Let’s just come right out and say it: No, you cannot directly measure ROI on branding.
You’re probably chuckling to yourself, “That’s what I thought, and it’s exactly why I don’t need to invest in branding or rebranding my business. Sales are good. Marketing is happening. We are fine over here.”
And, if that is what you’re thinking, we’d kindly rebut and urge you to read on. Here’s the long and short of it. You can measure ROI on branding, but it passes through marketing.
The branding ROI you’ve been searching for can be quantified by the increase in marketing ROI experienced as a result of a solidified brand.
And… we know you’re smarter than that. You’re not seriously sitting there thinking you can run a successful business without a solid brand backing it, right?
Follow along and let’s explore.
There are two methods for marketing as we see it. There’s sales-driven marketing, and there’s brand-driven marketing. Both are good, and both are necessary, but most companies rely too heavily on one without the other. Let’s break it down.
Sales-driven marketing is when you fire off marketing aimed at achieving a temporary sales goal. It results in a momentary connection with it’s target consumer, but only if that target consumer is in fact in need of what you’re selling at the exact moment that they encounter your marketing.
Marketing driven by branding is different. It’s advertising who you are at a consistent cadence to create a deeper, emotional human connection. Brand-driven marketing is reaching your target consumer, even when that target consumer isn’t in the buying phase, with the sole purpose of creating a connection. When done properly, the connection created is deep and lasting so that they remember you when their need for your product or service does arise.
This way, when a need does arise, your company is the only option that the consumer considers. Brand-driven marketing results in less sales friction, more referrals, and happier customers. With a strategic brand-driven marketing strategy in place, people begin to know you, like you, and want you.
Your company should strive to have some form of brand-driven marketing always active, and then you can layer on your promotional messaging and sales-driven marketing efforts as needed. Trying to sell without a connection in place would be like asking someone on a date without them ever even having heard of you. It just doesn’t work well.
This means that if you don’t have a solidified brand in place, the efforts you are putting into marketing are unfocused and ineffective, and your ROI on marketing is probably not as good as it could be.
While you might be seeing some results with your sales-driven marketing, we are 100% certain that you would see an increase in ROI on your sales-driven marketing if you did have a purposeful and strategic brand underlying these efforts.
Brand-driven marketing starts with Foundational Branding. You’ve got to first determine who you are, what you stand for, and what guides your operations and your decisions. You’ve got to know your differentiators and how to position those.
It begins with creating a positioning statement for your business. Then assigning and defining your brand attributes, and curating a visual direction. These things, taken together, along with your brand story, become the personality for your brand and the basis for all communication.
Just like a human has a personality, and that personality attracts certain people and may even detract others, a brand should be the same. Without a brand personality, how could you ever expect to make a connection with a consumer?
Once defined, the brand personality must then be strategically and consistently released over time through messaging and visuals to build that relationship we mentioned above. Again, sales messaging can be implemented on top of the brand-driven collateral.
With the aforementioned personality defined and in place, you can easily see how your marketing could be more purposeful and impactful, thus increasing your return on investment. Not only will you be consistently reaching people with brand-driven marketing, but you will also be able to align and focus what you are saying in your sales-driven marketing.
According to our friend Webster, branding is “promoting a particular product or company by means of advertising.”
The girls of Nice have a way with words, and we’d like to submit a modification to our bud Webster. We define branding as “a combination or sum of feelings or opinions that one forms based on a company’s attributes.” By attributes, we mean the things that hit the public related to your business.
You see, branding is how someone perceives a particular organization based on the sum total of everything they encounter related to their business. So, a brand is what people think of your business, based on all they’ve seen, heard, or experienced.
When conducting marketing, you’re not just promoting your business or services. You’re actually trying to influence the consumer to think what you want them to think about your business.
Branding defines and directs what you are saying, why your saying it, and where you should be saying it.
To put it simply, every single thing that people encounter related to your business has to be purposeful and aligned with who you are and how you want to be perceived in order to clearly connect with your target. And to make them see your business the way you want them to.
For example, if you need to place an ad about selling carpet, you look to your branding to determine how to connect with the consumer to see where and what to say.
Do you want people to think of you as the region’s top luxury-carpet purveyor? Are you interested in being perceived as the carpet company with the best prices around? Do you want people to think that you’re a no-pressure sales environment? Or that you have experts on-hand to guide the carpet-selection process?
This verbiage shouldn’t come from the mind of the person who is writing the ad. It should be informed by the brand and reinforced at every turn in every piece of marketing that is released on behalf of the carpet company.
And to take it a little deeper, it should be aligned with the core values and operations of the company as well. From this example, it’s easy to see how it all ties together and why it should all be consistent; however, it’s impossible to successfully do this without first defining these things. Branding defines.
Ultimately, without a strong brand foundation in place, your marketing will be weaker since you will essentially be firing from the hip. But when you apply your marketing efforts based on a solidified brand, you’ll be investing your money wisely, and you will have an ROI that you can ultimately attribute to branding.
Conversely, if you don’t take time to develop your brand, the money you allocate to marketing (either through digital or traditional advertising) will likely not reach its full potential, or your ideal customer base; and therefore, you won’t maximize ROI on marketing efforts.
If we haven’t been direct enough yet, we’re saying here that jumping into marketing or public relations before working on your branding is bad. It would be like standing up in front of a crowd to make a speech without exploring who your audience is, figuring out why you’re giving a speech in the first place, defining what you want to say, and then crafting a roadmap or script for the speech itself.
Branding clarifies the who, why, what, and the messages needed to create a connection longer than a nanosecond. And, obviously, all of this has to come before the big day when you stand up and give your speech to the crowd.
Although it’s not crystal clear, and not always possible to see the direct impact of branding from an ROI perspective, the ROI on branding can be measured by the difference between your current marketing ROI and your marketing ROI after implementing a brand-driven approach.
Also, you did say that things were going great, right? Business is booming and sales are closing? That means it’s a perfect time to take a look at your branding. You have the funds to invest in branding exercises, as opposed to later when your short on funds and can’t invest in your branding. After all, maybe if you invest in branding, you won’t ever be short on funds.
So, today, take a benchmark of the ROI on your marketing efforts.
Give Nice Branding Agency a call and let’s build a purposeful and strategic brand for your company. Let’s then make modifications and tweaks to the marketing you are doing, and then let’s measure ROI and compare. The difference between ROI on marketing after branding and ROI on marketing prior to branding gives you the ROI on branding.
Get Your Nice Swag On.