Each morning when I awoke, my back hurt. I wasn’t sleeping well and neither was my wife. I tried to blame the kids, work and everything else. But as much as I hated to admit it, it was time to purchase a new bed.

We did our research online, found reviews and got an idea of where to go.

Welcome to the new consumer buy cycle. Most of your customers already having a strong idea of what they want when they enter your building or visit your website.

However, when it came time for us to make the final purchase, old-fashioned marketing kicked in. Choosing between the final three beds, we went with the brand we knew: Sealy.

How did Sealy come to the forefront? It was not because of experience but because of exposure thanks to decades of ads.

Sealy was the brand I thought of when we first started talking about looking at a new bed. It was the first brand I researched online. And when presented with other options, I subconsciously created a favorable view based on what I knew about Sealy (from ads) opposed to what I didn’t know about the other brands.

That is the end result of effective branding campaign, something companies from Sealy to Coke to Pepsi have spent decades perfecting.

What is brand marketing?

In today’s marketing world, branding campaign concepts have changed. In the digital world, it’s now related to content creation and native campaigns. For the purpose of this article, branding is being regarded in the holistic view, which includes aforementioned digital concepts as well as traditional print and broadcast.

Branding is important for small and large businesses alike. When a consumer gets to the point of purchase, you want to be in the Top of Mind Awareness zone.

You can see branding work in aisles of grocery stores with small, instant gratification purchases, like choosing a soda — Coke and Pepsi come to mind for most people. And you can see it on big purchases, such as mattresses, which has a buying cycle of seven to 15 years.

Branding campaigns are not be confused with direct response (also called lead-generation and call-to-action advertising).

Direct response campaigns measure success on customer’s immediate response, while brand campaigns take a long view. Branding is based on exposure so when customers begins to think about their needs, your business is the first they think of, or is near the top of the list.

How can branding help?

In short, it makes your business more relatable and, therefore, profitable. Consider this:

• Research shows people are more likely to search online for a brand they have seen.

• People are 3.75 times more likely to visit a website or location based on branding.

• Brand favorability more than doubled for people exposed to branding.

• And in my view, most importantly, research shows that a direct response campaign can be improved by 25-30 percent with the addition of a branding campaign to support it.

Social media and brand awareness are intertwined, as 71 percent of people say they are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow on social media, while 58 percent have liked or followed a brand on Facebook.

While social media is great for brand awareness from your already established fan base, how do you push your brand beyond your following?

It should be an integrated marketing campaign, which — based on your company profile — could include print, online banner, retargeting or search engine campaigns.

Five rules to make an effective branding campaign

1. It should be run differently than your direct response campaign. You’re not trying to sell a product but instead building trust about your business.

2. The message should focus on what makes you unique against your competitors or what your company’s promise is. It can be catchy or straightforward.

3. It should be run repeatedly. Running a single brand ad will do nothing for you. There are many great cost effective print and digital programs you can use.

4. Branding campaigns can be simple or complex, but the design of the ad creation (digital, print or email) is important. “Creative is about 70 to 80 percent of effectiveness of advertising,” said Jon Gibs, VP Media Analytics of Nielsen.

5. It’s important that the brand advertising clearly reflects your company values and is simple for your potential customers to easily understand.

With the Internet era, developing brand loyalty has never been more important. If you leave it to the online comments or reviews, you might have success. But more than likely, you need a strong branding campaign that can help your business now and into the future.

And thanks to branding and a new mattress, I wake up minus the back problems. Now, if only I could figure out how to stop from thinking about work or the kids waking me up …


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Jerry Raehal, CEO of SYNC2 Media and CPA

Jerry Raehal is the CEO of SYNC2 Media and Colorado Press. In twelve years of working with businesses, he’s seen great success with branding campaigns in both print and digital components.