Our guest author Abhishek Jha says the fundamentals of brand building are consistency, long-term planning, and strategy-led creativity that touches the hearts of consumers.

Noted American marketing author once said, “The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity.” Every organisation has an ultimate goal of achieving or maximising sales. More so in today’s digital marketing world, where we can track everything -  cost per thousand impressions (CPM), cost per click (CPC), cost per lead (CPL), and cost per acquisition (CPA). While it’s great for us marketers as it brings in transparency and a scientific approach to achieve ROI, it also is critical to evaluate how the brand is perceived and the efforts to build a brand for long-term recall!

Media spend for quick results

We live in a world where we now get our groceries delivered in 10 mins and sometimes that is what we expect with our campaigns. Creating a sales funnel and investing in performance marketing is where the focus should be. However, let’s consider a scenario where you have to buy an insurance policy and in your online search you start getting two ads one from ABD Insurance Ltd with a premium of Rs 900 per month and the second one from Bajaj Insurance Ltd of Rs 1,000 per month, which would you end up buying? Creating awareness for the brand and not directly jumping on to tactical campaigns is very crucial. The media planning needs to be bifurcated clearly into awareness and performance marketing.

Brand building is forever, mediums might keep changing

The attention span of consumers might have reduced drastically, however, basic human emotions will never change. Every purchase a consumer makes is on the basis of the connection the consumer has with the brand. A brand needs to have a larger purpose with a single-minded proposition. Brands need to build a personality so that consumers understand if the brand is going to be a funny one or a serious one. It’s quite common to say that our TG is everyone from 20 to 60 years of age. A brand needs to know exactly who they would want to talk to and the basis the same communication can be crafted. With a wave of new age companies, there are a lot of brands which will be built on digital platforms unlike a decade ago wherein offline mediums were imperative. However, the principle of a well-thought-through brand strategy will be constant.

A long term perspective

“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently”- Mare Forleo. Like success, an iconic brand isn’t created overnight. There are consistent marketing efforts that result in a brand being recognized with a strong connection with the consumers. A brand needs to be invested with a long term picture and create a plan with consistent effort to build the brand.

Strategy led creativity

“Creative without strategy is called art. Creative with strategy is called advertising”. A brand needs to think through the positioning it is trying to build in front of the consumers. While the brand has got its talking points it's always important to communicate in a tone and manner which consumers can emotionally connect. Strategically the brand needs to act as publishers and know exactly the sweet spot between brand communication and content that the consumers would be interested in.   

Defining clear objectives

Knowing where you have to finish takes care of the journey. It’s important to define the purpose of executing a campaign. When a brand tries to educate it should not try to sell and vice versa. In totality, it all adds up to generating business for the brand. The key parameters need to be clearly defined. In today’s day and age, quantification enables us to set sharp targets. So while defining the objectives, let’s be clear whether we are trying to reach people by maximising impressions, are we trying to get consumers to come to our website or are we trying to make them buy the product through the ad? Based on the well defined and articulate objectives, the creative strategy will organically fall into place.

Build a brand from your heart 

Lastly, even in this dynamic digital era, one fact that doesn’t change is the passion through which the brands are created. In the race of becoming the unicorns what remains constant is that consumers will always buy products and services which have a larger purpose as a brand. “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it and what you do simply proves what you believe in” – Simon Sinek. 

Long term strategy for brand building would be to draw principles that truly represent the brand and communicate with complete honesty. The digital era is getting more and more products and categories introduced rapidly, however it’s an irony that brands who are taking the brand building seriously are the ones who are winning the clients' trust. To conclude – the way to a consumer's heart is via building a strong brand!

Abhishek Jha is the founder AdStreet Communications. An integrated advertising agency based in Mumbai.