Questions your brand strategy should be able to answer

7 minute read
Refine your brand strategy with these 6 questions to ensure your brand messaging and marketing efforts are aligned to your mission and vision (and reaching the right audience).
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The term ‘brand strategy’ has blown up in a big big way over the last few years, so I’m sure it doesn’t sound foreign when I tell you that you should have a brand strategy in place to guide your design and marketing efforts.

But, what does it actually mean? What does having a brand strategy look like, in a very real tangible way? And how do you even start implementing this strategy, after you’ve figured out how to piece it together?

As when anything becomes trendy, you’ll see a few different definitions for brand strategy from many brand strategists and designers, depending on their own unique process and the clients they work with.

That’s why I want to give you a no-nonsense and easy-to-follow guide to the foundational questions your brand strategy should be answering. This can be super helpful when your business is fairly new, you’re testing out ideas for business or you fancy diy-ing your visual brand and marketing strategies.

Diving into these questions will help you cultivate intimacy with yourself, your wants and desires within your business and with who you want to work with. If you want to know more about why I believe intimacy belongs in business you should read this post.

1 What is my vision?

Or, specifically what kind of future do I want and how does my business, my work and my skill set make that future more real? What kind of future do you want for the people you work with?

Why

Knowing your vision allows you to align your actions, offers and marketing to your goals for yourself and your people. It provides direction for your business and allows for aspirations.

How  

Complete this sentence: “The future I want is one where…”

Take into consideration what you want to accomplish with your business, what effect you want to have on your people, your industry and your community, what the overarching goal of your business is, and what direction you want to take it in.

2 Who do I want to work with?

If you’ve read anything on my blog, you probably know that I believe connecting with other humans through values and brand experiences is way more meaningful than niching yourself into a corner using demographics and industry.

Why

Getting to know who you want to work with intimately allows you to engage them in a human-first way, create brand experiences that delight them and get clarity around and the emotional benefits they value/want more of.

How

Consider who you want to work with, what they value in their lives or business and why they want to hire support for what you specialise in. Then refine your brand message, marketing and content to reflect those.

Want more hand-help guidance in understanding who your ‘dream client’ is? I’ve got a workshop where I walk you through a unique approach to understanding your people in the ways that actually make a difference. Watch it here.

3 What are the benefits of working with me?

You probably know what your clients get in a tangible way when hiring you (functional benefits), but it’s valuable diving into the often overlooked emotional benefits.

These are the results they experience that sit alongside those tangible or measurable benefits. Results that perhaps fall on the spectrum of what you do (copywriting/photography/coaching) that are influenced by your unique lived experience, your purpose and values.

Why

Knowing what emotional benefits your clients get when working with you means you’re able to leverage how you do things differently in your brand messaging. You get to move from having a lost-in-the-crowd brand story to saying “hey, this is what really sets me apart in my industry”.

How

Consider the experience of working with you: what do your clients get that perhaps they don’t realise they’re paying for? What forms part of your process that is unique to how you do things? How do you support them in an emotional way?

What and how do your clients or customers feel and experience when working with you/purchasing from you? What changes in their perspective during this time? How do you meet their emotional needs?

This one could be a bit abstract, so I’ll give you a quick example. My client sells all-natural bath and body products.

The functional benefits are

  • Long lasting moisturising effect
  • All natural and safe ingredients
  • Free from cruelty and ingredients you can’t pronounce
  • Infused with a unique blend of essential oils to support a replenishing and calming experience
  • A little goes a long way and products don’t have to be replaced often

The emotional benefits are

  • Peace of mind
  • Encourages daily rituals and self-care practices
  • Supports mindfulness in daily tasks
  • Easy to incorporate into your daily bathroom routines - no extra time needed for establishing self-care practices that are calming and grounding
  • Postpartum mood boosters

4 What result do I specialise in?

This one is directly linked to those benefits and we want to shift the focus from what you do to how you do it differently. It blends your emotional benefits (or what people experience as a result of working with you) with how you do things differently and can take you from being a business that provides a service to being a business that specialises in a specific result.

Why

By understanding the result you specialise in you can refine your brand messaging and marketing efforts to place more value on that and clearly communicate what makes you different in your industry.

Want more guidance figuring out how you do things differently? Read this post and grab the free worksheet to help you understand what your unique selling point is.

How

Looking at your list of functional and emotional benefits, and considering who you want to work with, what result do you specialise in?

What combination makes it unique, why is its uniqueness valuable to your clients and how can you place more emphasis on it in your messaging and marketing?

5 What is the tone of my brand?

The tone of your brand is how people perceive, feel and experience it, emotionally.

Why

Knowing what tone you want to have as a business, and ensuring it’s linked to your vision and aligned with your people, means you have a guide when you’re writing or creating for and communicating with them. You have clarity around how you want them to feel, so you can ensure anything you publish meets it. You also have guidance when diy-ing your visual branding, knowing it has to embody a specific tone.

Need a colour palette but feel overwhelmed with so. many. options? I’ve got 24 free palettes with a list of keywords that speak to the brand tone they’d be well suited to. Get them here.

How

How do you want your people to feel when interacting with you? What do you want your brand to emotionally communicate to them?

Aim for 3-6 words that could describe the tone of your brand.

6 What do I believe?

You can think of this as your brand values. But that term always feels so bland and overused to me, because as business owners whose business is likely born out of personal experience or a personal season of change, it’s more than brand values. This is what you believe, in- and outside of business.

Why

Getting intimate with this core part of yourself and your business reinforces what makes you you! It also gives more depth to those emotional benefits, too, since they're a direct window into you, your experiences, your values and your purpose.

How

Think about what attributes, philosophies and ideas are really important to you? Why do they feel important? What governs your life, decision making and relationships, and how does it govern them? How is that governance experienced?

Those are what you believe and the values that drive what, how and why you do business the way that you do.

If you can answer those 6 questions, you have a really strategic and meaningful foundation for your business!

Keep them handy in a Google Doc or journal so you can reference them when creating or writing content, developing your offers or building up a marketing strategy.

If you want support in creating a brand strategy, or you want something more comprehensive to help you get more fab clients, I’d love to partner with you! We can either co-create it in a Strategy Intensive or you can join the group brand strategy programme The Collective.

Or send me an email hello@loringalloway.com and we can chat about your vision, what you do and who you do it for and I’ll help you decide what would be the best fit for where you are and what you want.

Grab this brand strategy checklist

If you’re diy-ing your brand strategy, get this checklist to use along the way. Print it out and keep it with your strategy scribbles (your business journal). Or keep it digital and file it with your google doc. This way you can do a quarterly strategy review and realign your messaging to this key piece of your brand puzzle.
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Questions your brand strategy should be able to answer

Hi! Hello. I'm the author, Lorin.

Red wine appreciator, amateur gardener and the voice and heart behind everything here.

I work with small business owners who want more rad clients, growth, and clarity and less rules, formulas and lost-in-the-crowd brand stories by supporting them in building a business they love and brand they believe in.

Partnering with me goes well beyond branding and I’m never in it for the short term. This is also not your typical design studio: I’m equally invested in working with businesses that aren’t ready for or don’t want to invest in design.

So that either way, we wrap up our project with what you need to communicate what you do, who you do it for and why it matters in the most compelling way, without sacrificing your vision or values in the process.

Got more meh clients than fab ones?

(Or maybe just not enough clients at all?)

Start with your brand messaging!

Grab my Brand Messaging Guide and a cup of coffee (or glass of wine ;) ) and find out what small and impactful changes you can make this week to start getting more (fab) clients. Or find out more about it here.

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