If you’ve just begun working with a marketing agency, you’re probably excited…and a bit nervous. You’re eagerly anticipating the return on this new investment. You probably feel like the sooner your agency acts with marketing tactics like emails, blogs, and content offers, the sooner the marketing ROI will roll in. Even though you’re keen to see your agency put a strategy in place and begin implementing it with tactics, we want to encourage you to take a step back.
Here’s why: The success of your company’s marketing tactics depends on branding, which your agency should focus on before tactics even enter the discussion.
We’re looking at some of the key elements of a company’s identity that we help establish through branding to demonstrate why branding has a strong impact on the success of your company’s future marketing activities.
Among other brand elements, branding discussions and workshops you have with your agency should establish your company’s:
- Brand and product names: Simple but important. You need to be memorable and unique.
- Personality and tone of voice: These decisions determine how it feels to communicate with your brand.
- Messaging platform: This includes anchorlines, taglines, and other statements that tell customers why they should choose your company.
Let’s look at each of these elements and see how they affect your company’s marketing future.
Brand and Product Names
Your brand and product names affect your marketing success because even well-executed marketing tactics can’t help when your company or product doesn’t sound like it does what it does. Successful brand names can take many forms but must be industry-appropriate.
Here’s a real-world example. Long before a photo-sharing app we all know and love was purchased by Facebook, founder Kevin Systrom created and named the app “Burbn.” At the time, the app was directionless; it had too many features and no one truly knew what it was for.
Once Systrom brought on his co-founder Mike Krieger, the two determined that their brand’s core purpose (more on core purposes and missions below) was sharing instant, simple photos.
From there, they found the perfect name: Instagram.
Instagram would never have achieved its current success with its former brand name. Even the best marketing content couldn’t erase the cognitive dissonance of hearing that an app named after a drink was meant for sharing photos.
If your company doesn’t establish a solid name before jumping into marketing tactics, your success will be limited by the fact that your name confuses or disenchants prospects. This means your company will probably have to change its name later, potentially costing more time and money to gain back brand equity under your new and improved name.
Personality and Tone of Voice
We build relationships with individuals by getting to know their personalities, and companies are no different. Your brand’s personality—and resulting tone of voice—are the characteristics that your audience should be able to perceive in every interaction they have with your brand. Determining these characteristics tells marketers what they want the audience to know about your company.
To have strong customer relationships, your company’s communications need to be innovative enough to stay relevant but stable enough to always be identifiable as coming from your brand instead of a competitor’s.
Your brand’s messaging platforms include all the ways your company distinguishes itself and tells prospects why they should choose to work with your company. Which messaging platforms will be determined in your branding process will depend upon the agency you work with, but you should anticipate at least:
- Your company’s anchorline: An anchorline describes your company’s primary offering. Since your anchorline will be visually locked with your company name, it needs to be clear and concise.
- Your company’s tagline: A tagline is a phrase that accompanies your brand name. It captures your position in the market and brand identity and conveys meaning to consumers with only a few words.
- You company’s competitive position: Though the words for this platform can vary, the basic elements are descriptions of what your company does and why, how your company is unique, and the value-add you offer customers.
- Why you? This is a special component of your brand’s messaging. This is where your company is asked to concisely, clearly answer the question of what makes you special and how those unique aspects create value for customers. These aren’t simple answers. These are clear, fleshed-out explanations of why your company is the best choice.
Messaging platforms are important to give your company, your customers, and your marketing agency the full view of what your company is all about. Marketing agencies are keen to discuss these details in the beginning of your relationship because, as time goes by, they won’t just be marketing your company’s product or service; they’re marketing your brand with all its identifying characteristics.
The clock is ticking to generate returns on your marketing investment, but don’t let that push you to rush your agency on branding. Marketing tactics are important because they’re how your marketing strategy will be put into action, but that strategy won’t be successful if it betrays the purpose and vision of your brand. Work with your agency to build a solid brand and the possibilities are endless.