Brand Concept. The meeting at the white office table.

Branding and Marketing – What you need to know

First we need to differentiate between the two.

What is branding? Well to answer such a simple question, there are some things you need to know. First, branding is creating an image of a company that is easily recognized within a few seconds and consistently maintaining that image on a regular basis utilizing different marketing tools. This is the whole reason why the business exists. Prospective customers come to you for your brand – because they like your products within that brand or just because they want to use your name to be popular amongst your peers.

So, having said that, branding is a pull of the consumers to your company and its products and services. Branding a business or product/service is a strategy.

The questions you need to ask yourself are the following:

1. What are your exposure options?

2. How can you get yourself known within the community and how far are you willing to go?

3. What is your target market?

Branding practices need to be crafted for the intended audience.

Remember that branding is a strategy. Ask yourself what those goals are? What is your monthly, 6 month, year or 3 year strategy plan? You need to be able to envision your business and yourself over the course of time.

Are you in this for the long haul? Many businesses fail before they are even out of the gate because they treat their businesses as a spring and not a marathon. Branding does not happen overnight. It takes consistency.

Is your branding strategy logistically possible? Of course it takes money to make money and marketing your brand is very expenses. Consider yourself lucky if you operate on cash alone because most businesses take out significant loans and sometimes are not able to dig themselves out again. That is either due to over confidence or incorrect marketing or a combination of both.

Only 2% of consumers are fast track buyers. This means that we have to work for the other 98% of potential clients to buy your brand. And how do you do that, with marketing your brand!

Now on the other side, marketing is the tactical tool to fulfill your branding strategy. There are many marketing options out there and before we delve into that, there are some things that need to be clarified. First and foremost, the marketing contributes to the brand. Marketing is used to convince the clients to use your brand for products/services.

Before we delve too deeply into the different types of marketing strategies, there are some things that you need to think about:

1. Know your buyer

2. Do you understand your customer?

3. What is your competitive advantage?

4. What is your story and can it be communicated?

5. How can your story be communicated with purpose?

6. Can you perfect your customer’s journey?

7. Can you justify your marketing investment? You need to keep track with a simple dashboard on how each performs and make adjustments from there.

8. Can you guide your sales and development team to ensure that any issues/mistakes are corrected and improved upon?

The golden rule to effective marketing of your brand is that it is a long-term venture. Generally it takes a business approximately 2 years to gain community awareness. Many clients of mine that need social media want to just use SEO and/or Social Media on a one-time basis or maximum of 3 months and then turn up their noses because they cannot see immediate gratification. That’s the problem with today’s society. We want something and we want that something RIGHT NOW! We as a marketing team are not miracle workers. It takes time and work and money to successfully see the beginnings of results. In general, the results start showing up for Social Media and SEO at the very least after 6 months and for consistency at least 8 months. Otherwise it is not worth your money since the ROI (Return on Investment) is not going to happen.

Also, you need to use the same marketing strategy combination consistently and slowly add/remove marketing avenues as your business needs fluctuate. An even balance of using different types of marketing is key. There are 2 different types of marketing realms:

Digital Marketing (let’s call it DM)

Traditional Marketing (let’s call it TM)

Then within each realm, you have mass media (Television Commercials for DM | Newspapers for TM) and targeted media ( Facebook for DM | Direct Mail for TM)