I moved from New York City to San Francisco by train in 2016, expecting to find an endless supply of startups looking for brand marketing support. I was shocked by what I found. Most of the startups I met fell into the conversion marketing trap:
They were obsessed with just the product sale and took too little time – or no time at all – to build awareness around their brands.
While conversion marketing is absolutely necessary, it focuses on the transactional customer interaction, which has a much shorter-term approach than brand marketing. In fact, conversion marketing focuses on customers who already have an awareness of your brand. As the popularity of cloud platforms decrease the costs of building a new business, startups that focus on building customer awareness and trust – in tandem with strategic conversion marketing – will see measurable results. To maximize marketing reach, companies need to craft a powerful story and build awareness of their brand.
So, what is a brand?
With so many startups and so little time, how does a brand break through the clutter? Brands build trust, an emotional connection and visibility that startups might not otherwise have.
Top 5 Reasons to Employ Brand Marketing
1. Get on the same page. Crafting a simple brand narrative helps align founders and employees, creating a long-term vision in the short-term. When you’ve done this well, you’re happy with what people say about your brand when you’ve left the room. And they become brand evangelists. I would argue that this is one of the most important outcomes of building a strong brand.
2. Raise awareness and recognition. When you want potential investors to fund your company, they are more likely to fund products with visibility and a brand that they perceive as “winning.” Increased awareness also helps new customers discovery your brand.
3. Sell the experience. A brand is the summation of all of your company’s touchpoints with the customer: emails, websites, logo, messaging, press interviews, etc. When you want to sell a promise of how your brand can help improve their experience, you want them to trust you.
4. Build an emotional connection with your customer. With so many options on the market, why should a customer select your brand? Frequently, customers purchase products based on their emotional connection with a brand. Think about the Virgin brand. Richard Branson built an empire on the reputation of Virgin.
5. Recruit top employees and partners. Employees and partners can make or break any company. Companies with a strong brand narrative and promise appear polished; they have a winning feel. Who doesn’t want to work for the winning team? Startups with a strong brand have the best shot of attracting the top performers and best partners.
While conversion marketing is easy to measure and tangible, allowing you to see the results in the short-term, brand marketing delivers a long-term value. Brand marketing is less tangible and invaluable.
Is it time for you to focus on brand marketing? Contact me if you would like help building your story.
Cydney Goldberg Familian is a seasoned marketing, branding, and communication executive with more than 17 years of experience. Cydney capitalized on her expertise in founding Brand Story 360, a consultancy focused on helping companies grow their brands and hone their business strategies. Clients have included Comcast NBCUniversal, Braze (formerly Appboy), and a Fortune Global 500 pharmaceutical.