We’ve seen a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding the differences between branding and marketing. In the past, we’ve explained how branding is the personality of a company. Just as people have a personality, every brand has characteristics that make it unique and dynamic similar to an individual person. In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, we’ll explain how branding and marketing relate through examples of you, as an individual.
A business BRAND is comprised of a personality, a message or voice, and a look. The process of BRANDING is the development of these things for your business. Without the clear definition of these items, any MARKETING plan will fail because essentially, when you do MARKET, you will be MARKETING the BRAND that you have developed.
Let’s compare this to you as an individual. People are drawn to you through your personality and your look. They listen to you to see what your message is and try and figure out what you’re about. Initially, interactions in social settings are superficial. When someone meets you for the first time, an impression is immediately made based on how you look, what you’re wearing, and how you present yourself.
Your business is no different. Potential customers will judge your business by those same characteristics. If you have a weak brand or haven’t completed the required steps to present yourself in an attractive manner, your business probably won’t reach its full potential. A decision will be made based on your brand, so your brand is probably much more important than you think. You may gain some business but probably not as much as you could with a strong brand leading the way.
Another important factor to consider is the importance of making a good first impression. A solid first impression creates a connection. With a great brand, your company can go far, just like you can go far as an individual if you present yourself in an attractive manner. If you’re liked, you’re accepted into friendships, you’re invited places, you have more opportunities. You’ll be talked about in a good light as opposed to a bad light. The same goes for a brand. Good brands are well liked. “Brand Ambassadors” will act as “friends” who like you and share your story, ideas, and mission as a company, driving sales and expanding your brand.
Let’s face it: There’s really only one or two reasons that people like you. They like the way you look, or they like the way you act. Nail both of those and you’re unstoppable. We’ve talked about the first, so let’s move on to the latter, how you act.
Marketing communicates your brand personality. If done correctly, it puts your brand in front of people who may need it or be persuaded that they need it. If your brand is not clear and fully developed before you work to communicate it through marketing and advertising efforts, you’re building your business outreach in the wrong order.
There’s another difference to note here. Marketing and advertising are two different things. Marketing is typically done through an advertising channel, but they are not necessarily the same thing.
Here’s a good definition of each one:
Marketing: Marketing is a process that refers to the deliberate business activities your company executes to bring together buyers and sellers for the exchange or transfer of products. This is an action.
Advertising: Advertising is any paid announcement to the public by an individual sponsor or firm that aims to persuade potential or existing consumers to buy a product or service.
To reiterate, marketing is typically done through advertising but does not necessarily have to be. It’s the action taken, whatever action that may be, to promote the brand.
Marketing allows potential customers and clients to get to know you on a deeper level. The surface presentation has been enough to intrigue them, and they’ve moved into desiring a deeper understanding of who you are. You are now required to get out there and provide them this knowledge so they can fully understand what you are offering and how it can benefit them.
In comparing this concept to you as a person, people gain loyalty to you, personally, through your continued exposure to them. They see how you act and what you bring to the table in social settings and friendships. They then decide if they care for you deeply and you become close friends; if they like you enough and you become acquaintances; or if they don’t like you and they find someone else to like. They decide if they want to engage in a friendship or if they prefer to keep you at a distance.
If you haven’t fully developed your brand before marketing it, you’re probably wasting energy on interactions that are not fulfilling a purpose, or wasting money on advertisements that are missing the mark to pull in customers. You’re throwing away valuable marketing opportunities by not having an attractive presentation of your brand or a clearly defined set of perimeters your employees can efficiently and cohesively market. You’re losing attention that could, through the correct branding, gain loyalty with multiple clients, thus increasing your business success.
Branding is never done. Your brand is living and breathing, evolving and changing, just as a person develops and changes over their lifetime. Your customers’ reactions to your brand may sway you to transition the brand, or tweak the brand to be better perceived or liked in the marketplace. This is comparable to you as an individual and how you might react if people laughed in your face. You may think twice before repeating that action, and you may adapt to their reaction.
Here are some comparisons between branding and marketing that seem to clarify the two a bit further.
Branding is long-term. Marketing is short-term.
Branding drives reputation. Marketing drives sales.
Branding is the reason someone buys. Marketing is the reason someone thinks to buy.
Branding is the being. Marketing is the doing.
Branding is the foundation of your marketing strategy. Without a strong foundation, your marketing strategy will fail. It may stand for a while, but no different than a house built on sand, it will fail.
A strong marketing strategy can’t exist without a clearly defined and developed brand.
So what will it be? Will you hire a branding and marketing firm, or will you hire a marketing firm? Questions still? Contact us at Nice Branding Agency where we think branding is the horse that comes before the cart.
Get Your Nice Swag On.