As a young company penetrating an increasingly competitive market, you may find it difficult to get noticed. Even in established companies, maintaining a strong brand isn’t an easy task as new competitors enter your market almost daily. This is where marketing and branding come into the picture. The primary objective of your branding campaign is to stand out from the sea of competitors who already own much of the share in your market or want to take over your market share if given an opening. When you remain consistent in your brand message, your revenue could increase by 23%. These are tips on the elements your branding campaign should have.
What is branding?
As you can see in the image above, a branding campaign consists of an integrated set of tactics implemented across all communication avenues. Let’s take a moment to discuss each of these tactics separately before we discuss the critical element of integration.
Logo and other design elements
Unfortunately, design elements such as the logo, other images, and product design define a brand. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While design elements are often the most visual elements of a brand and visuals may trigger other attitudes and emotions, a brand is much more than the design elements. Design elements, however, are one of the most important elements of integration, as we’ll discuss below.
Design elements consist of the following:
- Brand name
- Product design
- Font and colors
This image depicts the evolution of the Starbucks logo. Changing your logo is fraught with problems but you must bite the bullet when the logo no longer represents your brand well to customers and prospects. In the case of Starbucks, the logo changed to green to depict the commitment of the brand to environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices. Removing the brand name and coffee from the logo corresponded to the increasing emphasis on international markets by management, as well as the company’s desire to move beyond its core product.
The brand name is an obvious design element. A good brand name is easy to pronounce and remember, is unique (you need this to purchase a domain name related to your brand name), evocative of positive associations, short, and translates well into other languages. For instance, the old NOVA car brand translates into NO GO in Spanish, which isn’t ideal for a car.
Packaging helps consumers find the brand in the crowded market (whether virtual or physical). Packaging also protects your product so it meets consumer expectations. For instance, eggs are protected by packaging that forces the eggs into a position where the shell is most able to protect them from breakage. Government regulations also impact your packaging as the labels must contain required information such as nutritional information for food and country of origin for clothing.
Designing your product should help you stand out from the crowd or help you mirror popular brands. When Apple introduced their computers, the design was unique to help them distinguish the brand from the many PCs that all looked pretty much the same. As devices got smaller, Apple decided to use white headphones so even devices carried in pockets or bags still told the world the user was an Apple buyer.
Fonts and colors also help you remain distinctive in the marketplace. John Deere considers their shade of green so important for branding, they patented the exact color. Brands often hire a designer to develop a unique font so they can maintain their distinct look.
Trust has a huge impact on customer purchase intentions, as you can see below.
Gaining and keeping consumer trust is a function of consistently delivering on customer promises, settling customer complaints promptly and transparently, providing value, protecting consumer privacy and PII (personally identifiable information), and living values considered important to consumers such as fairness, social responsibility, and community involvement.
Advertising and marketing
Advertising and marketing are related but distinct elements of your business strategy. Advertising refers to communication with stakeholders including customers, prospects, employees, value chain partners, investors, and lenders. Marketing involves decisions, tactics, and implementations related to the 4 Ps (product, price, promotion (advertising), and place (distribution). Thus, advertising is a piece of your marketing effort that also includes product decisions (including innovation and product improvements, unique selling propositions, and product lines), pricing that ensures profitability and consumer value, promotions (including traditional and digital marketing, as well as user-generated content and other communication), and place involved in both virtual and physical distribution, including which supply chain partners to use, how extensively to distribute goods, which countries to export to, (if any), and logistics (the physical movement of goods).
In addition to these elements, marketing also includes market sensing and research to ensure you make the most of your opportunities, planning and strategy, and managing operations to ensure the delivery of high-quality products (goods and services).
Integration of brand messaging
When brand messaging, elements of design, marketing, and operations are integrated into a seamless package, brands develop an image that resonates with consumers or at least their target market. It’s this brand image that drives purchase behavior, recommendations, and loyalty.
The goal of branding should be to develop a clear image of your brand as well as a brand personality that attracts your target market. Below, you can see some brands and the personalities they project to consumers through an integrated branding campaign.
Building a successful branding campaign
Hopefully, our discussion of branding thus far provided some insights into how to build a successful branding campaign. In addition, we have 3 insights you might use to augment your efforts.
1. A strong hook
Just as the name implies, your brand message should have that singular element that resonates with your target market and is something they remember. We often refer to this as the unique selling proposition (USP) and it can be anything that is important to consumers. This is often implemented as a tagline or a phrase that basically sums up everything you do as a business. That single most important statement can pull potential customers to your brand. The exciting part of building your USP and then implementing it as part of your marketing strategy is the sky’s the limit. Think back to old episodes of Mad Men to see how developing this hook occurs. You might use a distinct jingle in your audio-visual advertisements that people can easily identify to implement your hook.
Thankfully, social media platforms make it easy to grab people’s attention with such hook-infused jingles. Unlike traditional media, which requires daily or monthly payments, social media is mostly free unless you sign up for a paid ad. The hook in your branding campaign messaging can go viral and become the conduit through which your business gets its name out there and builds its brand image. Branding history indicates that the Coca-Cola company holds the record for the most memorable branding campaigns. The top three are the ‘World Cup campaign,’ ‘Share A Coke,’ and ‘Always Coca-Cola’ campaigns. The hooks used for each campaign got on well with the public and got people singing worldwide as well as building the image Coke wanted for their brand with consistent implementation of a brand message across different campaigns.
2. A tangible giveaway or swag
What is a branding campaign without souvenirs or swag for people to remember you? It might seem like an additional cost for material printed with your brand visuals, but the benefits can outweigh the financial expenses allocated to this project. The tip is to ensure that the giveaways and swag are of the right quality to reflect well on your brand and last a long time. Extra points for giveaways and swag that evoke your product, such as a miniature hardhat for a construction company, and is something others will notice, such as a travel mug others see every time it’s used. Extra points for originality.
A popular way to produce swag is to invest in custom sticker printing. People may decide to use the vinyl stickers of your brand on their refrigerator doors, notebooks, laptops, or other visible places. It can help create a constant awareness of your brand and often result in lead generation.
3. A competitive advantage before the campaign kicks off
What sets your business apart from those seeking the same attention from the target market? You will need to research the unique elements you want the public to notice about your brand. Regardless of what you sell, your product, whether tangible or not, must present that exclusivity that people will want to patronize. In branding terms, this is described as showing the competitive advantage you have over others.
You can find answers to this by solving a real problem that people struggle with. According to history, this strategy was used by Fashion Fair, the first black makeup brand on the cosmetics market. The founders, Eunice Johnson and her husband, John, identified the wide deficit in black makeup. They solved a real problem by creating the first makeup brand for blacks. That is how to create an advantage even before your branding campaign takes off.
These 3 key components are essential to your relevance in the market and the success of your branding campaign. Build a branding strategy that uses these factors and you’ll see growth in your brand.
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