Launched in 2003, Tesla wasn’t famous until mid-2012, which is when the first Model S made its way to customers setting a new standard for what EVs could be capable of. Yet, all these years, till today, the brand has promised its customers the same look and feel, persona, and identity.
Reeking of elegance, eliteness, and contemporary styles, Tesla is a prime example of brand management in the EV segment. The brand has positioned itself at the center of cutting-edge technology, which is often communicated through its sleek designs, powerful communication, and conscious selection of images.
Now do you think Tesla would have ever managed to value at $66.2 billion, surpassing some of the world’s biggest brands like Mercedes-Benz & Toyota, if not for a coherent brand strategy in place? Keen on learning how Tesla or other iconic brands build a brand strategy that helps their brand stand out? Follow our lead.
What is brand strategy?
The roadmap to a brand’s success is a long-term plan for branding that the company adopts to the T - it entails building a brand image, setting a tone for customers, and making deliberate decisions to establish a unique compelling brand identity.
Brands do this to create a positive brand association, and effectively communicate the brand's value proposition to the target audience.
Innovation, consistent messaging, instantly recognizable, crisis management, and offering the same experience over and over lead to the creation of iconic brands. From the list below of the most valuable brands 2023, nearly all have a solid rapport with customers.
Winning brands stand for something - they have an image, are meaningful, have a strong identity, are salient, and evolve with time and the needs of their customers.
Here’s how you can create an iconic brand through a tried-and-tested framework.
Steps To Creating Your Brand Strategy
To create a brand strategy that guides through brand development, positioning, messaging, and customer engagement, it’s imperative to put together a rock-solid guidebook. Here’s how you can create one.
- Brand audit: Everything starts here. Kick off the project by analyzing your brand - purpose, vision, value proposition, mission, strategy, and definition of long-term success.
This is where the team can also analyze the brand's visual elements at a large scale - logo, colors, typography, and overall brand consistency. Assess whether they accurately reflect the brand's values, personality, and target audience.
- Define goals: Begin by dissecting the objectives of the brand audit - is it to identify the scope of work, visually identify, or establish the narrative?
Example: Ryanair could re-do its branding to increase its share of voice.
- Review messaging: The key to everything is what your brand says - in ads, product copies, print, and customer outreach. The tagline, tone, value, and proposition here require acute clarity, relevance, and consistency across channels.
- Market positioning: To clearly understand the brand’s marketing positioning, access the brand’s unique selling point, key differentiators, exposure to the target audience, and the extent to which users can tell the brand from others. Here, the choice of colors, font, messaging, & packaging comes into consideration.
You see, nearly 20 years ago, this differentiation was not dire, but today, brands fight for it. With time, the birth of competing brands has spiked, making all players conscious of their image.
- Examine collaterals: Consistent brand growth can only be achieved by brands with a higher market penetration, creating a strong use case for clear demarcation. You don’t want your loyal users to confuse you for another product and move away.
Brand alignment across packaging, point-of-sale communications, and global implementation is not a need but a want for all global brands. Our evidence proves that brands with a robust digital asset management system can maintain their collaterals far better than those without.
Teams operate seamlessly when the storage, sharing, and editing of assets are taken care of by one tool. Case in point: you need an efficient brand asset management system.
Evaluate customer perception: However passé NPS can be, understanding customers through surveys, interviews, or even social media comments can lead to big revelations about brand strengths, weaknesses, and improvement.
For example, when KIA revamped its logo, some claimed it read KM, while others called it a clear copy of nine-inch nails. The brand has yet to respond on this, but the internet has been divided on the revamp.
Types of brand management strategy
In a world where data truths can be absolute, brand managers are plagued and tormented by the impulse to make decisions based on their gut. This half science, half heart, and half intuition lead to creating a weak brand.
Once your plans are afoot in creating a great iconic brand, here are some of the common ways brands pick up the strategy. This is primarily done in the quest to make the brand more global, memorable, and relatable for a larger audience.
Also known as brand stretching, it is a strategy used by brands to use the existing image of the company to launch a new product. The idea is to let loyalty flow from one product to the other by capitalizing on the brand reputation.
Example: Apple started in 1976 with the Apple I microcomputer and turned that into a trillion-dollar company. Once trust was built using the core product, the brand expanded into various electronics.
Brand repositioning is the activity of changing the brand perception in marketing by altering its positioning amongst the target audience. This can be done by changing the brand message, look and feel, product offerings, etc.
Here’s an example of how Starbucks redefined itself as a premium coffee hangout. In its early days, Howard Schultz had already spent a lot in establishing Starbucks as the ‘third home’. However, groundbreaking efforts were undertaken in 2008 to create the premium brand.
Taglines like ‘Starbucks or nothing’ popped up around the world.
There are over 500,000 brands in the world, and every single one is competing for customers’ mind share. Therefore, brand differentiation’s core focus is to create a unique and distinct identity for the brand that stands out.
This can be done by telling the brand story, using product differentiation, highlighting innovation, or pricing strategy. Lush, the British cosmetics retailer, had to create a place for itself in a world where Sephora existed.
Thus, Lush created a narrative of ethical buying. The company focused on handmade products and local goodness to create a global marvel.
