November 2, 2021

July 29, 2021

Strengthen Your Brand with Marketing Strategy

Strategy
Brand Execution

November 2, 2021

Strengthen Your Brand with Marketing Strategy

Strategy
Brand Execution
No matter how you market your business, your brand and marketing strategy should have a symbiotic relationship. Today, we are talking about how your brand can be strengthened through your marketing strategy.

Your brand strategy defines how your company is unique from competitors, how it treats its customers, how it wants to be perceived and what makes it different. It is the foundation for being able to proactively manage your business’s reputation. While a marketing strategy is a tool that outlines where you’ll promote your business and what you’ll say about it to grow your reputation and revenue.  

 

Knowing what to say in your marketing comes from your brand strategy. This is one of the reasons we are now Hardy Brands, formally known as Armstrong Marketing Solutions. We’re still marketers but all great marketing starts with a brand strategy which is where our expertise lies. When these two things are not working together, it’s often referred to as “off brand” because your customer can feel something is off.

 

Once your brand strategy is defined and you know the reputation you want your business to have, use that to fuel your marketing efforts. A marketing strategy that reinforces your brand will take into account the marketing mix four components: product, place, price and promotion.  

 

November 2, 2021

Strengthen Your Brand with Marketing Strategy

Strategy
Brand Execution
No matter how you market your business, your brand and marketing strategy should have a symbiotic relationship. Today, we are talking about how your brand can be strengthened through your marketing strategy.

Your brand strategy defines how your company is unique from competitors, how it treats its customers, how it wants to be perceived and what makes it different. It is the foundation for being able to proactively manage your business’s reputation. While a marketing strategy is a tool that outlines where you’ll promote your business and what you’ll say about it to grow your reputation and revenue.  

 

Knowing what to say in your marketing comes from your brand strategy. This is one of the reasons we are now Hardy Brands, formally known as Armstrong Marketing Solutions. We’re still marketers but all great marketing starts with a brand strategy which is where our expertise lies. When these two things are not working together, it’s often referred to as “off brand” because your customer can feel something is off.

 

Once your brand strategy is defined and you know the reputation you want your business to have, use that to fuel your marketing efforts. A marketing strategy that reinforces your brand will take into account the marketing mix four components: product, place, price and promotion.  

 

Product

What came first, your product/service or your brand? Yes, the classic chicken and egg conundrum. While it does not really matter which of the two initially came first, what does matters is that everything should feel cohesive, especially when thinking about adding new services or products. Recently we wrote a blog about What Makes a Good Brand Extension. This blog really hits on how to add to your brand offerings without making someone’s eye raise when they see a new product.

A great example of a product that created a disconnect between its brand and its product line was when Zippo, a brand known for its windproof lighters, launched a perfume line in 2012. Instead of following through on their brand promise and creating a product that was a windproof, high-quality lighter, it confused its customers by producing a perfume. Logically, the product was a flop. It caused confusion in the mind of the consumers and was not cohesive with the brand.  

Once your product or service and your brand strategy are in line, use the following to market it.

Place/Placement

The first component of marketing strategy is Place, or Placement. In the simplest terms, it is where and when your product or service can be found. And because brand is all about reputation, where you sell your products and where you advertise them, impact show people perceive you. To ensure that your marketing efforts supports your brand, everything must align with your brand and its qualities. For example:

Target vs. Walmart

A great thought experiment is to think about an everyday product, like an electric toothbrush, a bathmat or kitchenware. Do you imagine purchasing it at Walmart or Target? Both of these stores are nationwide big box stores, but the perception is vastly different. One feels more modern or high-end and the other more middle of the road or cost-conscious. Brands need to consider which of the two options would most align with how their brand and products, should be perceived.  

Online Sales

If you have a product, you may sell it on your own e-commerce site instead of a brick and mortar store like Target or Walmart. Deciding to sell a product online should be a very intentional decision. Your brand has the potential to reach more customers than it could in a brick and mortar location. Imagine you make handmade jewelry, you will need to consider if it would be more advantageous to create a unique website just for your jewelry or if it would be better to go through a site like Etsy. The latter already has a large audience to market to but is do you want your brand connected to Etsy?  

No matter the choice, remember that your website represents your brand and it can be a very powerful reputation-steering tool as well as a marketing tool. The information found on your website should be unique to your brand. When developing your website, consider everything your potential customers may need to know, including making it easy for them to get to the information that’s most important to them. Use different tactics to really connect with your customers to show them why they should care about your brand. Rely on your brand strategy to steer that. Make sure your voice, tone and visual identity are all consistent. This will lead to higher engagement and ultimately, sales.  

Price

Similar to the Walmart/Target example used in the Placement section, your price reflects what you are worth which impacts your brand’s reputation. Once you’ve determined how you want to be positioned in the market (elite, exclusive, affordable) through brand strategy, it’s time to own it. Choose marketing channels that reflect the value or price associated with your brand.  

Brand perception relates to the willingness of another to pay for a product and how much they will spend. This is also a direct reflection of the quality of your brand. From your price, customers can assign different qualities to your brand, like if you’re cheap, affordable, high-end or even luxury. There are several factors to be addressed when deciding the price of your product or service that ultimately drive consumer perception.  

