An effective brand strategy will increase overall return on investment and while brand awareness is a slower path than the sugar-hit of a sales-focused goal, it provides a strong foundation of any promotional and lead-focused activity, writes Emma Levine (main photo), business operations lead at performance media agency, Agnes Media.
In the age of always-on e-commerce and notoriously short attention spans, it can be tempting to downplay branding in favour of acquisition-focused digital advertising. Branding however is an important aspect of all marketing campaigns, regardless of the objective.
Think of branding as the foundation. Taking the time to build a strong brand, investing time and money into brand strategy will ultimately result in more successful performance over time. Whilst sales activations and offer-led initiatives will provide short-term sales uplift, brand building will result in long term growth and stability.
Brand represents the reason the business exists (your ‘why’), what you do and why you’re different. It is about everything that makes your brand a better choice than a competitor and when done well, can portray all of that in a shade of Cadbury purple or a Nike ‘swoosh’.
While there are many arguments for developing a strong branding strategy, here are the top four reasons why branding is such an important element in reaching performance objectives.
Attracting new customers
Strategic brand awareness campaigns introduce the business to new potential customers. It’s often said that an audience needs to see a brand at least seven times before they will consider purchasing. This number is reduced if your brand has a strong, unique brand positioning. If a brand is memorable, you won’t necessarily need as many impressions to be effective.
When there is both a strong brand identity and consistent marketing, reach and consideration will improve. Brand awareness helps to bond new customers to a brand.
Customers are more likely to purchase from brands they know and trust. A strong brand identity helps to build a connection with the target audience as they will recognise, know and understand the product and point of differentiation via brand messaging.
A trusted brand also leads to brand loyalty and repeat purchases. Customers will rebook or rebuy a product with little to no forethought. These sales are far easier and more cost effective to achieve than first-time sales. If they like your product and your brand, customers are also more likely to recommend it to their family and friends, exponentially improving your ROI.
Establishing target audiences
Starting with a clear brand identity will help to position your offering and target the customers you want to attract. Brand strategy will help to develop a deep understanding of customers’ demographics, attitudes and behaviours, helping to tailor your products and messaging. It is expensive to market to everyone, and so having a strong understanding of who the brand is ‘for’ will help to specify campaign targeting, therefore reducing advertising waste and making marketing dollars work harder.
Research has shown that brands with brand equity are more likely to be insulated in times of economic uncertainty, with a faster recovery when the market returns. A strong, clear positioning, along with loyal customers and consistent messaging helps a business to weather bad times, while preparing them to accelerate during the good times.
Working on brand identity and awareness cements the position in a customer’s mind and will help to protect the business and ensure it can bounce-back more quickly in times of turbulence.
Brand awareness is a core indicator of marketing success. It is your base and marketing ‘foundation’, upon which actionable sales promotions should sit. Every piece of communication should look, feel and sound like the brand, reinforcing what it is and why it’s the best choice.
An effective brand strategy will increase overall return on investment. While it can be more difficult to measure brand awareness compared to lead generation or revenue targets, campaigns which allow for both are more likely to have improved performance outcomes and ultimately reach their objectives.
Brand awareness is a slower path than the sugar-hit of a sales-focused goal, however it is vital for long term stability. A strong brand foundation will improve the results of anypromotional and lead-focused activity, across all channels.