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How to Build a Powerful Brand and Marketing Plan
The right branding and messaging will help you stand out from the crowd and build customer loyalty. Use the 5 Ps of Marketing to launch a smart, growth-focused marketing plan.
Starting a business is all about the hustle: Finding your first customers, putting the operational elements of your business together and hiring your first employees. It’s also about tweaking your business model and product or service offerings based on customer-feedback.
Once all of these are in place though, it’s time to grow. Now you can put your business out there. You’ve tested – and proven – what you have to offer. It’s time to start marketing your brand and attracting customers.
In this marketing guide, we will unpack what you need to consider while you develop a strong marketing strategy, including who to talk to, how to connect with them and when to land your messaging.
The role of your brand in marketing
Why you need a strong brand identity
Most businesses aren’t first to market. Instead they’re entering crowded markets filled with other competitors. In reality, everyone is trying to out-shout each other for customer attention.
Successful businesses understand this one key secret: If you’re going to succeed, you need to stand out from your competitors.
So, how do you do that? Well, you begin by building a strong brand identity.
A strong brand identity:
Lets your customers know who you are and what you stand for
Distinguishes your business from other brands in your market
Gives your business a face and values
Builds trust and credibility
Makes a promise that you can deliver on.
How to develop a powerful brand identity
To develop a distinctive brand identity, begin by asking yourself these key questions:
- What makes us different and sets us apart from our competitors?
- What are our values?
- What is our mission?
- How are we making the world (or our community) a better place?
- Who is our target audience or ideal customer?
- What is our brand voice – are we fun, educational or serious?
- What is the most effective way to reach our target audience?
Once you have a clear picture of who you are, what you stand for and who you are speaking to, you can design (and more importantly, take control) of your brand identity.
- Blend your vision with creative design. Align your vision with a visual representation of what you stand for and who you want to work with (i.e. your ideal customers).
- Control the narrative. If you aren’t sharing your identity, you’re leaving it up to the market to define you. Ask happy customers for references and reviews, share your story and values online and on social media, and monitor what others are saying about you so that you can respond quickly and transparently.
- Deliver an exceptional experience. Brand identity is all about building a reputation that everything you do – from messaging to customer service – aligns. Customers should know exactly what to expect from you.
- Build relationships. Network, share insights and thought-leadership, form partnerships – just get your name out there, consistently and authentically. Brand identity and brand building is based on the experiences that others have with your brand, so get out there and create experiences.
Build a powerful marketing plan with the 5 Ps of marketing
The ‘5 Ps of marketing’ represent a simple but powerful formula: People, Product, Place, Price and Promotion. Successful marketing campaigns consider all five of these elements: Am I selling a product or service to the right people, at an attractive price, in the right places, using the best attention-grabbing tactics?
People: Why will these people buy from me?
If you don’t understand who your ideal customers are and why they will buy from you, you won’t communicate the right marketing message to them. You might not even have the right product.
To learn more about creating ideal buying personas, read our guide, Strengthen your customer value proposition and win more customers, here.
When determining who you’re speaking to, ask these key questions:
- What do they care about?
- What challenges are they facing?
- What values influence their decisions?
- Are there specific rules within this segment or industry you should be aware of?
- Why will they care about your business, product and solution?
The people pillar relates to your team as well. Do you put your people first? Do they put your customers first as a result? How do you interact with the various stakeholders within your business? Are you transparent and consistent? All of these things will impact how people respond to your brand.
Product: What are you selling?
This is your product (or service). You need to understand what benefits you offer and why you’re different from your competitors. The language you use needs to be customer centric, but you also need to understand exactly how – and why – you will change your customer’s lives.
A key question that you need to be able to answer here is: Why will my customers buy from me? Be critical when you answer this question. You might find you need to make some adjustments.
Place: Where am I selling my product?
Where you engage is just as important as who you’re speaking to.
This relates to a number of things:
- Are you online or do you physically sell something through sales people or a store?
- Are you linked to your neighbourhood or community in some way?
- Where are your customers in terms of their physical space and their online presence?
- Are you working through a supplier or distributor?
- Are your customers on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?
Price: How much are you asking for your product or service?
Price is a critical factor in your business. Ensure that you can sell your product or service at a profit.
To find out more about how to work out your cost of sales, read our financial planning guide here. Don’t offer discounts you can’t afford, although promotional campaigns can work well when you’re new to a market and need people to try you.
Second, if you’re too expensive people won’t buy from you, but if you’re too cheap, they won’t buy from you either – they won’t trust the value you bring to the table.
To determine your price point, research your market, your competitors and speak to customers. Understand what they are willing to pay for your solution. If they won’t pay your asking price it’s probably because you’re too expensive or you’re not articulating your value well enough.
Promotion: How am I going to grab the attention of my target market?
This is where your marketing and sales strategies come together. Now that you know who you’re targeting, where you’re speaking to them, what you’re saying and why they will care, you can craft your message and get it out there.
Track Your Results
Ultimately, your marketing budget isn’t limited, which is why after you’ve completed these steps and launched your marketing campaign, it’s important to track what’s working – and what isn’t working.
A marketing campaign is only successful if it makes you more money than you’ve spent on it.
To find out how to track your return on investment (ROI) in terms of your marketing campaigns, read our guide, How to calculate if your marketing efforts are making money – or costing too much