Marketing activities fall (very broadly) into two main buckets: Direct Response Marketing and Brand Marketing.
Direct Response Marketing prompts immediate action like Buy now or Sign up now - it invites people to make a direct response.
Brand Marketing is the longer game - it tells people something about your organisation, without necessarily offering a next step to take. TV ads often fall into this category - the advertiser is telling you about their stuff, showing their personality, and reminding you that they exist.
Depending on your market, both are relevant at different times.
For example, Direct Response works when you’re having a sale (Buy Now), asking for donations (Donate Now) promoting a piece of content (Download Now) or inviting people into a program (Join Now). It's an intentional activity where you decide to create an offer and build a campaign to promote it.
However - while Direct Response is intentional, Brand Marketing is actually happening all the time, whether you intend it or not.
You can and should be completely intentional with Brand Marketing when possible, but the gaps will be filled with what you choose to do (or not do) in those moments.
There’s a popular branding meme that illustrates this in an interesting way:
Which also illustrates another popular phrase in marketing circles, that “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in to room”.
In other words, much of your brand’s image is formed in people’s minds - some of that will be based on your actions, or on how people talk about your organisation with other people.
For example, if you’ve received negative feedback on a Facebook post or on a site like Trustpilot, replying and owning the issue says something about the integrity of your organisation... it says to the world that you have the guts and humility to take ownership of your errors and try to make them right.
But not replying to that comment can say just as much.
Every interaction either by email, in person, over zoom or on socials sends a tiny signal to the reader that this is how your organisation handles this particular type of thing.
Replying to the negative comment, and owning the issue rather than ignoring it likely creates more trust than an ad campaign about how trustworthy you are (at a fraction of the cost).
It’s worth reminding your team of this regularly, especially if they are in public-facing roles... Everything you do and don't do becomes a part of your brand.
Being intentional and unintentional, in both positive and negative scenarios present a number of brand-building opportunities. I’ll dip into those some more tomorrow!
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