Let’s face it, we’ve all had times during our career where we’ve Googled tips on how to do our jobs. Not because we don’t know how to actually do our job — but because we feel stuck and in need of some inspiration. When you're running numerous brand campaigns simultaneously, this comes as no surprise.
So, let's take a poll. Raise your hand if you feel like you gained a bit of inspiration from these searches? Probably quite a few hands up.
But how many of you feel that you gained real insight into how the big players are doing things? Not as many?
That's because many of the articles on this topic are written by people who think they know how brand managers are running the show. While these articles may bring value when you're starting out, as you progress in your career as a brand manager, you'll probably be looking for something a little bit more insightful.
That's where this article comes in.
We had the pleasure of speaking with a handful of excellent brand managers and marketing experts who shared insight into how they run successful campaings, as well as tips for other brands to take on board.
Advice From 5 Brand Managers on Running Great Brand Campaigns
There's tons of advice floating around the internet about what goes into running a successful brand campaign. But it's not always verifable.
Here, we'll disucss advice from five industry experts who have the experience to back up their advice and tips.
1. Tapping into Brand Tracking Data: Alex Allcott, Thread
Let's start with Alex Allcott, who is an amazing brand marketer with an incredible background. Alex began her career in advertising and gained over 10 years of experience in the field, mostly at Wieden and Kennedy.
She started out in account management before moving into strategy as a planner, which included: brand tracking, looking at input and output, developing creative briefs and working with creative teams to build brand campaigns and, of course, evaluating the effect of the brand campaigns.
Alex shared: “But I wanted to make more of an impact. I was interested in tech."
Thus, in 2018, Alex moved to Thread, which is an innovative service that combines expert stylists with AI to create a service that only recommends clothes in your style, size, and budget.
“The thing that’s tricky is companies are very ‘data-led’ and brand is very hard to measure. Plus, it’s not something that always pays back in the short term."
Alex has implemented brand tracking into Thread’s everyday marketing activities so she can measure brand. The ability to focus on certain regions is important for her as she can see how brand campaigns are performing in targeted regions, or how one region compares to another.
The results gained from brand tracking open up important discussions for Alex and Thread, such as:
“Are the brand campaigns we are running building brand awareness?”, “Do we want to focus on different target audiences to increase brand awareness there?”, “How can we measure the impact of the creative in helping our campaigns cut through?”.
It is safe to say that brand tracking allows Alex to run brand campaigns the right way: by giving her another data point to help build a rounded view of brand activity.
2. Leveraging the Power of SEO: Gisera Matanda, WeLoans
Gisera Matanda is the co-founder and Marketing Director of WeLoans, a brands that works to minimize the hassle of taking out loans. According to Gisera, SEO is the driving force behind her company's success.
"Search engine optimization has been at the heart of all our successful marketing campaigns. Through leveraging SEO, we can match our target customer intent when they search for solutions to their problems online. SEO enables us to offer the right solution to our target customers by using keywords that provide answers to what they are searching for.
"SEO enables us to optimize our campaigns as the need arises since it is easy to monitor the performance of a campaign through Google Analytics. Additionally, leveraging SEO works long-term and allows you to continue reaping benefits - attracting customers without actively managing a campaign in the future. All you need to do is set up everything and then keep a check on any developments."
So, when looking for tips on how to run great brand campaigns of your own in 2022, you should never overlook the power of strong SEO.
3. Understanding Your Audience: Cassia Cruz, Momentum Collective
Cassia Cruz is the Marketing Communications Manager at a not-for-profit brand called the Momentum Collective, an organization which offers everything from short-term respite accomodation to community housing to supported employment for those in need.
Cassia shared the following insights into what allows her to run successful brand campaigns:
"With over 12 years experience in the marketing and brand space in Australia and overseas, for me, one of the secrets to from a successful brand campaign is to understand your audience.
"Start with data. Hear what your public have to say, their pain points, the challenges they face, understand their behaviour, etc. you will then be able to work on your storytelling considering all those things. You know there are some ads that you look and say 'wow! This seems that it was written for me or made for me'."
And we couldn't agree more. Having a deep understanding of your target audience — who they are, what they need, and what they think about your brand — is essential when crafting effective brand campaigns.
Keep this in mind when planning your next campaign and consider taking a deep dive into your target audiences' like, dislike, and pain points.
