In business, if you’re not targeting the right audience, then you’re wasting your time. More than just time, you’ll be wasting any financial investment that you’ve put into developing and marketing your business. Having a uniquely identifiable brand is one of the most powerful tools that you can possess when it comes to targeting an audience, and the understanding of brand marketing strategy is something that any business owner can benefit from.
Brand Marketing: What is a Brand? It’s More Than Just a Logo
When people think of branding, they think of a name or a logo, but there’s much more to it than that. Branding does include those key elements, but it also includes emotion, premise, and relationships.
- Emotions are what customers feel when they are exposed to your brand. Obviously, you’ll want them to have a positive reaction.
- Promise is the underlying offering of your brand. Does your brand represent quality and a unique solution? This is the promise, and should be closely aligned to your name and logo.
- Relationships are the continued interactions between your company and your customers. Strong relationships lead to a strong brand, whereas poor experience lead to loss in brand confidence.
Branding is as much about mindset as it is the specific words or graphics that you use when representing your company. Think of your name and your logo as a placeholder, but it’s the intangible perceptions that truly make up the value in a brand.
How Do You Market Your Brand?
Brand Marketing Strategy could be described as a misleading term. Although it exists in concept, the reality is that everything you do in business is part of your brand marketing strategy. If your promise is to deliver incredible value and prompt service, but you fail to deliver, then that will damage your brand. Therefore, ensuring you meet your promise will be part of your brand strategy. This could mean training your staff, using the most efficient CRM or distribution system, or performing any other business task that ensures that your promise is met.
As you’ll find out as your business grows, service delivery and brand marketing strategy often overlap, as does advertising and even product design. No matter what you do in business, with every decision that you make, you need to be asking yourself: does this align with my brand? By influencing emotions with your brand, you could go a long way towards creating a positive market perception. Good service leaves customers happy and they will feel valued. Innovative products that solve problems in unique ways will mean that customers develop trust in your brand, and they’ll start to view your company as a market leader. Again, any form of interaction with a customer, and all forms of marketing, will have an influence on how your brand is perceived.
Don’t Make Your Brand About You, Make it About Your Audience
Have you noticed that all of the leading brands are focused on consumers, rather than on themselves? This is true right down to the messaging that the leading brands use. To ensure that your whole organization is aligned with the same brand message, you will need to have a single brand positioning statement. Your brand positioning statement covers your target market, a point of reference, an emotion/belief/promise, and reasons why this is true. As an example, let’s consider a health food company that specializes in alternative snacks.
Health conscious individuals aged 25 – 50 who want to maintain or better their fitness and appearance.
Point of Reference:
This is the product. E.g. a tasty low calorie snack bar with a high protein content.
This product allows for moments of indulgence without feeling guilty about what you eat.
Because this product has less than 90 calories per bar, it is less than 1% fat with no trans fats, it uses natural and ethically sourced ingredients, and studies show that individuals who use this product were able to maintain their fitness goals without setbacks or weight gain. Clearly, the brand positioning statement has little to do with a brand name or imagery used in a logo or other advertising, but it does contain all of the elements that will guide messaging in any content that is published, and it will ensure that there’s an underlying context behind customer interactions and marketing. The positioning statement doesn’t prop up the brand, product, or the manufacturer, but instead it talks directly to the needs of a consumer. By developing your own brand positioning statement, you’ll find it easier to create consistent brand messaging in all of your marketing efforts.
How Will You Know if Your Marketing Efforts Are Leading to Positive Brand Perception?
The clearest measure of brand perception, is to find out what your customers are saying about your company. Look for online reviews, seek customer feedback after sales or other service related interactions, and look at conversations on branded blogs and social media. For overall brand reach you can look at things like page views, website traffic statistics, and social media followers/shares, but it is from actual engagement that you’ll discover the true perception of your brand, rather than just its reach or popularity. By constantly aiming to strengthen your brand by creating powerful content and excellent customer experiences, you’ll increase the success of future marketing campaigns, help to ensure repeat business, and improve referrals, all while creating a positive buzz around your brand name and imagery.