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A compilation of reference Articles

(For Wharton Marketing Program candidates)















Dedicated to all Coursera- Wharton Marketing program candidates
Its the compilation of reference articles taken from different sources and recommended reading for all candidates
pursuing the Marketing program from coursera-wharton MOOC program. All content hosted here are copyright of
its respective authors.
Branding &
Strategy






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Branding & Strategy
Branding & Strategy
CONTENTS

6 Brand Strategies Most CMOs Fail To Execute ........................................................................................ 3
Branding Strategy As Your Secret Marketing Weapon .............................................................................. 7
4 Examples of Brand Strategy Driving Organizational Success ................................................................ 10
3 Reasons Your Brand Strategy Always Comes First ............................................................................... 15
Brand Strategy Before Design ............................................................................................................ 15
Brand Strategy Before Marketing....................................................................................................... 15
Brand Strategy Before SEO ................................................................................................................ 16
7 Fresh Ideas on How to Brand Your Business ........................................................................................ 17
Why Branding Matters in 2014 .............................................................................................................. 20
What Branding is (and isnt) ............................................................................................................... 21
Benefits of a Well-Defined Brand ....................................................................................................... 21
Why Small Business Branding is Crucial .............................................................................................. 22
25 Killer Resources for Strategic Marketing ........................................................................................... 23
Analytics ............................................................................................................................................ 23
Content Marketing ............................................................................................................................ 23
Social Media ...................................................................................................................................... 24
Graphic Design .................................................................................................................................. 25
Organization ...................................................................................................................................... 26
The 5 Pillars of an Effective Marketing Strategy ..................................................................................... 27








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6 Brand Strategies Most CMOs Fail To Execute
The ground rules for branding are rapidly evolving. Social media, content marketing, the
younger generation, second screening, thought-leadership and the demographic shift are just
some of the many things that are challenging brands to think differently. Creating and
sustaining customer trust and loyalty is more difficult than ever before. Building relationships
with consumers has never been more challenging, with so much competition for their
attention. Look at the constant barrage of pop-up and video ads that flash before our eyes
every time we use our phones, turn on our computers or tablets.
Being an on-trend, relevant, inspiring, purposeful, innovative and community-centric brand
these are the things that will make people pause, listen and pay attention. Customers want to
identify with a brand they can grow with, that earns their trust and makes them feel valued.
People want to evolve with a brand whose products and services help give their business or life
meaning and significance. End to end, a brand must become a consumers best friend.
Whether you are a Fortune 500 company, business owner or entrepreneur, here are six brand
strategies that all chief marketing officers (CMOs) must not ignore :
1. See Consumer Engagement That Others Dont
Stop doing what everyone else is doing and be creative about how your brand engages with
consumers. For example, Beyonc launched her most recent album in a unique way that
would fully leverage her relationship with her fans and advance the image she sought to create
for her brand. Instead of releasing a new single (as advance promotion of the album), she
released the entire album on iTunes with a full library of supporting music videos.
The drip-system is a good tactic, but everything is relative to the maturity of your brand and the
engagement experience you want to ultimately create with your target audience. People like
surprises and want variety. Dont be too predictable. Mix it up. Dont grow complacent.
Stretch your thinking. Every brand is vulnerable. Dont take your audience for granted.
This is why its so important to give your brand a refresh every year (not every 3-5 years).
Remember that consumers are reevaluating their needs more often than you might
think. Instead of being reactive to your audience needs, be on the front end and help guide
them as they reinvent themselves. Manage your consumer engagement strategy or someone
else will do it better.
2. Establish An Identity That is Easily Relatable
Too often brands complicate their unique value proposition (UVP) to get attention. In their
efforts to reinvent and renew, they complicate things that frustrate their consumers and
shareholders. JCPenney is a perfect example. Consumers used to know what to expect from


