Marvel Phase 4 was announced at the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday and they are finally putting the ‘b-team’ in the spotlight with their own films and TV shows. We always knew those powerful, well-loved heroes who spent their time supporting the core characters had more to offer… well, now is their time to shine.
Marketeers can learn something from this too.
The ‘b-team’ heroes may not get the cinematic (or marketing) spotlight they deserve but the story wouldn’t be any good without them and neither will your marketing strategy.
The ‘Big focusses of 2019’ - Sales and Marketing alignment, (don’t get me started on the parallels which can be drawn with Captain America: Civil War), Conversational marketing, ABM and MarTech – are obviously hogging the limelight. But, we cannot turn our backs on the supporting acts behind the scenes – the Winter Soldier to our Captain America. . Imagine Spiderman swinging through the streets of New York, without the clever quips and tech know how of Ned…Definitely a weaker storyline.
So, I am giving the marketing ‘b-team’ a stage and the shout out they deserve – let’s hear a tune for the unsung heroes of your marketing strategy: Brand, Messaging and Design.
Your brand is key to your entire business because it is your identity; there is power and security in a brand, it should epitomise your core values which underly everything you do.
Branding refers to a set of associations that a person makes with a company, product, service individual or organisation. These associations can be harnessed and influenced using design, messaging and corporate culture. Branding helps you stand out from your competitors, add value to your offer and engage with your customers. Your brand should embody attributes your prospects can feel drawn to. The big idea, values, vision and personality of your brand are put across to a prospect through the messaging and design you use. It is a way of clearly highlighting what makes your offer different, by elevating your product or organisation from being just one of many, to the only sensible choice.
Dare I mention the dreaded phrase ‘Brand stretching’ (Fantastic four is making a comeback– can Marvel break that curse?...Of course they can).
Many marketeers and brand advocates hate this concept, but it can be a very powerful tool in your arsenal. This refers to single brand identity which can be applied to sub-brands and specific campaigns to make them stand out. The core, underlying values remain consistent but the way in which they are harnessed and influenced differs. You can reinvigorate your brand with a fresh new look or change of message without losing your core identity.
Your brand is an important tool for uniting teams within your organisations, whether that’s marketing, sales or customer service teams, everyone needs to adhere to those core company values and epitomise them in every exchange.
The power-team of Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Vision has developed over the last few Avengers movies, so much so that they are being honoured with their own TV show (set to launch in spring 2021, along with ‘Loki’, so I may be unreachable to the outside world for a significant period of the foreseeable future). This is set to form an integral part of phase 4, as it leads in to the ‘Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness’ film.
Much like the power-pairing of ‘Messaging and Design’ which feed so integrally into your company brand and every marketing activity, as well as influencing sales and customer service activities - sales, marketing and service alignment anyone?
The messaging you use during a campaign is central to your brand and drives power in your communications. In any exchange with a prospect, on any medium, at any stage of their buying journey the message should be consistent, providing value and being strategically positioned to influence and lead behaviour.
Consistency is key!
Your core messaging needs to remain consistent to ensure that prospects follow the path set out by your calls to action. Messaging consistency isn’t just vital in marketing campaigns, but it is equally important in sales and service communications, it should emulate your brands principles while also providing your prospects with enough added value to make the interaction worth their while as well as, stick in their mind. The messaging in a campaign is pivotal and your key message should guide your prospect from their initial viewing of your content, through the story your content is telling and the value it offers towards the next step you would like them to take.
Messaging is central to your brand identity and goes well beyond just language used. It should focus on the value your content can offer to a prospect – why are they taking time out of their day to engage with you? That being said, choice of language is still important. It sets the tone for each interaction your prospect has with your business and shapes the associations they form with your brand.
Design influences how a prospect sees and recalls your brand and messaging, it is the visual impact which supports the key messaging to influence a prospects behaviour. Getting the design spot on can be the make or break of a campaign as visuals are more memorable than text. In fact, people remember only about 10% of text information, whereas that increases to 65% when an image is added. This is not surprising since the human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than words (keep an eye out for the upcoming blog from our very own Creative Director, digging deep into the world of design).
To support any ABM, demand gen or channel campaign you need a strong brand which reflects and conveys your company values, a powerful message which is consistent throughout your campaign and really reflects the value of your product/service and an eye-catching design which supports your messaging while creating a memorable, recognisable, visual association across all your tactics.
Consider the Guardians of the Galaxy. As stand-alone characters they are lost, but as a team they are unstoppable. This is the same brand, messaging and design. Put your strong team into a ‘Big focus’ strategy and you can create a market changing powerhouse, which could take on the galaxy!
Here at Sherpa we see ourselves as the Nick Fury of the MCU, bringing all the marketing heroes together and building them all up to be the best they can be. We know how to help our clients create a masterful campaign which consistently engages prospects throughout their buying journey, whilst keeping your branding, messaging and design front of mind and central to your prospects’ experiences.
With Falcon taking up the mantel – or should I say shield – from Captain America and Spiderman pulling on the iconic Tony Stark specs (spoiler alert) the b-team are rising up in the wake of Galactic chaos to shine and bring the world back to normality. Just as brand, messaging and design will pull your marketing efforts into one stunning plan, you can even throw in a ‘Big focus’ push to really spice things up (Guardians of the Galaxy 3 with a guest appearance from Thor anyone?) and conquer your marketing in 2020.
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