Having a strong brand is more important than ever. In a world where the supply of comparable products is virtually unlimited – and the nearest shop is never more than a click away – consumers are far more likely to choose a brand that they recognize and have an emotional bond with. A vigorous brand also makes customers more loyal and facilitates the introduction of new products, because people know what you stand for.
So how can content marketing help you strengthen your brand? To answer that question, we should look at what branding really means. Professor Kevin Lane Keller is the man behind the now world-famous Brand Equity Model, below.
According to Keller, there are four levels you must work through to create a successful brand:
1. IDENTITY – creating brand awareness – you need to make sure customers are aware of your brand and recognize it.
2. MEANING – identify and communicate what your brand means and stands for. How well does your product meet your customers' real (performance) and social/psychological (imagery) needs?
3. RESPONSE – what actions can you take to improve how customers think (judgement) and feel about you? With regards to product and marketing.
4. RELATIONSHIPS – the Nirvana of brand Equity. What can you do to increase loyalty, attachment and sense of community?
All the way from initial awareness to the ultimate relation, where you have your customers’ love and loyalty, Content Marketing can help you turn abstract brand values into engaging narratives. But the stories you tell must be adapted for the levels above, and you will need different distribution channels for people at different stages.
Let’s use an imaginary example to see how you can apply the Brand Equity Model in your content marketing strategy. You have just become Marketing Director of a recently launched a sustainable restaurant chain, with locally sourced food.
Not many people know you exist. Even fewer have an idea of what your organic approach really means. Now you need people in your target audience to become aware of your existence. Make sure your message is sticky and easy to understand. Create short stories around those messages and distribute in social media. High frequency helps you create buzz.
Now it is prime time for Content Marketing. Longer formats (articles and videos) allow you to explain how sustainable food not only is good for the planet, but also tastes better. You can include facts demonstrating how local sourcing reduces carbon dioxide footprint, and explaining what it actually means. Tell stories helping potential customers feel better about their dining habits. Native advertising and content discovery platforms will help you find the right, engaged audience.
At this level you must address questions like: what is the quality of your product? How is your credibility? How well does your product meet your customer’s needs? And what makes you better than your competitors? Customer testimonials are not a bad idea. Organise opening parties for new restaurants and invite people famous for their good taste AND environmental interest. People want proof, so show, don’t tell. Your own website is your content hub, and discovery platforms brings you the right visitors.
Your fans love you. You can use your own channels to cultivate your relations: menu covers, website, newsletter etc. Tell stories that confirm their choice to come back again and again. Invite your most frequent customers to special event evenings, where you let them try and give feedback on new dishes. Have the media write about you so that your customers feel that they’re part of something bigger.
As you can see, content marketing can be your best friend in building (or re-shaping) your brand. Strossle has helped thousands of companies make the most of their content marketing efforts. Contact your local Strossle representative to learn how we can help you.