Have you ever contemplated the difference between branding and marketing? If so, you are not alone. While the two are undoubtedly connected, there are minute differences between the two. As a business owner it is essential that you understand branding and marketing both in great detail, so that you can effectively utilize them together. Brand and marketing, and the difference between the two, is not just misunderstood in business. It is misunderstood in most companies and even in their own marketing departments.
In order to determine who your brand is, you need to ask yourself several questions. Questions that go beyond industry generalizations, and services or products offered and also questions to determine who you are as a company, and more importantly, who you are as a brand. Branding goes way beyond just a logo or graphic element. When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand. In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.
In a nutshell, branding is who you are—and marketing is how you build awareness. Branding is your strategy, while marketing encompasses your tactical goals. Marketing may contribute to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any particular marketing effort. The brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.
Branding is at the core of your marketing strategy, so branding must come first. Even if you are a start up, it is essential to clearly define who you are as a brand—before you begin to devise your specific marketing methods, tools, strategies, and tactics. Your brand is what will keep your clients coming back for more, it is the foundation upon which you will build consumer loyalty.