Institutional Marketing: a gramophone in front of a notebook. photo with yellow tone

Digital Marketing

Learn how to manage and promote your brand in the market with Institutional Marketing

Learn how to use institutional marketing to promote and establish your business’ identity in the market.

Marcos Pereira

04/15/2022 | By Marcos Pereira

Institutional marketing is the strategy responsible for the set of communication actions of a company with its audience.

The goal of this strategy is to build and strengthen the brand’s image in the market. Not only regarding quality guidelines and the offer of products and services, but also, the business’ social and cultural values.

The institutional marketing actions should communicate to the audience the brand’s mission, vision and values, in an attractive manner while building a relationship.

If you want to understand institutional marketing in depth, find out how to create this strategy and become inspired by successful examples, you’ve come to the right place! Check out what we’re going to be teaching you:

Let’s get started?

What’s institutional marketing?

We can say that institutional marketing includes all marketing actions and strategies that aim to strengthen a brand or business’ image with its audience.

In other words, unlike commercial marketing, this strategy isn’t linked directly to an increase in sales. The idea here is to communicate the brand’s essence, why it exits, its mission, in what it believes, and how it can be beneficial for people’s lives.

This strengthening of the company’s image takes place in two steps: social marketing and cultural marketing. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

And social marketing?

Yes! Social marketing concentrates efforts that are dedicated to promoting a value position for your business. Therefore, it’s closely related to the awareness of a social cause that the brand defends or wishes to promote to its audience.

We usually see this type of strategy in advertising for the voluntary sector, such as NGOs or government campaigns. But nothing prevents your business from also using social marketing to encourage a certain behavior.

This is what Stella Artois – a Belgian beer company – has been doing together with, through the development of campaigns to bring water to regions where its scarcity is already a reality.

And what about Cultural Marketing?

This type of marketing has the purpose of relating the brand to cultural activities in general. The most common strategies are sponsorships of music and film festivals, museums, theatrical plays, fashion events, etc.

In this sense, collaborative marketing actions can be created along with event calendars, such as creating an interactive booth for the brand, hand out product samples, promotional actions, among other options.

When these two segments are associated, institutional marketing is able to relate the brand to social issues and cultural projects. Thus, this helps build a positive image of the business in the audience’s mind.

Do not confuse institutional marketing with endomarketing

Many people get institutional marketing and endomarketing mixed up, since both intend to take care of the brand. This is a common mistake even among professionals in the area.

To avoid such cases, remember that endomarketing has the goal of optimizing internal relationships and strengthen all departments of the business.

Usually, an endomarketing strategy is under the responsibility of the human resources department.

The HR department identifies employees’ needs, problems in the organizational environment, and the causes for low employee engagement.

Based on this information, the team establishes a series of actions that result in a more efficient production line with lower turnover.

Institutional marketing, on the other hand, serves to increase the brand’s prestige. Thus, the marketing professionals are responsible for outlining external and internal strategies to strengthen the corporate environment.

In the latter case, social and cultural marketing strategies can help a lot. Promotional actions among employees, commemorative dates for the business, and internal campaigns are attitudes that also count in favor of any business models.

Don’t forget that, in order for a brand to consolidate itself on the market, all of its cogs must work in such a way that the company develops. Therefore, also take into account those who make everything happen.

But despite being different, the institutional marketing and endomarketing strategies can go hand in hand.

One example is the actions that encourage employees to evaluate the company on platforms such as Glassdoor.

On these types of websites, employees can share their opinions regarding the organizational environment, wages and other aspects of a company or business. But these evaluations go beyond that, helping convey the brand’s culture and values to the market and to other professionals.

Why invest in institutional marketing?

By valuing your brand based on a value positioning, institutional marketing reinforces the relationship between the audience and the brand.

And now that the world is facing the consequences of an economic recession, with the market once again reorganizing itself, all strategies are directed to sales conversion.

Such an onslaught can be counterproductive if we think about the modern consumers. They expect not only promotions and competitive prices from the market, but also a position regarding current issues.

With easy access to information, thanks to the internet and social media, consumers now select their purchases more carefully. As shown by a survey conducted by Edelman Global Earned Brand, 2 in 3 people disapprove how companies communicate about their products.

More demanding, these new consumers don’t expect a brand to merely meet their needs, but that they also convey trustworthiness and share the same values.

