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  • Detailed Brand Marketing Guide: Strategy, Types & Advice From Marketers

Detailed Brand Marketing Guide: Strategy, Types & Advice From Marketers

Category: B2B News
What is brand marketing?
Brand marketing is the process of promoting products or services, to market a company’s overall brand. It is done by connecting corporate values, identity and personality and communicating them to audiences.

Modern business is about a flurry of brand marketing activities. Contrary to what many believe, a brand is not limited to a slogan or logo. It reflects all the experiences that your product/service or company as a whole offers both prospects and customers. This is an area that can use improvement as less than 30% of B2B customers have reported excellent customer experience in 2018.

This is why you need to have a sound brand marketing strategy. Once you have a sound brand marketing definition, everything about your company falls into place. Just look at the top jewelry brands in the world. These companies have taken great pains to establish their brands.

Here, we present you with a guide that you can use to walk you through the process of brand marketing. After this reading, you should be able to come up with your own brand marketing strategy based on the information presented here.

brand marketing guide main web

So why adopt a brand marketing strategy? These days, a brand strategy is critical to practically every size and type of business. It helps business-to-business companies become more competitive. The same goes for those playing in the consumer markets, where a brand has always been a very important factor. You should also be aware that 42% of US consumers walk away from brands due to frustrations. So, if you want to compete with the big dogs, you should come up with a brand strategy to better position yourself. 

A good brand strategy rests on your ability to build a strong brand image. Remember, consumer perception is key to brand equity. This is why you should be able to put value in your brand and use marketing to convey that to your customers. Consumers have evolved into thinking customers. They now look for value in every product they consider purchasing. 

Why must brands take customer experience seriously?

Creating Fruitful Partnerships

80%

of customers value customer experience as much as products and services

72%

of customers expect personalization and engagement

67%

of customers switched vendors for better customer experience

Source: Salesforce 2018

Designed by

Brand marketing is important to businesses regardless of whether they’re marketing their products or generic ones. Products that reflect a business brand often serve as the acid test for the reception of other future products. In other words, selling a not-so-effective product could end up impacting the sellability of other products. This is because customers tend to remember brands and their experiences with them. These are reflected in current branding trends.

1. Branding vs. Marketing

We’ve come to the point where we have to take a step back and differentiate between branding and marketing. These two are often interchanged, and it helps to clarify the branding vs. marketing difference before we discuss brand marketing strategy.

Branding is who you are, while marketing is how you attract customer attention. Branding is made up of elements that define your business: brand identity, personality, and values. Marketing is composed of specific actions that your company executes to create awareness and generate demand for your products.

Take for example the McDonald’s brand. Established in 1940 in San Bernardino, California, the brand has since grown into a worldwide chain of fast-food restaurants. McDonald’s branding stands for friendliness, cleanliness, consistency, and convenience. Its logo, the Golden Arches, represents the brand across all visual communications. McDonald’s marketing mix consists of various strategies and tactics to reach target customers in terms of products, place, promotion, and rice (the 4Ps).

If you want to establish your brand, you may need to use a robust marketing platform. One such tool is HubSpot Marketing. This compact tool packs a punch when it comes to placing your products/services where it can be seen. It helps inbound marketers come up with powerful campaigns and improving your marketing process.

Should you want to investigate the platform firsthand, you can easily do so when you can sign up for HubSpot Marketing free trial here.

2. How to Come up with a Brand Strategy

Any business needs to have a good brand strategy to be able to market a brand. Contrary to what many believe, a brand is not a logo, product, name or website. Instead, a brand is meant to reflect corporate components, which make it recognizable. It is an intangible concept that sets top brands from those at the bottom of the ladder.

Be Consistent

If you can help it, do not engage in messaging activities that will negatively impact your consistency. Talk about things that can only enhance your brand or those that relate to it. Your content should be aligned with your corporate message. Take care not to publish material that may leave your audience confused.

Being able to sustain consistency is very rewarding. Cohesive messages ensure better brand recognition and ultimately, customer loyalty. Case in point, Coca-Cola has managed to retain its place as one of the most popular brands in the world. The company’s consistency is key to the brand’s unchanging popularity.
Be Flexible

Believe it or not, your campaigns can be both consistent and flexible at the same time.  Marketers should be flexible if they are to stay relevant to their customers. It likewise gives them room to pivot and set themselves apart from the competition.

