What is strategic brand communication?Written by 1HQ 12 August 2021
Engaging directly with a targeted audience is something that businesses of all sizes need to do. For many companies, brand communication is a factor that they will put a lot of planning behind, and with cloud technology company Intrado claiming that 77 per cent of consumers opt out of brand communication if it isn’t irrelevant to them or poor in quality, it’s important to get it right.
Many factors will alter the way in which a brand addresses its audience, ranging from the demographic they’re speaking to, the type of product or service they’re offering and the nature of the brand itself. As such, the best way of managing this process effectively and finding solutions that will work is through implementing a brand communication strategy.
What is brand communication?
Encompassing a multitude of processes and platforms, brand communication is a term that refers to the methods a brand uses to speak to or with its audience. Brand communication happens every time a potential customer comes into contact with a brand. However, while this is often associated with social media posts, live chat systems, customer services or telephone communications, it could also include forms of communication that don’t necessarily involve a dialogue between customer and brand such as blogs, adverts or email newsletters.
Although the purpose of brand communication is often to engage with its audience directly, these other methods are classed as forms of communication as they speak to the target audience in other ways. For example, a TV or radio advert could resonate with the brand’s intended audience by being addressed in a certain way or fulfilling a specific purpose. Likewise, even something as subtle as a logo could have the same impact providing the text, font, colour scheme and motto tap into the interests and preferences of the correct audience.
What is a brand communication strategy?
The difference between good or bad brand communication could be the deciding factor in resonating with your target and making sales or seeing little to no response and failing to strike up any relationship with the people the brand was intended for. As such, it’s important that there is a level of planning behind brand communication.
A brand communication strategy is the planning around how a brand communicates with its audience including a focus on the message being presented, the format it’s being presented in and the target audience that will receive the message.
As with any strategy, a brand communication strategy is made up of a selection of core considerations. Below, we’ve outlined some of the important factors to consider when forming a brand communication strategy:
Key components of a brand communication strategy:
- Identify the target audience
- Determine goals and objectives
- Understand what needs to be communicated
- Choose appropriate communication methods
- Work out how and when to send out communications
- Develop effective methods of evaluating the strategy
How to improve brand communication
In the previous section, we spoke of the components of a brand communication strategy for any businesses that don’t yet have one in place. If, however, your business already has a brand communication strategy in place but you don’t feel that it is working properly or at the expected level, you may be wondering what you can change to make it more effective.
If you want to improve your brand communication strategy, you could:
Build a brand personality -
If you think of the most memorable brands, it’s likely they did something unique in their advertising to stand out in your mind. For instance, Cadbury Milk Tray adverts stood out through the recurring ‘Milk Tray Man’ character and, for many people, Gary Lineker is more recognisable as the face of Walkers Crisps than the successful footballer he was formerly. That doesn’t mean you should create something overtly comical or outlandish if it wouldn’t suit your brand. But it could be worth thinking outside of the box if you want to truly grab the attention of your audience.
Establish your target audience -
Using data, conversations with various stakeholders and assumptions based on the original plan for the brand, create an outline of the average person you’re attempting to reach. It’s not to say that people from other demographics wouldn’t be worth pursuing in your communications, but by understanding your audience, you can then work out how to engage with them.
Create an effective message -
After identifying who you’re looking to connect with, you should gauge the type of message that they will recognise as speaking directly to them. It should also resonate with them on an emotional level and be effective in urging them to respond. Any brand should understand its audience, and the ability to communicate properly with them from the start and remain consistent is crucial to getting them interested and keeping them loyal.
Form an understanding of the message -
Multiple components form the message you will be putting out to your audience. Start by including the important information such as details of the product or service, the price of using it, the unique selling points and any promotions or offers you may want to include to entice new customers. It would also be important to include the location of where the product or service can be used or bought, whether that’s in specific in-store locations or online via a brand website.
Indicate your position in the market -
Brand positioning is a crucial part of any brand communication strategy. However, if you haven’t chosen where your product will stand in terms of price and general position in the market - or if you have and haven’t properly informed your audience in brand communications - you may lose a significant section of your following.
Offer value in communications -
In an age of seemingly endless options, offering something unique and valuable is key. Many consumers will only take notice of brand communications if they include something appetising to them whether that’s an offer, a free trial or another form of incentive that no competitor offers. However, as some consumers may use an offer as an opportunity to get a good deal without showing any continued loyalty, it would be more advisable to resonate with your audience using an angle competitors have failed to utilise.
Work towards brand salience -
Throughout history, businesses have turned simple words into recognisable brand names. Brand salience is the concept of appearing at the top of an audience’s mind when a subject is mentioned.
For companies like Apple, Slack, Zoom and Mini, using traditional, household words may have originally seemed like an uphill task. However, they ended up making them far more recognisable as the brands they are today. Likewise, many businesses have benefitted from creating a new word for their brand. For instance, Escalator, Onesie, Scotch Tape, Velcro and Windbreaker are often recognised as names for items despite actually coming from unique brand names.