How to communicate and relate better with customers

Now that you understand the concept and goals of institutional marketing a little better, I’m going to give you a few tips to help you develop a successful strategy.

It’s important to emphasize that all actions must be well thought out in order to improve the relationship between the institution and its customers.

1. Map your brand’s personality

The first step is to turn your brand into a persona, known as brand persona.

To do so, define your business’ personality and do your best to keep these characteristics unaltered, regardless of changes in the market. We call this factor the essence.

A brand’s essence must be strong and stable, like the characteristics that define a person’s personality. Besides conveying more trustworthiness, it facilitates identification by consumers.

An example of a brand that has built a strong brand with well-defined characteristics is Netflix.

Netflix has made its mark as a streaming giant, and, in addition to online video with the brand’s identity, their campaigns are localized with different for many voiceover languages to fit their audience around the world.

On the branding campaign “One Story Away”, their strategy is reinforced by using names, colors, and storytelling.

2. Define your value proposal

After you build this element, it’s time to think about your value proposal, which translates all of this personality into a business model. This helps bring the brand closer to its customers.

The value proposal or position, unlike the essence, may vary according to market situations, always adapting to how the audience consumes.

Tying together all of the characters that define a brand’s essence, its positioning is how it persuades the audience – based on the company’s values – to choose your goods instead of your competitor’s.

It’s even worthwhile for your customers, because by investing more in your product, you make your consumers think about your brand not only as a product, but as an experience to be acquired.

Covergirl is a brand that has managed to convey its essence and communicate with its audience’s positions with its rebranding campaign.

With the slogan, “I Am What I Make Up.”, the makeup company believes that beauty goes beyond physical appearance. To stress this position, the brand provides a space for people of different ethnicities, backgrounds, and sexual orientation in its advertising.

Also, the company now provides cruelty-free products. Making sure the brand’s values are easily seen in their ads allows them to get closer to their customers. Take a look at an example below:

3. Stand out from your competitors

Another important tip is, study your competitors and how they communicate with their products. From then on, you’ll have an idea of how to build a relationship even more engaged with your audience.

It’s important to think about innovative strategies, such as marketing actions that still haven’t been done by your competitors. Thus, it’s easier to get the consumers’ attention and stand out in the market.

Your brand shouldn’t only compete in terms of price and product quality. Communication is also critical.

Apple is arguably one of the best example of this. Globally known for the quality and reliability of its products, the tech company began to exploit these characteristics in its advertising campaigns.

4. Identify your target audience accurately

Sometimes, it might seem that all possibilities of communicating about a product have been exhausted, but this is not an option for marketing. There will always be a new way of promoting a brand.

But before any action is taken, it is essential that you understand with whom you’re communicating. Better yet, who is your buyer persona?

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For those who are unfamiliar with this term, allow me to explain: the buyer persona is the name given to the construction of a fictional character, which summarizes the main characteristics of your ideal customer ideal.

Based on market surveys made for your company, you can build the scope that represents your customers’ qualities and habits, such as age, location, job position, interests, and problems.

It makes it easier for you to think about ways to build your business’ image, based on a creative model that is a better representation of your audience, and is automatically differentiated from others.

5. Incorporate institutional marketing actions in your campaigns

Finally, another strategy is to incorporate institutional marketing actions in the campaigns that you’re already developing.

Of course, it can be harder for smaller brands that aren’t very well known to rely on a structure and sufficient material for campaigns like those created by big companies.

However, it is possible to put this step into practice gradually. For example, you can add an “About Us” section to your website, informing the business’ values to your customers.

Another option is to create blog posts or posts on social media showing the people behind your products.

Thus, by developing the habit of including institutional marketing in all promotional actions, it makes it easier for your business to communicate your personality and value to your audience.

Tools to help your brand create institutional marketing

Institutional marketing goes hand in hand with certain allies that help strengthen your business’ status.

Below, we’ve listed three of these elements for the creation of an institutional campaign. They are:

a) Newsletters

For those who are unfamiliar with this term, newsletters are used to classify an email marketing model that introduces the brand to users, linking recent news and sharing content.

Therefore, its purpose doesn’t lie in promotional actions or any type of market offer. On the contrary, newsletters are strictly institutional messages organized for e-mail blasts.

For having a nature that consolidates a brand’s public relations, newsletters are one of the tools within the framework of institutional marketing actions.

You can use newsletters with your best content in order to win over a new audience or engage those who are already loyal.

