How to Develop a Brand Strategy: 4 Essential Requirements

Brand strategy is essential to motivating your employees, inspiring your leadership, and winning in the marketplace.  Success with brand strategy requires you to answer fundamental questions about who you are, what you do, and why you matter to your most important audiences. The Marshall team exists to help our clients answer fundamental questions like these, and to give elegant form to the resulting brand promises. When successful, brand strategy creates substantial and sustainable competitive advantage. Still wondering how to develop a brand strategy? Read on…

4 Brand Strategy Requirements

The best way to approach brand strategy is to first identify brand objectives. You need to establish internal alignment on your core goals, to inspire brand direction and ensure that all your efforts move in step with each other. Without this alignment, any idea is a good idea, or a bad one. A company that has identified its strategic objectives will have better focus on its mission and greater impact in its market. The following four key brand requirements are helpful toward establishing brand objectives, and critical to a successful brand strategy.

1. Differentiation

In today’s highly competitive market, brands need more than a clear reason for being, they need to make a distinct impression. In order to even be considered, a brand must be differentiated to be noticed. Differentiation is critical to creating a preference or commanding a premium.

2. Relevance

Differentiation alone will not create value for your customers, however. Brands need to connect to what people care about. To build demand, you need understand and fulfill the needs and aspirations of your intended audiences. It is important to continually ask yourself, “Are we spending enough time anticipating what’s coming next so that we can be present, and compelling in the future?” This does not mean tell everyone what they want to hear, but it does require you to think about what matters to your customer as you make your differentiated promise.


To assure credibility with key audiences, brands must be coherent in what they say and do. All messages, marketing communications, brand experiences, products and services need to add up to something meaningful. Think about it this way – the opposite of coherence is incoherence. If people don’t understand your brand promise, they are a lot less likely to be enthusiastic about you. This does not mean everything you do and say has to be rigid and consistent,  but it should all hang together to form a coherent whole.

4. Esteem

Esteem is the reputation a brand can earn when it executes clearly on its promised – and delivered – experience. When your brand is differentiated, relevant and coherent, it creates tremendous value for both internal and external audiences.

Delivering on these brand requirements requires discipline, insight, and a clear understanding of your objectives, your audiences and their needs, your competition, and the opportunities for a clear and compelling brand promise. Learn how Marshall can help you apply these principles towards a successful brand strategy. 

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