A Complete Guide to Brand Marketing
Brands rise and fall faster than ever in today’s digital landscape. There’s more competition for attention along with higher expectations for positive experiences on every channel. To get ahead and thrive as a business, it’s crucial to have a brand marketing strategy.
You need a brand that people relate to, trust, and seek out. It takes time and strategic effort to build a brand like that. With the right approach, you can develop an identity and relationship with your audience that lasts through evolutions in shopping behavior, market dynamics, and emergent technology.
Brand marketing is related to other concepts like brand management and brand experience. Each will intertwine with your brand marketing strategy. This guide focuses on what brand marketing is, why it’s important, and how to start building or modifying your own brand marketing strategy
What is brand marketing?
|Brand marketing is everything you do to promote your brand story, brand messaging, or brand as a whole. It’s still marketing that might sell products, but it doesn’t put the products at the forefront or make revenue the primary goal.|
Brand marketing consists of tactics that showcase your brand’s personality and create meaningful connections. You’ll measure success with brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand equity metrics.
An example of brand marketing could be a video campaign on TikTok that shares your company’s story, shows how your brand is involved in the community, or displays the positive experiences customers have with your brand. Brand marketing campaigns can show up across all channels as any type of content, be it an educational blog post, email newsletter, or physical campaign that gets your logo noticed in a new market.
But isn’t that just brand management? They’re certainly related but not exactly alike. Brand management encompasses all your company’s efforts to curate your brand from customer service interactions to product packaging designs. Brand marketing consists of active outreach with a focused strategy on how you promote your brand’s identity, story, and image.
So, why is it so important to have a brand marketing strategy?
Why is brand marketing important?
Consistent brand marketing over time sets your products apart. That means your brand will stand out on the digital (or physical) shelf when it’s surrounded by competitors. It also means you have to do less work to get people to notice you on all channels over time. Instead, you can spend more time innovating.
Let’s dive deeper into other benefits of brand marketing.
Build brand equity. Brand equity is the value customers assign to your brand based on their experiences, perceptions, and stories about it. Apple, Google, Nike, and Coca-Cola are examples of the highest level of brand equity you can build. People know and trust these brands. If you need a new smartphone, chances are you’ll head to the Apple store for it.
Create an emotional connection with customers. Coca-Cola in a glass bottle can easily trigger nostalgia and a strong emotional response in customers. That effect took generations to establish, but you can use today’s omnichannel customer experiences to create new kinds of emotional connections with your market.
Develop brand awareness. Brand awareness is exactly what it sounds like: how familiar people are with your brand. Do they know its logo? Flagship product? Tagline? They might even know you have the best customer service even if they’ve never bought a product from you. Developing awareness of your brand takes time and consistency, with big flashes of product success or viral Super Bowl commercials needed along the way.
Increase brand loyalty. You want customers with unwavering allegiance to your brand. Brand loyalty comes from a long string of positive experiences that your brand marketing strategy can facilitate. If a consumer is loyal to your brand, they’re more likely to purchase its products or services regardless of convenience, price, or options.
Establish brand consistency. When you market your brand strategically with a consistent message and presentation, people know what to expect from you. This kind of brand consistency creates a quiet and powerful relationship with customers. You know those friends who are always there for you when you need them? That’s the kind of reliability you want to establish.
Become known as the go-to product in a category. This is the ultimate goal for any product branding strategy. You want your product to be the one that springs to mind when people think of a category — e.g., smartphones, electric cars, coffee.
Do those benefits sound like they’d help your business? Here’s how to get started on the essential elements of a successful brand marketing strategy.
Elements of a successful brand marketing strategy
You’re probably already doing brand marketing, but your efforts may not be as focused as they could be. To get started with a brand marketing strategy, these are the core elements you need.
A successful brand marketing strategy starts with solid research. You need to know what your competitive landscape looks like, which brands already have market equity, and where the opportunities are.
Once you have a comprehensive overview, start looking closely at what your competitors are doing for brand marketing. What’s on their YouTube channel? How do their customer reviews sound? Are their audiences engaging on social media? You don’t have to know every single detail, but looking for patterns in these places will help you understand challenges your competitors face, and how they handle them..
If you can learn what your target audience cares about, you can use your brand marketing efforts to solve their problems and win them over.
Next, you need to define your audience. Start with a general overview by outlining key points like age, gender, income, and geographic location. Then, break your audience down into specific personas so your marketing team knows how to relate to them.
- How old are they?
- What’s their gender identity?
- How much money do they make?
