Establishing a Strong Brand Strategy: Insights from Hadas Golzaker

If you’re starting your own business or developing a product, branding might feel like a particularly challenging task to tackle. It can be difficult to determine where to begin, what steps to take, and how to approach branding strategically. In our conversation with Hadas Golzaker on the podcast, we delved into the challenges of branding and explored strategies for establishing a strong brand identity.

Hadas has over a decade of experience in the world of branding with expertise in UI/UX and web design. As Senior Brand Manager, she helped establish Elementor as an instantly recognizable brand in the digital space. Drawing on her expertise, Hadas offers valuable insights and actionable advice to help navigate the branding process. This article shares key takeaways from our conversation, including practical steps to establish a strong brand strategy and common mistakes to avoid. Whether you’re new to branding or want to refine your approach, these insights can help you craft a strong brand strategy for your business.

What is Branding?

When you think of branding, you probably envision logos, colors, and other visual elements that make up the brand design. But branding is far more than just appearance – it’s the deliberate strategy through which you present your business to the world.

To illustrate this idea, Hadas draws a comparison between a brand and a person. Your colors and logo are like a person’s appearance. It’s what you might notice at first glance, offering an initial impression. However, appearance only provides a surface-level representation. Like the soul of a person, your brand’s mission, vision, values, and tone of voice are what truly define the identity. Your brand’s identity helps you connect with the right audience and informs the decisions you make in your branding approach. Appearance and identity come together to form a cohesive brand that connects with your target audience. 

Establishing a Strong Brand Strategy

There’s a common misconception that only established companies need a brand strategy, or that brand strategy is only something to consider once your business is up and running. However, brand strategy is an essential part of business development and is critical to the success of your product. Whether you’re a small business, solopreneur, established company, or something in between, you will benefit from considering your brand strategy as soon as you have a product in mind. 

Hadas identifies the following key steps to establish a strong brand strategy:

  • Identify your Target Audience
  • Establish your Brand Mission, Vision, and Values
  • Craft your Brand Story

Identify your Target Audience

You may have already taken the first step to establish your brand strategy without even realizing it. By beginning to develop a product or service, you are working to solve a problem or provide a solution for somebody. In doing so, you have already identified an audience for your product. This is the first seed in establishing your brand strategy.

Hadas says, “define the target audience who use this product, what are their needs, start to do research about them, and see how you can make your brand appealing to them.” [2:53] Conducting this research will help you understand how to differentiate your brand, stand out from the competition, and provide compelling reasons for people to choose your brand. Once you identify your target audience, you will be equipped to make informed decisions and tailor your branding to resonate with them.

Establish your Brand Mission, Vision, and Values

Once your target audience is established, define the mission, vision, and values of your brand. These guiding principles inform your brand identity and direction, ensuring that your business decisions are in alignment with your brand values. 

When crafting your brand’s mission, vision, and values, keep your identified target audience in mind. Establishing an identity in alignment with the mission, vision, and values of your target audience creates a brand that deeply resonates with your users. These principles are a great way to establish differentiation and help your brand stand out to your target audience in a crowded market.

Craft your Brand Story

Your brand story is your narrative. It ties together your brand mission, vision, and values, and presents your product to your target audience in a compelling way. Hadas points out how you are presenting a promise to your audience when you share your product with them, “You have a promise for your target audience, and the brand story is how you tell the story and tell them about your promise.” [3:46]

Hadas draws a comparison between crafting a brand story and preparing to ask somebody out on a date. Just like you hope for a “yes” when asking somebody out, you want your target audience to say yes to engaging with your brand in some way – whether that’s asking them to make a purchase, click a link, sign up for a newsletter, get a quote, or consume your content. To have a better chance of getting that date, you might try to learn more about what the person you’re pursuing likes and where they hang out, then tailor your approach to cater to their interests. In the same way, it’s crucial to understand the interests, preferences, and needs of your target audience so that you can formulate a narrative that resonates with them and compels them to engage with your brand. Like a good pickup line is crafted with your potential date in mind, a compelling brand story caters specifically to your target audience.

Asking someone out requires confidence and authenticity, and your brand story should confidently and authentically reflect who you are and what you stand for. Ultimately, people will invest in brands that best align with their interests and needs. Your mission with the brand story is to establish your business as the option best positioned to address the specific preferences and pain points of your target audience. Doing so requires a deep understanding of your target audience and the factors that influence their decisions.

Common Mistakes in Brand Strategy and How to Avoid Them

Let’s delve into some common mistakes solopreneurs and business owners make during the branding process, and explore some strategies to avoid these mistakes in your own business.

Designing your branding before establishing the brand strategy

A common mistake business owners make is starting with the design of their brand before establishing the brand strategy. Doing so results in branding that lacks intention and cohesion, fails to communicate your unique selling points, and doesn’t connect with your target audience.

Hadas emphasizes the importance of starting with brand strategy, then letting those findings influence the direction of the design, “So you have the brand strategy, you have your values, everything inside, and then you cover it with the right design […] that will prop up your values, your mission, your purpose, and your brand story. The design should help the brand story and not be just, pretty.” [7:25] Since the design of your brand should support your brand identity and speak to your target audience, those key elements should be defined before you establish visual assets like logos and colors for your brand. 

Trying to Be Somebody You’re Not

It can be helpful to look to other companies in your industry for inspiration when creating your new brand. However, there is a big difference between looking to competition for inspiration and emulating competition as a starting point for your brand identity. Emulation is an unsuccessful approach for two reasons.

First, emulation fails to differentiate your brand from others in the market. Hadas puts it this way: “If you want to be somebody that you’re not, you’re not differentiating yourself from other companies, and this is a really, really, really big mistake.” [8:32] Differentiation is the key to creating space for your own brand in a crowded market, standing out, and attracting the right customers for your business. By failing to establish differentiation with your brand, you end up looking like a copycat instead of standing out for the unique value your brand provides.

Additionally, this approach fails to establish a meaningful connection with the right audience for your brand. You’re assuming that what appeals to the audience of an established brand will also appeal to yours, rather than putting your target audience first and shaping your brand design and identity around those findings. By emulating other brands, you miss the opportunity to develop a brand strategy that genuinely resonates with your target audience and addresses their needs.

Complex and Unclear Brand Messaging

The last common branding mistake is having complex or unclear brand messaging. Hadas says, “A lot of products use a lot of big words or long sentences for their brand message. Their brand message should be short, simple, and accurate so that it’s not difficult for the user to understand what they want.” [9:50] By leading with clear brand messaging, you demonstrate confidence in your brand and present your target audience with an idea that is memorable and easy to understand. 

Final Thoughts

By thinking about your branding approach strategically, you can craft a brand that resonates with your target audience and delivers clear, consistent messaging to your users. Having a clear brand strategy in place also enables you to make business decisions that align with your values and the values of your target audience. With a strong brand strategy, you’ll feel confident in presenting your business to the world and your users will feel confident placing their trust in your brand.

In the next post, we’ll share Hadas Golzaker’s tips on using customer research and experimentation to further develop your brand and establish product-market fit. To hear all of her insights on branding, check out the podcast episode on Don’t forget to check out the Freemius Blog for more resources for entrepreneurs and business owners, including our Marketing Handbook for WordPress Plugin and Theme Developers.

If you’ve gone through the process of developing your brand strategy, how did it impact your business? Share your experience in the comments below!

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