We toss the words “brand” and “brand marketing” around like ragdolls. They are words we’ve used so much that they have started to lose their meaning.
So, what’s a “brand,” anyway?
At its most basic level, “branding” used to be about making a logo for your business or a badass label for your product.
But we all know that branding is about more than the logo you slap together in Canva.
Today, branding is about your business’s personality. It’s about being consistent and trustworthy and resonating with your audience.
It’s who you are, what you do, and what people think about you—and on every platform.
Let’s revisit what “brand marketing” means today, how it still benefits businesses, and 5 ways to effectively market your brand right now.
What does “brand marketing” even mean?
Brand marketing is an offshoot of branding. It’s a specific approach to:
- Product design
… that grows your brand from small-fry status to the big leagues.
Brand marketing is an investment in the future. Instead of looking at this as an expense, it’s an investment in future growth.
And yes, your brand is an asset (albeit an intangible one) for your business. It’s valuable because it means future revenue and profits.
In other words, a good brand makes future sales possible. It’s the key to boosting your reputation, trustworthiness, reach, and revenue.
By the way, this isn’t a blanket term for all marketing, either. Brand marketing is different because it:
- Takes a long-term view that’s about authority and connection, not instant sales.
- Focuses on organic content and growth instead of paid media.
- Applies equally to B2B, B2C, and D2C businesses.
You’re not asking customers to take immediate action with brand marketing. Instead of asking someone to marry you right out of the gates, you’re asking them on a first date.
This is how marketing should be in 2020. Ease into things by offering value instead of a slimy hard sell.
How does brand marketing work?
We know you’ve got a lot on your plate. But aren’t you in charge of getting results?
Spammy marketing tactics are out and brand marketing is in. When you take the time to invest in brand marketing, you’ll enjoy two major benefits.
1 - Build trust with familiarity
Science says it’s true: consumers trust familiar brands more.
Think about it: you know exactly what to expect when you walk into a Target, whether you’re in NYC or Nowheresville, Iowa.
This trust makes it possible to nurture long-term customer relationships (translation: loyalty).
But you can’t really build loyalty without a brand first. Brand marketing covers the gap between where you are now and where your brand needs to be.
2 - Build brand equity
“Brand equity” is how people perceive your products because of your brand.
Brands like Apple have a lot of brand equity, for example. People line up in droves to buy the latest and greatest product because they put a lot of faith in Apple’s reputation.
It’s hard to quantify something like brand equity, but if you want to be a big player in your industry, brand marketing gives you the credibility and reputation necessary to master the market.
5 ways to win with brand marketing
Not sure how to do brand marketing in the real world?
We’ve got you covered.
Follow these 5 tips to finally make brand marketing work for your brand, no matter your industry.
1 - Position yourself carefully
You can’t market a brand if you don’t have a brand.
Sure, you might have a neat logo and all the bells and whistles of a brand, but this is about the heart and soul that drives your business.
What do you want to be known for?
Apple is known for innovation, Coca-Cola is known for spreading joy, Monster Energy is adventurous—what’s yours?
Start marketing your brand with careful positioning.
That might mean using:
- Quality positioning: Lean into the quality of your product. Why is it a better mousetrap? Get super specific here and sell the most valuable features.
- Problem/solution positioning: What keeps your audience up at night? How do you make their lives better? Present their problem and show how, exactly, you solve it.
2 - Identify your strategic target audience
Who is your brand for? You can’t be for everybody—the more focused your marketing, the more successful your brand will be.
Write content tailored specifically to your target audience. Create buyer personas to understand who your customers are, what they want, and how you can better persuade them to sign on the dotted line.
Use these customer personas to inform your:
- Marketing channels
- Social media
- Website layout
Instead of pushing your content via emails or social media ads, listen to your audience. Brand marketing is a cinch when you follow your audience instead of trying to force things.
3 - Create user-generated content
Your brand has a personality. Show it off!
User-generated content, or UGC, is the best way to do brand marketing today. Encourage both customers and influencers to create branded content.
- High-end photography
If you need a win-win situation for your brand, UGC is it. With a platform like Trend, you can source high-quality UGC from vetted influencers, not only saving time, but generating more interest in your products.
4 - Play on emotions
Brand marketing is hard because it’s not as quantitative as, say, PPC advertising.
However, branding is powerful. It taps into your customers’ emotions.
And since humans make decisions with emotion, not logic, you stand to win with brand marketing done right.
Don’t get us wrong: product features and data are great. But you have to market your brand with emotions.
Just look at Google’s “Dear Sophie” ad. It’s incredibly emotional, tells a story, and subtly promotes Google’s services.
You don’t need to be mushy, but storytelling is a fierce way to market your brand—especially in a competitive landscape.
5 - Be consistent
Consistency is the most important thing you’ll need to do as a brand.
Think about it: would you trust your money with Target or Anthropologie if they changed their message and audience every month?
Of course not.
People like these brands because they’re consistent, and you have to be consistent, too.
Your message, visual aesthetic, and tone should be recognizable. You have to keep the same language, tone, and opinions across every channel.
For example, McDonald’s brand marketing stands for being inexpensive and fast. They’ve stayed consistent with that message for decades, and it’s obviously served them well.
If you haven’t standardized your brand yet, do it ASAP. That means:
- Templatizing your emails.
- Writing brand guidelines that include punctuation and tone.
- Scheduling content regularly on social media, your blog, and anywhere else you’re online.
- Checking all content before it goes out the door. Make sure it aligns with your values and aesthetics.
Personality isn’t a bad thing. As long as you’re consistent with your personality, your buyers will form faster associations, trusting you for the long haul.
The bottom line
At the end of the day, your brand value comes down to what sets you apart. When you tell a better story and consistently market yourself, good things will come your way.
Oh, and you don’t have to do this alone, either. Score awesome, personalized UGC tailored to your brand through Trend.
We’ll connect you with experienced, pre-vetted influencers with the content rights baked in. Sign up for a free account now to revitalize your brand.