How To Create A Winning Brand Development Strategy.

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No such thing as a “casual stroll” exists when traveling down the brand development path. Creating a market-penetrating product launch with long-term success demands a brand development strategy that covers all bases and performs each step in the correct order. Fail to do so, and there’s a 99.9 percent chance your brand won’t be able to move past the local market. 

We have compiled this guide to ensure you understand how to create a brand development strategy. We’ve outlined each step and important tips to give your product the best chance of becoming a serious category contender. 

What is A Brand Development Strategy?

A brand development strategy is a systematic process for creating a brand or product that positions itself distinctively in the marketplace. The initial brand strategy aims to research, design, and test ways to differentiate a brand or product for optimal positioning. 

Led by the brand manager, an internal team can create brand development strategies. However, in many cases, a company will engage with a brand development agency with experience in creating a successful messaging and branding strategy.

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Why Every Brand Needs A Development Strategy

There is a reason why the cost of brand-building consultants and services comes at a premium. With more than 30,000 new CPG products released each year, the real challenge isn’t getting a product to the market; it’s creating enough brand recognition to stay in the market. 

The good news is that of those 30,000 new CPG products, very few engage in high-level brand development strategies. Having a development strategy pushes you past the start-up noise, putting you in range of competing with recognizable brands through national channels. 

How To Create A Brand Development Strategy

Prioritizing your brand strategy is just as important as the actual steps themselves. Going out of order can lead to inaccurate data, making you worse off than when you started. Here, we will outline each step a brand should follow before it hits the product launch button. 

Perform Preliminary Research

Do not take the first step lightly. The depth of your brand, consumer, and competitor research drives the insights to enhance your initial launch and future marketing strategy. 

Brand Diagnosis

Current brand awareness

Level of brand equity

Existing brand value

Brand reputation

Consumer Research 

Evolving trends

Consumer demographics

Consumer behaviors

Customer reviews/feedback

Competitive Analysis

Promotional campaigns

Shelf Competitors

Share of market

Category gaps

*Samples of what preliminary research may include.

Conduct Consumer Research

Reviewing existing research on your consumers may not be enough to make concrete decisions. Once you complete preliminary research and identify your target audience, you will have questions about how to serve their needs and effectively communicate with them. To solve this riddle, you must invest in real-time consumer research.

Performing consumer research creates the map of how to drive trial purchases and build brand loyalty. It will help you improve your ROI across all branding and marketing campaigns. 

Tips When Performing Consumer Research

  1. Use a Combination of Research Methods: Employ qualitative and quantitative research methods for comprehensive insights.
  2. Define Clear Research Objectives: Clearly define the specific information you want to gather from consumer research.
  3. Utilize Online Surveys and Panels: Leverage online survey tools or research panels to reach a wider audience efficiently.
  4. Conduct In-Depth Interviews: Gain rich qualitative insights through in-depth interviews with selected individuals.
  5. Perform Social Listening: Analyze discussions and feedback from relevant online platforms to gain real-time insights.
  6. Explore Ethnographic Research: Understand consumer behaviors and needs by observing them in their natural environment.

Understand Your Target Audience

Many brands have determined their target customer, but few deeply understand potential customers’ needs, hopes, fears, and desires. 

Performing consumer research does provide insights into the target audience, but your work is incomplete. Now, you need to organize the information to understand and identify actionable insights to help you better service the target market. 

Here, you will ask additional questions and further your research efforts to understand their personality. 

Tips For Target Audience Research

  1. Employ Behavioral Observation: Observe consumer behavior in real-life or simulated environments to gain insights into their decision-making process.
  2. Use Data Analytics: Analyze data from various sources, such as customer interactions, social media, or website analytics, to identify patterns and trends that reveal deeper consumer insights.
  3. Leverage Psychographic Research: Explore consumers’ values, attitudes, and lifestyles to understand their motivations better and align your brand with their aspirations.
  4. Engage with Online Communities: Participate in relevant online communities and forums where your target audience discusses their needs, allowing you to gather valuable insights directly from the source.
  5. Conduct Emotional Research: Uncover the emotional drivers behind consumer behavior through techniques like sentiment analysis, emotion-based surveys, or implicit association tests.
  6. Implement Customer Journey Mapping: Map out the customer journey to identify pain points, emotional touchpoints, and opportunities to improve the brand experience.