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JCPenney, but in an effort to reposition the brand, they lost their strategic focus and their
identity along the way.
A brand identity is most powerful when it evolves and its value proposition strengthens in
alignment with the changing lifestyle demands of its audience. Make things simple. People
dont have the time to figure out what your brand is trying to solve. Consumers want brands
to be deliberate with their identity straightforward while at the same time forward-thinking.
When I launched by first entrepreneurial venture, I sought to reinvent the old-school processed
gourmet vegetables category. My brand Luna Rossa was an attempt to introduce a fresh
produce identity to a traditionally processed category. Our brand identity was easy and
relatable: Hand-cut and packaged within eight hours of harvest. Within a year of launch, we
found ourselves in grocery and club stores throughout the country. As our brand matured and
we began to understand our consumer better, we slightly modified the logo and added our new
tagline that read: Romance You Can Taste. It was our way of saying that our products would
deliver a better experience when used as a complementary ingredient and/or side dish with
your favorite entrees.
3. A Lifestyle Platform that Inspires People and Communicates Hope
Brands influence lifestyle and ones state of mind. If your brand is not a lifestyle platform that
inspires people and communicates hope, the impact and influence of your brand message will
quickly begin to wane. Brand platforms like Target (A Bullseye View) and Coca-Cola (Coca-
Cola Journey) recognize that stimulating a new or existing consumer relationship requires the
ability to educate, communicate and inspire your audience about the totality of your brand
what it represents and what it stands for.
Todays consumer expects more from your brand not only the message it communicates but
how it is delivered. That is why content marketing is so important and must be flawlessly
executed to be effective (here are 8 powerful tips).
Consumers want your brands value proposition to come to life and impact their lifestyle with
messaging that is educational and applicable. A holistic approach to branding that gives people
hope will accelerate your ability to earn consumer trust and loyalty and create more
transparent dialogue and feedback to keep your brand in continuous innovation mode
4. Continuous Innovation with Flawless Timing and Execution
Innovation may seem to be an obvious strategy, yet many companies still fall short (or are too
late) in their efforts. Just ask Blackberry, Blockbuster, JCPenney, Volvo, etc. Its no longer just
about introducing new products, line extensions and/or technological advances to strengthen
your UVP. Todays marketplace demands perfect timing and flawless execution with each new
strategy you implement.


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Consumers want to know that you are ready when they are. That means your timing must be
in perfect sync with your audience demands. Dont launch a new product, service or
packaging/logo strategy if your brands audience isnt ready and/or you are not prepared to
execute the requirements for sustainable success all the way through to the end. Short-cuts
are slow death in a marketplace where consumers expect brands to over-deliver before they
actually commit to purchase. Once you have established your reputation for excellence, your
innovation efforts become a public relations strategy that pre-sells your consumers well before
any new product event. Just ask Apple.
5. Promote the Genuine Spirit of Giving
Brands that share the harvest of their success with their audience are the ones that
sustain the best momentum. The spirit of giving must be a central part of every brands DNA.
Unfortunately, many brands forget to give-back to those who supported their growth. Being
a great brand is not just about market share gains and profitability; its about genuinely sharing
the success of your brand with others (whether they have purchased your product/service or
not).
Whether you have a few thousands, millions, or billions of dollars in sales, make it a point to
show your respect and gratitude to the people and communities your brand is serving. Take
the time to interact in ways that go well beyond the obvious. Provide sponsorships (only if
you are genuinely interested in supporting the cause), be consistent with your community
outreach efforts, and actively participate in and support charitable events and organizations.
Fully deploy your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy (if you have one). A great
example is what PepsiCo is doing with its environmental sustainability project.
If you have limited resources and/or just want to keep it simple, be sure to at least say thank
you and show your gratitude. Brands today have a much deeper responsibility to society and
the more your brand touches the needs of the world and helps to make it a better place, the
more abundant you will find the opportunities before you.
6. Serve Others to Leave a Legacy
Much like leaders must lead with a legacy-driven mindset, so should their brands. As you
develop your brand, what is the legacy that you are mindfully attempting to leave behind?
What is your brand known for? According to Wikipedia, brand legacy begins from a point of
origin (core idea) and considers historic message layering to derive a current perception as it
pertains to the target audience. A core idea is a word or thought that encompasses all facets of
the brand. For example, IBMs core idea is computers, while Cadbury is chocolate.
What is the experience and/or product association you are attempting to leave behind for your
brand and what will your audience remember most about how it impacted their business or
lifestyle?


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The most successful brands never fall victim to an identity crisis. They know who they are and
the responsibility they have to those whom they are serving. Their innovations are consistently
delivered, genuine and true. They are focused on what matters most to their consumer and on
continuously making the experience better. Sometimes they may fall flat on the excitement
scale, but their customers remain extremely satisfied. You know that you are building a solid
brand legacy when your customer loyalty is so strong that they are not fazed by your
competition.
When your core idea becomes synonymous with your brand, expectations rise and so do your
strategic responsibilities. This is when you must begin to allow your customers to play a more
hands-on role in your brands evolution. This is when you begin to witness the convergence of
your brands growing community (intimate followers) with the advancement of commerce
(growth in the business). Allow your customers to play a more significant role. Align your
brands identity closer to their own.
Each one of these brand strategies is equally important and they build upon one another to
create and sustain the ultimate customer experience. You must be ready to take on such an
ambitious commitment, and then stick to it until you know your audience inside and out.
Always be accountable to their needs and take responsibility to keep the momentum of the
relationship moving forward. Implement these six brand strategies, and you will build a power
brand for the 21st century consumer














