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Brand Marketing: Connecting to Your Audience and Leaving Lasting Impressions

Sofie Koevoets
Sofie Koevoets7 min read
Brand Marketing: The Best Way To Connect With Your Audience

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Just do it”?
Three simple words translate to Nike outselling their competition every year.

While your company may not be pulling in billions from shoe sales every year, the goal of strong brand marketing is to create that brand recognition and top-of-mind awareness of the product or service you’re selling.

To help you get started on marketing your brand, we’ve created a concise brand marketing guide that covers:

What Is Brand Marketing?

Douglas Holt, the Founder of Cultural Strategy Group, defines a brand as "the culture of a product."

This culture is shaped by tangible and intangible attributes—including visual identity, tone, voice, and messaging—that influence your target audience's perception of your product and what your company represents.

Brand marketing creates more awareness through the culture of a product.

Brand marketers spearhead activities like influencer campaigns and partnerships to build a brand's reputation, help it gain mindshare among your target audience, and retain loyal customers who promote your product among their peers.

All these activities culminate in higher brand equity, the ultimate goal of great brand marketing.

The Difference Between Branding, Brand Marketing, And Brand Strategy

These terms sound similar, and many people use them interchangeably, but they're all different. Understanding what each means and how they work together can help you create a brand that stands the test of time.

  • Brand marketing refers to a wide range of activities that help a brand to get more visibility and recognition from its target audience. For example, a company's brand marketing efforts might include running an influencer-driven product campaign or partnering with a more popular brand that offers complementary products or services
  • Branding is the continuous process of building up the culture of your product and how your target audience experiences your product. An essential part of branding is creating a brand style guide.
  • A brand strategy/branding strategy is the step-by-step plan for creating a solid brand image. It outlines the goal of your branding process, how you'd go about achieving it, and the parameters for measuring success.

3 Reasons Why You Need Brand Marketing for your Business

Brand marketing is essential because it gets your product in front of your target audience. Once your target audience knows that your brand exists (and hopefully views it in a positive light), you’ll reap the benefits of:

  1. Brand recognition
  2. Trust
  3. Positive word-of-mouth

1. Brand recognition helps you define the category

Effective brand marketing helps your business earn brand recognition by attracting attention from your audience until they become familiar with your brand image and product offering.

Even when creating a pitch deck, having a professional power point design can help a lot with getting your brand to stand out in front of the right people.

Samuel Thimothy, VP at OneIMS.com, speaking to Forbes.com, defines brand recognition as the stage where your audience can identify who you are based on some of your branding components, like your logo or tagline.

A great example of brand recognition is Airbnb. When someone mentions "Airbnb" in a conversation, you know what they're talking about, even if you've never booked nor stayed in one.

Brand recognition helps you earn "share of mind" with your audience. Share of mind means that your brand identity is the first thing that comes to mind when your audience thinks of your industry or product category.

  • When you blow your nose, do you use tissue or “Kleenex”?
  • When you get a paper cut, do you use a bandage or “BAND-AID”?
  • When you think of an electric car, do you think of “Tesla”?

2. Trust must be earned every day

Trust is the building block of long-term customer relationships. According to Edelman, 81% of consumers say, "they need to be able to trust the brand to buy from them."

That’s why consistently discussing your brand promise and demonstrating its core values to your target audience helps them trust your brand.

Do you offer guarantees or warranties? How do you fulfill them? What are people saying about your brand on social media and review sites? Create a process to speak to your audience one on one whenever possible, and respond quickly when anyone files a complaint.

3. Positive Word-of-Mouth Marketing amplifies your brand

According to Sprout Social, word-of-mouth marketing "can improve the overall impact of your marketing campaigns by up to 54%."

Besides converting your target audience into paying customers, good brand marketing can also turn people who have never used your product or service into word-of-mouth evangelists.

Think of how often you recommend a restaurant or boutique to a friend solely because of the brand's social media aesthetics or digital ad designs.

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7 Steps to Develop a Brand Marketing Strategy That Positions Your Company Above the rest (and measuring your results)


A brand marketing strategy is an overarching plan that outlines how your company will build brand awareness within your target market. It captures your brand goals with specific timelines, how you'd go about achieving them, and the parameters for measuring success.

A successful brand marketing strategy requires:

  1. Understand your brand purpose (the why)

One of the hardest things in personal growth is asking yourself the tough questions about who you are and making decisions about what you aim to achieve.

It’s easier to find your brand purpose when you separate yourself from the equation. Your brand purpose will help you make business decisions with clarity and confidence. Here are the questions you need to answer.

First, start with the reason you exist or your why:

  • Why did you start this business?
  • Why do you do what you do?
  • And keep asking why when you answer to find the root of your brand’s purpose.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody that needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
Simon Sinek

Then move on to the products or services you offer, or the what:

  • What problem did you want to solve or change did you want to see in the world?
  • What led you to start your business? What’s your background story?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What problems are you trying to solve? What change do customers want or expect to see?

