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How to create a winning brand marketing strategy

PostsStrategy & planning
Georgina Guthrie

Georgina Guthrie

June 26, 2024

The most memorable brands all share three qualities: a great product, a strong identity, and an effective brand marketing strategy. 

The first is what you sell; the second is why you sell it; the third is how you sell yourself. Today, we’re going to hold a magnifying glass up to the third on that list: how you sell yourself, aka ‘brand marketing’. Let’s begin! 

What is a brand?

Before we get into brand marketing, let’s roll things back to the beginning. 

A brand is your business. But it’s more than the daily running of things. It’s more than your logo and color scheme, too. It’s who you are and what you stand for, including your personality and values, plus how your audience perceives you. 

A strong brand:

  • Sets you apart from the competition
  • Offers a sense of purpose and structure for your marketing activities
  • Builds familiarity, which builds trust and memorability. 

What are brand attributes?

Just like humans have things that make them ‘them’ — whether out-of-this-world math skills or an infectious laugh — brands have things that make them one-of-a-kind. Things that set them apart from others in the market.

These can include ‘hard attributes’, like your logo, color scheme, theme tune, name, vision, and slogan. Or they can be ‘soft attributes’ like your uniqueness, value, appeal, personality, positioning, consistency, and credibility. Other examples of soft attributes include evoked feelings like dependability, edginess, ease, and so on. All of these things work together as part of your branding.

What is branding, and why is it important?

Branding is the process of creating and shaping your brand’s identity. 

It involves: 

  • Defining what your brand stands for
  • Setting out how you want to be perceived; and 
  • Being unique in a way that sets you apart.

‘Branding’ encompasses an array of things, including your name, logo, color palette, tone of voice, jingle, and more. And branding as an activity? It’s about taking all of these elements and molding them into a unified whole. Ideally one that appeals to the people you’re trying to impress.

Here’s why it matters: 

  • It sets you apart: In a crowded market, being unique and selling that via branding helps you stand out. 
  • Recognition: Consistent branding helps people remember you and associate your logo or hear your name with a specific set of qualities.
  • Trust and loyalty: When customers know what to expect, they feel at ease.
  • Emotional connection: Attachment turns one-time purchasers into repeat shoppers and brand advocates.
  • Perceived value: A strong brand often commands bigger bucks.
  • Consistency: Branding keeps you consistent across all customer touchpoints. 
  • Marketing effectiveness: A clear brand message amplifies the impact of your campaigns.

So what is brand marketing, exactly?

Now let’s bring it all together. 

Brand marketing is the practice of promoting your organization’s product, identity, and values to the target audience. 

It goes way beyond simply selling things. This is about building a presence that clicks with customers on an emotional level. Picture Apple or the bartender who always remembers your tipple. This connection creates loyalty and encourages people to choose you over your competitors. And, if you’re lucky, recommend your products and services to others. 

Branding vs. marketing

Branding is about articulating who you are as a company over the long term. Marketing, on the other hand, is about promoting your products or services to potential customers to drive sales in the more immediate term.

PurposeCreating a strong, lasting identityPromoting products/services to drive sales
ScopeBroad (logo, design, culture, service)Specific (advertising, social media, email)
LongevityLong-term, ongoing processShort-term, campaign-based
StrategyStrategic approach for identity alignmentTactical approach for specific objectives
ImpactBuilds perception, loyalty, and trustDrives customer behavior and sales

Brand marketing vs. brand equity

Brand marketing is about communicating your brand’s identity, whereas brand equity refers to the value that a brand adds to a product or service beyond its functional benefits. 

AspectBrand marketingBrand equity
DefinitionPromoting and communicating a brand’s identity and valuesThe value added to a product or service due to the brand’s perception
GoalTo create awareness, build perception, and foster connectionTo increase consumer preference, loyalty, and perceived value
FocusShort-term and long-term promotional activitiesLong-term value and reputation of the brand
ActivitiesAdvertising, social media, content marketing, PRConsistent marketing, customer experiences, reputation management
ImpactDirect influence on consumer behavior and salesIndirect influence through consumer trust and loyalty
MeasurementMetrics like brand awareness, engagement, reachMetrics like brand loyalty, customer satisfaction, premium pricing

What is a brand-consumer relationship?

The brand-consumer relationship, also known as the consumer-brand or brand relationship, reflects how well a brand and its customers are connected. 

This connection can vary in strength and positivity. It may be functional, based on the product or service provided, or emotional, rooted in personal investment and affinity. 

