Unfocused marketing efforts often lack the emotional appeal needed to connect with the target audience. Without a clear and concise message, a brand is just a brand: “a name, term, design, or symbol” as defined by the American Marketing Association. What makes a brand stand out among the rest is a full sensory experience. If you consider Mercedes to be a luxury item then that’s a brand! If McDonald’s is the first fast food restaurant to pop into your head when you’re craving a burger then that’s also a brand!

When you see a Starbucks commercial and can almost taste the Cinnamon Dolce Latte in your mouth that’s a brand! Starbuck’s created more than a brand actually, they created an entire culture. The simple act of buying a coffee became an experience considered warming and comfortable to Starbuck’s goers that want to go and be seen. They have a unique name coupled with a memorable logo that solidifies their brand in a competitive market. According to entrepreneur.com Starbuck’s “represents the gold standard” of all start up brands.

Failure to effectively use a brand will ultimately hinder a company’s success. To prevent this from happening, an integrated marketing plan is often used to help companies establish a brand that creates an emotional connection with their target audience; however, implementing an integrated marketing plan that develops a positive reputation and gains a competitive advantage is only the beginning of a successful branding strategy.

Another integral step in branding is to connect the dots between what you feel about your company and what consumers feel about your company. The way you portray your company and how you want your company to be perceived should remain consistent. Integrated marketing professionals will be able to assist you in determining the consumer’s perception of your company when evaluating the effectiveness of your existing or potential brand.

The market research firm Brand Keys, they publish the Customer Loyalty Engagement Index annually, gathered observations of the top 10 brands that delight customers. According to Brand Keys researchers “delight is the new differentiator.” Among the delightful brands are Netflix, Apple, Walgreens, Discover, and Hyundai.

Once you have determined what your company means to you and what you want it to mean to your customers, partnering with an integrated marketing firm can allow you to develop a strategic marketing campaign that lets consumers know your company exists and what you have to offer them. As part of this campaign, public relation efforts play an important role to generate positive publicity, create public awareness, and offer legitimacy for what your company is promoting.

An integrated marketing firm is best equipped to conceive and carry out a through action plan designed to effectively use your brand and manage consistent messaging. Public relations and advertising will create an understanding and emotional connection in the minds of consumers about why they need your company to fulfill their needs. Making an investment in strategic marketing now will undoubtedly generate greater and more sustainable profits in the long run; as long as you can be certain about how your brand is being used.

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