To understand brand marketing, first we need to know what these two terms mean individually.
What Is a Brand?
A brand is the relationship that links an organization to its customers; it is the customer’s perception of a product or service. The work of branding is building awareness among prospective customers, managing reputation and influencing the set of attributes associated with an organization’s name. A strong brand is the single most sustainable competitive advantage an organization can own.
Brand Marketing Defined
What Is Marketing?
Marketing encompasses the tactics you use to communicate your brand identity. While your brand identity is who you are (or the set of attributes customers associate with your name), marketing encompasses the methods by which you attract customers. It’s important to build your brand before developing a marketing strategy, because your brand affects the types of marketing strategies you’ll employ.
If branding is who you are, and marketing is how you communicate that identity, then what is brand marketing?
What Is Brand Marketing?
An effective brand marketing strategy builds awareness among prospective customers and enables them to get to know and trust the brand, which takes time. Potentially, brand marketing even positions your brand as a helpful resource for customers (a feat often accomplished through content marketing).
Essentially, brand marketing is a long-term strategy that differentiates your product or service from others and ensures that customers are more likely to think of you when they are in the market for the product or service you offer. Your brand marketing strategy should inform every single ad campaign you deploy.
Why Is Brand Marketing Important?
Strong brand marketing builds awareness and makes it more likely that consumers will think of you when they are in the market, searching for the product or service you offer. In other words, you’ll enter the considered set earlier.
Let’s say Panera has strategically invested its brand marketing in the Chicago area via a mix of pay-per-click ad campaigns, social media advertising and email marketing that reflect its wholesome, all-natural fast-casual restaurant brand. The next time a Chicagoan is hungry for a quick, healthy lunch, they are more likely to choose Panera because Panera is top-of-mind thanks to its strategic campaigns. In this way, strong brand marketing drives more efficient customer acquisition.
How to Craft a Brand Marketing Strategy
To build your brand marketing strategy, you need to first b. Then, you identify your audience, thereby keeping them engaged through relevant content. Most brands benefit from message segmenting, which involves refining your brand marketing message for specific audience segments while staying true to your core brand.
For example, a college would likely direct different visuals and messaging toward prospective college students than to prospective students’ parents. The college would perhaps run ads on social media to reach prospective students, whereas email messaging might be more effective to reach parents.
The next step is to determine marketing channels (for example, social media, SEO, email, pay-per-click ads); most brands benefit from a healthy mixture of several channels to best convey messaging and reach prospective customers. Finally, you will set target goals and measure your campaign results using digital monitoring.
Brand Marketing Examples
Brand marketing drives more efficient and cheaper customer acquisition because a strong brand fosters loyal, repeat customers. In this way brand marketing helps companies fend off competition and generate revenue.
Coca-Cola has built on their brand promise of meeting customers where they are to “experience joy” with numerous successful brand marketing campaigns. One that stands out is the “Share a Coke” campaign. The campaign involved replacing the original “Coke” logo with “Share a Coke with…” followed by an individual’s name (Coke wisely chose the 250 most popular names in each country). Customers tend to respond better psychologically when they feel a product was specifically designed for them, so this campaign hugely resonated — and certainly fit their brand promise of “meeting people where they are.” Even those whose names weren’t featured felt “special,” because their name was deemed too distinct for mass production.
On the other hand, if customers identify something in your brand that you don’t intend, there could be a disconnect in messaging, or a disconnect between the concept and the customer’s idea of the brand. This will make it harder to acquire customers in the future, because it is difficult to change brand perception.
For example, Miele, an appliance manufacturer, was attempting to celebrate International Women’s Day by telling women to “always remember to embrace what makes you unique!” Next to that statement Miele ran an image of four white, nearly identical women sitting and laughing atop a washer-dryer set. Not only does that image fail to capture “uniqueness,” it also reinforces a 1950s image of women on a day meant to honor women’s strength. In the process, it tarnished its reputation as “Immer Besser” (forever better) than its competitors. Miele is a brand that celebrates quality craftsmanship that makes women’s (and men’s) lives easier, but the ad demonstrated an utter disregard for women and an inability to connect with its core consumers.