When it comes to building a successful brand development strategy, experience is key. Having built countless brands from scratch and redeveloped many more, the founder of uberbrand, Dan Ratner, is the man to ask. We sat down with Dan to chat about the key to share some secrets of developing a strong brand development strategy.

How Does A Brand Know They Need To Look At Their Strategy?

It comes down to when the organisations going through certain change and there are certain triggers that tell you that what you’re doing internally isn’t reflected in the market about who and what we are, so you need to bring that into alignment. It’s built around that, so it could be triggered by acquisition, a leadership change, new product or service, though ultimately once that trigger takes place a misalignment between what you’re saying in the market and what you’re doing as an organisation. 

How Important Is A Brand Strategy For An Organisation To Succeed?

It’s fundamental, and it circles back to the role of a brand. You have an organisational strategy, you have a vision, you have an objective for your organisation and the brand is there to bring that objective to life, so if you haven’t got a brand strategy, which by definition is the translation of that idea in your head into a set of objectives that can be utilised and expressed into communications, then you aren’t going to do a very good job at executing. So you need to have a brand strategy to fundamentally connect what you’re doing to what it is you’re saying.

Where Does The Strategy Start?

It starts with an analysis of what I always call the brand gap, which is the gap of what people think of your organisation today versus what you want people to think of it in the future. What is your aspiration ultimately for the future and does what you’re doing every day align to that? The brand strategy itself is the rationalisation of what you want people to think versus what they’re currently thinking. 

In the old days, I used to say that a brand is a perception held in the mind and brand strategy addresses the gap between current perceptions and the future. 

Why Build Your Strategy With An Agency?

We have a saying on this: ‘You can’t do your own brain surgery, so it helps to have a brand strategy specialist to not only listen and engage to your audience and key stakeholders but also to investigate and see through all the conversations going on in the marketplace so they can get an objective perspective of who they are. They can view it in an unbiased way and bring expertise and knowledge to the table.

Are You Seeing Any Emerging Trends In The Brand Strategy That Have Piqued Your Interest?

I feel like brands iterate until they stop iterating, so if you go back to the first principle of branding which is a brand is a perception held in the mind’, until that perception is solidified you’re still in the stage of brand development. The trend I’m seeing is organisations accepting the fact that the brand isn’t actually solidified, then experimenting and changing as they evolve it to find the consumer fit to the brand idea.

There’s more experimental work going on, and this is because brands aren’t focusing on their market segmentation, research, audience personas. There’s a lot of assumption being made and lots of experimentation that has to happen before you can identify the target market your brand is related to. I think it’s in that connection point between who the brand is for and where the brand meets what consumers need. I’m seeing a lot of rushing to market, which leads to these assumptions being made, but you need to give yourself space to experiment, refine and polish the brand.

When Do You Know The Strategy Is Right?

The way I would address that is making sure that what people say about who and what you are aligns with what it is you wanted them to think, going back to that first principle that a brand is a perception held in the mind then ultimately what people are thinking and feeling about you needs to align, so you can measure that through research, not by quantitative measures like sales.

What’s After Strategy?

Implementation, building up a brand’s visual identity that meets the needs and wants of your market, but one that also works symbiotically with the strategy. Building a brand image that reflects that aspiration so ultimately you can start implementing how you go to market into your advertising.


Author Bio:

Jack Shepherdson:

With a love of advertising and branding, Jack Shepherdson is uberbrand’s Digital Coordinator. Experienced across the digital landscape, Jack specialises in producing digital campaigns and projects.