The Branding Mix
Branding is a lot like cooking or baking a cake. Each dish is a different recipe but many of them use similar ingredients; only in different proportions.
First let's clarify the basic terminology. Everything we do to brand a celebrity, event or even a product is marketing using the branding mix. All marketing is not branding. Marketing is the umbrella that covers branding, public relations and sales.
When someone uses the term branding, be sure everyone is talking about the same things.
Here is an example of how the branding mix works: We have a client who is an actor who wants to promote a new movie he is in to get his fans and the entertainment industry to take notice. He may have a tremendous following on various social media. We will want to use that advantage to the max. We will use public relations to talk about the movie and the role he is playing. He has a website that he can use to post photos on his own and information about the film. He wants us to create ads to run in the entertainment magazines. He does not have a blog, so we will design one and manage the content. He wants to get appearances on the late evening talk shows which we can arrange.
The branding mix budget is $50,000 so the marketing plan will allocate the money to PR, Promotion, Photography, Advertising, Design, Scheduling appearances and event planning. Those are the ingredients in our new recipe. Once the campaign begins we learn that he is getting great press, but the ads are not having the impact desired. We can tweak the ads and ask for a larger budget or stop running ads and invest that money in a broader range and frequency of PR. That's like grandma adding a pinch more PR to her cake recipe.
In this example, the next client is a hot new band that has just is rocking the music world with their new hit song. The band got hot so fast they really need a complete image makeover from logo to how they look on stage. As part of the branding mix, we set up a tour of all the key cities in the USA and arranged on air live interviews in each destination. The band has not had time to build a solid fan base in the social media so we manage that entire process as quickly as possible.
The record label is now on top of the PR and Promotion. We place ads in "Billboard Magazine" and also on Twitter. We bring in image consultants to give a band a fresh look that will enhance their ability to stand out to attract new fans. We bring in our design team to develop new art work for the next CD Cover. Budget is $25,000 so we put all the money on image and the US tour. Once the money from the hit single starts rolling, in we make bigger plans for their next release.
So using our baking analogy, we started out to make a chocolate cake but had to settle for chocolate chips cookies. The branding mix was changed to reflect what was most successful. Since the tour is working like magic and the band is taking in unexpected profit to the bank, everyone agreed to add 10 more cities to the tour. Accordingly the band approved to cover the increased cost. Deal done.
In both examples, we sold more tickets and downloads. Branding image was significantly improved. However, as you can see, we used a different mix of marketing tools and budget to bake our cake. It's all marketing and sales. But each solution was custom made to the meet the client's goals.
There are many more tools still left in the marketing toolbox that can be used for new recipes in the future such as web design, mobile technology, contests for the fans, YouTube videos, all new lighting etc for the live shows, a new tour bus with great graphics, hiring a full time tour manager and launching a line of fan collectibles such T-shirts, Posters, and other branded items for sale. The list goes on.
Unlike grandma, who likes to add a pinch of this or that to the recipe to add flavor, the branding mix should always stick with the recipe (Marketing Plan) until there is evidence, money and approval to make changes. Each ingredient is precisely measured so the process can be repeated or improved upon later on.
Just like baking a cake, the branding process can sometimes get a little messy in the kitchen, but in the end, all the planning and hard work to execute the branding mix results in a dessert that is highly memorable and just right for the fans.