Brand Marketing: Definition, Strategy & Examples

Before customers buy from you, they need to know who you are. Building brand awareness and loyalty is only possible when customers feel compelled to choose you over the competition. 

This choice is rarely based solely on price or practicality. Customers make choices based on a constellation of internal and external forces and desires. In other words, they shop with emotion. 

Brand marketing is how you make those emotional connections. Today we’ll cover everything you need to build a compelling brand: 

  • What brand marketing is
  • Steps to build a compelling brand marketing strategy
  • Best practices for brand marketing 
  • How technology can improve your brand marketing

What is brand marketing?

Brand marketing focuses on creating, strengthening, and promoting a brand to increase sales and customer loyalty. It includes various activities, such as the following:

  • Developing a brand image
  • Naming new products and services
  • Using specific iconography, color palette, and visual elements 
  • Creating consistent messaging, tagline, and advertising
  • Leveraging social media and other channels 

These elements unite to create an emotional connection and build brand equity with customers. 

Steps to create a brand marketing strategy

Building a cohesive, recognizable brand is the most important and complex element of marketing. As the saying goes, ?Well begun is half done.? When building or revitalizing an effective brand, follow these steps to achieve better results:

Understand your audience

To effectively market, you must speak directly to those most likely to buy your product or service. You should know your customer as well as you know a good friend. If you get your branding right, that’s exactly how customers will think about and relate to your brand. 

Buyer personas are the best way to fine-tune your understanding of the brand’s core customer base. In fact, 82% of companies that use buyer personas are effective in creating quality value propositions. Gain insight into their goals and objectives, their emotional needs, and their pain points. This way, you can craft uniquely tailored messages that speak directly to them. 

Answer the following questions as a way to jumpstart your buyer persona(s) and deepen your understanding:

  • Who is your customer? Age, life stage, demographics, income level, education level
  • What do they do? Where do they work and play, and what are their hobbies?
  • What are their pain points or problems to be solved?
  • How do they feel emotionally about themselves and the pain point? 
  • What do they believe a solution will bring them? Status, time, ease, control, etc.
  • Where do they turn when they need information?
  • How do they make decisions?

All these questions offer clues about how to position your brand, its personality, its content strategy, and delivery channels to ensure the best chance of capturing and converting leads. 

Build your internal brand 

Clearly defining and documenting your purpose, mission, values, and brand story is a critical step in building an effective internal brand. Every emotional connection a customer makes is rooted in these foundational elements. 

A well-crafted purpose statement tells stakeholders and customers why the business exists (beyond generating revenue). It aligns your priorities and guides decisions about your messaging and branding. 

The mission statement is closely linked with the purpose, articulating the actions and behaviors your brand uses to fulfill its purpose.

Core values that define morals and actions organize those activities while providing guiding posts on how things ought to be done. 

A brand story can bring the above elements together in a compelling and organic way, explaining the reason for their purpose and core values and the methods they use to embody and promote them. It helps customers connect emotionally to the brand, foster trustworthiness, and reinforce brand identity.

Create your brand style

A distinct, recognizable brand style is essential for building awareness and forging brand loyalty. Develop and reinforce the brand through on-target messaging, tone of voice, visual style, and other stylistic elements to differentiate it from competitors. 

Consistent brand guidelines are vital for a cohesive presence across all channels. Not only does this ensure messaging is clear and direct for customers, but it also allows them to feel the right emotional connection with the brand.

Consider the market

The most successful brands understand their position in the competitive marketplace and use branding and marketing messaging to reinforce their position within the landscape. They highlight and promote their differentiators to hone their target audience. 

Build a brand strategy around the target market and the unique position your brand occupies within the market:

  • Price point
  • Reputation
  • Status association
  • Customer self-concept

Highlight your unique sales proposition in your messaging to position yourself as a desirable alternative to competitors in the space.

