Do you know the difference between a brand strategy and content strategy? They’re both key parts of a modern marketer’s arsenal. But while closely connected, they aren’t the same thing. It’s worth understanding why.
What is a brand strategy?
Your brand strategy is your overarching marketing bible. Sitting above all else, it guides everything to do with building your brand – from clearly articulating who you are and what you do, to what you believe and how you should communicate.
What is a content strategy?
Your content strategy is a powerful – but not the only – tool for executing your brand strategy. More fluid than your brand strategy, it outlines how to use content to communicate who your brand is and what you’re all about as business.
Clearly, they’re both pretty important. While they should ideally work closely together, often they don’t. In fact, in our experience many businesses don’t have a content strategy at all! (According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B Benchmarks report, only 37% of marketers in the USA currently have one and it’s no doubt a similar story here in Australia). The obvious question is, why?
Short-term ‘brand’ blindness.
When timings are tight and to-do lists are long, there’s tremendous pressure to take a short-term approach to just get things done. Unfortunately, this means day-to-day tasks and tactics often begin to supersede all others, and the brand strategy often gets relegated to ‘another day’, replaced instead by an eclectic array of project-based content and campaigns.
Now, in the short-term this may not seem like a big deal, especially if sales and revenue still seem okay. But when it continues month after month, year after year, the long-term threats to a brand can become very real.
Without a well-defined brand strategy guiding your content, even the best brands risk becoming muddled. When a brand loses clarity, its emotional connection with customers quickly falls, as does customers loyalty. This leaves it at mercy of commoditisation and competitors who may be doing a better job of nurturing those same connections.
Be true to who you are
Regardless of the media channels you use, the consistency and relevance of your content is pivotal in building and maintaining a healthy brand. While you want your content ideas to be interesting, it’s also important they truly reflect who you are. Remember, people want to support brands with shared values, and content is a powerful way to communicate these. The flip side is the wrong content can also undermine your values – so be careful!
Inconsistency is the enemy of any brand. That’s why, if you haven’t already done so, we strongly suggest you formalise your brand identity and tone of voice through the creation of brand guidelines. In addition to including things like your positioning, tagline and values, it should also provide clear rules around your preferred content style. It’s also a great idea to include specific examples outlining approved ways to talk, write, post and even tweet about your brand. Another thing well worth considering is appointing a Brand Champion within your business to help ensure the brand guidelines are understood and adhered to at all times.
The relationship between your brand and content strategy is a very important one. Your content program should articulate your brand. Your content pillars should support and tell your brand story regularly and consistently. No strategy is set in stone – to make your content as effective as possible, experiment, test and adjust your content strategy according to your results.
Could your brand and content strategies be better aligned?
Do you need help creating brand guidelines?