I started my business as a pure website design and development business for small business owners.
I couldn’t figure out why even with the best web designs they weren’t getting results. That’s when I figured out that there really are three key things that you need to have a successful online marketing system.
You need a great brand, a great website, and great marketing. It’s a LOT harder to make it work together if you’re missing any of those key pieces.
So I shifted and added brand strategy to my list of services and slowly worked on incorporating it into every project.
Once I started to provide more branding services, my clients started to do a lot better with their marketing as well, all because brand strategy leads to brand marketing. But what is it exactly?
Brand marketing is a way to promote your services by promoting your brand as a whole.
Basically, it tells the story of your service by clarifying your brand as if it were a single person.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best examples of brand marketing from service-based businesses and list some takeaways from them that you can use as you develop your brand marketing strategies for your own brand.
I’ve also found that brand marketing helps to combat the bro marketing tactics that we’ve seen not work as well over the last few years.
People are getting smarter when it comes to the world online and they are getting wise to bro marketers.
Tip #1: Brand Marketing Takes Time
Brand marketing takes time. When you’re using brand marketing to attract clients to your business, you’re not posting once on social media and getting 10 people to sign up for a sales call. It doesn’t work like that.
Instead, you show up and show that you are able to be consistent. You show who you are in a variety of ways over time to build the perception of your brand and business in the mind of your ideal clients.
And that perception? It has to be authentic.
That means that you show that you’re not for everybody. You show that your services aren’t for just any small business owner. You show your values and your stances on things.
All of this takes time. That’s why I don’t promise my clients overnight success.
In theory, it could happen if they have a strong natural brand and they are *this close* already, but the reality is that most of my clients aren’t there yet.
So we build the branding up and develop it in a way that’s clear and easy to understand, we craft a website that communicates the important stuff, and we come up with a plan for brand marketing in the future.
And then it’s time for my client to put in the work. The work doesn’t stop after we work together. In fact, that’s when the real work starts.
But after working together you KNOW that you’re taking the right steps.
You KNOW when you hire that Facebook Ad expert that you’re giving them information about who YOU are and what your brand is, not wondering if you communicated the right stuff (so your ads will work with your business and other marketing efforts instead of against it).
Tip #2: You need to know who you are
When it comes to your brand, you can’t just wing it. You need a strong brand foundation.
Your brand foundation includes things like why you do what you do (and spoiler alert, it has nothing to do with money), what you want to do in the future, and who you work with (and why you work with them).
It’s what makes you get out of bed in the morning and run THIS business as opposed to any of the other millions of businesses that you could run.
Who’s your target audience? You have to define that target audience as well so you know who you are speaking to. Why them? Why not someone else?
You need your ideal clients to feel seen, heard and understood and the only way to do this authentically is to figure out who they are in the first place.
You have to figure out what makes you different from everyone else. Why should someone hire you instead of the next person who comes along?
This is what makes you different and special. If you can communicate this in your marketing campaign, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Once you have that figured out, you can implement brand marketing (but not before) and show that you have strong brand consistency (and thus inspire trust).
Tip #3: Write it down
Once you have this part of your brand strategy figured out, it’s time to write it down. I’m amazed at how many people skip this part, or who write it down only to bury it at the bottom of a desk drawer.
You have to have it clearly defined and somewhere you can see it. You want to run every piece of your marketing through it as a filter.
You want to make sure that every person has a similar brand experience every time they interact with you.
Before you post to social media, check your copy against your brand strategy plan.
Before you write a blog post, make sure the topic aligns with your values and mission.
Before you rework that sales page or offer a new service, ask yourself, does this fit with my brand strategy?
Having your plan clearly defined and written down also makes it easy to pass off to someone else, like a marketing manager.
Think about how easy it would be to hire someone to help with your marketing if you could pass off some clearly designed brand guidelines, more than just a visual one-pager.
Or if all of your Facebook ads fit with your brand promise? Or if all of your Instagram comments sound like they come from the same brand identity?
This happens when you have a strong brand strategy written down and a clearly defined brand voice.
Tip #4: Fill in the puzzle
Your audience is putting those pieces together in their mind with every interaction. You want every branding effort to be from the same puzzle.
You start with the corner pieces.
These are the big parts of your marketing strategy, like your website copy and main pages that everyone sees (think your homepage and your “about me” page).
Next, you have the side pieces that frame your puzzle (your brand identity).
These are things like your social media profiles, your pillar blog pieces, and social media posts that are repeated frequently.
Then you have your middle pieces (which are no less important because they fill in the picture).
These are your posts, your blog articles, single podcast episodes, guest appearances, etc. The pieces of your marketing campaigns fill in the rest of the picture.
Someone doesn’t have to see all of the pieces to get a clear picture of what the puzzle is supposed to be.
Eventually, you have enough pieces where you can clearly define that it’s a puzzle of a kitten (instead of a dog).
You probably figured out was an animal early on, and then things slowly came into focus over time.
This is essentially how brand marketing works.
Tip #5: Keep things simple
When it comes to any type of marketing, the goal is to keep things simple.
The more complicated you make it, the harder it’s going to be on you and your target audience.
Make it easy to understand and make sure that people don’t have to dig to understand what you’re trying to say.
Use a clear and transparent marketing strategy to see the best results.
It’s not that your audience can’t figure it out, but instead that they don’t have the time to play complicated games.
This is much easier if you have clear branding.
You can keep things simple by using repetition (not everyone will see everything you put out there).
You can also remove any unnecessary steps.
Make it easy to contact you (don’t hide your contact form, email address, or phone number) and get rid of complicated marketing automation.
You want to give people a positive brand experience.
To wrap it up
When it comes down to it, brand marketing can help elevate your brand and instill trust in your target audience.
People are burned out from fast and disingenuous marketing tactics, and they are ready for better things.
Using brand marketing takes time, but some of the best things in life are done slowly (like slow-cooked meat, mmm).
If you put in the time for brand building, it can lift your business to a new level.
By first defining who you are, and then writing it down, it’s easier to create a positive brand marketing strategy that brings your ideal clients to you in a consistent manner.
Each interaction helps to fill in the picture of who you are and how you can help someone.
And finally, if you can keep things simple, it makes everyone’s lives easier and produces far better results.
Do you need help implementing brand marketing in your business? Let’s get on a call to see if we’re a good fit.
- Secrets to Create a Brand Marketing Plan Jennifer Anastasi
- What is brand marketing? And how to create a brand marketing strategy. 99designs.com
- Bro’ Dictionary (for the curious, confused and/or uninitiated) Carolyn Herfurth
- Why Successful Marketing Takes Time and Patience Kudzu Brands
- 4 Key Components of a Solid Brand Foundation Laura Click
- Solving the brand puzzle: A conversation with the author of ‘The Brand Book’ Rebecca Hellman
- How to Avoid the Bro Marketing Trap Stephanie Jiroch