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Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

How to define product marketing 

How do marketers define product marketing? That looks like an easy question about a standard job. Still, many people will offer different answers, and few can provide a succinct definition. For example, many descriptions center on activities before the product launch, but the job of product marketing lasts through the entire lifecycle. 

In as few words as possible, product marketing refers to all activities involved in bringing a product to market and supporting it throughout its lifecycle. These activities include every step from initial conception and design to customer service and in the end, phasing out the product to make room for the next new thing. 

Product marketers need to understand their company, the product, and their audience of consumers very well. The job involves product design, packaging, product launches, customer service, and support. These tasks may require cooperation between multiple departments in large enterprises. In smaller companies and startups, product marketing teams could wear many hats. 

Successfully marketing products starts with understanding customers

Like all good marketing, product marketing centers around customers. After all, developing the world’s best product won’t do much good unless consumers learn it exists, what it does, how it’s used, and why it can satisfy their needs. Thus, marketers should differentiate their product from potential competitors, define their audience, develop buyer personas, and find out where these consumers gather information to inform purchase decisions. 

Using audience knowledge to develop a brand identity for the product 

Understanding the audience’s values and perceptions can help marketers develop a successful strategy for engaging the market. For instance, Wordstream discussed Apple’s Mac. Vs. Windows PC TV ads from a few years ago. Apple needed to tell a story to convince consumers to spend more on an Apple computer than they would need to spend on many Windows computers. 

Many competing companies offer Windows PCs, but only Apple makes Mac computers. Thus, Apple needed to quickly differentiate its products from the entire ecosystem of Windows PCs. That way, the company could engage customers and develop brand loyalty. If Apple could successfully differentiate their products, they could encourage brand loyalty that most Windows PC manufacturers don’t enjoy. Windows users might choose Windows computers, but they may not differentiate much between such manufacturers as Lenovo, Dell, or HP. 

Apple made dozens of humorous ads featuring a cool Mac guy and a stodgy PC guy. The ads differentiated Apple’s products with such benefits as being easy to use, free from malware bloat, and connected with popular software like iTunes. Primarily, the company understood its buyers. It wanted its target market to view Apple as the choice of sophisticated computer users and Windows PCs as the option for the dreary and conventional. 

Marketing steps for successful product launches 

Consider these essential steps to ensure a successful product launch. A solid understanding of and focus on customers will lead to successful product launches during all phases. 

Research the product: Before anybody considers a launch, the developers, marketers, and hopefully, some outside beta testers will thoroughly test the product to ensure it’s bug-free, works as advertised, and solves the problem as promised. At this time, feedback from various user groups can still yield improvements. 

Craft the product’s story: Document who will want to purchase this product and why consumers will feel satisfied with their purchase. This overview should explain why people should buy this product instead of taking a competitor’s offer. 

Create a launch plan: Successful product launches involve several steps and cooperation from different groups. A detailed launch plan gives the managers a way to solicit feedback, keeps various stakeholders in the loop, and assigns responsibility for each process. 

Conduct launch meetings: Most businesses will invite representatives from various groups to a meeting on launch day. Proactive product marketing managers will probably schedule regular meetings for progress reports, brainstorming, and input throughout the preparation stage. 

Develop content around the products and purchasers: Before the launch, the brand will need sales pages, advertising content, product advertising, and other marketing collateral. A solid understanding of the product’s story and the audience will enable the development of compelling content. 

Align and engage sales, marketing, and support: Various teams have specific jobs, but they still need to work towards the same goals. Accept input from all stakeholders involved in marketing, support, and sales, and make sure they all have the information to handle a successful launch. 

Engage the community: Plan how to develop and react to the buzz around the new release. Take the opportunity to reach out to previous customers, likely influencers, and other stakeholders for feedback. Incorporate any new information into the launch. Track mentions in the news or on social media and prepare to respond when appropriate. 

What responsibilities do product marketers have?

Primarily, product marketers ensure consumers positively recognize the brand. They must combine deep knowledge of the products with a solid understanding of their market. Because product managers must often work with other marketers, sales, support, development, customer service, and customers, it helps if they can also act as ambassadors to represent the overall goals for the product’s marketing. 

Some specific tasks of product marketers include: 

  • Research the market: Deliverables can include buyer personas, feedback from testers or surveys, a marketing story, and suggestions for advertising platforms. 
  • Develop a marketing plan: This plan could include details about the types of assets and platforms the company will need for marketing, including market research, content, ads, and support. 
  • Work on pricing and packaging: Product marketers may help set pricing and sales models. Plus, they help work on packaging that will help the brand stand out online or on physical shelves. 
  • Work on marketing budgets: Product managers should develop budgets they will need to market the product. 
  • Work with the talent to develop marketing collateral: These professionals develop briefs that creatives use to create various marketing assets, like web pages, videos, articles, and social posts. 
  • Develop and manage a marketing calendar: The marketers need to develop a schedule, assign responsibilities, and chart progress. 
  • Interface with other departments: The product marketers should keep other groups informed, accept feedback, and ensure every team stays updated and on track. 

