When I worked in marketing at Adobe for over a decade, our powerhouse CMO, Ann Lewnes, would often say the phrase louder and prouder when she was reviewing our marketing plans. As in, “How can we make this marketing louder and prouder?”

Despite that company’s very strong brand, the phrase served as a helpful reminder when a certain campaign goal, objective or tactic was disjointed or playing small. It forced me to say to myself, “That might be a great idea, but can we add another zero to the end of that goal?”

I’ve carried the mantra of being “louder and prouder” with me throughout my career. At Zendesk, for example, this phrase was top of mind when we created our first integrated brand campaign—uniting, clarifying and expanding our brand identity in the market. When I stepped into the role of acting CMO, I used it as a rallying cry for the marketers to think and act bigger.

Now, as CMO at Sprout Social, I’m hyper-focused on ways our team can be louder and prouder—matching our brand (which punches above our weight) with a similarly outsized market presence. But, honestly, it’s something most brands struggle with. Marketing teams everywhere are doing incredibly creative, innovative work, but they’re operating in silos that prevent them from maximizing results. When we all work together to get louder and prouder, we multiply the impact of everything we’re doing tenfold, reach prospects more effectively, create a better customer experience, and ultimately drive more revenue.

Here’s how I approach brand amplification, what marketers usually get wrong about it, and ways you can grow your brand equity on a budget (plus examples of how we do it at Sprout).

What is brand amplification?

At its core, brand amplification involves leveraging external channels to increase brand awareness and reach. It can take shape through partnerships and collaborations, influencer marketing, buzz-building activations, social media, advertising and more. But avenues for amplification seem to be increasing all the time, leaving many marketers burnt out in pursuit of churning out more and more.

Successful brand amplification requires streamlining your strategy—especially in today’s economic climate. It can be achieved by doing fewer, bigger things, and integrating key messages across channels. It’s one thing for each team to be firing on all cylinders, but they need to be in sync and telling the same story to really allow your message to break through.

Brand amplification myths

If you’re already thinking, “Our brand could be louder and prouder if…,” pause. The fallacy of only being able to do more for your brand with a blockbuster budget or a large headcount is a trap that keeps teams stuck.

Let’s debunk some of these common brand amplification myths.

Myth: You need a big budget

While there is no denying that it helps, you don’t actually need tons of money or endless resources. Sometimes a larger team or a bigger budget can even hold you back.

Hear me out. Scrappy teams tend to get really creative, out of necessity. They don’t rely on tried-and-true playbooks. They move fast and iterate quickly. Many people assume that without a big budget and team, you can’t go big. The opposite is true. Scrappiness breeds innovation. You can be just as loud and proud, but you have to act with focus and intention.

A LinkedIn post from Braze announcing their presence at the Cannes Lions event

Take Braze, a customer engagement platform (full disclosure: I have several former colleagues in senior leadership roles there right now, so I might be a little biased). Despite only having 1,700 employees, the brand has an outsized market presence. I see them everywhere, and they do a great job of tying a “red thread” (common theme) throughout the entire customer journey, from events to digital.

All of their initiatives tie into the inspiring tagline, “There’s never been a better time to be a better marketer. Be Absolutely Engaging.” From their multi-city roadshow to everything they are doing in digital, their mission to help brands drive engagement is always at the forefront. Braze’s well-orchestrated brand amplification strategy illustrates the power of consistency, and what happens when all of your activations ladder up to the same pillars.

Myth: Paid media is always more important than organic

Don’t get me wrong, advertising and paid media can have a huge role in an effective brand amplification effort. But investing in a massive paid campaign doesn’t always pay off like most marketers think it will. Does that mean you should discontinue your advertising or performance marketing initiatives?

No. It means you shouldn’t become overly reliant on them.

Take the recent Swell x Molly Baz triumph. It wasn’t the billboard in Times Square itself that made the brand go viral. It was the organic response after it was taken down. The internet tuned in because people supported Swell’s ethos and mission. Building a brand worth caring about (by investing in earned and owned channels) is priceless.

A Sprout Social Instagram Carousel that explains the Swehl Times Square controversy

Myth: Quantity is more important than quality

If you only focus on volume, you’re just creating noise. Pushing your team to publish a specific number of social posts or press releases each week isn’t necessary, and can negatively impact the quality of their output.

