Pre-P.S. It’s Alyssa stepping in for Brent this week. 

Why do people buy from your company?

The simple answer is trust. People buy from you because they trust you (or your product) to solve a problem they have. Similarly, people work for you because they trust that you’ll provide an environment that allows them to put their skills to work in a meaningful way and get paid to do so.

Therefore, the primary goal of your organization is to ensure that people know, like, and trust you.

Defining Trust
At the core, trust is a perception. People choose whether or not to trust your organization based on their perception of their interactions with you.

Defining Brand 
Many people hear the words “brand” or “branding” and they instantly snap to thinking about the company’s logo, colors, and allowed fonts. But those things are just the surface. They’re the tip of the brand iceberg and only encompass a small fraction of what makes a brand.

A simple and encompassing definition of brand is this, your brand is what people perceive about your company.

Organizations that are intentional about their brand, meaning they cultivate it strategically rather than letting it be a byproduct of daily business, have a steady pulse on how the organization is perceived–both internally and externally.

When branding is done properly, it transforms the company from a commodity to an experience. 

Remember this if nothing else from today’s post:

Your brand strategy and marketing strategy are individual and distinct pieces of your business strategy. You need both to drive successful growth.

The Brand Iceberg

Brand iceberg metaphor

Your brand encompasses elements above and below the surface. Your visual identity, (your logo, fonts, colors) make up the top of the iceberg–the part that you can see above the water. The other pieces of your brand strategy–your core values, your mission, your ideal customers, your vision–make up the foundation hiding underneath the water.

What about marketing strategy?
Marketing is how people find you, it’s the flag on top of the iceberg that draws people to you.

You need both sets of activities to maximize your reach and revenue.

Here’s Why…
Brand building and marketing initiatives serve very distinct goals.

Brand building:

  • Creates brand equity
  • Influences future sales
  • Has broad messaging and reach
  • Takes a long-term approach
  • Focuses on emotional priming

Whereas sales activation:

  • Exploits brand equity
  • Generates present sales
  • Is tightly targeted
  • Takes a short-term approach
  • Focuses on targeted and persuasive messages

When translated to the impact on your bottom line, here’s what happens…

media in focus image brand versus marketing ROI
From Media in Focus: Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era

When you focus on sales activation alone, you end up with routine sales upticks caused by each marketing campaign, launch of a new product, or another trigger event that spikes urgency. There’s no guarantee that you have a rising baseline, and success is tied to the effectiveness of the campaign and the cost to acquire customers.

When you incorporate brand building you steadily increase the baseline for long-term sales growth.

Are you valuing both? 

According to Peter Field and Les Binet in The Long and the Short of It, “On average, effectiveness seems to be optimized when around 60% of the communications budget is devoted to brand building, and around 40% to activation.”

Marketing is a short-term sprint each time you’re launching or doing a major push to generate leads, increase your pipeline, and close deals in the near future.

Your brand-building activities are a cumulative endeavor that pays dividends over time–in how you keep your top-performers around, attract the right type of customers, develop loyalty, and prime people to be ready to buy.

But what if I’m not in the marketing department? 
Internal brand-building efforts are just as important as external brand-building efforts. How your employees perceive the brand greatly influences how they’ll represent the company to clients and to people outside of work. Your culture is a big piece of the brand puzzle, so ensuring there’s internal alignment around core values, strategic initiatives, the company mission, and vision is crucial.

Questions to ask yourself about brand based on your role:

If you’re an executive: 

  • Are you supporting your marketing department’s ability to pursue brand building activities outside of key launch campaigns?
  • Are you routinely communicating your vision and values to your people?
  • Are you making brand development a strategic priority?

If you’re a part of the leadership team:

  • You help build the brand on a daily basis by how you interact with your teams. Do you take the time to help people see how their contributions are impacting the greater mission of the organization?

If you’re a team member:

  • How do you represent the brand to potential clients, customers, or at networking events? How about to your family?
  • Do you feel you have a strong grasp of your company’s point of view? What questions do you need to ask to feel more confident in the mission of the company?

If you’re in marketing: 

  • Are you budgeting for both brand-building activities and sales activation?
  • Are you developing a content strategy that routinely focuses on adding value?
  • Do you prioritize thought leadership and help communicate the company’s values?

In order for organizations to leave a lasting legacy, they have to least a lasting impact. Understanding the difference between your brand-building efforts and your marketing efforts allows you to create lasting impact while also focusing on present sales.

How do you think about brand within your organization? I’d love to start a conversation in the comments.

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