This job requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Beyond market research and developing typical marketing plans, they must work with various stakeholders. For instance: 

  • During product development: Focus groups can offer feedback on the product’s designs, so the marketer might interface with the product’s engineers and designers to consider improvements. 
  • Before launch: The product marketers should work with sales to ensure the salespeople understand the product’s story, view the product advertising, and align with overall business goals. 
  • After sales: Some marketing content might support customer service by offering a FAQ page or how-to articles and videos to ensure customers know how to use the product or can connect with customer service to handle any concerns after sales. 

Thus, experienced product marketing managers generally command relatively high salaries. When they do their jobs well, these professionals start by helping their company grow sales and revenue. They can also help reduce workloads and save money by assisting other departments in running efficiently and staying aligned with overall goals. 

The importance of product marketing 

Product marketers function as product ambassadors for various departments, executives, partners, affiliates, and most of all, the company’s customers. Some marketers describe product marketers as positioned at the intersection between development, marketing, sales, customer support, and the brand’s audience. 

This task requires at least a good understanding of the other team’s functions and a deep knowledge of the product and the audience. Thus, the job requires both hard marketing and soft skills to empathize with and serve various stakeholders. Most importantly, effective marketers will strive to present customers with a positive view of the company, brand, and product. 

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Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Sometimes, authors do a fabulous job of developing characters, and readers feel like they understand a fictional person’s attitudes, motivations, and actions. If they could encounter this person in real life, avid readers believe they know what the character would do or how they’d react in any situation. These lifelike characters engage readers with stories even after they’ve finished reading. Similarly, our marketing research company strives to develop buyer personas that accurately represent target markets to give us a clear picture of potential buyers. This practice keeps us engaged with the audience. In turn, it gives us the tools to ensure buyers stay engaged with a business. 

Why are buyer personas important for marketing?

Even though the buyers profiled don’t exactly exist, consumers with similar essential characteristics are out there shopping for products. Instead of developing these characters purely from our imaginations, we gather and analyze information about real people to uncover common traits. 

Thus, a description of a semi-fictional character in a buyer persona helps marketers understand real-life consumers’ motivations, preferences, and potential actions. This important brief will provide an essential tool for developing marketing materials, segmenting audiences, choosing advertising platforms, and setting goals for testing and tuning. 

Developing useful buyer personas for marketing 

Our customer-focused process involves science, craft, and considerable testing, similar to developing a compelling story. To better understand our process, step through the methods we use to help clients understand their markets. 

Step 1: Define the anticipated target market 

Inc. Magazine observed that all marketers should define target markets to build a solid foundation for marketing. Understanding the market matters if the business intends to produce buyer personas or not. Primarily, most companies don’t have the budget to target everybody, and that’s probably a wasteful exercise anyway. Targeting general subsections of the population, like seniors, stay-at-home parents, or busy professionals, might prove too broad. 

Instead of casting a wide net, we prefer to select two or three tightly defined audiences to start. For example: 

  • Our research for a natural skincare company might uncover that the products appeal to women with concerns about dry skin and women who want to support natural, sustainable products and packaging. 
  • After digging deeper, our research could reveal that members of this population between ages 35 to 50 who live in dry or cold climates appear receptive to the products and the online subscription sales model the business employs. 
  • Just as valuable, surveys and interviews found that almost half of the women concerned about dry skin follow beauty bloggers and content producers on Instagram or YouTube. Members of the other market tend to consume news about ways to run a more eco-friendly household.

Sometimes, an existing company’s customer base provides plenty of information. Other times, startups don’t have a large pool of current customers. We may need to conduct surveys, interviews, and focus groups or rely on market research from other sources. Sometimes, the angles potential competitors use in their ads offer inspiration. In any case, we make data-based choices to fill in the details.

Step 2: Craft buyer personas to represent the audience 

How do marketers take the information they gather about their potential audience and turn it into one of these semi-fictional descriptions? According to HubSpot, marketers should begin by looking for common traits shared by many people in the audience. 

The basic helpful traits could include: 

  • Such demographic information as age ranges, ZIP codes, incomes, family status, education level, or professions 
  • Communication and entertainment preferences, like social networks, texting vs. email, favorite sports, or publications 
  • Challenges the individual might face that hinder meeting personal or career goals 

More in-depth information should prove helpful in developing a complete picture of the person. Examples of psychographics, more personal than simple demographics, include personality traits and motivations. For instance: 

  • Might the individual belong to organizations for networking, charitable causes, or fitness? 
  • Do they subscribe to blogs, publications, or Youtube channels that provide information about social matters, finance, health, the environment, or cooking? 
  • Would this person prefer to spend time off riding a bike, reading, or going to a club or concert? Do they view themselves as outgoing or reserved? How would the individual prefer to shop and gather information about shopping choices?

The better the persona describes things this semi-fictional person already does and cares about, the more it can help predict how they’ll react and what they’ll do in the future. The details can also provide important clues about media consumed and messages or even tones that would make the audience receptive. 

The information can help businesses avoid missteps that might offend audience segments. For instance, an Audi commercial from a few years ago attempted to use humor to attract attention. At the same time, the advertisement compared buying a car to choosing a wife by having the mother-in-law at a wedding “inspect” the bride. 

