Marketing isn’t as simple as blasting an advert on your chosen platform: it needs strategy, planning and foresight to be truly successful and to give clients the return on investment they deserve.
At Penquin, we know the true value of strategy and are proud to boast that the strategic oversight we add to our clients is one of our biggest value adds.
Here we lay out the fundamental strategies needed to create a comprehensive marketing plan for your business, from top to bottom:
Your brand isn’t the products you sell, the logo you use, or even your name. Your brand is the intangible feeling your brand creates that resonates with your future and current customers on a far more primal, emotional level... and it’s that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse brands from mediocre ones. For example, Coca-Cola isn’t just a soft drink, it embodies happiness, and Harley Davidson isn’t just a motorbike, it’s about rebelling.
None of this is possible without a comprehensive brand strategy.
And a good brand doesn’t just happen - it is a well thought out and strategic plan.
Running this emotional golden thread through your brand creates loyalty, return customers, and ardent brand evangelists. And this magical feeling is why we say people don’t buy products or services - they buy better versions of themselves.
A well-defined brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.
It is critical to be aware of your brand experience and have a plan to create the brand experience that you want your customers to have.
A brand strategy also informs all of your other strategies! Without fundamentally understanding who you are as a brand, it is near impossible to build out a solid communication and media strategy, all of which inform your actual advertising.
While a brand strategy uncovers why you exist, a communication strategy uncovers how you communicate this message to current and future customers. In essence, a communication strategy (comm strat) is the big picture that directs and shapes all of your marketing efforts, and is informed by your brand strategy.
The key message in a comm strat is determined by your brand’s value proposition. Your value proposition is what you promise people every time they buy a product or service, to allow buyers to justify the purchase easily with a sense of comfort.
This is not a marketing plan or a creative campaign! It’s a top level communication plan that keeps all your marketing campaigns streamlined and consistent in their messaging. It shows the ‘big picture’ of your brand or product.
Consumers continually seek to justify their purchases, and sometimes this comes down to a simple feeling that resonates with them.
A solid comm strat helps you identify your key audience and guides your medium selection. Your media strat will then break that down with channel and platform recommendations that will deliver the best results per campaign.
Brands without a comm strat will try new and different messages all the time hoping that one of them will land... and it actually dilutes the brand message, because you’re trying to target everybody. Your metric becomes “reaching as many people as possible” instead of aiming for the right people in the right way.
The big question here is: how do we take your brand strategy and communication strategy and turn them into an emotive, overarching creative concept? This is more granular than your brand and communication strategies, which apply to the brand as a whole, and is the umbrella strategy for your campaigns. A campaign is both time (with start and end dates) and goal (number of sales, for example) based which could be for a specific product.
A creative strategy shouldn’t demonstrate the rational reasons for buying your product, but rather the emotional ones. This is where the tagline, the look and feel, and other creative elements of the campaign are created, often in a moodboard format. Importantly, a creative strategy does not demonstrate where this message will be executed - that level of detail lies in your media strategy.
A comprehensive creative strategy gives you a cohesive look and more importantly, feel, for your brand’s campaigns. This allows your messaging to remain consistent across the different platforms it is implemented on, without each marketing message being a carbon copy of another.
Once you have your brand strategy (who you are), communication strategy (what you tell people about who you are), creative strategy (concept, look and feel of this message per campaign), you can now get into creating a media strategy! A media strategy is the granular strategy that breaks down into detail how you execute these messages:
Overall, media itself is divided into two sections: traditional media, and digital media. We go into more detail below.
Traditional media strategy
This strategy will recommend the appropriate traditional media targets for your brand: where you should focus your budget and advertising efforts to gain the most success for your campaign.
Traditional media will give guidance for above, below and through the line efforts, and is aware of the capabilities of each channel and will make appropriate recommendations accordingly.
This is heavily informed by your brand strategy and communication strategy, both of which give insights and data into who is the ideal audience to target, what media are they engaging with and what do we want them to do once they have been exposed to the messaging around your products.
A comprehensive traditional media strategy ensures you are putting both your budgets and your efforts into the correct platforms, at the correct times, to speak to your target audience. This prevents the “spray and pray” approach and allows you to get maximum traction from your traditional marketing efforts.
Digital media strategy
Digital media is increasingly important for brands, and too many decide to try a little of everything without selectively choosing the platforms that will give them the most bang for their buck. This is where a digital media strategy comes in: selecting the platforms - and strategies on those platforms - that will not only give you the necessary measurability, but also advice on what to measure, and which platforms warrant your attention and marketing budget.
A focused digital media strategy allows you to choose the important metrics to measure (which helps greatly with understanding your audience, and with getting ROI from your marketing efforts). It will also advise on which platforms to focus your efforts, and help you integrate your online and offline messaging.