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Branding Strategy As Your Secret Marketing Weapon

Marketing without branding is like fishing without a hook.
Youll be distributing your message, sure. You may see results in the forms of sales closed and
new customers. But is there even anything behind the words? As expert James Heaton
eloquently puts it, your marketing is a method of pushing your message out, while your
branding is the pull that attracts customers. While a marketing campaign may convert a
prospect into a buyer, your brand is what retains their business for life. In an ideal scenario, its
so much more than pure messaging. Branding strategy allows you to position your business in
your market solidly, build meaningful relationships, and retain customers over time.
In an ideal world, a solid brand should precede your marketing. However, thats not to say its
ever too late to begin developing a branding plan for the future. No matter when you start, its
sure to offer immense benefit to your marketing program and outcomes. The following are
some of the ways that defining your organizations core can act as your marketing secret
weapon:
Branding is About Experience
Humans arent spurred to purchase because of a really catchy slogan. While it cant hurt, its
actually a lot less meaningful than you think. According to neuroscientist Douglas Van Praet,
motivation is actually driven by far more visceral things, which are primarily ideas of motion
and memory. While a great marketing campaign may be memorable, a well-defined brand is far
more likely to stick with a person because its about creating an experience.
Expert Steve Manning believes that a brand can be the difference between a commodity and an
experience. People purchase products based on factors like price or convenience, which are
often conveyed during marketing thats not connected to a larger strategy. However, branding
can transform your company into an experience, and your products into a tool for your
customers to achieve a certain lifestyle.
By defining a 360-degree view of who your company is, youre able to integrate more sensory
experiences in your marketing messages that reflect your core values, mission, and essence.
You can define how your product fits into your customers lives, instead of just emphasizing
attributes. These experiences can trigger memories, which are far more likely to inspire a
purchase than well-written, but disparate, marketing communications.





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Brand Positioning Matters
Every well-written brand strategy should include brand positioning. It can be affected by the
following factors:
1. Buyer persona and Target Market
2. Product or Service
3. Differentiating Factors
4. Unique Value Proposition
Is it possible to market without establishing these factors, or to determine these each time you
create a piece of content? Possibly, but its not going to work especially well.
Advertisers have long used a concept called effective frequency, which is a measure of how
many times a potential buyer must be exposed to a brand before they become familiar or
trusting. In many cases, it takes at least 3 separate instances of exposure for someone to feel
comfortable with an organization. If youre having trouble broadcasting a unique value
proposition, differentiating factors or your target audience consistently, youll have a great deal
of difficulty achieving effective frequency.




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Branding Creates Evangelists
If a truly clever piece of content marketing converts a few customers, whats the return on
investment? It can range from minimal to profitable, but are you really earning any dividends
over time? As Heaton highlights, marketing is a way to capture sales, but branding is a way to
make loyal customers, advocates, even evangelists. Your content marketing is an owned
asset, so ensure its a meaningful investment.
The difference between marketing and branding can be in how your customers are treated or
feel once theyve made that inaugural purchase. An effective branding strategy wont just affect
your marketing messages that your prospects engage with on a constant basis. Its going to
infiltrate every level of your business, from your customer advocates to your policies. The kind
of cohesive experience that comes from branding and is embraced by all levels of your
company is what creates customers for life.
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/branding/branding-strategy-secret-marketing-
weapon-0845694#Br7U23j9BoB8LqsJ.99













If you have knowledge,
let others light their candles in it.
Margaret Fuller
(1810-1850, Journalist, Critic and Womens Rights Activist)


