Branding and marketing are like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – both of them necessary when looking at the big picture. But many professionals confuse the two, or don’t understand exactly what “branding” is. Successful marketing requires knowing the differences and how to use each component effectively.
Branding and marketing go hand-in-hand; the best results are achieved when each effort supports the other. They’re tricky concepts, however; even seasoned business veterans sometimes have difficulty defining what a “brand” is.
Simply put, a brand is the foundation of your company. It encompasses many elements of your business, including your mission; what sets you apart from the competition; your customers’ impressions and feedback; and a collection of all the materials that make up your organization. The stronger your foundation (brand), the sturdier your business.
Some executives make the mistake of overlooking branding in their marketing efforts, but you really can’t have one without the other – at least not if you want to be successful (and we’re assuming that is your goal!). All your marketing efforts will be for naught if you don’t approach them with a firm understanding of your brand, necessary in developing concise messaging with a clear voice and predetermined focus. Sure, you can come up with a campaign easily enough, but without the branding component you’re essentially wasting time and money for little or no return.
Likewise, building a successful brand is equally dependent on marketing. Not only must you really dive into your company in order to determine all the values you stand for and decide what makes you different; you’ve got to get that message out there in order to establish a customer base. You will need to take the information you have gathered about your company and repurpose it into an attention-grabbing, memorable brand that will inspire consumers to share. Once you have determined your brand messaging, you must make that the cornerstone of your marketing efforts moving forward. Focus and consistency are the keys to long-term success. Interact with your customers repeatedly, and they’ll come to recognize and trust your brand – an extremely valuable component in a competitive marketplace.