Brand Advertising: Why do we need it?

Every marketing plan that is actioned is to fulfill a certain goal or purpose. Mostly, it is for the business to generate revenue or to make a profit, which is the case of most businesses, however ‘performance’ driven activities are not the only way to make a business successful.

To explain better, a ‘performance’ activity, is along the line of a tactical campaign, i.e. to generate more business through lead generation, or online purchases via e-commerce. But not all marketing activities can be purely performance based, while it is the primary objective, as a marketing professional, it is important to keep in mind the marketing funnel.

At the start, the first objective should always be about generating brand awareness. Of course there are certain brands who are quite fortunate that they have considerable awareness and aspiration attached to them, such as Apple & Samsung in the mobile phone industry, but not everyone is so lucky, and even if people are familiar with the brand, it is not guarantee that the brand will make it to the consideration set of the consumer, which is dependent on the consumer’s budget, convenience, and other internal values and preferences.

So what is the best way to work with this?

Firstly, it is important to keep promoting the brand as well as the offers. This is essential because a brand is a lot more than it’s offer, and more importantly by promoting the brand regularly, you keep it in the mind of the consumer, which is beneficial especially if they are thinking of, shopping around to purchase your business’ product. But even if they are not, regular brand awareness activities keeps overall marketing costs down in the long run, as less effort and spend is then required to generate brand awareness before a major offer or promotion period coming up.

Secondly, brand awareness activities are also dependent on the actual product. Specifically the life cycle of the product, purchase cycle or frequency of purchase as well as the overall product cost. Products which have a high purchase point, require the additional spend for brand awareness. This is because, due to the high investment required, consumers need to be convinced not only about the offer but also about the actual product and the brand. This usually takes the form of a rational or emotional connection to the brand, which is essential and part of the product they are purchasing. Consumers need to be convinced about the value of the product and of the brand. The cost for brand awareness in these cases is often justified by the high returns through sales.
Products which have a predictable purchase cycle, make it easier to pin-point times of high sales. This can be determined by evaluating sales history to predict key periods. In between these sales cycles, the time can be equally divided between promoting the brand, followed by the promotion of any offer leading up to the high sale periods. This ensures that the brand along with the offer are promoted in time. By sticking to these sales cycles, more efficient use of budgets can be made maximizing on key periods only. For products who have short life cycles or whose key sales periods cannot be identified, it may be necessary to promote the brand throughout the year in small controlled amounts. This keeps the brand in the mind of the consumer without big pushes in key periods.

Third, it is important to consider what will be the message, or what exactly is to be promoted in a ‘brand campaign’. A promotional message, will feature the offer, what’s included in the offer etc. while a brand message, in essence talks about the brand. This includes the brand values, what are its main selling points, or unique identifiers, and what are the brand touch-points. These messages are important, as it is this message that emotionally connects to the consumer and justifies the brand value. Without a brand message, the consumer only buys into the actual product which can impact on overall loyalty in the long run. Consumers who tend to only purchase based on offers, are more interested in short term deals and will most likely switch to another offer or deal, unlike those who are invested with the brand.

But finally, for any marketing activity to be successful it is essential to have a combination of brand as well as offers, however this is dependent on the budget and the level of management support in the company. In cases where there is a restricted budget and / or management requires you to do more performance based activities, all hope is not lost. There are other channels to be used for brand related promotion, two such being PR & social media. Both these channels are excellent for story telling, and brand stories, and also are good and engaging channels through which to connect to the consumer. While normally these should ideally be part of the marketing mix, the usage levels would change as part of your overall strategy.

So all in all, it is important to run brand as well as performance activities for a successful marketing campaign.

How to Grow a New Brand

What is the first thing you do when you have a new (or existing brand that got a makeover) that you have to work with?

This is a challenge in my new position, which needs to be resolved. So what are the first steps to take:

 

  1. Decide on your Brand Identity
    This doesn’t mean just creating a new logo, it means defining what your brand is, and more importantly what it is not. To do so, an understanding is needed of who your target market is, and who your competitors are. How can you appeal to your market, while standing out from the competition.
    Tip: ‘Does your brand identity reflect the values and aspirations of your target audience?’ if it does not then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the product or who you are selling to.

  2. Create a Visual Identity
    Oknow you can go ahead and create a logo. Creating a visual identity needs to reflect your brand’s identity, tone of voice, and aspirations in a visual context that is not just appealing and attractive but it attracts and connects to your audience. This includes, the look of the brand in the design, creating a unique elements which is reflective of the identity and is distinctive to the brand. Consideration needs to be given to the photography guide, the models, the fonts, the colors, and the overall style.
    Tip: While it’s great to be different and stand out, you need to be careful not to be ‘Too out there’ which will compromise brand identity. Think long term, assess if the visuals will be suitable in multiple campaigns and not just for the moment.

  3. Marketing & Sales Strategy
    Where you sell and market yourself is a reflection of the brand. The channels, content and price need to match the identity of the brand as well as of the audience.
    Tip: Choose channels your audience are active on. Monitor content which engages and create a content strategy based around it. Grow and engage, engage, engage.