Building the value of your brand, and building raport with your customers, employees, investors, and the public at large is a critical part of your marketing campaign.
Your brand is the image of your company or product in the mmarketplace. These are not necessarily the same thing: for example, the brand Ford may carry a different image and experience in your mind than the brand Mustang. But regardless of whether you’re supporting a single brand, or many, the value of your brand can not be underestimated.
There are two reasons for this. First, it is ultimately the value of your brand which creates the perceived value of your company — and as perception is so often reality, this can not be overlooked. A strong brand can open up new sales channels (how hard do you think it was for Coke to get grocery stores to carry their product when they decided to expand from the soda fountains?), or can be the difference between rags and riches when you finally seek a liquidity event for your company (would you rather be Google, or eToys? Don’t know who eToys was? Right.)
The second reason is that once your brand is established, it can be extremely costly, or maybe even impossible, to change it. Witness GM’s efforts to convince people that Buick wasn’t just for your grandparents anymore.
These things are all true for major companies, but they’re equally true for the very small. How much of a difference do you think it makes for your local, independent real estate agent if he’s perceived as honest and trustworthy vs. just out for a quick close?
This is why you need an integrated marketing campaign. Any brand development needs to closely align with your corporate and marketing strategies, and take into account the lessons learned from our other marketing efforts, both outbound and inbound. And there’s a feedback look there, as well. Your branding decisions reinforce your outbound marketing successes. Further, they open other opportunities to raise your profile at a minimal cost.
The old adage, “any press is good press,” isn’t completely true — but there’s certainly a grain of truth in it. Exposure gained in the press is often perceived by the public to be less biased than direct advertising, and, at a certain stage in a company’s growth, can be less expensive than traditional advertising.
A solid PR campaign is a critical component of your marketing activities — at a certain point. Once your message and brand are clear and effective, PR can be used to generate buzz. Whether that’s working with editors and analysts to get your company covered in the appropriate media, or actively staging PR events (e.g., hosting an art opening at your place of business), we’ll get people talking about you. But, as with everything, measure it. After all, you need to know if the cost of the open bar at that art opening was more or less per customer than the same amount of money spent on a direct mail campaign.