A strong brand marketing strategy can set your business apart from the competition: Here’s how to build it.
In a year of disruption, sales and marketing teams have been scrambling to adapt and reprioritize their marketing strategies.
CEOs and business owners, in turn, are asking: How do I transition my business to digital? What if my customers stop returning? Should I change my communications strategy?
In June of 2020, Gartner asked more than 400 chief marketing officers (CMOs) to share their top marketing focuses in the next 18 months. Thirty-three percent cited brand strategy as the most vital (full research available to Gartner clients).
More than analytics, operations, digital commerce, or competitive insights, CMOs are prioritizing their brand strategies. Marketing leaders understand that during times of uncertainty and disruption, brand identity and awareness are more important than ever.
When The Journal of Advertising Research performed a historical review of advertising during recessions, they found that although the majority of firms cut back on paid media during a recession, those who stayed the course found their advertising’s effectiveness increased as they were set apart from other brands in their industries. Rough waters may be a sign your business should double down on paid advertising and fortify your brand marketing strategy.
Ready to bolster your brand and stand apart from your competitors? Apply these foundational brand marketing strategies today:
1. Define your brand
What does your business bring to your community? How do you want your customers to see you? Are you an approachable friend? Or a knowledgeable authority?
Defining how you want your business to sound and feel within your community is an important first step in building your brand strategy.
A good branding strategy aims to display your business’s identity, values, and personality in each and every interaction with a potential or existing customer.
When defining your brand, begin by gathering all your stakeholders (if you’re a solopreneur, then grab a trusted friend).
Try to brainstorm and map out two key things:
- What problems does your product/service solve for your customers?
- What are your company values?
These two questions will inform the kind of brand you want to build for your business. The answers to these questions will help you shape who you are and how you can best help your community.
2. Know your target customers
Knowing who you are as a business is half the battle—the other half is knowing your target audience.
A successful brand marketing strategy will speak directly to your most likely buyers, which means your business needs a nuanced understanding of your target audience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by building buyer personas and defining the major steps of your customer’s journey.
A strong buyer persona uses four types of customer data: demographic, psychographic, transactional, and behavioral. (For a deep dive, check out our article on building personalized personas).
With these key data points, you can begin to anticipate what kinds of customers are most likely to engage with your business. What are their needs and pain points? What drives them to act and make decisions? What social media platforms are they likely to use? Do they prefer text, visual, or video content when learning about a new product or service?
The more you know about your target audience, the better your brand will be able to speak to them when and how your customers prefer.
3. Find your voice and style
You know who you are, and you know who your target customers are. You are ready to start telling your story.
Telling your brand story is about more than just what your product or service does—it’s also about how you want to tell that story.
Let’s look at an example dealing with insurance. On the surface, Allstate, Geico, and Progressive all sell the same major products. Yet each of those brands have a distinct and easily identifiable voice and style. This sets them apart from their competition and builds brand awareness.
So ask yourself: How do I want my brand to sound and feel to customers?
- Funny and approachable?
- An insightful authority?
- Sincere and helpful?
A strong voice and style will guide your product marketing strategy and help your customers to get to know your business, which is an important first step in building loyalty and trust.
4. Stay consistent across platforms and resources
Whether writing copy for your website, a guest article in an industry publication, or answering questions for potential customers on social media, it is vitally important to maintain the same voice and style across all channels.
The number one job of a brand marketing strategy is to build a consistent and easily identifiable personality for your business.
Pick a set of brand colors, a font or two that represent your brand’s tone, and be diligent in using them across every channel in which you might interact with existing and potential customers.
A consistent brand voice lets your customers know that they can rely on consistent service and quality in all aspects of your products or services, building that vitally important brand trust and loyalty with your returning customers.
Building your brand today
A brand strategy grounded in your company values and that speaks to your target audience will build brand equity, increase brand recognition, and encourage customer loyalty.
Use these four foundational steps to begin building your brand today.