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Brand marketing is the process by which a company uses marketing to raise awareness of its brand. While certain companies, like Apple, McDonald’s, and Nike, have been part of the cultural landscape for a long time, many more are quietly working to gain the same level of customer familiarity.

A company can develop brand loyalty and increase its following within its target market with the use of brand marketing. You’ve come to the perfect place if you want to elevate your brand to new heights.

This post will explain brand marketing in further detail and provide you with a step-by-step manual on how to develop your own plan.

What is Brand Marketing?  

Brand marketing refers to promoting a company’s brand as a whole rather than highlighting individual products and services. In this approach, a company might build marketing collateral that showcases its look and feel, transmits its values, and tells a compelling brand story. 

Brand marketing serves several purposes, including boosting your brand’s reputation, building brand equity, and inspiring consumers’ trust and loyalty. In addition, an effective brand marketing strategy can also make it possible to increase consumers’ engagement with your brand, increase revenue, turn loyal customers into brand ambassadors, and have a positive impact on people’s lives. 

It’s important you understand the difference between branding and marketing so you can efficiently use them together. In essence, marketing is how you build awareness of your brand and its products and generate sales, and branding is how you express who your business is for and what it’s all about.

Think of marketing as your business-generating toolkit and branding as your overall approach to reaching your target audience. Branding is one of the primary building blocks of your marketing strategy, so it will always come first. If your brand was KFC, your branding would be the “secret herbs and spices” and your marketing would be everything you do to get your customers excited to try your chicken, like your TV and radio ads, billboards, and social media ads. No matter what industry you’re in or how large you aim to grow, it’s important to work out who your business is as a brand before you create a marketing plan.

That means clearly identifying your company’s personality. In other words, defining your brand. This means carefully choosing your illustrations, logo, typography and business colors to embody your brand’s values. For example, if you’re a bold brand, you’d likely choose a bright color palette and a punchy copy voice. If you’re a timeless, traditional brand, you’d probably go with more muted colors and a sophisticated font for your website and email template. These design choices are the foundation for your marketing strategy.

Build Your Brand Marketing Strategy

Your long-term plan to strengthen your brand’s position in the market is called a brand marketing strategy. Organizing your efforts to inform customers about your business with a strategy will help. To create your brand marketing plan, gather any existing brand assets and marketing collateral, such as buyer personas, social media posts, creatives for ad campaigns, and design elements. Then, just follow the steps listed below.

  • 1. Identify your brand marketing goals.

Articulate what you want to achieve with your brand marketing efforts. That way, you can determine your tactics and approaches with intention and have a basis for measuring your progress over time. Make these goals as specific as possible, understanding that you can adjust as needed as you build other sections of your brand marketing strategy. 

Draw from these examples of brand marketing goals: 

  • Develop marketing content to elevate brand vision and philosophy and increase customer engagement with such messaging.
  • Understand the brand’s overall appeal.
  • Recruit brand ambassadors from the existing customer base who willingly participate in promotional activities. 
  • 2. Define your brand story. 

A brand story is a coherent narrative about a brand’s origin, mission, purpose, and role in customers’ lives. A good brand story should captivate customers because they can relate their experiences to it or aspire to what the brand represents. Because humans respond emotionally to well-crafted stories, having a coherent brand story can make your brand marketing more effective. 

To define your brand story, start by reviewing everything that comprises your brand’s identity, from the visual and language elements that consumers first encounter to the values and philosophy that undergird these elements. Next, answer these questions to bring brand story material to the forefront: 

  • How did this brand originate? 
  • What were the events that led to its inception? 
  • What inspired you to develop it? 
  • What problems do customers have that your brand helps to solve? 
  • What desire do customers have that your brand satisfies? 
  • What ideas and principles went into this brand’s design? 
  • What goes into the development of each product and service? 

Then, shape the raw brand story material into a short but coherent narrative. You might consider developing several versions of the brand story: a short one that can be verbalized in a few seconds or added to a social media profile as a brief intro, and a longer one to comprise a page on your website. 

  • 3. Determine your brand marketing tactics. 

Review any market research you’ve conducted, your brand marketing goals, and your brand story to determine the specific tactics you’ll use to market your brand. Answer the following questions to decide on your tactics. Be able to say why you’ve chosen each one and how you foresee it helping you reach your brand marketing goals: 

  • On which marketing channels will you develop a brand presence?
  • How can you coordinate paid ad campaigns and organic content to tell your brand’s story and extend its reach? 
  • How will you leverage social media influencers and the rapport they’ve cultivated with their audiences to reach new niche markets?
  • What kind of affiliate marketing and referral programs can you offer to turn loyal customers into brand ambassadors? 
  • 4. Develop brand marketing collateral. 

Your goal in this step is to create brand marketing collateral that communicates your brand’s values, mission, visual identity, and story in compelling ways for use across all marketing channels. Collateral can include: 

  • Email campaigns and sequences  
  • Web copy, blog articles, or other content  
  • Social media posts
  • Videos 
  • Digital or print ad creatives 
  • Business cards and other print collateral 
  • 5. Measure your success. 

