What is brand marketing? A complete guide
Brand marketing is promoting a brand’s products or services in a way that elevates the brand as a whole. It involves creating and maintaining brand-consumer relationships and marketing brand attributes—the traits that people think of when they picture a particular brand. In this guide, we’ll provide an overview of all things branding, including brand marketing strategy, types of brands, brand awareness, brand equity, brand relevance, and brand recognition, as well as highlight branding solutions from Amazon Ads.
What is a brand?
A brand is how a company differentiates itself from its peer brands. A brand can be thought of as the personality of the company, communicated through an identifying mark, logo, name, tagline, voice, and tone. Some of the oldest and most recognizable brand names in automotive, toys, and food and beverage have been around for decades, with some surpassing more than a century of consistent and recognizable branding.
There are three main types of brands, including company/corporation brands, product brands, and personal brands, which apply to individuals. The rules of brand marketing apply, regardless of type. Now that we know what a brand is, let’s talk about how to create a brand marketing strategy.
What is brand marketing?
Brand marketing is the process of establishing and growing a relationship between a brand and consumers. Rather than highlighting an individual product or service, brand marketing promotes the entirety of the brand, using the products and services as proof points that support the brand’s promise. The goal of brand marketing is to build a brand’s value – and the company’s value as a result.
The channels available for a brand marketing strategy are the same channels that companies can use for product marketing activities, such as digital, social, and paid search advertising. A good strategy is to use different channels together to create a media mix that reaches a wide audience. For example, brand marketers might use a brand advertising strategy supplemented by email and content marketing efforts to drive brand awareness and reach potential customers across multiple digital spaces. But when it comes to deciding the right messages for the right audiences in these spaces, we first have to consider brand attributes.
What are brand attributes?
Just like people have their own unique combinations of personality traits, brands have unique attributes, as well. Attributes are identifiers that consumers see as part of a brand. These can include the name and tagline, colors, or even music or sounds often associated with the brand. In addition, attributes can be the feeling that a brand evokes. Example “feeling” attributes include authentic, innovative, dependable, honest, or transparent.
What is brand equity?
Brand equity is the value of a company’s brand, or the measure of consumers’ perceptions of the brand. Strong brand equity has to do with how well consumers know the brand, their preference for it over others, their level of connection with the brand, and their level of loyalty to it. Strong brand equity opens doors for brands to innovate and expand their businesses with the support of their loyal base of consumers.
Brand equity is measured by comparing brand awareness, brand loyalty, preference, and financial metrics.
- Brand awareness is determining how many consumers are aware of a brand, and is measured through surveys and focus groups, social listening tools, and search and web traffic insights.
- Brand loyalty is measured using purchasing behavior insights like repeat purchase behavior and time between purchases.
- Brand preference is measured through insights such as purchase intent metrics and surveys.
- Financial metrics relate to sales lift as a result of brand marketing campaigns.
In order to build strong brand equity, it’s important to establish a strong brand-consumer relationship.
What is a brand-consumer relationship?
The brand-consumer relationship, also called the consumer-brand or brand relationship, is how well a brand and consumers are connected. Is it a strong connection or a weak one? A positive connection or a negative one? Are consumers functionally connected to the brand or are they emotionally invested in it? The best brand connections are strong, positive, and emotionally rooted. These are the connections that help turn buyers from one-time purchasers into lifelong brand advocates.
Why is branding important ?
Branding is perhaps more important than ever as marketplaces become more saturated and it becomes harder to make genuine connections with consumers. Branding allows companies to tell their unique stories and shift perception by giving customers something to believe in. It sparks interest, and invites customers to discover, learn about, and establish a memorable relationship with their brand. Rather than specs and features, branding is about what a company stands for – who it is at the core. Branding is about making consumers feel good about supporting a company and establishing an emotional connection. Those that brand effectively create a lasting impression that helps grow advocacy and loyalty among customers for the long term.
Building a brand strategy
A brand strategy is the roadmap companies follow in order to develop their brand. A well-defined brand strategy is critical in creating a strong brand. Every brand strategy should incorporate the following elements.
A company’s brand-building strategy must be grounded in research that outlines the competitive landscape and how the brand solves a unique need within it. This helps the brand set realistic goals for growth and understand how its peers are positioning their brands.
Goals and objectives
Goals and objectives include measurable brand and marketing metrics as well as the overarching brand goal. What is the promise of the brand? What are the experiences consumers can expect with every brand interaction? Working backwards and answering these questions first will help a company define who they are and what purpose they serve for consumers.
Every brand and marketing strategy should include clearly defined audiences based upon internal and external information. Develop personas – fictional representations of ideal consumers – that include demographic and behavioral information to help inform the brand’s tone of voice, media buying, and strategy to reach the right audiences.
Create a brand identity
When it comes to branding, identity means all of the design elements that work together to make up the visual representation of the brand. This includes the name, logo, tagline, color palette, typefaces, and image style. A clear and consistent brand identity contributes to increased awareness.
Define messaging and positioning
What are the messages the brand will use to reinforce the brand promise? How will the brand be positioned in relation to peer brands? Define both internal and external brand messaging, with internal focusing on communicating with employees and stakeholders, and external focused on communicating with consumers. Be sure to also define the brand’s mission, vision statement, values, and positioning statement—what the brand does, for whom, and how it delivers on its brand promise. Done right, these elements of brand storytelling will remain in customers’ minds far longer than the memory of the individual products they’ve purchased.