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4 Examples of Brand Strategy Driving Organizational Success
Social media, SEO, and mobile dominate todays marketing discussion, with good reason. New
media technologies require new thinking to capitalize on them. But, like radio and TV before
them, new media are merely enablers, not solutions.
The single greatest determinant of marketing success is, and has always been, brand
strategy.
Which customer niche should we target? Who are the key competitors we need to differentiate
ourselves from? How can we effectively position ourselves as something better? If you dont
get the answers to these types of questions right, communications are powerless, and the
media channel irrelevant. So while its important to leverage media technology intelligently,
brand strategy is the primary determinant of marketing success and often organizational
success.
This post shares stories of organizations Ive worked with over the course of my career who
have developed bold brand strategies to distinguish themselves, gain competitive advantage,
and drive sustained growth. I use the word bold because its not easy to overcome the
temptation to play it safe and be all things to all people. These organizations understood that
representing something truly meaningful to some ultimately attracts attention, builds
momentum, and earns a brand identity that ultimately appeals to all.
1: Whole Foods Market
By the early 2000s, Whole Foods
had pretty much maxed out
market share in the organic and
natural customer segment, but
were pursuing growth. Research
indicated that 80% of first-time
Whole Foods shoppers became
loyal customers, and Foodies
represented a highly prized
customer segment with the most
untapped growth potential. So
the question was how to appeal
to this segment more effectively
and inspire Foodies to try
shopping at Whole Foods for the
first time. The answer was a shift
in brand strategy. They de-
emphasized the organic/natural messaging, and developed a new brand strategy targeting
Foodies (without alienating the earthy-crunchies) captured in the tagline Passionately


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Picky. The strategy was expressed in an ad campaign focused on getting Foodies excited about
a specific food item.
Each ad told the story of a single item that exemplified Whole Foods passionate pickiness in
scouring the globe for the best foods in the world. The micro-success of this campaign was the
consistent selling out of the items advertised in the campaign. The far more important macro-
success was a) driving immediate first-time visits by Foodies who sought the specific product
advertised, and b) delivering the message to the broader Foodie audience that Whole Foods
shares their passion for the best foods, not just the most organic/natural foods. Extraordinary
growth was achieved. And it all came down to rethinking brand strategy.

2: UNICCO
While their facilities services industry competitors sold healthy and environmentally-friendly
cleaning products/procedures as an afterthought, UNICCO systematized these services into a
branded offering, UNICCO GreenClean. We armed UNICCO salespeople with briefcase-sized
GreenClean kits that visually communicated UNICCOs commitment. Print ads targeting
facilities services managers showcased consistent GreenClean identity and messaging. Free
marketing materials were developed and offered to UNICCOs commercial real estate
customers to help them attract their tenants with green messaging, and to education
customers to help them recruit their students by communicating healthy buildings to parents.
The result, in a fairly commoditized industry typically driven by the lowest bid? An immediate
spike in market share and profitability. UNICCO took a risk by hanging their hat on green
cleaning, but they anticipated correctly that customers preferring standard cleaning services
would assume that if UNICCO could effectively deliver cutting edge green services, they could
knock standard services out of the park. All growth. No attrition. The GreenClean brand
strategy was a winner.



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Ad targeting higher-ed facilities services managers communicating that GreenClean tools
could impact their recruitment effort.
3: Chat University
This pre-Web2.0 client started a business selling basic, out-of-the box online chat software into
the university market. Their competitors were offering custom-built chat software with a much
wider range of features. How would they compete? Universities felt compelled to communicate
with prospective students using current technology, but they were intimidated by the learning
curve. With this understanding of the target market, Chat U developed a brand strategy
focused squarely on intensive customer support and education.
We developed a nationwide direct mail campaign offering free online chat demos to prospects.
Customers were given binders and phone support walking them through how to use the


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software, how to schedule and promote chat sessions, and how to interact with students during
a chat. Customer service staff were hired not for their tech skills, but rather on the basis of their
experience working inside recruiting departments and truly understanding the customers
mentality. The result? In less than five years, Chat U signed up over 400 universities,
dominated the market, and sold for millions to the worlds leading education software
conglomerateall that despite inferior software. Best product? Nope. Best brand strategy
and execution? Yup.


4: Foundry Sports Medicine and Fitness
A doctors office is a doctors office, but not for the founder of this sports medicine group. This
client invested millions in rebuilding an old industrial building into a luxury, full-service
orthopedic medical center palladium windows, exposed brick and beam, mahogany cafe
waiting room with widescreen TVs and wireless internet, you name it. Spared no expense.
While the reputation of the doctors and physical therapists is traditionally the only basis of
competition in this field, we established a brand strategy for this client centered on the first-
class, inspiring experience offered to patients, right from their first orthopedic visit. We
equipped sales staff with high-impact brochures that brought the quality look/feel of the facility
into sales meetings. We organized an open-house to drive first-hand exposure with referring
doctors and other influencers.


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The result was exponential growth and expansion right from the get-go. Within two years, their
greatest challenge was hiring doctors and staff quickly enough to meet patient demand.

