A brand strategy does more than just create an eye-catching logo and memorable tagline. It’s about building an identity that resonates with your target audience, conveys your message, and stands out from the competition. We’re talking about bringing the “who” part of your brand to life.
A truly creative branding strategy involves developing a clear vision and mission – who are you talking to, and how are you getting your brand’s personality and messages across? What makes your brand unique and different from others?
In many cases, brand strategies are confused with content marketing, but the two are not the same. Content marketing strategies are a critical element of your brand strategy but are still just one piece of the “branding” puzzle you’re piecing together.
This brings us to a key question: how do you bring your content marketing strategies into alignment with your branding? Your strategies need to work together for a synergistic impact – and here’s how you can make that happen.
1. Identify Your Brand Content Goals
To measure the efficacy of anything, you need to know exactly what your goals are. Without a firm understanding of what you are trying to achieve as a brand, it’s impossible to determine whether or not you are succeeding.
So: what exactly are you trying to do by creating content that supports your brand strategies?
To determine what your answer is, start by assessing the overall goals of your branding. What’s the core purpose of your current strategy – and how do your content marketing objectives fit into that? Think of brand content as a tool that’s supporting your big-picture goals, then zero in on how they will support these well-defined goals.
Brand goals are a key part of any successful company. They can range from trying to answer audience questions to building trust and generating leads – the list goes on.
2. Hammer Down Your Brand’s Core Values
You don’t just need to know your brand’s goals – you need to know the values and morals that define it (and your team).
Content marketing builds relationships with customers, increases visibility, and reaches new audiences. However, in order for content to be effective (and authentic), it must align with your brand’s core values – and you need to know what those are.
Your core values will help you determine what kind of content you should be creating, how it should be presented, and how it should be distributed.
For example, if one of your brand’s core values is a focus on sustainability, you’ll likely realize that creating paper handouts isn’t the best content distribution strategy (unless they are recyclable or compostable). Your brand content should reflect your morals, and that should be clear to all of your audience members.
If one of your core values is transparency, provide behind-the-scenes content to emphasize that. Is your brand committed to affordability? Write content that helps customers find more ways to save money and access the services/products that they need.
Ultimately, you want your brand content strategy to strike a chord with your audience – so focus on providing valuable content that actually aligns with what’s important to your brand.
3. Create and Follow Brand Guidelines
It doesn’t matter how big or small your business might be – you need standardized approaches to keep everything consistent, including your content marketing. That’s why every company needs to write out an official branding guide.
Brand guidelines are a set of rules and regulations that dictate how the brand should be represented in all its communications, from logo design to advertising campaigns and beyond. This includes overseeing how content fits into the brand strategy.
Whether a customer is reading a blog post or looking at your ad on social media – your content should reflect your brand’s identity, through and through. By establishing set guidelines that your content team can follow, you’ll be able to keep this identity more consistent across the board.
Don’t underestimate the value of consistency in branding. According to research that was updated in 2021, brand consistency can increase revenue by 10 to 20%.
Don’t be afraid to get detailed in your brand guide. We recommend dictating all of the relevant information, including…
- The brand’s approved colors, fonts, and logos
- How the brand’s logo is to be used (and not to be used)
- The brand’s tone of voice and “personality”
- Terms that are approved and words that should be avoided
When you have a great brand guide, your readers will easily be able to identify your content as belonging to your brand. Additionally, your content creators will feel much more comfortable working within your brand’s identity parameters.
4. Focus on Wholly Original Content
Creative branding is a key component of any successful business because it differentiates your company from others. That means that stock images and copycat blog posts are far from the best way to bring your content into alignment with your unique branding.
Instead, develop a personalized branding strategy that reflects the values and mission of your company – complete with brand content that stands out from the competition. This can be done through the use of custom visuals, original content, and interactive elements.
Simply put, if you want your content to feel cohesive and original, it needs to be original.
Investing in original photography, creating high-quality videos, and writing new content are all essential elements of a successful brand content strategy. Original photography creates an emotional connection with their customers. High-quality videos enable brands to showcase their products and services professionally. And new written content? It puts your fresh ideas out there, keeping the audience engaged and informed about the latest news from the brand.
5. Ask for Customer Feedback
You want to make sure that the content you produce is consistent with the values and image of your brand, but how can you know how the public actually perceives your content? One of the best ways to discover this is simply to ask.
Seek input on your brand’s overall tone, style, and language and how it aligns with the brand’s identity. You want to know how each piece of content reflects your company’s reputation and how it is perceived by customers. By asking for valuable feedback on the messages you are sending through your content, you can better regulate how your content meshes with your brand identity.
User testing and focus groups are important tools that can help you understand how users view your brand. Conducting user tests grants you valuable insights into how people interact with your products or services, as well as an understanding of their overall opinions.
Need Help Aligning Your Content Strategy?
Content plays a critical role in any brand strategy – it reinforces the brand’s message and values, highlighting the company’s personality and values in a critical way. Content should be created with the goal of helping customers understand why they should choose one brand’s product or service over another.
However, we know that creating great (on-par) branding content is easier said than done, especially as a small or relatively new business.
Inbound.Studio is here to help brands stay on top of the ever-changing marketing landscape. With our help, create a cohesive brand strategy that incorporates relevant, engaging content. Inbound.Studio provides a full suite of tools to help brands create content that truly resonates with their target audience, track performance, and measure success.
Contact us today to get started on your branding alignment!