Unsurprisingly, this advertisement made many viewers uncomfortable. Indeed, the ad failed to attract female car buyers. Meanwhile, surveys in the US find that women play a role in 85 percent of auto buying decisions. 

Step 3: Find marketing platforms the audience already consumes

No matter how well a market research company narrows down audiences and crafts buyer personas, they won’t help their clients if the audience isn’t listening to the message they want to broadcast. That’s why we seek information about how audiences consume media and communicate. 

The better job we do of finding out where our audience “listens,” the greater chance we can ensure they will hear us. These days, businesses have plenty of platforms to choose from, including the internet, smartphones, radio, TV, print, and physical spaces. Each of these media types consists of countless outlets and platforms. Few businesses have the resources to test all of them, so we must use our research to choose the best candidates. 

Ideally, customers or prospects will fill out surveys, directly communicating their preferences. Without direct information, marketers can look for trends regarding the typical habits of the general population. For instance: 

  • Typical Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram users tend to be older than typical TikTok and Twitter viewers. 
  • Twitter attracts more men, but TikTok appeals to more women. In contrast, LinkedIn, the social site for business, draws a roughly equal percentage of men and women. 
  • Beyond the basic demographics of these social sites, savvy marketers will look for specific content, influencers, or tags that can attract the right sets of eyeballs. 

Step 4: Set goals, test, and optimize 

Despite their best efforts, few marketers have ever developed a perfectly optimized marketing plan on their first try. Businesses should look at testing and tuning as a way to improve as they learn more about their market. Sometimes, companies get lucky, and a well-considered but untested marketing campaign might succeed, but nobody will ever know if the lack of testing led to missed opportunities to improve. Sometimes, slight improvements in engagement and conversion rates can differentiate between profits and losses or growth and stagnation. 

Productive testing should begin with a theory to prove or disprove, measurable goals to measure success, and a test plan. Tests with narrow scopes may take more patients but can often yield valuable information for a low cost. 

The essential components of a test plan can include: 

  • Audience: Use one of the audiences used to develop buyer personas. 
  • Theory: A stated hypothesis about a change to marketing that could improve some aspects of marketing, like post engagement, website visitors, brand recognition, conversion rates, or sales. 
  • Goals: Include measurable goals for improvement based upon the theory. 
  • Metrics: KPIs, like post reactions, website visitors, filled shopping carts, conversion rates, and revenue, can measure results at various points of the sales funnel. 
  • Test type: A/B testing against the current advertising or another test ad that supports a competing theory. 

These tests will do more than prove or disprove theories if done correctly. Marketers can find weak spots in their overall plan. For instance, the current advertisement might do an excellent job of engaging the audience and attracting visitors to a website. Still, a problem with an online shopping cart or the sales page could hinder sales. Thus, these tests can help identify additional weak spots that need further testing. 

Consider market research and testing an ongoing process 

As a marketing research company, we don’t consider research, developing buyer personas, ad platform selection, or testing a one-and-done deal. Besides believing that we can constantly improve, we know that our client’s businesses can change quickly. Economic or political changes, new technology, and competitors can transform or even disrupt markets at any time. Thus, we may cycle through the four steps described above multiple times. 

We don’t just strive to help our clients keep up but to thrive by constantly seeking to add new audiences and expand their markets. Our efforts center on getting to know the audience very well, as if they’re our family, acquaintances, and friends. Since these people support our clients, we value them like friends, even if they’re semi-fictional representations developed into buyer personas. 

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Many of today’s hottest brands began by marketing directly to customers instead of seeking retail intermediaries. Fast-growing brands like Misfits Market, Smile Direct Club, and Allbirds have benefited from DTC marketing advantages, including lower overhead, strong customer relationships, and a growing base of consumers who enjoy the convenience of online shopping. 

The increasing importance of developing a winning DTC strategy 

Even the increasing popularity of DTC businesses with consumers does not mean that it’s time to neglect the basics. Some market factors that sparked the DTC boom also threaten to impede it. Thus, DTC marketers have observed that they’re now operating in a less forgiving marketplace than they enjoyed last year. 

For instance:

  • According to a CNBC report, even the most prominent examples of DTC successes during the past few years need to cope with ongoing issues with supply chains and perhaps even worse, consumers worried about their economic futures and less willing to buy impulsively. 
  • Also, social distancing during the pandemic encouraged online shopping, and DTC companies benefited from this boom. Still, increased competition from internet retailers crowded the market and made advertising more expensive. At the same time, technological changes, such as Apple’s new privacy features, have worked to diminish the supply of available ads.

Five essential components of a DTC marketing strategy 

Rather than resting on their laurels and accepting slower growth, today’s market leaders have responded to market changes. For many realistic and budget-constrained marketers, adapting in the next few years won’t mean making dramatic changes. Instead, it’s time to revisit an effective DTC strategy’s basic and most essential parts. 

Targeted branding

Direct marketing gives businesses a chance to understand their customers. Even before a DTC business attracts its first sale, it should develop comprehensive buyer profiles and understand its intended audience’s potential pain points and values to develop an appealing brand. 

