Branding and marketing – two elements of just about every business, but seldom thought about simultaneously.
Branding is something that’s done in the very early stages of a business, right? And marketing is something that’s ongoing – so how, and most importantly, why, would these two creatures overlap?
Well, one might argue that the success of your business depends on the answer to this very question.
Let’s take a look at how and why branding and marketing need to work together.
Why marketing loves branding
Good branding helps your business marketing efforts tenfold.
It’s a lot easier to take a brand to the world if it’s designed well, based on a good product (or service) and the experience is consistent over every channel (i.e., social media, website, letterheads, and packaging).
A well written ‘about us’ page, examples of social good that your brand does, as well as product descriptions that tell a story, are crucial branding elements that are often overlooked.
A fashion company that uses organic cotton may use biodegradable mailing bags to stay in line with their eco-friendly image. Their image is a result of the branding, and the branding can use this concept for marketing purposes.
It’s also these concepts that help your customer ‘feel’ what you stand for, and ultimately build enough trust to turn them into a customer.
When effective branding meets a good product, your customer is more likely to say “I got this from <your brand name>” rather than saying “I got this online”.
Branding also loves marketing
Quality branding increases your chances of leveraging user-generated content.
Consider for a moment the concept of unboxing videos.
Unboxing videos are:
- Watched by 1 in 5 consumers
- Nearly one-third of toy videos on Youtube
- More trusted than affiliated review websites
So it’s easy to see how a user-generated unboxing video can have a positive impact on your marketing skills.
But what’s front and center in an unboxing video?
Well, your box.
Quality packaging supplies are the stage that presents your product to your buyer; that is to say that your box is the marketing channel to show off your branding.
Creating the best possible unboxing experience is vital for any brand that likes to retain customers, but especially for eCommerce brands.
That’s because, for an eCommerce business, your mailer box is the first physical touchpoint between your brand and your customer.
This is a perfect example of how good branding (quality packaging) enhances your marketing efforts (user-generated content).
When branding and marketing work in harmony, your efforts reap more significant rewards.
When you read the word ‘Nike’, do you think of:
- the Greek goddess of victory
- the cold-war era anti-aircraft missile system
- ‘Just do it’?
Of course, you think of the sports brand.
And even now, having thought about the slogan, you’re thinking about their ‘tick’ logo, Air Jordans, and other things associated with the brand.
That’s a sign of marketing (Just do it) and branding (the tick) working in harmony.
Using your branding for marketing purposes
Consider for a moment Western Australian coffee roasters Raven:
Their branding is eye-catching, memorable, effective, and replicated on their coffee packaging perfectly.
The black background creates a contrasting blank canvas for the golds and yellow to truly pop. The Aztec-esque raven is the mascot, and the intricate details keep your eye fixed on its product.
This is nothing other than good branding being used to its full effect.
Now, take a look at the entire Raven coffee range side by side:
What do you instantly notice?
The slight differences between them all.
And in this case, the different-colored tag denoting the blend or flavor of the coffee is what catches your eye.
When stacked in a retail store, right next to other coffee brands (read: competitors) it’s this slight variation in color that gets your initial attention – and getting your initial attention is good marketing.
Then once your attention is captured, you try and identify what each separate color represents. By this time, you’re already building trust and a positive relationship with Raven coffee – all before you’ve even had a sniff of their intoxicating coffee beans.
This is an excellent example of branding and marketing working in close unison.
Social media marketing and branding
With a global population of nearly 4 billion people, the reach, and therefore power of social media marketing cannot be understated.
But if your branding is bland and unmemorable, all that traffic will simply pass you and your brand by. Social media simply needs good branding to be a useful acquisition channel.
It’s at this point where you should note that branding is a lot more than a color palette and a logo. Branding also encompasses the tone of voice, vocabulary, and using the right message for the right social media channel.
Below you can see how subscription box company ‘This Box Rocks’ uses their ‘crazy retro’ tone of voice on their subscription boxes as well as their business cards.
LinkedIn, for example, is a lot more professional and B2B focussed than Facebook. This, therefore, dictates your tone of voice and the way you present yourself onto that medium.
Below, you can see how Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream uses LinkedIn to share the social good they’re doing, rather than sell ice cream.
Tailoring the words you use, as well as the messages you push over all social media channels, is vital to make your branding work.
Consistency with imagery is essential, while consistency with the tone of voice must be tailored respectively.
Branding, marketing, your image, and customer loyalty
Branding and marketing, when working in unison, naturally create customer loyalty and foster customer retention.
That’s because your brand’s name has stayed in the mind of the customer. Good marketing got the initial attention of your customer, and quality branding built the trust enough to convert them for the very first time.
Retention marketing relies a lot on leverage your branding and that trust that was initially built between you and your customer.
When you remarket yourself to your customers, try taking on a different message.
For example, having the lowest price often the best way to get the initial sale, but not always the best to turn someone into a consistent, lifetime buyer. For that, you may have to add value (buy one get one free) or an extra service (extended warranty).
When presenting your brand to your past customers, consider the image that your branding creates. If your brand’s image is one of luxury, grandeur, and quality, a flash sale with heavily discounted prices may be detrimental to your image.
Branding and marketing symbiosis
Simply put branding and marketing work together over each customer-facing element of your business. Making them work together isn’t hard to do; the problem is that this symbiosis is rarely even considered by many brands.
But the truth is your branding is never really done, nor is your marketing.
This guest post was written by Phil Forbes. Phil is a bearded Australian living in Warsaw, Poland. When he’s not making boxes sexy, he’s trying not to kill his plants and writing for his blog expatspoland.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.