top of page
  • Writer's pictureextrasauceagency

The Ultimate Brand Strategy Development Guide For Startups in 2022

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

We all got a little upset when Apple removed the headphone port - But I still bought the new iPhone every year. Over the years of providing minimal upgrades, they still have been able to increase the price and keep their brand loyalty. How? All answers trickle back down to a strong brand experience through strategic development. Apple has demonstrated a unified brand position across all fronts of the company; from product development, marketing, customer service, CSR initiatives, and the list goes on.

In this post, we’ll explain the latest brand strategy framework in 2022 for startups in the SaaS or E-commerce space.

Brand House Framework Comes First

The brand house helps marketing managers organize various elements, concepts, beliefs, and experiences of their brand in a clear hierarchy. It starts by having this big idea concept.

This idea shouldn’t be forced but instead, be based on external expectations of your brand and align it with your team’s long-term vision regarding brand experience.

Second, you need to state a clear brand position in the market so your prospects know what you’re all about without confusion when compared to your competitors. Underlying question is, ‘how do you want your brand to be perceived?’

brand positioning

Source: Pinterest

Will you be dropshipping your products using Amazon and other third-party vendors or will you private-label your products and offer a limited amount exclusively available on your website? Accessibility isn’t the only factor to consider, it comes down to the market opportunity your company will be addressing while shining light on what your brand brings to the table to address it. (Hint: Remember the 4 P's from Intro to Marketing class)

Third, what characteristics/attributes make up your brand persona? This step will later help guide your micro-level messaging templates for each platform and for any external documents/resources your organization puts out.

Think of your brand values, brand tonality, and brand voice when deciding these attributes. They will become the foundation of your brand personality when communicating to your audience.

Fourth, your organization needs to have strong pillars to back these macro-level concepts right? These pillars consist of non-negotiable priorities that your organization is not willing to compromise on and your team speaks proudly of every day. For example, ethical manufacturing partnerships, sustainability-focused sourcing, community-involvement initiatives and so on.

Lastly, the worst thing an organization can do is talk, talk, talk and not have any course of action to back up their claims. So what are your proof points to back your brand pillars?

From our previous example, it can be partnering with local family-run manufacturers, using sustainable packaging, and creating a scholarship to support BIPOC student-athletes (Extra Sauce implemented these same actionable steps when rebranding for a luxury apparel brand based in Toronto).

To conclude, does your brand house foundation coincide with the big idea roof or are they showing to be mutually exclusive? This branding framework will help you break down your brand’s macro-level ideas with micro-level actionable steps to put in place.

Here is an example of the brand house framework created for Starbucks.

Setting Goals & KPIs For A Campaign

You don’t know if your organization is succeeding at the right pace if you don’t set direction at the start of any campaign.

A poorly-designed marketing goal is ‘I want more website views.’

This goal doesn’t give measurable specifics or give a quantifiable number to compare your results against. 2022 we are only setting SMART goals!

Why try to hope for a winning lottery campaign results when instead we need to treat our campaigns the way sports announcers analyze team statistics.

We need to dive into the current stats, analyze the correlated department’s work levels, optimize for improvements, set benchmarks to hit, and repeat the cycle. A successful campaign is art created using a proven framework, along with an understanding of current cultural implications given to your audience at the right time and place.

Or you could keep shooting blanks and hoping one lands.

Our backwards framework for goal-setting:

  1. Identify how much revenue you want to bring in from marketing efforts

  2. Determine the estimated media spend & resources it would take to achieve that.

  3. Identify your MQLs (Marketing Quantity Leads) & SQLs (Sales Quantity Leads)

  4. Figure out how many leads you’ll need in total (qualified & unqualified to hit your targets)

  5. Identify how much traffic you need to achieve these goals.

  6. Set supporting parallel goals (what other goals in our organizations should we set that are co-related?)

  7. Set benchmarks to track progression levels (monthly & quarterly).

How To Implement A Branding Strategy

There’s more to implementing a branding strategy than changing your display picture on LinkedIn and Instagram page or the colours on your website.

It comes down to finding the most effective way to communicate this ‘big idea’ picture that you’ve been developing over time behind closed doors to your audience in the most seamless way to understand clearly.

The strategy has to be tactical, measurable, and manageable for your team size. Don’t make emotional biases because of your personal liking and don’t overcomplicate the process either. The KISS method is still very effective today (The best marketing conveys complex ideas into simple solutions that a 5th grader can understand).

Here are some tips to follow when getting ready to implement a brand strategy development for a client:

  1. Make sure everyone internal is crystal clear about the transition.

  2. Tell people who need to know on a priority basis (From external partners to your community - everyone needs to be communicated according to their medium preference).

  3. Create a messaging & branding style guide so your image across various platforms is seamless and clear.

  4. Be consistent with your efforts (Don’t distract your audience by doing too many different things).

  5. Be the company you really are (Authenticity always wins and reveals itself - represent the values your company carries forward or your audience will see through it).

Top brand strategy mistakes

  1. Inconsistent corporate identity across the organization asset bank

  2. Not setting SMART goals

  3. Over-complicating the customer journey - people prefer simplicity (Why do you think a segment of mobile users prefer an iPhone over an Android phone?)

  4. Not prioritizing internal content creation in 2022!

  5. Not getting employees more involved to be advocates of the company brand.

  6. Staying rigid in the strategy set and not fluid enough to move with speed on current opportunities.

  7. Having a weak tagline to encapsulate the customer experience.

  8. Not talking to your audience when trying to improve the brand experience.

Quick Brand Fixes To Close Your Next Prospect

Now, this is not a holy grail list of the only things you need to fix your brand.

Depending on your buying journey and length of the sales cycle will determine the effectiveness of these quick fixes.

Nonetheless, they all play an important role when a prospect is quickly scrolling through your omnichannel to see if they should go with you or the other companies in their browser tabs.

  1. Have clear display pictures & bios for all social media channels

  2. Weak copywrite focuses only on features/benefits, strong copy focuses on features followed by the transformations/experiences your organization provides.

  3. Implement a value-impact customer nurturing funnel to provide your audience value until they are ready to act on their buying schedule.

  4. Prioritize your internal content creation (I think this is the third time this came up in this article…yes the ROI is that good)

  5. Make sure you collect quality social proof for your company’s hard work to be recognized. (There’s a difference between getting a video testimony versus a simple 5-star review on Google. Both are good but which one do you think will bring in more quality leads when you post it across all platforms?)

Checklist Before Executing A Brand Strategy

  1. Communicate a clear vision through your brand house

  2. Create an in-depth messaging & branding style guide for all partners

  3. Create a schedule for communicating company-branded assets across platforms

  4. Analyze what competitors are doing

  5. Create customer personas

  6. Think of a company name & tagline

  7. Create accounts on all platforms where your audience is active

  8. Buy your domain and create a website

  9. Have measuring tools in place to track results before executing anything

Extra Sauce Final Thoughts

A brand strategy comes after your business strategy and guides your marketing strategy. Once you have a clear idea of your brand positioning it will make the marketing roadmap much more clear on what to focus on. You have one shot at a good first impression and you don’t want to ruin it with a poorly designed branding strategy. Having a brand is more important than ever in 2022. People want transparency from the companies they are buying from. Having a good quality product/service has become the bare minimum for many markets - customers want to know what else you bring to the table. They are looking for experiences from organizations, not just a simple transaction. How does your brand experience rank in your market? We are currently offering complimentary strategy calls for organizations to see how their brand experience ranks in the market today.


bottom of page