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The Critical Role of Branding in Your Marketing Strategy

Google “What is branding?” and you’ll get ten different answers from major authorities. Hubspot says its “the identity and story of a company that makes it stand out from competitors,” The Branding Journal says “a brand is the perceived image of the product you sell,” and Branding Mag says its “the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds.”

In other words, there are dozens of ways people define it, and many of these definitions mean very little in terms of what you actually need to do to actively create and manage your brand.

 

Why Branding is So Challenging for Many Businesses

There’s no checklist you can tick off

The somewhat esoteric nature of branding leads many businesses to define it once when they create their visual identity and do very little after that to shape the brand they’re creating. There’s no one checklist you can work through and then have created your brand. It’s something that requires constant effort and management.

A better way to think about branding is like this: it’s the expectations, assumptions, and associations people make or have about your business, and whether or not you have reliably met them. Thinking about branding in this light allows you to take a more active role in the development of your brand over time. It allows you to align your decisions and marketing with the brand you want to create.

 

Visual branding alone often isn’t enough

It’s estimated that the average American sees 4,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. Think back to the last 10 ads you saw – how many of them can you remember? Unless you saw ads for something you were seriously interested in, you probably can’t remember any of them.

We also know the statistic that someone needs to see your ad around 7 times for them to even really see it. Other experts believe that it takes 5 views for someone to read your ad, 10 views before they remember that they’ve seen it, and 20 views before they’ll convert. And that’s just the percentage of people who do convert.

In other words, the bar is high if you want to establish your brand and make a mark on your marketplace. You not only need to be doing all the right things, but you need to be persistent, find ways to stand out, and know your ideal customer so well that you can use the visuals and language that speaks directly to them.

 

The Importance of Consistency and Differentiation

In order to compete, standout, and ideally, become a brand people trust implicitly, you need to do the following:

  • Set expectations you can meet and exceed (e. create a great product/service and customer experience)
  • Find ways to be different from your competitors (e. speak to your ideal customer and solve their pain better than competitors)
  • Find ways to associate your brand with things your ideal customer already likes
  • Be consistent with your messaging across all touch points and do not dilute your messaging

This means that your branding needs to permeate everything you do, and be a major consideration in your marketing strategy.

 

Crafting a Memorable Brand Experience

So what does crafting a memorable brand actually look like in your marketing strategy? Here are some steps to help integrate and develop your brand within your marketing strategy effectively:

  1. Aligning Brand Values with Customer Experience

Ensure that your brand values are reflected in every customer interaction. From the first point of contact to your aftercare, every touchpoint should reinforce what your brand stands for. Don’t overlook the power of this after the sale; that’s where you can generate goodwill that will turn into word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. Your brand can only gain this powerful form of marketing if you’ve delivered on your brand promise so well that your customers are willing to put their reputation in line with your brand when they recommend you to someone else.

 

  1. Storytelling and Content Marketing

Use storytelling to convey your brand’s mission, vision, and values. Share success stories, customer testimonials, and behind-the-scenes content that highlights your commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Content marketing (blogs, videos, shorts, social media posts) is a powerful way to build a narrative that resonates with your audience and strengthens your brand.

 

  1. Personalization and Engagement

Tailor your marketing efforts to address the specific needs and preferences of your target audience. Use data and insights to personalize your communication and make your customers feel valued. Engaging with your audience by offering them value and direct interactions helps foster a deeper connection and enhances brand loyalty.

 

  1. Emotional Consistency

You’ve likely heard the saying, “People don’t buy things, they buy feelings.” When planning a marketing strategy or campaign it’s easy to start thinking about your actions from a place of how you can persuade more people to buy rather than finding more reasons why people want to buy.

If you offer bigger, more spacious bedrooms than your competitors, don’t just advertise that bigger is better. If you value family time, show that those larger bedrooms provide more space for children playing and parents reading bedtime stories comfortably.

Whatever your values, ensure that you consistently use those emotions in your marketing and tell the story of your customer’s success after they become a customer.

You should also be cautious when aligning your brand with another – make sure they have complimentary values and no conflicting values, or you risk alienating your customers.

 

Monitor and Adjust Your Brand Strategy as Needed

Branding is not a one-time effort, and while consistency is absolutely critical, you don’t have to stay the same if something needs to change. The market (and your business) is constantly evolving, and sometimes staying the same will actually restrict your progress. Just make sure any changes you make are to better align with the customers you want to serve.

If branding is not integral to your marketing strategy, it should be. Incorporating branding into your marketing strategy is crucial for long-term success. Developing a strong brand will make sales come more easily in the future, so investing in branding is investing in your long-term success. If branding hasn’t been a priority for you, or if you feel your current brand no longer represents what you do, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about how we can ensure your branding is positioned to help you take up the lion’s share of your marketplace.

Written By

Sarah Haynes

Shared Drive | CMO