If you’re a business owner in 2021, you’re aware of just how important marketing and branding is to your business. But not every business implements both elements properly. Marketing and branding work symbiotically together, but they’re not the same, and although you can have one without the other, it might not mean success for your business. Marketing gets a customer’s attention, branding keeps that customer’s attention. It isn’t as simple as your company having a logo and then running with a marketing campaign. Let’s break down the differences and similarities between the two and how to use them both effectively.
When coming up with a brand for your business, you tend to have complete control over the outcome of your efforts. You decide all elements that make up your brand and how to effectively implement them into your company. This involves identifying your brand voice, a mission statement, calls to action, etc. Coming up with a good logo that fits your company is also something that only you control. A big component of the logo stage is choosing the company colors and font to further establish a brand. And if you’re not hiring someone to create your brand for you, it’s essentially free. Lastly, branding is something you establish for the long-term as part of your company identity, so it’s important to create something strong that you can stick with for many years to come. Rebranding is something that a lot of well established companies do, but this is usually because they’re either starting a new marketing campaign, or their customer-base is falling. Basically, it’s not something you need to be sure will stand the test of time.
So now you’ve established your business and created a strong brand. That’s great! That means you’re ready to take the next step, which is marketing. Where branding stops, marketing starts. The cost of creating your company brand is essentially $0 if you’re doing the work yourself. Here is where marketing differs. Sure, there are ways to market your company without putting in the money, but the likelihood of making sales through those avenues is much lower than paid advertising. That being said, marketing costs money. You don’t have to break your budget by advertising, which is why it’s important to identify a realistic amount that you can and want to spend. Secondly, you might find that you stray from your brand guideline whilst marketing. This can happen when you’re testing certain advertising methods like digital ads and you find that you’re getting more engagement when you use an off-brand color or certain font-types that aren't integrated into your brand. You might think this would negatively impact your ROI, but sometimes it’s just the thing that gets people’s attention. Thirdly, marketing can be handled by a third party as opposed to yourself. Some businesses prefer to handle their own marketing but others would rather hand that task off to another company and pay to have them facilitate their marketing strategies. This means that even though you’re the business owner, you don’t have explicit control over the specifics of your marketing strategy. Whether that is important to you or not is the question when it comes to choosing a reputable marketing company to hand your business off to. Lastly, marketing is not permanent. Most marketing campaigns only last a few weeks or even months. Marketing is ever-changing and it’s important to experiment with different methods of advertising in order to stay ahead of the game.
How They Work Together
Now that you know how branding and marketing differ from each other, it’s time to outline just what makes them work simultaneously together. Establishing a brand is the key to a successful marketing campaign. Consistency is key. If your brand is inconsistent or doesn’t match your company guidelines, that might confuse potential customers and you may lose sales because of it. After establishing a strong company brand, be consistent with your marketing strategies. That doesn’t mean every campaign has to be the same-- it’s fine to change it up a bit to test to see what works and what doesn’t. Just be consistent in the things you do change and try not to stray too heavily away from what you had originally established. Having an established brand gives customers a way to recognize your company right away by being memorable and standing out from the competition. People become drawn to different brands. For example, Apple has a loyal customer base that is known for waiting in long lines for product drops and keeping up to date with the latest tech they create. Those customers are there for the brand. They’re consistent with their products and brand image so that people know what to expect when buying from them. Their customers are drawn to what’s comfortable and familiar. This is also true in regards to their marketing campaigns. You can tell an advertisement is from Apple because of what they’ve established over the years of being in business.
Now when you’re trying to establish a social media presence, whether it’s for marketing or just to interact with your customers, having a brand is a no-brainer. How can you start to interact with a consumer base when the most important asset of your business is undetermined? The answer is that you’d be unsuccessful. When it comes to social media, the primary focus of your page is to further establish your company within a space that is likely to drive more customers to your business. Marketing helps to get your business in front of the right people, but without a strong brand, those efforts to set up a social media presence would be meaningless.
Branding and marketing go hand-in-hand. You could have one without the other, but if you’re trying to run a successful business, it’s worth it to take the time to establish both elements. Branding is essential to a good marketing campaign in the way that it’s also essential for your business to thrive. Your goal is to provide customers with an exceptional, consistent experience and branding helps you achieve that. Marketing helps you grow and reach new customers, who may start to experience your brand before they even contact you. Investing the time to establish a brand and create a marketing plan will only help you in the long run.