In today’s digital age, it is now more important than ever for companies to understand the importance of building a strong brand and generating original branded content in their digital marketing efforts. This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses that need to compete in the same digital arena as large corporations with more resources.
I was able to speak with five experts to discuss important key points on the subject.
Stephanie Angelino, Digital Marketing Coordinator at Growth-X, explains why generating well developed content is necessary for a company to have a successful digital marketing strategy.
“One of the essential assets of marketing is creating content. It is the bridge that will get you access to building an audience that will later become your customers. In online marketing, you cannot sell anything without getting your customer’s attention. If you want your content to drive sales, then it must be exceptional. That’s easy and inexpensive, and the key is understanding your audience and translating the benefits your service or product provides. Once you get attention with quality content, the power of social media will recommend and spread your name,” she says.
Angelino expresses that a strong brand coupled with creative content will pay off in the long run. In fact, if companies do this, they will save money and stay top of mind with their target audience. She states, “If you follow this premise, you will not have to constantly invest in other sales channels or pay for advertising, in a big or excessive way, every time you want to reach your customers. That is why content is an essential component of “inbound marketing” that, combined with a social media strategy, gives better results in less time.”
Market research plays a key role when companies begin the brand building process. Marketing Professor Jaclyn Tanenbaum explains why companies should invest some time and money into research before building their brand and content marketing strategy.
She explains, “Branding plays a pivotal role in the success of a firm’s marketing strategy. If consumers do not find value in the firm’s brand, they will be less likely to purchase its products. That’s why most firms invest a large portion of their marketing dollars in brand development and brand management.”
Tanenbaum continues, “To do this, though, the firm must understand how its brand meets (and hopefully exceeds) the needs and wants of the target audience. That’s where marketing research comes in. Marketing research helps the firm understand what its target audience is looking for and position the brand to meet these needs. The more the firm knows about its target audience, the more successful the brand and the firm will ultimately be.”
Developing a successful brand takes time and requires a set of skills and this should be taken into consideration. Alysia Dailey, Owner & Creative Director of Afox Creative, gives further insights as to why the process of personal brand development is so important. Dailey explains, “In this digital boom of online businesses popping up overnight, there can be some major confusion about branding. It is a massive, complex, and extremely important area of business development that is deserving of our time. The strongest brands we know have built marketing campaigns around the brand positioning strategy they established first. Successful brands also work on developing their brand image, brand identity, brand personality and brand positioning.”
Dailey explains that there is a lot more to building a brand than companies may initially realize. She states, “Most people think a brand is just a logo. A logo, typefaces, and color scheme are in fact all important steps in establishing the brand identity, but you need more. Think values, vision, and voice when creating a brand personality. The customer’s view and perception of your brand is your brand image. Your brand positioning takes your identity and positions it to a particular audience in a way that magnifies certain attributes of the brand while downplaying others.”
The process of building a brand requires that you hire the right creative team on the design end as well. Freelance Creative Brand designer, Casey Britton, emphasizes the benefits companies receive when they build a strong brand. She explains, “With brand identity being such a large part of the consumer culture and experience, building a cohesive brand that includes social media and online content is crucial.”
She explains her brand design process when working with clients. She states, “When I conduct freelance work, I try to help clients create an all-around feeling for their brand. I help on the creative and design side, but I also give them the homework of looking at their competition and building mood boards for photography and merchandise or any other brand aspects they want to include. Giving them the homework of creating a physical (technically digital) inspiration board for their brand helps them label it. From that place I ask for three words they want their brand to be described as and give them ways to include that in their social media presence.”
The power of branding and creative content marketing has a strong impact on the success of a company’s overall marketing plan. The positive impacts of doing these two things correctly cannot be underestimated. Annette Anthony, Vice President of Technology Engagement at EXIT Realty Corp., USA states, “In our social world today, it’s noisy and our attention spans are shorter. We now have 2.7 seconds to capture someone’s attention. So how do we make our content irresistible and relatable? We need to omit the selling and pour in the helping into our marketing messaging. Try this, “I am here to help, consider me a resource” vs. “Hire me, buy from me.”
Anthony explains what drives consumer behavior towards responding positively towards this type of message in their content. She states, “Consumers crave helpful resources without asking for them. They want empathy, transparency, and real examples of why they should trust you.” Anthony continues, “When personal branding and unique content in social media/digital marketing are deployed correctly, over time it confirms to your audience two things; what you do and why they should trust you.”
Having a strong brand and original content also helps a company establish a deeper connection with their target audience. Marion Reyes, who oversees Experience Curation at HBO Max Latin America, explains, “Branding and creative content is primordial when targeting an audience. I currently curate content for streaming in Latin America, and it is particularly important for me to know our audience well and be aligned with the company’s branding and messaging. When curating content, you to be able to target the hardcore fans as well as entice a new viewer to begin to watch the program and having a creative title for that set of content is the first thing a user will see when opening the streaming platform.”
Reyes stresses because a strong branded content marketing strategy is so important in today’s market. She explains, “Nowadays, viewers are consuming content vertically rather than horizontally, which is due to an increase in streaming via a mobile device. This gives you a select amount of space in the screen so having the biggest titles that tie in with the theme at hand is key to retain viewers. In addition to this, it’s important to have collaboration with the social and digital marketing teams, to promote the content through all digital platforms to increase viewers and audience retention.”
Today companies of all sizes have major incentives to develop a strong personal brand and create engaging branded content. There are several things to take into account in the brand building and content creation process. Research and design play a strong role in building the framework for an effective strategy. Although it may initially require an investment of time and money, a fully developed personal brand will ultimately provide a company with valuable tools for content creation. This content provides a way for companies to stay top of mind with their target audiences and create emotional connections with them.
Jaclyn Tanenbaum, FIU Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Marketing & Logistics
Alysia Dailey, Owner & Creative Director, Afox Creative
Annette Anthony, Vice President Technology Engagement, EXIT Realty Corp., USA
Casey Britton, Freelance Creative and Graphic Designer
Marion Reyes, Experience Curation, HBO Max Latin America
Stephanie Angelino, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Growth-X