Develop brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are the comprehensive outline of how and how not to use brand elements to ensure cohesion across the board. Brand guidelines explain the voice and tone of the brand, highlight image style, include a content style guide, and map out correct logo and typeface usage. Brand guidelines are a critical piece of brand and brand marketing strategy because they allow for companies to roll out a brand at scale with everyone building from the same toolkit. This also includes the brand asset library, where marketers can pull approved brand assets.
Brand marketing strategy should include a rollout timeline, including details for when elements like a complementary web presence and supporting digital advertising campaign will launch. Remember that if this is a rebrand, everything from email signatures, to social assets, to newsletter templates, to signage needs to be updated, too.
It’s important to include detailed metrics and how a company will monitor and measure both short-term and long-term brand success. Measure things like brand satisfaction through the Net Promoter Score, which measures customer loyalty and enthusiasm; Customer Satisfaction Score ; brand recognition and awareness; brand relevance; and differentiation. To help with measurement, Amazon As' new-to-brand metrics can help advertisers identify strategies that can drive customer acquisition and efficient business growth on Amazon. According to Akama Davies, Director of Global Solutions & Innovation at Xaxis, “Brand marketing needs robust and accountable metrics. Using insights can make all your brand-building activity more measurable, accountable, and integrated.”1
Three things to remember in brand marketing
Brand marketing can be overwhelming, both for new and established brands. The following are three things marketers should remember when it comes to brand marketing.
- Remember branding and marketing are different. A company’s brand is its personality – marketing is how the company shares that personality with consumers.
- Spend time on research or measurement. Without due diligence to know how a brand’s peers are positioned, it’s difficult to differentiate the brand. And without proper marketing attribution, it’s challenging to know if a brand moved the needle or not. Spending time on both research and measurement will help define strategy and success for your brand.
- Show brand attributes (instead of telling). A company may want to position its brand as trustworthy – but it shouldn’t say that it’s a trustworthy brand. Instead, it should show trustworthiness through reliable products and customer service.
Trends in brand marketing
The shift to brand marketing versus product marketing is becoming more commonplace as the value of branding becomes more apparent. When consumers emotionally connect with a brand, they’re more likely to try a new product from that company - and when a customer thinks a brand has a strong purpose, they’re 4.5x more likely to recommend the brand to family and friends.2 Here are four key trends in brand marketing to look out for:
- Using programmatic advertising – the use of technology to buy and sell digital ads - to achieve greater efficiency, more customized reach, transparency, and real-time measurement and optimization for brand campaigns
- Incorporating video marketing to more effectively tell a brand’s story than static imagery and copy alone. Video is a useful for driving brand awareness and for reinforcing messaging with established customers. In fact, according to a Wyzowl study, 69 percent of customers surveyed said they’d prefer to learn about a new product or service via video over other mediums like text-based articles or infographics.3
- Taking an omnichannel approach to marketing a brand across channels such as digital, over-the-top (OTT), social media, company blog, email, and more to optimize performance.
- Supporting brand advertising with content marketing to reinforce a brand story. Tools like Amazon Posts and Amazon Follow enable consumer connections. According to Colleen Aubrey, Vice President of Performance Advertising at Amazon, “Once a customer ‘follows’ a brand, they gain immediate visibility into updates coming from that brand, including new product launches, deals, new Posts, and when a brand streams via Amazon Live—making sure the customer doesn’t miss a beat.”
Examples of effective brand marketing strategies
The most effective brands have a clearly defined purpose and evoke a feeling when consumers interact with them. They are differentiated from their peers and take a personal approach to brand marketing so that consumers don’t feel sold to – they feel part of a community. Following are three effective brand marketing strategies brands are using to grow their brand with Amazon Ads.
- Using brand and product advertising together: Some brands that work with Amazon Ads use Sponsored Brands and Stores together with Sponsored Products to connect with consumers who are shopping for the types of products they sell – and keyword targeting to reach audiences with interest and intent who are shopping for products like theirs.
- Driving engagement and sales with a branded Amazon web presence: According to internal research, on average, companies that link their Sponsored Brands campaign to their Store have an up to 17 percent better return, compared to linking the campaign to a product page.4 That’s because Stores offer a branded presence right on Amazon, curated by companies to tell their brand story through videos, lifestyle and product imagery, and content.
- Optimizing brand marketing campaigns with analytics: MidWest Homes for Pets used Amazon Attribution to gain a single view of advertising efforts on and off Amazon, which in turn helped them determine which strategies were driving increased shopping activity. Optimizing for cost efficiency, the company was able to drive more sales and improve ROAS (return on ad spend).
Brand marketing is about emphasizing strengths of a brand in order to give it staying power for the long-term. It focuses on strengthening relationships between brands and consumers, and when done most effectively, it is used in concert with marketing activities to establish defining attributes for the brand that helps foster brand advocacy and loyalty.
1 Xasis conversation on Amazon Ads blog
2 Strength of Purpose study, Jun 2020
3 Wyzowl, Video Marketing Statistics 2021
4 Amazon Internal 2018.