Billie projects itself as a source of affordable, convenient products for women, a solid social voice, and an element of fun and relatability. For example, Billie markets women’s razors. Right from the start, this brand associated itself with the goal of eliminating the “pink tax” that occurs when women pay more for seemingly similar items than men do. 

Unique messaging and packaging

Successful DTC businesses avoid having their products considered commodities through unique, appealing messaging and packaging. Some brands can even use DTC packaging to express their voice, notably since the package generally offers customers their first physical contact with the company. 

DTC package design doesn’t have to be extra flashy to help brands stand out on virtual shelves. For instance, the Big Eye blog highlighted Misfit Market’s mission to reduce food waste by selling produce that’s not shaped uniformly enough for grocery stores. The company furthers this socially responsible business goal by using recyclable cartons for shipping. 

Other DTC brands use packaging to make their brands memorable and not just another product on a virtual shelf. Examples include using reusable packaging to ensure the customer sees their brand long after the product’s used up and making packaging more useful, like businesses that print instructions on the inside of the box. 

Customer experience

DTC businesses thrive by adopting a customer-first business model. The attention to their customer’s needs gives these companies an advantage over non-direct competitors that consumers perceive as commodities. 

As an example, Casper practically reinvented the customer experience for mattress buyers. Before this company debuted, almost everybody went to a furniture or mattress store to let a salesperson guide them to products that fit budgets and requirements. 

Casper grew from nothing to $750 million in just four years by delivering quality mattresses in a box, offering easy returns, and helping their customers understand the importance of replacing outdated mattresses and getting a good night’s sleep. 

Conversion optimization

Seasoned marketers understand that optimizing conversions can make the difference between profits and losses. The best advice for improving conversions involves setting goals, determining metrics to measure progress, and then tracking and testing. However, this advice doesn’t offer any suggestions for how to improve. The importance of tracking and improving conversion rates always rises with the cost of advertising and market competition. 

Take some inspiration from a DTC business called Crossrope that offers premium jump ropes, accessories, and a fitness app. 

  • First, the company moved from other hosting to Shopify to use the vast ecosystem of apps they could use to streamline and enhance the shopping experience. 
  • The product pages incorporate high-quality videos of people using the products. 
  • An app combines ratings, pictures, and reviews to make it easy for prospective customers to learn how current customers like the products. 
  • User-generated content, like personal stories and before and after photos, engages website visitors. 

Crossrope began to develop a global reach. The company turned to an app that could display local payment options and prices. This change alone produced a 20-percent improvement in conversions. Crossrope also relies on an app to track conversions and automatically adjust checkout-page messaging, resulting in a one-percent conversion improvement. The app also offers personalized suggestions for additional items based on the initial selection. 

Full funnel marketing 

Many marketers think of a customer’s journey as linear, like a trek across a map. Today’s shoppers gather information about purchases from multiple channels simultaneously. Full funnel marketing acknowledges these shopping habits and simultaneously provides information about a brand on multiple channels. 

For instance, the Amazon Marketing blog reported that almost 70-percent of in-store customers would check products on their smartphones as they browse the shelves. About the same proportion of people will pull out a second screen to research something they’ve viewed on TV. 

To conform to today’s consumer shopping habits, a consumer package goods agency might analyze various platforms for the way consumers might use them to interact. For instance, TV commercials might focus on developing brand awareness, a social page could help develop a community, and a product page can deliver in-depth information while focusing on closing the sale. The shopping cart page should offer a good user experience and might provide a chance to suggest other purchases to complement the selected product.

How the best DTC brands succeed 

Marketing directly to customers offers plenty of advantages. At the same time, even prominent DTC unicorns have struggled to maintain growth during the past few months. Startups will face steeper challenges as they lack a large, loyal customer base to provide some support. Marketers need to ensure their DTC strategy excels at branding, user experience, and conversion optimization to make sure they can survive and thrive.

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

A distinctive brand asset has two characteristics—it must be ‘unique’ in that it only evokes the one brand, and it must be ‘famous’, meaning that everyone who sees it, thinks only of that brand. Of these two, uniqueness is most important. Ehrenberg-Bass Institute

When most people see a pair of golden arches or hear the “Two all-beef patties, special sauce….” jingle, nobody needs to mention the brand name to know which fast-food chain they come from.

Not everybody loves McDonald’s or Burger King. Still, most people stop for a sandwich, at least occasionally. Since hungry diners know what to expect from these brands, they stand out as popular choices. Families and friends don’t have to discuss the menu because almost everybody believes that BK’s burgers taste better, but McDonald’s wins on fries. Thus, this distinctive branding provides these chains with a valuable asset.

Most importantly, nobody confuses these two brands with each other or any similar fast-food chains because they’ve developed distinctive and unique brand assets, which are also famous. Dig into the art and science that marketers rely upon to develop these critical assets.

Semiotics

Academics call the study of meanings behind signs and symbols semiotics. Humans almost certainly responded to symbols before they invented writing, and people may have this ability to assign meaning to signs hard-wired into their brains. For instance, people can learn to communicate with sign language as adeptly as others respond to spoken words.

