Having a solid strategic foundation created with intention, followed with persistence and consistency, will pave the way to success and impact your business’s growth. How? By having a strategy for your brand, your marketing, and your content, this foundation trifecta will drive all the elements needed to thrive. Let’s start with some definitions. Yes, many articles on this very topic overlap, are layered with confusion and opinions, but I hope to simplify it all to prove a point. So here it goes:
1. Brand Strategy
A brand strategy clearly defines your company’s purpose, vision, position, value, and client. It’s your definition of your position in the market and the value you give your client. It helps you make clear, unified, and focused decisions and becomes your roadmap guiding through your marketing initiatives. Your brand strategy only changes if your destination does. This strategy sector also includes creating a blend of visuals and voice, so what you look like and how you say it is consistent. These are the tools that your client will get used to seeing and, if you are persistent, over time, they will get to know you.
Debbie Millman, a highly regarded brand expert, describes branding as deliberate differentiation based on Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter’s definition, “Strategy, which is one of two things: It’s either to choose to perform activities differently or to perform distinctly different activities than your competitors.” To think of branding as deliberate differentiation will help you set your company apart. Aim to create a brand that is unique to you and what you offer. Add authenticity and transparency as a constant reminder of how you shape and form the brand you represent.
If you need a place to start: Complete a discovery phase with a brand strategist to help answer all the questions and create guidelines that drive the content and graphics that need to support these findings. Have the brand strategy in writing, and refer to it consistently to help you stay on track. Modify if something isn’t working and update as the market or your ideal client’s needs change.
2. Marketing Strategy
Marketing strategy is derived from your brand strategy. It outlines the tactics you will use to communicate your key messages to your ideal clients. It includes your content strategy, digital marketing, campaign development, social strategy, advertising, public relations, etc. and supports all your marketing initiatives as part of your overarching business plan.
Targeted outreach is directly reaching out to your ideal client. Once you have done your research and identified those individual prospects, specific individuals at specific companies, you can reach out to them and build a fruitful relationship.
Strategic networking is a broader approach than targeted outreach. It is the skill of building relationships. Whether or not someone is your direct target, you never know who might be a valuable referral source or a keen connector.
Content marketing ties your marketing strategy together. Using your content to speak to your audience will keep your content and intention in front of your ideal client and referral sources to remember you when they need you most. With consistency and persistence, the right person will see the content at the right time and will reach out to work with you.
If you need a place to start: Know your audience. Choose the tactics that will address their pain points through initiatives that will reach them. Don’t waste your time doing things that you think you should – do your research and be in the places where your audience is spending time. Once you have found the tactics that work best for you, be persistent and consistent with your outreach and message. Start the conversations that will interest your audience in participating.
3. Content Strategy
Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content, bridging your expertise to the pain points of your ideal client. It also includes the distribution of such content to make sure you connect with the right people at the right time and in the right place.
According to entrepreneur, content marketing strategy, at its core, is your “why.” Why are you creating content? Whom are you helping? How do you connect with your ideal client in a way no one else can? As a business, strategically using content marketing builds your audience, builds trust, and shows how your services can address their challenges. Knowing what tactics speak to your ideal client is valuable, and the ability to adapt when needed can help with dealing with problems. And remember – your tactics need to apply to both print and digital mediums.
If you need a place to start: Email marketing. Even though we all get too many emails, it’s a fact that it is the strongest method for outreach marketing. Email outreach will not only remind your ideal clients that you understand them by addressing their pain points, but by having this content also on your website, it too helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
By creating a strategy to govern every facet of your business, you can identify what steps to take to help your business grow and thrive. By implementing your strategy with intention, persistence, and consistency, you’ll have more conversations with your ideal clients. Do you need help developing and implementing a branding, marketing, and content strategy for your business? Let’s talk.
About the Author: Jillfrances Gray
I am a creative director and designer with 20+ years of experience helping clients innovate and execute their marketing initiatives. Services include brand strategy, brand identity, website design, graphic design, social media marketing, and email marketing. I am obsessively detailed oriented and have a passion for solid, stunning aesthetics. Plus, I’ve been told I am a lot of fun to work with.