High-impact sales materials bringing the quality look/feel of the facility into sales meetings.
The takeaway: a smart brand strategy is a proven game changer.
Hopefully these examples help inspire some thoughts about how a shift in brand strategy could
drive growth for your organization. If you are already another shining example of the power of
brand strategy, we encourage you to share your story here with the Setter community!




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3 Reasons Your Brand Strategy Always Comes First
Creating a company image involves a lot of different moving parts, from design and copy to
marketing and branding. These components work together to present the buying public with
the most complete vision possible of your companys mission and products. The worlds most
recognizable companies have one thing in common: Their brand strategy always comes first.
Apple, Google, Nike, and LEGO built empires on public perception. Take Apples identity away
that of a company providing products for creative peopleand its simply any other computer
company.
Building a brand is so much more than the sum of its parts. When creating graphics, content,
marketing campaigns, and web design, you may feel you need to choose any one of these over
your brand strategy, even if for a short period of time. Before you set aside your branding
standards to concentrate on any other part of your company, remember this: brand strategy
always comes first.
Brand Strategy Before Design
Your company logo and website may be the image you show the world, but theyre never more
important than your brand strategy. These images only show the world what you look like, not
who you are. Once you understand what you offeryour unique value propositionyou can
then determine how to share that through design.
Imagine if Coca-Colas logo actually belonged to any generic soft drink company. Would the
sleek design have any bearing on your perception of the company or products? The brand is
recognized for being the worlds favorite non-alcoholic beverage and could have achieved this
status with any other logo design. Why? Because the logo doesnt make the brand.
Brand Strategy Before Marketing
Your marketing may be your companys vehicle to carry your message to the world, but without
a brand driving that vehicle, you cant go anywhere. Your marketing campaigns must match
your brand values. Once a campaign is over, your brand is still there, ready to drive the next
campaign. When the two dont align, your customers may change they way they perceive your
business.
Part of developing a brand strategy and creating marketing campaigns is knowing your target
buyer personas. Your buyers are not data in a spreadsheet; they are living, breathing people
with pain points and desires. Develop your brand around these buyers, taking the
psychographic dimensions into consideration, before you plan your marketing campaigns.


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One brand that clearly understands its buyer personas and the many psychographic dimensions
therein is ModCloth. The products, marketing, and website all cater to a particular gender and
age range, but they go far beyond simply providing fashion to women in their twenties. Other
companies might offer the same products at similar prices, but they dont reach buyers in the
same way. This is because ModCloth developed a brand recognized for creating trends instead
of following, and their marketing simply followed suit.
Brand Strategy Before SEO
Many companies consider how they want to be found when they should focus on why they
want to be found. Before you concentrate on the content of your website, you must first
establish your brand strategy. Remember, too, that Google is constantly updating quality
guidelines for website content, so your content strategy could be obsolete within months. Your
brand, however, will always remain.
Instead of focusing on content the search engines will find, tell stories. Brand storytelling is a
great way to build not only trust with a buyer, but also a bond. Create characters that
correspond with your buyer personas and reach consumers on an emotional level. Above all,
use your stories to answer questions about your brand, your products, and your service. In the
end, being found by a search engine wont matter; being remembered by a customer will.
Consider Christian Diors latest campaign, which includes a short film in lieu of the standard
one-minute commercial. Though parts of that film are used for television spots, a full story is
told. That story isnt about cologne that smells good; its about a brand known for luxury,
sensuality, and prestige.



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7 Fresh Ideas on How to Brand Your Business



Brand perception does matter. But what is more important is how you create and position that
perception among your customers. Studies have shown that 75% of purchase decisions are
based on emotion. The organizations that place value-over-price considerations to win hearts
are usually armed with a well-defined, genuinely likeable brand. The benefits of defining your
organizations values, voice, and market placement can include increased profits, and better
customer and employee retention. Here are some effective ways to begin defining your
organization, or jumpstart your current branding efforts:
1. Be Authentic
A well-branded organization has the ability to be recognized, earn loyalty, and define
themselves within their market. However, your efforts to brand your organization wont get far
if theyre not authentic. Dont try to cast your brand as luxury if you serve price-sensitive


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customers. Avoid being too fun if your ideal customers tend to be more serious. Youll
struggle to deliver the right consistency across platforms if your brand persona is nothing more
than a facade.
2. Build From the Inside-Out
Consumers trust their friends and families opinions far more than even your owned media
assets. Thats why every effort to brand your business should include thought toward building a
tribe, who will spread your word organically and with a healthy dose of authenticity.
In Fast Company, Mitch Baranowski recommends starting your branding efforts with the people
closest to you, which will most likely be your employees, your existing supporters, and their
friends. By building excitement around your message with the people who already know and
love your brand, the word will spread much more quickly.
3. Define Your Archetype

While the concept of archetypes may have been defined by famed psychologist Carl Jung, the
idea is nearly as old as time. Throughout fables and parables, novels and folklore, there are
recognizable types of characters that pop up again and again. This tactics been used
successfully by more major brands than you probably realize. Microsoft is the boy (or girl) next
door, while Apple is the visionary. Taco Bell is a jester, while Volvo is something of a caregiver.


