Where Marketing Ends, Branding Begins
Updated: Jul 28
You're ready to push your branding efforts online. The first question you encounter is "How do I go about with brand?" ● Logos, color schemes, and website design – What should my logo be? What colors represent my business best? How do I go about with my web design? ● Brand mentions, links, and social popularity – I have to be as visible online as possible, because this promotes brand recall ● SERPs visibility, ad campaigns, and other promotional efforts You may be seeing branding the wrong way if you answered any of these. Maybe you're not looking at branding the right way. In this article, I'll cover how marketing and branding should go hand-in-hand—and what some of those common mistakes are.
MARKETING vs BRANDING
Marketing is the set of processes and tools that promote your business. This includes SEO, social media, PPC (pay-per click), local search engines like Yelp or Google my Business; mobile ads on Facebook Apps Pages: all these things are part of marketing for any company. Branding is the deep, underlying culture that permeates and rules all of your business's processes.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BRANDING
Mixing up marketing and branding is only one way that people often get confused about what makes a good brand. Many business owners and marketers make the following misconceptions when it comes to branding tasks:
#1: Branding is marketing / advertising / promotion / anything to that effect.
Marketing is a lot of work, but it's not the only part. It can't make you or break your brand--that responsibility falls on what we call branding: establishing personality traits like voice and message in order to create an engaging customer experience.
#2: You are the ultimate authority when it comes to your brand.
So you're not the ultimate brand authority? Who is then? The answer: It takes a village.
A lot of people believe that being an entrepreneur means all decisions get made by one person in charge--a "daddy" type figure who knows best and can do no wrong. This couldn't be further from reality though; while it's true we set out guidelines for how things should go at our organizations, this doesn’t automatically make us authorities on what brands other entities want or need as they work with yours (especially if there are multiple stakeholders involved). The voice of your customer is what defines you. The way they perceive and talk about the brand, it could be taken in many different ways - but this means that we need to make sure our values are clear so there isn’t any confusion from them.
#3: There exists a formula for success when it comes to branding.
There's no one-size fits all approach to marketing. Even if you are in the same industry and use similar processes, your company will still have its own unique identity with needs that can't necessarily be met by other brands or methods of advertising alone. You may be wondering how to measure the success of your brand. Branding is not an exact science, but you can easily see if people are interested in what it's all about by looking at their behavior and interests.
BRANDING THE RIGHT WAY
It’s not easy to establish a brand that stands the test of time, but it can be done with some planning. Before you begin to plan your online marketing strategies, you need to do the following first:
Establish Your Purpose
You won’t get the answers right away – you'll need to ask yourself why several times before getting on a path towards understanding your business's purpose. Start with questions like these:
Why did I build this business?
Why do I want to help this specific group of people?
Why does it matter to me that these things get done?
The answers you give to the “why” questions will form your purpose. Walt Disney gives an excellent answer and is a great example of how one company knows their reason for existence: they want nothing more than bringing joy everywhere it's needed most- children included! As such everything that these people do can be seen through this lens; every decision has been made with care so as best represent what he believes in terms not just business transactions but also personal relationships between employee/customer alike.
Choose Your Personality and Voice
After asking yourself why you do what it is, ask: What's my brand? This will help begin shaping the outline of a skeleton on which all other ideas and messages can be attached. At this stage of brand building, ask yourself the following:
What kind of voice do I want to use for my brand?
How do I want to be perceived – do I want to be approachable and casual, corporate and formal, etc.?
Will I be able to stay true to this identity throughout the existence of this brand?
Your customers are looking for a solid, consistent identity. They want to know that you're putting in the time and effort necessary to keep your brand authentic so they can rely on it as well.
Outline Your Values
After you finish asking yourself what your company stands for, it’s time to ask “Who am I?” The values that result from this step will define the kind of person or brand each one can be. List these down and decide how they apply in light with regard toward business goals. Furthermore, a company’s values are its guidelines for work. They should be well-defined and clear so that everyone in the organization knows what is expected from them at all times - this will make consistency easier to achieve as well.
Define Your Culture
A business's culture is a powerful force. When people are happy, productive and passionate they can accomplish anything in their organization- from managing processes to building relationships with clients or customers! How do you want your employees feel? What kind of environment would that create for them, so it creates success at work too?
Your integrity as an organization depends heavily on the culture you cultivate within site; this means establishing what type if happiness does not happen naturally but must be cultivated carefully over time using techniques like open communication channels where all voices citizenries share equally valuable input. Google's culture is very famous for encouraging creativity and innovation by giving their employees time, resources to explore new things. Their 80/20 policy had paved the way for innovations like Google Glasses or Android - though it isn't being implemented as a formalized system anymore; engineers still get encouraged into taking on side projects that allow them to innovate outside of work- which shows how much power cultures can have even when policies are removed.
Communicate Your Brand to Your Audience
Now that you have a plan on where and when to promote your brand, it's time for the nitty-gritties: marketing. Effective branding requires research into consumer behavior as well as an understanding of market trends so we can make sure your communications reach just the right people at just enough opportune moments. The following will be the most important points to discuss when planning communication strategies:
Your company’s mission statement, which you can easily derive from your purpose;
The benefits your customers will get from your business, which is also answered at the beginning of this process (the answers to the why’s)
Your chosen platforms and the appropriate media for each
Your calls to action – what goals do you have, and how do you plan to entice your audience?
To build an effective brand, you need authenticity and clarity in each of the steps discussed earlier. This will allow your target market to identify with what makes it different from other brands on offer - which is exactly why branding isn't just about marketing but rather should be considered one piece within this puzzle as well.
The importance of branding cannot be overstated. It is an ongoing effort that permeates all aspects and parts within your business, not just the beginning stages when you are establishing it as a company; in order for this to work effectively there needs to be dedication from everyone involved including customers who will become loyal brand ambassadors helping promote what they love about themselves through word-of mouth marketing or online referrals (i.e.: Facebook).