Branding vs. Call to Action: What to do When

Maggie Ratliff

Maggie Ratliff About The Author

Dec 30, 2020 3:00:00 PM


Branding vs. Call to Action: What to do When

It can be challenging for those who aren't as experienced in marketing to differentiate between specific methods and strategies. A couple of these concepts include branding and call to action, which are important to understand when creating effective marketing campaigns.

In short, branding is a process that entails raising awareness about a brand to the public and standing apart from competitors. Call to action campaigns involve requesting prospects to take a specific action, usually by calling a business, subscribing to an email list, or completing an online contact form. While one campaign is intended primarily for brand awareness, the other is typically used to inspire immediate action from those already familiar with your business.

Here we'll review the specifics of these two core concepts and detail how to use them in your marketing plan.

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What is Branding?

Branding vs. Call to Action: What to do WhenBranding involves creating a unique combination of design elements, messaging, and marketing materials that are readily identifiable as belonging to a particular business. In the process, branding efforts help your business stand apart from competitors and establish a sense of familiarity among audiences with repeat exposure to advertising. Branding is necessary for businesses to develop an original brand that people come to recognize and perceive positively.

How to Use It

When preparing a branding campaign, think of ways you can make your brand stand out from the myriad of competitors in your industry. Develop a unique identity with a clear mission and personality. You can use color schemes and themes on your websites that are instantly recognizable as your brand's, with a consistent design across your ads. Your logo can also be unique, and the language used in your content can come across as distinctly yours. Over time, your target audience will become more familiar with your brand and, if they're successful, your campaigns will inspire trust in your business.

Some common branding terminology you may come across includes:

  • Brand awareness — People become aware of your brand through campaigns that inform audiences about your company and offerings.
  • Brand identity — Your brand develops a unique identity that people won't confuse with others, as people begin to perceive your brand as a one-of-a-kind entity.
  • Brand recognition — Brand awareness efforts can increase recognition as people are likely to recall your brand when they encounter your ads and other marketing materials. 
  • Brand management — Online reviews and brand appearances can all affect a brand's reputation and perception among audiences, which is why brand management is required to monitor a brand's presence and address any negative press.

When trying to figure out how you can differentiate your brand, consider how certain brands have developed identities that are unmistakable to billions of people worldwide. For brands like Nike and McDonald's, the simple perceivably generic phrases "Just Do It" and "I'm Lovin' It" have become synonymous with them. Whenever you see the trademarked Nike Swoosh or the golden arches, you also instantly recognize where they come from and what they represent. Through effective branding, you can also develop an identity and reputation that surpasses the competition.

What is Call to Action?

A call to action describes any content intended to encourage people to take some action. Calls to action, or CTAs, can get people to perform nearly any action imaginable to convert them to leads or customers. Unlike branding, call to action campaigns are designed to increase conversions rather than brand awareness, attracting leads and bringing people into and through the sales funnel.

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How to Use It

Call to action campaigns can be used at various stages of your marketing campaigns, depending on what you want to achieve with them. Use them to encourage audiences to learn more about your business and offerings, try your offerings, request a quote, or make a purchase. You can offer free downloads such as ebooks or software trials or get people to contact your business to speak with representatives.

CTAs can take the form of buttons in ads that people can click, or they may appear on your website or in emails. TV advertising can also contain CTAs such as encouraging people to call a phone number or visit your website.

Some CTA verbiage that you could use to hook people in could include:

  • "Subscribe today"
  • "Try for free"
  • "Learn more"
  • "Download"
  • "Join us"
  • "Request a free quote/consultation"

Square is an excellent example of a brand that has succeeded with some highly engaging CTAs. Just taking a look at their homepage, you'll find plenty of calls to action that lead people along the buyer's journey, from "Get started" and "Contact sales" to "Shop all hardware" and "Visit our Support Center."

Decide When It's Best to Use Branding vs. Call to Action in Your Marketing Efforts

Knowing when to use branding vs. call to action can help you optimize your campaigns to increase brand awareness and conversions. However, you will need to use both to make people aware of your brand and convert them into leads and customers. To help you get the most from your branding and call to action campaigns, along with other aspects of a comprehensive, integrated marketing campaign, consider working with a media partner. A reliable partner can help ensure your campaigns reach their full potential.

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Topics: Branding