It’s amazing how much of the time brand and marketing are overlooked when it comes to starting a business. I mean, it makes sense, there’s so much going on and often the product or service being provided receives the bulk of the attention which leaves little thought for brand and marketing. Often, brand is relegated to just a logo and marketing is a single ad effort or event. Really, though, brand and marketing need to be much more. Brand is how the customer perceives you vs. your competitors. Marketing is really a set of executables and channels to reach your customer. Both critical to the success of any business.
When we think about the value that brand brings to your business, it really should be more at the forefront. Brand is a very large contributor to the valuation of a company, especially in beverage. In times of stiff competition, brand serves to differentiate you from your competition. As you grow, your brand keeps you on course so that the company always aligns with the vision of why you started. Ultimately, brand creates purchasing preference with your customer.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make
but about the stories you tell.”
Ideally, a new business should really start with its core, values, beliefs and mission. From there a unique story is crafted with guardrails and guidelines to ensure the intent isn’t forgotten. Then all the marketing efforts of the company serve to strengthen the brand wrapping around a common core like strands of a rope.
Most businesses are already established before they invest in brand, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late. It means it’s time to look at where your business started and what it’s become, then uncover your unique brand story. This discovery will help drive your marketing efforts as well and provide a clearer path to success.
I’ve always been keen on observing parallels between two seemingly unrelated things. For instance, in my financial career, often people would ask me “what stock should I buy?”. The answer would be much more complex than the question because of all the variables I didn’t know about the customer. It does illustrate a commonly shared belief, even in marketing, about some “silver bullet” that will make money fast. Sure there are always exceptions, but they rarely happen without an equal of amount of hard work and time.
The reality of marketing is that there isn’t one thing that will propel a brand. Sometimes a big PR hit or the right ad or influencer will give you a boost, but that is usually accompanied by a return to status quo. The path to success is a bit longer and more complex.
When we think of a marketing strategy, we need to think whole vs. parts. Not only do we want our customers to see our brand multiple times, but in multiple ways as well. Digital is a hot medium currently and has given some amazing insights we didn’t once have. Digital, even with metrics, is still one rung of the ladder, one touchpoint of many we should be engaged in. Additionally, it has a place and time. For instance, digital is good at driving a specific CTA (call to action). eComm, event tickets sales, etc. all benefit immediately from a click and have a clear ROI. Driving impressions, however, is a bit less clear, but absolutely a smaller part of the larger marketing picture.
Simply put, your marketing strategy should include exceptional, relevant content that does right by your brand and is delivered appropriately to the most effective channels of marketing. This should also happen in conjunction with other efforts related to your plan, sales incentives, pricing promotions etc. A great and poignant message delivered optimally to your audience.
Think whole-picture, multi-faceted and relevant content when you think marketing and you can be sure you’re checking all the boxes and not relying on a silver bullet.