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Creating a Brand Without a Strategy?

Whenever we manage a rebrand, we really go to town.

There’s a good reason for this; rebranding isn’t simply a case of designing a new logo or launching a new website – there’s a significant amount of strategy required, too.

Unfortunately, we come across far too many businesses who want to rebrand without the strategy.

It’ll ‘save money’, you see.

However, ignoring the strategic part of a rebrand is going to cause you some serious problems down the line.

Apples for Apple

When you see the Apple logo, what do you think?

  • “That’s a nice logo.”

Or

  • “They make smartphones and computers which have a huge, loyal following.”

It’s the latter (or some variation thereof), isn’t it? It is a nice logo, yes, but that’s such a small part of the Apple brand.

Apple has worked for decades on the strategy behind its brand. Beyond aspirational products and a design-led approach to everything they do, they’ve aligned their brand with artists, creators, and sustainable practices. You already know what the inside of an Apple Store will look like.

They may not be for everyone, but Apple demands an emotional connection from its audience. People KNOW what the company stands for.

It’s why they’re one of the most valuable companies on the planet.

It’s also why you need to work on your brand’s strategy, too.

Why the research stage of a rebrand is so important

It’s entirely possible to create a beautiful, engaging logo. But that doesn’t make it a brand.

In fact, a logo without a strategic brand behind it is nothing more than a design. And, let’s be honest, that’s pretty useless.

Your logo needs depth behind it, and that’s where your overall brand vision and strategy comes in.

This is only available via one method: research. It’s hard work, but it’s also why agencies like ours exist. Every year, we help smart, forward-thinking businesses research the meaning and purpose behind their brand.

Gaining an outside perspective on this is vital. When you’re so close to your own business, it’s hard to step back and see the market for what it is. It’s even harder to work out your place within that sector.

More experienced pairs of eyes will spot things you’d never see in a million years. There’ll be opportunities for your brand to make a huge impact within the industry, and equal opportunities for it to sink without trace.

To create a brand worth engaging with, you’ll need to:

  • dig deep into what the competition is – and isn’t – doing;
  • really understand your ideal customer
  • continually ask the question, “what’s in it for our customers and how do they know?”; and
  • answer some very difficult questions about your business.

They will be difficult questions – mark our words. You might think you’ve nailed your brand already, or as though your product is just waiting to be discovered.

That may not be the case. But with the right brand strategy, you’ll begin to carve out a space within your niche and, most importantly, UNDERSTAND what you need to do to provide the solutions your audience wants.

Standing for something

If we look at Apple once more, it’s clear that they stand for a number of things. They’re outspoken about inequality issues and are never backwards in coming forwards on the privacy debate.

A 2019 survey revealed that 70% of consumers want to know what brands are doing to address social and environmental issues. You can’t do that with a logo, but you can do it with a bullet-proof brand strategy.

There is a challenge for small companies; we appreciate that. Standing for something publicly can be seen as far too risky when you only occupy a tiny portion of the market.

After all, if Apple loses a few thousand fans because of their take on a specific issue, they’d barely notice the dent in their armour. But your business? You really can’t afford to lose customers simply because you got a bit ‘ranty’ or are opinionated about a certain emotive topic.

The trick lies in making your brand’s position, ethos, and goals ultra-clear from the start. Do that, and you won’t become another generic player. You’ll be interesting and you’ll set expectations for everything that emanates from your brand.

Which brings us back to the brand strategy, doesn’t it? You can only make your raison d’etre ultra-clear by investing properly in everything behind that logo.

Be Smart can help. If we’ve sparked your curiosity today, just get in touch for a chat.