Branding is the platform from which every successful marketing campaign is launched. Any marketing effort that hopes to be on target needs a well-designed brand strategy behind it. When you devise your brand strategy, you’re actually making a business case for why your business, product, service, event, campaign or project – whatever it is – should be positioned in a particular way. You’re sleuthing out your true competitive advantage, the reason your market will want to walk right past your competitors and knock on your door. And, just like a political party runs on a platform and that platform is made up of declared policies called planks, so is the brand strategy defined by a set of declarations – also called planks. But what are these planks in the brand platform? And how does that platform support my marketing? How does it make it better? More effective?
What’s the difference between marketing and selling? What’s the difference between branding and marketing? I get these questions all the time when speaking to groups or running workshops. Recently, I was invited to speak at a UCLA Extension class on new media marketing. The students were attempting to promote and find markets for a brand, of their choosing, through online campaigns of various kinds. Some of them were struggling to fully comprehend what, exactly, a brand is. So the instructor asked me to speak. I did my best to give them my take. (See my ebook, A Brand is a Promise Kept.) But we only covered branding. What about marketing and selling? How are those defined? More importantly, how do these three, separate activities intersect? It’s called the Branding/Marketing/Sales Continuum.
By guest author, Giulia Iannucci, Know Thy Brand
My job is to provide advice and guidance to my clients on how to increase their revenues by perfecting their marketing strategies. And while I’m a firm believer that well-executed digital marketing, content marketing and social media do make a difference, I’m also equally certain that if your brand is strong your marketing requirements are much less. In the same way, if your brand is weak you can invest loads of money and time on marketing but the results won’t be as good as they could be. Marketing is definitely instrumental to the growth of your business but your brand needs to be present and strong before you even start considering marketing. Of course, for big companies with big budgets, investing in marketing is critical but as a start-up or an SME, my suggestion is to invest in your brand first and your marketing after. I’m going to give you a very powerful example of how true this is.
Recent weeks have seen some major companies in full crisis mode. United Airlines had a number of highly visible missteps, culminating in the forcible removal of David Dao, MD, a paying customer, from one of its flights. That was a debacle seen, first on social media, then on news sites, around the world. Pepsi ran an ad, featuring Kendall Jenner, that offended many and had to be pulled. Very few people saw the ad on television. (Most of those who did, apparently, liked it.) Still, it was sufficiently offensive to enough people that it had to be killed. The two brand names, viewed together, serve as an interesting illustration of the difference between advertising and branding – and why one is so much more powerful than the other.
Don’t get me wrong. Change is a good thing. We learn things from change. We discover new opportunities, new knowledge, new ways of thinking. Through change, we gain experience and wisdom. And, anyway, change is inevitable, unstoppable. You can never step into the same river twice, so the Buddhist saying goes. So change is not to be avoided but embraced. To live a rich and rewarding life, we need to develop a healthy enthusiasm for change and all the life experiences it will bring. Having said that, in business, change must be approached and managed carefully because, to brands, change is kryptonite. There are three kinds of change that can weaken or destroy an otherwise healthy brand. The owner or manager of any brand asset must be on guard against them at all times.
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Best Branding Reads
Week of May 22, 2017
How Augmented And Virtual Reality Will Shape The Brands Of The Future
Playing with dinosaurs is cool, of course. But I actually think AR will have the biggest impact on more mundane activities.
An Advertising Shift At Lyft: Not So Much About Uber
An interesting case study showing how Lyft is altering its brand strategy. Good move, IMHO.
The Five Pillars Of Brand Likeability
Good brands are liked. Great brands are beloved!
The Power of Brand Image in B2B
If you’re in B2B, you have to read this! Your brand matters more than you think!
Will AI Take Creative Jobs? Judging by These Paint Names, Probably Not Today
I couldn’t resist this hilarious experiment with AI. I guess we’re not at The Singularity just yet!
Chuck E. Cheese Offers Sensory Sensitive Sundays for Kids with Autism and Other Special Needs
Here’s an example of a brand showing its target market, parents, that it understands them and is on their side. Good move!
Crafting Brand Stories That Inspire And Resonate
You must show your clients or customers why you’re here to serve them.