At Marketing 360®, our mission is to fuel your brand. Let’s explore just what that means.
This is the definition of branding from the Business Dictionary:
The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
For instance, you know what this means:
The Apple brand epitomizes what most of us think of when it comes to branding. It’s an image that evokes a company, its products, and the ways those products fit into our lifestyles.
Branding at this level is a major feat. Companies like Apple, Coke, and Nike spend millions to ingrain their brands in the public’s mind.
But Marketing 360® works with small to medium size businesses. Our clients are mainly local businesses and startup entrepreneurs who simply don’t have the same branding strategy as a major, international enterprise.
So how do you fuel that kind of brand?
The Era of Small Business Branding
In the past, branding was the dominion of big companies, but today, Joe’s plumbing in Anywhere, USA can brand effectively – and in fact needs to.
What’s interesting is that the definition of branding from the Business Dictionary – which is written with Apple type businesses in mind – actually works for SMB branding.
In a nutshell, the goal of SMB branding is to get people to remember your business name while attaching a sense of trust.
In other words, you need to make a memorable, positive impression so people think of your brand when they need your services.
Branding scales for SMBs because of the internet. Even in small markets, there is a major opportunity to publish content across multiple channels. From search to social media to digital billboards, businesses today have the means to deliver a memorable brand message in ways people of the Yellow Pages era would never have imagined.
And, as is often the case, technology gives rise to the need (30 years ago nobody thought they’d have to own a cell phone).
In the case of marketing, the very existence of digital media platforms makes it necessary to secure a presence on them. The consumer’s attention is now online and their buying research takes place there.
Digital media turned everyone into a methodical buyer. There is so much information available on products, services, and brands that doing research is a given.
Likewise, you can retarget people with precision. They might visit your website or Facebook page only once, but that won’t be the last they see of you.
This provides opportunities for visibility that create brand affinity. And just like Apple, that affinity (and sense of trust) have a big influence on the buying decision.
Fuel Your Brand®
Consider two possible paths to generate lead for a house painting service.
In the first, a lead realizes it’s time to get the house painted. He goes on Google and searches for “painting contractors near me”. From those results, he checks out several websites and fills out a lead form on the one that looks most suitable.
In the second, the lead does the same search, but with this initial effort, he doesn’t covert. He delays. After some lunch, he returns to his search and looks up reviews for the painters who made the strongest impression with their website content.
At this point, a few business names are getting stuck in his head. But he still doesn’t convert. It’s winter and he’s not sure he wants to hire a painter.
But the next day while he’s on Facebook, he sees an ad from one of the painters:
This business has his attention and that deal sounds great – but still he hesitates.
The next week, this guy and his wife are driving down the freeway when they see a digital billboard. It repeats the 15% off deal and boldly displays their logo.
I’ve got to contact those guys, the homeowner says to his wife. But still, he does nothing.
The next week, his wife complains to him about the condition of the house. She insists he hire a painter.
So he gets out his phone and does another search. But this time, he looks for the painter whose consistent theme is now in his mind.
This painter is familiar. He’s made a memorable offer. He seems trustworthy.
This second scenario is where fueling your brand comes in. Renting space in the consumer’s mind with a memorable, trustworthy image requires presence and persistence.
Leads are multichannel users, so you have to be a multichannel marketer. Brand advertising builds trust and – quite simply – gets people to remember your name.
The Brand Advantage
The advantage of brand advertising is twofold.
The first we’ve outlined. You create a memorable presence.
The second is affinity. When you fuel your brand, people get know and trust you. Then, when it comes time to hire, they’ll seek you out specifically.
You have an exponentially greater chance of converting a lead who trusts your brand than you do a lead who just finds you through a general search. In fact, brand leads are more like referrals than cold leads. They know you, trust you, and come to you ready to hire.
5-plus years ago, Marketing 360® – like all SMB marketers – focused on the first type of lead-generation. It was all about ranking on page one and converting the lead as fast as possible.
Today, search is still important, but it’s only one element of optimal, brand advertising campaigns. We know that today, most business won’t get quality leads with just a single, direct-response hit.
Instead, you have to use content and online channels to create a significant and differentiated presence.
You don’t have to be Nike. You just have to lay the foundations for value and trust.
That’s what it means to Fuel your brand®.