Oct. 18, 2022

Brand Based Marketing Plan for 2023

Brand Based Marketing Plan for 2023

In this solo episode, Zahra shares valuable strategies on how to take your brand and integrate it into your marketing. Easy actionable steps to improve messaging and be proficient in your marketing.

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Thank you for listening,

Zahra Cruzan

Founder, The Brand Collaborative And Brand Author

The Brand Collaborative      Brand Author



Hey guys, and welcome to today's episode. So usually I do interviews but today we're taking a break and doing something a little bit different. We are going to talk about brand based marketing and I am really excited to talk to you about this today, because this is a topic that's near and dear to my heart. In fact, that's why we found in our agency, we saw a huge gap for small and medium businesses, where they had components they had the pieces of their brand, they had the messaging, the core values, the font, the logos, and all that kind of stuff, what they didn't have was a clue or an idea, support or help on how to take that off the page, and roll it into the marketing really integrated into the marketing to produce brand equity. And so what we were seeing is a lot of copy paste jobs on about his page on websites, and maybe a little here and there sprinkled into onboarding training. But we weren't really seeing that people had a clear idea of how to take a brand and integrate it into their marketing. 

And when we talk to business owners, that was a main point of frustration, they had a beautiful brand that was eloquently presented to them, and they loved it, they just couldn't duplicate it, or put it into action in any way, they were just kind of needed a little support bridging that gap. And so this is something that we're really passionate about, we believe strongly. And so I'm very excited to talk to you about it and it's a really good time. So by the time this podcast airs will probably be about the end, mid to end of October and this is about when companies are scrambling trying to figure out what the heck are we going to do for marketing next year, pulling together budgets trying to form ideas. And so I thought this would be a really good time to give you guys some pointers when you're putting together your marketing, your brand based marketing strategy. So without further ado, let's get to it. 

So whenever you are creating your brand based marketing strategy, we always start with goals, what are we trying to achieve? So right off the bat, I can give you two that are going to be universal. The first is making sure that your marketing serves as a messaging platform for your brand. The goal is to have whatever you produce be a beacon or a magnet, for your core audience. It should be highly polarizing, to people who are not in your audience, and highly attractive to the people that are in your audience. One of the most common mistakes that I see with businesses, when they're just starting out, is this fear of missing out on people. Well, if I say this, then certain people will feel excluded and I'll lose business. And the truth of the matter is that those people are likely not going to buy for you from you anyways. And if they do, they're not going to be real happy with what they get. 

If it's a service based business, it'll be your nightmare client. If it is a consumer product, it's going to be a lot of returns. And so it doesn't really help you gain your audience or they're not going to buy it at all, because they just don't get it. And so when they see your price point, they're gonna say, No, I can just get it cheaper somewhere else not worth it. And so when you kind of make that content more inclusive, which inclusive is a great word, but not in this context, right when you just kind of open it up to anybody. What happens is, the messaging gets very cluttered, and we don't see a story of value and so the people who would pay top dollar for the kind of quality and the kind of value that you're giving, don't get that that's what you're giving them because your messaging is too nebulous. And so they don't convert, and then the people who don't care don't convert because your price is too high. 

So they wouldn't see the value in it even if they understood it and so you set yourself up to play a game that you will always lose. And so when it comes to your brand based marketing, you have to be really exclusive and you have to focus on your target market and polarize everyone else. Now, here's the big asterisk most of us don't have have the data and it's also not great to center everything around just demographics, because demographics can be misleading, right? And so when I say, be exclusive, I'm not talking about necessarily your demographic data. I'm talking about your psychographic data, what is it that your core audience truly believes. Because you've created a product of impact a product or service of great value, based on a belief system that you have around that topic area right. So I believe that we need more business and we need to support impact driven brands, brands that are committed to sustainability. 