Crafting Your Brand Story

To be the top brand in any category, you need a compelling brand story that speaks to the target audience while distinguishing you from the competition. Creating a brand story template will serve you in everything from your packaging design to your content marketing. Your story will significantly impact your ability to build a strong brand identity that is visible in more ways than when you present your product to the consumer. 

Tips For Developing Your Brand Story

  1. Define Your Brand’s Purpose: Clearly articulate the purpose and values driving your brand, highlighting your unique value proposition to your target audience.
  2. Develop a Compelling Narrative: Craft a captivating narrative that tells the story of your brand, highlighting its journey, mission, and the problem it solves for customers.
  3. Showcase Authenticity: Infuse your brand story with authenticity by sharing real-life experiences, testimonials, or anecdotes demonstrating your brand’s value.
  4. Highlight Points of Differentiation: Identify and emphasize the unique qualities and features that set your brand apart from competitors, showing why your target audience should choose you.
  5. Use Emotionally Resonant Language: Use evocative and emotionally resonant language in your brand story to create a strong connection with your audience and elicit a positive response.
  6. Adapt for Various Channels: Tailor your brand story for different marketing channels, adapting it to suit each platform’s specific requirements and nuances.

Create A Channel Strategy

Researching the best places to storytell your brand and making data-driven decisions ensures consumers hear your message. You must make careful decisions in your sales and marketing channels to successfully scale your brand. Research into your omnichannel strategy will serve you well down the road. 

Tips For Creating A Winning Channel Strategy

  1. Identify Target Channels: Research the sales and marketing channels that align with your target audience’s preferences and behaviors.
  2. Analyze Competitor Channels: Study the channels your competitors use to gain insights into their strategies and identify opportunities for differentiation.
  3. Consider Channel Integration: Whether it’s an integrated company such as Target or how Amazon influences Brick N Mortar retailers, consider how channels work together and where there will be friction.
  4. Assess Channel Reach and Accessibility: Consider the reach and accessibility of each channel, ensuring it provides sufficient exposure to your target audience and aligns with their communication preferences.
  5. Forecast Channel Costs and ROI: Assess the potential costs associated with each channel and evaluate the expected ROI regarding brand exposure, lead generation, and conversions.

Identify Distinct Brand Positioning

The way to magnetically attract potential customers to your products is through distinct brand positioning. But the magnetic attraction isn’t about being “different”; it’s about positioning yourself visibly to consumers and then speaking to their logic and emotions. In CPG terms, this form of positioning can be accomplished by your brand promise and your brand voice. 

“Distinct brand positioning is the shield you carry to prevent customers from attacking customer loyalty.”

Tips For Establishing Distinct Brand Positioning

  1. Focus On Your Unique Selling Proposition: Emphasis what sets your brand apart from competitors and clearly articulate it to highlight your unique value.
  2. Communicate Your Positioning Consistently: Ensure that you consistently reflect your brand positioning across all touchpoints, including marketing campaigns, packaging, website, and customer interactions.
  3. Align Positioning with Brand Visuals: Integrate your brand positioning into your visual elements, such as logo, colors, and design, to reinforce the desired perception in the minds of consumers.

Optimize Brand Messaging

Messaging is what brings brand positioning to life. From 2-3 word packaging copy to long-form product explanations, each word communicated to the consumer showcases your brand’s value and personality.  