- What are their three main values?
- Have they bought from you before?
It’s easy to get carried away with making too many personas or adding too much detail to each one. Keep your personas simple. Add information that’s actionable in defining messaging and useful in outlining and executing brand marketing campaigns. Defining your audience and personas will help you zero in on brand messaging.
A clear, consistent message
Now that you know your market and audience, it’s time to develop a messaging architecture that helps you deliver a clear, consistent brand message. This messaging needs to describe who your brand is, what its values are, and how it helps each persona in your audience. If you have a brand identity kit, you likely already have your brand story nailed down.
With a solid brand messaging architecture, you can design your first brand marketing campaign. Pick an audience segment; decide what you want them to know about your brand that will increase equity, awareness, or loyalty; and pick your channels. Then get your content and creative teams to produce the content you need for your audience and start orchestrating your campaign.
With campaign assets in production, it’s time to put your marketing technology (martech) stack to work. You might be executing a campaign with just a few Facebook ads or orchestrating a personalized omnichannel customer journey. Depending on your needs, you might consider investing in a digital experience platform (DXP), as well as a digital asset management (DAM) solution and customer data platform (CDP) to help you get content to the right people at the right time.
These technologies will help you simplify how brand, marketing, and product content is organized, accessed, and delivered to market. If you have distributed teams, these tools can ensure everyone uses the same logos, imagery, and up-to-date creative assets — no matter the channel, market, or time zone.
You should have martech that can measure the impact of your campaign — from which content was viewed the most to how many people opened emails and clicked on CTAs. A CDP will then help tie this information together to determine whether the campaign affect your brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand equity metrics.
And while you’re not directly using a product as the campaign story, you might still be driving sales opportunities. See if focusing on brand marketing moves the needle on revenue while also growing your brand.
Brand marketing in action
The concept seems simple enough: Lead with your brand when marketing to your audience. If your story is compelling enough, products will sell themselves over time. That’s easy to say but hard to do well. Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, and T-Mobile are a few brands that have established themselves as leaders in their categories by prioritizing brand marketing.
Johnson & Johnson
You can’t just rely on product marketing in healthcare. Competition between brands is extremely high in the medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods markets. Johnson & Johnson, founded in 1886 and including 250+ subsidiary companies in 60 countries, is well established, with brand marketing a crucial component of their strategy through the COVID pandemic.
Johnson & Johnson used their #BacktheFrontline campaign to connect with frontline healthcare workers and support their well being as the global public health crisis raged.
Wireless providers are notoriously difficult for customers to deal with. T-Mobile instead worked to become one of the most beloved brands on the planet. The company decided to position itself as a customer favorite instead of a brand subscribers choose as the lesser evil among wireless providers. T-Mobile has invested heavily in brand marketing to become known as the “uncarrier” in an “abominable” field of wireless carriers and to win over millennials.
From their Phone BoothE campaign in NYC, Seattle, and Washington DC to their former CEO’s defiance of societal norms, T-Mobile is a strong example of how to impact a competitive industry with consistent brand marketing.
It’s almost unfair to use Coca-Cola as an example here because it’s hard to tell the line between product marketing and brand marketing. But their “Share a Coke” campaign is a great example of creating an emotional connection with an audience to spread brand awareness and raise brand equity worldwide.
The concept was simple and extremely effective. Who would you want to share a coke with? Where? How would it feel? Coca-cola focused on marketing the experiences that their product makes possible. It showed the world it was a brand that cared about friendship and bringing people together. Who doesn’t want more of that in their life?
While you might not have the budget of these global brands, you can still apply the same brand marketing concepts. Tell a story about your brand that connects with your audience’s emotions, values, or aspirations and watch what happens.
Your brand is your most valuable asset, and it’s worth investing in a brand marketing strategy to get the most out of it. If you focus on telling the story of your brand and its values, you can build your brand equity (hopefully becoming the go-to product in your category), increase brand awareness, and lock in customer loyalty.
With a brilliant brand marketing campaign and the right martech stack, your customers will gain trust in your company and look to you when they need to buy their next product.
But one of the biggest challenges in a brand marketing campaign (especially when it comes to executing global campaigns) is managing all the creative and brand assets. Many brands still struggle through the content chaos of trying to find files across scattered hard drives and inconsistently using assets. Using technology including a DXP, CDP, and DAM solution can ensure that everyone has easy access to the content and information they need to create compelling customer experiences.
Learn more about these tools and explore how they can help you deliver complete experiences that engage, convert, and drive results in every channel. Request a demo today.