Ideally, you want to join, start and actively participate in conversations rather than blasting promotional content 24/7. It’s far more effective to paint your brand into the cultural zeitgeist than to constantly share updates that aren’t really newsworthy. For example, when Sprout’s social team shared a carousel of our capabilities “dressed” as Met Gala attendees, they creatively tied our brand to a current cultural moment.

A Sprout Social Instagram Carousel of our product features dressed as Meta Gala attendees

Brand amplification levers to pull when you have a tight budget

As marketing budgets tighten, more leaders are doubling down on paid and performance tactics. But there are plenty of effective ways to continue to build your brand. The key to making them louder and prouder is adopting a campaign mindset:

  1. Do fewer things.
  2. Unify your messaging across touchpoints.
  3. Have more impact.

Here are some approaches to weave into your brand amplification strategy.

Organic social

A robust, organic social media presence fosters authentic engagement and community, and builds trust with your audience.

Unlike costly paid efforts, organic interactions nurture genuine connections with your followers, and consistently deliver value-driven content. This not only enhances brand visibility and loyalty but also leverages the power of social proof. It makes consumers actually want to promote your brand through shares and recommendations.

A Sprout Social LinkedIn post where our audience members responded to the prompt "The most underrated social media metric is..."

Investing in a strong organic social strategy means deepening your customer relationships and driving long-term growth, all while gathering insights directly from your audience that can inform broader business strategies.

Influencer marketing

Influencers, with their dedicated followings and expertise in content creation, offer a cost-effective channel for reaching targeted audiences.

Influencer marketing can cut down on the high costs associated with traditional advertising methods, and boosts credibility and relatability through trustworthy endorsements. According to The 2024 Influencer Marketing Report, 49% of consumers make purchases at least once a month because of influencer posts, and almost all (86%) make purchases at least once a year.

Leveraging the right influencer partnerships leads to increased brand awareness and sales. Influencers effectively sway consumer opinions and drive engagement, providing your brand with a high return on investment through measurable, impactful results.

An Instagram post from a creator who took over Sprout's account

And influencer partnerships don’t need to end when their content goes live. According to The Influencer Marketing Report, 62% of all consumers who make daily or weekly purchases based on influencers’ recommendations are likely to share product feedback directly with influencers. The influencers and creators you partner with have an even more direct view into your customers’ sentiment and feedback—insights that can help your brand pivot in real-time and grow long-term.

Employee advocacy

In the face of limited resources, changing algorithms and congested feeds, an employee advocacy program can be a brand’s greatest asset. Advocacy programs help marketers amplify their brand’s reach without additional paid spend.

Content shared by employees receives more engagement and has a broader reach than content shared through official brand channels alone. It allows social users to see the real people behind your brand. Through Sprout’s Employee Advocacy platform, we drove more than 20 million impressions in 2023—more than all our other social platforms combined.

Advocacy programs also help attract top talent and improve employee engagement, further contributing to a positive company culture and stronger brand reputation.

Quarterly launch program

For B2B and B2C brands alike, structured quarterly launch programs help you build brand momentum, while keeping all of your product iterations and updates top of mind for your prospects and customers. By focusing on key launches each quarter, companies can create concentrated, high-impact campaigns that generate buzz while improving the customer experience.

For example, at Sprout, we churn out so many updates, it’s been difficult for our customers to keep up. That’s why we recently introduced our first quarterly launch program, Breaking Ground. We didn’t change our R&D approach—we just consolidated a lot of small product update communications into one must-see event. The Q2 webinar resulted in a record-breaking number of registrants and more engaged customers, while giving us feedback that enriched and deepened our customer knowledge.

A Sprout meet the team post on Instagram that introduces our followers to one of the hosts of our quarterly launch program

A launch program model also gives brands the flexibility to adjust their strategies based on market feedback and performance analytics. This gives leaders better budget guidance, along with a clearer ability to forecast and plan for future investments based on quarterly performance indicators.

Brand amplification matters more than ever

The concept of louder and prouder marketing highlights the transformative power of a brand amplification strategy. It’s not about increasing volume, but improving unity and clarity across everything you do.

Effective brand amplification doesn’t require large budgets—it thrives on creativity, strategic focus and integration. To extend your brand’s reach and stand out in today’s market, you need to think beyond closely held beliefs and dig into the ways building your brand pays dividends.

Looking for more guidance on marketing priorities you should be thinking about? Read our curated list of the six most pressing marketing priorities you should have on your radar this year.