A brand is more than just a name and a logo—it’s a holistic approach to the customer experience, including sales. You can’t have a solid brand without successful sales and you can’t have successful sales without a brand. So, why do they go together and how can you ensure you are using them in tandem for the best results?
The Differences Between Sales and Branding
To understand why branding and sales should be implemented together, it’s important to know the differences between the two. If you are looking to fulfill conversions and sell as much as possible, you would focus on the sales process; however, if you were looking to increase brand awareness and loyalty with your customers, you would focus on creating the brand and its experience. Gary Vaynerchuk explains, “The difference between branding and sales is simple. Are you trying to convert or are you trying to create an experience? The latter always wins.”
The problem with separating branding and sales lies in the way they help each other. Branding helps people identify which product is best for their needs, and sales is the activity of helping them get that product. Before buying a product, a customer needs to understand their needs, and this is where having an established brand comes into play.
Establish the Brand
When a company tries to brand a product by looking at what’s popular or trending at the moment, they fail to differentiate themselves from the competition. And, if they aren’t any different, then why should the customer choose them over another? Creating a uniquely awesome brand is not an easy task. There are multiple steps in the process, from researching the perceptions, emotions, and experiences associated with your business to creating a brand story that resonates with decision makers, employees, and customers alike.
Hannah Fleishman states on HubSpot: “All of a business’s communications and marketing assets should tell the brand’s story.” When a company is consistent across all touchpoints, customers feel more comfortable and are more likely to stay loyal. Their positive experience helps them identify which product is the best solution for their specific needs.
Implement the Brand within Sales
A cohesive and consistent brand will resonate throughout every aspect of the business. It will give the purchasing department the standards to look for and abide by when searching for inventory, point the research and development team in the right direction when coming up with new ideas, and ultimately provide the sales and marketing team the messaging they need to clearly communicate their products and services.
LifeTrac is an organization that helps benefits payers manage the cost, risk, and complexity of providing access to care for their members via highly specialized offerings, or “Tracs,” to better outcomes. They were known as just an organ transplant network, but they offered so much more and needed a strong brand that positioned the company in the marketplace. By developing a clear identity, they were able to create a sub-brand system that clearly communicated the Tracs they offered, and were able to create specific messaging for each audience. The updated branding and messaging were applied throughout the company and at every touchpoint, including sales sheets, to create consistency across the board and effectively tell the brand story. Because of the refreshed brand and updated sales materials, LifeTrac saw an increase of 59% in revenue in 2018.
LifeTrac used a marketing effort called pull marketing, a strategy that involves focusing branding efforts inwards—that is, spending time building skills, value, and brand credibility rather than searching for the next sale. The more effort they put into implementing pull marketing, the better the results.
To implement pull marketing, a business should focus on finding out who they are and why they’re different, how they are perceived in the marketplace, and how they would like to be perceived, and then create an identity based on this research that effectively communicates their products and services as THE solution to their customer’s needs.
To a new company, this looks like first researching the market and the competition, developing a logo that resonates with the company, its stakeholders, and its audience, developing positioning and messaging that clearly communicates their brand story and identity, and then implementing the brand in every aspect of the company, from business cards and letterheads to marketing materials and online presence.
The company should educate the team about the importance of the brand and why it matters, and once the team is in unison and all speaks the same message, it will create a consistent brand that a customer can trust, creating loyalty that can last a lifetime.
Focusing on sales may be a quicker strategy to conversions and putting your product in front of people, but building a brand that has a strong value and reputation in the marketplace will in turn create loyal customers and sales for life.