Why You Need to Focus on Brand Marketing (And How to Do It Well)
Small businesses that incorporate their brand into their marketing and advertising will see much higher response rates than those that don’t.
I am sometimes surprised—and almost always annoyed—when the debate arises between brand consultants and marketing agencies as they battle over which of their services is more important.
The answer is simple: branding and marketing are equally important.
Unfortunately, the business owners who choose one over the other usually do so because they do not understand branding and marketing as separate processes or how they complement each other.
As a result, they are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to build something special. The small businesses that understand and utilize the power of brand marketing will by far emerge as the winners of the race.
In this article, I will explain what brand marketing is and how it can supercharge your business’s growth.
What Is Brand Marketing?
Brand marketing is the process of promoting your business in a way that builds and enhances its identity and reputation in the minds of your target audience. This lays the groundwork for a connection to take place between your business and prospective customers.
The most effective brand marketing campaigns not only generate sales but also leverage your business’s philosophy and persona to build long-term relationships with customers.
However, the intense focus on generating immediate and short-term sales leads many business owners and marketing agencies to ignore the branding process. This is a serious and costly mistake.
Because ignoring your brand and relying solely on marketing is like looking for a life partner that is physically attractive without considering who they are as a person. Couples that get into relationships based on physical attraction often split up after getting to know each other better.
This same principle applies to business-customer relationships. The companies that incorporate the brand building process into their marketing campaigns will forge deeper, longer-lasting connections with customers. These long-term business relationships foster additional purchases and referrals.
Why Branding Comes First
Brand building must take place first simply because it is necessary to have a brand identity before you can promote one. By giving your business an identity, you are establishing a “persona” to which your target audience can connect.
This study shows that nearly two-thirds of consumers want a deeper connection with the brands they buy from. Having a brand identity increases the likelihood that this bond will occur and occur much quicker.
This may sound complex, but it really isn’t.
As an example, Tom’s, a popular premium shoe brand, has used brand marketing to build and maintain strong customer loyalty. The company is known for supporting charities around the world and donates a portion of every purchase to them. Their customers are willing to spend more for a pair of shoes because their product is higher in quality and because some of the money will go to a good cause.
The brand marketing strategy used by Tom’s is an illustration of how effective one can be when executed consistently across all channels. Your business can employ this same brand marketing strategy as well to get the growth you want.
Aligning Your Branding and Marketing Strategies
We can use marketing, advertising, and other avenues of business promotion (such as events and networking) to build our brand. But it is important to implement the process in the proper sequence to get the results we want.
Begin with the End in Mind
Before we do anything, we must determine what we want to accomplish. Start with what you would ultimately like your business to become.
- What do you want your company to look like in ten years?
- What do you want people to think of when your business comes to mind?
- What are your 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year growth goals? This answer is not limited to revenue but to any growth goal (such as expansion, franchising, etcetera).
- Do you want to sell your business one day? If so, what traits and characteristics does your business need to have to attract the right buyer?
These may seem like difficult or intimidating questions to answer at first. But having an idea of what you want your business to become will provide a target for which to aim as you create your brand identity.
Choose Your Identity
As you develop your business’s persona—its brand identity—you must be sure it aligns with the type of business you want to build. This persona will set the tone for everything you do going forward.
To help with this part of the process, take a look at this article on the 12 brand archetypes. Which one best describes the brand you would like to build?
Creating this identity will make it easier to connect with your target audience by keeping all of your imaging and messaging consistent.
Identify Your Best Customers
The audience you target is one of the most important ingredients in a successful business formula. Sending your message to the wrong audience means it will fall on deaf ears. Instead, you must create a message that resonates with the people you want to reach.
Consider the type of person your business is best suited to help. Create a profile of that person while including as much information as you can. While this profile will evolve over time, having it will keep you focused on looking for the right customers.
This is where your brand will make the greatest impact. Having an identity that aligns with your target audience will help you stand out, grab their attention, and make them much more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Create a Brand Message
A brand message communicates your core value themes to your target audience and can be used to create your marketing and advertising messages.
Your brand message consists of who you help, how you help them, and why you are the best choice for your target customers. Most of all, you should use language they will easily understand.
If you have done a good job identifying and profiling your best customer type, you will know how they describe the problem you help them solve. Use this information in your messaging. The clearer and more accurate your message is, the higher your marketing and advertising response rates will be.
To learn more about creating your brand message, read this article.
Brand Narrative vs. Testimonials
A brand narrative is an effective way to get your audience interested in your business and its products and services. The goal is to create a link between the problems your prospective customers have while positioning your business as having the solution. Brand narratives are especially powerful because they tap into emotion.
Most businesses today integrate testimonials into their marketing to give prospective customers confidence in making a purchase. These statements from happy customers are often short and serve as proof that a business delivers on its promises.
While this type of proof is important, a brand narrative goes into detail about how a company delivers on its promises and why it does what it does. This is a great way to show people how your product or service makes their lives better and why it is superior to those of your competitors.
Minnetonka uses their blog to tells stories that highlight their product—moccasins. This is an example of a brand narrative at its best.
Share Your Brand with the World
The brand message and narrative you have created will supply foundational content for your marketing and advertising campaigns. All ads, websites, social media posts, and other channels used for promotion will reflect the themes in your brand messaging.
This messaging process is ongoing and never ends. The more you implement it, the better you will get at developing content that communicates your brand identity and connects to your audience.
For more on creating content for your brand, read this article.
Consistency is the key to successful brand marketing. Once you have all of the messaging in place, continue sharing it across all channels—social media, search engines, websites, and print media.
Consistent branding has been credited with increasing a company’s revenue by as much as 33%.
It is easy to get bored with your message but keep mind that people will come into contact with your brand marketing every day who have never heard of your business before. Though you may be repeating the same message again and again, it will be new for most people. It takes time for an audience to get to know you and remember the message you are communicating.
Brand marketing can significantly increase response rates and return on investment of all of your marketing and advertising. Start with your long-term vision and create the brand identity best suited to help you achieve your goals.
Then, develop a profile of the customer that you can help the most. Once you know who your audience is, you can create brand messaging and a brand narrative that will resonate with them. This is the most effective way to connect with your prospective customers and will ensure additional purchases and more referrals.
Most of all, be consistent. New people will come into contact with your brand marketing every day. You never how many of them will become your customers.
If you need help or have questions, email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
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