- Branding, Marketing and Brand Marketing: What’s the Difference?
- Key brand marketing types
- Three Examples of Creative Brand Marketing
- A Step-by-Step Strategy for Brand Creation and Promotion
Imagine that you are looking for a cleaning company and you see two advertising offers with the same prices and services. Which brand will you choose? The one that shares a common language with you is more likely to be more attractive or conveys similar values. Your choice is the result of brand marketing, i.e. promoting the image of the company in the market. Read the article to learn how this tool works and how to use it.
Branding, Marketing and Brand Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Let’s analyze the terminology on the example of a typical everyday situation. Let’s say that you regularly visit your favorite coffee shop because there is a friendly barista, nice music plays, coffee is chosen to your taste, and the pictures on the glasses lift your spirits in the morning. All these are the components of branding, i.e. creating the image of the company in the eyes of customers with the help of colors, smells, sounds, and communication.
To make the coffee shop known to as many people as possible, you need to advertise it: e.g., hand out flyers, launch targeted advertising on Instagram or record viral videos for TikTok. All these are elements of marketing, i.e. strategies to promote the company and attract new customers.
Besides, any advertising should preserve the coffee shop’s nature — demonstrate goodwill, care, coziness, choose the same tone of voice (“brand voice”), and communicate the same values. This is brand marketing, i. e. the popularization of the brand aimed at establishing long-term relationships with the audience.
So, these two components are indispensable for brand marketing:
- A brand is a general answer to the question “Who are you?” — by nature, mission, differentiation from competitors, value proposition. This image is manifested both in the corporate culture as well as at any touchpoint with customers and becomes the foundation for marketing.
- Marketing is a promotion strategy that can change frequently. At the same time, branding must remain the same to maintain an emotional connection with the target audience.
Key brand marketing types
Brand marketing strategies can vary depending on the following factors:
- brand nature;
- specifics of goods and services;
- market trends;
- changes (e.g., product line updates or rebranding);
- the target audience’s interests.
There are several dozens of brand marketing varieties, let us list the main ones:
- content marketing: a website blog, articles in mass media, posts on social media, email marketing;
- outdoor advertising: billboards, lightboxes, signboards, inscriptions on transport;
- printed advertising: flyers, business cards, leaflets, catalogs;
- online promotion: SEO (search engine optimization), banner advertising, a mobile application;
- corporate culture: corporate communication style, bonus and reward system, events;
- communication with customers: responses to comments on social media, handling negative comments, support team communication, staff behavior in retail outlets.
Three Examples of Creative Brand Marketing
There is no universal approach to brand promotion. That’s why we suggest you consider examples of three different companies and learn the techniques that will suit your business.
The chain of coffee shops positions itself as the “third place” between home and work and claims that their main mission is to inspire people. That’s why brand marketing is focused on creating a close connection with customers.
People are not offered coffee, but the experience of Starbucks: smiling employees, cozy atmosphere, carefully selected playlists, places where you can work using your laptop. This experience remains the same in any touchpoint with customers. Whether it’s a coffee shop, social media, or advertising, Starbucks maintains the image of an open, friendly company that focuses on quality service.
For example, all photos on social media are in the same style, and texts are similar to live communication with staff in a cafe – short, informative, and friendly. Coffee machines are always located so they don’t block baristas from clients: this helps to create personal communication.
The company actively uses audience engagement tools: it organizes contests and giveaways and stimulates users to mention the brand in their posts. Another way to increase customer activity is the FOMO effect (“fear of missing out”), i.e. the release of limited edition products such as red Christmas cups or pumpkin latte with spices.
The company does not sell cameras, but the opportunities they provide: this is GoPro’s mission. Their brand marketing is concentrated around a content strategy that is closely linked to the product and value proposition.
The main content is videos shot with GoPro, and most of them are posted on the Internet by users themselves. The clips fully correspond to the main message of the brand: they are emotional, exciting, authentic, and available to everyone. Since videos often become viral, the popularity of cameras is growing due to organic promotion.
Besides, GoPro actively cooperates with specialized Internet communities, where tourists, fans of extreme sports or entertainment gather. This increases brand awareness and helps to win the audience’s loyalty.
Nike’s branding is based on strong emotional messages: motivation, self-confidence, will to win, equal opportunities for everyone. These messages are reflected in all marketing materials – from social media to bright commercials.
Nike often involves sports stars in advertising campaigns or tells the stories of ordinary people who have succeeded despite difficulties. This creates the effect of social proof and creates a deep emotional connection with users.
A Step-by-Step Strategy for Brand Creation and Promotion
Is branding possible without marketing? Yes, but then customers won’t know about your company. Is it possible to market without branding? Yes, but you are unlikely to retain your audience for a long time. Therefore, a brand marketing strategy involves both components.
Step 1: Create a brand image
Think about what your company should look like for potential customers, and what associations you want to evoke. To do so, identify:
- your mission and values: what’s your purpose of doing business apart from making a profit? What do you believe in?
- your unique selling proposition: an advantage you will offer to your clients (low prices, innovative development, unique loyalty program, etc.);
- what differs you from your competitors: product line, positioning, pricing;
- your target audience: customer’s profile (gender, age, social status, habits, desires, objections, fears);
- the emotional benefits of the product: what customers receive when buying the product or service (inspiration, status, support, care);
- your brand’s nature: funny, roguish, serious, friendly.
Step 2: Create your brand identity
In other words, express your brand identity with colors, materials, sounds, and scents. The development of corporate identity begins with a logo, colors, and fonts. Particular attention should be paid to the logo as the main visual symbol of the brand. Here are some criteria for a good logo:
- conciseness: avoid unnecessary details and complex patterns;
- uniqueness: make sure that other companies do not use the same or similar image;
- semantic content: try to make the logo reflect your mission, values, or unique selling proposition.
You can create such a logo using ZenBusiness’s online identity generator. The “smart” builder will offer dozens of options for logos, colors, and fonts that match your brand.
Remember that corporate identity must be reflected at all touchpoints with customers – from business cards and advertising to the product packaging and site design. This will make it easier for customers to remember and start recognizing you.
Step 3. Select proper marketing channels
There is no uniform solution here. For one brand interior design and discount coupons will work effectively, for another SMM-strategy and viral content. To identify key promotion tools, rely on the following criteria:
- where your target audience resides (online and offline);
- what habits target customers have, what they love and what annoys them;
- what promotion channels competitors use and how you can stand out from them.
Marketing can be built not only strategically, but also tactically: quickly test different hypotheses and change the ones that don’t work. The main thing is to show the same brand image across all channels – in communication with customers and the design of shop windows.
No matter what marketing strategies you will use, strong branding must be at the heart of them. This will allow you to attract new customers, create an emotional connection with them, and win their loyalty. Be sincere, interact with your target audience, and don’t be afraid to change your strategy if it doesn’t work: the main thing is to make sure that the brand image remains unchanged.