The fifth chapter in our Small Business Marketing Guide focuses on brand marketing. Navigate to all the chapters by visiting the main page of the guide. Brand marketing focuses on building the company’s image and increasing recognition among your target audience. Your brand is more than merely a product or service you sell and encompasses factors such as what causes your company stands behind and your customer service model.
For those between the ages of 16 and 24, around 40 percent use social media to research a brand they’re thinking about buying from. Your brand marketing needs to target the age group you’re trying to reach, though, so you need to understand the best ways of marketing your business to different age groups and on various platforms.
For strong brand marketing, you must plan every campaign with your brand in mind. Below are clear steps to follow when marketing your brand versus just selling a single product or service.
1. Know Your Brand
Before you begin planning a strategy for your brand marketing, you must know who you are as a brand. What is your mission and what is your passion? Think back to why you started the company in the first place and how it defines who you are today.
Next, figure out what your unique value proposition (UVP) is. What do you offer that none of your competitors offer?
2. Create a Brand Strategy
Once you know who you are as a brand, your next step is creating a strategy of how you’ll communicate this information to your audience. Start by creating a set of brand guidelines. A set of brand marketing rules is a standard everyone marketing your brand in any way should refer to. For example, if the sales department runs a special, how does the promotion align with your brand guidelines and does it represent your brand in the light you want?
3. Tap Into Emotions
In one study of buyer emotions and decisions, researchers found marketing campaigns with an emotional component performed twice as well as campaigns without emotional impact. Tap into the feelings of your customers by thinking about their pain points. What is it that drives them to seek a solution? The pain point usually ties into an emotion.
Some of the top brands today tap into someone story and queue up the emotions, such as Airbnb’s stories from people who open their homes to Airbnb travelers and why they choose to share their space with strangers and what they’ve gained from it.
4. Take a Stand
Define your brand marketing strategy by taking a stand for or against something which matters to your industry or you personally. A recent survey of 30,000 people in 35 different countries showed that 62 percent of consumers want companies to stand up for issues such as sustainability, fair employment or transparency.
Take a step back and think about significant social issues and how they impact your company. Just be careful about taking stands on divisive issues as you may lose customers. However, nearly anyone can get behind a cause such as eco-friendly practices or an upfront commitment to honesty.
5. Tell Your Story
Every brand has a story about how they started, their growth and where they are today. Your story intricately relates to who you are as a brand, but you can also use the story for marketing purposes. Figure out the tone you’d like your story to take – emotional, humorous, inspirational – and make sure the story helps define who you are as a brand.
Lipton tea does a good job of telling their story and why they care about sustainability. They talk about their own families and the farmers who live on their tea farms and how they want to make the world better for them as well as the planet. They share specifics about their commitment to the environment. The website highlights videos, recipes and the history of their business.
6. Also, Tell Their Story
In addition to telling your own brand story, allow your loyal customers to tell your story. After all, brand is the way others see your company, so why not get the vision directly from your followers? Adding customer testimonials to your website and social media pages shows others that there are people who love what you do.
Video traffic online is on the rise, reaching 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic and continuing growth in the coming years. Add video testimonials as a form of marketing that points back to your brand image through your customers’ eyes.
7. Be Consistent
One of the most important factors in building your brand is remaining consistent in your message. If you start as a brand that cares about the environment, don’t suddenly walk away from green practices and forget your green-conscious customers. The fastest way to lose loyal fans is to go against what you’ve already stood for. While it’s natural for companies to grow and change, it isn’t natural to completely change who you are at the core and consumers will see it as inauthentic.
Part of a Big Picture
Brand marketing is just one element in a bigger marketing picture. However, knowing who you are as a brand and planning the strategy to communicate your image to users is one of the most important aspects of small business marketing. Position your brand so you stand out from your competitors and soon you’ll develop a loyal fan base which helps with word-of-mouth advertising and orders from you regularly.