Branding and marketing are equally important to all companies, large and small. As “marketers,” we forget that most people refer to “brand” as just the look or content of a company’s logo itself. However, we understand that the term “brand” has a much deeper meaning and include things like core messaging, values, customer/client experience, services offered, etc. Furthermore, we recognize that a strong brand comes from a solid marketing team and their specific strategy.
One of the great parts of our job as a branded merchandise provider is that we have the opportunity to see and work with a variety of marketing departments in different industries such as healthcare, professional sports, construction/architecture, and finance. Based on our experience and conversations with several of our clients/marketing gurus, we wanted to share some best marketing and branding practices:
- Marketing strategies and plans must exist and be clearly defined. There are a variety of things to consider when creating these plans, but a good place to start is with your company’s offerings: what products and/or services do you offer, who is the target audience, what niche do you fill in the marketplace, etc.
- Be realistic about the marketing and advertising elements that work for you. There is no “one size fits all” for marketing and branding strategies. Understand what makes you different and tailor a plan that will work for you. As an example, we’ve realized that as a company, traditional print media is ineffective for us; so our marketing strategies and budgets include room for other methods (partnerships and sponsorships, products, etc.).
- Be agile. Much like we’ve discussed in previous posts, no marketing strategy lasts forever, and it’s important to consistently measure the effectiveness of your strategies and individual campaigns, and, if necessary, be willing to adjust. Sometimes the best (or so we think) marketing and advertising campaigns can be derailed by internal or external changes. Great marketers understand how to quickly and efficiently switch gears.
- Create a marketing strategy that employees can “live”. Whether or not you realize it, employees are living your brand every day. The sales force re-enforces your brands message in meetings and business development; HR recruiting teams are exemplifying your companies values as they talk with and recruit prospective employees; high level executives are a physical representation of who you are and what you stand for as they connect in the community and network with other executives. Create a marketing plan that connects employees with your brand. What does that look like? Well, several clients we work with have great examples of how they’ve done that; check out #corganconnect or @lifeatmatch. Corgan and Match created a specific hashtag and account for internal usage. It’s a way for employees to participate in the company’s brand and culture while being continually reminded of the core values.
Creating recognizable brands and effective marketing strategies isn’t rocket science, but it does take commitment and a willingness to always be learning. If you would like to talk more about how to create an advertising or marketing strategy and how we can help, let us know! This is what we love to do.