What Is Brand Marketing? A Thorough Explanation (2023)

In the face of stiff competition and fickle, distracted consumer audiences, a firm grasp and implementation of brand marketing is more essential in today’s world than ever. Is your business prepared to rise above the rest?

Brand marketing focuses on creating and promoting the brand identity of a product, service, or business. It’s designed to establish a strong and positive presence in the market, build brand awareness, and differentiate products or services from those of competitors.

Brand marketing can include activities such as developing and communicating the brand's messaging and values, creating a visual identity for the brand (such as a logo and packaging design), and implementing marketing campaigns that align with the brand's image.

The ultimate goal of brand marketing is to create a strong emotional connection between the customer and the brand, which will inevitably lead to customer loyalty and long-term success for the business.

Components of Brand Marketing

To help grasp intricacies, let’s review some key brand marketing components.

Brand attributes

Brand attributes are the characteristics or features of a brand that differentiate it from its competitors and help to establish its identity. Brand attributes can include both tangible and intangible elements:

  • Tangible brand attributes are physical characteristics of the brand or product, such as its packaging, design, and functionality.

  • Intangible brand attributes are more abstract and relate to the emotional and psychological associations that a customer has with the brand. These can include things like the brand's values, personality, and customer service.

For example, let’s take a look at Snap customer Rock ‘Em Socks.

  • Tangible brand attributes include a vast selection of sock designs reflecting the latest themes and trends, and a simple, strong logo that doesn’t detract from its product showcases.

  • Intangible brand attributes include support for individualism, and a well-informed take on pop culture’s biggest hits and their appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Brand equity

Brand equity refers to the value of a brand in the marketplace. It’s the positive or negative perception that customers have of a brand, which can influence their purchasing decisions and loyalty. A brand with high equity is perceived as being high-quality, reliable, and trustworthy, while a brand with low equity is often seen as inferior or untrustworthy.

There are several factors that can contribute to brand equity, including reputation, awareness, and associations. For example, a brand that has a long history of producing high-quality products and providing excellent customer service is likely to have high brand equity.

The value of a brand's equity can be significant, as it can influence the price that customers are willing to pay for a product or service, as well as their loyalty to the brand itself. Companies can work to build and maintain brand equity through consistent branding and marketing efforts, as well as by delivering on their brand promises and providing excellent customer experiences.

The brand/consumer relationship

The brand/consumer relationship is defined by the dynamic between a brand and its customers — the way a brand interacts with and engages its customers, and how customers perceive and experience the brand. It can be influenced by various factors, including the quality and value of the brand's products or services, the effectiveness of its marketing and branding efforts, and the overall customer experience. A strong brand/consumer relationship is characterized by trust, loyalty, and a positive emotional connection between the brand and its customers.

There are several different ways that brands can build and maintain a strong relationship with their customers, including providing excellent customer service, regularly communicating with customers and gathering feedback, and consistently delivering on the brand's promises. By nurturing the brand/consumer relationship, businesses can build customer loyalty and increase the long-term success of the brand.

Brand Marketing Objectives

Brand marketing is a crucial aspect of a business's marketing strategy, as it helps to establish and maintain a strong presence in the marketplace, differentiate a business from its competitors, and build customer loyalty. Some of its key benefits include:

  • Increased brand awareness: Brand marketing can help establish and increase awareness of the brand in the marketplace, which can lead to more customers and increased sales.

  • Differentiation: By creating a unique and consistent brand identity, businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand out in the marketplace.

  • Customer loyalty: A strong brand can create a loyal customer base, as customers are more likely to continue purchasing from a brand that they trust and have a positive relationship with.

  • Increased value: A strong brand can increase the perceived value of a product or service, which can lead to higher prices and increased profits.

  • Trust and credibility: A well-established brand can lend credibility and trust to a business, which can help to attract and retain customers.

Brand marketing objectives are specific goals that a business hopes to achieve through its brand-marketing efforts, and should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Some examples of brand marketing objectives and their respective goals include:

  • Increase brand awareness: Expand the number of people who are aware of your brand and its products or services.

  • Increase customer loyalty: Encourage customers to continue purchasing from your brand and discourage them from switching to a competitor.

  • Differentiate the brand from competitors: Establish your brand as unique and outstanding from its competitors in the marketplace.

  • Increase sales: Maximize revenue associated with the products or services your brand sells.

  • Establish the brand as an industry leader: Position your brand as a thought leader and trusted source within its industry.

By setting clear brand marketing objectives, businesses can better focus their efforts and track their progress towards achieving their goals.

