Brand Marketing Basics – Part 1

What Is Brand Marketing?

If a brand is a promise to consumers and marketing is the process of creating messages, programs, and experiences that motivate consumers to purchase products and services, then what is brand marketing? That’s the topic of my new series for AYTM — Brand Marketing Basics. In Part 1, you’ll learn what brand marketing is and how to get started in developing your brand marketing plan.

brand marketing basicsFirst, brand marketing is not the same as brand strategy or marketing strategy. Brand marketing encompasses the brand strategy and associated marketing strategy as well as the marketing plan. Confused? Let’s break it down into the parts and pieces.

Brand strategy is the long-term direction for your brand that defines specific goals and the broad direction to reach those goals. Marketing strategy is the long-term direction for your marketing efforts that promote your business, products, and services, which defines specific goals and direction to reach those goals. Using your brand strategy and marketing strategy as a road map, you can develop a marketing plan filled with short-term tactics to help you reach milestones along the way and bring you closer to meeting those goals within specific time frames.

With that said, brand marketing is the process of creating short-term tactics that promote your brand promise to consumers, develop positive brand perceptions, and establish brand expectations. Many brand marketing tactics will also be product or service marketing tactics. There is a great deal of cross-over. In fact, it could be argued that almost every marketing initiative should also be a brand marketing tactic. Following that line of thinking, it’s essential that the marketing decision-maker ask a simple question before any marketing program is pursued, “Does this marketing effort help to promote the brand promise, perceptions, and expectations?” If not, the effort should be tweaked or trashed.

Just as the most powerful marketing plans today are fully-integrated marketing plans, the most powerful brands are ones that are ingrained in the company’s DNA, meaning the brand is a key piece of everything the company does. Brands like Apple and Zappos understand the importance of incorporating brand marketing into all aspects of their business, and they’re reaping the rewards.

Brand marketing tactics can take the same form as other forms of product and service marketing such as:

  • Advertising
  • Promotions
  • Brochures
  • Press releases
  • Event sponsorships
  • Trade shows
  • Signage
  • Speeches and interviews
  • White papers
  • Ebooks
  • Blogs and social media
  • Direct mail
  • Coupons
  • Contests
  • Text messaging
  • And so on

Just remember to ask that question, “Does this marketing effort help to promote the brand promise, perceptions, and expectations?” Doing so will help to ensure every marketing effort promotes the brand appropriately. If not, the effort might create more damage than benefits for your company in the long-term.

Of course, some of your company’s marketing tactics might be solely brand marketing initiatives. Too few companies invest in initiatives that are strictly brand marketing efforts. These investments help to raise brand awareness, recognition, and emotions. Without those three things, your brand will have a hard time developing brand equity — one of your company’s most valuable assets. Therefore, differentiate your brand from the competition by investing in brand marketing for a key strategic purpose — brand building.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Brand Marketing Basics series where you’ll learn about the 5 E’s of Brand Marketing, which includes the five elements all brand marketing should include.

Image: Gabriella Fabbri

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.