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While a basic archetype doesnt need to control your brands entire identity, figuring out where
you fit into the classic narrative can significantly streamline your process of creating a
compelling brand story.
4. Be Relatable
Virtually everyone knows their company should be relatable, but too few understand what that
really means. As author Lewis Howes points out, the heart of the issue here is really empathy.
The worlds most relatable brands have made it their mission to understand their customers
problems, and focus on being the de facto solution. Thats why Nike represents athletic
triumph, and Geico represents price-sensitivity. Know your buyer personas, and be their
solution.
5. Market to Your Customers
If your current content marketing strategy doesnt include outreach efforts for your existing
customers, youre losing fabulous potential. Remind your clients who you are, and how you fit
into their unique lifestyle, in order to remain both top-of-mind and avoid being forgettable.
Strategist Daniel Tay highlights the fact that truly epic brands arent built overnight, but more
usually over decades with the help of consistent efforts.
6. Be Honest About What You Dont Do Well
Regardless of what makes your brand unique, your values need to include authenticity, which is
enhanced by honesty. Know what your company doesnt do well, and focus on enhancing your
strengths, instead. Successful beauty entrepreneur Ido Leffler says this very tactic is among
their biggest successes to date, and it doesnt end with focusing their marketing
communications on their strengths. When things go bad you have to be honest about the
reality and do everything humanly possible to fix it.
7. Give Back
Even if your organization doesnt have a non-profit or humanitarian bent, engaging your
community in positive and altruistic ways can be an incredible branding action. Whether you
choose to donate a portion of your profits or sponsor employee-led volunteer outreach, its
more than just good PR. Community service can enhance your customers perception of your
brand, and improve your ability to leverage your employees as brand ambassadors. Studies by
Realized Worth have found that corporate social responsibility programs improve employee
engagement and loyalty.
Have you defined your businesses unique brand? Share your favorite tips and tactics in the
comments!



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Why Branding Matters in 2014

Apple creates quality products for creatives. When I say McDonalds, you think convenience.
You almost certainly associate BMW with luxury, and Nike with a sense of triumph. The instant
word association of these world-famous brands is the product of careful and effective branding
practices by their marketing teams. Its the same reason why Coca Cola has nearly complete
worldwide recognition. As Forbes Contributor Lois Geller points out, you know what youre
going to get with a well-branded product or service.
Todays consumers have more choices than ever, and a well-defined brand is an easy way to
remove confusion from a crowded purchase process. By building a brand thats synonymous
with quality, customer service or any other factors that influence your end users purchase
decisions, youre able to convert first-time customers into lifelong advocates. Best of all, your
company doesnt need the marketing budget of a Fortune 500 to effectively define who you
are, and what you mean to your customers.


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What Branding is (and isnt)
Advertising legend David Ogilvy
was among the first to define the
idea of branding, something he
described as the intangible sum of
a products attributes. When done
right, building a brand is the process
of creating specific associations in
the minds of consumers that
distinguish your companys
products or services from your
competition. The basics of a
business brand will probably
include colors, a logo, values, and a
clear idea of how you fit into your market niche, but its really much more than that. Its the
concept of transforming your business into a recognizable personality with energy and
character. Effective branding for a company of any size is the process of translating an abstract
concept - your brand personality into a concrete idea in the minds of your consumers.
Branding isnt usually achieved with a a single advertisement, logo file, or website redesign.
Despite what some people might think, theres nothing especially abstract about the process.
As workplace branding expert Dave Galullo writes, its also not the process of yelling louder
to get attention in a crowded marketplace. Its the process of creating a well-defined roadmap
to help your business connect on an emotional level with the right consumers a concept that
arguably matters more today than it ever has before.
Benefits of a Well-Defined Brand
One of the best-known examples of a branding success story is Apple. Ever since their epic 1984
Superbowl commercial, the technology company has positioned themselves as the only choice
of tools for creatives. Theyve built a brand around products that challenge the status quo, and
its worked immensely well. Their customers arent just one-time purchasers, theyre members
of a tribe of self-described fan boys who literally camp out for product releases.
Regardless of whether your business is small, medium-sized, local or online-only, youre not to
small to reap the benefits of your own tribe. As Marketing Expert Mary Van de Wiel highlights,
your business is on the global map if youve got any online presence at all. Consumers can find
you day or night, and a well-defined brand ensures youll be both likeable and memorable
when they come knocking.