For example, a new customer subscribes to your content. This is a great opportunity to notify this future consumer about your brand, and what makes you different from your competitors (this is where the brand’s persona goes into action!).

In order to create customer-targeted actions, take advantage of commemorative dates (Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Christmas, New Year’s, etc.) or social events to present your audience with a good positioning about your brand.

In this content, you can even think about creating a value proposal, or propose a call to action with the goal of obtaining a new conversion, but remember that the content of the message must be focused on enhancing your brand.

b) Blogs

If your brand has a specific content-production platform, you’re already on the right track. Use any special theme, which has to do with your business’ positioning, and create a post associating these two elements.

In this strategy you, simultaneously develop an institutional campaign for your brand and demonstrate to the audience, its authority on the subject.

You can also create a specific post about your brand so that customers can learn more about you. Prepare an attractive text, which piques the audience’s interest not only in your product line, but in all sectors that encompass your business.

c) Institutional video marketing

As usual, videos come out ahead in institutional marketing campaigns.

Presenting your audience with a visual proposal about the services provided by your business is better than any other tool.

This is because video marketing advertising campaigns are already preferred by the audience.

Video marketing catches the attention of entrepreneurs because it really provides satisfactory results, such as generating leads for the brand and increasing sales.

This is what the study conducted by the Antimoto institution shows through the Social Video Forecast survey. According to the survey, 75.6% of small business owners recognize that video marketing strategies benefits their businesses.

Considering that this study only covered small businesses, the idea that they need high investments in order to use videos as part of their marketing strategies is demystified.

And speaking of video marketing strategies, another survey, this one conducted by Wyzowl, found that audiovisual campaigns generate 66% more leads for companies in comparison to others.

In other words, videos cannot be left out of your strategy when you’re thinking about an institutional action for your business!

But how do you include video content in an institutional marketing strategy? Certain formats provide better results. Check them out below:

1. Video testimonials

Videos testimonials are campaigns where a certain celebrity speaks in favor of a brand, product or service it performs.

This video model can be a great foundation for your institutional marketing, especially when the person chosen to be your brand’s representative is someone who conveys tradition, respect, and authority.

Usually, business owners are the protagonists of these videos, because they know the brand’s history better than anyone does, from the beginning, as well as its persona, positioning, and value proposal.

But you shouldn’t forget about others, such as your employees, who illustrate the brand’s ideals and are personalities who generate empathy.

Or even the customers themselves, which is proof that the product or service provided by the company is truly worthwhile. For an example of the former, it’s worth watching Zappos stories:

2. Video Q&A

If your brand needs relevance and prestige, a video Q&A might be a great strategy.

This type of content helps increase authority and engagement. Besides, it can also help you build your institutional identity.

By answering questions related to your business model, exchange policy, and guarantee, your brand is able to convey a little about your values and vision.

And if your video includes someone presenting it, it will further help provide more personality to your brand and increase the audience’s identification. Check out Airbnb’s Q&A video with hosts:

3. Institutional Vlog

Another type of content that helps you create an institutional image is the so-called institutional vlogs.

In this type of video, the brand’s everyday routine is shared with the audience, showing those who are behind the products and services, and what the staff’s routine is like.

Consumers are more willing to trust brands after they get to see what goes on behind the scenes and how the goods are produced.

Institutional video marketing campaigns to inspire you

In order to show you how this works in practice, we’re going to analyze a few institutional video marketing campaigns that cover this segment well and will help you get inspired.

1. Google

Android’s “Friends Furever” campaign from 2015 was nothing short of a huge hit. It’s not hard to figure out why: unexpected animal friendships can evoke emotion from people. 

2. Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola campaigns usually portray families and are driven by spontaneity, music, and fun. The “Turn Up Your Rythimg” campaign is no exception: 

3. KitchenAid

One of the reasons for this appliance brand’s global recognition is its design and quality. The “Marks” campaign’s goal is to celebrate those who are passionate about cooking:

Roll up your sleeves

Working with videos in your brand’s de institutional marketing strategy is a huge differential. Your business gains authority offers quality content, gets closer to your audience, improves communication, and much more.

Don’t think only companies with professional equipment and a large team can do it. Start small and don’t forget that video is one of the best options to engage your audience.

Well, did you enjoy learning more about the institutional marketing universe and see how other companies are working with this strategy?

Don’t waste time and discover other ways of creating marketing strategies and working on your brand’s recognition in the market, the so-called Brand Awareness!