That's my belief system and so that comes out a lot my messaging, but about business leaders who are out to better the world. If that's you, you're our people and that's important, right? That kind of information is important so whether you're a small business starting out, or you're a multimillion dollar business, that demographic doesn't matter as much. What matters is the belief system and so when we say exclusivity, we mean exclusivity as far as the psychographic profile, what are you connecting with, on a belief system level and that is one of the big, universal goals of marketing is your marketing targeting these people. The second goal is value. No matter what other objectives you have, you should always have a goal set. Our is marketing and advertising, telling a story of value. Because no matter what your price point is, everybody wants to feel like they've gotten a great value. 

So if you are a company, who is uses compostable packaging, is it just written on your packaging? Or do we talk about it a lot in our marketing and so those are the kinds of things that when we set goals, you want to make sure that that stays at the focal point, as far as goals go. And then of course, you have the other goals, what are you trying to achieve tangibly? What's your goal for your brand was here? Do you need to widen your audience or do you need to look at the audience of the customer base that you have and build deeper relationships with them? Expose them to more of your services or products so that they can become raving fans? Are we trying to make them ambassadors to bring on their friends on board? What are the goals that we have if we don't know what we're trying to achieve? 

We don't know if we've hit success at the end. The second thing we want to do after we've set our goals is really nail down our messaging. What is it that we're trying to achieve so go back and look at your brand. What we do with a lot of our clients is we have a little retreat or a strategy sessions are something that we do, where we collectively go to get get together, we look at the brand, we form some goals, what are we trying? What parts of our brand are we really trying to to leverage and highlight and immerse ourselves in through our marketing and branding over the next year? This might be where, in some cases, you may look at what you have, do these core values still make sense for our our brand? Is our vision as clear as we thought it was? Does it matter to our audience? Do we like our brand story or do we even have a brand story? Maybe is there something you know that we need to edit? Is there a next chapter of the story we need to write what's going on there? 

So taking a look at the guidebook that you're using right just think of your brand, your brand guidelines as your as your reference material isn't a reference material up to date, is it clean? Is it robust? Do we have what we need then you really want to look at what kind of topics and content you should be generating. So based on this messaging platform, based on you know, all the other components As new products, new services are rolling out, what is the content that you should be talking about that is going to build excitement, make it a no brainer, educate your customer to go from where they are to where they need to be to make a decision to purchase your product or service. So then we start looking at content generating and so we look at the topics that we need to cover, that will tell the story of value, that will act as a beacon for the people that are coming in and accomplish other goals that you have. 

So then it comes down to generating that content, and creating multiple versions of that content because remember, marketing is about consistency. It's about repetition. It's about testing different metrics. Now, we don't have the time in the course of the podcast to go through exactly how we do that. We do have a workshop that we're teaching in November, that will take you through that process step by step so if you go into the show notes, and that sounds like it's something for you, you can go ahead and sign up there. But generating your core ideas of, of of content so this is where we say it if I am going to now sell website services, then one of the topics that we should talk about is user experience, maybe wireframing, maybe photography on your website. So then you start to say, Okay, well, this is the product that I'm selling and my messaging is all about, you know, user experience precision, being intentional with what you do in marketing, then some of the topics that I can draw from that is, hey, do you just have the same five pages that everybody has?  

Or have you created a wireframe? Have you gone through your user experience? Do you know how to organize your products? Do you have the right photos for your that that people will need to see? What are your item descriptions look like all of those things, right? So do you have an abandoned cart nurture sequence? So now you can start to look at what do you need to be working on if these are your goals. And so it really helps to get those creative juices flowing, instead of just looking at 365 days of next year and wondering how the heck you're going to fill them with marketing. What should you be talking about? Where do you start, so we start to put these themes and topics together. And then once you have your topics in your themes, you know generated now you start to organize them into campaigns and this is probably the most skipped piece on marketing. 

We like to create elements and then as soon as we make them, because we're usually doing it right before the deadline. We just spit them out into the world. We have to go through and create campaigns, why is that so important? Well, a couple reasons. Number one, the repetition of the campaign will increase your return on investment, it will increase your conversions, more people will buy, because you didn't just put one random offer out there, once people don't always see it, or they see it, but they need to see it again. Or they saw it and they were interested but then they got distracted with something. Or they saw it the first time and they didn't think it was this, but really it was that I actually just had that experience. I was looking at an ad for a Tony Robbins event, I was like, Oh, I'd love to go. But for whatever reason, when I saw it, I saw that it was just virtual and I was like, No, I really want that, you know, my bucket list is to be there in person and have that experience. 

