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Don’t Just Build Your Brand, Uncover Your Identity

November 20, 2020

The problem with the world is not that people know too little; it’s that they know so many things that just aren’t so” Mark Twain once wisefully said, describing the many misconceptions people share about areas like marketing, which are often spoken about but rarely fully understood. Despite the proven power of effective advertising and strong branding, there’s still a disparity between the advantages of these practices and the way that they are perceived by some.

While case after case has shown that authentic marketing exists and can drive a business to thrive, there are those who view the craft as intrinsically inauthentic or unnecessary. According to one study70% of large B2B businesses agreed that marketing was not important to their business. Another study found that 73% of the leaders participating agreed that marketers “lack credibility.”

The reality is that contrived messaging does exist and it does hurt brands, but it’s not reflective of the industry as a whole, and the value of these services is unquestionably high. Studies show the average ROI (return on investment) for email marketing is 122%, and for other areas of marketing it’s even higher. Strong brands earn triple the sales volume of weaker brands. Purpose-driven brands outperform the stock market by 134%, and hundreds of leaders and brands are genuinely emphasizing their purpose to strengthen their brands. Purposeful branding and marketing are real, vital tools to unlock effective strategies for internal alignment, market penetration, and sustainable growth. Here’s why:

1. Brands can’t fulfill promises until they make them.

One source of marketing misapprehension is a misinterpretation of the term. Marketers and brand builders alike cannot just throw words on a page. Careful thought, meticulous planning, and ample research is a tremendous portion of the work they do– without which, businesses would not know what to say or do. You need to decide on your priorities and goals early on to accomplish them. Your marketing strategy enables you to mobilize your teams, organize your business, and activate your plans. You can’t fulfill your promise until you decide on what to promise.

2. Businesses can do it, but can’t explain it.

Just because you can deliver a service and accomplish your goals does not mean you can put your actions into words. While many leaders and brands are good at what they do, not everyone is able to describe that in a clear and succinct way. Both branding and marketing empower businesses who can’t speak for themselves to speak to what they do, and the greatest marketers don’t fabricate ideas, they uncover preexisting insights and codify these thoughts in terms that resonate. It’s not about creating a story; it’s about curating and communicating one.

3. Unspoken values can’t be understood.

Business leaders and founders may intuitively live their corporate purpose and speak with genuine passion, but even internally, those around them often require more education and communication. You might know your mission, but that doesn’t mean your team does. Employees can’t align around a mission or vision without leadership sharing   what the mission and vision are. In order for values  to genuinely resonate with stakeholders and become embedded in the fabric of the company,, they need to be codified in writing, shared with every member of the organization, and  authentically lived.

4. If no one knows about it, none of it matters.

Even when your organization embodies your brand purpose, it will not matter unless the world knows about it. It takes more than word of mouth to share value with the world. A brand can have the best product, service, and experience ever, but if they can’t articulate that to anyone, it won’t sell. Branding and marketing enable businesses to share their chief differentiators, core competencies, and overall identity externally as well as internally to influence buying decisions.

Marketing is nothing without strategizing. Ideas are lost without words. A business without a brand could not stay ahead of the competition. Inauthentic brands are ineffective, but there are authentic brands out there with measurable, practical, internal, and external benefits– and all begin with examination of their initial roots and overall goals. As Phil Nadel– founder and managing director of Forefront Venture Partners-– shared on the Drive Profit with Purpose podcast, “A company’s brand starts from the top… they’ve got to have that vision and live that vision, and articulate it not just to their employees, but to their customers.

You can’t just imagine that, you have to activate it. The difference between contrived message creation and authentic message articulation is the difference between careless spending and thoughtful investing, it’s the difference between repelling people and attracting them, and in some cases, it’s the difference between perception and reality. Because contrary to common misconceptions, your marketing can be astonishingly authentic, genuinely imperative, and immensely powerful. And that type of purposeful marketing is what separates authentic brands from the rest of the pack.

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