Last Updated: November 14, 2020
Comparison shopping involves more than just checking prices. Most shoppers also are concerned with the quality of the product and trustworthiness of a company. Does this company offer an exceptional product? Do they stand by their goods? Do their products earn positive reviews? Depending on how important the purchase is, a customer may ask all of these questions and more of each business that offers a product they want.
Of course, a complete investigation into every business is time-consuming, and even the shrewdest customer only has so much time. They’ll skip the investigation if they see a quick and informative answer to their questions.
That quick answer is branding. A brand name instantly informs customers about a company’s reputation, enabling them to trust the quality of each product or service that business offers. The very mention of the brand name (or the sight of the brand logo) conjures all of a customer’s experiences and perceptions of a business—good and bad.
Who employs brand marketing?
Branding is a concept that extends far beyond the marketing of “brand name” designer jeans and other products. A company’s brand represents their market identity—who they are, what they do, what kind of quality they provide, their reputation for trustworthiness, and more. Consequently, brand marketing is important to nearly every business, from those selling breakfast cereals, to those developing new technologies, to those providing logistic support to other businesses.
Objectives of Brand Marketing
- Conjure your message instantly
- Enhance credibility
- Prompt an emotional affirmation
- Motivate the buyer
- Augment customer loyalty
Even when a business is selling a product as a generic, off-brand alternative (such as a marshmallow cereal similar to Lucky Charms, or a laundry detergent similar to Tide), that “generic” product carries that company’s name, and impacts its reputation. If you dislike your Not-Lucky-Charms cereal or your Not-Tide detergent, you’ll think twice before buying another “generic” product from the same company.
Meanwhile, major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target sell a huge variety of their own products next to the “brand name” products on their shelves (See also Shopper Marketing). Sam’s Choice is just one of Wal-Mart’s many brands, as Market Pantry is one of Target’s. In both cases, customers who try Sam’s Choice or Market Pantry products develop an expectation of other products sold under the same brand—just as purchasers of Nabisco, Pepsi, Nestle, Heinz, or any of a million other brands do.
For what kinds of customers is brand marketing effective?
Brand marketing influences the decisions of a variety of customers, including both end consumers and businesses. It is most effective for developing repeat business, as any customer’s perception of a brand is going to be largely informed by their previous experience(s) with that brand (See also Precision Marketing). For customers, the company’s brand represents instant knowledge of that company. For example:
Top 10 Brands of 2011
- General Electric
Source: Interbrand 2011 Top 100 brands report
- A traveler seeing a Comfort Inn immediately knows what kind of room he or she might get there (with minimum guarantees of service and cleanliness) and in what price range.
- A movie-going parent will assume that a Disney movie is going to be family-friendly.
- A growing business purchasing a new mainframe and system from IBM can be confident that the new hardware and software has been proven in many other businesses. Furthermore, IBM’s continuing support will represent an experience base involving years of implementation, across hundreds of thousands of different businesses of varying scales. (See also Marketing Computers)
- A coffee customer knows a new offering from Starbucks has gone through several levels of testing and quality control, and that it comes from coffee farms practicing sustainable agriculture.
In each instance, a customer’s awareness of a company’s brand saves them time and energy in investigating the company, making it easier for them to decide about purchasing that company’s product and/or services.
How is a brand marketing campaign developed?
When developing a brand campaign, companies work to increase customers’ awareness of their reputation. This involves communicating what the company does and how well it does it, and providing a way to bring that information to mind in an instant(See also Informational Marketing). This instant aspect might be communicated through a logo that appears on all company material—product packaging, company website, business cards and stationery, e-mail address, and (for slogans) phone answering system. The brand name/logo should be ubiquitous, so that customers associate the company and its reputation with every product and service that company provides.
Potential Barriers to Brand Development
If a brand campaign fails to achieve results, consider the following factors that could require specific attention:
- Product/service quality
- Bad timing
- Poor location
- Lack of demand
- Poor resonance with target market’s values
Brand marketing is as much about product quality as it is about communication, with poor product quality affecting a customer’s perception of a brand far more than good quality can. This attention to quality must extend to every aspect of the company’s interaction with customers, including the company website and social-media activity. Internet marketing of a brand cannot be done as an afterthought, with little investment; any deficiency will reflect on the company’s reputation, and all its products and services.(See also Internet Marketing)
Setting goals for brand marketing involves identifying what the company desires to be known for, and then developing a consistent message across multiple advertising channels. Is the company innovative? Energetic? Rugged? Creative? Sophisticated? The personality or character of the company brand should resonate with the core values of the target customer.
