Live from HITMC: The 5 R’s of Branding

The 5 R’s of Branding, by Jaci Russo

How do you get your brand viewed, and in the light you want to be seen?

“You can’t tell [your audience] how to feel!”

  • You need to know more than demographics
  • You need to know who they are inside
  • Need to focus the content, dependent on the personality type


There 4 personality types: analytic, assertive, expressive, amiable. These connect to content.

  • Analytic – body copy
    • Need to understand it
    • Gather information, consider it
  • Assertive – headlines
    • Make rapid decisions
  • Expressive – illustrations
    • Want to be impressed
    • It’s about awards and pretty pictures
  • Amiable – logos
    • How do others feel about this?
    • Referrals and reviews mean everything
    • Want to know who the community recommends


What’s the message, and how do we make sure it will resonate?

Need to know:

  • Who are we talking to?
    • Internal audience
    • External audience
    • Current customer base
    • People who’ve never heard of you
  • What do they think about you now?
    • How do they feel about competition?
    • What do they think about your niche?
  • What do we want them to think?
  • Where do we put the message?


Where are we going to put all of this?

  • There are SO many choices!
    • Social media
  • People used to encounter 2500 marketing messages a day, now it’s up to 7,000
    • Don’t spread yourself too thin
    • It’s about frequency over reach
    • Reach 25% of the people and convince them 100%

If you understand the 5 R’s of branding, you can connect to your audience.

  1. Realize that the consumer owns the brand
    • What emotions do you evoke? Do you make them feel safe and secure?
    • How are you positioning yourself? How are you differentiating?
    • What can you authentically claim about yourself?
    • Why should they care?
  2. Resolve to make your promise your brand
    • Are you developing relationships with your customers?
    • How are you impacting them?
    • Do they feel like they’re part of a club? How are you making them advocates?
  3. Reinvent yourself, to speak the customer’s language
    • It’s not a monologue, it’s a dialogue
    • You can sponsor posts and buy ads, but make the content meaningful
  4. Relate to the customers
    • People want a brand they can believe in and connect to
    • So you need to share their concerns, and care about what they care about
    • Forget demographics – how do they feel about the world around them?
  5. React to your audience
    • Build the tribe and create brand advocates
    • Get to know your audience
    • Give them something to belong to

Marli Mesibov

Marli is a content strategist with a passion for the user experience. Her work spans websites, web applications, and mobile. Marli is the VP of Content Strategy at the UX design agency Mad*Pow, where she helps healthcare, finance, and educational organizations communicate with their audiences. Marli is a frequent conference speaker, and has spoken at conferences including Content Strategy Forum and LavaCon. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on content strategy, literature, and Muppets.

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