Building a Brand (Online)
Grab attention. Engage. Persuade.
For your brand to be successful in an increasingly chaotic digital world, before anything else, it must make people stop and take notice.
In today’s cluttered online environment if your brand doesn’t stand out, it’s invisible. Every day more and more brands vie for a piece of the shrinking consumer attention span on websites across the internet. We hand craft campaigns that grab attention and engage target audiences. Only when we connect with prospective customers can we persuade… and ultimately influence buying behavior.
The brand-building process varies from business to business
Sometimes we build new brands from the ground up. Other times we refresh, reposition, and revitalize existing brands online.
In some cases we’re a flexible extension of a client’s marketing department, helping to refine their online strategy, evaluate their marketing spend, and implement an online marketing program strategy creatively and technically across a range of touch points, traditional and non-traditional.
In other cases, we’re a steward or developer of a single project… a website, an ad campaign, a user experience, a pay-per-click campaign, a social media branding strategy, a SEO campaign.
Why Build Your Brand… More sales, profits, loyalty.
Sell more, more often, for more money.
The primary objective to building a brand is to positively influence customer perceptions, create a preference for your product or service and foster the belief that what you are selling is better than comparable products in the market, that customers are willing to pay more for your product or service, leading to higher profit margins. The bottom line… brand marketing is a sales-, profit- and equity-building division of a company, with a quantifiable ROI. A whole lot more than “goodwill” on a balance sheet, a dominant brand in any product category is a cornerstone of a sustained competitive advantage. It’s hardly a business “expense,” but smart long-term business investment.
The impact of building a brand
A stellar brand can be the difference between a “vicious cycle” (that results from lack of differentiation, leading to lower prices, to smaller profit margins, to fewer available resources, to less innovation, to commoditization and even lower prices and profits) and “virtuous cycle” (that results from differentiation, leading to higher prices, to larger profit margins, to more available resources, to more innovation, to a sustainable competitive advantage with higher prices and profits).
Work with a new breed of agency that measures success by results, and knows roi is pronounced [ ar – o – i ], or better yet [ ri – tern on in – ves(t) – ment ].
Building the brand!
When it comes to building a brand, when you think of your target customer or client, ask yourself two questions:
- Do they know who you are (ie have they heard of you already)?
- If they know who you are, what do they think about you?
A brand is a whole lot more than a logo
Maybe it’s just semantics, but people often believe a brand is a logo or their visual identity (colors, typeface, etc…). And while a distinct visual identity is part of a strong brand, a brand in its most simple form is an idea or perception… a feeling or belief about your product or service that exists inside your prospective customer’s mind. The battle for market share is really about mindshare.
Building a brand online
As today’s commercial space and digital communication environment becomes more cluttered and attention spans more fractured, grabbing and holding a consumer’s attention (let alone persuading and gaining mindshare) is an increasingly challenging and complex task. The days of building a brand (and sales) by throwing a logo in a magazine or on TV for 30 seconds are long gone…
Building a brand and effectively communicating and connecting with consumers requires a holistic approach that intuitively links creativity with strategy, and delivers precise messages to segmented and targeted audiences in just the right way.
Characteristics of high performance brands
Great brands have more in common than bigger sales and profit margins.
What does it take to be a great brand… They share a set of important underlying characteristics:
- Uniquely positioned
- Distinct, original or unique
- Simple to understand
- Effectively communicated
- Consistently communicated
- Recognizable (sometimes immediately recognizable)
- Singularly Focused
From concept to deployment, three steps to building a brand…
First things first. A good plan needs to be established.
Who are we? Who are we talking to? What need are we trying to address? Why do we matter? How are we better, different?
Identify the business value proposition with the core customer in mind. Understand exactly how what they do that matters. Position and differentiate the company in such a way that gives competitive advantage from both a consumer and competitive standpoint. The road to market share is through mindshare. Once goals and audiences are identified, the deployment of resources will be outlined. The tools and delivery vehicles for the brand message outlining a tactical promotional mix to best deliver message and reach core prospects.
What are we communicating? What is our message? What methods will we use to communicate our message? What do our messages look and sound like?
Create: With company’s core value proposition and positioning strategy in mind, distill what is genuinely unique about a client’s business into a simple, persuasive idea and build that concept (or brand signal) into every tactical execution and touch point.
