The ultimate guide to strategic branding in 2024

Illustration of a woman typing on a laptop

Every company wants to be as instantly recognizable as Nike or Disney, but it takes more than choosing your colors and fonts to get there.

Strategic branding is all about bringing your brand to life through your use of voice, image, and messaging to create a brand that has a strong and recognizable identity. When done right, strategic branding will help you to win more customers, connect with your audience, drive business decisions, and give your internal team a compass to follow.


What is strategic branding

The ultimate goal of strategic branding is to become recognizable to your target audience. After all, recognition breeds familiarity, which breeds trust, which is the key to attracting customers and being selected over your competition.

But the path to building a recognizable brand isn’t as straightforward as you might think. To successfully win business though your branding, you’ll need to put thought into a variety of elements — including your tone of voice, core messaging, and your overall brand identity — and ensure that all of these elements are aligned to create a powerful brand identity.

Why is strategic branding important

Strategic branding helps you and your team understand who your business is, where your values are, and the concept of your brand. Having a deep and clear understanding of such will make it significantly easier to make decisions about the direction of your business and plan for the future, while leading you to build a recognizable brand that will appeal to your target audience.

In short, strategic branding will help you to...

Benefits of strategic branding

The most powerful brands in the world have very clear, consistent, and recognizable branding — and that’s not by coincidence. Strategic branding can elevate the power and impact of your business when in contact with potential customers, which will help you to grow quicker, scale up, and dominate the space over competitor brands.

Strategic branding shows your audience who you are, beyond what you’re selling. And it’s this accompanying brand persona that will help with winning new customers and expanding your team, but also increasing customer loyalty and your memorability in the industry. Essentially, strategic branding will bring more substance to your business, making it a more appealing option, versus more superficially branded businesses in the industry.

Further reading: What is branding design

A series of electronic billboards along a street - the first image is of a skyscraper, the second of a dessert, the third of two apples, and the fourth is a colorful abstract image.

Choosing your brand architecture

As you build your brand, it’s important to consider your brand architecture. This will determine how the products you sell will relate to one another and your brand on the whole. The options for brand architecture are as follows:

Branding methods

There are also several methods of branding that are important to be aware of when it comes to strategic branding. These are as follows:

Strategic branding key elements

Audience persona

If you don’t know who your business is targeting, then it’ll be difficult to build a brand that effectively resonates with your customers. Knowing who your audience is, what motivates them, where their pain points are, and what they care about is one of the most important and first steps you need to take before forming your brand strategy. If you don’t know your audience inside and out, then how can you craft a brand that will connect with them?

Competitive analysis

Assess which elements of your competitors’ branding are resonating with their target audience and learn from any weaknesses you can see. Doing so will give you valuable insight into where there is an opportunity for customers to pick your brand over another.

Differentiation analysis

Once you’ve assessed your competitors, you should have a good idea of where competitors are falling short and how you can position your brand to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Brand purpose

Through your research on audience, competitors, and the market in general, it should become clear why your brand exists and what its overall purpose is within the space. It is this defined sense of purpose that will be the driving force behind business decisions in the future.

Further reading: What is brand purpose and why is it important?

Human brand persona

A brand persona is a literal depiction of a brand as a person that is imbued with your brand values and characters, while giving your audience something human to whom they can relate. When your brand persona is effective, customers will be able to build a stronger connection to your company.

Tone of voice

Take the time to formulate a tone of voice for your brand that will most resonate with your audience. While your core message will cover what you’re saying, your tone of voice will deal with how you say it. Decide whether you want your tone of voice to be professional, light-hearted, relatable, whimsical, etc.

A hand holding a blue pen rests on an open notepad.


Your tagline consists of a few key words that summarize who you are and what you do. Make it snappy, catchy, and concise, and it’ll easily become a memorable phrase that your audience will attach to your brand.

Core message

Your core messaging should summarize the values of your company and everything you want your audience and employees to understand about your business. Unlike your tagline, this core message is not as much for use in marketing campaigns but serves a greater purpose in showing your audience where your priorities are and aligning your team on shared values.


Storytelling can be an incredibly effective way to communicate the story of your brand and how you will solve your customer’s problems in a memorable and engaging way. Focus on the emotions you want your audience to feel and position your brand as the hero of the story.

Further reading: Brand storytelling and the key to crafting compelling brand stories

Brand identity

Your brand identity will cover various key branding visual elements such as your logo or product images. Alongside your wider branding strategy, your brand identity will be used to visually represent the emotions and character of your brand.

Brand loyalty

Going the extra mile to retain the customers you have and strengthen your bond with them is an important part of cultivating customer loyalty and rewarding your customers for their support. Whether you send thank you cards, free swag, or offer something mutually beneficial to both you and the loyal customer, making an effort to thank your most loyal customers will show them what kind of brand they are buying from or working with, and will help you grow your customer base further.


The most successful brands can be frank about what isn’t working and know when it’s time to make a change. While your branding should remain consistent in order to remain recognizable, it’s certainly encouraged that you make minor updates every few years so as to stay current with design trends and styles and avoid becoming outdated and overlooked.

Employee involvement

Your branding isn’t just about what your customers can see from you online, but it’s also part of how your employees interact with others, such as through customer service inquiries, sales demos, and more. The way your team communicates and the tone with which they speak should align with the branding of your company.


Use emotion in your branding to connect to your customers on a deeper level. Whether you offer them membership of a club, solve their problems, or just make them feel supported, using your branding to elicit a positive emotional reaction will go a long way to winning new customers and keeping them long-term.

A man wearing a blue shirt smiles as he looks at his laptop.


Once you have established your brand, you need to make the daily effort to stay on brand. Every decision you make needs to be carefully assessed on whether it is appropriate for your brand or not.

Further reading: The ultimate guide to brand consistency

Internal branding

Branding isn’t just what you present to your target market externally – internal branding is an important part of aligning your team on who you are, what you value, and what your intentions are. Internal branding will contribute to team building and focus by uniting your employees around a common goal and purpose.

All in all, strategic branding is an incredibly powerful tool that can make a huge difference for your overall success. By putting the appropriate amount of thought and attention into your brand, it is possible to build an effective brand identity that will stick in your audience's minds long-term.

Try Adobe Express today