Tips For Optimizing Brand Messaging

  1. Use clear and concise language: Ensure your messaging is understandable and avoid jargon or complicated terminology. Use straightforward language that resonates with your target audience.
  2. Tailor messaging to different channels: Adapt your brand messaging to suit each marketing channel’s requirements and nuances. Customize the messaging to align with the platform and effectively communicate your brand’s value.
  3. Use persuasive language: Employ persuasive language techniques to evoke an emotional response from your audience. Use powerful words and phrases that resonate with their desires, aspirations, and pain points.

Perform Message Testing

At SmashBrand, our strategic brand development process puts our clients through PackWords™ testing. Our data shows that clients who test their messaging before adding visual elements have greater purchase intent than those without. A brand development strategy must go through this level of depth to build a strong brand. 

Develop A Consistent Visual Identity

Visual identity isn’t just about what people see but what they remember. Hence, brand consistency is critical for recall and repeat purchases. As you develop the visuals that support your messaging, you must first create brand guidelines.

Creating a brand guideline template will ensure that everyone, internal or external, in your organization upholds the integrity of your brand design. Consistency is a fundamental aspect of your branding strategy that we understand, but brands don’t always employ. 

Tips For Keeping Your Visual Identity Consistent

  1. Use consistent brand colors: Select a primary color palette and secondary colors that align with your brand’s personality and values. Ensure these colors are consistent across all visual elements, such as logos, website design, packaging, and marketing materials.
  2. Maintain consistent typography: Choose a set of fonts that reflect your brand’s tone and style, and use them consistently in all written content. Establish font sizes, weights, and formatting guidelines to ensure consistency across various platforms and materials.
  3. Incorporate Visual Storytelling: Keep visual elements such as images, videos, and graphics consistent, enhance your brand story, and create a memorable and engaging experience for your audience.
  4. Train and educate team members: Provide guidelines and training to internal teams, external partners, and vendors to ensure they understand and adhere to your brand’s visual identity. Educate them on the importance of consistency and its impact on brand perception.

Perform Brand Testing

Before you go to market is the correct time to determine whether you have a successful brand strategy. The only alternative is letting the market provide feedback for your new product. But that won’t work since you only get one chance with retailers and consumers to make an impact. 

Consumer Perception TestingMessage Variation Testing
Gut Check TestingFinal Concept Testing
Purchase Intent  TestingPrice Sensitivity Testing

*A sample of the tests we perform at SmashBrand.

Calendar Reporting And Reviews

Determining your reporting and review cadence must be a part of the brand development strategy. When creating your brand development strategy, decide what to measure and how frequently you will report and review these metrics. Ensure the entire team is clear on what they need to bring to the table when reviewing the progress of your brand development strategy. 

Data-Driven Brand Development For CPG Brands

SmashBrand is a brand development agency for FMCG and CPG companies. From brand strategy to packaging design testing, our Path To Performance™ process guarantees a retail performance lift. Book a time to discuss your project with our team.

The Only Agency To Guarantee A Retail Performance Lift.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When Does A Brand Development Strategy Occur?

Creating a brand development strategy can occur during a new brand launch, rebrand, brand extension, and line extension. As a brand development agency, our work primarily is with:

  • New brands are looking to launch in a regional or national retailer successfully. 
  • Brands with a successful SKU who want to leverage their brand equity. 
  • A company with multiple brands needs a brand refresh for one of its product lines.
  • A brand selling successfully through independent stores but is now entering into national chains. 
  • Brands must perform a brand pivot because of trends, evolving competitive landscape, or changing customer preferences. 

Other reasons for a brand development strategy include companies undergoing a brand renovation as a result of bad media attention as well as when a company acquires a brand and wants it to reflect the leading brand’s look and feel. 

What Is The Role Of Brand Development For B2B Businesses?

Few brands consider the importance of considering the businesses they sell to through the brand development process. This is a giant mistake, as business buyers play a vital role in the success of your product. Whether the business is or is not the end user, B2B brand development requires considering researching and testing with the business purchaser in mind.

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