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Branding & Strategy
Branding & Strategy
Why Small Business Branding is Crucial
Branding isnt as easy as it used to be. Todays consumer is saturated with marketing messages,
and some experts believe we encounter as many as 5,000 advertisements per day nearly
twice as many as in the 1970s. In order for your organization to gain notice at all, your
branding must be fine-tuned to appeal to your ideal customers. With the amount of
information freely available on the internet often described as content saturation, a well-
defined brand can allow you to stand out to consumers who are tired of chaos and mixed
messaging from your competitors.
Additionally, effective branding is a critical measure to help convert one-time customers into
lifelong, loyal fans. Research has found it costs 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer than
to retain an existing one, and your current buyers are more likely to spend more and refer their
friends. By creating a vibrant personality for your company, you can effectively build stronger
relationships with your customers. Defining your small business brand isnt just important its
necessary to survive and succeed in the digital age.















Share your knowledge.
Its a way to achieve immortality.
Dalai Lama
(1357-1419, high lama of Tibetan Buddhism)


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Branding & Strategy
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25 Killer Resources for Strategic Marketing
Marketing is one of the worlds fastest-
changing professions. A day in the life of a
modern Marketing Manager can encompass
analytics, content marketing, social media,
graphic design, and much more. In a world
where the majority of brands are increasing
their spend on digital marketing, the best
professionals are always looking for
resources to make their workflow more
efficient and effective. Weve curated a list of
the best strategic marketing tools online, to
help you elevate your game:
Analytics
1. Spyfu
You can gain a sneak-peek into your competitors organic and paid SEO successes and failures
with this free tool.
2. PageRank Status
Competitive analysis is easy with this Chrome extension that reveals the PageRank, traffic stats
and more of any website you visit.
3. Open Site Explorer
You can enjoy much of Mozs leading web analytics tools free of charge with this reporting app.
4. HubSpot Marketing Grader
Discover how your strategic marketing, including content marketing and social media, stack up
against your direct competitors.
5. WooRank
Its easy to run a free weekly status report on your websites SEO and traffic health with this
strategic marketing tool.
Content Marketing
6. Free Digital Photos


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Branding & Strategy
Branding & Strategy
Source high-quality, royalty-free images in seconds from this extensive library of free pictures.
7. Storify
Integrate social media conversations in slideshow form into your content to increase your
appeal.
8. Slideshare
Its easy to upload presentations to Slideshares social network for mass-exposure, which can
be embedded into your blog articles.
9. Blog Topic Generator
Develop the perfect idea and article title in seconds with HubSpots free, customizable topic
machine.
10. Google Trends
Access to Googles own data on the topics driving search is a must-have for strategic marketing!
Social Media
1



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Branding & Strategy
Branding & Strategy
1. Social Mention
This social search engine is widely regarded as a best-in-class option for free social monitoring
of mentions.
12. TweetDeck
Theres no better tool for in-depth Twitter engagement, including monitoring specific keyword
conversations and lists from any device.
13. Social Bakers
Eavesdrop on the hottest social media conversations across multiple networks and pivot your
own strategy accordingly!
14. HootSuite
Schedule content with the worlds most-popular social media management platform can come
free of charge for up to 5 accounts.
15. SimplyMeasured
Design and share free reports on the demographics of your social media followers and
customer service success rate.
Graphic Design
16. Canva
This free graphic design tools allows you to create stylish Facebook cover photos, custom
images, presentations and much more!
17. PlaceIt
Integrate your companys logo, marketing materials, or products into photos with this easy-to-
use tool.
18. Skitch
All you need is an Evernote account to get started with Skitch, which is a simple and powerful
way to create quick tutorials. This tool specializes in annotated photos for communication,
illustation, and education.
19. HaikuDeck


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Branding & Strategy
Create simple, trendy, and gorgeous presentations with HaikuDeck, a tool that allows any
marketer to give the impression that theyve mastered the art of graphic design.
20. ThingLink
Gamification and interactivity are increasingly popular forms of strategic marketing, and
ThingLink allows you to tap into interactive graphics without having to write custom code. You
can add icons to photos, which appear when your readers hover over the images.
Organization
21. Trello
This is one of the cheapest and most-popular options for project management. Its web-based,
allowing you to collaborate with remote workers and contractors on strategic marketing
campaigns.
22. Boomerang
Its easy to follow-up with leads and associates with Boomerang, a Gmail extension for
scheduling emails.
23. Feedly
Keeping up on marketing news is as easy as opening your browser with Feedly, an extension
that curates your RSS feeds into an attractive homepage.
24. ToDoIst
Transform your paper to-do list into a living, breathing, digital document with this popular app.
25. WordPress Editorial Calendar
Stay accountable on your content marketing plans and curate resources with this free plug-in
for WordPress users.







