Brand promotion is a common marketing strategy intended to increase product awareness, customer loyalty, competitiveness, sales and overall company value. Businesses use it not only to show what is different or good about themselves and what's for sale, but also to keep that image alive for consumers. It usually focuses on elements that can stand the test of time, although businesses do adjust promotions based on what is happening in the market. The efforts required to be effective with these techniques require that marketers be passionate about what they're doing.
Making Consumers Aware
A primary objective with this strategy is to increase brand awareness, which is a measure of whether people know about a company's products, services and philosophies. The basic idea is that people can't buy what they don't know exists. For a company to expand or compete, it has to put some effort into getting messages out to the public.
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Businesses can communicate with buyers in different ways, such as using print ads, radio commercials or demonstrations. In many cases, businesses use more than one of these methods to be more effective. The hope is to bombard the public with information about what's for sale and what the company stands for.
Repetition is essential for creating awareness. Typically, the average person has to see or hear a company message more than five times before it sticks in the mind. A business therefore has to deliver its advertisements over weeks, months or even years, not all at once. It can take time to see the full effects of a campaign.
KSPs and Competitiveness
As a business shows its goods or services to consumers, awareness by itself is not enough to make someone buy. Companies also have to show that they can give the buyer something that isn't available somewhere else. Executives do this by identifying what is special, also known as a key selling point (KSP). A mascara manufacturer, for example, might focus on the fact that its product stays on lashes longer. Sometimes, leaders within a marketing team will develop a different campaign based on each of the key selling points, but they might also communicate a handful of KSPs within a single message, depending on their advertising budgets.
Emphasizing these selling points often makes a company more competitive overall. Buyers are able to look at these elements and make informed comparisons, eventually making a decision about what service or merchandise to buy. The more aggressive, frequent or clear a business' KSP message is — that is, the better a company promotes itself — the more likely customers may be to choose that brand. A very good product may not sell nearly as many units as a mediocre one if the features that make it different or better aren't emphasized to shoppers.
Building a Loyal Client Base
Another reason companies promote brands is to help create customer loyalty. If the business can show off its merchandise or services well and make customers see the value in the KSPs, they will likely have a good purchasing experience. The good feelings that come with that purchase may make the customer want to buy again, and over time, he looks at the brand as his preferred choice. He might even buy the company's products when another cheaper option is available because of the benefits he perceives.
Sales, Profits and Company Value
The concepts of awareness, key selling points and customer loyalty connect to the bottom line of profits. When people know about a company's services or goods and prefer them to the alternatives, sales for the business usually go up. That drives up the how much money the company takes in. Bigger financial gains mean that executives can invest in more projects or improvements, and the public often sees this as being innovative. Stock prices, which show the perceived value that a public company has, usually increase as a result.
Maintaining the Image
Once executives have created a good image, they cannot assume their job is done. Competitors constantly are putting out new products that can change how people see a brand, so businesses have to assess the market continually. If they see that certain lines aren't ranking as high as before, they usually improve whatever is being sold, identify new key selling points and develop new campaigns.
Image problems also can come directly from within a company. If executives lie about their practices, for instance, consumers generally see the dishonesty as bad and project their feelings about the situation into their buying decisions. Ethics is always a consideration in brand promotion for this reason.
Looking to the Future
As marketing directors focus on brand promotion, they keep in mind that, ideally, even though some minor adjustments to messages might need to happen to keep the company competitive, the overall image will not shift dramatically. Complete reorientation is hard because people don't easily forget their first reactions to or collective experiences with a product or service. Leaders, therefore, have to have a future-oriented approach in brand promotion. They have to find a focus for the image that the company will be happy with for a long period of time. This requires a good sense of vision.
The Element of Passion
Effective promotion is a lot of work, and it can be tiring. People who are in marketing must have a true sense of passion about what they're doing to stay energized, focused and efficient. In good campaigns, this passion comes across to consumers and influences what they think.