This approach is ideal for brands that have been in the market for some time. Flexibility allows these brands to look for alternative markets by making further improvements to the brand. Engaging customers in a fresh manner should do the trick. You can also enter into partnerships to reach out to new customers.

Know Your Purpose

Promises are good, but they do not guarantee sales. Instead of promising your customers things that your brand can do for them, why not simply state and define your purpose? This is especially true for today’s customers. Today’s consumers are on a high budgetary constraint and confidence has gone low.

It’s no secret that business promises greatly aid in positioning your brand. But defining your business purpose gives you brand equity. For companies who have successfully implemented such a strategy, the eventual departure from the goal of making money has proved more appealing to customers.

Involve Your Workers

Like it or not, your employees are inherently brand representatives themselves. This is why they should be equipped with extensive knowledge of your brand when they communicate with your customers. Customer service agents should reflect the true value of your brand.

Brand knowledge must be consistent across all your products and channels. See to it that your agents adhere to your organizational values. This will boost your corporate image, resulting in great customer service.

Be Competitive

You need to acknowledge your competition if you are to improve your branding strategy and achieve brand equity. But being aware of the competition may not be enough. You have to research the other guys and find out what they’re doing. Leverage this knowledge to better position your brand.

Monitor your competition by visiting their sites and keeping tabs on their social mentions. There are tools available to help you do this. For example, you can use live chat software to preserve your brand. However, be wary of overdoing this strategy. Otherwise, you might end up kowtowing to your competitors every move. Keep your brand unique and avoid becoming a clone of your rivals.

3. Brand Marketing Strategy Types

There are as many types of brand marketing as there are target audiences. But these strategies have only a single goal–to build brand equity. Using a sound strategy in conjunction with multichannel marketing can grow your brand across different audiences. Brand marketing strategies vary based on marketing campaigns, target audiences, and budgets. To ensure optimal results, some businesses employ multiple strategies.

Individual Branding

For many large organizations, individual branding is a common practice. This involves marketing brands that are independent of the parent company. The goal here is to establish a unique and recognizable brand. For example, a cereal manufacturer may carry different brands of cereal. The practice, in effect, allows businesses to expand their brands by venturing into other offerings.

No-Brand Branding

Generic looking products can be popular, thanks to their simplicity and competitive pricing. This branding strategy applies to simple consumer products that are anchored on usability. Japan-based Muji (meaning “no label”) is the most prominent user of this strategy.

No-brand Branding

Name-Brand Recognition

Large companies leverage their names to make their products popular. This type of branding strategy is one of the oldest and most effective. The products of an organization that has good name brand recognition can be easily identified by its logo, colors or slogan. Prominent companies that use name brand recognition include Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, and Samsung. These businesses make use of the prominence of their names in their subsidiary products.

Private Labels

This brand strategy proved very popular among supermarket chains. Store brands can help small retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kroger and Food Lion compete with retail giants by producing cost-effective brands.

Top Colors Used by Global Brands in their Company Logos

Blue

%

Red

%

Grayscale

%

Yellow

%

Green

%

Purple

%

Source: Venngage

Designed by

Attitude Branding

Many companies have adopted this strategy. Businesses usually go beyond traditional marketing that focuses on products. The general aim is to come up with a brand that equates products with both experience and personality. As a result, customers automatically associate brands such as the New York Yankees, Nike, and NCAA with a specific style. For other companies, self-expression becomes the focus of this strategy.

Attitude Branding

Co-Branding

This type of branding links certain products/services to two distinct organizations. This is an effective way to expand to new markets, grow businesses and boost brand awareness. In many cases, it comes in the form of a partnership where both parties benefit from the success of a brand.

4. Brand Marketing Tips: What Experts Say

Create Visual Brand Stories

Prezi Creative Services and Evangelism Head David Hooker says storytelling is a very effective tool to catch and keep your customers’attention. Visuals, in particular, can help you tell engaging brand stories that can compel customers to stick to your brand. 

Virtually all great brands tell compelling stories and visual language. Google, Nike, Apple, and Dropbox all have one thing in common. They tell visual brand stories. You see, visual storytelling leads to you getting your audience’s attention, something that you can use to build your brand.

