Photo of Design Director, Jordis Small, working on the brand guide for a client in Stellen Design Blog: What is Brand Strategy by Jordis Small.

What is Brand Strategy?

If you clicked on this article there is a good chance you are wondering what brand strategy is right?? I know, it’s a set of simple yet loaded words. Both can mean a lot of things… brand alone gets misused all the time and throw in a buzzword like strategy and it’s even more confusing.

Have no fear! We are here to break it all down for you in simple layman’s terms!

First, what is brand?

This article will go into more detail about what is a brand and what is brand design. But to give you the short version, a brand is when a business takes on a persona and becomes something beyond the 4 walls of the business. We like to equate brands to people because when done correctly, your brand essentially becomes your number one salesperson. It does the talking for your business. While your logo, fonts, and colors are part of your brand it’s also made up of a voice, a personality, values, and beliefs.

Your brand should be able to stand alone and tell the story of your business without anyone explaining it. Your logo is used for identification and your brand is communication.

Now, what is the brand strategy part?

Your brand strategy is the plan we make for your brand after we have begun to outline the brand. When we begin drafting a brand strategy for a client we first host a workshop with them where we learn all the ins and out’s of the business, we discuss how the client sees the brand and learn how their clients and ideal audience see them.

Learning what your company stands for through your values and beliefs is a huge part of this process. We need to know why you exist as a business. What gap are you filling in the market?

We outline who their audience is today and discuss who they want as their ideal audience. Let’s be real, we all have those dream clients that we want to multiply! A brand strategy helps us define them and carve out ways for us to attract more dream clients.

We go over your business goals as well and assess what we need to do with the brand to help you achieve those goals.

What you will take a way from a Brand Strategy Session with me:

Target Audience: You will have a clear understanding of your current audience as well as your target audience and advice on bridging that gap to attract more of the target audience.

Values and Beliefs: Company values are key to maintaining integrity within your organization. We need to have a clear set of brand values so you can articulate them to your staff. This will help build brand consistency since they will have a clear understanding of the company they are working for.

A good example of this is Zappos Shoes, before they sold to Amazon they knew they valued happy customers… they made sure each employee knew they valued happy customers and in turn, their customers demonstrated that to their customers. If you called Zappos customer service and tried to order a pizza, instead of them telling you no, they would look up a list of pizza places in your area and give you the number to call for pizza.

Mission and Purpose: You will discover why you exist as a business. Entrepreneurship is hard and it takes more than a drive to make money to go down this road. We will find your WHY and build on that. Trust us, this step can feel like a therapy session but like therapy, you will feel so great after!

A Plan: We wrap all of our brand strategy sessions by giving you a plan. During the session, we learn a lot and we learn what is needed for your brand. Sometimes it’s a rebrand altogether other times is a simple adjustment or tweak in the right direction. We will give you action steps to take to help get you closer to that big goal!

After you have a brand strategy you can then work with someone on creating a marketing strategy! The brand strategy will help direct you to where those marketing dollars should be spent for you to see the biggest ROI.

A document: We like to document all our findings in a brand guide. This document will not only hold the key findings from our session but the document the visuals of the brand and how to use them.

To recap what a Brand Strategy is:

A brand strategy is the blueprint, it’s the plan, and it’s the skeleton of your brand! We never even engage in doing a logo design without a minimum 3-hour brand strategy workshop. The effect of us doing brand strategy has been huge for our clients. Our clients have said “not only is the phone ringing, but it’s ringing with the right kind of clients”… and that for us shows the power of brand strategy!

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Carolina Vangilder of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Carolina Van Gilder
Project manager / Assistant
The coordinator, facilitator and scheduler for all Stellen Design projects. She communicates with clients about everything from contracts and payments to design edits and revisions. She helps keep the logistics on point so Stellen Design can live up to their reputation.
Carolyn Packard of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Carolyn Packard
Carolyn Packard is a seasoned designer with valuable insight into effectively communicating and interpreting design needs to her clients. Carolyn knows the value of creating good, functional design.
Jordis Smalls of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Jordis Small
Creative Director
Jordis is a big believer in continued education. She makes it a point to attend at least four workshops or conferences a year to keep her skill improving. She is also a big advocate for “creative play” and loves to spend her spare time trying new things and learning new techniques.