How to use a brand strategy roadmap to align and focus everyone

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What is brand strategy? Your brand strategy decisions must answer, “how can we get there?” The strategic choices depend on market opportunities you see with consumers, competitors, or situations. Most importantly, strategies must provide clear marching orders that define the strategic program you are investing in, the focused opportunity, the desired market impact and the payback in a performance result that benefits the branded business. In my opinion, every brand should have a brand strategy roadmap that includes the vision, purpose, values, key issues, strategies, and tactics. Also, it could be called a long-range strategic plan, or even a strat plan.

As well, it should layer in the brand idea to deliver a consistent brand across the five consumer touchpoints. Your brand strategy should help build relationships with all of your stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. I believe branding is an essential part of the business that needs to be aligned with the business goals. 

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand strategy roadmap.

Our brand strategy roadmap combines long-range strategic plan elements with a brand idea map

Have you ever noticed people who say, “We need to get everyone on the same page” rarely have anything written down on one page. As a result, the same people who use the term “fewer bigger bets” are fans of little projects that deplete resources. To start, every brand needs a long-range plan everyone can follow. Above all, make sure you can get your brand strategy roadmap on one page. 

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in on our brand strategy process.

Start with the long-range strategic plan elements

Vision: 

First, the vision in the brand strategy roadmap should answer the question, “Where could we be?” Put a stake in the ground that describes an ideal state for your future. It should be able to last for five to 10 years. Essentially, the vision gives everyone clear direction. Most importantly, the vision should motivate the team. Write the vision in a way that scares you a little but excites you a lot. The vision steers the long-range strategic plan.

Brand purpose: 

Next, the purpose has to answer the question, “Why does your brand exist?” It’s the underlying personal motivation for why you do what you do. Furthermore, the purpose is a powerful way to connect with employees and consumers, giving your brand a soul.  

Values: 

Then, layer in values that should answer, “What do you stand for?” Your values should guide you and shape the organization’s standards. Values connect your beliefs, behaviors, expectations, and motivations. Above all, the brand must consistently deliver each value.

Goals: 

Your goals in the brand strategy roadmap should answer, “What will you achieve?” For example, the specific measures can include consumer behavioral changes, metrics of crucial programs, in-market performance targets, financial results, or milestones on the pathway to the vision. Accordingly, your goals set up a brand dashboard or scoreboard.

Situation analysis: 

Use your deep-dive business review to answer, “Where are we?” Your analysis must summarize the drivers and inhibitors currently facing the brand. And, the analysis must discover future threats and untapped opportunities. 

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Our readers tell us they reach for Beloved Brands a few times each week as a reference tool. For instance, they use our book for the day-to-day management of their brand. Over 90% of our Amazon reviews receive five-star ratings. As a result, Beloved Brands has spent numerous weeks as a #1 bestseller in brand management. We will show you how to build a brand strategy. Moreover, we will show how to build it into your brand planning process.  

Key issues: 

The key issues answer the question, “Why are we here?” Look at what is getting in your way of achieving your brand vision. Then, ask the issues as questions. The strategies are the answer to each issue.

Brand Strategy: 

Next, use your brand strategy decisions to answer, “How can we get there?” Your choices depend on market opportunities you see with consumers, competitors, or situations. Most importantly, the strategies must provide clear marching orders. Above all, the brand strategy define the strategic program you are investing in, the focused opportunity, the desired market impact and the payback in a performance result that benefits the branded business.

Tactics: 

Finally, the tactics answer, “What do we need to do?” Framed entirely by strategy, tactics turn into action plans with clear marching orders to your teams. Decide on which activities to invest in to stay on track with your vision. Most importantly, the best ideas must deliver the highest ROI (return on investment) and the highest ROE (return on effort). With a long-range strategic plan, you don’t have to get too specific with the tactics. 

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in.

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in.

Your brand idea is at the heart of your brand strategy

When we help find your brand strategy, we use a brand idea to represent the inner brand soul of everyone who works on the brand, inspiring employees to deliver the brand promise and amazing experiences. Most importantly, the brand strategy must be ownable, so no other competitor can infringe on your space, and you can confidently build your brand reputation over time.

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand idea 

Brand Strategy brainstorm

In stage one of finding your brand strategy, we hold a keywords brainstorm for each of the five areas. Start by brainstorming 20-30 words that describe each of the five elements of the brand idea. 

Then in stage two, we turn keywords into key phrases for each of the five areas. Next, get the team to vote to narrow down the list to the best 3-5 words for each section. You will begin to see certain themes and keywords. Take those selected words and build phrases to summarize each section.

