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How Strategy, Messaging, and Design Work Hand-in-Hand to Build Your Elevated Brand

Biz Strategy & Growth, Design & Aesthetics, Messaging & Copy

When it comes to your elevated brand, we’re talking about more than a shiny new logo. We’re talking about the combination of strategy, messaging, and design that will support your next level of growth. Because anybody can slap together a combination of symbols and letters on Canva and call it a day. But if you’re looking to create a brand that calls in your ideal clients, sets you up to charge premium prices, and makes it clear that you deliver a high-value product or service, you need those three key elements working seamlessly together to elevate your presence in market. 

Below, I’ll try to explain why each phase is important in its own right and how they work together to help small businesses build their elevated, next-level brands.

The Role of Strategy in Building an Elevated Brand

The inaugural phase of developing your elevated brand is strategy. And that’s intentional. By now, we’ve all probably seen or heard Simon Sinek’s famous talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” If you haven’t, I’ll boil it down quickly. Essentially he says, with any new project, you should start by grounding in the “why” so that you have clear direction or a “true North” that will keep you on course. 

This is what we do with brand strategy. A well-defined brand strategy ensures that all brand activities are aligned with the business’s objectives and values while helping it to stand out from its competitors and resonate with its intended audience. We do the legwork to figure out where your brand sits in the market and where there are opportunities for you to stand out and differentiate your business in your messaging or your design. That’s why it’s so critical that this element of branding comes first in the process. 

Common components of brand strategy include:

  • Market research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Voice of client/customer research
  • Persona development
  • Brand positioning
  • Unique value/selling proposition

The Role of Messaging in Building an Elevated Brand

Here’s the thing. There’s data out the wazoo that consumers want to buy from brands they feel connected to. One study says it’s 65% of consumers and that 90% of them want those emotions to be positive. Another study shows that consumer loyalty is based on a similarity in values between the brand and the consumer. Whatever the actual number, the correlation is there. People want to buy from people. And they want their interactions to feel authentic. 

That’s why developing your brand messaging is critical. When you undertake this element of brand building, you hone in on what your brand talks about and how you talk about it. Not only does this help you identify a personality that your ideal clients can latch onto, but it also helps you to carve out content themes or pillars that you can consistently pull from when you’re developing your blog, podcast, or social media topics. 

Getting clear on the way you talk about your business, industry, and products or services can be a real game changer. It gives you the confidence you need to be more visible in a variety of ways. You might feel better equipped to start guesting on more podcasts. Or you might feel like you’re ready to start blogging consistently. I’ve seen the difference that getting this messaging out of your head and documented on “paper” can have on a business. And it can be truly staggering.

Common components of brand messaging include:

  • Brand story
  • Brand voice
  • Mission, vision, and values
  • Tagline(s)
  • Elevator pitch
  • Website copy

The Role of Design in Building an Elevated Brand

Did you know that 59% of people prefer content that is beautifully designed over content that is unattractive. Feels like a no-brainer, right?

But think about the websites you encounter everyday. There are tons of businesses that are conveniently ignoring data like this. We’ve all come across these businesses — the ones with websites that look like they were designed in 1985 by their uncle’s nephew’s cousin who took a computer class in high school.

You don’t want to be one of them. Especially if you’re ready for the next big stage of growth in your business. And especially ESPECIALLY if you’re primarily running your business online. 

When done well, a strong visual identity can help your business stand out. But it can also help you resonate with your ideal clients and live rent-free in their brains. And that’s something all business owners dream about.

Common components of visual identity design include:

  • Logo suite design
  • Color palette
  • Typography suite selection
  • Stock photo library curation
  • Icons, illustrations, or patterns
  • Website design + development
  • Brand collateral (social templates, letterhead, client guides, etc.)

Integrating Strategy, Messaging, and Design for the Greatest Brand ROI

While not a rigid sequence, each of these three elements – strategy, messaging, design – do build on each other and should be conducted in roughly this order to ensure the best results. When you start with strategy, you gather the information needed and lay the groundwork for the rest of the project. The messaging helps to refine the work done during strategy and starts making it a bit more tangible. And then the design work really makes it come to life.

The risk of conducting this process out of order, or worse, conducting one of these phases without the others is that you will likely miss the mark in at least some way when it comes to developing an elevated brand. 

Brands that forgo strategy lack direction and purpose. They may struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors or find the right audience. 

Brands that forgo intentional messaging work may have a hard time figuring out how to speak to their audience in a way that gets them to convert. These brands may also find it difficult to create a lasting impression or inspire customer loyalty. 

Brands that forgo design run the risk of being forgettable. Effective design creates a distinctive visual impression that sticks with people. Without it, a brand will likely fade into the background. 

When all three of these elements are undertaken intentionally, though, that’s where the real magic happens. It’s an investment for sure. But seasoned business owners know that many of the best things — the things that move the needle for our businesses — are.

A Note on Brand Consistency

While it’s true that if you’ve nailed the seamless integration of strategy, messaging, and design into your brand, you’re ahead of the vast majority of businesses, to be most effective, you also need to ensure consistency plays its part, too. That means you can’t build a new website and call it a day. A fully elevated brand means that you’re showing up the same way everywhere and every time that clients or prospects might encounter you. So your social media presence, your client onboarding, your internal systems, AND your website should deliver the same on-brand experience. In fact, according to a study by Lucidpress, brand consistency can increase your revenue by up to 23%. 

How Huckleberry Creative Handles Brand Strategy, Messaging, and Design

At Huckleberry Creative, we handle all the elements of building an elevated brand under one roof so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of working with and coordinating a handful of various contractors with competing priorities, timelines, and goals. The benefit of having one team handling all of this for you is that you only have to work with us. We keep you apprised of everything that is going on in the larger project and ensure that each phase gets translated seamlessly to the next with absolutely zero balls dropped. Sound good? Hit the contact page, and let’s chat about how we can work together to craft your elevated brand.