You know when a brand phases out - when it’s no longer relevant? Revitalization, as the name suggests, is the strategy to resurrect the brand’s performance by updating the brand in terms of - visual aesthetics, product quality, messaging, etc.
When Airtel wanted to go global, it did a massive revamp of its brand logo. This was done to amplify the brand’s effort in going global and building a brand with ‘no boundaries.’
Perhaps the most common co-branding strategy is partnering with another brand to create a joint identity through a product or a service. It leverages the strengths of both brands to enhance customer perception, increase brand visibility, and tap into new customer segments.
We love this example of Red Bull and GoPro for this iconic campaign. In 2012, the Stratos event broke world records regarding media recognition. Both brands were able to establish their adventurous identity through this.
A product that’s well-reserved, understood, and recognized by the audience can do wonders for the business. Thus, branding strategies can never be one size fits all, they’re a constant process of innovation, adaption, and improvisation.
What we’ve learned so far is the tip of the iceberg. Modern brands are creating their unique space through various branding styles. But digitizing brands is no easy task. Brand managers worldwide have turned to asset management software, collaboration tools, and storage libraries to ensure their branded items are protected and easily managed.
We feel DAM (digital asset management) tools are a boon for branding as they ensure consistent identity, efficient collaboration, and easy access. In nearly all the above use cases, from brand revitalization to co-branding, DAM is incredibly crucial and makes it nearly impossible for digital teams to function without it.
It enforces brand control and compliance, maintains asset security, and streamlines branding efforts by providing a scalable infrastructure for managing a large volume of assets. DAM plays a vital role in maintaining brand integrity, delivering a cohesive brand experience, and adapting to the evolving needs of a growing brand.
Implementing the Brand Management Strategy
After planning and strategizing for a brand makeover, the real challenge begins. Taking action becomes daunting as assets may not reach vendors on time, team members may lack access to new logos, and the brand guidelines might not reach all stakeholders.
To avoid this, digital asset management software can be entrusted with seamlessly storing, sorting, and managing digital assets. While smaller teams can start with tools like Google Drive or Dropbox, organizations aspiring to be global or with multiple locations should transition to dedicated digital asset management software.
Now let’s understand how you can start implementing your branding strategy.
- Internal brand education: The primary step in establishing your new brand strategy starts with the internal stakeholders - the executioners, the informers, and those who handle things on the ground. Educate and engage employees about the new brand values, & ensure they understand their role in delivering it.
- External stakeholder management: For equal importance is communicating the new plan to external stakeholders - vendors, customers, collaborators, etc. We recommend brands use a digital repository or a DAM system so everyone can access it simultaneously.
Here’s an example from Amazon Payment Services.
- Manage Brand Touchpoints: Revisit all the brand touchpoints, including physical spaces, packaging, website, social media profiles, customer service interactions, and advertising campaigns to update. Ensure that each touchpoint consistently reflects the brand's values and positioning.
- Customer Experience Alignment: Furthermore, go ahead and align your brand’s promise or new communication to the customers across every touchpoint. It is critical to echo the same messaging across channels so it lands with the audience without fail.
Here’s an example from Nestle’s Maggi. In 2015 when the brand reentered the market post a ban in India, Maggi took it to print, TVC, radio, and digital mediums to say ‘Your Maggi is safe’.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: Lastly, the monitoring and evaluating your brand’s performance. This is where the brand needs to spend time to assess how the market has reacted to the change, what’s the user sentiment, and how well the target audience received it. These insights allow you to move forward with a strategic plan.
When McDonald’s created the iconic “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, they went from a quarterly loss of $344 million in 2002 to a $1.8 billion sales increase in 2003. So how can digital brands today afford to update branding across channels in a click?
Creating a cohesive brand management strategy is one part, but another is ensuring it gets implemented thoroughly. A well-executed strategy ensures consistency across all touchpoints. This reinforces recognition, loyalty, recall and fosters connection with customers. As many as 46% of U.S. consumers stated that they preferred to pay a higher price for a brand they trust.
Creating a brand management strategy is not a one-time task but a continuous process that requires constant monitoring and improvement. A brand management strategy can help you define your brand identity, communicate your value proposition, differentiate yourself from competitors, and build customer loyalty. However, to execute your brand management strategy effectively, you need a tool to help you manage your digital assets efficiently and consistently.
A digital asset management (DAM) system is a software solution that allows you to store, organize, access, and distribute your digital assets, such as logos, images, videos, documents, and more. A DAM system can help you with various aspects of branding, such as:
- Maintaining brand consistency across all channels and platforms
- Enhancing brand visibility and recognition
- Improving brand collaboration and productivity
- Optimizing brand performance and analytics
- A DAM system ensures that your brand assets are always up-to-date, relevant, and aligned with your brand strategy. You can also save time and resources by automating workflows, reducing errors, and increasing security.
If you want to get started using a DAM system for your branding function, give ImageKit a shot. ImageKit is more than just a DAM system. It is a complete solution for managing your brand’s visual identity online. Whether you want to create stunning websites, engaging social media posts, or effective marketing campaigns, ImageKit can help you achieve your branding goals.
Don’t take our word for it. Try ImageKit for free today and see the difference for yourself. No credit card number sharing is required. No strings attached. It comes with free 20 GB of storage.