BRAND AND CONTENT MARKETING. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Today, Content Marketing is one of the most widely used marketing approaches, but has it replaced Brand Marketing? And how does it differ and which one should lead the other?
What comes first: Brand or Content marketing?
The short answer to this question, is that brand marketing should lead content marketing and any other form of marketing for that matter. Content marketing is just one of the many ways you can implement your brand strategy. Brand Marketing provides the lens in which all marketing decisions should be made.
Neither are mutually exclusive and should be used in conjunction with each other.
Content Marketing basically stems from the idea of providing information of value to your prospects and customers as a means of attracting attention, generating leads and sales, and building loyalty.
While Brand Marketing is a concept that stems from the idea that a well-defined brand creates demand pull or preference by ensuring all marketing elements are in sync with the brand positioning. A company’s brand represents their market identity—who they are, what they do, how they do what they do, where they make themselves available and what kind of quality they provide. Indeed, their reputation for trustworthiness.
Ultimately, brand marketing is the integrated story your business tells the world. Its key goal is to create sustainable demand, coupled with pricing resilience. Therefore, it is important to nearly all businesses; from those selling soup, to those developing new bio-technologies.
The key differences between Brand and Content Marketing
Brand Marketing aims to influence the decisions of a variety of customers and stakeholders, including both end consumers and businesses. The more compelling the brand is, the more effective for developing trial and repeat business.
Brand Marketing is the story that manages the customer’s perception of a brand. The more familiar they become through their previous experience with that brand, the greater the chances of achieving the brands business objectives.
Brand marketing covers:
- The marketing mix 4 or 7Ps (depending on your point of view)
- Your core value proposition
- Your differentiation messaging
- Your unique selling points
- The experiences your customers have using your products and/or services
- How your sales teams communicate with customers
- How your customer support team communicates with customers
- Any coverage of your brand in the media
Content Marketing covers:
Content Marketing on the other hand is a tactic of brand marketing although strategic in its nature and often used in isolation to Brand Marketing. It specifically stops trying to influence and persuade, instead relies on engaging via publishing educational and promotional content to help prospects and customers with their critical questions along their buyers’ journey.
With content marketing, brands become publishers, creating content around topics they know their audiences will resonate with. Brands do this to:
- Attract new prospects
- Engage leads
- Create and delight customers
Typically, the most common types of marketing content that business publish cover:
- Website pages
- Blog posts
- Pillar pages
- Information guides
- Webinars and events
4 Tips for integrating your Brand and Content Marketing
In an ideal world the two forms of marketing should work together.
The educational and promotional content you publish is how you communicate your brand story. Your marketing content will most likely be the first interaction your prospects have to your brand. How do you weave that brand story throughout your content without it becoming too inwardly focused?
Here’s 4 tips to guide you.
- Use customers to inspire your Brand Marketing
If you use the problem / solution approach to your Brand Marketing you will be sure your customers are the heroes of your story. Every piece of content you publish should provide your customers another tool or resource they can use to solve their problems and feel empowered. By having a focus on solving customer problems, they’ll rely your products or services long term for problem resolution.
- Use your brand to inspire distinctive content
It’s great to solve problems, however if the content is dry and uninspiring then you will be unlikely to engage. Your prospects and customers are more likely to relate to your brand if it’s passionate about something. Even the driest, most technical brands can find topics and content they are passionate about. Develop topics in your content strategy, that leverage the uniqueness of your brand and that you’re passionate about.
- Imbue your content with your brand voice and tone
Your Brand Marketing strategy should outline the type of brand you are trying to create through voice and tone – is it helpful and friendly? Or edgy and disruptive? Whatever your brand voice and tone is, you need that identity to come through in your content. In doing so you will be able shape how your customers feel about you even when you’re publishing about broader, non-branded topics.
- Focus on fewer, better and more distinctive content
Quality content in the long run will beat frequency and quantity. So, focus your content on how you do things differently than others. This is particularly important for when developing content for the middle of the buyer’s journey. It’s great to create educational content however, if you don’t illustrate to prospects the distinctiveness of your product solutions and how they are critical to your customers’ success, then you will be selling your brand short.
It’s hard to control every element of your Brand Marketing, so don’t let your brand be the only factor influencing your content strategy. This will only lead to inward thinking and content that is too ‘salesy’.
With an integrated focus on both your Brand and Content Marketing, you can create a buyer’s journey that not only nurtures prospects, but also builds their affinity for your brand. Making your brand the rational and emotional choice to meet their needs.
- Despite the rise of Content Marketing, it is important to use the lens of Brand Marketing to guide your content strategy
- Brand Marketing can benefit by putting the problem / solution nature of Content Marketing at the forefront of the brand’s story
- Content Marketing can benefit from the passion and uniqueness that sits inherently in the brand, making content that much more engaging
- In a hyper-connected world, being helpful and purposeful in your brand and content marketing is always a great start for engaging prospects and customers.