Unlike many other marketing approaches that focus on short-term goals and immediate sales, brand marketing strategy focuses on the long-term play. It’s an investment in the company that builds cumulative value over time by developing a meaningful connection with customers and a strong reputation among partners, collaborators, and consumers.
Let’s discuss how you can strengthen your brand and leverage it to attract new customers and create a devoted following.
Customer advocacy is a brand marketing strategy that aims to build deep relationships with customers and earn mutual trust. There are three excellent ways to win over customer advocates and maximize their potential as brand marketing partners:
Focus on customer success. The primary goal of customer advocacy is to help customers succeed and transform them into advocates for your company. This process serves your brand in two ways. First, it helps to ensure that customers have an excellent experience with your product and your company. Second, it creates a new referral marketing opportunity for your brand. This type of marketing is especially beneficial to companies because prospective consumers value word-of-mouth when it comes from the voice of a real customer. It feels more organic to consumers and builds greater trust in your brand.
Invite customer advocates to participate in your brand marketing. There’s no need to wait around, hoping that referrals will come. Your company can develop partnerships with customer advocates. Your marketing team can further enable advocates through marketing strategies and materials to help them share their experiences with friends, relatives, colleagues, and other community members. Reference programs, case studies, customer advisory boards, or live videos on social media could prove to be wonderful opportunities for your customer advocate to spread the word.
Also, consider putting together community events that enable people to come together and meet your advocates. The Harley-Davidson owner group is an excellent example of this. They hold regular events where Harley enthusiasts can share their experiences and personal expertise with one another. Events like this help to reinforce the lifestyle and community behind the Harley-Davidson brand.
Partner with customers to create content based on their experience and knowledge. Learn more about customer intelligence. If your customers have knowledge and skills that relate to your products, invite them to partner with you to co-create content that’s useful for other customers and potential consumers. You can see this type of content collaboration happening frequently on Instagram. For example, beauty influencers will partner with makeup companies to demonstrate their latest products and explain their features and benefits. Videos, posts, and stories from influencers like professional makeup artists help to bring credibility to makeup brands. The companies benefit not only from potential sales as a result of these recommendations, but from association with influencers and other reputable brands that people trust, which builds confidence in their companies and broadens brand awareness.
Content is at the heart of brand marketing strategy because it enables you to convey your brand’s values, personality, and benefits to customers in a way that’s helpful and engaging. When creating content, whether it’s blog posts or ads, make sure that you address your consumers’ unique pain points and appeal to their desires. Writing for buyer personas is an excellent way of ensuring that your content is personalized and has a relatable tone.
It may also be helpful for marketers to think about the company’s brand as a person. To maintain a consistent and personal tone, consider how your brand’s persona would describe itself to a buyer persona. This is your brand voice, which should remain consistent throughout all marketing efforts and at every interaction that consumers have with your brand. If humor is an appropriate part of your brand personality, use it to provide a fun and entertaining conversation with your audience. This type of dialogue will make your customers excited about hearing from you.
Branded content is a specific form of advertising that’s rising in popularity. As consumers become more sensitive to impersonal ads and spam, marketers have responded with creative ways to place brands in front of audiences. Sponsored magazine articles, music videos, online web series, etc. provide a positive association between your brand and content that audiences crave. This is an entertaining way for consumers to experience your brand, and because they enjoy sharing this type of content with their friends and online communities, your brand receives a boost in exposure.
The marketing message associated with branded content doesn’t need to be obvious to gain recognition. The secret to success is finding an appropriate match between your brand and the topic of the content. An excellent example of a well-matched sponsorship is the pairing of Netflix’s original series, Orange Is The New Black, with a New York Times article about female inmates.
Net-a-Porter, a fashion e-commerce store, took this concept a step further by starting its own publication. Porter magazine merges retail with the media world, combining the power of the brand’s website audience data with publishing market intelligence. This uniquely bold example of branded content resulted in the magazine outselling most other fashion magazines amid a notoriously dark time for publishers who have faced persistent market decline. Net-a-Porter achieved significant wins by gaining both cover price sales and the retail sales that resulted from driving readership to its website through a savvy and seamless shopping experience.
