As marketing agencies evolve and expand their services, it’s important for them to develop a brand that rings true with clients and prospective clients. What might be your agency’s niche? How can you build a consistent brand that resonates? For a quick guide on how to build a brand for your marketing agency, see this article
1. What is a brand, and why should you build one?
A brand is a collection of expectations, memories, experiences, and relationships that, when combined, explain why a customer chooses one product or service over another. When customers consider about purchasing a product, the reason is often triggered by a story they’ve heard or read earlier about that product.
Brand development is about building one of those narratives. It’s a methodical process that starts with identifying what works and what doesn’t, and then testing. Over time, you’ll build up a collection of experiments, stories, and habits that form the basis of your brand.
Brand development is all about learning from the past and the present to create a realistic brand that is consistent with who you are, who your audience is, and who your ideal client is. Here are some keys to brand development as well as some resources to help get you started.
This is an exciting time for marketers. Brand development is now a necessary component of marketing, and it is becoming more important than ever. The growing global movement toward responsible consumption is implementing an ethic that benefits everyone by ensuring that sustainable consumption is shaped by strong, solid brands that people trust. Development of a brand helps marketers understand how customers who make decisions based on trust will make choices with those brands.
Brand development is all about exploring and tapping into how brands have helped people in the past. What is the language that people use to describe the products or services you offer? Are they unique, or do they resemble one another? Begin by creating a brand that helps you answer this question in terms of both how it relates to people today and how it mirrors your company today.
Shared industry values (SIG) are a guiding set of core values that a client will use to communicate with a marketing service provider or brand manager.
2. How can you determine the voice of your brand?
It’s important to recognize the voice of your brand and to work with that voice to give it personality. The voice of your brand can be different depending on the medium in which you’re communicating your message, so it’s important to be consistent across all of your marketing. As marketing management consultant Amy Sutherland explains, “tone communicates intent.” Though your brand might take a different form across online, print, radio or television, it all serves the same purpose of telling your audience who you really are and conveying your value to them. Every communication has a purpose in society, and creating a consistent brand message and dialogue is part of this purpose.
You’ll also notice that the voice and personality you’ve settled on for your brand changes as your business grows and matures. With that said, you do have the ability to create a more detailed and wholistic brand as your company grows. To do this, you should start with some basics with the headline and first paragraph of your website.
With your profile, you can give people an idea of who you are and what kind of message you’re putting out there. What are your core values and what are your opportunities? If you have a student, potential or employee position when you eventually launch your agency, make sure that your home page addresses this in some way. The overall messaging of your business will come through your home page as well as your agency’s website and communications — what you’ll be saying and adding to the conversation throughout the various physical and digital outputs.
Looking at the ABC’s framework for the first three steps of building a brand, it’s clear that with this framework, you’re starting off strong by heading towards both value and voice. The top-line value is your personality, and it’s creating a consistent tone and personality across all of your communications that sets you up for success (and it’s a good reminder that there will be a lot of work to do in this area!)
3. How can you communicate your brand to staff and clients?
It’s important to have a look and feel that’s consistent across all of your marketing materials and customer service. You want to make sure that your brand is always represented by the same colours and images, so that your clients and staff know what to expect from you. It’s also important to remember that the less you say, the better for your brand. This recalls a tension in brand building: too much speech makes speech seem stilted and impersonal, whereas too little speech makes a brand seem casual and loose. Identify your brand’s core messaging and tell your facade through your words and art. Most importantly, don’t minimize what you say because of the “potential” for it to become a marketing strategy cliché.
“The worst was one day when I discovered we were having a hearing that same month and we hadn’t thought about it in six months because it just didn’t seem pertinent. It seemed something we should have talked about months ago.” — Susan Cooper, former president and CEO of the Women’s Business Center of San Francisco (2010–2014)
As Bethany Isen, director of marketing at Zodiak Group, Inc. says:
In business today, the audience is incredibly wary of brands that look the same. They often take notice of what other businesses are doing and feel brands should mimic that in order to stand out. However, when consumers are exposed to a variety of messages, it’s interpreted as a voice of wisdom and no longer has the same context.
Choosing your messaging is vital to defining your brand. Is it all about a certain type of product or service? Is it all about the people behind it? If so, then you have to make sure the people behind your brand are compelling and relatable, as well.
4. What are the ways you can build an effective brand for your marketing agency?
The best way to build an effective brand for your agency is through your website and the content you publish there. Create a blog to showcase your agency’s expertise and talk about industry trends. The primary goal of your website is to share your expertise with your audience in order to build trust.
Use the right keywords. Your domain names are your brand’s top marketing asset. Choose the right keywords in order to improve your chances of ranking well and to build more conversions. Google has changed the SERPs and is now much tougher on SEO. SEOMoz came up with this outline of what search operators mean:
Keep in mind that it can take several months before your website shows any measurable results from using the right keywords
Use BuzzSumo to find influencers
SERP research can be overwhelming. One way to streamline your SERP research is to use BuzzSumo, which allows you to view which content is ranking for certain keywords. You can also export the top results into Excel to see top competitors. If there’s a certain niche in which your own content is already ranking, it could be a solid candidate for expansion to earn more visibility in Google
Use Tools like Followerwonk to find target influencers
Another way to expand your audience is to find target influencers within specific niches. Followerwonk is a helpful platform to discover influential Twitter users in your target niche. Once you’ve identified these users, make sure to follow them, engage with them, and follow them back.
Take advantage of existing industry trends. This could be anything from using Slideshare to promote your presentation or using Pinterest to pin social media content. Doing so will get your content in front of influencers before it’s trending on social media. Continue adding value to your website and blog. While building up your expertise, it’s always important to get tips and external ideas for how to increase the value of your website and your agency
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this article on how to build a consistent brand across all your marketing channels. For more marketing goodness, follow me on Medium and Twitter.