Can PPC Play A Part In Your Branding Strategy?
Without a brand strategy, there’s no point in you having a brand. And without a brand, you don’t have a business.
But PPC could have a big impact on your brand awareness if you make the most of what it has to offer. Let’s go through the best way you can integrate it into your strategy.
What Should A Brand Strategy Consist Of?
In your brand strategy, you want to outline the building blocks of your brand foundations: message, personality, promises.
Your brand message should be able to sum up what you stand for in a line. It doesn’t have to be clever, witty, rhyme or include a 14-page explanation for anyone to understand it. You need to prove that what you see is what you get: that you’re doing exactly what you say on your tin. For example, Monzo’s brand message is not only consistent, innovative and fresh, but it’s crystal clear: “the bank of the future.”
Your brand personality is very much like a humankind. It would be pretty damn weird if your best friend suddenly started walking, talking and acting in a different way. You’d probably distrust this new version of them, or at least be a lot warier and confused. People have the same reactions when brands do the same. If you have an expected tone of voice, design style and brand personality (which you should to increase familiarity and trust) then any deviation from the expected won’t translate well to your target audience. Consistency is not overrated, rather, it is king.
Brand promises again can be compared to human nature: if you break promises, soon people stop taking you at your word. The expectations you set out for your customers need to be met every single time otherwise you’re at risk of damaging your brand image. The best brands are the ones that stand for something and stick by it. You don’t get very far by sitting on the fence. And you really don’t if you go breaking your customer’s hearts. Stick to your promises.
How to Measure Your Brand Success?
Brand message, impression and personality are difficult to measure, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother. Brand sentiment is the emotion people take away when they encounter your brand. It’s typically split into ‘good’, ‘bad’ and ‘neutral’ – obviously the one you want to achieve is ‘good’, but this is difficult to achieve when you’re a newer, less-known brand.
But there are things you can do when you build a new brand to create natural affinity with your audience. For instance, in psychology, the colours your brand adopts says a lot about what you stand for. You can also use semiotics (signs and symbols) to create shortcuts in people’s psyche. Behavioural marketing can teach you a lot about what causes the mind to open up to a message in the first place. It’s all finding ways to get people to engage with your brand in a positive way.
Another way you can do this is through PPC advertising. As well as boosting your brand awareness on the search results, you can use the data to better interpret your performance. This will provide a much clearer picture of how and when people are interacting with your brand name: through impressions, clicks, and click-through rate.
Achieving Brand Growth with PPC
It’s easy to go after fast wins that mean you see a lot of initial traction through paid methods, but whilst this increased brand interaction initially, you’re going about it the wrong way. People won’t take away the right things from your brand. You need to build your brand based on strategy and learning. PPC can really help you achieve your goals in a controllable way.
Responsive Display Ads
The main aim is getting eyeballs on your brand – as many as possible for the cheapest price. The Google Display Network gives you access to a wide audience for relatively little spend. When you’re looking to get in front of as many people as possible, Responsive Display Ads are the way to go. Their main benefits are how easy they are to set up and how many website inventories they fit into. This means you’ll not only be able to reach a more diverse audience, but get cheaper clicks.
For transparency, I work for Adzooma, an online advertising platform designed to manage and optimise your Google, Facebook and Microsoft ad campaigns. You can set up RSAs through our software whilst identifying the best ways to improve your campaigns and work towards your objective.
Standard PPC ads on the Search Network can help you muscle your way into the industry and get your name in amongst the big boys. Whilst at the start you’re likely to get bypassed in favour of a more recognisable brand name, you’ll have been stood up and counted meaning that, next time, you’re a little less alien and may steal the click.
Talking of stealing clicks, competitor bidding is now rife in the battle of the brands. By placing ads on your competitor’s brand names, you can be right there with an alternate message to target whoever is looking for them. If there’s ad space available, it’s going to be filled by someone – might as well be you.
Similarly, once people do become more aware of your brand, you’ll know you’ve made it when bigger brands start bidding on your name.
Measuring Brand Awareness
When your goal is just getting people to know who you are, it can be hard to get solid data on how well you achieved that. You don’t randomly scroll past a brand advert on Facebook and message them to tell them you’ve seen it – it just goes to the back of your mind until it crops up again. There are metrics that can give you an idea, such as the number of impressions, clicks and people who bounced. Whilst this isn’t the clearest picture, it’s the best data you’re realistically going to get regarding your brand strategy.
‘Similar to’ Audiences
Google’s ‘similar to’ and Facebook’s lookalike audiences allow you to target individuals who are similar to those who have already engaged with your site. This is a great feature to utilise when you’re building your audience from scratch as it identifies people who are more likely to be receptive to your offering.
When it comes to your brand strategy you should have already identified your ideal customers through your customer personas. Building audiences made up of people closest to these and targeting them ensures you’re growing your brand in the right direction.
Once you’ve got traffic, PPC can help you to re-entice them and drive brand loyalty and repeat purchases. For example, offering previous converters a 10% discount code. Keeping your audience engaged can be difficult, but setting up remarketing campaigns doesn’t have to be.
The Bigger Picture
For any business, you want your brand to have impact. You want it to make a statement: a prelude to your entrance. Your brand is the music that starts playing before you walk through the doors: it sets the tone, mood and expectations in the room. But you don’t get to make the entrance if nobody knows who you are. If you’re just starting out, you’re working on the basic beat of the song. Ask any drummer and they’ll tell you how a track will fall apart without getting the beat down first. Our Head of PPC just happens to be a drummer and will tell you himself how PPC can be the drumbeat of your branding strategy – if you get it right.
Start with the foundations of your branding strategy: message, personality, promises. Then introduce PPC ads and utilise tools like Adzooma to optimise for the best results.
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