Imagine you are in ancient times, Asia or Europe. You are walking outside in the winter cold. It’s nighttime. You are in the forest, and you have an immediate need for warmth.
You come to an open field, a clearing in the forest. In it, there are rows of tents. You’ve happened upon a parked army.
In each of the tents, there are small fires keeping soldiers warm. Each group of soldiers has different collective personalities.
You know that you must find shelter and warmth soon. However, if you choose the wrong tent, you’ll end up with soldiers you’ll conflict with.
How do you choose your tent?
This analogy may not seem like it, but it holds the entire understanding of how a branding campaign works.
The Role Supply and Demand in Marketing and Sales
Marketing and sales is about supply and demand. In the analogy I’ve given, you are the customer. The cold generates your “demand” for warmth while the “supply” you need is in the warmth of a fire.
It doesn’t matter which fire you choose. They’ll all contain the warmth you need to survive the night. However, they do not all contain the groups of soldiers you can get along with.
Pick the wrong tent, and you may end up dead. Not from the cold, but from a soldier killing you. You have to choose the right group of soldiers you know you’ll blend in with.
Knowing or feeling out which is the right group of soldiers is the matter of branding.
Now, take the same pattern and apply it to any industry at all. Let’s say you have a demand for clothing detergent.
Your dirty clothes make the cold of the analogy. The detergent is the fire.
You need the fire as the solution to the problem of your coldness. You need detergent as the solution to the problem of your dirty clothes.
As you walk in the store, in the aisle that has all the different types of detergent, which do you choose? The store and the isle is the clearing in the forest. Your varying selection of brands is the varying selection of tents.
If you choose the wrong brand, you may end up unhappy or worse. This carries over into the way that if you choose the wrong tent with the wrong soldiers, you may end up dead. Either by the soldiers’ hands or by the cold when they throw you back out.
What Is Branding?
At the beginning of my studies, I didn’t quite understand the point to branding campaigns. Branding is an abstract concept. Meanwhile, there is much fluff pushed by “gurus” who don’t even understand it themselves.
Here is my way of defining branding:
A brand is the mental umbrella or tent under which an audience trusts the framework of an idea for a solution.
“Trust” is the keyword here.
The “framework of an idea,” consists of mental associations in the consumer’s mind. By “mental associations,” I mean the emotions and subconscious images tied to your name.
The mental associations evoke an emotion when they come in contact with the brand. The emotion can be negative or positive.
Typically, when the emotion is positive, trust builds. When the emotion is negative, trust declines.
When there is an associative match between the company and the consumer, you make a follower. A follower of your brand.
How to Establish Your Brand
Anyone can set up a website to sell any product or service. You could advertise what you’re selling everywhere.
However, you may never make a single sale if no one trusts or identifies with your brand. Now, while there are exceptions to every rule, the rule is this: Build your brand first; then, go for sales.
What the beginner tries to do is go for sales first. However, they rarely succeed. The reason they don’t succeed is because nobody knows or trusts them.
They try to “cold” sell, rather than “warm” sell. And warm selling is always easier than cold selling. It’s always easier to sell to people who already know, trust, and believe you, rather than to those who don’t.
So, a “branding campaign” isn’t about making sales at first. It’s about creating content that links your company with your target consumer. When there’s a positive match, they will follow your brand.
A branding campaign is about getting people to follow your brand. Once they’re under your tent and out of the cold, you can sell them all the warmth you want.
And you can even resell to them by adding more wood to the fire as it dies down, over and over again.
Mike Norton is an American award-winning marketing strategist with a BA in Internet marketing from Full Sail University.
He’s also a writer, entrepreneur, and a physicist studying part-time at the University of York who is a veteran of the United States military and the 7-time winner of the USS Dwight Eisenhower award for essays about world peace and respect.
As a mostly self-educated vagabond, he gains inspiration from a myriad of experiences wrought from the adventures of his nomadic lifestyle. He prolifically writes and journals where ever he goes in the world, from one country to the next.