Marketing and branding are often thought of as the same, but they’re not interchangeable.
And if you’re using them that way, you’re doing something wrong. So, what defines marketing and branding, and how can your business use them to their best effect? Let’s start with branding, because to develop a marketing plan you’ll need to have your branding in order.
Branding is the essence of your business.
It’s the personality, the ideas, and the messages your company communicates and expresses. Branding comes from both inside and outside your company. And since customers often define a business from their own perspectives based on the impressions you make, ensuring that your brand identity appeals to the right audience is a must. It’s also important to remember that everything communicates – so everything you say and do needs to be on brand.
Successful brand development involves clarity in what your company is trying to do, for whom, and how. And, of course the ‘why’. If you take the time to sit down and figure out all the ‘W’s for your business, you’ll find yourself effortlessly branding. In fact, your values, voice, and purpose will all be easily identified.
What happens if you don’t get your branding right?
Well, when you get to the marketing side of things you’ll find yourself either selling the wrong message into the consumer world or selling a message that confuses the market. The latter happens because of a disconnect between customers’ perceptions of your brand and what you’re trying to sell to them.
To make this work, your branding efforts have to be sincere – and real. Without a genuine belief about your company’s culture and what it’s trying to create, consistency will be a major issue. And an inconsistent brand is a marketing nightmare.
So, get that horse before the cart and start the hard – but vital – work of analysing your branding.
Once you have your branding sorted, then you can start thinking about how to gain awareness for your brand, which is where marketing comes in. This involves making your brand visible through things like social media, email, sales collateral, advertising and other promotional efforts – and then measuring success.
Ultimately, branding is about your company’s personality and the perceptions you want to create – what you’re trying to market. Marketing is how you go about doing that. Just be sure to get the order right.