The terms “branding” and “marketing” are often used interchangeably, which has caused a lot of confusion because they are NOT the same thing. In this post, I talk about each one and how they work together for your business.
First, what is a brand?
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a brand in this context as “a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted.”
A brand is not tangible. It’s the perception of an individual or company that is held by the outside world. Those perceptions are shaped by how an individual or company chooses to express itself and interact with those around it.
Branding is the process of influencing those perceptions. Intentional decisions about purpose, what you stand for (and against), who you serve (and do not serve), the customer experience, how you speak, and how you appear visually all come into play.
Okay, so what’s marketing then?
Marketing is the promoting or selling of a product or service associated with a specific brand. It is the different avenues and steps you take to reach prospective customers and persuade them to take action such as making a purchase.
In a nutshell, branding is the strategy, while marketing is the tactics. You can’t have one without the other.
For example, you often hear about the importance of knowing your target audience and looking into demographics, right?
With branding, this information is utilized in the development of the brand message as well as the brand expression, which is the visual style and voice of your brand, with a goal of building relationships.
Marketing, on the other hand, uses demographics to create content or ads that align with the brand message and brand expression, and then direct those ads or content towards the brand’s target audience with a goal of getting attention and generating revenue.
Same information used in different ways that work together to achieve results.
The relationship between branding and marketing is the reason why consistency is so incredibly important.
Not only do you want each customer or client to have the same great experience–and the associated emotions–every time they interact with your brand, but you also want your brand to become instantly recognizable.
That’s not possible without consistency.
The way your brand communicates–with both visuals and written word–should be consistent across all forms of media–your newsletter, website, traditional and digital advertising, stationery, and social media platforms–as well as personal interactions over the phone, through email, or at your place of business.
How do you maintain that consistency, especially if you hand your marketing efforts over to someone else?
When it comes to marketing, a brand strategy and style guide drives everything you do.
This document outlines everything about your brand. Your mission, vision, values, logo variations, colour palette, font selections, and more. All this information within one easy-to-reference resource that you can use in-house, as well as pass along to those who are providing you with marketing services.
I have a FREE brand style guide template you can download and customize.