4. Spotlighting Consumer Trust: Rik Schnabel, Life Beyond Limits
Rik Schnabel is a former brand manager for News Limited and former owner of advertising agencies. Now, he works as a life coach and has his own brand, Life Beyond Limits. For him, a key ingredient that is often overlooked when running brand campaigns — particularly by those new to the marketing sector — is the trust factor.
Rik explained his view as follows:
"Consumers begin to trust when they can trust that your message and means of delivery can be trusted. I'm not talking about your message. I'm talking about your 'Style Guide.'
"Your Style Guide is your corporate colour palette. Your fonts. Your layouts. Your dos and don'ts. I see people running ads on Facebook and in mainstream media and making costly mistakes, by changing:
Logo and logo position
"According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95 percent of our purchasing decisions are emotional and derive from the subconscious. I personally know that it's deeper than that. Our buying decisions actually are hard-wired to our feelings of safety and therefore are below the subconscious and are found in the unconscious. In other words, a scant few can tell you 'why' they just bought something and will admit that it was emotional."
"Most people will rationalise and intellectualise their purchases. So that they are justified and make sense to others. Failing this, they will be relegated down the social ladder and labelled a fool.
"Their are three levels of trust that we must mentally tick those boxes before purchasing and yet, few people are conscious of these. The 'Three Levels of Trust' are:
Do I trust you, the advertiser (or the seller)?
Do I trust the product or service to do what it promises?
Do I trust myself to get what I want from the product or service?"
"Now, when we (the advertiser or marketer) continually change our approach, we are losing trust - because we don't trust ourselves enough to continue our tact or approach."
To further underscore his point, Rik provided us with the following case study on haircare brand Decoré.
"Launched in May 1988 by client Reckitt & Colman Pharmaceuticals, I witnessed amazing courage when Decoré ran an TV campaign that had people singing in the shower with a one line song featuring the brand name. For almost three months, nothing happened. Sales weren't moving, but they stuck to their commitment and direction. Only to find that after the 3 month mark, sales suddenly surged. Why? For two reasons.
"One: consumers had to trust this new brand and nothing is better than longevity. Over time, we can come to trust almost anything.
"Two: the agency came to realise that shampoos on average, were bought every 3 or 4 months. So they had to continue until they hit the renew cycle of purchasing.
"The television commercial boosted consumer awareness of the Decoré brand, which was almost invisible beforehand. It generated huge trial sales of Decore, pushing it into the ranks of the most frequently used brands in the cluttered shampoo and conditioner market, which amounts to $200 million a year."
"While so many are focusing their attention on getting the right headline, copy and promise in play to generate immediate sales. It's the trust leaders today that become the brand leaders of tomorrow."
5. Focusing on Personalization: Elice Max, EMUCoupon
Elice Max is the Co-Owner and Marketing Director of EMUCoupon, a self-proclaimed community of smart online shoppers that promotes discounts, promo codes, and coupons for retail products.
When asked to share her advice on what makes for a great brand campaign, Elice explained:
"Personalization is at the center of brand marketing. You must find a way to engage customers directly and address them as unique individuals. Data analytics is something that makes this possible. You need to find every little detail of customers on how they engaged with your brand previously, what are some of their needs and whether they are satisfied with the solution that's been offered.
"You can apply personalization even in marketing procedures that are automated. For instance, every business uses auto-replies for one reason or another. Most of these replies are extremely bland and robotic. You can make the reply sound human even if it's automated. There are software that can add a customer's name to personalize your reply. An automated reply that directly addressed the customer will make an experience that's unique and specific to your customers.
"There are a number of other ways where technology helps you make you add a personal touch while marketing to customers. And whenever you engage the customer in a more personalized manner, you take another step into becoming a powerful brand."
In 2022, personalization is an absolute must for brands that want to form real connections with their target audiences. And, as Elice explains so well, brand managers need to go beyond the basic and get creative with personalization to really stand out.
There you have it, some great insights from five experienced brand managers and marketing leaders that you can take and apply to your own future brand campaigns.
A big thanks to all five experts for taking the time to speak with us and sharing their experience, tips, and advice. We'll certainly be taking some of these tips on board — and we hope you will, too.
Updated by: Cory Schröder on 14.10.22