Let Your Branding Goals Match Your Marketing Strategy
Branding and marketing are two distinctly different things, but they tie into each other in several ways. You shouldn’t plan a marketing strategy without knowing what your branding goals are, and vice versa. The two need to align, or you'll have an identity crisis on your hands. Not only that, but your customers may feel confused about who you are and what you're all about.
The majority of consumers — 90 percent — expect their experience with a brand to be predictable across various platforms. They want to know what your brand stands for and see that reflected in everything you do. Merging your branding and marketing goals is no easy feat, however.
Here are seven ways you can make sure your branding goals and marketing strategies align with one another. We’ll also look at a few examples of companies who do this successfully.
Find a Purpose
Before you focus on how to show your brand to the world or marketing plans, you need to know what the purpose of your company is. What do you want to accomplish? What is most important to you as a company? Your objective shouldn't be to sell products and make money. While that is a general goal most companies have, you need to dig deeper and find a more significant purpose in what you're doing.
IKEA focuses on providing affordable home items to people and concentrates on families in particular. Note how they highlight a simple design with a young child drawing a picture. While the ad is for potted plants, the image highlights home life instead and how you can decorate your home in style inexpensively, even buying the couch in the photo for under $1000.
Know Your Target Audience
You likely already know you need to understand your target audience for marketing, but your target audience can also help you with your branding goals. If you are a company reaching out to millennials, then the things necessary to that generation as a whole should be relevant to your company, too. If your ideas do not align, then your target audience may not be who you thought they were. Take the time to make sure both your brand and marketing efforts align with the exact customer you wish to reach.
Figure Out Your Niche
No matter what type of business you run, you will face competition at some point in the life of your company. Figuring out what is unique about your business allows you to find a niche and fulfill a need for the consumer. You can then refine that niche as time goes on, becoming better and better at delivering what the consumer most wants.
Note how Duncan-Parnell shows precisely what the business focuses on. They have specific sections of their website dedicated to helping each type of clientele they work with. No matter the kind of project, the potential client can easily find the information they need.
Don't try to be something you're not. Perhaps your competitor runs humorous online video campaigns in an attempt to draw in new customers. However, if your business is more serious, trying to create your own funny videos will likely fail.
It is important that you are authentic to who you are as a company and a business owner. About 91 percent of people say they are likelier to buy from a brand they see as authentic than one that comes across as fake or dishonest.
Evoke an Emotion
Does your brand strategy and marketing include the emotions that drive consumers to buy your product? For some brands, this is an obvious factor. If you run a funeral home, you are going to focus on comforting grieving families. However, if you run a clothing store, the emotions might not be as evident, so you have to also tie your brand and marketing goals into what you know about your specific audience.
Coca-Cola is a brand that has tugged at the emotional heartstrings for many years now. One iconic example is their 1970s commercial, “I'd like to buy the world a Coke.” People from different nationalities gather on top of a hill, each holding a bottle of coke and singing an emotional song about everyone coming together in love. Over the years, Coke has released numerous commercials that all tie back to the theme of the beverage that brings people together.
Stay consistent with your branding and marketing endeavors. Don't try to be one type of company with a specific message in your branding and something different in your marketing efforts. Your management and marketing teams should work closely together to ensure the company identity remains the same across all mediums and endeavors.
Stick to Your Values
As a business owner, you likely have some set values, such as providing excellent customer service, giving people second chances or offering your employees perks no one else does. What are the core values for the owners of the company? For example, a conservative Christian isn’t likely to approve of a commercial that uses curse words.
While that is an obvious example, some marketing decisions have gray areas. Perhaps your marketing team wants to highlight one study that showed your product lasts 100 years, but other studies have shown it only lasts 50. Stick to the values you’ve set for yourself and your company. If you want to always focus on integrity, then you won’t highlight one study when you know there are others that state the opposite.
Branding and Marketing
While branding and marketing aren't the same things, they are intricately woven together, and each has an impact on the other. Your marketing should be a reflection of who you are as a brand. Taking the time to get to know yourself, set some firm company values and understand your target audience are all keys to successful marketing campaigns.
About the Author: Lexie Lu is a web designer and writer. Her work is featured on CreativeBloq, Envato, Marketo and JUSTCreative. She manages her own design blog, Design Roast, and loves connecting with people on Twitter @lexieludesigner.