One of the fundamental roles of great creative is to help achieve brand awareness. This is critical to brand marketing because brand awareness is one of the key components as to why customers make purchases or choose one brand over another. 60% of shoppers say that they actively buy from brands that they know, and 21% purchased a product because they like the brand.
What’s brand awareness?
Brand awareness refers to how familiar the public and your target audience is with your brand, typically, as the result of a successful brand marketing strategy. Brand awareness is important to your company because it fosters trust and builds brand equity. Companies that can sell basic products at outrageous premiums by merely placing a logo on them (e.g., the Supreme clay brick) are remarkable examples of brand awareness success.
Some ways of boosting brand awareness include:
- Writing engaging guest blogs for notable websites
- Creating shareable infographics
- Launching social media contests
- Publishing thought leadership articles to LinkedIn
- Developing a unique brand personality with the potential to create viral content
Marketers may also enlist the help of brand awareness software, like social analytics and social mention tools. These apps enable marketing teams to better-utilize social media tools. For example, analytics tools can provide recommendations for ideal times to post and engage with your audience on social media. While social mention or listening technology can track the progress of brand awareness campaigns via mentions and interactions across platforms.
All creative should be consistent
All creative should follow brand guidelines and remain consistent across the web, social, packaging, advertising, and collateral. This will help your audience quickly identify and remember your brand. If you change your branding too drastically, people might think they’re engaging with different companies and won’t attribute their positive feelings with your company — all of the hard work, without any of the benefits.
Also, keep your brand personas in mind as you design creative. This will help to deliver a positive and personal experience, reinforce long-term relationships, and continue building confidence in your company. When possible, demonstrate the unique qualities, benefits, and values of your company. Avoid spammy images or pushy sales tactics that can lose the credibility that you have built. Instead, always represent your brand in an honest way. Share high-quality imagery, graphics, and video, and always put your best foot forward to represent your brand with pride. To ensure that all of your creative meets your brand guidelines and goals, it may help to create a checklist to review before releasing each design.
Communications and PR
Modern branding can be defined as the art of representing a company’s identity — who you are, what you do, and the level of quality that your products or services offer. Communications and PR are vital components of the brand marketing strategy; they serve the critical role of communicating your identity and brand personality to your audience. Your brand personality can truly shine with the right communication style and resonate with your audience in a real and lasting way. Remember that if your products are similar to other products on the market, brand personality is an excellent way of setting yourself apart.
PR is an aspect of brand marketing that aims to strategically and continually increase brand equity through media exposure. With all forms of communication, consider how you’d like to position your brand. How do you want customers to think about your company — both individually and relative to your competition? To get the most value out of your PR opportunities, communicate what sets your company and products apart from competing brands.
The most common types of brand positioning are quality positioning and problem/solution positioning. Quality positioning is the most popular option; it tells the audience why the quality of a product or service is superior. Because this is a common approach, it’s important to be very specific and use examples where possible. Problem/solution positioning highlights the customers’ problems and explains how your products can solve them. This is an excellent option if you truly understand your audience’s pain points and provide a unique solution to them.
Stay Honest and Engaging
The primary goal of brand marketing is to communicate the value of your brand to your target audience and build cumulative trust and credibility with them over time. Maintaining a consistent, engaging, and high-quality presentation will build brand awareness while getting creative about collaborations, and branded content will help to expand your reach and get in front of new audiences. Regardless of what strategy you develop, always remember to create personas for your band and present an honest and engaging face to your audience. These simple steps will take you far.
Want to know what the best brand awareness tools use are? Read more to find out.
Jaime is Head of Content Strategy at AdRoll, a division of NextRoll, Inc. She has 12 years' experience in content, social, and partner marketing, spanning from scrappy startups to the global enterprise. Jaime loves crafting content that actually gets used by customers and goes to bed dreaming about how content can change the world. An avid tennis player and Champagne Martini enthusiast, Jaime spends most of her spare time being the #1 dog mom to her chiweenie.