In today’s interconnected world, where people interact without always speaking the same language, semiotics sometimes still trump spoken language in importance. For instance, each country’s flag uses simple graphics to express something about the land it represents. The U.S. flag displays 50 stars for each state and stripes for the original 13 colonies. The Canadian Maple Leaf represents hope and prosperity.

The golden arches form an “M” for McDonald’s, but they can also signify an open archway or entrance, inviting hungry patrons to enter. The golden color can indicate quality or at least the standard of consistent quality people expect from a global chain of fast-food burger joints. Thus, marketers should consider visual elements of branding in light of how consumers will interpret them.

Designers who use semiotics use different tactics to achieve the desired result:

  • Bottom-up semiotics begins with selecting potential symbols and asking key questions to uncover the meaning people associate with them. For instance, a coffee company might start with various images of steaming mugs or coffee beans and learn how survey groups react.
  • Top-down semiotics starts with an abstract concept to find out what sort of ideas or associations it conveys. The coffee company might begin with concepts they want people to associate with their brand, like freshness, aroma, or energy to learn which images people associate with these ideas.

Brand logos

The way consumers interpret logos can give consumers an instantly recognizable and positive reaction to a brand… or not. As discussed on the Big Eye blog, no creative type wants to design a logo so jarring that 50,000 local residents sign a petition to remove it, as with London’s Olympics logo in 20212.

In 2016, Uber changed its logo to represent a “bit” that was supposed to evoke the company’s digital nature, but to most people, it just looked like a backward C. In 2018, Uber relented and changed the logo to its brand name, wasting two years of branding opportunities in the process.

Better examples of distinctive, evocative logos might include: 

  • The arrow in the Amazon logo points from “A” to “Z” to demonstrate to shoppers they can find almost anything to buy on the retail site.
  • Chick-Fil-A’s logo designer cleverly made a chicken out of the “C” to emphasize the main ingredient in most of this brand’s food.
  • Burger King’s logo framed the brand name with the top and button of a simple, stylized hamburger bun, making the meaning obvious.

Besides merely designing a logo that might look good on an outdoor sign, brands need to consider other ways to use the graphic. For instance, the same design will probably appear in ads in various sizes and mediums or on packaging. One primary challenge designers face will include designing a distinctive image that can scale and adapt to different sizes and mediums. 

Brand audio

According to the National Library of Health, most people demonstrate a preference for a visual learning style. Interestingly enough, that percentage might rise to as much as 80 percent in higher education, perhaps suggesting that the educational system serves that population best or trains students to prefer visual learning. Maybe that explains why most discussion of distinctive branding focuses on images.

Undoubtedly, scientists consider most visual learners, but even people who don’t prefer it also learn verbally. Successful brands take advantage of this by producing distinctive audio. For instance, radio, podcasts, and music stand out as popular mediums.

For example, consider the T-Mobile ringtone, the Windows startup tone, and famous jingles that people recognize decades later, like the Oscar Meyer and Burger King Whopper advertising jingles. According to Live Science, sounds form lasting cognitive and emotional memory connections. Thus, businesses can develop distinctive tones or vocals to make their brands memorable.

Does distinctive branding extend beyond verbal and audio?

As a note, odors can also form strong emotional connections. Still, marketers don’t have a way to broadcast the fragrance of roasting coffee or a chargrilled burger over TV, radio, or the internet. At least, nobody has invented one yet.

All Starbucks don’t look the same, but fans of the brand can’t mistake the universal fragrance of roasting coffee when they step inside the door. Such local businesses as coffee houses, candle shops, and hamburger restaurants often use the scent of their products to attract customers. Even if marketers lack the technology to broadcast smells through internet connections, they can consider using visual images to evoke them, like the steaming cup of coffee in a Maxwell House ad. 

Why invest in distinctive brand assets?

Distinctive brand assets help people instantly recognize businesses, with clear associations for brand expectations. Images, words, and even sounds and smells can serve in this way. As in the case of branding mishaps, even by large organizations, businesses need to ensure they’re evoking positive associations that attract customers and not negative ones that might draw scorn. As a DTC branding agency in Florida, we’re here to ensure customers’ memories of our client’s brands are good ones.

 

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

Marketers have an easy time finding examples of high-quality brand storytelling. For instance, consider the best and most memorable Superbowl ads. Newsweek reported that 30-second advertising spots during the big game cost $6.5 million just for the airtime. 

Despite the price, those ad slots sell out fast. Besides costing sponsors an incredible amount of money, the most successful and memorable Superbowl ads share the common tactics of using engaging, relatable stories to market brands, connect with a vast audience and tell people what they stand for. 

What makes brand storytelling successful?

Why do the biggest businesses spend so much money airing their stories during popular programs, like the Superbowl? Brand storytelling can connect with and entertain viewers and evoke empathy. Most importantly, they encourage people to discuss both the advertisements and the brand the next day at work and sometimes, long after the audience forgets the details of the game. This word-of-mouth buzz makes successful stories priceless, even if they’re expensive. 

Harvard Business Review observed that stories attract and engage people because of humanity’s social nature and desire to connect. Stories that connect emotionally actually impact our brains neurologically by releasing feel-good hormones that can help dull other concerns and help us remember these stories positively. 