Brand Marketing Challenges and Potential Pitfalls

Like any game-changing exercise in the business world, brand marketing faces various challenges which should be considered when developing your own approach. Those include:

  • Competition: There is often a lot of competition in the marketplace, which can make it difficult for a brand to stand out and attract customers.

  • Changing consumer preferences: Consumer preferences and trends can change rapidly, which can make it difficult for a brand to keep up and remain relevant.

  • Limited resources: Many businesses have limited marketing budgets, which can make it difficult to implement large-scale brand marketing campaigns.

  • Difficulty measuring effectiveness: It can be challenging to measure the effectiveness of brand marketing efforts and determine the return on investment.

  • Protecting the brand reputation: Negative events or issues (such as a product recall or a public controversy) can damage a brand's reputation and make it difficult for the business to recover.

  • Staying true to the brand: As a business grows and evolves, it can be challenging to maintain consistency in the brand messaging and identity.

Along with those challenges, pay very close attention to these pitfalls and be sure to avoid them at all costs:

  • Inconsistent creative: The visual consistency of your brand as well as the voice and tone you use in your messaging should comprise a unified front. Variations aren’t an option, and will only serve to limit your brand’s effectiveness and thus confuse consumers.

  • Greenwashing: This deceitful practice involves promoting a product, service, and/or brand as environmentally friendly or conscious when it’s actually not. 

  • Forced virtue signaling: Virtue signaling is the public expression of demonstrable good character or moral correctness. Don’t preach what you don’t practice.

  • Trend chasing: While keeping a close eye on brand-marketing trends is always a great idea, only pursue or adjust for those that are true to your business’s character, purpose, and goals. Going overboard will reflect poorly on your brand and disenchant customers.

Developing a Brand Marketing Strategy

A brand strategy is a plan that outlines the actions and decisions that a business will undertake to build and maintain a strong brand presence in the marketplace. It includes the goals, target audience, messaging, and tactics that the business will use to build and promote its brand. Follow these steps to create a comprehensive brand strategy that will guide your branding and marketing efforts and help you arrive at a strong and cohesive brand presence in the marketplace:

  1. Define your brand's mission and values: Determine the purpose of your brand and the values that it represents.

  2. Identify your target audience: Determine who your ideal customer is and what their needs and preferences are.

  3. Develop your brand messaging: Create a clear and consistent messaging strategy that reflects your brand's mission and values and resonates with your target audience.

  4. Create a visual identity: Develop a visual identity for your brand — including a logo, color palette, and typography — that reflects your brand's personality and values.

  5. Determine your brand positioning: Identify how your brand is different from its competitors and how it will be positioned in the market.

  6. Create a plan of action: Develop a plan that outlines the specific actions and tactics that you will take to build and promote your brand.

Get Started with Brand Marketing in 5 Steps

1. Understand your brand purpose

A brand purpose is the reason that a brand exists beyond just selling products or services. It’s the value or impact that the brand aims to have on its customers, employees, and the broader community.

Having a clear and meaningful brand purpose can help to differentiate your brand from its competitors and establish a strong emotional connection with its audience. It can also serve as a guide for marketing and business decisions, helping to ensure that they align with the brand's values and goals.

To understand your brand purpose, it’s helpful to ask questions such as:

  • What value does our brand bring to our customers?

  • What impact do we want to have on our customers, employees, and the broader community?

  • What are our core values as a brand?

  • How do our products or services align with our brand purpose?

By answering those questions, you can better understand your brand purpose and use it to inform your branding and marketing efforts.

2. Research your target market

Through conducting market research, businesses can better understand their target market and tailor their branding and marketing efforts accordingly. To guide your efforts:

  1. Identify your target market: Determine who your ideal customer is, including their demographics, interests, and needs.

  2. Gather data: Collect data on your target market through a variety of methods, including surveys, focus groups, and online research.

  3. Analyze the data: Use the data collected to gain insights into your target market's preferences, behaviors, and attitudes.

  4. Use the insights to inform your branding and marketing efforts: Use the insights gained from your market research to inform your branding and marketing strategies, including messaging, positioning, and target audience.

3. Define and sell your story

A brand's story is the narrative that surrounds the brand and helps to establish its identity and personality. It includes the brand's values, mission, and unique selling points. By defining and effectively communicating your brand's story, you can create a strong emotional connection with your audience and further differentiate your business from its competitors. To make your story work:

  1. Define your brand's values: Determine the values that are most important to your brand and that set it apart from its competitors.

  2. Develop your brand's messaging: Create a clear and consistent messaging strategy that reflects your brand's values and unique selling points.

  3. Communicate your brand's story: Use a variety of marketing channels (such as social media, email marketing, and content marketing) to share your brand's story with your target audience.

