It has become apparent that brands and their strategic branding agencies need to move faster in 2013, however we can’t move forward without considering the role of strategy in helping brands move towards success and growth in 2017.

If your business is looking to diversify its market this year, increase service/product offerings or increase brand followers, keep in mind that the first step of any business plan should be looking into the brand perspective of your target market and how it currently affects your business negatively or positively. The trust factor between you and your customers is crucial to the success of your goals and vision for success.

Strategies to grow your brand in 2017

Leverage your category management capabilities at retail.

Manufacturers need to apply their product and consumer expertise to help support the retailers that sell their products. Manufacturers and retailers need to form a cohesive collaborative relationship to help each other grow and remain competitive. Great companies that come to their retailer with a brand story, impactful graphic design and engaging package design will be valued and appreciated and often rewarded with better shelf presence and increased promotional opportunities. The goal is to increase foot traffic at retail and to increase consumer shopping basket size.

Be bold, and Re-brand.

The world is filled with forgettable brands. Overly designed logos and package design and a plethora of “me-to” products and services. Businesses often think that they can increase profit from a simple logo tweak, developing a new website with the same dated brand look, or splurging on a TV ad or magazine spot.

The truth is, the world doesn’t notice and likely doesn’t care. The right brand message is still not present…. If you are going through all the effort to engage your senior leadership and aspire to engage your customers in a new way — take a leap and be bold! By bold we mean define who you are as a company and who you are not. Make the tough decisions about the brand name, sub-brands, messaging, values and target market. Think about design as a strategic tool that can redefine how a category is viewed. And focus on brand experience touch points to drive home that any re-brand is more than lipstick on the proverbial pig — it’s a real, meaningful change.

Focus on Usefulness, not Innovation.

Brands need to curate innovative experiences in order to retain their current consumers and attract new ones. But brands also consistently fall into the trap of trying to creating new bells and whistles that distract the consumer, rather than providing value. A great way to avoid this is to focus on your brand’s ability to be useful. Stop thinking about innovation for a time and shift your mindset from a somewhat internal notion of innovation to a more external one of usefulness, you’ll be able to more effectively serve your consumer.

Build your Verbal Identity.

The right words are key to your brand’s success. Most people tend to think about branding in terms of imagery – company logos, photos, a website’s look and feel. It’s important, though, to understand branding is so much more than that. It’s about your values as a company and it’s also about your verbal identity. Your product names, taglines, advertising language and the everyday language you use to communicate your brand promise make up your verbal identity. This assists in projecting a consistent message for your customers to identify with.

Know your Brand is Accountable.

Social media reputation management has never been more important, and brand transparency is critical. In 2017, even the smallest mistake can become a huge public relations problem. You need to be ready with response plans in place to protect your brand reputation.

Create a Brand Experience.

In 2012, we started to see a significant shift to brand storytelling and creating branded experiences. If Apple could do it, why can’t other brands? That line of thinking brought us emotion-driven ads from Google and slick copycat designs from Microsoft. Every brand should be creating brand experiences both in-person and online in 2017. If you’re not creating them already, you’re late.

Become a Visual Brand.

In recent years, the world has witnessed the rapid growth of sites like Pinterest and Instagram that brought the demand for visual content to the forefront of digital publishing. Images didn’t just enhance content anymore. In the past, images were the content, and people loved it. Brands need to embrace visual content to tell their stories in 2017 just like the global audience has.

Rob-Barnett-Straydog-Branding-Vancouver-Managing-Director-Brand-StrategistArticle by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog