Trust me, you don't want to start a marketing campaign without doing this first.

Once upon a time, I sold physical products. I’ve done all kinds of crazy stuff such as sending out emails to my Facebook friends and associates (without their permission! Um, hello, that’s spamming!), not measuring if people were receiving and opening my emails, not taking the time to tell stories behind the products that I offered (only giving features, no benefits), and lacked follow-up plans. I could go on and on but I won’t because I want to share with you what I’ve learned over the years.

There was nothing wrong with the products. In fact, I had people talking about, ‘liking” and sharing them on their Facebook walls and referring other people to them. Customers even told me that my products outlasted some pretty big named, international competitors after having had them for a few years. I had the perfect plan and developed systems in creating, developing and delivering my products. I even knew who my target customers were and knew what made my products different.

I took a lot of time in developing my product lines, threw them out there with caution to the wind, and expected people to run and purchase them. Well, guess how that turned out. People didn’t buy—at least not the way that I had hoped. A couple of years later, I came to my senses and vowed to never release any product or service without making sure that my strategic marketing plans align with my brand and its vision.

Hand made product from the Hug-a-Plush™ plush toy collection. ©2011 Marcia McCray Omnimedia.

Here’s what I’ve learned, so I’m passing it on to you.

  • Have your 4 Foundational Building Blocks in place (see further down in the post) and APPLY them to everything that you do in your business.
  • Know, understand, and use the power of your brand. Without this understanding, efforts can be challenging, especially in your marketing. You’d be reinventing the wheel every time you run a promotion or speak about your product or service. Your brand becomes disjointed if you aren’t consistent.
  • Communicate only one focused voice for your brand. Don’t fall for the next shiny tactic that does not align with your brand. Knowing your voice and using it will keep you on the straight, narrow, and focused path.
  • Don’t develop products and services because they’re cute or that it’s something that you like. Make sure that they align with your brand strategy and that they’re what people would want or need (unless you’re only trying to develop them as a hobby for yourself).
  • Fear not! Go really hard-core after what you want. Confirm a strategy for determining and receiving the outcome(s) that you want. It is a must for your strategy to align with your brand.
  • Create a kick-butt marketing plan that aligns with your business’s brand’s core values. Not only is developing your product or service important but knowing who your brand is and what it stands for, its positioning in the marketplace, and developing a marketing plan for it is just as equally important.
  • Always always always establish and measure your marketing efforts. (I will discuss in a later post). Without measuring your marketing efforts, how will you know what you need to improve upon and if you’re on the right track to accomplishing your goals?
  • Know who your customers are and how to communicate with them. Make sure that your messaging speaks directly to your target audience. If you don’t have or know who your target audience is, develop an Ideal Customer Avatar.
  • Be consistent and persistent in executing your marketing plan. Yes, I said execute that plan because you can create plans all day, all night, all week, all month, and all year but they will never come to fruition if you don’t take action on the plans that you have established.

So let’s reign this in. What does this post have to do with branding? Everything.

Let’s summarize.
Looking back, I should have spent more time in my branding efforts. I viewed branding and marketing as two completely separate entities rather than viewing them as a connection of one driving the other. A lot of people think of branding as a part of marketing but your brand (the horse) is what drives your marketing (the wagon). The two are connected but they’re not in the same category.  The horse should be the one that pulls the wagon or the wagon won’t operate properly in the way that it was originally designed to do.

Your brand is the foundation of the vision and marketing strategy that you have for your business. Possessing a deep understanding of your brand makes every decision, plan, and action easier to execute as well as allowing you the ability to craft your messaging and speak confidently.

If you take anything away from this post, understand that your brand needs to be developed first in order to run any successful marketing campaign. As a stepping point for you to begin developing or redeveloping your brand, we designed The 4 Foundational Brand Building Blocks swipe file. These four aspects are often overlooked and taken for granted. Click below to find out what those building blocks are by downloading your free copy.

We, at The Brand Naked Agency, view and create brands holistically, not from a singular point of view. If you need help in developing your marketing plan for your product or service, contact us or consider spending a VIP day with me. By the end of the VIP day, you’ll gain clarity in the vision for your brand (so that you can market your brand effectively), you’ll walk away with a strategic plan for your product(s) or service(s), and you will have an established action plan with clear steps to help you get to where you want to go. Click the button below to receive more information about the highly customized Boldly Branded VIP half- and full-day offerings or visit our Project Inquiry page and select Boldly Branded VIP. We will respond within one to two business days.

Take me there
Marcia McCray

Author Marcia McCray

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