In my former life as a creative director in radio, my first question to a sales rep who asked for a new commercial script was, “What’s the goal of the campaign?”
I remember a certain sales rep who liked to respond by saying, “Branding. They just need to get their name out there.”
Then I would look at the order to find out the duration of the campaign. Typically, it was scheduled to run anywhere from a couple weeks to couple months.
I worked with a lot of great people during my radio career, but this particular sales rep knew very little about branding or marketing.
I’ve heard similar horror stories about sellers of TV, print, search, display, social media and blogs doing the same thing.
What these sellers are trying to do is dodge their responsibility, which is to produce results for the business owner. When the goal is nothing more than to “get their name out there,” the bar couldn’t be set any lower.
And the concept of branding is nothing more than a cop out. Here’s why.
Branding does not equal “getting your name out there.”
Brand awareness is an important part of marketing. But getting people to remember the name of your business is a small sliver of true branding.
The name of your business is not your brand. That’s your brand name.
Your brand is a promise. A promise to deliver a certain result for your clients. Your brand creates perceptions, sets expectations, and gives people a reason to choose your business.
A branding campaign is designed to get people to understand that promise, create positive feelings about your product or service, and differentiate your company, product or service from your competition.
In other words, it’s a bit more complicated and requires a bit more strategy than getting your name out there.
If the goal was to simply get your name out there, you wouldn’t have to show or say anything besides your brand name. But again, that’s only part of your brand.
Every marketing campaign should be designed to achieve a specific business goal.
By default, every advertising or marketing campaign will get a company’s name out there to some extent. That’s a given, not a goal.
And it sure as hell isn’t enough to justify any kind of marketing investment.
Granted, immediate sales are not the priority in a branding campaign. The first goal is usually to build trust and get people to feel good about your brand.
But you should still expect your marketing to produce conversions.
Remember, a conversion doesn’t always equal a sale. A conversion could be an opened email, a social comment or share, a newsletter registration, or a white paper download. All of which create sales opportunities.
A sale is the big conversion, but effective brand marketing produces a series of smaller conversions from ongoing customer interaction and engagement.
Branding takes years.
Anyone who tries to sell you a short-term marketing or advertising campaign and calls it branding just wants to hit their sales goals. They don’t care if the campaign works or not.
Branding campaigns can’t be measured in days or weeks. One could argue that branding never stops. There are always new people to reach and existing relationships to be strengthened.
This doesn’t happen overnight. It’s impossible.
I’m a big believer in brand marketing, but…
I just have a problem with shady sales reps using it as a cop out, using it to shirk their responsibilities, and using it to mislead and pretty much steal money from business owners.
Next time a sales rep tries to get you to sign on for a branding campaign, ask them what that means. Ask them to explain their strategy and the results you should expect to see. Find out if they know what they’re talking about.
Just don’t accept “branding” at face value as the goal of a campaign because it sounds like an impressive marketing term. It’s way too vague. And it’s probably a cop out.