Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
Consistency in advertising.
Decide what you can do for your customers that your competitors can't and hammer away at those points in every ad. Create a "sell line" that defines your company in a nutshell and use it.
Only employ people who can get on board with your brand, and make sure that each person understands his or her part in building it. Once a customer is ignored at the counter or treated poorly on the phone or on the sales floor, you've lost not only that person but everyone else that hears about the unfortunate experience. Remember that word-of-mouth can help, but it can also hurt. Get rid of employees who won't cooperate--even if they're related to you!
Keep promises you make. See that your customers aren't disappointed with what they find once your advertising gets them through the door. Make it easy for them to make purchases and returns. They should leave smiling. If you tell your local Little League team that you'll provide team T-shirts, follow through. If you commit to a joint venture with another business, school or a group of any kind, keep up your end of the deal. Pay your invoices on time. Be a good citizen. Get involved with community projects where your business can do something positive (and maybe get some free press).
Your willingness to use the internet.
A company with no web presence is archaic. Even if you're only interested in local sales right now, your customers are on the web, and they'll want to see you there, too. Get it done now.