Finally, move on to the things that differentiate you from the competition, or the how:

  • How are you different from the competition? How will you change, or disrupt, the industry? 
  • How will you bring in clients?
  1. Identify Your Target Audience (the who)

Sam Browne, the Founder of HARO SEO, says, "There is no greater component to any brand marketing strategy than awareness of who your audience is, where they can be found, and what they need to hear. Unless you are clear about these things, you'll probably end up throwing pasta at the wall to see what sticks."

Here’s how to discover your target audience by conducting in-depth customer and market research:

  1. Analyze audience engagement data on different interaction channels, such as your website, ads, and social media pages, to discover audience demographics like age, gender, and location.
  2. Survey your current customers to understand why they chose your brand.
  3. Analyze the demographics and psychographics of your customer base.
  4. Research your competitors to know who they're targeting.
  5. Create a market positioning map. In this Databox article, Alex McCormick defines a market positioning map as "a simple diagram that allows you to identify gaps in the market or industry your product/service/website operates."

The key insights drawn from your research will help you build ideal customer profiles for your target audience.

3. Craft a Brand Positioning Statement (the what)

A brand positioning statement concisely communicates your brand's value proposition to your target audience. You will use the positioning statement to develop the key marketing messaging.

A good positioning statement:

  1. Describes your target customer
  2. Explains what your product is
  3. Communicates why you do what you do
  4. States your brand's unique selling point

It should also differentiate your brand from your competitors.

Video marketing platform, Wistia, captures these elements well in its brand positioning statement:

4. Setting a Long-Term Goal

Julian Goldie, the Chief Executive Officer of Goldie Agency, says, “It's all about the long game when it comes to branding. Establishing a strong brand presence can take months, if not years, to accomplish. As a result, it's critical to base your brand marketing strategy on a long-term goal rather than short-term results.”

A well-defined brand marketing goal:

  1. Unifies your team's efforts
  2. Helps you to set well-defined expectations for team members
  3. Makes it easier for you to set KPIs to measure the success of your brand marketing

Your brand marketing goal should be as targeted as possible. Melissa Jacobs, a Brand Strategist at Crow and Pitcher LLC, says, "Use a "From-To" format to clarify the perceptions and behaviors your marketing efforts need to influence before planning your strategy." For example:

  1. From low awareness to top-of-mind
  2. From a product perceived as optional and infrequently used to a product that is essential and regularly used
  3. From a confusing service to an easy-to-use service

5. Choose the marketing channels where your audience hangs out

Look for the most effective ways to get your message in front of your target audience. You can:

  1. Use “in-house” brand channels like your website and social media platforms.
  2. Leverage third-party channels like a cross-sector partnership and influencer marketing. Influencer brand marketing uses people already popular with your target audience to promote your brand.

If you're a new brand or trying to build awareness for a new product category, consider using third-party brand marketing channels or paid marketing to drive faster results until you have the traffic (or followers) you want.

You can also leverage both channels for even greater ROI (return on investment) on your marketing spend.

6. Create brand guidelines and cascade them to your team

Brand guidelines unify all your thoughts connecting them with your marketing. It gets everyone on the same page about your logo usage, colors, fonts, tone of voice, etc. It helps designers and marketers tell your brand story and ensures brand consistency.

7. Measure your brand marketing to determine your success

  • Analyze growth in direct traffic. Use Google Analytics (GA) to measure the direct traffic (visitors who type in your domain in the search bar or URL directly) comparatively over 3 months, from before launching your rebranding campaign to after. Hopefully your bounce rate is decreasing as well.
  • Study referral traffic. Use GA to see if high-quality referrals are referencing and linking to your website.
  • Track returning visitors to your website. Use GA to measure any changes to returning vs. new visitors to your website. Return visitors are much more likely to buy.
  • Track earned media.  Use tools like Meltwater or Cision to monitor for mentions of your brand on traditional media outlets.
  • Research social mentions. Use tools like Linkfluence, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social to measure an increase in brand mentions on social media. Compare your numbers against your main competitors.
  • Measure your social metrics. Engagement is the key metric in social—how many people are interacting with your content. It can be measured in many different ways including an increase in followers, comments, click to profile or content pieces.
  • Track share of voice. Use SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to analyze your most valued keywords against your competitors.
  • Study your backlinks. If you’re earning an increasing number of backlinks from high domain authority (DA) websites, that’s you’re creating worthy content that others trust to reference.
  • Examine branded keyword searches. Use keyword research to see if the search volume for your brand has improved and how it’s doing against your competitors.
  • Run internal and external surveys. In your form fields, ask prospects how they heard about you business and measure it over time to see how it changes. You can also use external agencies to ask your target audience random questions about brands they think of when they considering your offering. You can also ask these of your employees anonymously. Even with a bias, the results can be fascinating.
  • Inspect your email newsletter metrics. Use your email marketing tool to measure open rates, click rates, and shares from your email efforts.
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Successful Brand Marketing Examples

Let's take a look at the brand marketing strategies of some of the most successful brands in the world.

