Guest Blog Post
The following is a guest post by Roger Gallegos of Beacon Marketing. Roger is a marketing strategist with a great mind for finding unique marketing solutions.
This post is also a part of a new collaboration between 4 Directions Branding and Beacon Marketing. It’s called Formula to Success, and is devoted to providing solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, and small and medium-sized businesses with the awareness of how authentic branding leads to effective marketing, which in turn leads to a more successful business.
The intention behind the collaboration is to bridge the divide between the two disciplines of brand/identity and marketing strategy, as there has traditionally been a tension between the two. The truth of the matter is that the companies with the most effective marketing are applying equal parts attention and resources to both brand building and marketing, which is what we’re encouraging with this collaboration.
As part of this venture we created a Formula to Success Facebook group, and we invite you to join the discussion.
Why Branding Is So Important to Marketing
As a marketing consultant and strategist, my most challenging clients are the ones who do not have a clearly defined brand.
Many believe marketing and branding to be the same thing. While these disciplines can be considered to be two sides of the same coin, they are two distinct processes and need to be treated as such.
Branding is an internal process in which you define your organization’s identity. Your logo, colors, tagline, and even the fonts you use help shape your company’s brand.
Your brand is also influenced by your company’s vision and mission statements, target audience, and the services/products you provide.
Essentially, your brand is the impact you want to have in your community and the world at large. It’s the face you present to the world and the collective whole that creates their first impression of you and your business.
That impact is something you develop internally.
On the other side of the coin is marketing, which is the external action in which you present your brand to the world through strategic actions meant to attract potential customers and convert them to paying ones.
When I work with an organization that does not have a clearly defined brand, it is similar to trying to guess what a stranger would like to eat from a restaurant with a very large menu. You have no feeling of who they are, what they like, and what they would like from the meal. You are left guessing with little chance of getting the correct answer.
However, when I work with a business with a well-defined brand they have worked hard to develop. It is much easier for me to “feed them,” or, in my case, to develop a marketing strategy that is best suited to their needs.
Let’s look at how a clearly defined brand makes this possible.
Understand and Relate to Your Audience
To be successful in your marketing efforts, you must be able to relate to your target audience. After all, without your audience, you wouldn’t have much of a business.
A clearly defined brand allows you to relate on a deeper level with your potential and current customers because you know who you are. There is no question in your mind about what you value most and what you want to accomplish with your business.
Because of this, you are in a better position to speak to how you can address your target audience’s pain points—you know your business and you know precisely how you can help them.
Define What Makes You Unique
One of the primary objectives in marketing is making yourself stand out against your competition. Any marketing strategy that lacks branding means you have yet to define what your business is and what you stand for. Without those specifics, your message ends up generic and you look like every other business in your industry.
On the other hand, when your brand is clearly defined, you have no problem stating what makes you different. You’ll be able to let your audience know directly what that thing is that your business provides that they cannot get anywhere else.
In the process of developing your brand, you determine how to position your organization versus the competition. You’ll also discover that a clearly defined brand makes marketing easier because you have a built-in message about how you stand out from your competitors.
Know Your Why
There is power in storytelling. Specifically, telling the story of your business. A key component of your story is your why. Why are you in business? Why do you work so hard?
Some stories are as simple as “I saw an inefficiency in the market and decided to take advantage of it.” Some are more heartfelt, such as a family business in operation for multiple generations.
Developing your brand allows you to uncover your why, so when you promote your business, you have a compelling story to tell.
Better Speak to Why You Are the Best Option
Marketing is about attracting (and retaining) your best customers by standing out from your competitors through effective storytelling. If your brand is not clearly defined, you will struggle to do this, and your marketing efforts will largely go wasted.
A clearly defined brand serves as a tool by which you tell your customers a story they can relate to. It also gives them a clear understanding of why your business is the best option to address their needs.
Branding and marketing: two processes you should developed together with an understanding of how they complement one another. If you do that, there is no limit to what your business, your branding, and your marketing can accomplish.