Brand marketing is having a bit of a renaissance.
Companies are beginning to hit a glass ceiling with channels like performance marketing. They’ve begun to realize that relying exclusively on paid growth is just a short-term solution, one that is becoming increasingly more expensive as a result of the vast competition out there. A more long-term strategy is needed so they are putting more of a focus on brand marketing.
Some companies are already spending big bucks on brand. Creating a mass brand is what makes the big companies big companies. Yet, some companies are digging their heels in and are refusing to spend the budget needed on brand. They are wrong. If companies want to continue on an upward growth trend, 2020 needs to be about brand marketing. Those who don’t get on board will suffer the consequences. Don’t believe us? We’ve brought in the big guns to tell you why you should make 2020 the year of brand marketing.
Building an audience is more valuable than direct sales for over 70% of brand managers. And how do you build a loyal audience? By first building a brand identity that people can relate to.
“2020 is the year of the brand marketer,” says Gail Axelrod, Director of Brand Marketing at Drift. “Why? Because there have never been more options available to your would-be buyers. So how do you stand out? Build an emotional moat around your company. And that starts and ends with your brand. 2020 is the year to invest.”
Consumers Also Want a Story
A three-line message in a digital campaign is barely enough to get your target audience interested in your product never mind putting them on the road to becoming a loyal customer. More on that in the next point. What’s important to know here is that a good brand story is very important in achieving growth. It goes hand-in-hand with creating a brand people can relate to. Let international marketing and communication professional, Mats Rönne tell you why.
“For anyone in marketing, it is worthwhile to ask yourself why companies do marketing in the first place?,” says Mats. “Many will answer ‘to sell more’, but then they are missing two key words: ‘more profitably’. But ‘selling more, more profitably’ means reaching more people AND getting them wanting to pay more for your product. If you only want to define one KPI for you as a marketing professional, that should be about your customers' willingness to pay.”
For that to happen, Mats told us that brands need to do two things:
1. Understand what drives the customers' behavior - WHY they buy, and;
2. Create a story to engage them - why should they want to buy from you.
“And if price/promotions/offers is the answer, you haven't done your job. The customer journey starts long before the purchase journey. We buy products and services from brands we like, and that comes close to our hearts. Just as you don't propose on the first date, you need to develop a relationship over time. Then, and only then, will customers buy from you, not because you are the cheapest, but because you represent the better value, even at a higher price.”
Brand Marketing is Important for Purpose-Driven Purchasing
Communications Specialist, Rose McCullough, takes the importance of creating a great brand story one step forward by explaining how crucial it is in this era of purpose-driven purchasing.
“More and more consumers are paying a premium for purpose,” says Rose, “and, subsequently, voting with their purchases to support companies that are doing good in the world, whether that's being environmental, providing fair work environments, or supporting diversity. For brands to truly succeed in this space, brand marketing will be crucial in bringing purpose-driven stories to life in a way that does not woke-wash, but authentically highlights the company's values."
Performance Marketing No Longer Outweighs Brand Marketing
Performance marketing is not enough on its own anymore for your brand to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace. Continuing to focus on it and it alone will only assist your brand in sinking rather than swimming.
Performance marketing only focuses on short-term goals. And it is very easy to hit a glass ceiling with a channel like that. Eventually, it becomes so expensive that it is no longer sustainable.
Stef Hamerlinck of the podcast Let’s Talk Branding understands how easy it can be to become trapped in the performance marketing sphere:
"It's human nature to focus on the short-term gains. A cigarette will make you feel good, a beer will make you feel happy. We need to resist this urge when it comes to marketing (and life too, sometimes). If we want a “healthy” brand, we need to focus on the long-term, consistent actions that support our underlying strategy (or belief system)."
While performance marketing can help you send a message, consumers need something more solid they can relate to. Make brand marketing more important or find yourself drowning in a sea of lost ads.
Differentiation Brought From Brand Marketing Helps Other Channels Succeed
One of the best ways you can sell your product to more people is through recommendations from current customers. Yes, we are talking about word-of-mouth marketing, one of the best forms of marketing to ever exist. Tom Livingstone, Head of Marketing at Talentful, agrees with us.
“As much of a cliche as it may be, I believe that word of mouth recommendation is still the most powerful form of marketing and probably always will be,” says Tom. “Experts in our field are relentlessly pressing that the way we interact with customers has changed: today’s audience values advocacy from within their own network much higher than the traditional broadcast-to-all approach from brands, which has little resonance.”
“So, If you don’t have a differentiated brand that people want to tell their friends about organically, it doesn’t matter how much money you pour into making noise in 2020’s over-saturated market - nobody will be listening.”
“Why am I saying this? Because I know from personal experience. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of jumping straight into direct marketing without being honest about whether the brand and messaging will truly resonate with the target audience.”
Brand Marketing is Important if You Want to Succeed in 2020
Business is all about getting ahead of the pack and take our word for it, an increase in brand marketing is the best way for you to get ahead in 2020 and beyond. There is just one more thing you should know about brand marketing in a way that will help you beat the competition.
If you are going to increase the budget and time you spend on brand marketing, you must track your results. It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which brand campaigns are actually contributing to growth. What would help significantly is using a brand tracker.
A brand tracker provides more precise insights into the areas in which budget spent has an impact, why people choose certain brands, and how these decisions are driven. This data can be fed into the points mentioned in this article to ensure a rock-solid brand strategy.
Make 2020 the year of brand marketing for your brand. Do it, but do it right, and leave the competition in the dust.