Apple

Apple's brand marketing strategy aims to create an excited fan base that sees the brand as integral to their lifestyle. To achieve this, the company's brand identity, from taglines to the product presentation, makes potential customers feel like they need Apple products to improve their lives.

Brand recognition. “Think Different,” “Byte into an Apple,” “Blows Minds, not budgets” are among the most famous over time.

Trust. Apple releases new software innovations for all its hardware on an ongoing basis. They have a genius bar for help and support.

Positive word of mouth. Apple does pre-announcements at events to get people talking and writing about what’s possible, so customers are never bored waiting for what’s next hence sites like macrumors.com.

Target audience. Middle and upper-income consumers capable and willing to pay extra to be part of the club and own a piece of cherished hardware.

Brand positioning statement. For individuals who want the best personal computer or mobile device, Apple leads the technology industry with the most innovative products. Apple emphasizes technological research and advancement and takes an innovative approach to business best practices — it considers the impact our products and processes have on its customers and the planet.

Long-term goal. “At Apple, we are constantly innovating in the technology we make and in how we make it — with respect for people’s rights, for their health, and for the planet we share.” - Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Nike

Nike captures its audience's attention with captivating brand stories. Rather than selling product features and benefits, Nike inspires potential customers by telling them the "why" behind every new idea. Nike customers see themselves as an essential part of the brand's growth.

Brand recognition: “Just do it,” “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” and “Greatness is not born, it is made.” are among the most famous taglines.

Trust. Nike provides free exercise routines via their NIKE running Club and NIKE training club apps. In the apps, they have a handy calculator to let you know when you need new shoes.

Positive word of mouth. In 2020, Nike’s “Never too far down” was YouTube’s top ad, leading to over 400 million social engagements. It connects Nike’s top athletes to something we can all feel—never being too far down to come back.

Target audience. Nike’s primary consumers are between the ages of 15 and 40, male and female athletic types, with an increasing focus on teens to build long-term brand loyalty.

Brand positioning statement. For athletes in need of high-quality, fashionable athletic wear, Nike provides customers with top-performing sports apparel and shoes made of the highest quality materials.

Long-term goal. Currently, the sportswear brand is focusing on sustainability to reduce carbon emissions and create products that last longer to reduce the impact on the environment.

Audible

Audible uses influencer brand marketing to increase awareness among new audience demographics in its target market. They work with creators in different niches like gaming, animation and entertainment to drive engagement and conversions to its audiobooks platform. One of its recent YouTube influencer marketing campaigns reached more than 83 million people.

Brand recognition. “Listen to enjoy. Listen to learn. Listen for yourself.” and “Listen anytime, anywhere, across all your devices.” both speak directly to their audience and what Audible is all about.  There is instant recognition when the world’s largest book store goes online in audio format.

Trust. Amazon has the largest selection of books, and they also bring on a range of talented novelists, journalists, and comedians to create original content you can only get on Audible.

Positive word of mouth. Despite owning more than 40% of the audiobook market, in 2020, Audible partnered with YouTube influencers across various niches to draw in different viewer demographics to sign up for Audible.

Target audience. The target age for the audiobook market is typically 35 to 64-year-olds, who spend the most time listening each week than any other age group. As teens and college students enter the mix, the audience can rapidly expand.

Brand positioning statement. An app that can be an enriching alternative to ‘mindless’ applications. 

Long-term goal. Audible wants to own the spoken word audio market and has added podcasts, sleep sounds, meditations and more to their mix.


Putting the Bow on Your Brand Marketing Package

As you develop your brand marketing strategy, remember these tips:

  1. Play the long-term game. You need to continuously invest in your brand marketing efforts to get tangible results. Be able to adapt to changes in consumer behaviors and trends while staying true to your vision.
  2. Stay consistent. Good brand marketing requires momentum, and keeping a consistent message is an excellent way to build that momentum.
  3. Experiment constantly. A successful brand marketing strategy is based on constant experimentation. Feel free to make iterations to your brand marketing strategy based on the feedback from your target audience.

Collaborating with an experienced branding team like Superside will help you drive greater brand marketing results. Superside gives every person on your team always-on access to a fully-managed, fully-stacked creative team for one predictable subscription price. Learn more about our brand development services.

Published: Jun 8, 2022
Sofie Koevoets
Written by
Sofie Koevoets
Sofie is our SEO Content Manager at Superside. When she isn't answering all SEO questions with "it depends...", she is happily hiking mountains, cuddling kittens or taking lunchtime dips in the ice cold ocean.

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