I came across the term Brand Marketing recently, and couldn’t put my thumb on the definition – it felt like something I should know. A little research was in order to deconstruct the rather annoying ‘business jargon’ aka gobbledygook. This obscure form of communication between those masquerading as intelligent, but who can’t put it in layman’s terms really frustrates me. Separately, the words Brand Marketing are clear, I understand what a brand and marketing are, but together, Brand Marketing seemed more complex.
Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.
~ David Ogilvy
So what exactly is Brand Marketing?
Brand Marketing refers to the need to promote a product or service in a way that is appropriate for the price point, or the image of the product. If your efforts are not properly geared towards the target audience, then it is probable that your marketing strategy will fall short of expectations.
Every brand appeals to a particular type of audience. To succeed, it is necessary to really come to grips with the identity and aspirations of that audience. For example, sports apparel manufacturers Nike and Adidas would not run their TV advertising campaign during a gardening programme or a political debate; they would run it during half-time in a Champions League match, or between Olympics coverage. For both companies, the target customer is a sports fan under the age of 35, so those are the right places to go.
If a target audience is not clearly identified and thoroughly researched at the outset of the brand marketing strategy, it is possible the firm will lose focus and end up losing important customers. The target audience should feel that the brand talks personally to them, to their hopes and fears, and to their basic needs. This can help influence somebody’s loyalty to a particular product. You will need to carry out market analysis, to understand your customer’s desires as best you can.
Market analysis will help to pinpoint the demographic of the target audience, the typical age, location, popular interests, how they currently perceive the brand and many other factors. However, the manufacturers or designers may already have formed an impression of the customer base in the early stages of production. The executives behind the Google Android operating system, for example, knew well in advance that the over-50s were unlikely to be fast adopters of their new mobile platform. They knew they had to impress people who worked in the creative and technology industries in their 20s and 30s. It was more important that the top gadget, lifestyle or business magazines gave rave reviews, than say, the Daily Mail’s technology section.
On the other hand, a cruise operator would seek to reach the over-50s audience who have money to spend – people who want to travel in their retirement, in style. Something like Saga magazine, or The Daily Telegraph’s lifestyle section, would be good places to advertise or gain some publicity. These are exactly the types of media that Android marketers would have avoided.
Then there is the brand promise that is at the foundation of your offering. What can people expect of it? What do you promise to extend to customers, beyond the physical product? Does your business work in an ethical manner? The John Lewis Partnership has the image of a company that looks after its employees, and provides a comfortable and pleasant environment for shoppers and staff alike. This helps it to attract customers from rivals like Sainsbury’s. Amazon provides a range of delivery options and can give you an exact prediction of likely delivery times; it is much more specific than its competitors. Similarly, when you think of FedEx, you think of next day delivery, perhaps for valuable or fragile items – and not just a regular courier service. These are the sorts of finer details that you want your customers to know about, and love you for. It pays to emphasise them.