Brand marketing can be defined as the emotional connection between a company’s offerings and its target audience.
With this hybrid strategy brands position themselves as the complete solution for customers rather than just focusing on marketing their company’s products themselves.
Combining iconic branding and creative marketing increases the opportunity of influencing your target audience throughout their entire customer lifecycle.
Brand marketing encompasses all of the communications and actions that expose people to a brand’s image.
So what is brand marketing? In this article, we are going to break down what successful brand marketing is and discuss how it can help your business reach even more success.
What is a brand?
A brand represents the overall experience from every interaction a customer has with the associated company.
This is why 73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
Some components that make up a brand are the name, terms, designs, symbols, and other features that distinguish an organization or product from its competitors.
Brands can also take a variety of forms such as trademarks, service marks, logos, and slogans. A brand is an important part of any business since it sets it apart from the competition.
The battles for middle earth between Apple and Microsoft are great brand marketing examples to demonstrate brand loyalty.
Both companies are widely known and have overlapping offerings yet when it comes to computers most people have a polarizing opinion about their preference.
If you love the Apple ecosystem that integrates its software and technologies then purchasing from their product category lines makes sense.
However, if you like your smartphone with the Android OS (operating system) then there’s a big chance you’ll use Windows as your computer’s OS.
That’s because Microsoft’s smartphone brand reputation decreased over time due to low demand, slow innovation, and other factors.
Apple’s reputation is more known for privacy protection, a closed network, and premium prices. Microsoft and Google are a little more open-minded with their product (or service) infrastructure while being affordable for most people.
So average consumers like a 67-year-old grandma to the millennial content creator have a deep opinion on the subject because both companies provide a distinct experience for customers with their offerings.
You most likely either love them or hate them, yet the key to their success from effective branding is you know of them. Can you guess which brand I’m in favor of? Haha!
Branding Vs Marketing and which comes first
There are a lot of people who get branding and marketing confused or they don’t know which process comes first.
You can think of branding as the continuous process of defining who you are in the eyes of your target audience.
Marketing on the other hand is the promotional activities created to turn a prospect into a customer.
If marketing is what gets people to the party then branding is why they come to the next party for more good times. Marketing is what gets the attention and branding retains it.
Both of these business strategies should work together seamlessly however branding should always come first as a business priority for long-term success.
It’s because marketing strategies and tactics can have shorter shelf lives based on business trends whereas branding is everlasting company notoriety.
Think of it like this: if your brand was a Big Mac, your branding would be the “special sauce”—and your marketing would be anything and everything you do to get your customers excited to take a bite (like your commercials, social media ads, and other campaigns).
Which goals in brand marketing lead toward success?
The most important goal of branding is to establish a good presence in the minds of its consumers.
A brand and marketing manager should decide on what products, services, and advertising will be used to achieve other long-term goals. Some goals of effective brand marketing are to:
- become easily recognizable (brand identity)
- increase awareness of the brand (brand awareness)
- build a positive reputation (brand reputation)
- increase the amount the brand is used (brand engagement)
- develop customer loyalty (brand loyalty)
- gain referral from customers (brand advocacy)
If you aren’t properly branding then your customers will not be able to tell the difference between your brand and your competitors.
One of the most common mistakes companies make with branding is not having a clear idea of their target market. This is when creating buyer personas as a customer roadmap is one of your best tools to succeed.
When is successful brand marketing? The answer may seem obvious, but every industry has a few examples of poor brand marketing leading to failure.
Remember the Kendall Jenner 2017 Pepsi commercial because if not SNL definitely did?
The real success from brand marketing comes from aligning 360 customer satisfaction with your bottom line or what I call the Win/Win.
Who is brand marketing for?
You don’t have to be an iconic brand to utilize brand marketing because whether you’re a small business or a big business you still have a brand.
The main difference between big brand marketing and small brand marketing is those small businesses have smaller budgets.
In a 2015 global Nielsen survey, almost 60% of shoppers said they actively buy from brands they know, and 21% said they bought a product because they liked the brand. (blog.hubspot.com)
Small businesses don’t have the financial resources that big companies have, so they have to be more creative in how they market themselves.