In stage three of our brand strategy workshops, summarize everything to create a brand idea. Once you have phrases for all five areas of our brand strategy model, the team should feel inspired to use their creative energy to come up with the brand idea. Find a summary statement that captures everything around the circle. Try to get a few different options you can test with both consumers and employees.

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand idea tool.

Align the brand idea across five consumer touchpoints

Today’s market is a cluttered mess. The consumer is bombarded with brand messages all day, and inundated with more information from influencers, friends, experts, critics, and competitors. While the internet makes shopping easier, consumers must now filter out tons of information daily. I believe the consumer’s shopping patterns have gone from a simple, linear purchase pattern into complex, cluttered chaos.

Brands are more than a name or logo. In today’s age, brand strategy is a business strategy. They provide an identity for some specific products and services, as well as the company that offers those products and services. Your brand strategy should help build trust among customers by conveying a message, a promise of quality and consistency.

Use the brand idea as an organizing tool

Brands must be consistent. There are five main touchpoints that reach consumers, including the brand promise, brand story, innovation, purchase moment, and consumer experience. If the brand does not deliver a consistent message, the consumer will be confused and likely shut out that brand.strategic plan. Brands cannot control what order each touchpoint reaches the consumer. And, they can undoubtedly align each of those touchpoints under the brand idea. The consumer will start to see the brand as consistent.

To illustrate, click on the diagram to zoom in.

Brand promise: 

When you use the brand idea to inspire a simple brand promise it separates your brand from competitors. Essentially, make sure you position your brand as better, different, or cheaper.

Brand story: 

When you use a brand story to bring the brand idea to life it helps motivate consumers to think, feel, or act while it works establishes the ideal brand’s reputation to be held in the minds and hearts of the consumer. Above all, the brand story aligns all brand communications across all media options.

Innovation: 

When you use the brand idea to build a fundamentally sound product, it helps stay at the forefront of trends and technology to deliver innovation. Furthermore, steer the product development teams to ensure they remain true to the brand idea.

Purchase moment: 

When you use the brand idea to move consumers along the purchase journey to the final purchase decision, it helps align the sales team and set up retail channels. 

Consumer experience: 

Finally, turn the usage into a consumer experience that becomes a ritual and favorite part of the consumer’s day. And, the brand idea guides the culture of everyone behind the brand who deliver the experience.

The brand strategy roadmap aligns and focuses everyone

Always look at a long-range strategic plan as an opportunity to make decisions on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources. Apply those resources to the smartest ideas that will drive the highest return. Make the best financial investment choices. Furthermore, the long-range strategic plan forces you to make the best decisions on how to deploy your people.

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our brand strategy roadmap which our strategic plan template.

We include our Brand Strategy Roadmap in our Brand Toolkit, which you can get access to by clicking on the link below.

We can turn these your brand strategy into a brand brief to help you run your brand

When you are beginning to execute the macro elements to set up your brand including the logo, packaging, launch communication, etc, you can use a brand brief to steer those coming up with the ideas. 

To illustrate, click to zoom in our brand brief.

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a Consumer Healthcare brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our consumer healthcare strategic plan.

The B2B version of our Brand Strategy Roadmap template

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a B2B Stage Lighting business

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our B2B strategic plan.

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a B2B tool brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our B2B strategic plan.

Our healthcare Brand Strategy Roadmap template

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a Prescription Healthcare brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our healthcare strategic plan

An example of our Brand Strategy Roadmap tool for a medical equipment brand

To illustrate, click to zoom in on our healthcare strategic plan

Build your brand strategy skills

To illustrate, click on the strategic thinking skills above.

Our brand management training will make your team smarter. When you invest in our marketing training program, you will help your team gain the marketing skills to succeed. As a result, you will see them make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth. Learn to build your brand strategy. We teach strategic thinking, brand positioning, marketing plans, marketing execution, and brand analytics.  

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At Beloved Brands, we help brands find new growth

As a brand strategy consultant, we will help define your brand and build a strategic plan that maps out the best possible future. Everyone should know what your brand stands for.  For instance, every customer, employee, or partner. They should all use the same words.

If you do not define yourself, then your competitors will and you will not like it. At Beloved Brands, we start by defining your ideal consumer, and work with you to build a brand positioning that is balanced with functional and emotional benefits. 

