Effective, strategic marketing requires more than just posting social media updates and sending emails. Strategy, by definition, is having a plan of action designed to achieve a major goal. As such, your brand marketing efforts should be well planned and thorough in their execution.
At BT Marketing & Design we start the brand marketing strategy process in one of two ways. The first option is a Brand Discovery. The Discovery involves answering a variety of strategic questions designed to elicit responses that will help identify goals and objectives, unique business attributes, brand personality traits, etc. The second option is to conduct research, typically with existing customers. Brand marketing research can be invaluable when seeking to identify how your customers perceive your brand, what drives them to buy, and how they use your products or services.
The following branding elements are critical to developing a well-rounded strategy. Once these elements are flushed out you will have the tools needed to design an effective, relevant company logo, website, print collateral, etc. You will also have the framework to effectively develop strategically written copy for print advertising, email marketing, SEO content, web banners, etc.
VISION, MISSION & GOALS
Clearly defining the intent of your business through your company vision and mission will provide direction for your organization and communicate your purpose to customers. These statements serve as a foundation for developing your goals. Company goals are a critical component to establishing how the business will thrive and grow. The vision, mission and goals of an organization will act as a framework for your messaging.
Having a firm understanding of your target audience is a must for getting the most out of your marketing efforts. Your brand personality, mission, and guiding principles will speak to a specific group. Your brand design style, brand colors, and copywriting messages will position your business in a specific way, appealing to a certain audience.
Some segments of the population will appreciate humor, while other audiences will respond to compassion and/or sophistication. Understanding the age, buying needs, income, location and personality of your target audience will help determine where to best reach them with the appropriate media, and how to reach them with the right mediums. For example, teenagers get their information, and communicate primarily online. Reaching them will require social and digital presence to be placed in specific online platforms and publications that they most frequent. Reaching Chief Operating Officers, on the other hand, will require print or banner advertising in business journals. This may seem elementary, but it can be easy for a business to veer off course when it comes to choosing the right media space. It happens all of the time. Get to know your target audience in detail. Only then will you be able to effectively utilize your marketing dollars.
BRAND POSITIONING STATEMENT
Most every business communicates, but not all businesses communicate effectively. If you do one thing as it pertains to your brand marketing strategy it should be to develop a brand positioning statement. The position of your brand will help you establish how to communicate your message and identity. The statement is a short paragraph with four components as follows; 1) identification of your target audience, 2) key products or services, 3) most unique attribute of your business, 4) reason to believe that you can deliver on your promise.
Once you’ve developed your brand positioning statement you will then have the foundation for written communications. The statement should guide copy for your website, print and banner advertising, SEO content, email marketing, etc. Your position should also serve as a guide when establishing the appropriate spaces to advertise and the mediums that you choose.
Your brand discovery and/or research, as well as your brand positioning statement, will yield a range of key messages. These are a set of statements that encapsulate the most compelling and competitive parts of your business offering. Key messages should be communicated across all of your marketing efforts including web, digital and/or print. It is important to maintain a consistent, frequent use of these strategic copy elements.
Frequency in marketing is key to establishing recognition for your brand. Your brand needs to touch your audience up to eight times before it gets recognized and absorbed. As your message wades through the clutter, consistency and frequency will provide the best chance of breaking through.
Lastly, your brand identity will include the look, feel and personality of your business. This is where design plays an important role. Your brand colors, logo, website, and all marketing materials should be designed with purpose. Colors and photography should reflect the personality of your organization. Photography alone is a powerful marketing tool and can make or break the perception of a brand. A professional designer can effectively locate and choose appealing, appropriate stock imagery. The quality and low cost of today’s stock photos have come such a long way that it typically makes hiring a photographer unnecessary, unless you need original images of your work. If this is the case it can be worth the investment to hire a professional photographer.
Consistency in design is also very important. All of your marketing materials should be branded with your logo, colors and a consistent style of imagery. When using your visual brand components effectively, your identity should become recognizable by color alone.
If you follow these guidelines, or bring someone in to help you do so, you are sure to drive more leads and develop better awareness for your business.