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What is brand marketing & why should I care?

Brand Marketing: Expanding Reach, Influence, and Sales


In it's simplest form, brand marketing is the art of connecting the foundations, personality, and essence of a business to its audience. So the good news is, you likely have all of these elements within your business already.

Foundations:

The vision (where you're going), mission (what you're doing to get there) and values (how you're doing it)

Personality:

Your brand language, tone of voice and style of communication.

Essence:

Partly your values, but also your core deliverables and the problem you solve for your customer.


From here, it’s about crafting a narrative that resonates with consumers, building loyalty that transcends the purchase cycle and retains people within your brand world because of the connection you create with them.


Here’s how brand marketing can be leveraged to grow a business:


1. Establishing Identity:

A strong brand identity sets the foundation for all marketing efforts. It’s the combination of visual elements, tone of voice, and messaging that collectively defines how a business presents itself to the world. This can be presented in a number of ways, but should form a simple set of guidelines that everyone in the business has access to, and can follow it easily when they are representing the business or creating content.

2. Emotional Connection:

Brand marketing aims to create an emotional bond with the audience. If you follow Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, you'll know the term he coined called Lovemarks. These are the impressions a brand leaves when love and respect are integral elements of a brand strategy.

When consumers feel connected to a brand, they’re more likely to become repeat customers and advocates.


3. Differentiation:

In crowded markets, brand marketing helps businesses stand out. By highlighting unique selling points and values, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors. It's not as straight forward as saying the colour or name of your thing is unique though, you've got to solve a problem for the customer in a way that is better than the previous solution.


4. Consistency Across Channels:

Consistent branding across all channels reinforces recognition and trust. Whether it’s social media, email campaigns, or your visual identity, every touchpoint should reflect the brand’s identity. It's easy to forget that because you see every single message and asset that goes out the door, that your customer may only see 1-5% of what you publish. Repetition is a good thing, stick to key messages and themes, focus on your core audiences and you'll be far more memorable.


5. Storytelling:

Stories are memorable and shareable. Brand marketing uses storytelling to convey messages in an engaging way that sticks with the audience long after they’ve interacted with the brand. Use the hero, villain, guide framework to make sure your storytelling is compelling. Your customer is always the hero in the story, so make them feel important. You are the guide, helping them find their way to a solution. The villain is anything that gets in the way of that journey.


6. Community Building:

Creating a community around a brand can lead to organic growth through word-of-mouth. Engaged communities act as brand ambassadors, spreading the word and increasing reach. This doesn't have to be literal - you don't need to create a forum or separate platform for communities to thrive, you simply need to facilitate conversation. This is most logical on your social channels. Again, consistency and the hero model are important. Get people familiar with the types of conversations you have and set themes for given days so people come back for more. Keep the customer as the hero, making sure their views are heard and amplified.


7. Strategic Partnerships:

Collaborating with other brands or influencers can introduce your business to new audiences while also benefiting from the partner’s credibility. Make sure partnerships add further value to your brand and are logical. It is a risk to divert attention away from what you do to another brand, or confuse and shut off the attention of a customer because they don't know what the value of the partnership is.


8. Customer Experience:

A positive customer experience is vital in brand marketing. Happy customers are more likely to return and recommend the brand to others. It's amazing how often the customer service strategy is designed and managed in isolation of a marketing strategy. Good customer service is a huge part of positive marketing, PR and word of mouth so make sure the strategies join up and that successes are part of your marketing and content across your channels. And don't shy away from poor experiences - if you fix them and make right by the customer, don't be afraid to highlight this and be transparent about what went wrong publicly.


9. Content Marketing:

Quality content that provides value can attract and retain customers. It positions the brand as an authority in its field, influencing consumer trust and decision-making. This is integral to a brand strategy both within the customer buying cycle, but is critical in the awareness consideration stages too. You are marketing to an audience for long-term retention not just today's sale. What type of messages does your content marketing plan include that will engage people who are considering buying from you, and retain people who have already purchased.


10. Measuring Impact:

Map impact in the same way you would the customer journey. What is working at the awareness stage of the purchase journey - and what are those customers saying and do. The same for the engagement, purchase and advocacy stage. This will help you to build up a far stronger picture of what's working and what's not.


In essence, brand marketing is not just about selling products or services; it’s about selling an experience and a promise. It’s a long-term investment that, when done right, can significantly grow a business’s reach, influence, and sales.



Catherine Warrilow - brand proposition coach and founder of The Plot


If you haven't already got a defined, mapped out brand strategy, then let's talk. Knowing all of the elements that make up your proposition is key to building a brand that has staying power and can stand out in a crowded market and when times are tough and spending is squeezed.



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