Is there a difference between branding and marketing? In some ways, it’s a very definite yes. Similar to the difference between a soul and a body. There are differences but they are both needed and blend together to form a living being. Such is the story with your brand and marketing efforts.
Branding in essence is who you are. It’s the way people describe your company when you are not in the room. It’s not a logo or website or business card. It’s something slightly intangible but very real and very powerful. People form incredibly strong connections with certain brands. Brands resonate – sometimes in a positive way and sometimes in a negative way. It’s your story, but more. It’s your brand.
What are your instant thoughts when you read the names of these three retail stores?
On reading these names, did three very different impressions pass through your mind? That’s the power of a brand. It leaves an instantaneous impression and correlation between customer and business.
Marketing is thought to be the channel that is used to convey the brand message. Some people define marketing as tactics – SEO or advertising or Social Media or what-have-you. But marketing is so much more than that. Marketing zones in on the essence of your business and conveys that story. Tactics are simply platforms. Platforms and tactics change. Marketing is the story – it may be told across various platforms and using different tactics, but in essence, marketing takes the story of your brand – the essence of who you are – and relays that to your target market. In a sense, telling your story.
So before you embark on your marketing journey, take time to find your story. Who are you? What needs do you meet? Who is your target market? What experience are you giving? (Yes, even if you sell socks, you are also selling an experience) What problem are you solving? How are you different than everybody else?
Branding is finding your story. Marketing is telling it. One is no good without the other.