And sure enough later i was actually through a friend that told me about, you know, there's live tickets, you know, here or there. But I would have completely missed that, you know, and it's something that I would have that I did end up buying, but I wouldn't have known to above it based on my first exposure to the ad and I do this for a living. So I think I look at things pretty closely, apparently not right wo we all miss things. And so really having the campaign adds power to what you're doing. The other thing is that it serves to create templates so next year when you're creating campaigns, it's rinse and repeat. you're swapping out some date to changing a little creative. You're cleaning things up. You don't have to start every year from scratch, it is a powerful tool. 

The third reason that we use campaigns is that these campaigns will give us data, we can see what works, and for what offers. And that is the most valuable thing as a brand, as any business, if you don't have two or three go to campaigns in your back pocket, things that you know, whenever sales are hurting, or whenever things are going wrong, you can whip these out, and just know with confidence that if you spend $2,000 on this campaign, you're gonna make your money, you're gonna you have an effective campaign, then that right, there is a big problem, really big problem, right, every company should have a couple campaigns that they know that they can just pull out at any time, and they're going to do reasonably well. And that changes over time so you know, market shift, and sometimes a campaign is working really well and unexpectedly, it won't, that happens. I'm not saying that, you know, to keep the same campaigns you've had for the past 10 years. 

But you should always on a rolling basis, have, you know, two or three campaigns that you just know, like clockwork, you know exactly how to them. They're low mass low, fast, and they're going to produce for you every time and so, that really helps you to build stability, for your revenue. And that's a big struggle for small businesses starting out and so having those things really helped. But that begins with the campaign, you've got to start building campaigns and then, when, as you're building campaigns, you'll know what platforms you need to be on. So here's gather questions, one of the most frequent questions I get whenever I'm giving a talk at the university, or even to local entrepreneurs is always what platforms should I be on. And I always respond with two things that people are shocked by, one is, you never pick the platform. 

First, you pick the content, because the content will have a natural media type that's better for it. Easy example, photographers, right? Photographers, natural media is photos, photos aren't too so hot on TikTok. They do great maybe on Pinterest or Instagram, right? So if you are a personal brand, then you need videos, you need video exposure because if you want to get speaking gigs, people have to see you speak. So what are the best tools for that? Probably not Pinterest, right so automatically whittles down. So depending on who you are, and what your goals are, and what your messaging is, and what your your campaigns are going to be, that's going to tell you, hey, this converts, like this is a great platform for this type of media. You know, so if you're a thought leader, then maybe the the platforms that bubble up for you are going to be Instagram, TikTok, podcasting, maybe writing contributing article pieces for, you know, other other publications, or your own blog, right. 

So, pick what you're gonna do first, that's going to be the best content and from that, choose the platform. And a lot of people will say, well, everybody has to have a Facebook, everybody has to have a TikTok everybody has to be on the ground and then they try and make their content fit that mold and it doesn't always convert. It's putting a square peg in a round hole and really, no you don't have to have any social media that doesn't serve you. It's a time suck if it's not giving you what you want, if it's not getting you the conversions that you want. And so that's the first thing and then the other thing that I always say about that is choose less platforms with more consistency, because you've got to build high frequency for the few flat platforms that you're on without that you're you're not really going anywhere. You've got to get down on a couple platforms, that's really important. 

Also, it makes it more likely that you're going to be able to track and measure what you're doing. If you're on 13 platforms, what are the odds that you're going to number one be able to post multiple times a day. Number two, that you're actually going to go into other reporting features and check out how your content is doing, it's just not going to happen, right? Unless you have an entire you know, team doing this for you, and then this whole podcast is probably unnecessary for you because you've got people handling it for you. But it's usually just not a great idea for people who are in, you know, their first few years of business that have less than three people working on their marketing. 

