Best Marketing Strategy for Branding
Building relationships with consumers has never been more challenging, with so much competition for their attention. Look at the constant barrage of pop-up and video ads that flash before our eyes every time we use our phones, turn on our computers or tablets.
Being an on-trend, relevant, inspiring, purposeful, innovative and community-centric brand – these are the things that will make people pause, listen and pay attention. Customers want to identify with a brand they can grow with, that earns their trust and makes them feel valued. People want to evolve with a brand whose products and services help give their business or life meaning and significance. End to end, a brand must become a consumer’s best friend.
What is Branding ?
Is marketing equivalent to Branding ? Maybe yes , maybe no . Everything a company does contribute to its branding and Marketing is a function which aids in visibility of those activities. If I want my customer or end user to be advocate of my product or services, I need to brand that. I need to etch in their mind our values and worth. Brand is an image of our product in consumer’s mind and branding is a process of creating that image. If we follow this process of seven steps religiously, we can be sure of building a great brand.
Comprehensive Branding Strategy
“Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose,” explains Allen Adamson, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates.
While understanding what your business promises is necessary when defining your brand positioning, knowing why you wake up everyday and go to work carries more weight. In other words, your purpose is more specific, in that it serves as a differentiator between you and your competitors.
How can you define your business’ purpose? According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed in two ways:
- Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business is to make money.
- Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.
While making money is important to almost every business, we admire brands that emphasize their willingness to achieve more than just profitability, like IKEA:
IKEA’s vision isn’t just to sell furniture, but rather, to “create a better everyday life.” This approach is appealing to potential customers, as it demonstrates their commitment to providing value beyond the point of sale.
When defining your business’ purpose, keep this example in mind. While making money is a priority, operating under that notion alone does little to set your brand apart from others in your industry.
Our advice? Dig a little deeper. If you need inspiration, check out this post on inspiring mission and vision statements.
The key to consistency is to avoid talking about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Added a new photo to your business’ Facebook Page? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your message, or was it just something funny that would, quite frankly, confuse your audience?
In an effort to give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all of your messaging is cohesive. Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty. (No pressure, right?)
To see a great example of consistency, let’s look at Coca Cola. As a result of their commitment to consistency, every element of their marketing works harmoniously together. This has helped them become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Even on the surface of their social media accounts, for example, the seamlessness of their brand is very apparent:
Customers aren’t always rational.
How else do you explain the person who paid thousands of dollars more for a Harley rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made bike? There was an emotional voice in there somewhere, whispering: “Buy a Harley.”
Harley Davidson uses emotional branding by creating a community around their brand. They began HOG — Harley Owners Group — to connect their customers with their brand (and each other).
In this fast-changing world, marketers must remain flexible to stay relevant. On the plus side, this frees you to be creative with your campaigns.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, how am I supposed to remain consistent while also being flexible?”
Good question. While consistency aims to set the standard for your brand, flexibility enables you to make adjustments that build interest and distinguish your approach from that of your competition.
In other words, “effective identity programs require enough consistency to be identifiable, but enough variation to keep things fresh and human,” explains president of Peopledesign, Kevin Budelmann.
A great example of this type of strategic balance comes from Old Spice. These days, Old Spice is one of the best examples of successful marketing across the board. However, up until recently, wearing Old Spice was pretty much an unspoken requirement for dads everywhere. Today, they’re one of the most popular brands for men of all ages.
Their secret? Flexibility.
5) Employee Involvement
As we mentioned before, achieving a sense of consistency is important if you wish to build brand recognition. And while a style guide can help you achieve a cohesive digital experience, it’s equally important for your employees to be well versed in the how they should be communicating with customers and representing the brand.
If your brand is playful and bubbly through Twitter engagements, then it wouldn’t make sense if a customer called in and was connected with a grumpy, monotone representative, right?
If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there. Reward them for that love.
These customers have gone out their way to write about you, to tell their friends about you, and to act as your brand ambassadors. Cultivating loyalty from these people early on will yield more returning customers — and more profit for your business.
Sometimes, just a thank you is all that’s needed. Other times, it’s better to go above and beyond. Write them a personalized letter. Sent them some special swag. Ask them to write a review, and feature them prominently on your website. (Or all of the above!)
7) Competitive Awareness
Take the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand. You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do.
Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail? Tailor your brand positioning based on their experience to better your company.
Build your brand in the minds of consumer
A brand is not just a name that possess unique identity. Power of brand lies in its ability to influence its consumer to buy. Power of brand lies in creating that loyalty in our consumer’s behaviour. As a consumer I may not be able to differentiate between taste of different breads or maybe different packaged drinking water, but still I prefer one above the other.
Its because that product has followed the branding process better than the other.
Be specific -Don’t be everything to everybody
Branding curtails the thinking of “ being everything to everyone “ There should be a differentiation, I may be very good at selling cake but if I end up bringing chocolates, wafers, soft drink, cookies everything in one name, I would lose the charm. It confuses our customers about speciality. Don’t expand your umbrella to bring everything underrate. It would gradually decrease the viability and undermine your brand name in consumer’s mind.
Focus on your speciality
Every town has a coffee shop but when we think about a brand , we think Starbucks. If I want a doughnuts I would prefer MOD or Dunkin Donuts. Your consumer should think of you when it comes to that category. Just be excellent in not think, specialise in that one skill and you will be forever etched in the minds of your consumer. Branding can also be synonymous to dominating the category.
Publicise your brand
Why XYZ and not ABC is a big question. In a startup phase you cannot reply on advertising. You are just born and you need to be in news for good reasons. Reach out to people, travel, interact, discuss and debate around your idea and it will attract the consumer to your brand. To develop a great brand, scare away from negative news. What others say about your brand is a big way to publicise. Help your consumer in having a good experience. Their experience will generate loyalty and that would help in massive branding.
Advertise as a leader
Spending on an advertisement is like spending on a good security system for your house. It helps you lose against your competition. When you have done things discussed above , you have paved the way to good advertisement. Leadership is a great way of projecting your brand . Advertise yourself as a leader in the category/domain.
- Who sells the best Penthouse
- Who delivers pizza fastest
- Who kills mosquitoes in most harmless way
- Chose your strength and play around it.
Own that one word
Branding means owning that one word . that one word should generate something in your mind.
If I talk about building a brand , I would focus on etching that word in consumer’s mind. It should create an image and should be synonym of something to focus on.
- A Five Star hotel name should portray luxury
- A baby shop should portray care
- A health drink should portray nourishment
That word is the key to brand building . If I want my health drink to portray nourishment , I would add the most nourishing ingredients and also find a code word for nourishment and finally play around these two things to create a nourishing image .
Build the credibility
Customers are suspicious, they tend to see a company as a profit maker and as a brand we need to work on reliability factor. When we advertise on leadership factor , we equally need to validate that point. We have to get our credentials correct. If we want to be successful brand we need to do everything it takes to reach there.
Do you mind waiting for a table outside that leading restaurant for lunch ? No we don’t? the link of customers waiting outside has paved the way of its credibility. Be authentic and build on your credentials.