Cars offer excellent examples of market differentiation in action. They highlight the functions and demographic they serve. Ford trucks (?Built Ford tough?) are often associated with rugged traits such as construction and agricultural work. They offer a unique proposition of having an extra tough utility vehicle that can handle the hardest working conditions. By contrast, Nissan and its pickup truck are often marketed to performance and outdoor sports enthusiasts. In both cases, the brand knows its position within the marketplace and capitalizes on those consumer perceptions in its marketing campaigns.

Identify channels and marketing tactics

With the above market research and data in hand, integrating the marketing channels is most likely to serve your ideal customer. This data will ensure accuracy when selecting tactics and collateral for campaigns. 

For instance, a brand selling an expensive piece of technical equipment understands that a customer requires a long sales cycle with in-depth information. Thus, they’ll incorporate long-form content like white papers and e-books into their campaign collateral. 

To contrast, an e-commerce brand such as a footwear company relies on emotion-based purchasing and a short time to close. Their marketing will favor visual collateral such as digital marketing and catalogs, as well as social media campaign elements to make an emotional connection and encourage a customer to add items to the cart. In both cases, correct brand positioning and collateral selection are derived from a proper understanding of market and customer data.

Build brand collateral

With the above criteria and research in hand, creative teams will be ready to develop the content library for campaigns. Build collateral pieces that align most closely with your ideal customer’s preferences and information sources. 

This process can be time-consuming, but with the right approach, brand managers can take products to market sooner. The most effective way to speed the content production process is repurposing using a modular content approach. 

Consider each piece of content as an element in a larger composition. Build large pieces of content and remix to create new, smaller content pieces across platforms. The data and images from a single ebook, for example, can be repurposed into blog posts, podcasts, videos, and infographics for use across the range of social media marketing. Repurposing long-form content helps brand managers visualize and take concepts to market more quickly.

Measure and refine

With all the pieces in place for your brand campaign, it’s time to launch and monitor the campaign. Establish metrics and track the progress of the overall campaign and individual assets for a data-informed approach to the campaign. 

When measuring campaign performance, it’s important to look beyond vanity metrics like traffic and shares. To get a true read on asset performance, examine how each asset is creating leads and conversions. Use this data to drive further performance in repurposed assets. Measure not just return on investment (ROI), but return on effort (ROE) in creating assets and implementing campaigns. 

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Best practices for building brand marketing

Do your research: Information is your best asset when building a brand. Even if you believe you have a solid grasp on your ideal customer, take time to dig deeper. Customer surveys, buyer data, website analytics, and other metrics can offer clues to understanding and speaking to your customers. 

Practice consistency: Know your brand values, aesthetics, and messaging inside and out, then incorporate them into every piece of content. Establish high-quality brand guidelines to help keep messaging compliant and consistent. 

Don’t skimp on personality: Customers engage with brands as if they were trusted friends. Build personality and emotion into your brand decisions. Every asset should be formulated to remain consistent with your brand’s central personality traits. These factors, more so than product or price, determine brand recognition and the potential to gain loyal customers.

Document your findings: Well-documented process and brand style make it easier to keep messaging and content creation on target. Only 40% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, but 64% of the most successful B2B marketers do. Build a repeatable process and iterate successful strategies and elements for more return on your content marketing efforts. 

Let technology help: Building an omnichannel brand strategy is a complex endeavor. Fortunately, marketing tech has come a long way in helping teams deliver faster, more consistent content. Build a tech stack that supports team communication and collaboration, intelligent and contextual content processes, and streamlined delivery.

How Aprimo empowers brand marketing

Aprimo offers brand marketers and creative teams the tools to execute a marketing plan that forges connections. The features in Aprimo digital asset management (DAM) enable faster, more compliant content creation, repurposing, and performance measurement: 

  • Fast, contextual access to assets and tools that help teams successfully build new content experiences and go to market faster
  • Brand style guide features to ensure brand compliance and consistent messaging
  • Analytics and asset profile data to ensure a 360-degree view of asset performance metrics

To learn more about Aprimo DAM, start with a free trial of the platform.

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