Editor’s note: Hey, hey! Our team at Blackwood has launched a podcast called The Big Brand Theory! This episode, our host, Ryan Zerfas, spoke with Matt Esau from The University of Notre Dame about the impact of perception and positioning in your brand strategy. If you’d prefer to listen to the episode where Ryan & Matt talk about Brand Strategy, you can do so at this link. Enjoy!!

There is so much more than meets the eye when it comes to brand strategy; you’d be amazed at how deep it actually goes. While you could easily pick it apart, Matt Esau, Brand Strategist at The University of Notre Dame, believes it’s better to take a holistic approach. But what all does that actually entail? Let’s dive deeper into the impact of perception and positioning on your brand strategy. 

What is a brand, and what is a brand strategy?

“A brand is a perception someone holds about whatever entity you’re a part of,” says Matt Esau. It’s a combination of everything people can see, hear, and experience about your company. Your brand isn’t something you can really hold in your hand; it’s more of a concept than anything, but it’s what your business is

The brand strategy, on the other hand, is the tactical stuff you do – your logo, your content calendar, your website, everything. It’s all the things you can personally impact that (hopefully) influence people’s opinions about your brand so they see you the way you want them to see you. 

Sweat the small stuff. 

Ha ha, were you expecting “don’t” at the beginning? When it comes to brand strategy, you do need to sweat the small stuff. No matter how snappy your logo is, no matter how beautiful your building is, no matter how reasonable your prices are – none of that matters if your customer has a bad experience. You have to take into account every little detail of how you interact with your clients. Everything you do (or don’t do) affects people’s perception of your business. It should shape how you do everything! 

Believe it or not, how you answer your phone at your organization is one of the most important parts of your brand strategy. The way Matt Esau explains it, if someone is the greatest web developer ever and yet they’re a humongous jerk, the business relationship may never make it past that first phone call. Everything that influences the way people feel about your brand is a part of your brand strategy, so make it positive.

It all boils down to this: if you’re not doing the little things well, it doesn’t matter how you’re doing the big things.

You don’t have to update your logo every 5 years to stay relevant.

The #1 question you should ask yourself about your logo is so simple: “does your logo impact your audience the way you want it to?” If so, great! If not, time for a change. Have you ever heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” That goes for your logo – you don’t have to update it every 5 years. You only need to update it when it’s no longer representing what your business is actually like.

Your logo is a huge part of your brand strategy because it’s what represents you when you’re not there. That doesn’t mean it has to tell your entire story. For example, if you’re a plumber, your logo doesn’t necessarily have to have a pipe, a wrench, and water droplet in order to convey your message.

How in the world do you begin to take a holistic look at your brand strategy?

1. Do an “experience audit.”

This doesn’t take a ton of expertise, and you can do this yourself or with friends. Go through your entire company and look at it from a customer’s perspective. How do you perceive your brand from a customer’s eyes? What needs to change?

2. Focus on the target audience you want to engage with.

Please don’t say, “I sell to everyone!” Even though everyone could theoretically use your product, it’s best to focus on one specific audience. The demographics of your audience massively shape your marketing efforts; a narrower, more specific scope is what you want to focus on as a small business owner.

3. Realize that nobody goes from 0 to Amazon overnight.

As with everything, finding out the best brand strategy for your business is a process. Understand that it takes time, and though you may not see results immediately, know that good things come to those who wait. The end result will be worth it. 

If your current marketing strategy just isn’t cutting it anymore, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of experts here at Blackwood Creative would be more than happy to work with you and help you meet and exceed your business goals. We’re in the business of building remarkable brands – yours could be next. Reach out to us today!

Interested in listening to this episode and more of The Big Brand Theory Podcast? Visit this web page for streaming options!

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