A brand is truly the heart and soul of a company and/or an individual. It’s why your organization exists and what it (or you) stands for. Your personal brand is just as important as your company/organization’s brand. As individuals, we align ourselves with companies and organizations that share our core values and that enhance or strengthen our brand. We seek brands that share in similar “why’s.”
It’s been said many times and continues to ring true today; we choose to do business with people (and organizations) based on their values, their “why.” Some brands many be easy to define, others may be more challenging. Regardless, defining your brand is the essence of your branding, marketing, mission, vision and core values. Your brand, and the promises it holds, can persuade and inspire others with what you do and why you do it. Simon Sinek speaks about this concept in his famous Ted Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action“.
Branding, on the other hand, is defined by Entrepreneur.com as; “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” This is where many people get brand confused with branding. Your branding can change over time, but your brand remains true to your values. Your “why” rarely changes.
Branding is an important part of marketing. It’s your brand identity: logo, mark, voice, personality or persona, colors, fonts and content — how people identify or differentiate your organization from another. Enlisting a talented creative team that encapsulates the essence of your brand can bring your branding to life.
Think of marketing as tentacles out there on various platforms telling your brand’s story about “why” your company exists, all while using your branding kit as a toolbox and guide. How you tell that story is your marketing strategy. Here are some best practices that show success in developing your marketing efforts:
Engagement: You want to increase engagement of course; but this should include engaging with others. Don’t just push content out, follow your customers, clients and join in on conversations.
Video: It was king in 2016, and will continue to be, if not more so. There are so many tools available that allow video storytelling to be created quite easily.
Humanize: As shown in many case studies, brands that have a more personal persona over “salesy” and “corporate” approach drive more results.
Enlist ambassadors: Get buy-in from the leaders, employees, and customers and clients of the organization. Encourage that they engage with the brand online, share photos, and tell their story about the company.
A/B testing: Creating ads that drive results can be challenging. Many successful marketers rely on A/B testing to see which strategy gives them a better ROI.
Adapt: The market in which we reach our audience is ever-changing. Stay tuned in, never stop learning, try new things and see if it works for your company.
Analytics: Look at the results, decipher what’s working and continue to tweak your strategy to reach your goals.
Remember this when strategizing your branding and marketing efforts:
“People don’t buy “what” you buy, they buy “why” you do it”.