As a brand or marketing manager, how do you know what if you need branding or marketing? Is there an overall strategic implementation in your company? Or do you leave it up to your agency?
More often than not, I have seen agencies haphazardly prescribe marketing when clients has yet to plan their brand strategy. Other times, clients back-peddle to the drawing board to review their brand when they should be focusing on marketing initiatives. Either way it’s a waste of time and resources, plus the client winds up with something they don’t need. The work that the agency not only is a white elephant, but may work to disincentivize the business long-term.
So how do managers know what their companies actually need? First managers have to appreciate the difference between branding and marketing.
Branding is about defining interest. It’s about defining what you are proposing that is interesting to the market, who may be interested, why they may be interested, and when, where and how they will be interested. Branding is about establishing a strategy to communicate your proposition to your target audience. Whatever else the output may be, it must clearly and consistently present the strategy of funnelling the market to your value proposition: a roadmap, an identity, a vision, etc.
Marketing is about capturing interest. After the interest in the target market has been generated, it’s up to the business to capture as much of the generated interest as possible. How does marketing differ from PR or Advertising? Simply put, the purpose of marketing is to convince a purchasing decision from the prospect (yes, not the prerogative of sales!) by putting forth a promotion or a particular associated offer with the value proposition that sufficiently convinces the prospect’s purchasing decision. Usually this would be a featured product, a happy hour special, or even validating parking for shopping at a particular outlet.
When you have defined your company’s brand funnel, you will be able to visualize your company’s brand strategy at a glance. Creating a concrete brand implementation plan will be a very straightfoward process. Thereafter you will know whether to engage a vendor to develop brand assets such as corporate profiles, websites, print flyers and the like.
Most importantly, a sincere agency will always be able to intimately understand what your company needs. They will be able to prescribe the right solution according to how your company’s brand funnel has developed instead of peddle their services.