Oh, you work in branding and design? So you're an arts and crafts marketer. Got it.
Raise your hand if you've heard that refrain. It's a bummer brand marketers get that reputation, because it typically stems from a total lack of understanding of the impact branding and design has on other areas of marketing. Those that think branding is just a fluffy, marketing buzz word need this blog post. And if you're a brand marketer who's tired of explaining why your job matters for the greater sales and marketer good, well, bookmark this bad boy and send it the way of the naysayers. Here are just some of the places brand marketers have a serious impact on other areas of marketing!
1) Call-to-Action Design
When you've reached the point of trying to optimize for conversions, you'll want to do some serious A/B testing. And CTAs are a great place to start! The problem? Well, after you've tested basic things like copy, placement, and button color, you need to step it up a notch. That means getting involved in testing the impact different designs have on your CTA click through rate. And as a company who has tested CTA design 'til the ends of the earth (and then some ... we're always testing new designs to see if we can improve conversions), we can vouch for the impact a new CTA design from our branding department can have on CTR.
Some of the things we've learned just on the blog alone? Well, when the blog posted the most well-branded CTAS in the world -- seriously, they aligned ridiculously well with the skin of our blog -- click through rate plummeted. Turns out they looked so much like our blog no one could tell they were clickable! Oops. Lesson learned. That's why we have the CTAs you see now, that stand out from the orange and white skin of the blog.
These are the kinds of lessons we learned, extremely quickly, because we had some brand marketers on our team that could pump out several new CTA designs very quickly based on what our analytics told us. If it was one of our bloggers designing the CTA? They'd still be putzing around in Microsoft Paint trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. No offense, ladies. ;-)
2) Marketing Offer Layout
Feast your eyes on these beauties:
Those are two of our ebooks. But you probably already knew that if you've downloaded any of our recent ebooks ... because they all look really similar! This is the result of a conscious effort we've made thanks to our branding professionals, that have helped us streamline the look of all our ebooks to make the experience consistent for readers. So when you visit an ebook landing page, you'll see books like that every time. And when you open them up? Yep, the design elements remain consistent in there, too!
Not only does this help create a better reading experience for leads that download your content -- making it more likely they'll download more in the future -- it helps prevent copyright infringement on the internet. If people start to get to know what your content looks like, it's much easier for your community to call out copycats that simply steal your content and plop it up on their website. Tisk tisk.
3) Brand Style Guide
That consistent ebook design is great, but do we really have our designers lay out every single one of our ebooks?
No way, man. We don't have that many designers! They just worked out the vision for us, and then wrote it all out in terms the rest of us marketers can understand. In other words, they created a brand style guide for non-brandy and non-designey people.
Not only does a brand style guide help maintain branding consistency -- it helps make everyone in our company look, for lack of a better phrase, wicked professional. With our brand style guide, literally every employee at HubSpot can make use of established creative elements in any of their collateral or communications, like SWAG, offers, blog posts, landing pages ... everything. Establishing what's expected and giving employees the tools to re-create these elements helps prevent bottlenecks of work for our branding people, and saves us from having to hire 20 more designers.
4) Presentation Templates
Speaking of teaching a man to fish, having one template for all of the presentations your employees deliver is one of the best things to come out of a branding department. Seriously, if you haven't done it already, give it a try. At HubSpot, for example, one of our designers sat down one day and created a downloadable PowerPoint deck that would serve as a template for anyone that had to put together a presentation for HubSpot.
It. Is. Awesome. Think about your sales people, for example. Instead of having them fiddle around in PowerPoint for three hours trying to put a presentation together for an upcoming pitch ... where the outcome is probably still pretty dismal despite the effort ... they just plug in their information and boom. They've got a ridiculously well-branded presentation, and it took them maybe 30 minutes to create it. That's a much better use of time than trying to design a presentation from scratch, and it makes your company look far more professional.
5) Social Media Consistency
We talk a lot about cross-promoting your different social media presences. In other words, encouraging Facebook fans to follow you on LinkedIn, and Twitter followers to circle up on Google+. If you can create a consistent experience across all your social networks, that task is made much easier and more pleasant for your social connections. Take a look at how we've done it across Facebook and LinkedIn, for example:
Our LinkedIn connections can get that same positive feeling they're used to when they visit our Facebook page, too! Plus, if they stumble upon it by accident, they'll remember who we are through some recognizable visual cues. And isn't that what branding's all about? Recognition! And in this case ... a bigger social reach, too.
6) Visual Content Creation
There's nothing like a killer video to take a marketing campaign to the next level. In fact, a video can be a marketing campaign all on its own ... just check out our Gangnam Style video parody that we launched this morning!
That would have been impossible for us to create without our branding team. You know what else we never could have created? This content visualization, "Shameless Marketing Tactics That Totally Work," that performed extremely well on our blog, generating thousands of social shares and page views, and hundreds of leads. Still think branding and design doesn't have an impact on your bottom line? Think again.
7) Taglines & Messaging
"Have it your way!"
Know what I'm talking about?
Of course you do! That iconic Burger King tagline is recognizable to people of all ages. It's simple, easy to remember, and evokes that feeling of "custom" and "personal" they want associated with their brand. But if you've ever tried to create a tagline for your own company, you know it's no easy feat (though you should definitely check out these ten companies that totally nailed their taglines). But if your branding geniuses can create a tagline that makes your audience think of you first, before anyone else in your industry, you'll reap the benefits in new customers and customer retention for years to come. You are the authority now, after all!
In what other ways does your branding team contribute to other marketing efforts?
Image credit: rog2bark
Originally published Sep 18, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017