Even though people often confuse branding and marketing, the two are quite different from one another. At the same time, they need to match so that your company goals are at the forefront at all times. The last thing you want is for consumers to get confused about who you are and what your company’s purpose is.

Management should understand the goals of the company as a whole, yet 75 percent can’t list the top goals of their companies. To fully develop a smart marketing strategy, the entire team must understand and embrace branding goals.

Here are eight ways you should ensure that marketing strategy aligns with branding goals.

1. Know the Brand’s Purpose

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Each person in the company should fully understand the brand’s purpose. The purpose isn’t just how much money the company would like to make. It goes much deeper than that. It often ties into the reason the person started the company in the first place. For example, a company that sells dog collars may have had the dream of creating a breakaway color that would save dogs’ lives. The purpose is much bigger than simply selling another collar.

Once the brand’s purpose is clear, it’s easy to align marketing with that purpose. Advertisements will explain the goal of saving canine lives, social media campaigns will offer tips on how to protect your dog from various dangers, and all other elements will begin to align.

2. Understand the Target Audience

Understand the Target Audience

Most marketing teams have a firm understanding of the target audience. If your company markets to Baby Boomers, then the marketing team knows the ins and outs of what the buyer’s habits are. However, looking at the target audience also helps with branding goals. Fully understanding your typical customers allows you to give them the things they most want from a brand.

Zipcar is a car sharing network whose main audience is millennials. Their buyer persona is the typical millennial who lives in an urban setting and doesn’t want the added cost of owning a vehicle. These buyers prefer to share cars and reduce costs. In fact, they often walk or bike to where they want to go rather than taking a vehicle. Their posts on social media show that they’re looking for those who are younger and don’t want to be tied down with a lot of belongings.

3. Get Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can help your brand in a number of ways. First, reviews clue you into what you’re doing well and what needs improvement. Pay attention to what customers have to say, and fix anything that needs fixing.

Reviews are also a good way to pull in new customers. People trust referrals more than what a brand has to say. Across all generations, people trust referral advertising by 79 percent or more. Reviews help your brand image while providing a viable quote to include in marketing materials.

4. Remain Consistent

Does your brand stand for one thing while your marketing portrays something different? Know what you stand for as a company, and reflect that across every interaction a customer has with your brand. If you tout honesty and transparency, don’t suddenly grow secretive about the sourcing of your parts. Keep everything consistent throughout the process, from manufacturing to sales pitches to marketing campaigns.

Naked Pizza, which has evolved into the name Nkd Pizza, brands itself as a healthier option for pizza. Their brand is about fresh ingredients, a crust made of ancestral grains and a homemade tomato sauce. The marketing is consistent with the brand image in that it’s honest (naked) and truthful. They get right to the point with social media posts and other marketing endeavors.

5. Match Your Industry

If you work in a serious industry, try to match marketing to your brand. Don’t use humor if you sell caskets, for example. On the other hand, if you own a comedy club, using humor in your marketing is perfectly appropriate. Take the time to figure out the overall tone of your industry, how you reflect that tone as a brand and how everything aligns with your marketing model.

For example, a construction company should use a logo that reflects the industry and makes it clear on social media that their brand is a construction-based brand. When a consumer follows a company on social media, they’re 53 percent more likely to be loyal to that brand.

6. Prioritize Goals

Prioritize Goals

You have very specific goals for your brand, such as hitting a certain number of sales by a set date or giving back 10 percent of your profit to the local community. Your marketing goals need to match up with your brand goals. However, you also have to figure out as a company which goals are the most important and prioritize those over others.

A good example of marketing that ties into an organization’s goals is the World Wildlife Fund. The main goal of the brand is to preserve wildlife. Every bit of marketing they do ties back to that main goal. Their logo is a panda bear, reminding people how cute this creature is. They also offer branded products. At the same time that they remind people of the amazing abilities and appearance of animals, the tone is somewhat serious, because wildlife conservation is a serious issue.

7. Ignore Trends for Now

When you’re trying to match branding goals and marketing strategy, don’t worry about trends in either category or what popular culture is doing. Your initial plan should be for a long-term strategy. What do you hope to accomplish as a company, and is it reflected in your branding?

Now, look at your marketing calendar. Do those plans align with your overall goals for your company? While trending topics are fine when they make sense for marketing purposes, your focus should never be on trends. Trends come and go quickly, so put your focus on what lasts, and tie into trends when it makes sense for that added traffic boost.

8. Create a Brand Culture

There are many benefits to having a strong company culture. When everyone on the team understands the identity of your company, they all intrinsically understand why you do the things you do. This knowledge translates into happier employees and the ability to attract the most skilled workers.

Unfortunately, about two-thirds of employees don’t feel their company has a strong culture, yet workplace culture is one of the biggest factors that impact how happy employees are. Taking the time to make sure everyone fully understands where you started and where you’re going results in better cohesiveness among all departments.

Match Brand and Marketing

Sometimes, matching brand and marketing is simple and makes sense. At other times, it’s difficult to separate the two. At still other times, a great marketing idea might not fully align with your brand’s overall image. It’s how you handle these different occurrences that will ultimately determine how consistent and relatable your brand is to the consumer. Stick to a specific goal, and you’ll remain reliable and trustworthy to consumers.

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