Jan 30 2017
For small and medium size companies, branding, marketing, advertising, and sales tend to get smashed into one giant confusing category of things I have to do but don’t have the time for. Often, we find the general perception to be that sales is marketing, advertising is only relevant if you’re selling in volume to a consumer, and branding is some kind of voodoo. To make it more confusing, consultants and companies left and right love to pile on: social media, AdWords, podcasting, email marketing, mobile retargeting, content strategy, local SEO, and on and on. Unfortunately, it makes investment frustrating when results miss the mark.
|Advertising||Banner Ads||Media Buying|
|Content||Podcasts, blog||Social, events|
Why are these subtly different techniques often confused and miscateogrized? Probably because of buzzword-infested marketing prescriptions (4 Easy Tips to Increase Your Measurable Social Engagements to Diversify Your Omnichannel Presence and Target Millennials at 8 Personalized Stages of Brand Engagement with Storytelling”) that always seem to leave out one key word:
How will all of this marketing mumbo-jumbo and branding voodoo actually result in a measurable increase in revenue for me?
“I don’t know, but everyone knows that sales = revenue, so let’s just lump everything into sales.”
Which results in limited growth potential. Even the best sales team will be limited in time and by physical presence.
I get it, I understand why this is. Branding is esoteric in nature. It’s a feeling- an emotion- right-brain stuff, it’s relative, subjective, but at the nucleus: branding is simply a characterization of a product or service. It’s not typically associated with direct response or conversion. Many associate brands with big consumer goods- Coke, Apple, Nike.
Marketing takes time and effort to realize as well. It’s hard to pick what works, and what doesn’t, when it’s much easier just to fall back on referrals. But again- referrals are limited to existing networks. For innovative companies, that isn’t good enough.
For smaller and medium size businesses, branding in 2017 does not mean pettiness like picking a color scheme, spending too much money on a logo, or designing a letterhead. Marketing isn’t valuable as a cold calling or a direct mail campaign. With logo services that will feed you 100 original logos for $399, or unreceptive audiences hesitant to any pitch, low effort branding and marketing agencies aren’t worth the time, much less the money.
The definition of branding today: building a strong, relatable character that inspires reaction in your audience and revenue for your top line.
This brand character is supported through production of original content and delivered to an audience. Branding isn’t about competing, it’s about leaving those perceived as competition in the dust. For both new and established companies- branding is extracting the vision of the company from the minds of its leaders and founders, and putting it to images.
This is where the brand consultant comes in. A brand consultant offers an external perspective. Entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know. They’re used to communicating with words, in person, building a referral network, and then turning the close over to a sales team.
Any external consultant or agency responsible for branding or strategy must be well-practiced in ESP.
A expert brand consultant (or agency) offers an outside perspective at your entire offering. They are another set of eyes and ears. They will then develop a plan or brief that will guide strategy for any content: the website, marketing collateral, social, blog, job postings, video and film, advertising spend channels- everything. A coherent brand strategy ensures that every dollar spent in every category in the chart above fulfills the vision of the entrepreneur. It doesn’t have to be a complex plan by any means- it just has to exist, cover a few wise strategies, and be followed.
The future of a brand consultant isn’t the individual or agency that you hire to illustrate your logo and debate color scheme. It is every external resource that you trust to help your revenue grow at an exponential level.
Why brand through video?
At VES Creative, we produce video simply because video is far and away the most powerful medium to deliver a compelling brand character. When our clients are ready to work with us- they have grown beyond the stock photo and are ready to harness the power of compelling, original
video cinema and the growth it can bring.
Our background lies in independent film. We worked for some incredible creatives in that space. From that experience, we learned that the most important part of a film project isn’t your budget, the camera you use, your location, studio, cast or crew- it is having compelling, relateable characters that inspire an audience to pay to watch the film. Fundamentally, it’s no different.
Character -> Revenue.
If you think about the great films that you have paid to own, watch, and love- it won’t be the visual effects, or the subject, or (marketing buzzword warning) the “storytelling”- it will be compelling, flawed characters that they relate to; characters that they see themselves and their own struggles in, in some way or another.
But without an established brand strategy or brief, more often than not, video will be nothing more than another piece of content where results just don’t live up to their expectations.
At VES Creative, we combine the services usually only available from an expensive full-service agency with the production capability of a high-level video production studio to discover, produce, and implement the most valuable and powerful asset to help not just convert a few more visitors on their website, but to grow exponentially.
If your offering has the potential for exponential growth, you are ready to invest in an outside look at who you are, what you stand for, and how this can be packaged to inspire audiences to action.
If your production company or agency is showcasing their studio, awards, foosball tables, “culture”, or equipment, instead of discussing how their service will set you up for measurable revenue and growth, you’re probably just paying someone to add to their own demo reel, instead of someone to offer new perspectives that will help you grow.
If your branding agency incessantly cites Apple/Steve Jobs, talks about “finding your story”, or comes back with multiple “concepts”, walk out. The concept already exists inside of your head. It is simply our job to realize it.