Produce: Build the creative into live, working message delivery vehicles.
3. Delivery Channels and Media
How is our message reaching our prospects?
Deploy: Implement the finished creative executions. Deliver message via the chosen media, traditional and non-traditional.
Approach to Building a Brand Online: Strategy + Creativity + Technology = Connectivity
Great brands connect: Rationally. Emotionally. Culturally.
Connecting and influencing buying behavior in today’s crowded business environment is no small order. And off-the-shelf marketing solutions won’t do.
At Marsh8 we believe connecting your brand with consumers online through digital media requires a custom, hand-made approach that holistically links smart strategy, sharp creativity and cutting-edge technology to define the audience, craft the message and deliver it in just the right way.
The brand-building blocks for how we get it done
Research and information gathering is a critical starting point for any project. Our goal is to intimately understand your product, market sector, target audience or consumer, competitive situation, and overall business objectives. Our mission is to mine for as much actionable business and marketing intelligence as possible…
With our research and information, we engineer a framework to enable the marketing and brand-building process to help achieve business objectives. By applying research to make decisions and set marketing objectives we can evaluate creative and delivery tactics on a cost basis. Because there are so many ways and vehicles or tools in which to deliver a message and communicate and connect with a target audience, the question becomes which delivery methods makes sense, particularly from a product, market, consumer, and cost-effectiveness standpoint.
Like any strategy we evaluate resources and deployment options to and the costs and benefits of each to determine how to best achieve our outlined objectives. We outline a methodology for execution and a process to measure success.
At this level we consider how to best position the business within targeted markets and with respect to existing competition.
A finished brand strategy will lay out a series to tactics that will be employed to meet objectives, a time frame for deployment, and a
Creative Design Development
Once a strategy is in place we shift our focus to tactical development and creative execution. We bring out the creative firepower to develop and refine messages and creative concepts that connect and convince. The goal here is to create effective marketing communication concepts using various creative elements (color, copy, typography, photos, printing, etc…) to organize ideas visually in order to convey a desired message and achieve project objectives: enhance the business’s brand image, increase the level of awareness, and aim to generate a specific impact.
We then apply the creative concepts to the specific tactics of delivery. We design the identity, write the ad, develop the website…
Production and Implementation
Final creative designs and concepts are produced into live, working brand message carriers and delivery systems. Commercials are shot, collateral is printed, websites are programmed.
Delivery Channels and Digital Media
The produced creative work is released into the work. Direct mail campaigns are set, websites are launched, ad space is purchased, viral campaigns infect.
Our Brand Manifesto
A set of guiding principles for every brand.
Brands have a singular goal: to increase sales and profits.
Every marketing initiative should be working to the full extent of the time, effort, and capital being spent to support it. Initiatives should be measured for success. Brands are living things, ideas live inside the consumer mind. Markets are cluttered. Consumers are distracted. Great creative work is the only way to connect. If you don’t stand out, you’re invisible. Great brands create separation: separation in the market, on the shelf, in the consumer mind. Connecting requires a strong, simple strategy and executed creatively, implemented perfectly. Anyone can get noticed by spending $10 million… talent is getting noticed with $10 thousand. Client marketing and promotional budgets are finite, and no matter the size, must deliver results. When a customer has a choice, beware; either your brand is good, or your price is cheap. Where there is choice, the better brand prevails. Brand marketing is an equity-building division of a company, with a quantifiable ROI. Strong brands consistently outperform weaker, non-existent brands in every category, in terms of overall sales, customer loyalty and profit margins. Strategy, creativity and implementation must be holistically connected. The right mix will produce potent results. Building a brand is a highly profitable long-term investment with value that goes far beyond “good will.” Price should never be the most important factor in a consumer’s buying decision. Your brand should be a key sales driver, not your price. Your brand should drive your prices, not your competitor’s prices. Products are rarely so original or so unique, as to maintain a competitive position solely on their own. A brand must connect, differentiate, inform and ultimately persuade. The best brands are the ones in which consumers believe there is no substitute. Profit margins can be grown, particularly in commoditized market sectors. To connect, you must first interest. Interesting messages can influence consumer behavior; boring messages are ignored. To break through the “noise” in today’s crowded marketplace campaigns must be original, focused and consistent across all delivery systems and touch points.