How Strategic Planning Can Help Grow Your Brand (Part 1 Brand Awareness)

by Rekko Salam Director of Digital Marketing Turbo Noodle

You and your target audience. Have you guys met? 

If you plant the seeds they will grow. At least in theory. If you encompass all that is needed in a void that a customer has, you will sell. When we take good market and customer data and intertwine it with eyes on understanding, we can bring a potential customer into the first phase of the marketing funnel.

And that’s in reality.

In order for us to prepare these potential customers to become paying ones, first they, the potential consumers of your product, have to know the ‘who, what, where and how’ of your brand. And that brings us to an important yet often overlooked aspect of that understanding. Market Research. Researching your market and your brand’s place within it can not only get you off to a great start toward filling that void for a customer, but ensure that you have a clear direction about where your brand is headed. When we think of that research, two important factors emerge in the equation; your brand and those that can benefit from it, leading us to two critical points of note. First and secondly, you must know who YOU, the brand is and what point you are trying to make within the market sphere and who THEY are…your customers, in terms of identity, needs, wants, and supply along with past, present and projected demand. We can take current technology, innovative ideas and some good old business logic and reason and begin to formulate a thorough brand awareness campaign that covers everything from market research and strategic planning, all the way to maximizing initial consumer interaction. 

 

The Details, The Details

Ah yes, those pesky little details. The things that can make any project grow horns even under the best of intentions when overlooked. In the words of a founding father and well respected businessman of his time, Benjamin Franklin, “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” Let’s deep dive a bit into that statement and put it in relative terms.

In the business world where R.O.I. is everything, the amount of time actually running the brand awareness campaign can be better utilized if we spend due and diligent time in our preparation. When we are going through our initial ‘think tank’ sessions at our agency, we always emphasize thinking the plan for the project, at each stage of the marketing funnel, all the way through to the end.

By nature, most people think with their passion and self-interest and not their foresight. Their outlooks are generalized and vague, geared only toward the happy ending and so they leave little room to maneuver when real life happens. This type of thinking leads to a reactive response, as opposed to a more efficient, proactive one.

In brand awareness, when you think the campaign through all the way to initial customer interaction, you can avoid the desire to wing an idea for the sake of not having one; when in actuality, clarity about how to best accentuate your product’s viable points, is the kind of information a brand is seeking in the first place. This attention to detail process in the early stages creates a path to what you are trying to accomplish and helps to formulate the core of an integral piece of your branding road map.

 

When a brand is trying to initially steer customers toward their products, the key points can always be found in the details. These seven key points illustrate how those details are identified, understood, implemented and optimized.

  • Market research. Knowing where your brand and products stand in your market, who your competitors are and the core identity and habits of your customer base is vital.

 

  • Branding Road Map. Now that we have done our due diligence with our market research, it’s time to look at the intricate aspects of our planning.  When we think about our branding road map, we look at it as a trip. We start at point A and the goal is to get to point B and beyond. In this case our ‘points’ would be our KPIs and metrics that we identify as relevant to the project’s success.  By strategically assessing where we are versus where we want to be, when can better manage the product and measure and optimize at key points in the branding campaign process. And our campaigns will always be planned S.M.A.R.T.

 

  • Brand presentation. Creating a stand out presentation is critical to awareness. It’s imperative that a potential customer notices you in an environment where shelf space is a very valuable and precious commodity.  

 

  • Customer outreach. OK so we’re starting to get an understanding of our customer base, now how are we strategically reaching out to them? Social media, magazines, blogs, paid digital and print media, etc.? We have to have a clear digital marketing plan to assure that our awareness campaign covers all the relevant media channels.  If we go mass media and print, how does that tie into and affect the marketing budget? What’s the bottom line cost per lead? Have we already calculated out customer’s LTV (Life Time Value)? Again, a viable outreach plan ensures you cover all bases and present your brand in the right way, to the right people, at the right place and at the right time.

 

  • Consistency. Now that we have some outreach points in place, such as social media channels and ad campaigns, we have to stay focused, organized and consistent. A consistent media campaign with more average content can actually out perform a very compelling campaign from a content perspective that’s not ran efficiently and consistent. Impressions, interactions, exposure, etc. comes largely through knowing the ‘science’ behind social and digital media in terms of strategic posting and audience targeting, as well as, making the most of automation and app technology.

 

  • Measurement & Optimization. You’ve taken your idea and made it a reality, complete with moving parts. Now it’s time to measure. When we were creating our branding road map, we decided on what was relevant to our brand and we set our KPIs and metrics. We can utilize those baselines to measure our progress. Taking that info and applying it to our optimization efforts allows us to best gauge, adjust and execute future campaign initiatives.  

 

The Lightning That Sparks A Fire

If you’ve been a part of a successful business for many years, you already know that adapting to the demands of the market is what has kept you in business. If you’d kept the same business model like you had in 1982 it would be missing the internet (emails, websites, social media, etc.), for example and you’d be selling those encyclopedias door to door instead of through e commerce. It’s logic that making a sale without leaving the internet is more efficient than someone spending gas, labor and time to go to each house to find leads.

But there are some elements in the essence of lead generation through brand awareness that have changed in dynamic but still resonate. That same knock on the door in 1982 is now in 2016, your website/landing page, social media, digital media, etc. So the lightning that sparks the fire is the same. It’s that initial interaction that determines how a potential customer sees your product and more importantly if that view would lead them to the next stage of the marketing funnel.

If you’re just getting started with your product, your strategy is the same. Your success or failure is weighed in your preparation. The best of intentions are only as good as the actions that follow. And adaptation is the key to survival not only in business and brand awareness, but in life.