Building & Enhancing Your Brand: How to Take a Strategic Approach

The Basics

Brand, branding, brand identity… those all sound pretty similar, right? What do you think of when you hear these words? We usually think logos, colors, taglines. BUT, what really is a brand? Let’s break it down (with a little help from Yellowstone):

A BRAND is the feeling that your clients have when they think about and interact with your business.

BRANDING is when you build a relationship with your audience because they resonate with your vision, values, voice and visuals.

BRAND IDENTITY is any of the visual elements you use to communicate your brand.

Avoid this Branding Pitfall

An example: You’re a rancher. You’re holding a wrought iron brand with your ranch’s logo on it. That’s your brand identity. You’ve got a calf in front of you. Placing that red-hot brand on the calf’s booty is branding. What other people think about when they see your logo on the calf out in the pasture is your brand. 

So, why should you care about the difference between all these words that include brand? Because when you do know the difference and can separate the three concepts, you’ll be able to focus on the real and right work required to help your operation be successful. 

Oftentimes, businesses jump to building their visuals first because it’s fun. Instead of thinking about the why and purpose behind their brand and what they want to achieve, the pretty stuff comes first. However, it won’t do you any good to invest time and money into a brand, graphics, or website design unless you’ve taken the time to fully understand your brand and develop a clear strategy. Instead, branding should be considered an all-encompassing endeavor that takes more than just a dollar investment. 

Brand Strategy

Ready to dive in and take a more strategic approach?!

Follow the 80/20 Rule. Your visuals should only be about 20% of your overall brand. The rest is brand strategy. Approach this first so that it can guide the rest of your brand strategy – yes, another term with “brand” in it.

The 80/20 in Brand & Biz

What is a brand strategy you ask? Well, strategies can be overwhelming. So, let’s simplify it. We’re going to break down the six components of brand strategy. All you have to do is ask yourself the right questions. 

1. Purpose/Why – Why are you in business? Why do you do what you do?

2. Offerings/Value Proposition – What do you offer and what makes it unique? Why is what you do different than someone who does the same thing?

3. Target Audience/Ideal Client – Who is it for? Who do you serve and what do they need? What problems do they face?

4. Messaging – What does it say? What story do you want to tell? 

5. Voice/Personality – How does it feel? How do we want to connect with people to build genuine relationships?

6. Visual Identity – What does it look like?

The 6 Components of Brand Strategy


Taking a strategic approach to your brand is crucial to getting started off on the right foot. When you know the goals and aspirations of your business, in addition to knowing your customers and what they need, that’s where the magic is. You owe it to yourself and your business to spend time working through your strategy first. Even if it feels like a lot to tackle, the key is to start and the rest will fall into place more naturally.

Remember, before anything else, start with strategy. Strategies are not an option, they’re a necessity.

Written by:
Sierra Dyer
Account Manager at McCracken. She turns dreams and ideas into delectable deliverables.
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