  4. Engage with your audience: Encourage your audience to interact with your brand's story by asking for feedback and responding to comments and questions in a timely fashion.

4. Get to know the competition

You can better position your brand in the marketplace, identify opportunities to stand out, and develop more effective branding and marketing campaigns by understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and strategies of your competitors.

  • Identify your competitors: Determine who your main competitors are in the marketplace, including both direct and indirect competitors.

  • Research your competitors: Gather information on your competitors, including their products or services, pricing, target audience, and marketing strategies.

  • Analyze your competitors: Use the information gathered to understand your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, as well as their positioning in the market.

5. Create brand guidelines

Brand guidelines are a set of rules and guidelines that outline how the brand should be represented in all marketing and communication efforts. They typically include details such as the brand's logo and color palette, typography, tone of voice, and messaging. 

A robust set of brand guidelines ensures that all branding and marketing efforts are consistent and aligned with your brand's identity and messaging, and does wonders for establishing a strong and cohesive brand presence in the marketplace. To create brand guidelines specific to your business:

  • Define your brand's messaging: Determine the key messages that you want to communicate through your branding and marketing efforts.

  • Develop your visual identity: Choose a color palette, typography, and logo that reflects your brand's personality and values.

  • Create a tone of voice: Establish a consistent tone of voice that reflects your brand's personality and values, and will be used in all communication efforts.

  • Put it all together: Create a document that outlines all of the above elements and serves as a reference for all branding and marketing efforts.

Brand Marketing Best Practices and Trends

To ensure that your brand-marketing execution is on point, check the results of the 5-step process we just addressed above against these best practices: 

  • Understand your target audience: Figure out who your target audience is, their needs, and what motivates them to buy your products or services.

  • Develop a strong brand identity: Develop a strong brand identity that differentiates your company from your competitors. This includes creating a consistent brand message and visual identity.

  • Focus on building relationships: Building relationships with customers and other stakeholders is crucial for brand success. This can be done through community building, influencer marketing, and public relations.

  • Create valuable, engaging content: Content marketing is an essential part of any brand marketing strategy. Appeal to your target audience by crafting content that’s relevant, interesting, and compelling.

  • Use a mix of channels: Use a fusion of channels to reach your target audience, including social media, email, and traditional advertising.

  • Invest in SEO, SEM and PPC: This can help increase visibility, drive traffic, improve brand recognition, and ultimately lead to increased conversions.

  • Measure, analyze and iterate: Regularly measure and analyze the results of your marketing efforts and use this information to improve your strategy.

  • Be authentic and transparent: Building trust is critical in brand marketing. Be honest, clear, and straightforward in your marketing efforts.

  • Be consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to brand marketing. This means maintaining consistency in all marketing messages, visuals, and campaigns across time.

  • Embrace innovation: Keep an eye on the latest trends, technologies, and innovations, and consider how they can be incorporated into your brand marketing strategy.

Along with adhering to best practices, it’s important to stay abreast of trends in brand marketing and to remain flexible enough to pivot accordingly if a given trend will benefit your business goals. Current trends to investigate include:

  • Personalization: With the rise of data and technology, brands are using personalization to create tailored experiences for customers. This includes using customer data to create personalized recommendations, offers, and messaging.

  • Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing is becoming more popular as consumers place more trust in the opinions of influencers they follow.

  • Authenticity: Consumers increasingly value authenticity and transparency in brands. This is leading brands to be more open and honest in their marketing efforts.

  • Interactive and immersive experiences: Brands are using interactive and immersive experiences to engage customers and create a deeper connection with their brand.

  • Video marketing: Video is becoming an increasingly important marketing tool, with brands using video to tell stories, educate, and entertain.

  • Voice-search optimization: With the increasing popularity of voice-activated devices such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, brands are optimizing their marketing and content for voice search.

  • Chatbots: Brands are using chatbots to provide customer service and to automate routine interactions with customers.

  • Micro-moments: Brands are targeting the quick moments in which customers are looking for the answers or solutions to the question they have at that exact time, whether in-store or on a website.

  • Social and environmental responsibility: Consumers are more interested in buying from brands that make a positive impact on society and the environment. As such, more and more brands are highlighting their social and environmental responsibility initiatives in their marketing.

  • Virtual and augmented reality: Brands are increasingly experimenting with virtual and augmented reality to provide unique and immersive experiences for customers.

As you begin or revisit your business’s brand marketing development, keep in mind that Snapchat can help you amplify brand awareness among a highly engaged, worldwide audience of young people. Our guide shows you how to implement a 2-ad strategy designed to optimize ad performance and drive traffic to your website so that potential customers can learn what your business is all about.  Find out how your brand can reap the benefits of Snapchat’s reach starting today.