Explore our Managing Digital Branding Toolkit

How to use the RACE Framework to optimize your brand strategy

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 10 Feb, 2021
Essential Essential topic

Need a framework to help your brand stand out? Streamline your brand strategy framework with our tools and templates to cut through the noise

Right now, brands are going through an identity crisis like never before. In the age of digital disruption and bad omnichannel marketing, it can be tough for branding to unify marketing communications effectively. Like your customers, you need to refresh your approach to digital to keep your brand relevant today. But it's easier said than done. We recommend using a brand strategy framework, such as the RACE Framework, to streamline your branding and keep everyone on track.

With a defined brand framework in place, you can strategically manage your brand with trusted data and processes in place to optimize your brand marketing and win more customers. Interested? Find out more about managing your brand with a brand strategy framework, plus our recommended tools to reach, convert and retain more customers for your brand.

What is a brand strategy?

Your brand strategy is your definition of who you are as a brand - your values, your purpose, and what you do. The purpose of a brand strategy is to communicate this to your publics - your customers, partners, suppliers, and also your internal staff.

Why do you need a brand strategy framework?

It's never been more important for marketers to streamline their brand strategies. McKinsey's 'new model for the consumer goods industry', which was published in June 2020, confirmed that COVID-19 has amplified digital disruption in the consumer goods industry. In response, McKinsey identified opportunities for brands to grow - including data analytics, digital channels and platform management. It's not surprising that these 3 areas of digital marketing have been so important for brands in the wake of the pandemic. In fact, for many digital marketers, it's been an opportunity for growth.

But, whilst most brands have embraced digital marketing, the increased reliance on these solutions could lead to trouble if you don't have a solid brand strategy in place. In the new digital landscape, diversification of platforms and channels plus evolving data capabilities are just 3 examples of the complexities which spring from the aforementioned 'new model'. Therefore, it's crucial for marketers to apply a brand strategy framework to maintain focus and optimize opportunities for growth.

That's where the RACE Framework is different. Our strategic framework integrates branding, marketing, digital marketing, comms, PR, and all the functions in your business that are responsible for communicating your brand to your target customers. To ensure your brand strategy framework is a success, you need to put the customer at the center of your planning. The RACE Framework will support you with this process as it is structured according to the customer journey of Reach, Act, Convert and Engage.


The RACE Framework

RACE is a practical framework to help manage and improve results from your digital marketing. Ultimately, it’s about using a data-driven approach, applying web analytics and recommended best practices to set up your brand of success.

Since the RACE Framework is all about your customer, this planning template follows the established customer lifecycle of relationship building or marketing funnel from creating awareness; generating leads from new prospects; converting prospects to sale online or offline and encouraging loyalty, repeat sales and advocacy such as social sharing. For short, we refer to this funnel as Reach, Act, Convert and Engage.

We recommend the RACE Framework for brands looking for a strategy framework since our step-by-step process guides brand managers through the many online and offline omnichannel touchpoints essential to reaching, converting and retaining your customers today.

Moreover, by using the RACE Framework to improve your brand's performance at each stage of the funnel, you can take a data-driven marketing approach to your brand's strategic marketing. The RACE Framework defines KPIs that brand marketers should include at each stage for setting targets, reviewing results using analytics and summary dashboards and continuous optimization.

Omnichannel Marketing funnel

Omnichannel strategy essentials for 2021

The pandemic has caused a significant impact for brands in 2021. We've got the marketing tools and training to support you and your team with digital marketing. Complete a strategic review process to compete through more effective integrated marketing communications. Plan, manage and optimize your omnichannel customer touchpoints, and boost your digital marketing ROI.

Can your branded consumer goods business compete online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out

Get started now

Brand communications

At Smart Insights, we've got tools and frameworks to help you optimize your brand strategy. The RACE Framework is a no-brainer for structuring your framework, but you also need to work out what you're going to say!

We recommend using CODAR when planning creative communications to hook your target audience. Here the 5 objectives can be categorized:

  1. Idea forming
  2. Relationship building
  3. Sales activation
  4. Help
  5. Product experience

The diagram below demonstrates a way of tracking the balance of messaging in a particular communication. Here the content is designed to stimulate the customer towards purchase. Find out about this technique in full, plus other useful brand tools and frameworks in our Campaign Planning Learning Path.

Brand communications

The future of brand strategies is omnichannel


The above are the top 5 of Forbes most valuable brands in 2020. Surely, every brand dreams of brand recognition like these giants. What differentiates these companies so that customers are able to recall their brand proposition with ease and forget so many others? Commenting on this list, Professor Tim Calkins reports that the world's top brands are united in having defended their positioning in the digital landscape.

All the elements of brands - content, storytelling, product placements, and more, have been here for years. They’ve stood the test of time because of their efficiency for marketers. It’s most probable that we’ll still be looking at these tactics for the future of branding but with one major difference—technology.

As technology evolves, marketers enjoy great opportunities to utilize targeting and data to reach and engage their customers - streamlining brand messages across key touchpoints. So, essentially, the future is about getting back to the branding basics and developing new ways to make your brand strategy framework even more efficient.

So, get started today, find out how Smart Insights membership can help you and your business to achieve your goals.

Author's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle Wright is the Smart Insights blog editor, managing the company's SEO and social media strategies. With specialisms in marketing for the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT/high tech, brands and e-commerce, Gabrielle can generally be found in her second-floor Bingley terrace home office, with a cup of tea, reading and writing about marketing theory and its practical application in the global economy! You can connect with Gabrielle on LinkedIn.

Recommended Blog Posts