Questions

Branding vs marketing effort?

I currently run my own business full time that does well. I then started a consulting business and blog around my past experience running the first biz but it wasn't a priority and didn't take off. My partner and I are developing an app on a new domain and at the same we decided to move my consulting biz and blog to a subdomain of the app's website because both app and consulting target the same audience. The strategy was to be able to market both app and consulting at the same time because it would be a crazy feat to market 3 separate businesses (I am mostly a one person marketing team but I do have outsourcing experience). The consulting is taking off and recently I've been questioning rebranding as my own website. This will cause lost backlinks and social media counters will all go back to zero (I have several posts with over 500 pins on Pinterest). I don't have consistent social media handles which is mostly what has prompted this question. If I am confusing myself, my customers are surely confused too. Should I pursue consistent, separate branding for the consulting business at the cost of months worth of marketing and also make it harder for me to focus marketing all 3 ventures because I'd be spread too thin. (Also, app and consulting go hand in hand because the big picture would be to offer paid upgrades to the app for ecourses/ebooks that come from the consulting side).

4answers

It sounds like you have a lot going on. I think you might find some better momentum if you chose one to focus on. In the mean time I'm sure you face the dilemna of supporting yourself while your app gains momentum.
I was recently in a similar situation with developing and selling a CRM software tool while also running a service company. For us, it was very helpful to keep distinctly separate brands for each company. It helped to provide a laser focus with our marketing messaging and didn't blur the lines between the two entities. Even though our service business provides consulting services that include the software product we're selling we don't want other service providers to be scared away from promoting the software brand thinking that we have an unfair advantage in access to client sales. Overall the more focused your brand messaging is the better you will be overall, even in terms of SEO and traffic. I think it is definitely worth it to lose a little momentum to refine the focus of your branding and marketing.


Answered 6 years ago

As I understand things, you are your own person as a consultant but part of a partnership when it comes to the app.

Your consulting practice has gone from self-contained blog to a subdomain (tied to the app and partnership). And now that this is thriving, you're thinking of making the consulting / blog autonomous again.

Question #1: Is your consulting thriving now BECAUSE it's tied to the app? Or are your own independent efforts paying off in their own right?

You're attached to the app officially as a subdomain; so maybe, as a consultant, you're reaping the rewards of the app's marketing. In that case, you might lose more than SEO juice by splitting off.

If, on the other hand, you yourself are the engine of this success, then you ought to separate the consulting from the app.

To my mind, it's a strategic blunder to bind your reputation as a solo consultant to another product and a partner (even a great partner) who doesn't share in the consulting. What happens if the partnership ends – bitterly or amicably – and you want to go your own way? What happens if the product fails with your consulting practice tied to it as a subdomain? What happens if your blog really ought to expand beyond the app or the app moves in a direction foreign to your consulting work?

If it were me, I'd want these activities / roles / brands separate. Even if your blog is chiefly monetized through the app today, that might change tomorrow. You'll be better prepared for change if your identity as a consultant is separate from the reputation of a single app.

You've also noticed some inconsistency in branding across social media handles. Depending on how you use those venues, this might be more or less important. But you'd still want to evaluate this moment as an opportunity for thorough rebranding. Some publicity might come with the relaunch, as well.

If I can be of any help with naming, domain advice, or branded copy, let me know.

Yes, there might be SEO losses initially. But sometimes the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term costs. You'll want to weigh the pros and cons yourself.


Answered 6 years ago

Branding is commitment to go that extra mile to cut the chaos, Marketing is a vehicle that takes you there. It's not sales but enabler to sales. You earn good reputation by doing something better that can't be done by everyone. Branding is just like that reputation. It's much more than just running some campaign or using hash-tag. It's strategic objective and clarity of thought that one brings to table. As an entrepreneur your product/business could be either distinct brand or a distant one.

On that note, why don't you provide further insight on marketing initiative (s) that you till date and how does that integrates with your brand strategy? I am assuming you have two such documents with you.

Secondly, what aspects does your consulting service focus on and how is/are those related to the app you're building?

Have you given a second thought to the tactics you should adopt to market a product (App) and Services (Consulting) at the same time through same online mediums and channels?

Whether you should pursue a separate branding/marketing exercise for your businesses could be answered only after receiving above bare minimum details. Otherwise, it would be like making some generic statement in the dark.

Feel free to DM me any further query that you might have. We can always hop on a quick call as well.


