A few years ago, we coined an expression here at Sköna called ‘BrandGen™.’ We have since helped several clients implement this unique approach that achieves both branding and conversion objectives.

What is BrandGen™ all about?

First consider that the average US CMO tenure is 18 months, and probably even shorter in the Silicon Valley. Then consider the undertaking of building a strong brand — something that takes both time and money. In an environment where you quickly have to show results as a CMO, and continue to do so on a quarterly basis, investing in a long-term brand-building campaign is perhaps not the wisest approach. You’re probably not going to be there long enough to see it completed or even brought to fruition.

Instead, what boards and CEOs are asking their CMOs for is leads. And data-driven marketing with clear ROI. So in the face of this, how do you as a CMO justify budgets for the ever-important branding campaigns? Because, let’s face it, as marketers we all know that known brands convert better than unknown entities. Sometimes, the tricky part is just convincing our colleagues of that!

Well – in our opinion, by employing the dual strategy of brand and lead gen to create a BrandGen™ campaign, you end up with the best of both worlds. And something that won’t scare your board or your CEO if you’re spending money on it, because you’ll get leads and you’ll show ROI. True, the conversion numbers and the data are not going to be as large as they are for a standard lead gen campaign. But let’s not take our eyes off the prize – this is really a brand campaign in disguise. Meaning, the leads and the conversion are a bonus – not the main intent.

What do you do? How does it work?

You can’t drop your standard lead gen activities, as that’s what’s keeping the lights on. But let’s templatize those and make them as easy to implement as possible. Don’t waste your agency’s time (or your in-house team’s) spinning cycles on concepts for this. This needs to look professional and on-brand, but this isn’t from where you’re going to be rolling home the Cannes Lions.

Once the lead gen campaigns are taken care of, you can focus on creating the more important BrandGen™ campaign. We believe you should shoot for producing this bigger Blockbuster campaign every 6-9 months. We do this by starting with client insight from which we build the “Big Idea” and the creative strategy. This then translates into well-produced pieces of content such as a video, or some other digital asset, always considered top of the funnel. We then build a microsite where we host the main pièce de résistance, and we support it with other content pieces for lower down the funnel, as well as other interactive tools to drive engagement. Once we have actually enticed our audience to our site, we want to provide them with as many entry points as possible. And yes, certain pieces of content should be gated. That’s where our hybrid model comes in.

Now it’s time to send it out to the world! While most lead gen campaigns contain emails and retargeting, your brand gen campaign needs to be seeded in several channels including, of course, email and retargeting, but also general digital media buys as well as sponsoring radio, webinars, print ads, schwag and tradeshow materials. In the Silicon Valley, adding in outdoor boards is a key component in establishing brand awareness. And it’s this proliferation that is the reason we recommend a 6-month run, to make sure the campaign is exhausted to maximize return on investment.

An example is the Tripp and Tyler campaign we crafted for Snowflake. Anchored by videos featuring Tripp and Tyler pranking each other in an office setting, pitting BI v. IT. We built a website to host the videos and provide a bridge to additional Snowflake content. We also took the opportunity to create whitepapers in the campaign look and feel in order to emphasize the message. We also extended the reach via a digital media buy as well as through billboards.

QUICK TIP – THE MAGIC OF SIX:

» run campaign a minimum of 6 months

» use a minimum of 6 channels

» have at least 6 pieces of content

In conclusion, in a world driven by conversions and lead gen, we think there’s a better way! By using a dual approach – as we’ve coined BrandGen™ – you can make the emotional connection with your customers, while not losing sight of the tactics that impact the bottom line.

To find out how Skona can help you achieve both branding and conversion goals, email us!

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