Before we go further into discussing the difference between branding and marketing, let us clear things up by defining three words: "Brand," "Branding," and "Marketing." Their meanings are different but are related to each other. Branding is one of those vague marketing concepts that can become blurred with "marketing" itself, even for marketing majors. But understanding the concepts around these three terms and differentiating between branding and marketing is even necessary for owners of small businesses to understand.
According to the American Marketing Association, "A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers." A brand is more than just the logo, and the definition of a brand is your customer's overall perception of your business. With that, a brand is what identifies you to your market. A brand tells more about your business than anything else, and it should distinguish your business from your competitors and tell about the promise your business can deliver. Your brand is your reputation.
According to Kotler and Keller (2015), "Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand." Branding aims to attract and retain loyal customers and other stakeholders by delivering a product that aligns with the brand's promises.
Branding is all about building the brand's reputation, and branding is the process of giving meaning to the brand by shaping it in consumers' minds.
It is a strategy designed by an organization to quickly give meaning to a brand and help choose their products over their competitors by distinguishing them over the rest of the field.
According to the American Marketing Association, "Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes of creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." In general terms, marketing refers to activities done by businesses related to buying and selling a product or service. Marketing involves finding out what consumers want and determining the price point or selling the product at all. Therefore, to differentiate it from branding, marketing is a department, a team, or a function that does branding as only one of its many functions.
Now that we have distinguished the meaning among "brand," "branding," and "marketing," let us discuss how these three words relate to each other and how these are very important to a business. It is crucial even for small businesses. To understand this better, imagine an assembly line. The "Brand" is the raw material created, "Branding" assembles or builds the "Brand," which means "Marketing" is the people and means who deliver the "Brand" using "Branding" as a process.
Creating the Brand: Acquiring a reputation for you and your business.
Creating a brand should start with defining a purpose. Why does the business exist? What differentiates the company from its competitors? What problems does the business solve? The best way to determine the definition of a business is to know the promise you want to tell your customers and that your brand can deliver it.
Next is to have an identity that distinguishes your business from your competitors. The very purpose of having a brand is to introduce a unique identity. This identity tells your consumers what you promise, which is distinct from what your competitors are presenting. Business leaders should first study their competitors to create their brand's distinction first.
Finally, you need to establish your brand's mission statement. The mission statement is a clear expression of what your company is passionate about. Having a written mission statement is a tangible representation of your brand's purpose. Your company's strategy and direction will then focus on that.
Creating a logo and tagline may be classified as part of the branding process. But some sources cite that designing a logo should be a part of creating the brand itself. A logo is, after all, a flag that your people will rally around on.
Now that we have created a brand, the next step is building on it.
Branding: the process of giving meaning to the brand by shaping it in consumer's minds
Branding is a process that takes many steps, and it requires a coherent strategy, and it aims to make your brand identity deliverable to your consumers.
But first, you need to identify your target audience. When building your brand, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. Essential items needed, such as age, gender, location, income, and education level, are considered. Being more specific can help make sure you tell your brand's message clear to your intended recipient.
Next is to outline the essential qualities and benefits your brand offers. From building a brand, you have determined what features your products provide that differ from your competitors. Since you know your target market, please give them a reason to choose your brand over the others. An example of doing this is presenting a package that relates to your target market. For instance, middle-aged cancer survivors will most probably buy organically produced eggs packaged in paper carriers.
The next step in branding is by giving a voice and a personality for your brand.
Creating a logo and tagline may be classified as part of the branding process. But some sources cite that designing a logo should be a part of creating the brand itself. A logo is, after all, a flag that your people will rally around on. The logo will be on everything that relates to your business, and it should create an excellent first impression of your business:
- You need to make sure you find the right colors and designs that will reflect the brand's personality you want to project.
- Also, make sure that the logo will be distinct from your competitors.
- Include your business name if you are a small business.
Now that you have your target audience, the essential qualities and benefits your brand offers, and your logo, the next step is to form a personality and voice for your brand. It would help if you started delivering your message once you post your products on different channels. The voice, for instance, should be tailored fit to the target audience you want to seek out. For example, if your products cater to professionals, the sentence structure, phrases, choice of words should be professional in tone, and so forth. When forming your brand's personality, you need to consider the image model, color palettes, music background, even the scent of your store, everything that will give the first impression for your product. The voice and personality of your brand should be consistent over various channels, over a long time, and through the five senses if applicable.