Answered 6 years ago

I will go with branding and denounce the marketing effort. Why? The simple reason is Brands Are More Important than Products.
After the Second World War many new products became available in the most advanced countries, from the most essential appliances in a home, such as washing machines and refrigerators, to ready-made soups and aerosol cleaners. For the first time the middle class had access to those products that would have a lasting impact on their quality of life. Moving from a washboard to an automatic washing machine or from the blocks of ice in the icebox to a refrigerator now became the desire of homemakers the world over. Consumers had to have these new household devices, at any price. No matter the brand, the important thing was the product itself and its incredible features. These new products are sold singly. It was enough to inform consumers about a product’s existence and its mode of use to achieve good distribution and a competitive price. Demand exceeds supply, and it is not necessary for companies to establish customers; it is just about accumulating buyers. But within a few years’ things start to change. With the extraordinary economic development of the 1960s, a powerful consumer society emerges. Demand continues to grow, but supply is still growing. It is now easier to manufacture than to sell, and as the market tightens, it is no longer sufficient to report on the product’s existence; it is necessary to differentiate oneself from competition through advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations and any other available means of communication. As a result of this situation, brand began to play a relevant role, but the development of the brand had only just begun.
Over the years, technology products have become more and more like consumer products. It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between a product and its competition, and emotion is gradually gaining ground in advertising messages, obscuring the concrete attributes of products. In a very short time, both technological advances and physical differences are being swept away by competition, making it impossible to base communication on the marginal advantage that would have once made a product unique and distinct from others in its category. The products themselves are no longer attractive per se and must take refuge in the perceived values of the brands that shelter them. Beginning in the late 1970s the consumer, who up to that point had not been accorded much value in the marketing process for products, began to play a relevant role. Because it is no longer enough to have good distribution, reasonable quality, and a competitive price to sell a product. Now the consumer must also be seduced by the brand, and that requires new strategies in which empathy and emotionality are basic factors.
A Dior or Chanel party dress is not the same as a run-of-the-mill party dress. And it is not just about the quality of the fabric or the elegance of the design. Beyond the tangible physical characteristics of the product, the brand gives the user a touch of intangible glamor that really makes the difference. It was fashion designers who first discovered the secret of brand power. They realized that customers could fall in love with brands to the point that they even forget about the reality of the products. In fact, in their fashion shows, they display impossible garments, which never have much to do with the ones they then sell in their stores. Collections build a fantasy world that enhances the brand but whose wares we will never see out in the real world—unless it be on the red carpet, where big stars of the movie industry might sport such spectacular designs free of charge.
At first, brands such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga and Coco Chanel focused on haute couture, only accessible to a handful of privileged women worldwide, but then, like Yves Saint Laurent or Pierre Cardin, they expanded their range of products to prêt à porter and later to accessories, shoes, handbags, belts and jewellery, and from there to perfumes and cosmetics. Some brands like Armani and Bulgari have transcended the borders of fashion, even going so far as to manage restaurants and luxury hotels.

The world of fashion and luxury has always been a pioneer in modes of communication, perhaps because the essence of luxury is subtlety, which has much more to do with intuition and empathy than with the marginal advantages of products. However, there is a paragon in the business world to aid our understanding of the phenomenon of transforming products into brands. It is Virgin, the first company born entirely as a brand, without having any product behind it. In fact, it was originally a second-hand record store. It would later become a record company, book publisher, drugstore, airline, soft-drink maker, railroad, bank, insurance agency, travel agency, and hundreds of other enterprises whose only common link is the Virgin brand and the imprint of its adventurous creator, Richard Branson.
Virgin grew up in the late seventies and early eighties, at virtually the same time as Starbucks, Nike, and Apple, which launched its flagship product, the Macintosh, in 1984. All these companies were from the beginning aware of the great importance of brand for the future development of their business. A shoe is an object with specific characteristics relating to its fabric, flexibility, durability and many other attributes that we can either perceive or imagine seeing, touching or experiencing on our feet. We can draw a conclusion from its benefits through our experience and our logical judgment. However, the Nike brand logo that is so familiar to us is just a stroke on a white or black background. It conveys another type of emotional value related to the world of sport, with images of elite athletes and how they look in their sports garments, making us feel that we also form part of their achievements; we identify with them in their victories and their defeats. The spirit of sport, as expressed by Phil Knight, is the true value of that beloved brand, whose logo many Nike employees wear tattooed on their calves. It is a testament of love that goes far beyond the concrete benefit we can get from any product.
The commitment of customers to brands has become so strong that they have no problem displaying them on their own body. Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Nike, and many others are now stamping their logos on the clothes that their customers proudly carry. This was unthinkable some years ago, when brand names were hidden in jacket linings or inside shirt collars. The values and attributes of brands that constitute the essence of their personality are mimicked by the values and attributes of the audience to which they are directed. Brands try to be their customers’ soul mates; they attempt to generate empathy and to establish intimate and lasting relationships. Thus, when we choose a brand, it is because we identify with it. Moreover, the brand itself identifies us—it establishes our worth relative to the world around us. Brands help us to define our new status or statuses. These are no longer just socioeconomic but also technological, political, and environmental. When we buy a certain brand of smartphone such as an iPhone, we are not only buying a smartphone that in addition to sending and receiving calls and messages serves us as a planner, a watch, a calculator, etc., providing us with an endless array of applications of varying usefulness in our daily life. It also serves us to express our level of modernity and our impressive access to technology. In choosing among other innumerable brands we find the reflection of our environmental concern, our sexual inclinations, our social and political leanings, religious identities—whatever are the parameters characteristic of our lifestyle. To achieve this, brands humanize themselves and participate in all kinds of social issues that affect us.
According to BrandIndex, the company that measures the perception levels of thousands of brands around the world, the four companies most loved by their customers in 2016 were, in this order, Google, YouTube, Samsung and Facebook.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath


Answered 5 months ago

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