How to Build Successful Brand Campaigns

Nov 05, 2020

Congratulations! At last, you’ve completely nailed your brand identity. You and everyone on your team has a strong sense of who you are as a company. You’ve clearly established what you stand for, what you aim to achieve, and who you’re speaking to. Maybe you’ve even tied your brand identity to a greater purpose. This is an accomplishment to be proud of. But unfortunately, it’s absolutely meaningless unless you can communicate this incredible brand identity to the wider world. That’s where brand campaigns come in.

What Are Brand Campaigns, and Why Do They Matter So Much?

While everyone at your company may have a firm notion of your brand’s identity, your brand’s true identity is the perception that consumers hold. If those two identities are aligned, that’s great! But if they’re not, then you have some work to do, and developing a brand campaign is the first step.

In broad strokes, brand campaigns are targeted communications meant to generate awareness about your company, to tell your story and set yourself apart from competitors. They aim to bring your brand to life in an impactful way, leaving people with lasting positive impressions. This can be done in a variety of different ways and across all sorts of different media — TV! Billboards! Radio! Newspaper! — but in today’s landscape, most brand campaigns live primarily on digital platforms: social media, email marketing, paid ads, and so on. This is great, because it makes impactful brand campaigns more accessible to all budgets, and because it’s much easier to track, tweak, and measure the success of digital campaigns.

But why should you bother with all the work of a brand campaign? Your product or service is great, so shouldn’t the quality speak for itself? Unfortunately, that’s not how things work today. Consumers expect more of their brands: they want personality and authenticity, and they see the brands they use as an extension of their personal identity, not commodities. In fact, 66% of people follow between brands on social media, and 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands familiar to them.

And remember, brand campaigns aren’t just for startups or rebranding efforts. Every company, no matter how big or well established, needs to think about how consumers view their brand. With the business landscape constantly shifting and new brands and trends emerging, getting and keeping customers requires a constant investment in brand awareness — for everyone.

8 Tips for Building Successful Brand Campaigns

Brand campaigns can be huge drivers of success for a company — remember how Warby Parker emerged out of nowhere to become the go-to glasses brand for millennials? — or they can fall completely flat. To ensure that your campaign is the former rather than the latter, it’s important to keep in mind some best practices and proven strategies for success.

  • Know who you are: This perhaps goes without saying, but it’s so important that we’ll say it anyway. If you’re creating a campaign to tell people who you are as a brand, then you have to know who you are as a brand. This doesn’t mean a few adjectives on a whiteboard: you need to make sure that everyone on your team has a solid sense of what you stand for, what you aren’t, what your mission is, and so on.
  • Define your target audience: If you’re a company that sells roller blading equipment and you put your brand campaign in front of sedentary retirees, it’s not going to be a success no matter how great of a campaign it is. In order for your campaign to be effective, you have to know who you’re trying to reach and figure out where they live online. Read more about audience segmentation here to learn how to effectively create and use personas.
  • Research the competition: By seeing how your competitors present their brand in ads and campaigns, you can get a better sense of the current landscape and how your brand fits in. You’ll notice gaps and ways that you can differentiate yourself, as well as get a good sense of what consumers expect.
  • Seek out influencer partnerships: These days, consumers (especially young ones) crave authenticity, and they’re much more likely to pay attention to a person they like and follow on social media than an ad. Fortunately, influencer marketing is a powerful way to connect with influencers who align with your brand values and can effectively and authentically promote your brand to their audience. Make sure to seek out influencers whose audience overlaps with yours — a bow-hunting survivalist isn’t going to effectively peddle yoga apparel, but he might be a great partner for a nutrient-dense energy bar. You can connect with influencers on your own by sending DMs, or you can work with an influencer marketing agency or platform.
  • Keep it simple: Don’t try to say too much in one campaign. Your brand identity is complex and multifaceted, but you can’t effectively communicate all of that in a brand campaign. Instead, home in on the one key takeaway you want people to have when they encounter your campaign, and make sure to communicate that clearly. Subtlety can be great in certain contexts, but you don’t want to make the viewer do too much work here. People have short attention spans and are bombarded by countless messages all day long; make your message bold, clear, and memorable.
  • Be consistent: The way that brand campaigns work is by serving people the same clear message in various different media and formats over time. Eventually, they see the message enough that they form a lasting impression of your brand. Of course, this doesn’t work if your brand looks different every time they encounter it. Make sure that everyone on your team has a clear sense of your brand and how you present it to the public (there are lots of ways tech can help you enforce this).
  • Track and measure success: You can’t just create a brand campaign, send it out into the world, and call it a day (well you can, but we wouldn’t recommend it). Rather, you need to clearly define what success looks like for your campaign: what quantifiable benchmarks are you trying to achieve? Do you want to gather leads? Increase organic website traffic? Drive conversions? Know what you’re trying to achieve, and regularly track these metrics. If you’re falling short of your goals, take a step back and reevaluate your campaign. The beauty of digital campaigns is that you can tweak them in real-time, adjusting where or how or when your message appears.
  • Don’t call it quits too early: Duration matters when it comes to the success of brand campaigns. It takes five to seven impressions for consumers to remember a brand, so you need to make sure that people see the campaign enough for it to lodge in their memory. There’s no magic bullet length of time that will work here, but you can make a rough estimate based on your target audience and what you know about their online behavior.

The strength of your brand is measured not by what you think and say about it, but what other people think and say about it. Thankfully, a successful brand campaign can help you make sure that those two impressions are exactly the same.

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