To reinforce the voice and personality of your brand, it is beneficial to build a story behind your brand. Supporting your brand's personality is an opportunity to communicate emotionally, emotion. After all, emotion sells, and this should reach the human level of your consumers. You can do this by posting a message or a story from the business owner on the website's main page or posting your story on social media. A story may contain something like narrating how the business started and what needs your business aims to cater to groups of people.
Finally, it is to stamp your brand on yourself, your employees, and your business.
Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business. It should be tangible through the five senses (if possible) when your consumers enter the store, visit your website, or come across your social media content.
Anything about your business from packaging, advertisement, and product should have a stamp of your logo. Now that doesn't stop there. The business owner and their employees should reflect the brand. Carrying your brand is essential as a business owner, and it is up to you and your team to spread the word.
The People and the Means of Delivering Your Brand
We have defined earlier in this article what Marketing is and how it is different from branding. Marketing is the means, and the people tasked to deliver the message to your consumers, and branding is just one of the messages for delivery. Note that branding is the process of building the brand by shaping it to a form that will now be deliverable.
In the 1960s, E Jerome McCarthy came up with the 4 Ps of marketing. The 4 Ps explain, in the simplest of terms, how marketing interacts with each stage of the business. The 4 Ps stand for Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Now let us discuss each in detail.
Product: This was covered by having discussed brand building and branding. The product can't just be sold once it is made, and a brand will have to be stamped, and the brand would have to be built.
The marketing team will do market research to answer the following critical questions: Who is the target consumer? Will the product fit the market? How will the brand message be done, and on which channel to increase sales?
This is the process of branding, as discussed earlier in the article. Once a strong branding is achieved, the next function is to set the price for the product.
Marketers use industry research and consumer analysis to get the sweet spot on the product's price to be sold.
One way is to check out the competitors' prices or use surveys on focus groups to determine how much consumers are willing to pay. This process usually involves higher management, operations, and other teams involved in the business, and this is because the company could lose consumers if the price is set too high.
If too low, the business will lose more money than it gains.
Place: "Place" could mean "Placement." Placement refers to the act of marketing and carrying your brand's message and products to consumers.
The marketing department determines how and where to sell the product by understanding their knowledge about the consumers. The objective is to bring both the message and the product in front of hungry customers. For example, some products can sell better if offered in retail, and some could be provided wholesale through your e-commerce site, or some for sale directly to the store. Understanding placement techniques help with targetting strategies when posting social media ads.
Promotion: This is the most visible aspect of marketing and, for most people, all that we understand about marketing. It is one role of marketing that deals with sending out the brand's message through the consumers' sensory perceptions.
Here is where advertising comes into play. Here, methods such as social media promotions, print advertisements, public relations campaigns, and web content publishing are used. Note that it is essential to get back into branding.
The brand personality, message, and voice should be consistent over different channels.
Several types of marketing are in use today. We will go over some of those that can be helpful to promote your product using widely-used channels.
Internet marketing: Having your business on the internet belongs to this type of marketing itself.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is the process of optimizing the content on your website so that it appears in search engine results. Well-executed SEO practices aim to get your business queue first once the search results come out. Being on top of the search queue will most probably attract people who perform searches about a particular type of product or industry.
Print Marketing: This is placing an advertisement in newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, the cost of advertising in print is comparatively lower because of declining readership. But this is useful because print materials tend to be taken over by multiple readers. This type of marketing can be helpful for small businesses operating locally.
Video Marketing: Video is a very effective way of leaving an impression on prospective customers.
Well executed videos are relatable and tend to make visitors to your website stay longer. Videos also tend to make people linger on your social media feeds longer than written or photographic content.
Content Marketing: Well-written blogs and long content tends to help with consumer engagement. Long-form content will increase online visibility and show a more substantial proof of your authority about your products or services.
Branding and Marketing are different but very related terms.
Marketing is a vehicle to deliver a brand made stronger by the process of branding. Marketing is a significant business function that uses branding as just one of the processes whose aim is to deliver your business's promise to your customers. A proper understanding of branding and marketing is crucial for small businesses. Smart branding strategies can help the challenge of competing against international brands. Intelligent and appropriate marketing practices can help with the challenge of making your brand's voice, personality, and identity shine.