brand building vs sales campaigns

Brand Building vs Sales Campaigns: How to Leverage These Two Marketing Strategies in Your Small Business

Think about the ads you see on social media. Would you buy from a store you don’t know with a sketchy-looking website, or choose a product with images that look directly taken off the manufacturer’s website? Or would you purchase from a store with strong branding and unique product images that speak to a particular lifestyle and seems trustworthy?

Some work is needed before you can make successful sales. Marketers know branding and sales have the same end goal but different paths to success. If you confuse sales and brand building, you are crippling your sustainable growth. Your ideal customers need your product and services but have yet to realize that you are the perfect solution to their problem. Great marketing is connecting branded solutions to awareness campaigns. Consider the benefits of building from the foundation to the top of your marketing funnel.

Brand Building

What is the Difference between a brand and awareness?

A brand is how the people who experience your business or product perceive it. It’s not simply the features of a product. Awareness is making your company’s identity known to others through media and digital platforms.

What is a brand-building campaign?

Brand-building campaigns build awareness of your company’s products or services through sponsorship or direct advertising. They influence your company’s narrative and public image while differentiating it from the competition.

A strong brand will distinguish itself from a commodity. People are willing to pay more for a product or service with a reputable brand behind it because they want to be a part of the lifestyle the brand represents or view the product as valuable. In contrast, people look to pay the lowest rates for commodities.

How do you build a brand campaign?

There are a few key ideas to keep in mind when creating an effective brand campaign.

  1. It takes time. It’s common for a business to invest a lot of money during initial advertising campaigns to accelerate branding and growth. However, strong brands build their reputation over time—it can take multiple touchpoints.
  2. Know your audience. Once you determine your target audience, you’ll be able to craft the right message and strategy to resonate with consumers and capture their attention.
  3. Keep the message simple. Your advertising message should be easy to understand with a clear call to action for the audience.
  4. Have multiple touchpoints for consumers. Many businesses focus on digital platforms such as social media to reach new customers. However, you’ll want to be on as many channels as possible, such as television, social, print, and digital, to reach diverse groups of people and keep your audience engaged.
  5. Define your short and long-term goals. Measuring your campaign results is essential so you can understand what works. Sales numbers are typically an indicator of success, although there are other ways to determine value. You’ll have to track various marketing KPIs and metrics to measure brand awareness.

Branding vs Advertising

brand building versus sales campaign
Know how your advertising and marketing strategies contribute to your overall brand strength

What is the difference between branding and advertising?

Branding encompasses the identity of your business and core product, including packaging, customer service, store design, and more. Advertising is a marketing strategy to promote your service or product that provides short-term results and caters to a specific audience. However, the companies with the best brands are the easiest to recognize and only sometimes need to rely on advertising to generate sales.

What’s the difference between sales and brand building?

Sales are when a prospect makes a purchase. A purchase usually occurs at the end of the marketing funnel, where the customer decides that your offer is worth the price and that they will receive equal or greater value in exchange.

In contrast, brand building is about creating awareness for what you are offering and takes place at the beginning of the marketing funnel.

Benefits of long-term brand building vs short-term sales

Have you ever bought from a company that didn’t deliver in terms of product and service? Anyone can make promises about the benefits of a product and then disappear or ignore you after they make the sale. You’re likely to never buy from the same business again after a bad experience.

On the other hand, long-term brand building builds trust and a sustainable business. Happy customers know they can depend on you to deliver and will buy from you when they can. They refer you to others, which lowers your average cost of gaining a customer.

Marketing is brand building, not advertising.

Marketing is the set of activities, such as creating, delivering, and communicating your brand’s value proposition to your customers, which is precisely what brand building is. In contrast, advertising is running paid promotions of your services or products to a specific audience.

Building a brand requires purposeful planning in these four areas: product, price, place, and promotion. The promotion aspect is the advertising component, which is only one facet of marketing.

Branding vs Action Campaigns

Branding campaigns drive awareness of your company’s values, products, or services.

Action campaigns are ads where marketers run promotions to encourage the audience to take specific actions typically tied to a sales-related goal. The focus of these campaigns could be to drive more website traffic, more sales, loyalty program sign-ups, newsletter subscribers, and other tangible results.

When branding campaigns make sense

Although branding campaigns take longer to achieve results, especially when entering a competitive market, they have a lasting impact. Consider potential reasons your team should execute a branding campaign:

  • You’re new to the market. Building enough recognition and brand awareness takes time to compete with more established companies.
  • You are establishing your company as the expert. Suppose your company focuses on disrupting the industry by changing how a product or service is sourced, updating the technology you use, or implementing a fundamental shift in your business model. For these cases, you need a robust strategy that can educate your audience and change existing opinions.

When Action Campaigns Make Sense

Action campaigns are the last step of the funnel to persuade people to buy. They also make sense when your company has an upcoming goal to meet, such as selling tickets to an upcoming conference.

Why Branding is Important for Marketing

Tie your marketing goals to your brand building strategy.
Tie your marketing goals to your brand building strategy.

Marketing can get a customer’s attention, but branding is the way to keep their attention and foster trust and relationships. Marketing drives sales, but branding drives recognition and loyalty.

Marketing strategies come and go, but branding is forever. You’ll need to continuously shape perceptions of your brand, define your company’s identity, and build meaningful relationships with customers. Marketing tactics are just the implementation. People talk about a strong brand even if the brand does not run marketing campaigns.

You Need to Stay Top of Mind

Marketing and advertising aren’t always about pushing your customers to buy. There is a sales cycle. Generally, it takes about 7 touchpoints for a consumer to make a purchase. No matter what type of business you run, it’s critical to stay top of mind with your customer so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re the first business they think of.

You Have Specific Sales Goals

Every company needs to hit specific sales targets to sustain its business. However, slapping up advertising campaigns when you realize you’re falling short of your sales targets is ineffective. Instead, you must continually run brand awareness campaigns and promotions for other parts of the sales funnel to generate ongoing leads and sales.

The Cost of Short-Termism

Strategies that involve lowering prices and offering repetitive discounts can generate sales quickly but may devalue your product and brand. Customers may feel the product is a commodity if the same deal is offered year-round. Another business can easily provide cheaper prices and deeper discounts, drawing customers away and causing you to lose market share immediately.

Balancing Long-Term Brand Building and Short-Term Activation

Businesses need brand equity to drive demand and sustainability for the long term. However, short-term activation is required to meet sales targets and drive conversions efficiently.

Building your brand while balancing short-term cash flow needs can be challenging without the proper strategy and expertise. An agency like Sigmategy can work with you to create a fully integrated plan to deliver steady growth.

We work with you to identify your brand voice, identity, and customer avatar. We can then outline and execute promotional campaigns that align with your brand strategy.

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