Branding and marketing are so intertwined that it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference. Certainly, you can't discuss marketing without a clear brand - and marketing is the way in which a brand is communicated. Are your branding and marketing efforts in sync?
Seth Grodin defines a brand this way:
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer's decision to choose one product or service over another.”
Key elements of a brand include:
- Your Purpose. Why does your brand exist? What does your company or brand believe in? Why should consumers or clients choose your brand over all the others that are available? (AKA your unique selling proposition) How do you connect with customers on an emotional level? What are the values associated with your brand and/or company?
- Logo and Brand Guidelines. Some who are building or clarifying their brand often start with a logo. In my opinion, that's the last step. Clarify your purpose; your values and brand "personality" inform the design of the logo. Is your brand playful or serious? Who is the target audience? What colors are representative of your brand attributes? Once developed, brand guidelines ensure consistency across all platforms. What colors will be "allowed" on your website, in social posts, when your logo is printed or embroidered? What types of images will be used?
- The Customer Experience. As you're determining your purpose, make sure that the customer's experience with your brand is consistent. If your brand is all about convenience, is it "convenient" for consumers to reach a real person? Is your website intuitive and easy to navigate? Your brand tells your customer what to expect when they interact with you. Every touch point with the customer should be consistent with your brand promise and attributes.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as:
"the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large". Sheesh. In other words, marketing is the means by which your brand message is conveyed to consumers, and tells them why they want to invest in your brand.
Key elements of marketing include:
- Information. How are you communicating the brand attributes? What kind of consumer do they appeal to? What can the consumer expect when interacting with this company or brand? Why should the consumer trust your brand?
- Inspiration. Marketing tells the brand story. Why was it developed? What's the purpose? When marketing tells brand stories, they are forming an emotional bond with the consumer.
- Sales. Just as branding and marketing are intertwined, so are marketing and sales. The point of marketing is to convey the brand messages in a way that attracts consumers to BUY (and at a profit).
Traditionally, marketing has been defined by anywhere from
: Product, Pricing, Place, Promotion, People, Process, Physical Evidence and Performance. However you count them, all of these elements play a role. In short:
A Brand is the "what"; Marketing is the "why".
Start with a clear brand and message, then refine your marketing strategy accordingly to ensure that your branding and marketing are in sync.