Of course, not everybody connects with every story, and no organization wants to invest in a good story only to have it fail to promote the brand. Thus, the best DTC brand story should support the values and interests of its audience. The story should also integrate the brand identity in fundamental ways and not just as an afterthought. 

For instance, almost everybody has grandparents. Sadly, most people have lost loved ones during their lives. Google’s “Loretta” advertisement told the story of an older man who wanted to remember his deceased wife. He turned to Google Search and Google Assistant to help. This 90-second advertisement manages to conjure tears, mention Google brands, and demonstrate ways to use some of the company’s core products. 

How does your brand sound?

Most discussion around branding centers around visuals. At the same time, Harvard Business Review asked an important question: What does your brand sound like? HBR referred to audio branding as a potential competitive differentiator for many businesses because it’s frequently overlooked and undervalued by their competitors. 

Sometimes referred to as sonic or sound branding, audio branding can influence consumers on several levels. Think of the sound that a Harley makes when it revs, a champagne cork makes when it pops, or a Mac computer’s chime as it boots. These sounds conjure up visual images and in some cases, memories. 

Research also supports the idea that some sounds can improve the listener’s satisfaction with an experience. People respond to sounds faster than visuals, so branding audio works well for sending a quick, evocative message. This nonverbal form of communication resonates deeply. Also, businesses can spread it across many platforms, like their apps, advertisements, and in some cases, products. Audio branding can grow as pervasive and work as quickly and effectively as a well-considered graphic logo. 

As part of a DTC strategy for brand recognition, audio branding can offer direct sellers a competitive advantage because even in a crowded marketplace, most competitors don’t employ it. In particular, for audio-only formats, audio branding can make up for the lack of logos and other brand images. 

For instance, the French railroad line SNCF faced competition from other railroads and airlines. SNCF developed a distinctive, upbeat tune to associate with the brand in response. The railroad enjoyed positive results when it used this music to begin TV ads. SNCF also started prefacing in-station announcements with the tune because passengers found it soothing. 

Who’s doing brand storytelling well?

These examples of some of the brightest brand storytelling successes can help provide some inspiration. 

Reddit 

Last year, Reddit didn’t cough up enough money for a 90-, 60-, or even 30-second Superbowl ad. Instead, they grabbed just five seconds. What appeared like random images of an auto race, then a Reddit post, and finally, a horse race turned into a bonanza. 

Undoubtedly, Reddit’s brand story agency took a gamble with the advertisement. The ad felt jarring. Still, the social site knows its audience, and it worked. Hundreds of thousands of people turned to another screen, besides the one on their TV, for help interpreting what flashed across their TV screen so quickly. View the advertisement and conversation on Twitter. 

Dove

Consumer product brands like Dove soap face stiff competition and need to earn their standing as recognizable brand names. Dove’s “Reverse Selfie” ad only displayed the brand’s name and logo at the beginning. The rest of the story showed a girl glamming up to post a selfie on social media. At first, the audience only saw the enhanced images of the girl, making her appear like a sophisticated young adult. 

Finally, the camera closes in on an adorable young girl without any artificial enhancements and a message that pressure from social media harms self-esteem. The story resonated with plenty of social media users and their parents. It gave Dove a chance to connect with its audience by demonstrating that the brand represents authenticity and natural beauty. View the advertisement on YouTube

The future of storytelling for marketing 

According to a Think With Google discussion, the future will include brands increasingly using storytelling to communicate their values and purpose. Businesses will strive to connect with customers by understanding them and even incorporating customers’ stories to demonstrate authenticity. In the past, businesses sought to tell customers what they should want, but in the future, companies need to tell their audience who they are and what they can offer. 

Even businesses that can’t yet afford a Superbowl spot can benefit from storytelling ads on multiple platforms. These companies can use storytelling on podcasts, Youtube, blogs, social networks, and TV and radio. The media can include text, sounds, images, and videos. 

As a brand story agency, we’re excited to help tell your story. Find out more about brand storytelling in this interview with Miri Rodreguez, the author of “Brand Storytelling.”

Categories
Audience Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

January is the ideal month to identify what worked last year and determine which tactics and channels to prioritize in 2022. A brand audit can be the first step toward developing your annual marketing strategy.

Marketers must first understand what makes their offering stand out. After that, they need to make certain that consumers also associate those beneficial qualities with their brand. Businesses can work with a brand strategy agency to conduct a brand audit to gain perspective on both of these critical questions.

Why start the new year with a brand audit?

 

As discussed in an earlier Bigeye article, brand differentiation stands out as an essential marketing tactic for most businesses. A well-positioned brand makes it easy for consumers to quickly identify a company’s strengths and make instant and even unconscious decisions to patronize them instead of competitors. 

Brand audits offer businesses an opportunity to learn how a brand stands, how it has progressed, and how well it’s likely to keep performing in the future. From this perspective, marketers can strengthen their marketing strategies to react to such changes as an evolving business, new competitors, evolving technologies, or disruptive market conditions. 

