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You Can't Afford NOT to Invest in Building Your Brand

Posted by drew on March 12, 2014, 6 p.m.

Every now and then, I get into conversations with clients about their finances. In general, I leave those discussions up to the people writing contracts and making the big decisions, but it still gets around to me sometimes. Usually, it involves my client telling me that they can’t afford to invest in a particular activity if it won’t bring immediate returns. This is too often the conversation around branding.

Cattle branding (Grabill 1888)

What is branding?

Branding is a huge buzzword, and rarely is it defined. This may be because it encompasses many different internet marketing techniques, including parts of design, SEO, social media marketing, PPC, etc.  In general, branding refers to managing the image and impression of your business. How do people feel when they hear about your company? What past experiences with you do they have to draw upon? How do they talk about you to their networks?
 
Branding involves establishing a consistent identity for your company across all marketing streams. In doing so, you ensure that consumers know what to expect from your company. This will help you find the audience that is most dedicated to you and vocal about you. Through branding, you slowly turn your consumers into vocal brand advocates (some might call them Fanboys and Fangirls).

Why would a company choose not to invest in building a brand?

All too often, business owners focus only targeting consumers at a specific point in the sales cycle: right when the consumer is ready to buy a product. The hope here is that if you get to them as they approach conversion, you have a greater chance of selling them something. Significant resources are then spent on advertising and landing pages and SEO targeted toward consumers with cash in their hands. There are other points in the sales cycle, however; consumers could be in a research phase, a comparative phase, a casual interaction state, or even a review state after having already purchased something from you.
 
Many of the activities necessary for brand management have a very slow return on investment. Such activities include social media posts that don’t attempt to drive conversions, online reputation management across the web, or increasing brand awareness with a CPM paid search campaign. None of these activities are meant to target consumers looking for your product or service directly. Most companies that choose not to engage in branding do so for this reason: they don’t think they have the resources to invest in marketing efforts that won’t immediately bring them revenue.

Why your company needs to be engaging in brand building

Remember when I talked about the sales cycle? When someone is in the research phase, they generally have an interest in a topic, but they might not have a need for a product or service yet. Further on in the cycle, they are comparing various options because they are developing a need. Once their need is great enough, they will convert by purchasing a product or service. After the purchase, they evaluate the product or service, potentially turning into advocates for your company or re-entering the sales cycle again, this time with more information.
 
Your brand needs to create marketing content to speak to users in all points of this cycle. The companies that get in front of consumers early on in the sales path are more likely to capture that conversion further along. developing and maintaining brand awareness, alongside building brand trust, will help you create customer loyalty, despite the fact that this usually takes a comparatively long time.

TL;DR

Companies are often reluctant to engage users that aren’t ready to purchase something, but doing so will help you find a loyal audience of brand advocates.  By thinking of the big picture, you can establish lasting growth and capture more conversions consistently. At Fusionbox, we start with a coherent web strategy before beginning any actual work for our clients, making us a trustworthy Denver Internet Marketing Firm.