WHAT IS BRANDING?
When people ask, “What is branding?”. Often, they get answers that would fit the definition of branding in the past, but not what it truly entails in this day and age. In the past, all that branding required was to put a label on a product or the asset of a company, for people to be able to identify.
Presently, labeling, company’s name, and the company’s logo are still part of branding, but the term has evolved and requires more. In this present age and time, branding is the representation of a company’s identity from the perspective of who they are, things they do, degree of product/service quality, as well as the company’s reputation.
The goal is to create a personality for a company that makes it possible for people to identify them and discriminate them from others easily. Apart from influencing an impression on consumers, branding also makes your customers know what and what not to expect from you.
Branding is a pivotal aspect of every brand, and brand marketing is an essential approach to improve branding. Brand marketing is an act of strategically promoting a product or service to highlight a complete brand. Brand marketing may involve so many strategies, in which one of them is content marketing.
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?
Content marketing is simply the sharing of highly insightful, educational, and intriguing information to a targeted audience with the intent to market a brand or business. The number one rule of content marketing is to create only contents that help readers and add value to their lives.
In content marketing, your contents are not meant for everyone to read, and for this reason, it requires that you narrow your targeted audience as much as possible.
Content marketing is not the same as traditional product marketing, such as sales collateral. Unlike traditional product marketing, it includes educational e-books, webinars, articles, videos, and entertainment that give answers to some questions bothering the audience.
Basically, content marketing should give an audience the things they believe they cannot get somewhere else. It is one of the best ways to make your product unique and coveted.
A brand making use of this approach will gradually become more credible and authoritative. Information shared from the brand will eventually be considered as best by customers and prospective customers. A brand’s discovery can also increase, together with loyalty and trust, with content marketing.
CONTENT MARKETING VS THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
In the world of business, content marketing and thought leadership have become trendy terms. Upon their popularity, they are still not utterly understood and distinguishable by a large number of people, mainly because of their overlapping boundaries. They have become so difficult to fathom, causing many people to use them interchangeably. Hence the need to define and differentiate them is essential.
Thought leadership is a strategic act of organically developing new and phenomenal insights over time by an individual or a firm. The insights (or ideas) may discuss a vast amount of business issues and gives authority to the voice of the author. Thought leadership is an approach used by companies to establish themselves as leaders in their different industries, as well as to build reputation and trust. (please read more about thought leadership on this post)
On the other hand, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that requires the development and dissemination of relevant, valuable, and continuously evolving contents to an audience that has been specifically targeted.
With the definitions, it is reasonable to conclude that thought leadership is the goal, while content marketing is the approach used in achieving the goal.
Content marketing has to do with sharing valuable contents that promote and leads to the sales of your current products/services. The awareness built with content marketing is majorly for a particular product, while thought leadership builds awareness for the brand as a whole.
While content marketing aims at driving sales, thought leadership aims at driving change. In other words, thought leadership strategies typically have longer goals than content marketing strategies.
The goal is to drive demand for today in content marketing, but thought leaders instead look into the demand for the long term.
A content marketer can simply churn out different informative articles to promote various products of the same brand in different periods of time. A thought leader, however, understands that quality is more important than quantity, and rather strategizes to drive transformation in his/her industry.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT IT?
Thought leadership and content marketing are both marketing strategies that every business should care about. They are incontestably powerful ways for businesses to entrench authority.
With these marketing strategies, a boost of brand awareness and increase in a market share becomes easy to achieve. By successfully establishing your brand as a thought leader in its industry, both customers and prospective customers will consider your brand as a trustworthy one, which induces effective brand marketing and growth.
According to a thorough study, 61% of brands believe that executive SME programs and thought leadership should top the priority of every business.
Based on marketing effort and budget, 36% place their focus on executive programs and thought leadership, 25% put their focus on customer advocacy and influencer marketing, and 11.9% place their focus on employee advocacy. You can download the study here.
To build brand awareness for a business, the importance of thought leadership and content marketing can never be overemphasized.
Thought leadership permits the engagement of some experts in an organization with a targeted audience. These experts must have profound knowledge of the industry and the products they sell, for most people believe that your products are only good if you have a great understanding of the market.
