Are you looking to improve your branding skills?
Well, be aware then that branding is not just about design or aesthetics, as it goes much deeper into the way a business presents itself to its target market.
Hiring a logo designer and adding a catchy name for your company is not going to cut it.
In this interview, we talked about how to leverage branding and what other trending marketing techniques we all should keep an eye on with Darren Easton, Creative Director at The Cyphers Agency, a digital company that helps online businesses become profitable through brand awareness.
Please describe the story behind the Cyphers Agency: How did it all start, and how has it evolved so far?
David Cyphers started the company in 1989. The Cyphers Agency has enjoyed a slow, steady growth over the years and employs 18 full time employees today. We realized early on, with the start of the Internet that the only way to thrive, let alone survive, was to embrace new marketing technologies early. Needless to say, our talents and skills have evolved immensely over time – from website development to social media, mobile marketing, influencers, and video. As you might expect, our team is a good blend of seasoned marketing professionals and young creative minds.
What services do you offer and Who is your main target market?
We are a full service marketing, advertising and public relations agency. We excel at integrated campaigns that leverage the talents of each team, from creative and digital advertising, to social media, public relations and strategy from the account team.
Has Covid-19 affected your business, customers, and industry?
The initial shutdown of the country slowed our business considerably for several months, as everyone grappled with the pandemic. After that, however, our team adapted well to the remote work environment. While several clients in hospitality and foodservice were hit hard by the pandemic, most others, especially brands in education, financial and our trade association clients, remained strong. There has been strong optimism this year as companies in virtually every industry work to take advantage of the push to return to normal life.
Your USP states that “Great advertising begins with the creation of a powerful brand.” What is the most important aspect of branding?
In advertising, people don’t often buy from a brand they don’t know, trust or consider to be right for them. You first need to sell a consumer on a brand’s positioning and personality before advertising a sale/promotion. Building a brand is far more involved than coming up with a corporate design. Creating a logo, color palette and slogan without incorporating the strategic brand positioning practices is a failed attempt to build a brand. We are firm believers in developing brands that are based on strategic branding and brand development.
Branding and brand development should be considered separately to accomplish a single objective.
Branding is the consistent use of color, graphics, type and icons in advertising materials. It creates a standard for the look and feel of a brand. Branding decisions include choosing the font, style, border color, and text and logo positions.
Brand development is the development of a communication of the U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition). This can involve creating imagery, a tagline or sometimes a character/icon that serve as a consistent reminder and communicator of a brand’s authenticity.
What are the most Effective Ways To Brand a Business in 2022?
Brands are finding success in our new normal by proving to be relevant. Brands have to evolve with the changing times in order to be considered as connected. They must be closely connected with consumers as humans—by appealing to both the head and the heart. You have to adapt quickly to customers’ changing needs and expectations all while remaining true to the personality of the brand. Reaching a consumer can be done by making a personal connection, being an inspirational source, a problem solver and a friend. A friend in a brand that a consumer can’t imagine living without.
In your opinion, Which trends or technologies will reshape the marketing industry in the next years?
- Personalization in Marketing – Despite the rise of artificial intelligence in advertising, personal authenticity is needed more than ever. With the rise of fake news and misinformation, consumers and journalists alike are wary of who to trust. They need that personalized touch to both media pitches and marketing.
- The need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) – We all lived through 2020 and 2021, which included the pandemic, the George Floyd protests, and the Great Resignation. The majority of companies are trying DEI initiatives, and public relations strategies need to include them when possible.
- Increasing Demand for Contributed Articles – More outlets are looking for contributed articles. As newsrooms are shrinking and journalists and editors are managing multiple social channels to gather information, publications have less time to interview as many sources, making them more open to contributed articles, as long as they aren’t overly promotional, to distinguish them from sponsored content.
- TikTok will continue to grow – We see a lot more use of micro and nano influencers because it is so easy to go viral. Brands will look at these micro influencers to partner with and help spread their message.
- Taking video content to the next level with live/streaming content – Consumers prefer to engage with live videos as opposed to pre-recorded ones. We’re even seeing social platforms making live streams more shoppable in real time. This trend can bleed into content, media and influencer marketing strategies so it’s a big one to consider as brands evolve their 2022 plans.
- Social Media Shopping – Shopping online and through Instagram and other platforms continues to evolve through the use of shareable links, especially now that everyone is able to link within their stories, not just for those that are verified.
- Brands call themselves out on their ads – Consumers appreciate brands being more and more transparent about their ads, especially with influencers.