We summarize your brand by creating a brand idea that you can stand behind and steers everyone who works behind the scenes of the brand. Then, we help you make decisions in building a strategic brand plan that everyone in your company can follow, behind a shared vision, purpose, key issues, strategies and tactical plans. 

As a brand strategy consultant, we believe the best answers are inside you. We help you uncover those answers and make them smarter. We won’t give you answers. Instead, we prefer to keep asking more questions until you find your answers.  

Learn more about how to find your brand positioning

To illustrate, click on the marketing plan process above.

To find your ideal brand positioning statement, you want to find the space that is most motivating to consumers. And, find the space that is most ownable for your brand. Our brand positioning statement process starts with a defined consumer target your brand will serve. Then, we focus on the emotional and functional benefits that differentiate your brand. Further, we use support points to help differentiate your brand from competitors.

Learn more about how to write marketing plans

To illustrate, click on the marketing plan process above.

A strategic marketing plan gets everyone on the same page, including senior management, sales, product development, customer service and your agency partners. So, we have a one-page marketing plan to help. That way, everyone drives against the same vision, key issues, strategies, and tactics. Throughout this article, I will show how to write a marketing plan, with a few marketing plan examples. And, we have a marketing plan template you can purchase. 

How brand strategy successfully builds brands

A brand strategy can be defined as a plan for the development and implementation of the marketing mix. It is a process that is used to create, communicate, deliver and maintain value for the organization by aligning its different actions with its desired direction.

A well-planned brand strategy is based on research about the company, its competitors, customers and their needs. The research provides information on who are the target markets, what are their needs, how should they be communicated with, what are the best channels to use for this communication etc.

Brand strategy can help to create successful brands by improving customer experience through better service or product quality. A good understanding of marketing strategies also helps to create an effective marketing campaign that will increase awareness levels of your brand in an efficient way.

Use the brand strategy to steer everyone who works on the brand

The best brands consistently deliver. Use a cross-functional team, including salespeople, R&D, human resources, finance, and operations. Their participation is one way to gain their buy-in. But that’s not where it stops. 

Use your internal brand communications tools to drive a shared definition. Get everyone to articulate how their role delivers the idea. Give the external and internal brand story equal importance to the consumer experience you create for your brand.

 

Everyone needs a common understanding of and talking points for the brand

When you work on a brand that leads to the customer experience, your operations people will be responsible for the face-to-face delivery of your brand to the consumer. Most importantly, develop a list of service values, behaviors, and processes to deliver the brand idea throughout your organization. 

Everyone who works on the brand should use the idea as inspiration, and to guide decisions and activities across every function of your organization. Essentially, it is the people within the brand organization who will deliver the brand idea to the consumer. Everyone needs a common understanding of and talking points for the brand.

When you work on a brand that leads to the customer experience, your operations people will be responsible for the face-to-face delivery of your brand to the consumer. Most importantly, develop a list of service values, behaviors, and processes to deliver the brand idea throughout your organization. 

Explaining your brand strategy through a brand credo

Having spent time at Johnson & Johnson, I was lucky to see how their credo document has become an essential part of the culture of the organization. Not only does it permeate throughout the company but you will also likely hear it quoted in meetings on a daily basis. Essentially, it is a beautifully written document and ahead of its time.

Brand Credo brand strategy

To illustrate, click on the Credo document above.

Learn how to write a brand strategy statement

Our unique model will force you to pick answers to build a brand strategy statement with marching orders for those who follow your plan. Most importantly, as you build your brand plan, I recommend you use these four elements of smart brand strategy statements to ensure you structure the thinking.

brand strategy statement

To illustrate, click on the strategic plan statements above.

A: Strategic program

First, the brand strategy statement calls out the investment in a strategic program, with crystal clear marching orders to the team, leaving no room for doubt, confusion, or hesitation. For example, the strategic program is to “Create an elevated VIP consumer experience.” 

B: Focused opportunity

 Second, the brand strategy uses a breakthrough point where the brand will exert pressure to create a market impact. For example, the focused opportunity is to “Reward our most loyal consumers.” 

C: Market impact

Third, the brand strategy should achieve a specific desired market impact with a stakeholder you will attempt to move, whether it is consumers, sales channels, competitors, or influencers. For example, the desired impact is to “Turn the consumer’s regular usage into a higher frequency ritual.” 

D: Performance result

 Finally, the brand strategy statement must drive a specific performance result linked to the market impact, either making the brand more powerful or more profitable. For example, “Tightening their bond with our brand.”

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Contact Information

Graham Robertson

Email: graham@beloved-brands.com

Phone: 416–885–3911

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