Take a minute to consider what you think a brand strategy is.
What did you come up with? Is a brand strategy the way you market your business? Is it the logo? Is it the mission statement? Could it be the business plan?
A brand strategy can be all of these things, and it can be incredibly overwhelming when trying to create a new business or maintain an existing one. So where do you start, and what’s most important in doing so? That depends on you.
At it’s core, a business is a means to provide a service to people that you believe in.
For my dad and I, we believe in our store’s ability to provide convenience to folks within our community. However, we believe our brand is one that resonates quality goods and services to folks in and around our community. What’s the difference? The answer may surprise you.
My dad started our brand over 20 years ago. Then, he thought of our store as just that: one store. A few years into his business it became another store. Now that I am a part of the team, his one store has turned into our store, a farmers’ market, a baking business, and we plan to do much more. When we see folks around town, they don’t say “hey that’s those people from that store.” They say “hey, there’s the owners of Sunnyside!” With that, they expect us to carry ourselves much in the way we portray our business: clean, unique, resourceful, and helpful. These are all things my father and I strive to be, and thus our brand to be. In other words, our business is a place. Our brand is an identifying group of traits people can count on for our businesses.
This goes far beyond just the in-store experience.
As I mentioned, our brand is everything we do. It is:
- our logo
- our business plan
- our in-store actions
- training for our employees
- our style of dress
- our work ethic
- our marketing
The list could go on for miles. So when planning your brand strategy, don’t feel like you have to come up with it all at once. Instead, break it down.
When you start a business or decide to innovate an existing one, you first think of what the business is. Are you a store, a tech company, a manufacturer? Then, you decide what type of company (no matter how big or small, you are still a company) you want to be and thus people will see you as. Are you helpful, speedy, innovative? Last, and certainly not least, you decide how you will portray that so it is what people think of when they hear your company’s name or see your logo.
Something I had to learn the hard way when we started Sunnyside, was folks automatically assume prices at country or convenience stores are higher than grocery stores. This is true whether these types of store actually are or not. Why? Because stores like Walmart and Food Lion have done an excellent job at marketing their business as money-savers. The truth is, most of the time, Sunnyside’s prices are comparable to these grocery giants and sometimes cheaper. It wouldn’t be smart for us to go after these mega businesses and their pricing strategy, though. Instead, we branded ourselves as “The Folks at Sunnyside.”
“The Folks at Sunnyside” sounds like your neighbor. This is convenient because that’s how we want people in our community to feel. We truly value our customers. We want them to feel like they can depend on us. We want them to know that when they’re out of something or can’t find a certain item, we will go above and beyond to get it for them. If we can’t, we’ll figure out an alternative; even if that means sending them to another business. We do this because we care.
I am happy to say our brand strategy works for us and has allowed us to stay in business. I feel it’s only right to share the methods we used to create a successful brand strategy with you, so you too can be successful.
I will be posting here often about methods to help you create or build a better brand. If at any point you need direct help with things you find here, or with your brand strategy, feel free to comment below. You can also reach me on my profile at Wealthy Affiliate. My username is JaemiO.