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Branding & Strategy
Branding & Strategy
The 5 Pillars of an Effective Marketing Strategy
76% of todays marketers think their profession has
changed more in the last two years than it did in the
previous 50.
Its a staggering thought, but its likely not far off the mark.
As brands struggle to keep up with quickly-changing
consumer behaviors, many traditional marketing programs
are being rebuilt from the ground up. As youre faced with
having to decide how to redirect your budget, its
important to understand what you must include, as well as
which old-fashioned tactics should be laid to rest.
Regardless of your budget size, KPIs or target marketing,
here are the five most important things to include as
components in your forward-facing marketing strategy:
1. Know Your Brand Values
Ultimately, whats the basis of your relationship with your existing customers? Theres an
exchange of goods or services for money, but think deeper than that. At the core, its about
shared values. Your clients picked you instead of your competitors because of your track record
of service, transparency or quality; or possibly some other factor that make your company
distinct.
Understanding who your brand is within your industry, and how you help your clients in ways
your competitors cant should be at the very core of your marketing strategy. Thomas Dawson
highlights that shared values are the only path to competitive advantage. Your prices and
market placement could fluctuate by this time next year, but your brand essence will continue
to set you apart.
2. Know Your Target Personas
Your organization has loads of customer data, but it is actionable? The most effective buyer
personas represent a blend of functional and emotional elements. According to Jeff Bullas,
personas have emerged in the past few years as a means to put a human face to the soulless
and faceless stats of the demographic data scientist.
Traditional customer models rely on demographic information for the purpose of modeling and
segmentation. However, an individuals age and job title isnt always an effective predicter of
whether theyll buy. Your buyer personas should include less discrete factors like habits and
preferences:


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Branding & Strategy


Using qualitative data gleaned from interviews with your existing customers, you can gain
insights on your personas goals and challenges, as well as where they shop and research
purchases. Knowing these profiles will faciliate more targeted and emotionally-appealing
marketing communications.
3. Know Your Geography and Target Industries
Even brands with a truly world-wide target market segment their communications according to
geography. Why? Its highly inefficient to broadcast marketing messages worldwide, without
consideration of factors like cultural differences, and how they affect values. Understanding
where your brand is trying to acquire customers, and from what industries, will allow you to
optimally segment your communications. In an era where we encounter an average of 5,000
marketing messages a day, targeted communications are crucial for your messaging to even be
noticed at all.



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Branding & Strategy
4. A SEO and Conversion-Optimized Website
Your website is your companys calling card. 89% of modern consumers use a search engine for
product research or purchase decisions, and 91.5% of these queries will land on a website
thats ranked on the first page of results. If your website isnt a prominent presence in search,
youll struggle to capture prospect attention and generate leads online. 96% of first-time
visitors to your company website arent ready to buy, which is why its crucial that your site also
offers conversion-optimized landing pages to capture lead contact information.
5. Integrating Your All-bound Marketing
Much of the meteoric growth of inbound marketing is due to the fact its often cheaper,
according to marketing technologist Dan Stasiewski. While radio, television, and print
advertising are down, theyre not obsolete, and failing to integrate these channels can cause
you to miss out on critical opportunities to connect with your leads and customers.
Integrating your inbound and outbound marketing efforts into a single, cohesive strategy can
allow you to accelerate ahead of those who think they are at the crossroads, choosing one
direction or the other, writes agency CEO Jeff Kalter. Communicating via a combination of
traditional and newer marketing methods can strengthen your ability to nurture leads into
customers.
Studies have found that it takes an average of 7-12 touches to turn a lead into a customer.
Incorporate your marketing communications across channels, from blogging to direct mail, to
ensure your education and outreach messages are both logical and linear.


Thank You for Reading
C.Rajneesh Kumar
Email : rkn.bits@gmail.com

There is no wealth like knowledge,
and no poverty like ignorance.
Buddha (c. 400/500 BC, founder of Buddhism