Branding Fundamentals - Part Three: Promotion

Jan 08, 2024 — Baseline

Welcome to our third and final installment on the theory of branding. In our previous two articles, we delved into the four foundational pillars of branding: Personality, Purpose, Perception, and Positioning. If you haven't had the chance to explore those yet, you can find them here: Part One: Purpose and Personality, Part Two: Perception and Positioning.

Now, we're entering the realm of the last and arguably the most critical pillar when it comes to establishing your brand in the market: Promotion.

Defining Promotion

Let's start with the basics: What is promotion? While the answer may seem obvious, it's worth stating explicitly. Brand promotion encompasses a series of actions aimed at influencing consumers' decisions to purchase your product or service. These actions involve informing, reminding, or persuading potential customers to make a buying choice in your favor.

There are numerous strategies and types of promotion, each more suitable for specific types of brands. Curious about which ones are best for your brand? Let's dive into the details.

Brand Promotion - The How and Why of Encouraging Purchases

With nearly a decade of experience working directly within or closely alongside the advertising industry, I've learned a fundamental rule of promotion: To succeed, you must meet your audience where they are and communicate in their language.

Studies reveal that 91% of customers prefer to purchase from well-known brands. Thus, it's a daunting task for new brands to attract a steady stream of customers. Consequently, the potential for change primarily lies in the realm of effective promotion.

Here are some professional marketing tips:

Honesty is Key: While advertising often involves exaggeration and persuasion, it should never involve outright lies. Not only can false claims lead to regulatory issues if customers file complaints, but they can also result in losing both potential and existing clients. Focus on highlighting your strengths and address weaknesses only when necessary. You can use compelling adjectives, impactful phrasing, and enticing images, but ensure your claims are either verifiable or irrefutable.

Leverage Opinions and Subjectivity: Consider the classic tagline "9 out of 10 dentists recommend." It's a prime example of a highly subjective opinion presented as scientific approval. While it may not be entirely accurate, it's not a lie either. You can use subjective opinions to your advantage, provided they align with your brand's identity.

Target the Right Platforms: Don't waste resources on irrelevant advertising platforms. If your audience consists of teenagers, there's little point in advertising on the radio. Similarly, if you're targeting older demographics, TikTok might not be the most effective platform. It's crucial to focus on a select few platforms that align with your audience rather than attempting to cover all bases poorly.

Differentiate, Don't Duplicate: Avoid the temptation to mimic your competitors' styles and messages. While monitoring the competition is essential to stay competitive, copying their approach demonstrates a lack of creativity and a flawed advertising strategy. Promotion's primary function is to set your product or service apart from others; paying to blend in is counterproductive.

Avoid Overused Phrases: Buzzwords like "mind-breaking," "unique," and "best" have lost their impact in modern society. They often end up in the mental spam folder of consumers. Instead, get creative. Established brands develop comprehensive sets of adjectives that align with their brand in various scenarios. Try crafting your unique set to gain deeper insights into your brand.

Common Types of Promotion and When to Apply Them

Now, let's quickly cover the most common types of promotion and when they are best applied:

Digital Promotion: This combines various online activities, including social media marketing, search engine optimization, blogging, and affiliate marketing. In our digital age, some form of digital marketing is essential for every brand. Remember, your social media presence should include non-promotional content to engage your audience effectively.

Personal Promotion: Few brands and niches benefit from this type of promotion. It often involves direct personal engagement, such as promoters in physical locations like bars and cafes.

Sales Promotion: While useful, sales promotion is most effective when you already have a base of sales to boost. It includes familiar activities like discounts, giveaways, coupons, and loyalty programs.

Direct Promotion: This method encompasses personal communication through channels like phone and email. Email marketing, surprisingly, remains one of the most efficient promotional methods. While it may seem outdated, it boasts a favorable client acquisition cost and high overall engagement levels.

In reality, your initial promotional campaign depends on your marketing budget. While it's tempting to create epic videos featuring celebrities and influencers, the reality often involves more modest resources. Therefore, you must work within your budget constraints.

The Most Cost-Efficient Yet Effective Promotion Methods

The top three cost-efficient and effective promotion methods are:

Word of Mouth: Humanity hasn't discovered a better promotional tool. Satisfied customers tend to share their experiences, creating a ripple effect. To facilitate this, consider implementing referral programs and incentives to encourage customers to spread the word.

Email Marketing: Despite the assumption that email is obsolete, it remains an efficient communication channel. To make it work, build a solid email database by creating valuable content that people want to subscribe to.

Social Network Management: Choose the right social network and balance promotional content with natural, engaging content typical for the platform.

No matter which promotional avenue you choose, sincerity and consistency in communication will ultimately yield results. Don't be afraid to experiment and take bold steps. Remember, fortune favors the courageous!

In Conclusion

Branding is a multifaceted journey, and each pillar—Personality, Purpose, Perception, Positioning, and Promotion—plays a vital role. With a solid understanding of these principles, you're equipped to embark on a successful branding adventure. Embrace the challenge, and your brand will thrive!

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