The new year offers an excellent opportunity to perform a brand audit because the information uncovered will help update marketing plans for the first quarter and through the rest of 2022.

What Is a Brand Audit?

An audit typically captures and evaluates the brand across three dimensions to understand what’s happening internally, externally, and with your customers.

  1. Internal branding includes your brand mission, vision, values, and internal communication strategies. 
  2. External branding includes your distinctive assets including logos, print and marketing materials, PR, your website, social media presence, all your digital platforms, and the content you create for owned, earned, and paid channels.
  3. Customer experience includes the sales process, conversion optimization, customer service, and retention tactics.

How do you conduct a brand audit?

 

As a brand manager or owner, the audit process provides you with an opportunity to review marketing activity and evaluate whether it’s been working or not. Be honest about the current strategy you have – or don’t have – and seek alignment with your team on the way that you have been working.

  • What does the brand management team inside your organization look like? 
  • What projects did you work on in 2021? 
  • How have you been measuring the success of those efforts? 
  • What do you know about your customers? Have they changed since before COVID-19? 
  • What do you know about the performance of your communications tactics? 

Sometimes the answers to these questions can be embarrassing, even painful. That’s okay. Being responsible for managing a brand means being comfortable with ambiguity and admitting when there are failures – because they can unlock the greatest opportunities.

Sometimes, it’s hard for businesses to gain objectively from their position on the inside of a growing operation. A brand strategy agency like Bigeye can help you conduct a comprehensive brand audit.

Download the Bigeye Brand Audit Guide

 

 

Categories
Branding Insights Strategy & Positioning

A brand positioning strategy will increase brand value by creating a positive impression of the company’s products in consumer’s minds.

Brand positioning refers to creating a good impression of your company in the minds of consumers. Done right, people should automatically associate your brand with the benefits you offer. A brand strategy agency will help their clients develop an effective brand marketing strategy to enable this positioning. In turn, this strategy will help keep your company relevant to customers and competitively distinct from competitors.

Why develop a brand marketing strategy?

Brand marketing strategy development will not just focus on creating a positive impression to attract new business; it should also maintain those distinctive qualities in the minds of current customers.

According to The Branding Journal, studies have found a direct link between willingness to buy and customer loyalty to effective brand positioning. With more customers and a higher lifetime value for each one, brand equity grows into one of the most valuable assets that the company has.

An example brand marketing strategy

An Australian wine brand called Yellow Tail offers a great example of developing a brand position statement and then supporting it with an effective strategy. When they decided to enter the American market, the company wanted to mediately distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Their marketing strategy development began with creating the position statement of establishing their brand as approachable, fun, and easy to choose.

Yellow Tail supported their position in five ways:

  1. Product: People find Yellow Tail wine sweet and mellow, so even people who aren’t wine experts usually like it.
  2. Labels and logos: The simple colors, images, and text on the label make the packaging appear approachable and fun.
  3. Name: Yellow Tail represents a kangaroo tail. Consumers almost always associate kangaroos with Australia, the origin of the wine.
  4. Messaging: Yellow Tail focused on in-store ambassadors who greeted customers and offered them details, samples, and of course, bottles to buy and take home.
  5. Price: They kept prices under $10, making it easy for new customers to make an impulse purchase and loyal customers to think of Yellow Tail as an all-occasion wine.

How a brand design agency approaches brand marketing strategy development

So, how would an experienced brand design agency begin to develop a brand position for a new client? Brand marketing strategy development should include these steps:

Analyze the market, the company, and competitors

This part of the plan consists of learning what a market wants, how the company can deliver, and which companies compete for the market’s attention. Yellow Tail wanted to appeal to people who did not describe themselves as wine connoisseurs and even who might have gravitated to beer or pre-mixed drinks before because they found them more approachable and affordable. 

Craft a position statement

Brands need to develop a branding position statement that will appeal to their market and differentiate them from competitors. In contrast to fine or expensive wine, Yellow Tail wanted to present a more fun and approachable image.

Implement the strategy

Implementing the brand marketing strategy may include product design, messaging, advertising channels, package design, and even pricing.  Yellow Tail executed this through their colorful logo, cute, evocative name, and modest price. They also hoped to compete with other beverages, so they used on-site ambassadors to introduce their product to people who were already passing the beverage aisle.

Key goals of brand positioning

The key goals of a branding strategy also provide a good way to test the strategy to ensure its effectiveness:

  • Consumers need to find it relevant or else they won’t engage enough to develop a positive impression.
  • Branding also needs to differentiate the company from its competitors to offer any real advantage.
  • Finally, the company must have the ability to deliver on their promise; otherwise, they’ll lose credibility and any chance of developing brand loyalty.

If the branding strategy can meet these three objectives, it will help create that good impression that will attract and retain customers.

Categories
Audience Branding Creative & Production Market Intelligence Package Design Strategy & Positioning

Marketing can be defined as all the different activities that are involved in making products available to satisfy the needs of the customers, while at the same time generating profits for the manufacturers and distributors. It is a complex process and it involves the following:

  • Designing a product that meets customer specifications which many need the use of marketing research to determine what the customers needs.
  • Promoting the products so that people may get to know the product through marketing communications and Advertising.
  • Setting the price and making the product available to the population through vending outlets.

