The recently released State of Marketing Report – 2021, by Hubspot, Litmus, and Wistia, sheds some light on brand and content marketing. The report pointed out that 47% of buyers view three to five pieces of content before they engage with a sales representative. It also informs how the primary goals of marketing campaigns are related to the three critical outcomes of increasing brand awareness, realizing better sales, and increasing engagement. In addition, the report points to the changing marketing ecosystem where video has taken centre stage, podcasting is growing in popularity, and content personalization is in demand.
Studies on marketing thus report about a market that is under constant change. Today brands are positioned in the market using what is popularly termed ‘Brand Marketing.’ Brand marketing refers to the marketing of a business or product via its brand, and as such, it is regarded as a subset of marketing or a blend of marketing and branding. Brand Marketing tries to enhance the recognition and reputation of the brand by connecting to stakeholders at the emotional level. It also endeavours to expand its ever-growing base of loyal customers.
The entire organization reflects its image as one single entity for its customers and diverse stakeholders in brand marketing. This portrayal is significant because it helps organizations portray a coherent image in people’s minds. When we think of Nike, we think of it as a smart and active brand that allows us to stay energetic and active. Similarly, apple reflects a certain technological masterpiece different from all other products in its category.
Branding is one of the primary building blocks of the marketing strategy. Therefore, in the hierarchy of importance, branding lies at the core of any organization’s marketing strategy. The central idea behind brand marketing is to take your customers and other stakeholders on a journey where you unfold your uniqueness as an entity. This is achieved by consistently communicating the brand’s identity and values in engaging ways to stay invested in the brand. Branding is not a new concept, and the earliest branding dates back to as early as 2000 BC, when merchants used the concept to sell their goods in different markets. It has undergone a continuous transformation since then. Today, brand signifies the promise that you make to your stakeholders.
Brand marketing strategy is usually broken down into a series of steps. These entail seven key steps:
- Defining the purpose
- Being consistent
- Connecting emotionally with customers
- Being flexible
- Getting employees involved
- Rewarding loyal customers, and
- Knowing your competitors.
When the brand strategy is executed well, it can help marketers tremendously in their brand marketing journey. A curious case of modern brand marketing can be seen in how social media is being used to connect with specific stakeholder groups to offer positive experiences. Experience is now the hallmark of content marketing today.
Brand marketing shares certain distinctiveness with another crucial marketing area – content marketing. Though both serve as fundamental drivers of organizational growth, they act differently. In brand marketing, the primary intention is to grow the brand’s assets as a whole. The central idea is to build the brand’s value, which in turn, builds the company’s value. Once this is achieved, it translates to more significant financial success and gains. On the other hand, content marketing tries to accomplish specific short-term goals usually related to a business goal.
The vision is a long-term vision in brand marketing, and outcomes are evaluated over more extended periods. This is why brand marketing may take many months or several years before they bear any result. This also necessitates that brand marketing is practised continually and deploy diverse methods and tactics, such as native advertising, video advertising, and community sponsorships. In comparison, the vision of content marketing is usually short-term. Events, for instance, are heavily dependent on content marketing – from publicity to drawing visitors to measuring outcomes.
Content marketing helps push the brand marketing agenda at a granular level by helping further minor interactions. In content marketing, the story is compelling, tales that are believable, relatable, and aligned with the overall branding objective. Enterprises use content marketing for four key reasons; they realize increased sales, cost savings, identify better customers who bring more loyalty and use the content as a profit centre. Today quality content has become an integral part of all forms of marketing, such as Social Media Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Public Relations, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click (PPC), and Inbound Marketing.
Content marketing has specific objectives. It intends to build trust by solving customers’ problems and not being concerned about making a deeper relationship of customers with the brand. It focuses on building trust by solving customers’ problems. The customer’s problem is usually solved by addressing their problems with products or services.
Content Marketing should not be confused with Content Brand Marketing as both have varied orientations. Content focuses more on driving leads and conversions by solving customers’ problems, while content brand marketing seeks to build rapport and convey the brand’s values. And these brands’ values in content brand marketing are best described through storytelling.
Brand and content marketing thus works in tandem to create a powerful image of the brand and the organization. Both these collaborate to support both the short-term and the long-term, driving immediate sales and securing its performance in the future. Successful marketers realize that brands and businesses can be fail-proof only when we deploy this collaborative strategy.
~ Dr Asim Chowdhury, Consultant for Global Enterprises
At Emeritus, we collaborate with leading business schools to create programmes that will help you step up your leadership quotient. Check out brand marketing courses from Emeritus India, and take the first step in your upskilling journey.