Achieving Authentic Brand Marketing

09 Sep


Brand marketing, along with every other aspect of marketing, has substantially developed due to today’s pandemic conditions. Every marketer knows a strong and authentic brand is worth its weight in gold. The pillar supporting that presence amounts to many strategies, insights and values. Now the challenge for today’s marketer is not just intricately knowing the foundations of brand marketing, but also when to shift without hesitation. That confidence is hard to come by in this new terrain of brand callouts and consumer awareness. How does a marketer stay on top of these shifts?

What is brand marketing and how do you learn it?

A textbook definition of brand marketing includes a “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” It’s a definition that has had a few iterations depending on who you ask. It’s a promise to your customer. The origin story of your service. It’s all those things and more.

A brand marketer reviewing their brand deck. It could seem like a straightforward answer, especially when considering the external sides of a brand. Everyone can name a brand that is memorable to them. Associating it to either logos, brand statements or that one entertaining ad they can’t get out of their head. For marketers, we understand these are all moving pieces of the puzzle. An effective brand provides a unique and memorable experience and it’s the job of a marketer to do this seamlessly from behind the scenes.

Regarding this, the Chartered Marketer program sets to explore brand development in all its entirety. Participants are introduced to a thorough review of brand marketing theory with consideration to their real-life work experiences and knowledge. Along with this, they are provided with an examination of various marketing tools available today that are used to develop a brand’s identity, voice and tone. They learn to define a brand and continue building one. As a result, participants learn to anticipate and understand the best and current practices in brand marketing to fully prepare for the unexpected.

The difference between branding vs. marketing

A brand marketer must always be mindful of this distinction or face the consequences of being seen as gimmicky or disingenuous. Knowing your company’s brand feeds the creativity of marketing strategies; not the other way around. When a brand is forgotten in a robust marketing tactic, the result can vary from laughable to embarrassing.

“And then everything changed.”, reflects Richard Toker, an instructor in the CM program. “The pandemic hasn’t only changed the way marketers work – it’s also forever altered our relationship with brands. Brands can never again be viewed as static objects.” Indeed, brand marketing has undergone a reshaping demanded by customers. No longer is it sufficient to slap on a logo or parade brand values blindly.

Richard clarifies that “brands have shown their pliability and elasticity when confronted with the many real obstacles caused by pandemic-related disruptions. With the sanctity of brands stripped away, what’s revealed? That brands are a social association, an assembly of people with shared needs. The power comes from the societal context and from the actions a brand takes when push comes to shove. These are the real tests of a brand’s meaning and value. A brand doesn’t win because its logo is shinier. It wins because it makes a difference to the people’s lives it touches. The pandemic has tossed the old brand decision tree out the window.”

Understanding today’s brand crisis

A brand crisis is not old news. A common brand crisis is notably brand associations with celebrities and influencers. According to YPulse’s recent report, “the implication for brands here is clear: if a celebrity you are working with or associated with is cancelled, [consumers] expect action will be taken.” Between Millennials and Gen Z, overall, the sentiment is that brands need to cut ties if such situations occur.

However, now there is even more at stake. Younger audiences are demanding more responsibility from brands and understanding their worth in the equation. They are more than ready to put their money where their values lie which is no surprise that a whopping “77% of brands could simply disappear and no one would care”. Richard adds in the fact that “more than 60% of consumers globally have changed their shopping behaviour during Covid-19. That’s higher than any time in history. Clearly, the stakes for brands couldn’t be higher. “

What does that mean for today’s marketer?

Marketer sitting at desk with laptop open.In Core 2 of the CM program, participants will learn how to make sense of such situations by digging into the numbers. They will understand how products, services and their connecting brands maximize marketing’s contribution to the bottom line. Measuring brand marketing in this framework allows participants to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts. More importantly, it also helps provide clarity and direction when a brand crisis flares up.

The CM program understands that brand marketing requires more than just a few touchpoints throughout the main three courses. Designed for marketers who want to finetune a specialty, the CM Brand Elective was born. This elective course fully explores brand marketing including how to interpret a changing market to identify strategies that help adapt brands for success. The course is led by instructors who have faced the same situation who offer practical advice and guidance.

Return to Your Brand Purpose

All said and done, brand marketing has a hefty responsibility but also an amazing opportunity to truly connect with their audiences. Returning to that brand purpose with new understandings and a willingness to change is how brands will survive. Richard Toker adds that “the brand that bends over backwards to accommodate its customers through difficult times is the real long-term winner. This may be humbling for branding purists, but it’s good news for society.” Growing pains are expected when there is change and brand marketing is a discipline that demands flexibility and trust from all parties. It’s an approach that the CM program takes from start to finish so CM designation holders can step onto the playing field with confidence.

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