Is anyone looking for brand development expertise?

Woman doing yoga to demonstrate flexibility

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Snapshot : Keyword research shows more searches for ‘marketing’ than for ‘brand’ terms. And while brand strategy and brand identity generate searches for reasons we cover in this post, many other brand terms have low search volumes So, is anyone looking for brand development expertise? Yes, but there are opportunities for all brands to raise their game.

In last week’s post, we rambled away on the irony that market researchers have the technical skills to explore the needs of target audiences for the products or services they sell. But they often don’t apply these same skills to the target audience for market research itself. Are the needs of brand managers and business owners satisfied by market researchers? Or are market researchers a bit too stuck on the process and not the outcomes? 

But let’s shift the focus on to those brand managers and business owners. if we apply the same keyword research process to brand development, what do we find? Are the people in those roles also a bit out of touch with what’s really needed? Is anyone looking for brand development expertise?

Well, maybe.

Google Ads Brand and Marketing Keyword research results


Marketing is more widely searched than brand

Here’s a quick and dirty keyword capture from Google Ads we ran off today. Nine common terms that if we were a brand or marketing manager, or a business owner, would be skills we would use every day to grow our brand.

So, what do we learn from this?

Well, first off, look at the difference using the word “marketing” makes instead of the word “brand”. The top rated brand term (brand strategy) only gets 1,000 searches a month. Whereas the two marketing related terms we tested, get 3.6 times and 5.4 times more monthly searches. 


Now, two thoughts. Firstly, yes, marketing is an overall catch-all terms for all sorts of concepts, frameworks and ideas. Let’s not get into the definition of marketing here, as that’s a can of worms that we should save for another day. And brand and branding is a much more specific concept within marketing, so perhaps it’s not such a surprise that ‘brand’ is not so widely searched?

If the marketing industry was the fitness industry

Trying to think of another ‘expertise’ subject that we can compare it to, maybe marketing is like “fitness”. A broad concept that many people will search on. And “brand” then is more like “aerobic” or “muscle” or “flexibility”, a more specific and tightly defined part of the overall concept?


Woman doing yoga to demonstrate flexibility

Maybe brand is the yoga of the marketing world? Where the underlying flexibility supports the development of other growth areas?

That kinda makes sense. Kinda.

But second thought, look at the volumes of searches.

Take the average of those brand terms (around 250) and those marketing terms (around 4,500) and it would seem brand only takes up just over 5% of marketing searches. 

This seems really low, given how important brand is as part of the overall marketing process. As we highlight in our skill guide on the brand development process, research shows the value of brands in driving long-term ROI. 

And yet, it doesn’t seem to be what people look for. 

Brand strategy and identity

Drill into brand a bit more, and here’s where it gets even more interesting. 

Two terms dominate all the others – strategy and identity. 

Why those?

Well, again, two thoughts. Firstly, on strategy. 

The dictionary definition of strategy is quite simple – “a plan of action designed to achieve a major or overall aim”.

But in our experience, the practice of strategy in most businesses is anything but simple. 

We grumbled in previous posts about people who feel the need to call themselves ‘strategists’ and how patronising and arrogant that was to other other people in the business. But part of what these strategists also do is counter to what they actually set out to do.

Good strategists make complex things simple

Someone who is good at strategy is able to make complex things simple.

Strategy needs to lead to clear and meaningful actions to achieve a goal. But what happens in more business is well-intentioned but maybe less experienced managers present action plans. They get told by strategists and senior managers that they are “not being strategic” or “not being strategic enough”. By which they mean, their Powerpoint slides aren’t fancy enough. They’ve not quoted enough ‘experts’. And their Powwerpoint deck needs more work. Urgh.

And the fact that sort of bullshit that goes on, is probably why both brand and marketing strategy get searched so often. By desperate managers looking for a more simple answer to get over this internal barrier. 

The relatively high volumes on searches on Identity is also interesting.

As we talked about in a previous post, we already knew the importance of brand identity. But it wasn’t until we started writing marketing content, we realised just how much it is baked into everything you do in marketing.

And because it connects to so many other activities – your communications, your advertising, your website, your graphic design, it’s maybe not a surprise that after strategy, it’s a highly searched term. 

The margins of brand search keywords

Our final thought.

In Lazlo’s Bocks book about Google, he talks about learning from the two tails of the business. The highest performers and the weakest performers are more interesting to look at than the people in the middle. We see a similar distribution here when it comes to search keywords around brand.

Because other than ‘strategy’ and ‘identity’, the search numbers are REALLY low. 

What stuck out for us is that when you own a brand, your plan and your commercial mix are critical for the success of the business. But here, we see “plan”, “sales”, “profitability” and “development” as all really quite low in terms of search volume.

Now, maybe ‘sales’ we can understand given it has more than one meaning.

In fact, the related keyword list on “brand sales” were all retailer related sales promotion terms. “Superdry sale”, “Ted Baker sale”, “Nike sale” just to give you an idea from the first three terms. So, yes, maybe a bit of refinement there might get us a better answer?

But, the fact so few people search on profitability would concern us. And so few people looking at brand plans or brand development. 

It makes us think there’s only a small group of marketers who either know what they are doing already. Or are keen enough to keep researching, learning and finding out more about marketing.

If only there was a really smart marketing coaching service out there that could help businesses raise their game.

Maybe, we’ll go search for that? 

Credit : Yoga Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

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