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Every so often the internet becomes enamoured with personified brands. People draw fan art of their favorite website going out with their favorite fast-food restaurant, both adorned in exaggerated clothes based on their branding.
On its own, this is a fun little exercise for artists. But if we take a step back we can see that it’s a testament to excellent brand marketing.
Everyone agrees on the personality of Facebook and Starbucks. These companies have so firmly established their brand identities that folks can imagine them all at a party. There’s emotional connection. There’s commitment. There’s everything a marketer dreams of achieving.
But how do you create a brand identity strong enough to get fan art made of it? Let’s take a look at the art of brand marketing, and how you can establish your company in a way that gets it invited to the party.
What is Brand Marketing?
There are two potential things you can focus on in a marketing campaign. The most obvious one is the product or service you’re trying to sell. You can talk about quality and price and all the problems it can solve.
This can be effective but isn’t likely to create brand recognition or foster customer loyalty. If I’m only getting a particular garden hose because it’s good quality and within my budget, I’m likely to buy from whatever company pops up first in the future.
On the other hand, if a company’s marketing shows off a group of friends hooking up a hose to have a sprinkler party, has a slogan that makes me laugh, features fun and colorful packaging, and does a collab with my favorite YouTuber, I’m thinking about more than the hose. I’m thinking about how the brand makes me feel, and what having this super fun garden hose says about me as a person.
That’s brand marketing. It’s all about building a relationship between the company and its customers. Everything points back to the brand identity and sticks in people's minds.
Brand Marketing Vs. Brand Identity
I can hear furiously typing, “My company has a killer brand identity, I’ve got brand marketing in the bag!” While that first part might be true (especially if you followed our five easy steps to build a brand) it’s a little more complicated than that.
Your brand identity can be thought of as your company’s personality; the colors, tone, and concepts you use to stand out from the rest of the business world. Without brand marketing to share that personality with the world, your company is basically the most interesting wallflower at the party.
Getting off the sidelines and into the public eye lets you show off how unique and spectacular your well-crafted brand identity is. However, it’s a fine line to walk. No one makes friends by walking around a party and saying “I’m super cool! Very trustworthy! Adventurous, too!”
Rather than simply telling people what your brand attributes are, brand marketing shows them. If you want your company to be seen as adventurous, show off the risks you’re taking, or use marketing materials that drip with excitement. This is how you take your brand identity from a concept to a reality.
Essential Elements of Brand Marketing
Successfully marketing your brand isn’t as simple as having a strong identity and letting people know about it. There are several key elements that you need to consider. Each of these is a color you can use to paint the picture of your brand, and how much weight you give to them depends on your goals.
Brand-focused companies strive to be known for more than just their products or services. Having a higher purpose that is authentic, meaningful, and resonates with your target audience is a great way to center your brand marketing.
Consumers, especially those from younger generations, want to support purpose-driven businesses. Studies show that having a clear and consistent stance on social issues is a surefire way to differentiate yourself from competitors and build brand loyalty and recognition.
This purpose should influence all of your decisions, from your marketing and brand voice to who you choose to partner with. For example, Dove has made its mark by centering self-esteem and “real beauty” in all of their marketing.
Similar to purpose, a brand vision looks at what your company hopes to accomplish in the long term. This should be something inspiring and ambitious that points back to your brand identity.
How you communicate this vision to customers can vary, but it should always be present in your brand messaging. This can include using powerful visuals, storytelling, and involving your audience in the journey towards your vision.
For example, Nike states its vision is to "bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” They communicate this through powerful and motivational marketing campaigns featuring real athletes of all ages.
If your company was in a lineup with all of its competitors, what would make it stand out? In the same way that Tesla is seen as an innovative luxury brand, or Levis is classic and long-lasting, your brand needs to have a unique positioning that sets it apart in your industry.
This should be reflected across the board, in your product quality, niche, pricing, and messaging. It needs to be clear and consistent while resonating with your target audience.
At its very core, brand marketing requires customers to get a read on your company, and to be able to recognize it at a glance. This means you must be consistent.
Everything from your tone and messaging to your color scheme to the people you work with needs to tell the same story every time. You’re revealing your brand identity, you don’t want to seem like you’re having an identity crisis.
Keeping this consistent helps to build brand recognition and trust. You know exactly what to expect from Coca-Cola packaging, and if you see that distinct red color and swirly font, you’ll recognize it from a mile away.
The Benefits of Brand Marketing
I’m sure you’ve noticed that brand marketing can get complicated quickly. It’s more conceptual than product marketing, so can be a hard sell for your team. However, the benefits of brand marketing make it worth the extra work.
A well-planned brand marketing campaign accomplishes the following
- Increases Brand Awareness - A strategic brand marketing campaign can increase brand recognition and reach a wider audience
- Differentiates from Competitors - By crafting and marketing a unique brand identity, you can ensure people remember your brand over all others
- Sets the Tone and Image - A well-defined brand creates a consistent tone and image that resonates with customers and sets expectations for their experiences with the company
- Supports Price Premiums - People are more likely to pay higher prices for brands they recognize and see as trustworthy and high-quality
- Boosts Referrals - If customers see that a brand has a strong purpose and identity, they are 4.5x more likely to recommend it
- Allows for Diversification - A strong brand can allow a company to diversify its offerings without losing the trust and recognition of its customers
- Creates Emotional Connections - Brands that are able to tap into their customers’ emotions are more likely to create a lasting impression and retain loyal customers
- Increases Overall Business Value - A strong brand name and reputation is very attractive to investors, and leads to a company that is worth more than the sum of its parts
Ultimately, brand marketing helps you bolster your marketing efforts and do far more than just sell products.
Creating a Brand Marketing Strategy
There are a few steps that can help you create a killer brand marketing strategy. If you follow this process, you’ll have a memorable and exciting brand in no time.
Step One: Do Your Research
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to creating a brand that people care about. It helps to have a full understanding of your
Armed with this information, you’re ready to create the perfect brand identity.
Step Two: Create Your Persona
It’s time to form the personality that your company will exude, and figure out exactly how you’ll show it off. Decide on a logo, tagline, and visual identity that gets your values across. How can your messaging reflect the energy of your brand? What story do you want to tell?
Step Three: Make it Happen
If you’re going to keep your brand marketing consistent across all channels, you’re going to need a clear set of guidelines. Craft a document that explains the voice, tone, and style of your brand. Make sure it’s clear and specific.
Take the time to explain the brand identity to your team and ensure they understand how important it is to stick to the guide at all times. Create a timeline and stick to it, knowing exactly when you’ll shift each element of your business to fit the identity.
The Bottom Line
People buy with their gut. If you can create an emotional connection with your brand, you’ll have a customer for life. Successful brand marketing requires a deep understanding of your target audience, creative storytelling, and consistent messaging. It’s not just about promoting your products or services, it’s about creating a memorable and meaningful experience.
Create a unique brand identity, and tell the world about it. Soon you’ll find your company at the center of every party in town.
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