“We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” Doctor Who
I haven’t actually watched Doctor Who, and this quote is more about people. But I think there’s something here that’s relevant to brands, and to the people who are trying to build them.
People like you.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the story of startups plateauing on user acquisition and growth after a strong initial run. While there might be a few different reasons for this, there is usually one common culprit: the absence of brand building, or well, story telling.
Great brands tell good stories. Over and over again.
In the long run, that’s your best bet to sustainable, scalable growth. But let’s rewind a little and look at why.
If you’re a young brand, chances are you first started acquiring users through performance marketing.At the beginning, performance marketing brings in all the early adopters – those willing and ready to give a budding brand a chance.
As you grow, however, the number of people who are willing to give you that chance steadily decreases, and so the same story unfurls everywhere after a point – rising CACs, slowing or declining acquisition.
Beyond your early adopters you’re going to have to work a lot harder to convince people to try you, and performance marketing alone isn’t enough anymore. And this is where brand building comes in.
By telling your brand’s story as much as possible, you can help your performance marketing work better, drive up organic growth over time, bring down CACs, build a steady growth engine, and almost live happily ever after.
The problem is – most startups we spoke to don’t know how to start building their brand, and more often than not, have preconceived notions about the uncertainty of it all.
“Look, with performance marketing, I know exactly what the return on marketing spends is, but brand marketing feels so vague, you have to wait for a really long time before you start seeing any results, and I don’t know how to attribute it to growth and my CFO…”
I get it, it can be daunting to get started on brand marketing, but the good news is, you don’t have to figure this out yourself. Brand building is not the black box it is made out to be.
Let’s quickly break some of the myths around brand marketing before we jump into how to do it:
- It takes too long to pay off: When done right, brand marketing starts paying off immediately, and only compounds with time. One home interiors company we worked with followed some of the principles we recommended and got a 1.5x ROAS in a single city pilot in just 1 month and then expanded nationally
- There’s no way to measure it: Brand marketing pays off both in terms of revenue as well as in mind measures which are lead indicators to growth. There are research tools available that can help track the external metrics and identify performance across the funnel while business metrics tell you the impact on growth
- It’s vague and subjective: Brand building is a process – one that involves art, yes, but also a fair bit of science. The biggest companies in the world have tried and tested out the process of building legendary brands and well, we all know it works.
Our team has taken this process and all the generational knowledge of the biggest brands and distilled it all into a simple playbook.
Here is a sneak peek of that process. How many parts can you confidently say you follow today?
- Job-to-be-done: Identify your brand’s lifestage before you decide on actions for growth
- Consumer insight: Know exactly what your consumers want and need and how you’re solving their problems
- Brand proposition: Pick a singular clearly articulated proposition for your brand
- Positioning: Define a sharp and distinctive personality for your brand
- Test: Always test your communication before committing to a message
- Be always-on: Don’t let the consumer forget you; stay always-on on media
- Prioritise efficiency: Aim for highest reach at lowest possible cost in your media plan
- Measure impact: Set up the right dashboards (both internal and external) to track your brand’s performance
- Be consumer obsessed: Create a culture of meeting and talking to consumers regularly
In the long run, brands that can trust and follow this process and these principles are likely to overtake the ones that don’t.
If you’d like to understand more about this process in detail, Himanshu Kanwar, who leads our Brand and Marketing practice, would love to have a chat on how you can start writing your brand’s success story. Please feel free to schedule a 1:1 with him here.