Flashback 70 years ago. The “Mad-Men” era when the quality of your product or service was all it took to own a successful business. From coffee to cigarettes, these everyday products have come to define modern marketing. Marketing budgets in corporations have transitioned from television and magazines to digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Spokespeople have generally disappeared and Influencers have flooded in. Businesses have created compelling content to reach their consumers the way they want to be reached. Companies have stepped up their branding not just because it makes their companies look and feel better but because it makes them money. This shift is due to one thing, Brand Image.
Brand Image is how people feel about your brand. It’s both real and imaginary qualities your brand possess that are experienced through organic and paid strategic campaigns with a consistent theme, and is authenticated through the consumers’ direct experience.
“How does brand image make you money?”
Great brand image results in something called Brand Equity. Simply put, brand equity is how invested people are in your brand. If your brand image and brand equity have a positive correlation, that means consumers have generated a loyalty towards your business. For some companies, that loyalty is so strong that consumers will only purchase their products, completely disregarding the competition. A great example would be Apple and Samsung phone users. These brands “communicate to its customers based on what they care about. They understand that the experience is what matters, not megabytes.”
“Okay, thanks for the education but what’s the application?”
Here’s the application. Be Aware. Keep Adapting. Stay Active. Be aware of the emotion around your brand. Talk to your current and potential customers to learn your brands sentiment. Use that information to shift and adapt your brand to lead more customers to your business. That may mean you need to rebrand your business and its strategy. It could even mean that you may have to reposition your company. Lastly, stay active in the development of your brand image. As times change, so do people and their buying behaviors.
Keep up with trends and invest in good brand development. It will give your brand the competitive lift to soar above the competition and no matter which way you cut it—brands drive value.
As business owners, we often get so caught up in the semantics of our brand’s propaganda that we can easily forget our demographic and the real people we’re speaking to. Big brands have been using a form of marketing called “influencer marketing” for years. Over the years, influencer marketing has become more effective, and for the most part, affordable. Do not overlook this form of marketing. It’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.
By now, you’ve most likely heard the marketing term, “influencer marketing.” If you haven’t, don’t worry – you’re in the right place. Let’s start with the foundational question of, “What is influencer marketing?”
At its core, influencer marketing connects brands to their specific audience through an individual who has already created a network of followers. These followers consistently engage the influencer and when prompted, are more likely to participate, purchase or share anything relevant the influencer puts in front of them. Keep in mind that this form of marketing directly ties into content marketing and social media marketing. In short, this form of marketing uses key leaders to drive your brand’s message to the larger market.
Influencer marketing is an art form on its own. The general build-out goes like this:
1.Identify the key product and brand influencers in your market or a market you wish to target.
2. Create your specific marketing campaign for those influencers to use.
3. Track key results of the campaign based on engagement, reach, sales and brand awareness.
Here are a few examples from socialmediaweek.org:
Lord & Taylor: Retail brand Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 influential Instagrammers to promote its new Design Lab collection. Each of these influencers posted pictures of themselves wearing the same dress. The dress sold out the following weekend.
Madewell: For Madewell, partnering with just five influencers on Instagram was enough to reach more than one million targeted customers. The campaign was designed to promote the anniversary of their signature tote. It also involved “regramming” the influencers’ photos and featuring them on their company blog.
NatureBox: In the case of NatureBox, it was blogger Joanna Goddard who played a major role in their Instagram influencer marketing campaign. NatureBox is a delivery service that specializes in healthy snacks. With just three pictures of the Goddard’s kids snacking on food from the NatureBox monthly roundup, the company gained credibility with popular mommy blogs.