So that's the other thing when we're talking about campaigns and the other thing that is surprising for people, when I say is, it's not just social media, when you look at your marketing campaigns, I have a mega list that we do, we have a mega list that we go through in the workshop that looks at a ton of different marketing, platforms, speaking engagements, conventions, you know, all kinds of places that you can get exposure for your brand, white papers, ebooks, all kinds of stuff, panels, that you can get exposure for your brand and put together a campaign for that are outside of social media. Now, I'm not dissing social media, social media is great, you know, but it's not the end all be all, where is our email marketing? Where, you know, are the events that you're showing up to? What is your affiliate program look like? How do you do you get referrals, all those kinds of things and so, you know, if your social media marketing is taking up 80% of your time, and you're getting less than 15% of your sales from it, then it might be time to look at other options. 

As far as your marketing goes you know, I'll give you a good, you know, example from us is, we don't do a ton of social media, because about 77, 78% of our sales are generated from podcast, speaking engagements, and our referral program. That's where we put our effort into, that's where we have very robust marketing campaigns, experience brand models, we go all out on those things, because that happens to be really effective for us and so we spend a lot of time on those areas. So when you're building out campaigns really break break the box, right? A lot of us kind of feel trapped in to where we think marketing, we think social media and that's it. But really opened up that, that the possibilities there the once you're building and as you're building your campaign, the next thing that you really want to make sure that you are putting into these campaigns is one, a tracking mechanism. 

Everything that you do, you should be able to get a report on how it did some way to collect data. So if you're doing a booth at a pizza convention, because you sell pizza sauce, then what is the thing that you're going to do to create conversion? So are you going to give them you know, something in exchange for an email address, are you going to have them sign up for something? Are you going, you know, to book calls with them have that? What is your call to action that we can actually track to see how well this did. So if you spent 500 bucks to get the booth and you spent another 2000 bucks on swag? How do we know that this is we're getting a return on that so what measurements do we have in place so that we can track how well it did? And documenting the campaign, what were the elements. 

We had this, this and this and we spent this, this and this, and it produced this, this and this and when we're doing it in that fashion it makes it very easy to make those decisions on. Do we do this again or not? Do we do it again, as is or do we need to tweak it and so that's really important is to be able to set up marketing campaigns that allow you to capture data, and then have a goal for every campaign that you run that ties into your main goal for the year. So if I'm doing a speaking engagement, I need to know what is my goal, is my goal to get agency customers is my goal to build authority. Is my goal to get X amount of followers and how does that go, we'll tie into my overall goals that we establish right up at the front. It seems like a lot of work and a lot of cash is a lot, right but sometimes we have to slow down with precision in order to be able to hit that next step. And so this is important work because it will force you to do less, which will force you to do better and that's really at the heart of what you're trying to do, as an entrepreneur is get smarter. 

Start to build an expertise this because no matter what you do, no matter what you sell, you're in the business of marketing, you've got to know how to do this. And so the faster you can build up that competency, the faster you can learn it, the better. So this is a great way to just kind of rip it like a band aid and starting to get really proficient at your marketing. And then, once you've gotten your reports, and you've set everything up to report back to you the way you want, you set your goals and they tie in, then it just comes down to scheduling and batching it out making sure that you do everything ahead of time, make sure that you've batched it so that you keep the consistency so that the components of the campaign flow the way they need to and the timing that they need to so that the data that you get back mean something. 

And then one of the things that we do for every marketing campaign that we run, is we we do what's called the debrief and that is after every campaign, why don't we love? What was the pain? How did it do didn't do what we thought it was going to do? What were some surprises that benefits that we didn't see coming? What were some surprise obstacles that we didn't see coming, taking notes on that so that the next year, when you're tweaking it or redoing it, you've got a great set of notes, to avoid some of the things that were problematic for you this year. And some great notes on how to double down on the things that really performed well and so that's it. That is a very big bird's eye, here's how you can approach your marketing for next year. And how you can look at building a brand based marketing model and translating that information over. I hope you found this helpful. I hope it wasn't too long and too overwhelming but I wanted to get this information out to you as you're starting to put together your plans. Again, if you need any support with this, we've got some links in the show notes page that will help you put together a strategic plan and I will see you guys next episode. Thanks so much for joining.