The strongest brand-consumer relationships are both positive and emotionally driven. These deep connections help transform one-time buyers into loyal, lifelong advocates, returning time and time again while dishing out glowing recommendations to friends and family. This means extra business for you, not to mention a lower spend on customer acquisition. A key aim of brand marketing is to create and nurture a strong brand-consumer relationship. 

What are the goals of brand marketing?

The aim is to turn one-time shoppers into loyal advocates. And to do this, you need to build and maintain a clearly defined, positive image of your brand in their mind. 

  • Establish brand awareness: Make your brand recognizable and memorable.
  • Communicate brand values and personality: Be consistent across all touchpoints.
  • Differentiate from competitors: Highlight what makes your brand unique.
  • Build emotional connections: Foster loyalty and advocacy among customers.
  • Enhance brand equity: Increase perceived value and drive long-term business growth.

What is a brand marketing strategy?

Every successful project has a strategy behind it. When it comes to brand marketing, this is essentially a dynamic game plan for making your brand known and adored in a way that lasts.

Creating a strategy involves working out who you’re speaking to (aka your audience), and how. You’ll also need to define your USP (unique selling proposition) and how to market that, plus how you want people to feel about your brand. Metrics also play an important role in this process. 

How to build a brand strategy in 10 easy(ish) steps 

Here’s a step-by-step guide to guide you. As with all guides, you should flex it to suit your goals.

1. Find your ‘why’

If you don’t know what you stand for, then how do you expect customers to figure it out?

Your brand purpose is the very foundation of your business. Begin by defining your ‘why’. What values drive your company? What are your mission and vision? Values guide your business decisions and behavior, while your mission and vision act as a north star for all your branding efforts.

Create a mission statement that outlines all of the above. This document will guide your strategizing and branding efforts while keeping everyone in the business aligned.

2. Get to know your audience

Research plays a big role in the brand marketing process. So don’t skimp on it! 

Learn who your potential users are through customer discovery. Then create detailed user personas that include demographics, psychographics, needs, desires, and pain points. This brings the data to life in a way that’s useful for the non-techy side of the team who will be turning that data into brand attributes.

Surveys, focus groups, and social media insights are all great ways to gather this information.

3. Suss out the competition

You know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

OK, the competition isn’t your enemy, exactly. But it does pay to know what you’re up against. After all, there’s no point in creating something that already exists. Or entering the market, only to realize there isn’t one. 

So — really put your rivals under the metaphorical microscope. You’ll want to run a competitive landscape analysis to see what they’re doing well (and not so well). And keep an eye out for market gaps you can fill, and whether the market is big enough to make the endeavor worth your while. Study their branding, marketing strategies, customer feedback, product lineup, and overall market position. By the end of it, you should have a pretty clear idea of how to carve out your own special spot alongside them. 

4. Develop your USP

Once you’ve found your place, it’s time to refine your USP. This is a statement that describes the unique, never-been-done-before benefits of your brand to your audience.

Ask yourself: what do we offer that no one else does? Why should customers choose us over the rest? Crafting a compelling USP helps you communicate these things clearly and convincingly, not to mention lends legitimacy to any superlatives you use. 

5. Write your brand positioning statement

This statement sets out how you want your brand to appear in the minds of your customers relative to the competition. Unlike your USP, which is more customer-facing, this is for internal use only.

It should clearly set out who your target audience is, your niche, the benefit of your brand, and the proof points that support your claims. A strong positioning statement provides focus, including for all your marketing comms. 

6. Develop your brand message

This is where you bring your USP, values, and personality together into a unified narrative. Your brand message should set out how your organization communicates all of the above in verbal and nonverbal ways (logo, imagery, and so on).

It needs to be consistent across all channels and touchpoints, so every interaction with your brand, whether on a mobile or IRL, reinforces the same core message. 

7. Design your visual identity

Your visual identity includes your logo, color scheme, typography, and overall design aesthetic. As with your verbal communication, it should tie in with your personality and be clear, consistent, and recognizable. 

8. Create brand guidelines

Now it’s time to pull everything together in your brand guidelines. Include details on your tone of voice, visual identity (you’ll want a visual identity kit as a sub-document), and usage rules. These guidelines act as a reference for anyone who communicates on behalf of your brand, keeping that image as one unified thing.

Roll it out across the entire organization, communicating it clearly and storing it somewhere that’s easily accessible. Consider running a change management plan to help everyone get on board.  

9. Roll out your brand strategy

It’s launch time! Make sure everything carries the new brand, including email signatures, X (formerly known as Twitter) banners, email marketing, and so on. You might also want to launch a complementary campaign to announce the ‘new you’ to the wider world. 