It is important to understand the contents shared by your company as a marketing strategy should not be just any kind of content. Thought leadership and content marketing require critical thinking and planning.
One of the aims is to build brand awareness, but when done the wrong way, a company may unpleasantly leave bad impressions, which may affect the company’s image for an extended period of time. For this reason, it is of paramount importance to care intensely about your thought leadership and content marketing strategies, and reasonably carry out your plans.
6 BENEFITS OF INVESTING IN BRANDING
The primary reason why branding is crucial for every business it engenders recognition. The most significant element of branding is the logo of the company, for it gives a face to the company for easy identification.
All companies should invest adequately in professionally designing their logos, for a great logo design induces easy memory of the company. Definitely, recognition is the beginning of every sale.
2. INCREASES BUSINESS VALUE
The more a brand is being recognized and accepted, the higher the prospect of increased business value. This is because branding gives an organization greater leverage in its industry.
A business that is robustly established in the marketplace would most definitely arrest the attention of investors looking for excellent opportunities.
3. GENERATES NEW CUSTOMERS
A well-reputed brand shouldn’t face a host of challenges when it drums up a referral scheme. When your branding is great, you have created positive impressions of your company. For this reason, consumers would not see the need to mistrust your schemes because they are quite familiar with your brand and hold it in high repute.
There is assumed dependability when consumers make use of a name that is trustworthy. Branding helps to keep a company well-established, and after, all that is required for effective advertising strategies is word of mouth. A brand that is already well-known and well-reputed needs to do little to generate new customers, unlike a brand with low awareness.
4. EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION AND PRIDE
With strong branding, the employees of a company will be proud to stand behind their company and feel satisfied with their job. Employees of well-reputed brands are known to be quick to represent their brands at any time, and anywhere they meet themselves.
People with a sense of pride in the company they work tend to easily attract people outside their workplace to be interested in knowing more about their companies. Branding is quite effective in making employees feel very satisfied and proud of being a member of the company.
5. CREATES TRUST
Trust is critical in business. People only want to patronize companies that they can rely on their products and services.
A company that invests significantly in improving its branding would most likely have a large number of customer-base that considers them highly trustworthy. With a professional and polished portrayal, people are quick to conclude that you are an industry expert, which makes them easily patronize you without reassessment.
When trust has been built, a brand needs to do little or no persuasion to convert its targeted audience to retained customers.
6. ADVERTISEMENT SUPPORT
Advertisement is a clever strategy that can be used by any business to gain more customer base. Advertisement is a strategy that directly reflects a brand.
Branding puts a lasting image in the minds of people, and this lasting image supports advertisement. With excellent branding, you may be investing less in advertisement and getting higher results than another brand spending more.
For those starting new businesses, as well as those with established businesses investing in branding is a given if they want to keep a steady flow of income and customer base. Furthermore, investing in thought leadership ensures that not only you get a high customer base, but also you are seen as the leading expert, as a trustworthy brand by customers and prospects.
With this post, we aimed to answer your question about ‘what is branding?’, ‘how it can help you or your business succeed?’, and ‘how to differentiate it from thought leadership and general content marketing?’.
Thank you for reading this far, please help to like and share if you found the article useful.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
Check out some of the articles below, they also discuss ‘What is branding’ / Branding strategies, as well as why it is important for your business to really understand branding.
John Williams. The basics of Branding. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77408 . Accessed 03/08/2019.
Elizabeth Smithson. What is branding and why it is important for your business? https://www.brandingmag.com/2015/10/14/what-is-branding-and-why-is-it-important-for-your-business/. Accessed on 03/08/2019.
Deanna deBara. What is Branding? https://99designs.com/blog/logo-branding/what-is-branding/. Accessed on 03/08/2019.
Marion. What is Branding? https://www.thebrandingjournal.com/2015/10/what-is-branding-definition/. Accessed on 03/08/2019.
Maurizio Tiberi. What is Branding? https://blog.rebrandly.com/what-is-branding/. Accessed on 03/08/2019.