Marketing communications can be described as the communication that is used in the promotion phase of the product. It is the communication between the marketing division or the marketing efforts of a company and the market and it is usually geared towards the promotion of the product. Marketing communication can usually be handled in-house or can be sub-contracted to a marketing agency.

The people in the marketing communication sector that are involved with advertising, branding, direct marketing to customers, graphic design of the product and product containers, packaging, sales and sales promotion.

They are generally involved with creating and delivering messages to the public in an attempt to move them to develop an affinity with the company and to buy the products of the company. They are usually known as marketing communicators, and it is more usual than not a team effort, than the work of a single individual.

This can either mean having a team of people to work in these different processes or taking on one marketing agency that does this, or coordinating the efforts of different specialized agencies like graphic design agencies, advertising agencies and market research agencies.

Marketing communication can be said to be divided into 5 stages from the time the message is conceived and delivered to the time the messages are received and then possible action taken by the receiver to change him from the receiver of a marketing message to a consumer.

The stages in the process are:

  • Sender – which represents the marketing team that delivers an idea to the marketing communication team
  • Encoding – represents the part of the process where the communicator takes the message and transforms it into eye-catching or step-changing visual adverts or tunes or a mixture of all as in audio visual ads
  • Transmission – which represents the stage where the messages are transmitted through radio, tv the internet and any other device chosen by the company
  • Decoding – represents the stage when the consumer receives the image and decodes it; usually, it has to do with thinking in the pattern that the marketer wants them to think
  • Receiver – the message is now with received by the target audience and the receiver can then make a decision to respond and buy, take the subscription or develop a way of thinking as desired.

Therefore, from the processes above it can be seen that teamwork is essential in marketing communication as the process will be almost impossible for a single individual to create and deliver successfully alone.

In general, the people who develop the ideas and strategies in marketing research are usually analysts, and those that take the results of these ideas and recommendations to create a new product are usually different from those that will also use these same ideas to create advertising for the product.

“Without a clear idea of what the company goals are, or the kind quality of the product and who they are trying to reach, marketing communicators will not be able to create and transmit a convincing message to the consumers. Therefore teamwork is very much essential to the success of any marketing campaign.”

A marketing campaign team will usually involve people from account planning, account management, creative talent production, media departments and specialist in TV ads, radio ads, billboard advertisers as well as internet and social media advertisers.

All these people need to be managed and they need to work with each other. Without a collective team spirit, and coordination it will be a chaotic situation and so the marketing communication team has to work with coordinating these heads and assigning tasks to each individual so that the team works flawlessly and delivers the end products as required.

Good coordination of the team will usually lead to convincing messages being sent to the consumer which will ultimately end in making sales and to convert the receiver of the messages to a client.

Looking for a comprehensive partnership with an agency that understands the importance of teamwork in marketing communication? Contact us today to build your synergistic strategy.

Categories
Audience Audience Segmentation Branding Entertainment Messaging Strategy & Positioning Tourism Hospitality Convention

In a lot of ways, developing an effective theme park marketing strategy evokes quite the “roller coaster” of experiences. There are highs and lows and oftentimes, it even throws you for a loop!

But- it doesn’t have to always be that way, particularly when you have a good sense of what your target audience is looking for in its theme park experience. At our marketing agency in Orlando, we understand that people visit theme parks to be entertained, excited and thrilled, but also to relax and escape everyday life. One of the best ways to get people to choose your park over your competitors’ is to tap into their emotions through emotive storytelling.

This isn’t a story with an introduction, a middle and a conclusion like you might’ve been told in your third grade English class. We’re talking about transmedia storytelling, which describes the art of being able to tap into what people are thinking about, and being able to give them great content and visuals to help inspire them. And, by inspiring potential customers through images of what a great vacation could do for them, you’ll hopefully also be able to inspire them to buy plane tickets to Florida to spend a week at a local resort hotel.

In telling an emotional story, your imagery and words should reflect your commitment to this appeal. A photo of kids laughing on a double decker carousel in LEGOLAND’S Fun Town is going to grab a child’s attention and make them want to escape in the same way. A bullet-point list of facts about your park? Maybe, but think about how much more the photo might resonate with a parent who has a LEGO- obsessed child.

Disney is a master at this, and Universal has appeal through its rides inspired by famous favorite films. A perfect example of incorporating media and other immersive storytelling techniques into a marketing strategy is the soon to be newest Universal Water Park- Volcano Bay. Keep your eyes open for this marketing plan, it’s going to be one for the books (get it? Since we’re telling a story? We think we’re funny.)

Unfortunately not every theme park has learned to tap into that universal trigger that keeps people thinking about their experience there through the generations. So if you’re a theme park marketer, one of the most important things you can do is focus on the importance of story in everything that represents your brand. And if you need ideas on how to bring that story to life, contact the expert team at our Orlando ad agency to help you navigate the twists and turns of this exhilarating industry!

Categories
Audience Audience Analysis Branding Identity Implementation Marketing/Business Messaging Naming & Architecture Strategy & Positioning

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.