Boost Customer Experience

Customer experience has become a valuable strategy these days. But Hanzo Customer Experience Marketing Manager Patrika Alis says great customer experience works best before the completion of a purchase. Today’s customers put great stock on multichannel experience that is consistent.

Great customer experience results in better customer relationships. To do this, you should connect with customers throughout the purchase journey. Contrary to what we know, great customer experience should no longer be reserved as an after-sale strategy. It has become a critical part of the customer journey.

Use Social Media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have established themselves as great brand builders. But Vayner Media executive director and branding expert Eric Fulwiler thinks social media is underpriced, considering what they contribute to brand building. He said that social media are far more effective in brand building than traditional channels like TV and radio.

Social media is the ideal marketing channel for those who want to build their brand without breaking the bank. You can use them to grab your customers’ attention and keep them glued to your brand. This is apart from the fact that social media can help you spread the word about your brand.

Gain Customer Trust

You should put a high value on your customers’ trust. As CatalystCreative chief executive Amanda Slavin says, your brand should first earn your customer’s trust before a meaningful transaction could take place. So how do you earn customers’ trust? Craft stories that identify your company values and communicate the same to your customers. Such narratives when properly executed result in better customer trust. This, in turn, leads to brand advocacy on the part of consumers.

Keep in mind that many consumers are passionate about specific brands. It is because those companies have added value to their brands, by creating a brand identity.

How do customers repay brands that have earned their trust?

Why brands must prioritize trust

Become loyal

%

Recommend the brand

%

Purchase more products & services

%

Purchase more frequently

%

Spend more money

%

Share brand experiences

%

Source: Salesforce 2018

Designed by

Think Long-Term

Companies need to be in brand marketing for the long-haul. As Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami pointed out, businesses should recognize the need for great time and effort in marketing your brand. Aside from appropriating resources to your branding programs, you should also make long-term plans.

These are essentially investments that will eventually position your brand as a market leader. But make no mistake, the process takes time and a lot of patience is needed until such time it bears fruit. So, while waiting, it’s always a good idea to monitor your progress by measuring your KPIs.

Consider Your Customer’s Emotions

To make your brand stand out among the competition, focusing on your product may not be enough. Author Jim Joseph says offering customers emotional benefits can help you better market your brand. Examples of emotional benefits include brand familiarity and trust. 

In reality, emotional benefits turn companies into brands as customers establish relationships not with businesses, but with brands. In this sense, this concept applies to small businesses that wish to turn their organizations into brands. But you will have to target customers if you are to begin realizing emotional benefits.

Adopt Granular Marketing

Many companies target multiple customers at the same time, and for good reason. SchoolSafe co-founder Tiffany Delmore thinks the strategy pays off albeit, costing a bit more. Besides, many companies are into the practice, which targets multiple audiences and makes use of a variety of personalizations. You can experiment with a variety of content types and test them with different strategies and see what works for you. Successful implementation of such a strategy is bound to result in cost savings.

How to Use this Guide

By now you would have learned the value of brand marketing. But you must first come up with a good branding strategy before going on a brand marketing push. Consider adopting the steps to coming up with a branding strategy discussed above. Being consistent and flexible with your strategy will help you boost brand recognition, promote customer loyalty, expand your audience and stay relevant to them.

The different brand marketing strategy types mentioned here are also worth noting. Choosing a strategy or combining one with another could put you on the way to realizing brand equity. If you focus on a single product line, individual branding can work for you by helping you cover more ground. If you want to imbue your brand with personality and style, go for attitude branding. Identify how you want your customers to see your brand and choose the right type of brand marketing strategy for you. If you are a software-as-a-service provider, there are ways to use blogs to market your SaaS brand.

Finally, learn from what experts have to say about brand marketing. These are real-life examples of how brand marketing can work for an organization. There are a lot of ways of approaching brand marketing. Come up with brand stories, exploit social media or focus on improving customer experience, it’s your choice. Any one of these things could work for you, just be sure you know what message you want to convey to your customers. You can also check out the latest branding statistics to know more about what’s happening on the ground. However, if you want to reinforce your efforts with a powerful marketing tool, you can easily sign up for HubSpot Marketing free trial here.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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