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Branding: 6 steps to effective branding

branding strategy

The way your potential customers perceive you directly influences their buying decision, and therefore your turnover. Building your brand image is therefore one of the pillars of your business' sustainability. To achieve this, you need to develop and implement a brand strategy. What exactly is a brand strategy and what are the benefits for your company? How do you establish a consistent and effective brand strategy? We explain.


What is branding?


Branding refers to all the actions taken to build a brand and enhance its value to its target audience. These are all the elements that contribute over time to developing your reputation and building a relationship of trust with your prospects and customers. This is also known as branding.


What are the different branding strategies?


Here are the main branding strategies with examples of companies that have adopted them:

  • product branding: assigning a distinct brand to each product or service. Examples: Procter & Gamble (Ariel, Dash, Vizir washing powder, etc.), the Accor group (Formule 1, Ibis, Novotel, Mercure hotels, etc.).
  • range branding: bringing together a range of similar products or services under a single brand name. Examples: Findus (frozen food), Amora (condiments), etc.
  • Umbrella brand strategy: selling several products or services belonging to different markets under a single brand. Examples: Bic (shavers, lighters, perfumes) or Virgin (telephony, transport, radio, drinks).
  • endorsement brand strategy: reinforcing the value of several independent brands from the same universe through the notoriety of a parent brand. Examples: the food groups Danone (Activia, Blédina, Evian brands, etc.) and Nestlé (Buitoni, Herta, Nesquik, Vittel brands, etc.).
  • co-branding strategy: partnering with another company to offer a common product or service. Example: collaboration between Mercedes and Swatch to create the Smart car brand.


Why build your brand strategy?


Branding your products and services is a key element in the development of your business. Implementing a good branding strategy helps you to :

  • Stand out from the competition by creating a strong brand identity and positioning your company in the market;
  • ensure consistency between your brand image and your offer;
  • Build customer loyalty by offering a unique experience in line with their values and needs;
  • achieve your business objectives by promoting lead conversion;
  • ensure the sustainability of your business.


How to develop a successful brand strategy?


Here are the 6 steps to creating an effective and consistent brand strategy.


1/ Know your target audience


The first step is to define your buyer persona, i.e. the typical profile of your ideal customer. The construction of the persona is based on real information gathered through different means: surveys, interviews, customer testimonials, opinions on social networks, etc. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are your potential customers?
  • Why and how do they use your products or services?
  • What difficulties do they face and how can you respond?
  • What communication tools do they favour?


This will help you to better understand your audience, their needs, objectives and behaviour. You will then be able to adapt your speech accordingly to target and convince the right people.


2/ Develop your brand identity


Now that you have identified your target audience, it is time to define your brand identity, i.e. how you want to be perceived. The objective: to enhance your brand image, which refers to the way your audience really perceives you. Ideally, of course, these two concepts should overlap!


To create your brand identity, you will need the following ingredients:

  • a brand name that is preferably original, short and easily remembered;
  • a graphic charter to define your visual identity (logo, colours, typography, illustrations, etc.);
  • a signature or slogan that summarizes your brand personality in a few words (mission, brand promise, vision, values, etc.);
  • an editorial charter specifying the nature of the messages and the tone used (casual, humorous or more conventional) to communicate with your target;
  • Brand positioning or marketing positioning, i.e. what makes you unique from your competitors.


These elements constitute theDNA of your company and can be compiled in a summary document called a brand platform.


3/ Establish a brand communication strategy


The next step is to make yourself known to your target audience through different marketing levers:

  • website: it must reflect your brand identity, otherwise you will need to consider a website redesign;
  • Social networks: don't just create a profile, be active and adopt a social media strategy to strengthen links with your community;
  • sending live content: newsletters, SMS, marketing automation and emailing, postal mail, etc. ;
  • online or offlineadvertising;
  • physical events: trade fairs, conferences, congresses, etc. ;
  • traditional media: television, radio, newspapers, etc.


Choose the most relevant communication channels for your audience based on their habits and behaviours analysed in the first step. This will increase your chances of reaching your future customers and creating engagement.


You need to set clear and consistent medium and long-term objectives.Drawing up a marketing plan in which you list the actions to be taken facilitates internal communication and the implementation of your brand strategy.


4/ Building an effective content strategy


As Bill Gates said back in 1996: "content is king". And this is even more true today! As a central element of inbound marketing, the creation of quality content is one of the best ways of establishing your reputation and promoting your expertise to your targets. There are many formats available to you:

  • blog articles: writing optimised articles also allows you to work on the natural referencing (SEO) of your website;
  • product sheets;
  • videos;
  • podcasts;
  • webinars: the webinar is a powerful tool for generating leads and sales;
  • e-books and white papers;
  • newsletters;
  • infographics;
  • print publications: company brochure, posters, brochures, etc;
  • press releases, etc.


The content marketing strategy consists of choosing the formats that are best suited to your target audience, and establishing an editorial calendar to plan the creation and distribution of your content.


5/ Creating a pleasant customer experience


You need to put customer satisfaction at the centre of your brand strategy. Happy customers are your best ambassadors! They are more likely to leave a positive review of your products or services, or even to recommend you to their peers. As we know, customer testimonials are a powerful marketing tool, especially in B2B. Glowing reviews increase your social proof and help build a positive image of your company. To convince your prospects of their authenticity and reinforce their weight, don't hesitate to use a customer recommendation platform like Trustpilot.


6/ Evaluate the performance of your brand strategy


Finally, you need to measure the effectiveness of the actions implemented through the monitoring and analysis of relevantKPIs:

  • statistics from your social networks: number of subscribers, interactions with your publications (likes, shares, comments...);
  • statistics of your website: traffic, page views, bounce rate, session duration, search engine ranking... ;
  • sales statistics: number of new customers, conversion rate, number of sales, average basket, etc.


You can then make any necessary adjustments and refine your branding strategyas you go along.


Would you like support in developing your brand strategy? Autour de l'image can help you make your project a reality. Contact us to discuss it! Our contact form is at the bottom of this page.


About the author

Philippe Rigault

Philippe Rigault is the founding President of the agency Autour de l'Image. He assists clients in the development and animation of their communication strategy, combining advice, creativity, mentoring and common sense. Autour de l'Image is a global communication agency that simplifies the life of entrepreneurs. It brings together all the communication and marketing skills needed to develop sales and brand awareness.

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