Value of Brand

If you did a blind taste test between a generic cola and the iconic Coca-Cola, could you tell the difference? The taste is essentially the same. Why is there such a large price disparity? Why will you spend almost $2 more to buy a 12 pack of Coca-Cola vs the generic store option? The value of the brand.

Coca-Cola’s brand was valued at $64.4B. Coca-Cola is the sixth most valuable brand in the world behind Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. It is valued more than Disney! By keeping their product consistent, other than New Coke, for many years, and by focusing on the positive feelings associated with Coke, Coca-Cola has been able to strengthen their brand. Through their marketing efforts, the feelings of happiness, love, and joy have become synonymous with opening a can of Coke. So, when you’re deciding to buy a Coke instead of the store brand, you’re not just buying the product itself, rather you’re buying the feelings associated with brand. That’s why it costs 33% more, you’re buying into the brand not just the product.

Scarcity

The finite material and time that goes into something can affect the price and the overall brand. Scarcity is the finite quantity of time and materials. Imagine a solopreneur who makes handmade leather shoes compared to mass market production of leather loafers from a store like Madewell. Both products are quality shoes made of leather, however, the solopreneur may charge more for the product. The solopreneur would need to consider the finite time and materials that go into crafting these shoes. Because these shoes are handmade, it may take more time and the materials may cost more than the ones from Madewell. Since the shoes from the solopreneur cost more than the Madewell shoes, customers could perceive the handmade shoes as a higher quality than the mass-produced ones.

Promotion

When someone brings up marketing, what do you think of? TV advertising? Billboards? Mad Men? What comes to your mind is probably things having to do with the part of your marketing strategy that is promotion. To support your brand, your promotional strategies must be on-brand. Make sure you are talking to the right people. Who are your personas? Who are you wanting to reach? What is your voice and tone when you are talking to them. These will affect your promotion strategy, in turn supporting your marketing strategy and strengthening your brand.  

Voice and Tone

Voice and tone is crucial to ensuring your promotions feel on-brand. We think of voice a specific instrument being played, like a saxophone. While your tone, is the style. Is the music sensual? Is it jazzy? Is it smooth or is it very choppy? Tone affects how your overall voice is perceived. If you had a fast casual BBQ restaurant in a small town, your voice and tone probably would not be professional and ambitious. Rather open and relatable. Your voice and tone allows for all your written and verbal communication, especially with promotions, to be on-brand and representative of the personality of your brand, whether that is your website, social media ads, billboards, tv advertisements, print ads, etc. If voice and tone is utilized correctly it will feel like you are being true to your brand and gives your customers something consistent to connect to.  

How are you reaching your customers?

Where are your personas paying attention? If you have an app catered to Gen Z, you should probably not spend your time promoting your product in a newspaper. This might feel ingenuine or just a waste of time and money. Rather spend some of your efforts advertising on different social media platforms like Tik Tok or Instagram. Know who your target audience is when making decisions and reference your personas defined within your brand strategy. Step into the shoes of your personas to think about what they care about, where are they spending their time, and how can you cater to their needs. By having a deep understanding of your personas, you can make strategic decisions about how to reach them.  

You have a BMW dealership, for example. Your customers are upper class individuals, who have seen the reliability and sleekness that defines the BMW brand. Would it feel on brand for you to go around town in a truck with a giant sale sign? Or to have one of those wind-dancing blow ups in front of your store? Probably not. Rather, your brand building strategies with your marketing efforts will be spent on things like advertisements in luxury home magazines or persona-targeted direct mail.

Timing

Timing is key, especially with your marketing efforts. Use the personas developed within your brand strategy to make informed decisions about when your ideal audiences are paying attention. For example, if you have a really cool software that makes accounting 20 times more efficient, the timing of your marketing campaigns would not be February through April when accountants are waist-deep in tax work. Rather you should focus efforts on less busy times when your potential customers will actually see what you offer, when they have time to pay attention.

And finally, don't be boring (Differentiate)

No one likes blending in. In fact, if you blend in you probably won’t excel. Your branding, if developed strategically, should clearly set you apart from your competitors. This extends to your promotional or marketing strategy. Don’t be boring. Your marketing strategy should boost your ability to stand out in a crowd and make you memorable while also staying true to your brand at the same time.

Your reputation long-term will be strengthened by consistently delighting your customers through your brand experience. By aligning the four Ps of your marketing strategy­–product, place, price and promotion–with your brand strategy your brand will be strengthen and this will lead to an increase of sales. There’s a lot that goes into branding and marketing strategy and it can be easy to become overwhelmed. That’s where we can help. We believe in the power of branding. We have three certified brand strategists on our team to ensure our work is strong for you. We have crafted processes to make sure no detail is forgotten. Don’t know where to start? Call us to chat about how we can strengthen your brand.

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We’re always eager to talk branding with interested business owners.

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About Us

Like our work, the Hardy Brands branding & design agency team is an embodiment of the perfect balance of strategy and creative. We’ve cultivated a team of certified brand specialists and strategists, designers, copywriters and marketing professionals who are ferocious about helping you succeed. We’re a Montana marketing agency that will constantly strive to improve your business.

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Our Work

As a branding, marketing and design agency, we partner with all types of businesses, from restaurants and breweries to building and real estate professionals, nonprofits to accountants and many others. Get a better idea of who we are and what we do by visiting our Work page.

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