Marketing reminds you. Brands get remembered.

Branding is the action of being remembered or desired without prompting. It elicits feeling and emotion.

Marketing is the action of putting information in front of people (hopefully at the best possible time) to inform and educate (see remind) people about something they might need.

These are two different things that I thought lived a lot closer together.

At their core they both deal with someone’s knowledge about us and the necessary actions that might need taken.

However, it’s how the knowledge is recalled to initiate an action that’s radically different.

One is dramatically more powerful (see valuable) than the other.

One needs to be produced, the other protected.

One is bait on a hook, the other makes fish jump out of the water.

One is qualitative, the other quantitative.

But let’s dive a little deeper into their tortured and entangled past.

Brand is the Art

Branding goes beyond the bullet points and line items.

If done properly it will make the information feel implied and possibly irrelevant.

A brand is about an idea, a feeling.

It tells a story.

“Every brand has a story… [and it] includes expectations and history and promises and social cues and emotions.” (Seth Godin)

In its very nature, it’s slightly immeasurable and often intangible.

But it’s organically intentional.

That’s what makes it so powerful.

There’s a deep foundational purpose that keeps our brand breathing – that keeps our brand alive.

That organic intentionality is built upon legacy.

A legacy that can drive culture, growth and value for your agency.

The Foundation for a Legacy Brand

Starts with being authentic and self-aware.

That authenticity and self-awareness can then drive the strategy.

Ultimately, it communicates the characteristics, values and goals that are most prominent. It tells consumers who we are, what we do, and most importantly, why we do it.

It gives people something to connect with on a personal level.

It builds relationships.

It inspires.

It empowers.

And most importantly it encourages people to take action.

But does it work?

That’s like asking if a miracle blade can cut a shoe in half?

Of course it can.

Infomercials don’t lie.

And neither does your brand.

What’s the ROI of Your Brand?

That’s one of the trickiest things to measure.

Mostly because branding is sprinkled through the entire process.

It’s the ways we engage and interact with our consumers and community.

But let’s remember… The sole purpose of a brand is to spark emotion.

“The most startling truth is we don’t even think our way to logical solutions. We feel our way to reason. Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made.” (Douglas Van Praet)

Once we perceive our brand solely as the “storyteller” we can begin to be more strategic with how we deliver our message through it.

And the tools we use to deliver that message is where the marketing comes into play.

LISTEN NEXT: What Happens When Your Brand is the Boss?

The Science of Marketing

Is ultimately the system or method to distributing our brand.

We want to be in front of those highly important people (see fancy marketing word Target Market) in every way imaginable.

By leaning on that foundation our brand was built on, we hopefully create a subtle and nuanced “Law of Familiarity.”

The Law of Familiarity tells us that our percentage of closing a sale is much greater when the consumer is familiar with our brand.

In fact, 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands that are familiar to them. (Nielson’s Global New Product Innovation Survey)

But it’s not necessarily easy to build brand familiarity without marketing.

First you have to create familiarity with the brand so the decision has a chance to be made.

That’s where things get a little scientific.

We all know, in the insurance industry, consumers have a number of options.

Many of those options have significant dollars backing them to build a brand so strong and familiar that their branding is inescapable.

Apparently the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages per day.

Regardless what level of depression that stats brings you.

The most important question is, how do we compete with that?

READ NEXT: An Insurance Agents Guide to YouTube for Effective Video Marketing

How a Brand Becomes Inescapable

We probably should invest in a scientific process to backup the marketing.

You know, like kidnapping Neil Degrasse Tyson or something.

Let’s look at what Facebook is doing.

They kidnapped a whole team of Neil Degrasse Tyson’s.

Believe it or not they have an entire Marketing Science team that’s filled with analytical researchers, data scientists and technical experts responsible for defining the future of marketing.

No big deal, right?

In fact, they recently opened the Center for Marketing Science Innovation in New York to conduct neuroscience research.

It’s designed to help companies understand the type of content that resonates across all platforms and devices.

The insanity the lab pursues includes using bio-metric data that tracks eye movement, skin response, heart rate and facial expression while scrolling through the never-ending news feed.

Now, I’m not saying we need to go that crazy with it.

I’ll settle for a well placed, possibly physiologically induced call-to-action. #BabySteps

But it’s probably a good thing to know just how creepy the world of sensory marketing is getting.

Here’s the even scarier part. Because they made peace with their creepy scientific approach to their marketing, they can make decisions, deliver results, and drive growth on level we can’t comprehend yet.

Marketing Has To Start Somewhere, Right?

Let’s walk things back a couple steps on the socially acceptable street of marketing.

We can do that by focusing on the constant and incessant exposure we can create.

“That’s it: expose it, get people familiar, and they will prefer or not prefer. The difference today because of social media is that exposure can be exponential.” (AIM)

But there’s got to be a strategy behind that.

There’s nothing worse than that life-sucking feeling social media provides when another post is imminent.

You know, those days when you tell yourself that stock image of a jelly jar will look great on Instagram because it’s National Jelly Day.

I’m not sure what social media marketing rock bottom looks like, but you certainly can see it from there.

I guess that can be considered “getting exposure,” but it’s mind-numbingly dull exposure at best.

Why?

Because it has nothing to do with your brand.

There’s nothing strategic about it.

That is, unless the agency operates on a fruit farm and the team makes and gives out homemade Jelly to their clients.

Okay… You’re right, that’s too much.

Let’s move on.

The hard part is knowing your brand before you start. Well… You can start without knowing, in fact you probably should (it might be a little bit of train wreck), just be ready to adjust quickly.

Once that’s all sorted out that fancy target market can get a lot more narrow.

This can happen by creating content heavily influenced by that brand and speaks directly to those people.

Content goes beyond just writing blog posts, although that’s a good chunk of any decent marketing foundation.

What do you think is happening right now?

Content is everything.

  • Landing pages
  • Blogs
  • Social media posts
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Emails

It can’t be understated that content without strategy is just your feeble attempt to recreate Reader’s Digest.

Content should emphasize the brand, but also address a specific, valuable topic that’s designed to educate and inform the audience.

READ NEXT: A Line By Line Guide to Writing the Perfect Insurance Blog Post

We test.

We publish.

We record.

We send.

We wait..

Then the data starts trickling in.

We analyze that data and make adjustments.

That adjustment process continues until the approach becomes a solid execution of both brand and marketing.

The Bottom Line

Marketing reminds you. Brands get remembered.

There’s a reason one outlasts the other.

It’s because your brand has the ability to become ingrained in the fabric of your consumer’s culture.

Once sewn in, you’re the only choice.

Marketing is in constant competition with everyone else looking for a thread.

When stitched together it’s impossible to escape.

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