In part one of our series on brand campaigns, we dove headfirst into the importance of brand strategy. Here, in part two, we’re exploring the logistics of using that strategy to actually launch a campaign. Or, rather, the pre-campaign planning.
It should go without saying that organizing a stellar brand campaign takes time, but we’re going to come out and say it anyway: Organizing a stellar brand campaign takes time. Fortunately, if you’ve dedicated the effort to defining your brand strategy, you’ve already done the hardest part. This is because each brand campaign you launch is merely a different permutation of your brand strategy.
What sets brand campaigns apart from your foundational brand strategy is that campaigns are more specific and narrowly focused—often targeting a smaller segment of your brand believers, prioritizing specific outcomes and running for a set length of time. While many campaign guides will tell you to start by investigating your audience and determining your messaging, you should already know those—that’s what your brand strategy is for.
So, campaign preparation and the questions you ask are truly about determining the specifics. Here’s a list to help you get started.
#1 What are your campaign goals?
Your brand strategy already defines your brand purpose (i.e., your mission aside from growing revenue), but each campaign requires a target outcome. For example, are you trying to:
- Increase brand awareness and familiarity?
- Increase conversions by pushing more customers through your sales funnel?
- Launch a new product?
- Roll out a rebrand?
Depending on your goals, your campaign’s touchpoints and messaging will vary. For example, increasing awareness and familiarity is a “top of the funnel” goal, primarily aimed at achieving better and broader recognition and purchase consideration. So, you might focus your campaign on social media posts or search engine ads with messaging that entices viewers to investigate offerings more.
Conversely, if you’re looking to increase conversions, boosting awareness won’t help much. Instead, you’ll need to identify potential purchase barriers. Your messaging may revolve around free shipping, discounts or user-generated content that shows how happy customers are after receiving the product.
#2 What metrics determine success?
Directly connected to your campaign’s specific goals, you’ll next need to determine which metrics indicate success. Again, if you’re launching an awareness campaign, you’ll primarily focus on engagement metrics like impressions or click-through rates. For a conversion campaign, you’ll primarily target metrics like total sales and time-to-conversion.
Just like your brand strategy and campaign messaging, your campaign goal and the metrics you use to assess performance are inherently linked.
#3 Who should be included on the campaign team?
The internal coordination involved with a brand campaign can grow rather complex, as your team might require marketers, content creators, product developers, sales staff and other specialists. Before campaign preparation can truly begin, you’ll need to determine which personnel belong on the campaign team based on the goals you’re trying to achieve and the tasks that get you there.
At the beginning of the planning process, you’re not necessarily interested in who will specifically handle each logistical detail—that comes later. But you do need to determine what roles need to be in the room and whose input will be valuable throughout the campaign.
Your list of team members may more resemble a blank fantasy sports roster before the draft, with needed roles listed by title rather than the person who will be involved, such as:
- A coordinator to oversee the campaign
- Marketers to execute the campaign (e.g., scheduling engagements across different channels)
- Content creators to handle the copywriting and graphic design or video
- A product developer to ensure the campaign content accurately reflects the product
- An account manager or strategist to provide input on existing customers’ priorities and concerns
At this point, you might also decide if you’re better off working with a branding agency or an in-house team.
#4 What channels will you use?
Depending on your brand strategy, your brand believers and the mindset territories your campaign targets, you should already have a decent understanding of which channels are most effective at reaching them.
Will you choose conventional paid media options like social content and search engine display ads? Or something more out-of-the-box, like an interactive Times Square billboard? If your brand believers tend to be over-40 business owners, TikTok probably isn’t the best choice… or, maybe it is.
However, you may still need to decide how the campaign’s engagements will be spread across multiple channels. Remember that most campaigns these days must be omnichannel to be effective. There are so many touchpoints where brands and their believers can interact that leveraging multiple channels is the best way to reach them.
#5 Do you have the content resources prepared?
Of course, launching a campaign (and particularly an omnichannel one) requires gathering or producing the content resources needed for each engagement. Your campaign goals and the channels you’ve chosen will help determine what will be required—whether that’s copywriting, graphic design and photography, video or another medium.
And these content resources must work together to deliver a story, but not just any story.
#6 Do your content resources align with your brand strategy?
Before your campaign launches, you’ll need to evaluate your content resources to ensure they align with your brand strategy, as that’s the story you’re telling and using to connect with your audience. Every aspect and element of the content must be rooted in your brand strategy platform so that story doesn’t feel riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies.
If your brand is positioned to be helpful and convenient, that affects the content and messaging; likewise, if you’re a heritage brand with premium prices, that does too. From specific word choices and tone to color palettes and imagery, everything needs to be in sync.
Because you’re selling your brand as a whole (and not any particular product), the narrative you weave needs to be comprehensive and complete. Stories evoke emotion, and emotions drive consumer behavior, so the story matters. After all, brand campaigns are about creating or reinforcing genuine, authentic relationships between brands and their believers (regardless of your other goals).
Otherwise, brand believers will be confused by the mixed messages you’re sending them.
Every question has an answer.
Even with your brand strategy determined, it’s still a lot to think about, isn’t it? And it should be—creating an impactful brand campaign that resonates with your believers takes work. The planning and deliberation should almost always take more time than the execution; there’s nothing more stressful than a by-the-seat-of-your-pants campaign.
However, if you haven’t defined your brand strategy, these questions can be impossible to answer, and you’ll need to return to step one. Because without a brand strategy, every campaign decision you make becomes disconnected from the others—and, more importantly, it’s disconnected from your brand believers.