Marketing Is What You Do...
Branding Is Who Your Are
The million dollar question - WHAT IS BRANDING...really?
Many words and terms in the marketing world is used loosely and many times there is confusion on what some of the words actually mean, or the distinction rather between them.
The one that causes a lot of confusion is the word BRAND or BRANDING. When most people hear the word branding, immediately the word logo comes to mind. Many people think their logo is their brand. That is very true, however, that is only a small piece.
A brand communicates who you are, what you stand for and the values of your company. Branding creates an emotion, a familiarity, a connection.
The design of your website and marketing material are also not your brand; that is your IDENTITY. Like the LOGO, it is also a piece of your brand, but there is still more to it.
The missing piece that most people don't typically realize; a brand is also an emotion. A brand is how you communicate when you're not in the room. A brand is also the words and language you use, the quality of the paper in the marketing material, the values that are important and conversely, the values that are not. Your brand is also the experience you leave your customer with.
At the end of the day, people make their buying decisions based on their emotion, or how the feel about that product or service. The FEELING you get about that product or service is the brand.
Of course price can be a factor in these decision, as well as some others. However, think of the reasons you buy one brand over another when price is relatively the same. In many cases price doesn't matter. People ultimately make their buying decisions based on how they FEEL about the product or company.
Do you buy Crest or Colgate? Coke or Pepsi? Ford or Chevy? Obviously companies with very strong brands. Now think about your buying choices on more of a local level; the the restaurants you frequent (and ones you don't), your auto repair shop, your dentist, the place you get your morning coffee, and the list goes on.
Being a small business doesn't excuse you from having and creating a strong brand.
As more and more people enter the market place as consultants and independent business owners, branding - and personal branding in this case - is vitally important. It is what the future holds as technology and empowerment as small business entrepreneurs continues to grow.
So let's answer this question once and for all. What is the difference between a brand, an identity and a logo?
What Is The Difference?
Let's start with the basics. The logo.
- a symbol or other design adopted by an organization to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.
The word logo is a shortened version of the word logotype.
It is a vital component of the identity package (see below) of a company, and is also part of a company's brand. But again, a logo is not the brand.
A logo is the design component of the company name. The logo or company image, can be displayed alone or along side the business name in order to generate recognition and awareness. This is why it is vital, even with small businesses, that you maintain your logo and identity systems consistently across all platforms of communication. Down to the color choices, font choices and of course the design or mark.
The confusion between the logo and brand, historically dates back to 'branding' cattle with a hot iron to prove ownership. In this case a brand is a unique symbol that is registered to the cattle owner that proves ownership of the livestock. A marketing brand or branding, is much more involved.
What Is The Difference?
The definition of identity from the dictionary:
- the fact of being who or what a person or thing is. Synonyms: individuality, personality, character, originality, distinctiveness, uniqueness.
What Is The Difference?
So what is branding, really? Think of brand or branding as 'big picture thinking'. Everything above is included as your brand, however BRANDING also includes action.
Branding is the process of engaging your customers into your business by creating an emotional response about how they feel about coming in contact with your business. What message or impression do they get when they arrive at your website? How do they feel about your business when they pick up your brochure or business card?
Branding is not just the outward appearance however. Branding takes flight when a business identifies, owns, and communicates their values, goals and positioning in the marketplace.
How do they do this? Using the marketing tools of the brand identity package and logo as the delivery man. To be effective, your company brand must be relevant and consistent across all platforms in design, content and messaging.
"People buy products, but have relationships with brands."
Meaning, if a product no longer existed, they would buy the next product on the shelf. If the brand no longer existed, people would miss it.
As a small business you may be wondering how you go about creating a powerful and meaningful brand for your business without a million-dollar budget. We can help.