Brand strategy: What’s your story?

By Nadia Hearn

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In today’s ever-changing marketplace, it has become vital to connect any business with its brand, or brand story.

Brands that define clarity on their purpose, financially outperform others without.

Businesses don’t only compete with innovative trends amongst their industry peers and staying abreast with disruptive technologies that may provide them with leading USPs (unique selling points). They also compete with consumers’ low confidence and high budgetary caution. It is not enough just to make a brand promise of low prices, good products or services – it is no longer what separates one brand from another, it is through having a defining brand purpose.

The answer: define the brand purpose of the business, an ownable point of view which delivers genuine value to consumers. It is also often referred to as the brand story. In short, it is the intention of the business as envisioned by its founders.

It may be time to consider reviewing how successful your brand positioning strategy defines the brand as “ownable” for 2019 – what is the actionable impact of the brand and how does it influence the lives of its target market? It resides at the juncture of what the brand offers the world and its intended target customer’s deepest cares and desires.

Why is it important?

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It is proven that “me too” companies struggle and fail vs. business that can connect and engage their target customer with their brand story. Engagement is the new gold currency in branding. This is simply because a brand is the relationship the target market or public have with the brand, including their thoughts and feelings (also often referred to as perception). Their relationship with the brand is what will develop into brand loyalty and later brand insistence, the sweet spot any brand would like to be in. The intention of the brand is the key. Think of Apple or Nike who sell a lifestyle and not a product. Their customers insist on their products and they bought in to the brand intention (or story).

There are two foundational questions that should be posed to establish the purpose statement:

1. Firstly, what is the brand’s ultimate reason for being?
And 2, If the brand had to disappear tomorrow, what gap would there be?

Working on the purpose statement will support aligning the brand with its brand purpose. A company whose employees can answer this question: “Why are we here?”, will also be the brand that makes stronger connections with consumers in search of solutions to life’s new challenges.

Purpose, not promise

The importance of building a brand on a purpose, not simply a promise, is also critical to help employees, or associates, in fact all stakeholders understand why “they are here”. The key is to work on an internal communications strategy that engage employees to understand their reason for being, and then the reason for being at work. It needs to clarify their roles and signify their intrinsic value to the organisation. Get the in-house in order, as this is where true brand reputation is born.

‘Why’ instead of ‘what’

Looking at the external brand communication strategy, consider we live in a content saturated landscape. People don’t have time, they are over stimulated with content from all angles and the window is less than eight seconds to capture and engage them. With this in mind, people care only about the “why”. Why must they trust, try, engage, care, want and share with your brand? Forget about positioning brands around the benefits and ‘what’ it is; focus on this approach, the core is always the “why” – the very reason for the business and brand’s existence. Ensure the why is communicated first in the brand message, so that it can resonate with the intended audience. Secondly, unpack the “how” it does what it does – this is what makes the brand different (also often referred to as the business blue print). Other tactics of thinking is to highlight the pain or problem, and connect how the brand offers an answer or solution.

Now that the audience can make an emotional connection with why it matters to them, their lives, family, friends or their business, they will be engaged and listen to what exactly it is that will solve, impact or improve themselves or their business.


Nadia Hearn is a PR, Brand Engineer, Radio Presenter and Speaker. If you enjoyed this article , listen to Nadia on #onTheFLIPSIDE on 2oceansvibe Radio – sign-up to follow her blog on www.nadiahearn.co.za, and register for a free copy of her latest book titled: Get Business – your guide on how to identify, engage, get and keep your perfect customer.
Contact her on nadia@get-published.co.za.


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