Almost 9 in 10 global brand managers and CMOs agree that brand marketing is an important component of their marketing program, according to a recent report [download page] from OnBrand Magazine. The survey – conducted among more than 560 respondents – also found that the majority have a documented brand strategy, with close to half updating it annually. So what aspects are being included in brand strategies?
As of December 2016, when the survey was fielded, brand vision and mission (94%), story and value proposition (87%) and brand guidelines (77%) were the most popular components of respondents’ brand strategies.
Interestingly, fewer than half (46%) said that a deep understanding of audience personas was a factor in their strategy. That’s despite 8 in 10 reporting having built a buyer persona, most commonly by interviewing real buyers and consulting stakeholders. Notably, buyer personas seem to be more effective for B2B companies (63% reporting them as extremely or very effective) than for B2C companies. (See here for research about the ways by which enterprise B2B companies are constructing buyer personas.)
Audience personas will be taking on more importance this year, however. Fully 80% of respondents said that they will be including them in their brand strategy this year, suggesting that this area will see a substantial rise in interest, almost matching brand guidelines (83%) in importance.
Separately, respondents seem enthusiastic about the role that brand marketing has to play: almost three-quarters agreed that their brand marketing focuses on building audiences, which aligns well with their top priority of new customer acquisition.
Respondents are less confident in their customer experience prowess, though: a relatively smaller share (64%) agreed that their marketing provides an excellent experience for our audience. There might be some work to do there, considering that respondents separately said that the user/customer experience is by far the most important component of a successful brand.
Marketers should take heart that brand investments are on the rise. In the latest edition of The CMO Survey, CMO respondents showed a renewed focus on brand-building, planning to allocate significantly larger budgets to this core responsibility while reporting healthy increases in brand value.
About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 562 global brand managers and CMOs, the majority (78%) from North America. Respondents were fairly evenly split between B2B (36%), B2C (30%) and both B2B and B2C (29%) companies, with the remaining being non-profit/government (4%). The consumer products (27%) industry was the most heavily represented, followed by marketing agencies (14%) and information technology & services (14%).