There’s one simple and singular reason why you should care about branding: sales. A strong brand is the fastest and most effective way to generate sales leads. When your customers know your brand, like it, and trust it, they will choose it first.
That’s the power of a Sticky Brand — it creates a sales machine.
But like so many other aspects of life, branding is easier said than done. It comes down to mastering a set of behaviors that are theoretically uncomplicated, but are also difficult to put into practice consistently.
You gotta do the work to grow your brand!
When I advise a client, we boil a branding and marketing strategy down to the basics:
- Simple Clarity: Describe your brand and what makes it unique in ten words or less.
- Clear Calls to Action: Guide buyers to logical (and helpful) next steps.
- A Solid Marketing Plan: If you don’t blow your own horn, nobody will.
Simple Clarity is the foundation of your brand, and it is the first principle of my book, Sticky Branding.
Using the language of your customers, describe your brand:
- Category: Who you are…
- Services: What you do…
- Market: Who you serve…
Avoid the desire to be creative or catchy. Just give the facts. Fluffing up your brand messaging waters down its impact.
The benefit of Simple Clarity is it makes your brand more easy to recall and refer. If someone understands exactly how you can help, they’ll think of your brand first when they have a need for your expertise.
Clear Calls to Action
Great salespeople are facilitators. They help their customers navigate the buyer’s journey and make smart decisions.
This type of selling can be a competitive advantage. If your competitors are product pushers, salespeople that facilitate the buying process make your business stand out as more professional and solution oriented.
The same is true in marketing:
- When a customer visits your website, does each page guide them to a logical next step?
- When they engage with your content on social media, is it clear how you can help them?
- Do you show and demonstrate how people can buy from you?
Marketing isn’t some passive, “if you build it they will come,” kind of thing. It’s sales. Drive your customers to logical (and helpful) next steps.
A Solid Marketing Plan
If you want a strong brand, you’re going to have to invest in marketing.
For most small- and mid-sized organizations, I recommend a tentpole marketing plan. The term originates from the movie industry. Tentpoles are those big, blockbuster movies that support the financial performance of a movie studio.
In marketing, tentpoles are your major campaigns:
- The big annual, industry conference that you need to dominate.
- Product launches or feature updates that your customers are anticipating.
- A major customer event.
For example, software companies like Salesforce.com and Hubspot run massive conferences every year. Salesforce runs Dreamforce, and Hubspot hosts Inbound. These events are then supported by smaller roadshows that are run in major urban markets to maintain the hype throughout the year.
My tentpole this year is the launch of my new book, Brand New Name (coming October 8.) The build up has been nine months in the making and the peak of the tentpole is the book launch event at Rotman, University of Toronto, on October 15 at 5pm. (I hope you can attend. Register today.)
A tentpole gives your marketing focus. Rather than trying to do everything, you focus on one to three major events that engage your customers, build brand awareness, and drive sales.
Use Your Brand to Drive Sales
Instead of looking at branding as some nebulous marketing activity, look at it through a sales lens. How do you make your business stand out, attract customers, and drive sales?
The starting point is in your strategy: you need Simple Clarity, clear calls to action, and a solid marketing plan.