Updated 4 months ago by Hayley Campbell
Marketing has been around for a long time, but with brands taking center stage, it's time to make the shift to brand marketing.
As you well know, it takes more than a good product to generate brand awareness. The market is simply too saturated with your direct competitors’ products, and search engines are full of “expertise” in every category.
This means, if you’re serious about building a brand, you need to invest in a brand growth strategy that’s designed to help you stand out from your competitors and build real relationships with your customers.
In this post, we’ll dig into the specifics of brand marketing strategy, show you why it’s different from standard marketing strategies, and break down exactly how you can build a brand marketing strategy for yourself. Let’s get started.
Put simply, brand marketing is a strategy designed to help you build a connection between your customers and your brand, so you can strengthen customer loyalty and increase sales. It’s the work you do to promote your brand (not just your products). That includes your values, mission, UVP, and other core elements that make your brand unique and valuable.
In many ways, brand marketing and marketing are the same. For instance, brand marketing is accomplished through the sharing of useful content in email campaigns, blog posts, social media, digital ads, and landing pages. Just like marketing is.
However, the focus of brand marketing is much different. Whereas standard marketing pitches products and services to your customers by showing off features and benefits, brand marketing promotes your purpose, values, and vision to package everything you offer under a brand name.
This approach raises your brand awareness and encourages customers to form a lasting relationship with your business – rather than buying your products every now and again without thinking or caring about who you are and why you do what you do.
Why does that matter? Because consumers care about “who” they’re buying from and “why” brands are in business to sell particular products.
For example, many consumers are looking for eco-friendly cleaning companies committed to creating safe, green cleaning products. So much so that they’ll spend more money on soap, detergent, and all-purpose cleaner, when they find a company (like Method or 7th Generation) who clearly fits those criteria. So naturally, these companies use brand marketing strategies to show their target audience “who” they are and “why” they do what they do, in addition to what they sell.
On top of the fact that brand marketing elevates their brand awareness, it also encourages customers to stick around. And since, 89% of customers are likely to stay loyal to brands that share their values, the same opportunity is available to any business that employs brand marketing.
So brand marketing has a clear place in your brand plan and offers a lot of benefits. But the real question is: How do you go about creating a successful brand marketing strategy?
Honestly, there are a lot of elements that go into it. We’ve got 5 tips to help you get it right, though.
The same way you can’t go on a road trip without knowing your destination, you can’t start mapping out your strategy until you have an end goal in mind. If you do, you’ll spend lots of time bouncing aimlessly from initiative to initiative and wondering if you’ve actually achieved your desired goals.
Having a vision gives you direction in your marketing efforts and helps you stay focused as you develop new campaigns for your brand marketing strategy. It also gives you direction in the work you do for your customers, by reminding you what you’re shooting for.
Here are some examples of what your vision might look like:
Defining your vision is as simple as determining what you want to be known for or what you ultimately want to accomplish as a brand. It’s an iterative process that requires a lot of introspection and reflection on why you're in business to do what you do. But it ultimately provides you with a lot of clarity and guidance on how to market, sell, and create products.
Once you have your vision nailed down, you can enter it into your Frontify cover page to keep it top-of-mind and easy-to-find for all of your employees.
If you’re serious about building a brand or growing a brand, audience research is something you should be doing anyway. But if you’ve decided to develop a brand marketing strategy, this is something you need to put a lot of effort into.
Audience research enables you to know who you’re talking to, what their pain points are, and what their goals are. It also shows you the best way to market your brand to your customers, so you can get them excited about what you do and interested in purchasing your products, specifically.
Audience research is a fairly nuanced process that requires a lot of time and effort. But there are quite a few ways you can do it, including:
While there are a lot of necessary similarities between you and your competitors – in terms of your products – you want to make sure you stand out from them, in a good way.
Differentiating might be seen in your tone of voice or color palette, but first and foremost, it should exist in your messaging. Your mission, vision, and promise to your customers should be different than your competitors’ – even if you’re offering the same service or product.
FedEx and UPS are a prime example of this. Both companies are focused on shipping packages quickly and reliably all around the globe. But each company has its own set of messages.
For instance, FedEx promises overnight delivery via its slogan: “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” Meanwhile, UPS focuses solely on the “logistics” of the operation, so they can make everything run smoothly and keep customers happy.
Ultimately, it’s up to you and your team to determine how you should stand out. Just remember to refer back to your audience research and your overarching vision as you do it. It will help you come up with a unique way to present your brand without going too wild.
Consistency is key to conversion. It makes all the difference to your customers if they can expect a common voice, tone, and approach from the companies they buy from. Your brand is no exception.
Developing clear brand guidelines makes it possible for you to create a consistent brand identity in every digital (and physical) space and share it clearly with your customers via your brand marketing efforts.
One of the easiest ways you can create a set of guidelines is by using Frontify’s guideline tools and asset libraries. In the Frontify guidelines, you can define your brand colors, select font styles, and weights, and define your messaging. Once you have that squared away, you can use the built-in asset libraries to organize everything from logos to images and icons. All of it is saved in the cloud where you and your team can access it easily.
Since nearly 9 out of 10 customers are likely to remain loyal to brands who share their values, it should come as no surprise that brand values can be a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. In fact, when used correctly, your brand values can give customers a glimpse into how you treat your employees, show them how you value the community and treat the environment, and lots more.
The key is to be authentic. Believe it or not, customers can sense awkwardness and insincerity a mile away. On top of that, you can wind up struggling to maintain your consistency in the application of those values, if you don’t actually believe in them.
So, take some time to pin down 3-5 values that you support whole-heartedly. Once you have them, highlight them in your brand marketing and employer branding campaigns. Discuss the reasons you’ve chosen each value and share different ways those values are applied across your organization and out into the world. You’ll start to find common ground with your customers and build relationships with them.
Developing a brand marketing strategy requires a lot of thought and effort. But the reality is, if you want to stand out among your competitors and connect with your customers, it’s a non-negotiable. Luckily, if you employ the strategies above, you’ll be well equipped to market your brand successfully.