helps reaches your goals.
So if you are looking for someone to help you create a cohesive long-term plan that will help your organization achieve a high-level of success, we’d love to work with you.