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What is Brand Strategy and why does it matter?

Like most people, I love Schitt's Creek. The show rose to rapid popularity in 2020, but it's actually been streaming on Netflix since 2017 (proving that "overnight successes" are actually years in the making.)

There's a lot to love about Schitt's Creek. From the cheeky title, to Moira's incomparable accent, to the quotable, memeable nature of just about every single line. But perhaps the most lovable part of the show is the relationship between David and Patrick.

The chemistry between the two is something not seen since the likes of Ross and Rachel — total #relationshipgoals. Patrick is a smart, steady man-of-a-man who is finally discovering his true self and pursuing what makes him happy, while David, on the other hand, is an hypercritical, lovable personality who is discovering independence for the first time in his life and refuses to settle for anything less than the best. Together, they compliment each other in life and in business as they run Rose Apothecary together.

It's a joke in my house that David Rose and I share more than a few similarities—everything from his eye for design all the way down to his love of black sweaters and converse sneakers. One of my favorite David Rose moments happens in season 4, episode 4 when Patrick tests David's ability to compromise by putting toilet plungers at the front of the store.

David walks in, sees the toilet plungers and immediately questions Patrick about the plungers. David argues they should be hidden discreetly in the back room, while Patrick states that some customers have been asking for some more basic items and this would be a good opportunity for David to compromise. Not wanting to be proven the difficult one, David reluctantly says, "If assaulting customers with the sight of a toilet plunger the minute they walk through the door is something that you consider to be an effective business strategy then that is a compromise I am willing to make."

Later on in the episode, as the two are unwinding over drinks after the store closes Patrick triumphantly proclaims if they hadn't put the plungers at the front of the store, they may not have sold two of them (probably true!) David finally concedes, admitting that he's not good at compromising and says, "Toilet plungers on display at the front of the store is incorrect!"

Rose Apothecary is a trendy lifestyle store selling high end lotions, candles, wine, and cheeses rebranded under its own label. David worked tirelessly to create a winsome space in Schitt's Creek, with carefully curated products, and a sand and stone color palette. To the Rose Apothecary brand, experience is paramount.

In a different, more utilitarian store plungers as you enter the door may not be surprising. In fact, you may think "Oh perfect! Just what I need!" While in a store like Rose Apothecary plungers at the front of the store would feel out of place as you've gone there to smell herbal face creams and peppermint lip balms.

So how exactly does this relate to your business?

Your brand is the perception of your business in the mind of your customers. It's how they feel when they interact with your business and what they say about your business to their inner circle. It's largely out of your control.

Your brand strategy, on the other hand, is the plan you make to try to influence the customer to feel the way you want them to feel about your business.

Not putting toilet plungers at the front of the store is part of a brand strategy to help the store feel more high end.

Why does it matter?

Because influencing your customers to feel like your business is high end allows you to charge more. Your brand strategy helps determines how your customers will feel about your business, which in turn will affect your sales. When you are able to create a brand that draws people in and creates a story they want to be a part of they'll be far more likely to swipe their credit at checkout.

There are 3 things I like to do during the brand strategy phase to make sure every brand that Happyland Creative™ creates is completely captivating:

  1. Define your person. Go beyond the basics and really get into their story. In fact, for every brand strategy I like to write a profile about a fictional person who embodies everything your business is hoping to reach. Knowing who your person is, inside and out, will help you make sure that everything you do captures their attention.
  2. Find out what makes your business unique. Even if it feels like there are million other people doing the same thing you are, I promise you there is SOMETHING that makes your business stand out. It may be the way you toss in a few free samples with each order. Or the way you care about your packaging and design to create an irresistible unboxing experience. Or maybe it's offering free returns because you know online shopping can be tricky. When you find whatever that thing is, you can weave its thread throughout your entire brand.
  3. Simply define what the brand is and is not. Using adjectives, list out the way you want your brand to feel and they way it definitely should NOT feel. Sometimes knowing what we don't want is even more powerful than knowing what we do want.

Are you struggling with feeling like your brand lacks cohesion or feels too generic? We can help you create a brand that makes your customer feel like adding a lot of stuff to their cart and then drives them towards checkout. Reach out to us today to book a call so we can have a conversation about how Happyland Creative® can best serve your business.

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About the Author

Brittany Wong

Brittany Wong is the Founder and Creative Director of Happyland Creative®, a design studio helping small business owners make more money with their branding.