Take for instance a Cleveland, Oh-based local apple sauce company Holmes and watch how they use an original kid-friendly video jingle to tell a story.
So if you are looking to make an impact on your customers to influence repeat purchases with your business, keep them subscribed, or refer leads then brand marketing is definitely for you.
How to build a brand strategy
When you’re growing a brand, you need to think about expanding your customer base. You will also need to decide what your brand is going to look like in the future.
This includes everything from the logo to the social media presence and it will be supported by the brand strategy. Your brand strategy is a set of values and goals that you want to make your company stands for.
A brand strategy is a guide to help you focus on the way you present and market your brand so that it stands out to the people you are trying to attract.
Without one, your marketing efforts push away your intended audience or is not seen at all.
A brand strategy can also come in handy if you are thinking of rebranding an existing product or creating a new one.
There are two categories that brand strategy can be divided into which helps organize the overall plan. These categories are brand identity and brand expression.
Brand Identity refers to the aesthetics of the brand such as logos, fonts, colors, imagery, graphics, etc. These are elements that your audience will most likely see when interacting with your brand.
Brand Expression is the statements and standards of your brand such as mission, vision statement, values, taglines, culture, and messaging.
This creates the brand’s personality and usually affects how people will feel when engaging with your brand.
Brand marketing strategy mistakes to avoid
Whether you’re a seasoned vet in the field of branding or a novice, it’s important to understand the common mistakes that are made when coming up with a brand marketing strategy.
When you are clear on what you are doing wrong you can prevent or mitigate a lot of similar issues in the future. With that in mind, here are a few things to be aware of when developing your brand marketing strategy.
- Ignoring the audience
In a world where plagiarism and copyright infringement are real problems, it is best to avoid duplicating any other brand’s work.
The last thing you want your brand facing is the consequences of a lawsuit or media backlash from copying others without permission.
Branding is not a race to the finish line but it is a continuous journey of incremental movements. Although you don’t have to rush the process, it’s imperative that you practice consistent branding with your efforts.
Whether it’s content marketing, products or services make sure there’s consistency within your formula. Coca-Cola once tried to change its flavor to compete with Pepsi and quickly reverted back due to angry customers.
According to a report on Orberlo 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.
This shows how important people feel about the intentions of the brands they are buying from. Sticking to your company’s core values even through times of adversity can be very beneficial for your customers.
Since some of your customers will feel entitled to their opinion with your customer service it does help if you listen to their feedback.
This information can be used to craft better messaging, products and, services that show you truly care about your customers. Ignoring their feedback could lead to a loss in new opportunities and revenue.
I believe that you either spend money to save time or spend time to save money but you traditionally can’t have it both ways.
This is why, in reference to business tasks, there is a time to do it yourself and a time to hire a marketing professional. Don’t make the mistake of being cheap vs being cost-effective because you may pay a higher price later.
How does marketing automation help brands?
Marketing automation tools are designed to help businesses automate repetitive marketing tasks such as email, social media, and website content.
They can help brands achieve more with limited resources, target the right audience, and make sure that the message is getting out to the right people.
The end result is that brands have more time to focus on creating meaningful content.
There is some confusion between marketing automation and email marketing for many entrepreneurs.
While they do have many similar features email marketing focuses on actions from your email subscribers and marketing automation tracks various interactions your audience has with the business.
The marketing automation touchpoints will include email marketing, social media marketing, sales funnels, content marketing, and any other channel that can be utilized for lead scoring or personalization.
Some popular platforms that help brands achieve consolidated marketing automation processes are Hubspot, Active Campaign, Sharpspring, Mailchimp, and FluentCRM to name a few.
You don’t have to overthink the concept of brand marketing as if it’s an overcomplicated math equation.
It’s simply combining both branding and marketing activities while focusing on the customer’s needs and not the company’s offerings.
Use this article as an introduction to creating your own strategy based on the information given along with some simple steps to avoid some branding failures.