Branding 101 – Revisiting the Basics

In many respects, there is nothing more important to your success than your brand. If you have been in business for a very long time (or even for quite a while), you have moved away from the basic principles. The chances are very good that you remember those principles but there may be some that have slipped your mind.Why is your brand so important?There are several reasons why your brand is so important and why ensuring that your brand is everything that it needs to be is critical to your continued success.First of all, your brand will (and must) distinguish you from your competitors. Your brand will also carve you a spot and give you a reason for existing in that particular niche. If your brand is in tact and effective, other people will connect with you, understand the their need for what you are offering, and become loyal to both you and to your brand. Those are all critical elements of your professional success.Of course, when you think about your competitors, it is safe to say that not every business that exists is one of those competitors. Only the businesses that do exactly what you do and offer exactly what you offer are your competitors. Of course, it goes without saying that you want your brand to be an enduring one. A brand that stands the test of time and will last for a very long time and one that will be remembered throughout the years and generations.Now, it is time to develop the uniqueness of your brand. Those qualities that you make a part of your unique brand will cause people to remember you and what you are trying to do. They will also compel people to want to be a part of your brand.It says something profound about who you are and what you believe in. What you want is for people to associate your brand with you and want to be a part of it with you (on some level). That is exactly why your brand’s story is so important. It is all about association and being able to identify with the brand. It is also about believing in the brand.The initial stage of establishing (or reinventing) your brandIt is reasonable to assume that you have an established brand that has been developed significantly and has a certain amount of sophistication already. However, as you are considering how you want to present your brand in this particular iteration, you will probably find it helpful to think about it in rather simplistic terms.
Your brand concept should be direct and uncomplicated.
Everyone who works with you on your brand (or is associated with your brand) should understand what you are trying to accomplish and to buy into what you are doing.
Your clients need to believe in what you are doing as well and you want them to be willing to spread the word about how amazing your brand is and how much better it will make their lives.
It is important for you to understand that although having a brand that really accomplishes what it needs to accomplish doesn’t mean that it won’t require any effort on your part to make that happen. It certainly will require a certain amount of work; however, it will be well worth it in the end. Of course, it is critical that you believe absolutely everything that you are communicating to other people.An important aspect of your brand’s successAnother very important aspect of your brand is the interaction that you will experience with your online connections. You will want to interact online and in person but you should not in any way dismiss the importance of your online interactions. The most amazing, powerful, productive discussions can take place online and you need to understand how important those interactions are and how they fit in with your over all brand strategy. Your online interactions will be a critical piece and a very strong contributing factor to your brand’s success.ConclusionThere are many different elements that work together to make your brand a success. Remember that you need an effective story with an emotional connection to the other person, your brand needs to have your personality (at least, the positive parts of your personality), and your brand needs to be associated with a design that is aesthetically pleasing to other people but that is unique and memorable at the same time. However, it is important to remember that your brand is also the commitment that you make to the people who interact with you. Your brand is everything to you. So, guard it and nurture it carefully. If you do it right, other people will be totally enamored with what you offer and what you stand for. Before you know it, you will be the one they come to when they need what you have.

Branded Entertainment – What It Is and How It Can Help Your Brand

The good old days are a thing of the past when it comes to marketing your brand. Gone are the days when you could simply put out a print or TV ad and consumers would flock to the stores to buy your products. One new form of content marketing that looks to take over in a big way, ready or not is branded entertainment (otherwise referred to as native video advertising).Branded entertainment is a type of content marketing – it’s all about creating entertaining content to capture the attention of potential customers for longer periods than traditional ads. The content is usually delivered online, as video-based series, Web-based magazines, podcasts, and more. A great example of branded entertainment is Lego’s interactive children’s magazines, which feature as characters toys that readers can purchase from its store. Many other brands are currently investing in branded entertainment, including fashion giant Dior, male grooming products maker Old Spice, and energy drinks seller Red Bull. Branded entertainment takes the notion of brands as publishers a step further; turning brands into producers of entertainment content.Understanding Brand MarketingIt can be said that branded entertainment has arisen as a reaction of marketers to the fierce competition between brands, as well as to the increasingly fragmented attention that consumers have developed because of the multitude of ads with which they are bombarded on a daily basis, online, in print, on the TV, on the radio, and on the street. Brands that engage in branded entertainment try to stand out from their competitors, offering content that engages customers by grabbing their attention, keeping them hooked, and making them want more.Branded entertainment resembles content marketing in that it usually doesn’t try to sell products directly, although it refers to them a lot and even integrates them as essential parts of the story/plots it develops. Furthermore, it is usually targeted at consumers who have chosen a certain lifestyle promote by the brand’s mission.Brand Marketing Takes Marketing to a Different Level You are probably used to seeing brands sponsor sporting competitions, film releases, art galleries, and other social events in order to promote their logo to an audience interested in their product. With branded entertainment, brands not just ‘present’ entertainment, but take an active role in its creation.Branded entertainment is more personal, more engaging, and more effective than advertisements and other marketing techniques, and more exciting that traditional content marketing. It transforms a brand from a sponsor into a creator of fun and engaging content. At the same time, it delivers a richer experience than other forms of marketing while requiring unprecedented levels of intentionality and commitment on behalf of consumers.Embracing Branded MarketingBranded marketing isn’t just for huge brands like Lego, Dior, or Red Bull. When content marketing began its rise to power, there were those who thought that it would be effective only for large businesses who had the financial resources to invest in content production. Today, empowered by social media sites and blogs, everyone does content marketing, from Cola to the small local car repair service.While it may appear too costly for small brands, branded marketing is ultimately scalable – a business that cannot afford to hire film stars and create a short series can engage in branded marketing in different ways, such as publishing an online magazine, creating an in-house audio show, or simply being creative about it and finding a compelling format and using it to create an engaging storyline that can grab and hold people’s attention.From Content Marketing to Branded EntertainmentYour brand, too, can embrace branded entertainment and use it as a highly effective marketing tool to strengthen your brand culture and make your company stand out. It is important to understand, however, that branded entertainment naturally follows in the footsteps of content marketing, and that to get it right you must first embrace the latter, if you haven’t done so already.If you do embrace content marketing and branded entertainment, your brand will become not just a publisher, but also an entertainer. It will not create ads but content, and thus differentiate itself from the marketing noise in your industry. It would not be an exaggeration to say that branded marketing, as a creative and engaging way to promote brands and products, may become in the near future a key strategy for all companies that want to establish a stronger connection with their customers.