Businesspeople often get confused when talking about their marketing, particularly with regard to brands and branding.
There’s a lot of confusion out there about brands and branding.
What’s a brand?
What’s the difference between your brand and branding?
Well, allow us to clarify things for you.
What is a Brand?
Brand = Branding + Interaction/Experience
A brand isn’t a logo. Or a brand name or product name. In fact, it isn’t any one thing.
Your brand is everything. It’s the perception of your company, products, and services in people’s minds. It’s how people think and feel about who you are as an organisation and what you do.
Your marketing and branding clearly influence that perception, but your brand exists whether you actively market your business or not. If you’re out there and people are interacting with your business, you have a brand.
It’s our job to use marketing and branding to manage the perception of your brand – to change the way people think and feel about your organisation and, in turn, change their behaviour.
What is Branding?
Branding is the act of creating a brand.
The Process Involves:
- Positioning your company or product in the market (carving out your own place)
- Devising brand strategy (how you will reach your goals)
- Creating your name (your verbal identity)
- Designing corporate identity or product identity (your visual identity)
- Writing brand messaging (verbal and written tone)
- Setting brand standards (how you keep your brand consistent and strong).
When branding (brand development) is completed, most businesses will not have to undertake the branding process for roughly 10-20 or more years if they worked with an experienced professional.
In the life of a 50-year business, branding the company occurs only 2-3 times total.
When a company’s brand becomes outdated in 20 years, then you may once again need to take on the branding process. If you create new products or launch new companies, you get to enjoy the exciting process of branding on a more frequent basis.
Branding is Done by:
- Creating an affinity or emotional connection with the consumer
- Providing justification for paying a premium price for a service or product
- Creating loyalty to the product or organisation
- Demonstrating the quality and benefits of a service or product and the company behind it.
Once the branding process is completed, the word ‘branding’ has no continuing relationship to your brand (unless you work with cattle).
Acquiring loyal customers is what many successful businesses strive for, and that’s what the marketing strategy called branding is all about.
Confusion Around Brands and Branding!
Much of the confusion stems from two scenarios:
- Branding Consultants with a limited understanding of marketing; and
- Advertising and Marketing Consultants with a limited understanding of branding.
Consequently, it has confused audiences by coining often self-contradictory buzz-words and using them superficially or out of context. Not surprisingly, the marketplace is left confused and sceptical.
The difference between brand and branding is that one is a marketing tool and the other is an action.
It’s as simple as that.
Branding encompasses much more than the visual realm.
It’s the process of influencing the perception of a business or product, and any sensory experience can be used as a branding opportunity. Audible and emotional communication are very much part of the process. It can play a significant role in forming an impression of a company.
It’s better to implement some level of strategic branding than none at all.
By creating a real marketing communication tool you can empower your entire organization to communicate with greater purpose and clarity.
Knowing this enables people to be well-informed, and to impart better understanding, which leads to less confusion, clear communication, and better customer service.
Understanding the difference between brands and branding helps you have a stronger brand because you will be more personally invested in the brand development process.
Your understanding also helps your employees grasp the full significance of the brand, so they learn how to best utilize it in marketing, selling, and supporting your goals and initiatives.
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Nicky and Dave