Consumer brands are going above and beyond to promote their products, engage with their audiences, and even develop brand personalities on social media. Think about Wendy’s, for example, they have a sassy online personality that sparks engagement and drives sales. Wendy’s is among the brands that have created strong brand personalities on social media which has positively helped their overall marketing strategies. To understand why branding has become crucial for strategic integrated marketing communications, we first need to understand what strategic marketing and brand strategy are, and how social media has become the new norm for strategic marketing and branding.
The strategic marketing definition focuses on the long-term approach of the overall marketing game of an organization or business. The fundamental goal being achieved through a sustainable competitive advantage that is brought about by an understanding of the needs and wants of consumers. A strong competitive advantage that can make the marketing strategy successful is now focused on brand image. In the past, consumers would shop around and weigh their options based on what they learned through visiting various stores. Now, everything is digital. Online word of mouth has become increasingly important to any successful strategy.
The new look of strategic marketing focuses on branding. In this digital world, branding is one of the most important competitive advantages of any brand in any industry. Let’s face it, branding sets you apart from others in many ways. The definition of branding focuses on the name, term, design, logo, or color palette that is distinctive to a particular organization or business. For example, Target is set aside by their red color branding while Starbucks is set aside by their green color branding. All of these distinctive factors come together to differentiate one organization or business from another.
Having a strong and strategic brand strategy is one of the most important parts of creating a unified and consistent marketing plan. Successful marketing strategies focus on integrating the various aspects of the marketing and communications industries. Integrating public relations, marketing, advertising, and branding is the key to success in a digital world.
What is a brand strategy? A brand strategy focuses on the long-term plan of developing a successful brand that aids in achieving organizational goals. This strategy affects every aspect of a business or organization and is directly connected to the needs, emotions, and wants of consumers. A well-defined and executed brand strategy is crucial to differentiating a business or organization and creating a strong marketing plan.
In simple terms, a brand strategy defines what the organization stands for, their mission, their vision, their personality, and their passion. It can be straightforward to decide what the brand stands for, what the mission is, what the vision is, and what the passion behind the brand is. But it is not always as simple to create a personality for the brand. Historically, brands have not really had personalities because the brand itself used to function as the differentiating factor of the organization. As times have changed and technology has evolved, the personality of a brand is a very important part of the entire brand strategy. We will discuss this later in this article.
The strategy of a brand helps in positioning it at a competitive advantage in their industry. Some branding tools include the logo, color palette, font styles, messaging, identity, website, graphic designs, marketing materials, and ROI. These are some of the tools that organizations can use to set their brand aside in the minds of consumers.
Branding on Social Media
Social media has become one of the most important marketing channels for so many brands. It is where a brand can communicate directly with consumers, answer their questions, and engage on a one-on-one basis. Social media platforms also serve as the perfect tool for online word-of-mouth marketing because of nano and micro influencers. These nano and micro influencers are the most trusted in their follower/friend groups, and they are very important in promoting your products or services.
Although big brands like Nike or Adidas will focus on using mega influencers to boost their sales, these celebrities and huge influencers are not necessarily accessible to smaller businesses or brands. Sometimes, it is more beneficial to use nano and micro influencers at lower costs, if at any cost at all (a lot of them prefer samples over money), because they will be more credible than larger influencers that are getting paid to “like and promote” the product.
This is where creating a brand personality can be important. A lot of people will find out about products, brands, and services from their social media friend groups. They will still take the time to visit the company website and do a little research on the products or services before committing to purchasing, but a good brand personality on social media can be that final factor that gets the audience to answer the call-to-action.
A social media brand personality is not only about selling and promoting, it is also about showcasing the unique identity of the organization. This can make a brand more relatable to their target audience, and can show the target audience that the company does care about their experiences with their products and services. Good social media customer service is very important to the brand strategy because positive and helpful customer service can go a long way in setting the business aside from competition. Not every organization does a good job at customer service, and those that do get a lot of brownie points for doing it.
Social media marketing for businesses and other organizations is important to their growth and reputation management. It is not as simple as it sounds, the overall mission and vision must be showcased with captions, images, videos and other types of content. These will aid the brand in developing a digital personality. And, it will help the brand in hitting their bottom line.
This is why your business needs a brand personality. Your online business personality will set you aside from competition and help you develop a strong, strategic, trusted, and unique overall brand identity.
About Johana Caba
Johana M. Caba, M.A. is a public relations professional and social media manager/marketer. She shares thought-leadership articles on her business blog (JM Blog) and on her social media accounts. Johana recently earned her Master’s Degree in Professional Communication from William Paterson University of New Jersey. You can learn more about Johana on her website and follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.