The digital space is riddled with marketing tips and advice.

  • How to get more traffic from Google
  • How to get more fans on Facebook
  • How to squeeze more conversions with conversion optimization

Great advice, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting it’s not worthwhile. But much of the marketing wisdom out there today for those of us who are perpetual students of digital marketing are very micro-focused tactics that overlook equally important things like branding and brand marketing.

As a young pup, when I decided I wanted to go into the marketing field I recall that marketing was very much about broadcasting your message, advertising to the masses…and the brand. It seems the common marketing wisdom has gone from one extreme to the other where brand marketing is rarely talked about in the echo chambers of blogdom.


Does Brand Marketing Work?

Some of the biggest marketing juggernauts out there today are wielding brand marketing to their benefit. Companies like Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Disney, the list reads like a who’s who of companies. If brand marketing is a waste of time, why do so many successful companies spend billions of dollars every year to remind you about their brand?

Now I can hear what you’re probably thinking:

  • “Brand marketing is expensive”
  • “… ineffective”
  • “… doesn’t pay the bills.”

I understand the perception, especially for companies who have been around less than 10 years.Results matter because results keep you afloat and pay the bills.

But there are stories like Marc Benioff, CEO of When his company was a young well-funded startup, he was rumoured to have spent over $1 million on free t-shirts for a single conference. It’s tough to calculate the ROI on t-shirts, but then again it’s also tough to argue against a company that now has a market cap of $13.3 billion. So who’s to say that stunts like that to get your brand out there to increase awareness and keep you top of mind don’t have an additive affect to their marketing efforts?

It works, but very slowly. The time horizon for the effectiveness of brand marketing is not measured in hours or days, it’s measured in weeks, months & years. Samsung’s recent marketing efforts to topple the iPhone is an example of how soon brand marketing can have an affect.

Brand Marketing is Necessary

Whether you like it or not, brand marketing is necessary. It’s necessary as a start-up, as a growth company and especially as a mature enterprise.

  • It differentiates you from your competitors
  • It keeps your company top-of-mind and helps ward off any wandering thoughts by your customers to try alternatives
  • It contributes to loyalty

What Does Brand Marketing Look Like?

Too often we associate brand marketing with advertising, which is only one form of searing your brand into the minds of your customers. There are other forms of brand marketing that are often overlooked.

  • Event Sponsorships and Hosting Events – Associating your company’s brand with activities and events that have an affinity with your brand.
  • Becoming a Thought Leader – If your company is held in high regard as the go-to place for all things “X”, that in itself is a form of brand marketing.
  • Cultivating a Community – Social media done right is a form of brand marketing.
  • Charitable Efforts & Community Involvement – Karma has a cosmic and positive affect on your brand.
  • Signage, Logo & Schwag – An old school method that still works. Brand recognition is associated with your logo and colors. Enquiro a leading search engine marketing agency, tested search results pages with test subjects; using Bing’s search results with Google’s colors and logos. Just by simply swapping the Bing logo and design with Google’s, test subjects reported an increase in search results relevancy…that’s the power of a brand.

The moral of the story is to keep a balanced approach to marketing. There’s no magic ratio or formula to determine how much to invest in direct marketing tactics vs. brand marketing. Marketing is part math, part sociology. Keep a balanced approach and your company will have the best likelihood to succeed.


Hey there, I'm Marc!

I'm the Director of Growth Channels @Hootsuite. I've worked in digital marketing since 2000 for agencies, startups and companies like Electronic Arts & SAP. Thanks for checking out my site where I share digital marketing strategies on how to increase website traffic and generate more revenue.

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