Content marketing and branding work hand in hand in any successful campaign. Without a good grasp of your brand’s goals, the messages coming through on the marketing end will fall flat.
To better connect with your brand’s mission for marketing, there are a few concepts you should be intimately familiar with. By having a deeper understanding of how a business designs and operates its brand, you can create a campaign that resonates with your audience and doesn’t invoke an emotional disconnect when they come into contact with the business itself.
In this article, we will introduce you to three powerful facts you should know about your brand if you want to build stronger content marketing campaigns. Let’s get started!
1. Identify your brand’s big picture statements
Mission and vision statements are the two primary examples of big picture statements your brand can make. However, you can make as many goals-driven statements as necessary. These are helpful for many reasons, not least of which is how they inform the rest of your brand’s marketing and messaging.
Before beginning any marketing campaign, it’s a smart idea to understand the statements your brand is attempting to make. Vision statements, for example, are all about dreams, and they convey your business’ hopes for the future. For instance, IKEA’s vision statement is: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
On the other hand, mission statements are a bit more action-oriented, and should state what your business does and why. Patagonia offers a great example of a strong mission statement: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
Feel free to create as many of these statements as you need for your brand. You can build a long list of simple statements, or collect the important points into paragraph form. Go with whatever works best for your writing style, and is easiest for your team to understand.
Finally, you’ll want to gather these statements in one place where they will be easy to reference later. You’ll use them in the future to:
- Generate new content ideas that directly connect with your business’ core goals.
- Check all new content against, to ensure your messaging is consistent.
- Make sure everyone on your team knows about your goals, and understands how to employ them.
Now that you have strong brand statements in place, you can move onto developing emotional connections.
2. Understand what emotional reaction you’re trying to invoke
Emotional branding is the act of developing an identity your customers can connect with via your brand. This typically plays to the customer’s ego, emotional state, current needs, and future goals. You can see examples of emotional branding everywhere. Kodak, for example, is a brand playing to nostalgia through their photographs, while Nike focuses on making the customer feel like a hero.
To understand your business’ own emotional brand, you must first determine which emotions are most relatable to your customers. There are a few steps you can take to document their emotional journey as it relates to your brand. First, put together a list of all the stories and emotions customers may experience when interacting with your brand. Consider what problems they had before seeking you out, and how they are likely to feel afterwards.
Then, sort through these experiences to discover a cohesive narrative. Where does your brand fit in? Think back to our Nike example. Nike is an athletic shoe company, but has a strong emotional connection with its customers. It has positioned itself as a vital tool that helps individuals achieve their sports and fitness-related goals. Likewise, you’ll need to consider what negative emotions your brand can help people overcome, and what positive emotions it can evoke.
Once you’ve built these emotion-focused stories and found your brand’s position within them, it’s time to turn them into marketing material. To integrate your new emotional stories into your marketing, you can:
- Use visuals to evoke these emotional stories and connections. This could include artwork, photography, or even videography.
- Check new content against these narratives. Find a way to weave the stories into otherwise bland content, in order to enrich them.
Now that your marketing plans are based on strong branding statements and an emotional connection with your audience, it’s time to move on to the final stage.
3. Pinpoint underlying pain points your brand solves
There’s a saying about marketing that goes: “It’s easier to sell aspirin than vitamins.” In other words, marketing to solve customer ‘pain points’ has a higher chance of success than attempting to appeal to their positive needs.
Think about a dine-in restaurant, for example. Its customers’ pain points may include not being able to cook, hating dinner cleanup, or not having a place to host group events. Its marketing could highlight these pain points, showing how the restaurant solves each of them.
In order to target customer pain points, you’ll first need to identify what problems your brand solves. What do people need when they come to your business? Then, rank all the pain points you’ve generated from most painful to least. Write out how your brand solves each one, starting with the most painful. Be sure to invest the majority of your time into describing the problems your brand solves most effectively.
Finally, you’ll want to combine this information with the branding statements and emotional stories you’ve already developed. Here are some ways you can employ customer pain points in your marketing strategy:
- Check all branded content to ensure that it touches on these pain points somehow.
- Your content should not only highlight these pain points, but illustrate the way your brand provides a solution.
Knowing these three things about your brand will help you strengthen your future marketing efforts through cohesive and effective messaging.
Strong content marketing campaigns can be built by taking a closer look at your branding goals. By better understanding the ideals, emotions, and needs that drive your brand, you’ll be able to create a more effective marketing platform.
To review, here are three of the most important things you should know about your brand to generate strong content marketing:
- The big picture statements your brand wants to make.
- The emotions your brand should evoke for your customers.
- The underlying pain points your brand can solve.
Image credit: Olu Eletu.