Some small business owners aren't sure whether to prioritize customer acquisition marketing or building a brand, particularly because branding concepts are more difficult to quantify. To grow a business, however, you need to accomplish both branding and acquisition goals. Here's how successful companies can build their brands while acquiring new customers:

Building a Brand: It's More Than Colors, Logos and Taglines

A brand can be defined by customers' perceptions of products or services, notes Forbes. Perception can be influenced at all points during a sale: awareness, consideration, research, decision, sale and post-sale.

Thinking about brands in terms of customer perception makes it easier to view the choice between gaining new customers and building a brand as a false dichotomy. Small business owners don't have to choose acquisition over brand building. Instead, they can work on both for maximum impact.

Getting the Most From Your Marketing Investment

To get the most from your marketing investment and achieve both branding and acquisition goals, put the following five steps in place before launching your next campaign:

  1. Create simple brand guidelines. An online brand book that lists the visual and verbal branding elements you want to convey can help keep your advertisements on track. Make sure to include the emotional impact of your brand as well; use stories, pictures and descriptions of your ideal customers to paint a vivid picture of the emotional impact you want your ads to convey.
  2. Share branding goals with all employees. Teach everyone who works for your company, no matter how small or big the business is, about your brand's characteristics. Every nuance of customer interaction, from presale to post-sale, must reflect your brand.
  3. Run acquisition campaigns with a branded theme in mind. Digital agency Brolik cites the Dollar Shave Club as a great example of a company with ads that increased sales, boosted their brand and gave customers an incentive to try their products or make an additional purchase.
  4. Set long-term marketing goals. Marketing should be viewed as a marathon rather than as a sprint. It's rare that any one campaign will immediately hit a target. With long-term goals, you can drip branded acquisition content out in a steady stream that builds upon previous ads to make a significant impact.
  5. Synchronize all campaigns. Whether you're posting to your company's social media accounts or running a splashy print ad, synchronize your campaigns and editorial calendars so the messages are consistent no matter where customers turn for information. Consistency is one of the keys of brand building.

Focusing solely on return on investment is like staring at one tree and missing the beauty of the forest. Instead, acquisition marketing must work in harmony with building a brand to truly grow a thriving company. As brand awareness grows, new customers will come to you.

Tags: acquisition marketing building a brand brand building