Brand campaigns should have a number of defined and measurable objectives.
For example, a company may want their brand to represent industry leadership/innovation (as measured by media references to that effect). Seeking to accomplish this objective, marketers might create press releases, publish articles, and use social media to highlight company research and development efforts.
An athletics equipment company, on the other hand, may wish their brand to represent “triumph.” They might use social media like Twitter or Facebook to announce what awards they’ve won, or to follow the achievements of athletes who use their products. The fans who follow these athletes will identify the athletes’ successes with the name of the brand they represent. (See also Sports Marketing)
What career titles work with brand marketing strategies?
Marketing Managers may direct brand campaigns, as well as oversee all other marketing initiatives within a given brand.
What do they do?
What type of salary should I expect?
- Marketing Manager
Median annual pay: $116,010
Top earners: $187,199+
- Market Research Analyst
Median annual pay: $60,570
Top earners: $111,440+
- Public Relations Manager
Median annual pay: $52,090
Top earners: $95,200+
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- ensure that all marketing campaigns support, and are consistent with, the brand campaign
- oversee the daily operations of the marketing staff and its various teams, such as logo design
- interact with the sales, public relations, and product development departments, often overseeing the development of a new product, service, or PR campaign to meet a specific brand’s needs
- keep the company informed about who its customers are, and how they’re responding to the brand
Education and Skills
Most marketing managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, or business management. Their education will include classes in marketing, market research, statistics, and consumer behavior. Future marketing managers often pursue and complete an internship while in school; they will also experience in their industry before being entrusted with management responsibilities.
Market Research Analyst
Market Research Analysts gather data about a market segment, in order to guide how a company presents its products and/or services to customers.
What do they do?
- use a variety of methods (including interviews, questionnaires, and focus groups) to gather data on customers’ preferences and values—particularly those values being promoted by the brand
- research the semiotics (the use of symbols) of the target market—what images mean to them, and how they’re likely to respond to different brand presentations—and communicate the market’s projected responses to clients
- evaluate customers’ responses to active marketing campaigns, and to the company brand
Education and Skills
Market research analysts need at least a bachelor’s degree in market research, or in a related field such as statistics or computer science. Many analyst jobs also require a master’s degree, particularly leadership or positions that engage in more technical research. Many analysts complete internships while in school, and gain job experience through data collection and analysis positions, as well as by creating reports.
Public Relations Account Manager
Public Relations Account Managers promote favorable public images for their clients in a number of different venues, building the reputation (and branding) of the company.
What do they do?
- write press releases, handle questions from the media, and monitor media coverage
- protect the brand from negative associations in the media
- identify customers’ information channels, and focus on making the company brand more present in those areas
- evaluate advertising to confirm that it’s consistent with the desired public image/brand
- develop company branding through social media
Education and Skills
Public relations managers need at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in public relations or communications, and often with a minor in advertising, business management, or marketing. Nearly a fourth of all managers also have a master’s degree. Work experience often begins with an internship; prospective managers then move on to supporting more experienced staff members before getting to work on their own account(s).
How can a marketing school help you in this field?
Our Recommended Schools
Effective brand marketing requires the ability to communicate a clear and compelling message, as well as the ability to collect and analyze data that supports that message. A marketing degree program is structured around developing these abilities.
Brand marketing involves communicating not only to different audiences, but also across different mediums—audio and visual, verbal and non-verbal, one-way and two-way communication. Marketing classes will require you to practice and develop these skills, using feedback to alter and improve your message and delivery.
A marketing program will also teach you how to acquire good data, which will help you understand the decisions and perceptions of your customers. Such a program will train you in the methods of research and data collection; as well as statistical analysis that enables you to understand a given market’s preferences, buying habits, and perceptions of both you and your competition. You’ll learn how to use this data to select goals and evaluate the performance of marketing strategies in reaching those goals.
Additional courses will acquaint you with the processes involved in developing and distributing new products. Such knowledge will be invaluable when managing a brand marketing strategy, which depends upon product quality. (See also Product Marketer)
To learn more about what a marketing school can do for you, request information from schools with degrees in marketing, and investigate what their particular brand of education has to offer.