10. Measure and adjust your strategy

Track KPIs like brand awareness, engagement, customer feedback, and conversion rates, then ramp up what’s working and kill what isn’t. Tools like Google Analytics, social media analytics, and customer surveys can give you handy insights across various touchpoints. Just be ready to make adjustments as you go to keep your brand in tune with your audience.

Three vital things to remember

Brand marketing is a complex exercise. Here are three principles to underpin everything you do.

1. Consistency is key

Yes, we keep saying it, but it really is a biggie. Every element of your brand, from your tweets to your videos, should present a unified front. Customers will appreciate having a seamless experience wherever they’re interacting with you. It builds that all-important trust, not to mention strengthens their idea of who you are — so polish up those brand guidelines and stick to them.

2. Know your audience

Knowing who you’re talking to makes the sale SO much easier. Do your research and create detailed user personas so every part of your brand aligns with their needs. Remember — the more you know, the better you can connect. It’s the difference between grabbing a suit off the rack, and having one tailor made just for you. 

3. Emotional connection matters

It’s not just about the product. As Nike or Apple fans will know, brands with that emotional connection can charge the big bucks, not to mention have a ready-made audience ready to snap up the latest launch. 

Use storytelling to broadcast your brand’s values and mission and show authenticity in your communications. Meanwhile, ad campaigns that evoke emotions — whether joy, nostalgia, inspiration, and so on — can really build on this.

Current (and long-lasting) trends in brand marketing

Trends come and go, but staying on top of them can give you the edge. Here are some of the biggest and most enduring of the past decade. 

1. Personalization

Personalization involves tailoring your marketing around the individual. Their preferences, desires, behaviors — not to mention little touches like product recommendations, targeted ads, and using their name in marketing emails. Data analytics and customer insights will be your go-to for all the information you need.

2. Influencer marketing

These people can help you reach a wider audience and a way that feels authentic. We may be reaching ‘peak influencer’, but micro-influencers are on the rise due to their smaller, but highly engaged niche audiences. Just remember to do your background checks and choose wisely. A problematic association will hurt, not help, your brand. 

3. Sustainability and social responsibility

Sustainability is increasingly important. Brands need to do what they can to prioritize ethical and eco-friendly practices, or risk fines, bad press, and upset customers for playing dirty. Good practice includes using recycled and/or natural materials, supporting charities, and keeping business ethical and transparent. Even just one slip up could ruin your rep.

4. Content marketing

Is it fair to call this a trend? Either way, it’s a cornerstone of good brand marketing. It involves creating and sharing entertaining or inspiring content to attract customers and spread your reach via shares and likes. Blog posts, videos, podcasts, and social media updates all count. It’s also a great way to get your story out there, as well as boost your site’s SERP spot. 

5. User-generated content

Encouraging customers to create and share content related to your brand is a great way to boost authenticity, not to mention reduce your content production demands. Reviews, testimonials, photos, and guest posts offer social proof while fostering a sense of community. 

6. Hands-on experiences

Do you have a product customers really need to experience firsthand? Interactive experiences are the way to go. This includes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), interactive online content, pop-ups, and free samples. Just remember — be thoughtful in how you use your tech. Don’t let gimmick outshine your offering. 

7. Data-driven decision making

Collecting data is hardly a new trend, but the ways of collecting and processing it are as changeable as the weather. Data analytics are essential when it comes to understanding user needs, trends, and behavior; measuring campaign effectiveness; and optimizing marketing efforts. Tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems should be your first port of call.

8. Focus on mobile marketing

Another one that’s been on the rise over the past decade and isn’t showing signs of going anywhere. With the increasing ubiquity of smartphones, mobile marketing has become non-negotiable. This includes optimizing your website for mobile devices and creating app versions of your site.

Project management software was made for brand marketing 

Creating a solid brand marketing strategy involves lots of moving parts. While it’s not impossible to juggle spreadsheets, guideline docs, task lists, and so on, using a project management tool like Backlog makes things a whole lot easier. 

Instead of hunting for documents, managing versions, and sending out status updates, everyone on the team can log in and work from one central hub. Best of all, it’s updated in real-time, so no one’s left behind. 

Meanwhile, get diagramming tools involved too. With Cacoo, you can grab a user persona template, then share it with the team on the cloud. Better yet? You can integrate the two, meaning everything from workflows and milestones, to data visualizations and more are all there, up-to-date, and fully interactive for everyone to access. A consistent brand needs a consistent team. Give both a try today for free. 



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