September 23, 2020

How to Create Campaigns That Build Brands

by Charlie Svensson

When trying to build a brand you need to run smart campaigns that build awareness, recognition, and, most importantly, a strong, authoritative voice. The thing is, brand-building campaigns are very different from advertisements directed for sales, and this is a common marketing gap many fail to understand. Of course, both types of campaigns share the purpose of generating revenue. However, they need to do so in different ways to stay effective, and not harm each other.

Brand managers mostly face problems in the content-creation phase. Blurring the line between sales-centric and brand-building campaigns can hamper their objective. They are uncertain about what type of content is suitable for brand campaigns and subsequently create a negative brand image.

As we know, there should be no mention of pricing or any type of sales language in brand-building campaigns. What should they include then? Here’s a rundown on how to build an online brand identity using ad campaigns.

Use emotional branding in campaigns

Emotional branding in your campaigns will firmly establish your brand as they appeal directly to a customer's emotions and aspirations.

A lot of successful brands have used emotional branding in advertising. Think about the Nike Just Do It campaigns. None of the ads they created included hard-selling copy - in fact, they barely even mention their product. Instead, they used copy that inspires and touches emotions.

The stars of Nike’s campaigns vary between professional athletes and everyday fitness enthusiasts but the ads all evoke the same emotion: you too can overcome adversity. Just Do It. This story immediately creates an emotional bond between the audience and the brand. No wonder why today, Nike owns 48% of the American athletic footwear market.

How can you do the same with your campaigns?

In order to build an emotional connection with your audience you need to lay the foundation of common ground first. Show off the values you share and how your product will complement the lifestyle they already lead instead of creating content that solely concentrates on your business.

This type of ad will help you achieve one of the major benefits of brand campaigns: building strong communities instead of transactional relationships. Community relationships are significantly more sustainable than the latter. It is based on coexistence because you help customers realize they are part of something bigger which also often comes with a more positive brand perception.

Convert influencers to brand ambassadors

Influencing your target audience is an invaluable currency when implementing brand-building campaigns. The way consumers view your brand is highly dependent on what the overall public perception is. That’s how the human brain is hard-wired; we are driven by social influence. Thus, having the help of those with widespread influence can help boost brand-building ad campaigns and help captivate the attention of your audience.

Enter influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing will not be news to brand managers but, as a recap, it is simply the act of using a strong voice of the specific industry to drive your brand’s message to your target audience. It works because influencers already have thousands, or even millions, of followers that trust their opinions. However, consumers are becoming more skeptical of influencer campaigns, and these days, it’s more beneficial to offer a more permanent partnership to influencers rather than paying for a few seconds of publicity.

Take the collaboration between Serena Williams and Beats by Dre as an example. Instead of just being satisfied with asking Serena to talk about the products to her followers, they made this sportswoman the face of their campaign. While a one-off ad with Serena Williams showing off the Powerbeats Pro earphones’ easy usability for athletes would have been cool, continually seeing Serena using the product will better convince consumers that this is the brand she actually uses and recommends.

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How can you do the same with your campaigns?

Unfortunately, using a nameless face to promote your products is not particularly efficient. To assert brand dominance, work with a familiar face. Not every company can afford Serena Williams but you can run a good brand ambassador campaign on a budget you can afford. Consider a micro-influencer who has a similar target audience to yours.

The important thing to remember when featuring your brand ambassador in upcoming campaigns is that you also have to include a dollop of their brand. Create campaigns that resonate with your ambassador’s audience just as well as yours to create that bond with them too. If you are uncertain, ask your ambassador how they suggest tackling the ad. No one knows their audience better than themselves.

Master the art of video campaigns

Video is the future of brand building campaigns. Even now, 85% of U.S internet users enjoy video content and regularly engage with this type of media, while 54% reported that they wished brands shared more video content.

Video campaigns are ideal for emotional branding and brand storytelling. Reebok is an excellent example with its 25,915 days video campaign.

Not one word was spoken in the video as it shows how consumers can use the days of their life better by being active. The ad used emotional branding to make people want to sit up and do something. The campaign linked to a webpage where consumers could calculate their potential number of remaining days to become active, based on averages of age, gender, and location.

That ad was distributed amongst various channels and connected Reebok with millions of individuals who became part of the brand community by sharing how they are planning to honor their bodies sharing personal accomplishments on social media using the hashtag #HonorYourDays.

How can you do the same with your campaigns?

Create videos that concentrate on storytelling over sales. To grow a loyal community akin to that of Reebok, tell your target audience your story in a way that they can relate to and be part of. The voice you create in your initial video campaign can lead to a strong brand voice that can be easily recognized on any other platform - once you maintain consistency through all other brand-building efforts, of course.

Use product launches to gain traction

Product launches are the perfect opportunity to further your brand-building agenda and use their bigger platform to define your mission statement. Apple does this wonderfully.

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Apple’s mission statement is about delivering the greatest user experience and innovative hardware. Before launching a product, the company creates campaigns that indicate how they followed through with their mission statement. They highlight their new product’s simplified usability and how it utilises cutting-edge hardware to build a very strong brand image.

How can you do the same with your campaigns?

Yes, these campaigns can veer on the side of a sales campaign so you need to be careful to stay on the path of traction via brand-building. Instead of simply showing off your product, discuss how you continue to live up to your promise to keep customers happy. Pre-launch, refrain from announcing the product's price but instead create campaigns highlighting features and customer value. With these types of campaigns, customers will be much more at ease continuing to be loyal followers.

Leverage your USP

All industries nowadays are competitive and to stand out with your target audience, you need to tell/show them what makes you different. Putting your USP (Unique Selling Point) at the forefront of campaigns will help define your brand voice and personality and, of course, stand out from the crowd.

While many brands will have a USP from the conception of their company, it also possible to devise a USP based on current consumer perception. The example of Avis is an old one but a good one. Back in 1962, Avis turned the weigh of being considered being the second-largest car rental service to its advantage. They created campaigns focused on the USP “We try harder”. That USP was used across all their brand-building campaigns to show that while they might not be first, they try harder than anyone else to provide the best service.

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Avis may not have knocked Hertz from the number one spot, but they sure set the foundations for a memorable brand.

How can you do the same with your campaigns?

Communicate the core USP (Unique Selling Point) that differentiates you from the competition and keep shouting about it. The key to promoting a USP that will build a loyal customer base is by listening to your target audience. You need to know and understand their struggles and figure out a way to help them in ways the competition cannot.

Once you have identified the best USP, you must determine how to leverage it in your campaigns that hit the right tone with your audience. For instance, if you are targeting budget seekers with your ads, you will create different content then if you were targeting luxury shoppers.

When it comes to actually creating the content for your brand campaign, don’t forget the golden rule: don’t make it to sales-heavy. Instead, work your USP into the natural flow of the content using a strategy of “show not tell”.

Final Thoughts

Markets are becoming increasingly competitive and as a result, brand marketing is more important than ever. To become a legendary company you need to build a strong brand and promote it to your target audience. Brand campaigns should run as often as sales campaigns to truly make an impact on consumers.

Follow these tips, and you'll soon be able to create efficient and impactful brand-building campaigns.

Author bio:

Charlie Svensson is a seasoned academic writer with a scientific background including mathematics, engineering, and technology.

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