How are Branding and Marketing different?
Branding is all about the brand. It answers the question about who your company is and defines how you want your customers and community to know you. Marketing builds awareness.
Branding, then, defines your strategy, and marketing is shaped by the tactics and techniques (and the media) that you use to meet your goals.
Branding is often overlooked by small business owners; to some it seems like a waste of time to analyze how you want people to view your business. But it can make a huge difference in how your company expands beyond your initial customers and fans.
Your brand is what people think of when they think of your business. McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, was not interested in building a brand that represented gourmet burgers. He developed a brand that was convenient, fast, and affordable.
To determine what you want your brand to represent, you should think about what you want your business to be and to represent. This goes far beyond thinking about what you will sell and offer, where you should be located, etc. You will be defining what you stand for, how you want members of your community to think of when they think of your company to ask yourself several questions. Here are some things that may impact your brand:
- What personal values or principles inspire you? How can and will your company help to move those forward?
- What is your company’s mission? What defines success for you?
- Why did you decide to start a business?
- Why should people purchase from you?
- How are you different from your competitors?
- How do you want people to define your professional style? (Casual, personal, sophisticated, high end? And, along the same lines, how will you communicate?
- How do you want people to feel and what do you want them to think of when they talk about or hear about your business?
Answering questions like these will guide you develop a sense of the brand you are trying to build. Take the time to provide honest, thoughtful answers. Get input from partners, friends and family, and even other business owners. Resist the temptation to define the brand around earning money. If you develop a brand that customers can rally behind, you the money will follow.
Your brand should define what customers can expect; clearly defining who you are and what you stand for will help to define your marketing strategy. It might include things like a high commitment to quality, community, convenience, communication, or it could be an ongoing commitment to meet a specific need your target audience feels strongly about.
So, what makes up marketing?
The methods and tools that you use to deliver your brand’s messaging is marketing. Your marketing will evolve over time and can be adjusted based on changes in the marketplace and the tools that are available to reach people. You might develop different marketing strategies to target specific groups of people, but all of your communications will support your brand’s core values.
How you implement your marketing, and the type of message that you use can change depending on what is happening in your marketplace. You can create messages that are funny or flippant, or serious or heart felt. And you can use a variety of types of communication in marketing, like test, graphics, photos, keywords, videos, etc.
Marketing is deployed on-line and off-line, and can include:
- Content Development and Marketing
- Marketing on Social Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
- Marketing on Mobile
- Broadcast Marketing (Television and Radio)
- Print Advertising
- Direct Mail Marketing
The methods you use to market your business may change over time, but your brand will stay the same.
Which Comes First—Marketing Or Branding?
Your brand is the foundation for customer loyalty, so it has to come first. Whether you are just starting up or developing a marketing plan, clearly defining your brand first is a crucial first step to selecting the right marketing mix.
The one obvious place where branding and marketing overlap is when it is when it comes to imagery. Selections of your colors, logo and supporting graphics represent your brand, and they play a substantial role in your marketing efforts.
Again, marketing methods evolve naturally. You may select different marketing methods in response to industry and cultural trends, or even temporarily in times of crisis or shift in focus. Branding, however, remains the same. You may make adjustments to your brand in response to your growth or expanded services offered, but those adjustments won’t affect your business’ core principles, mission, or values.
Maintaining your brand happens in EVERY customer interaction you and your staff have. Every transaction you process, every phone call you take or make, every email sent by you should reinforce your brand.
Marketing and Branding Work Together
Even if you were to create a highly effective marketing campaign which brings in customers, you will not necessarily be guaranteed long-term success. Competition is fierce, and regardless of what industry you are in, there are other businesses who offer the same or comparable products and services.
Your branding builds a connection with your customers.
Your branding keeps your customers returning for more.
Your branding inspires people to speak positively about your business.
Your branding builds loyalty and trust.
Your branding makes you unique.
Without branding, you may achieve some success. Branding provides a solid foundation upon which to build your business through marketing techniques that will help ensure success beyond the immediate.
For help defining your brand, or building a marketing plan to support your brand’s vision, please call us at (509)842-0782