For this step, review your goals and tactics, and decide on the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure the success of your brand marketing efforts. That way, you can find out what’s working and what’s not and adjust your strategy accordingly. KPIs might include the number of site visitors during a specific period or the performance of individual pieces of branded content marketing. 

Read Also: What is Brand Awareness?

Next, set up analytic tools on each marketing channel to monitor KPIs and set calendar alerts to review them. 

Below are 3 examples:

Nearly everyone in the world is familiar with the names Apple, McDonald’s, and Nike. How did they get to where they were? Marketing for brands that work!

  • Apple’s brand marketing strategy

Apple’s brand marketing strategy is simple. Don’t just create a brand, create a movement. In all of Apple’s marketing efforts, they don’t just sell their newest phone or tablet, they sell a lifestyle. From their crisp white packaging and provocative taglines (Think Different being one of their most famous) to their event-like product launches, Apple’s brand marketing makes people feel like they need Apple products to improve their lives.

This brand marketing strategy has created a dedicated fandom. Apple recognizes its fandom’s staying power and with it in mind, never strays away from its comprehensive brand. Even when their marketing executions change, their clear, modern, and innovative brand marketing strategy remains the same.

  • Nike’s brand marketing strategy

Nike’s brand marketing strategy involves not just selling a product, but selling a story. From their website to their product descriptions to their social media, Nike takes every opportunity to tell a story about their products, their beginning or their ideas.

Nike product description showing a red sneaker

Adding a storytelling element to your brand or giving your customers the background of your business story adds a human element to your business and maybe a great marketing strategy for you. Remember, your story doesn’t have to be groundbreaking. Simply explaining where you came from and giving your customers something to relate to is far more influential than just selling a product.

  • McDonald’s brand marketing strategy

According to numerous studies, McDonald’s is one of the most recognized brands around the globe. So it’s no surprise their brand marketing strategy relies heavily on brand consistency. Their golden arches are instantly recognized everywhere from America to India to Australia, and people associate their brand with feeling happy.

How has McDonald’s created such a distinguishable brand? Well, they’ve kept their brand identity and product consistent for over 60 years, while making thoughtful and on-brand improvements. Their logo has remained relatively the same and their marketing taglines have unrelentingly endorsed the same message: we make you happy. Here’s a few ways they’ve said it over the years:

  • You deserve a break today (1971-1975)
  • That’s my McDonald’s (1981)
  • Have you had your break today? (1995-1997)
  • Smile (2001-2003)
  • I’m lovin’ it (present)

When you’re creating a brand marketing strategy, invest in something that has longevity. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you create a new marketing campaign or logo. In fact, doing so could create more harm than good because inconsistency and extreme changes will likely confuse and even alienate your audience.

Branding Tips for Small Businesses

  • 1. Treat your brand like a person.

To best wrap your head around the branding process, think of your brand as a person. Your brand should have an identity (who it is), personality (how it behaves), and experience (how it’s remembered).

Ask yourself these questions about your brand:

  • How would your brand introduce itself?
  • If it had to describe its appearance, how would it do so?
  • How would your brand talk about your products or services? Would it be serious and professional, or would it be humorous and edgy?
  • What would someone say about your brand after “meeting” it for the first time? What are a few sentences they’d use to describe it?

The purpose of branding is to create relationships with your customers. The easiest way to do this is to treat your brand as a person and understand that you want your customers to do the same.

  • 2. Prioritize consistency.

88% of consumers are looking for authenticity from the brands they support. Consistency is essential for branding because it builds trust and shows customers that your values are authentic. Without it, you could accidentally undermine your brand and confuse your customers.

Recognizable, valuable brands focus on consistency — and they reap the benefits. So, make your brand a unified presence across mediums and platforms. This makes it easy for your customers to get familiar with, recognize, and come to prefer your brand over time. Brand guidelines can help with this initiative.

  • 3. Build and follow a brand strategy.

A brand strategy is more than your brand guidelines. It’s a plan with specific, long-term goals that your team can achieve as your brand evolves. These goals typically revolve around your brand’s purpose, emotion, flexibility, competitive awareness, and employee involvement.

Remember how I said that branding is a continuous process? There’s a lot that goes into it. A brand strategy can help you turn that process into a well-oiled practice that keeps your brand moving toward success and recognition.

  • 4. Don’t let inspiration turn into imitation.

Competitive analysis is important. Not only does it educate you on where your competition stands and how they are excelling, but it can also give you ideas on how you can improve or further set apart your brand.

But be careful to not fall into an imitation trap. Keep your competitive research limited and focus on what your organization brings to the table. Just because a competitor (or two) has branded their company in a certain way doesn’t mean that you have to follow suit. New, unique, provocative brands are memorable brands.

  • 5. Use branding to hire.

Strong branding makes your employees proud. Leverage your branding to attract talented people. If hiring is a strong initiative for your organization, dedicate some of your resources to employer branding.

Employer branding is how you market your company to job seekers and current employees. If you’re publicly proud of your organization, others will be, too.

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