Brand marketing – it’s more than just a message
In the old days of advertising, establishing a brand was simple. You used whichever mediums were available to you to tell the public who you are, what you do and how they should think about you. You transmitted, your audience received and you could outdo your competitors by simply shouting louder than they did about how your product was the best, without the need to justify or quantify.
In the 21st century, however, the mediums used to advertise have grown in both number and accessibility. The same means you use to spread your message to your audience can also be used by your audience to speak back to you. Modern marketing is no longer a broadcast, it’s a conversation.
How is your brand perceived?
While you may well have a view as to what your brand is, what your message is and the impression you’d like people to have of your business, it’s your audience who has the final say as to who you are. Deeply held associations tend to stick, even if they’re no longer relevant or accurate. A prime example of this is the car Brand Skoda. Despite decades of hard work, regularly producing economical, reliable, award-winning cars, many of us will still remember the Skoda Jokes we told in the 1980’s. When the Skoda name was associated with ugly, cheap, basic and unreliable cars.
In short, your brand IS how the public perceives you, if you want to make significant changes, you have a lot of work ahead of you. The first stage, unsurprisingly, is to do the research and get a ‘warts and all’ insight into what people really think of you.
Know your audience and appeal to them directly
Being all things to all people isn’t always a strategy for recognition. Consider what your product or service offers, what’s it’s unique selling point? Who would it appeal to? What do these potential buyers like and dislike? Whether your offer value products to the less well off, or high value items for the discerning and sophisticated, make sure your brand is marketing itself with those people in mind.
There’s an old saying, “You become part of what you’re around”, so when considering your tone of voice and your target audience, it can sometimes pay to look at what other brands are already appealing to that same group and speaking in similar tones, even if your products are wildly different. It’s a little more subtle than celebrity endorsements, but the principle is the same. Partnering with another brand can benefit you both, you get to put yourself in front of a ready-made audience which you might otherwise struggle to engage with, while the other brand gets to add value to its own presence by giving its own audience something extra. Offering free or discounted services/products to customers of the ‘other brand’ is an ideal way to do this.
Decide on your voice then stick to it
Consistency is key to any brand. Think of any major company in the public eye and the first thing you’re likely to notice is that brand and its values are instantly recognisable. You can see a logo and instantly know which company it belongs to, conjure up your own perception of that brand.
Chances are that the company strapline and possibly their (deliberately) catchy jingle can be recalled straight away. All from just seeing a logo. The process of building up that kind of brand recognition is made possible by having a unified look, feel and sound across every single aspect of that brand’s marketing. From shopfront billboards to magazine and TV advertising, even the packaging their products ship in. The logo and associated brand identity are everywhere. The voice is as consistent as it is ubiquitous.
Once you’ve settled on a branding strategy, make sure that it permeates every aspect of your business, especially your online content.
Your voice is everywhere you are
Nowhere is consistency more important than your online brand content. In a world where immediacy is expected, it’s important that the people on the front line – those operating your social media accounts, are fully aware of the brand identity and portraying that tone of voice in everything they do on your brands behalf. A sophisticated champagne brand appealing to a highly educated audience should adopt a very different tone of voice to that used by a brand selling no-frills lager. So bear in mind who your audience is and how you speak to them.
Your Brand’s logo, your associated imagery, your videos and your voice should all speak in harmony, at all times and from all channels, in the symphony of your brand’s identity, there’s no room for discord.
Coordinate your image with coordinated imagery
While it can seem a lot to take in, an established brand identity and a unified purpose can help provide a focus to both your marketing efforts and your company direction. At Ikon, we’re fully familiar with the whole process of building, establishing and maintaining a brand identity.
Whether you need content for advertising in keeping with your established brand, to take your brand in a different direction, or you’re looking to establish a clear tone of voice for a brand you’re building, our comprehensive range of video, photography and other associated services can help you keep control of the image you wish to portray.
Speak to us about the best ways to build and maintain your brand through creative imagery.