The Difference Between Brand Strategy, Communications Strategy, and Marketing Strategy

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Do you know what "strategy" means? According to Wikipedia, strategy "involves setting goals and priorities, determining actions to achieve your goals, and mobilizing resources to execute actions."

With this in mind, a brand strategy would involve setting long-term goals to develop a successful brand platform for you to reach your business goals.

This can only happen by summarizing what your brand stands for using a brand positioning model brought to life by all functions of your company.

The brand strategy gives birth to your brand identity (i.e., logos, color, and typography).

The Brand Strategy

Your brand strategy is a part of the business strategy, must be understood by your internal team(s), often remains unchanged for years, and is the starting point for your communications strategy.

The Communications Strategy

The communications strategy goes a few steps beyond brand positioning. It uses information gathered on your target audience and competition to detail your brand's core messages and channel strategy. Unlike the brand strategy, your brand's core messages can change over time or as marketing evolves.

Together, your brand and communications strategy should send out the right signals and messages to the right people to help them create the type of meaning in their mind, and in their gut, about your brand that will lead them to work with you or not.

The Marketing Strategy

Once you create a communication strategy, you can create your marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy would be your overall game plan for reaching your prospective clients to turn them into paying clients.

For example, Starbucks positions its locations as warm, cozy, and safe environments people can chill out in away from home.

Its current marketing strategy focuses on diversity and inclusion over various communication channels, with its communications strategy's core message being, "to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."

Putting It All Together

So, if you do not believe marketing to have steps, stages, and processes, it does. But, it is best practice to validate your service(s) before investing money into any of these strategies.

You can validate whether your target audience needs your service(s) by surveying members of your target audience. This level of primary research will let you know whether people find value in the service(s) you plan to bring to the market. Until you validate your service(s), you run the risk of wasting tons of money on branding and marketing, but I digress.

Essentially, all three strategies dictate WHO your brand is, WHAT it will say, and HOW it will reach people. Think of your brand like a puppet. These three strategies (or strings) allow you to be a great puppet master (of your brand). Without these strings, your brand will not be able to entertain crowds and make money.

To Recap

Validate your service and create a business strategy. Support your business strategy with a brand strategy that gives birth to your brand identity. Use the brand strategy to build your communications strategy. Then, use your communication strategy to create your marketing strategy and marketing tactics.

Here For You

If you need help with your brand strategy or want to hire Brazen Marketer for a brand strategy-related project, email

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Vanessa Matthew is the founder of Brazen Marketer.

Brazen Marketer is a boutique brand strategy consultancy for professional service providers and nonprofit leaders who aspire to greatness.

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