Often mixed up in the same sentence, and often confused, marketing and branding are two different things. Earlier this month I spoke about how to give your business a strong brand, and that your brand underpins and runs through your marketing messages.
Your brand, as I discussed, is what your customers think about you. It is the relationship that they have with you in their minds, and how they emotionally respond to your business. Your brand is made up of various elements of your business: your values, your ethics, your personality (your own personality needs to be firmly in line with your business’ to stay congruent to you), your business’ personality, your business’ values, the benefits that your customers get from using your product or service – emotionally and practically. In other words, how does your customer feel when they deal with you or use your product?
The sum of all of these is so much greater than its parts. It makes up the relationship, the feeling, that people get when they think about your business’ brand even when you’re not around. It’s where the ephemeral becomes the tangible. And it’s a tangible for the long term; your brand can build in strength and longevity by always being true to your values, being clear on your personality, always delivering to (or exceeding) the client’s expectations and so on. It lives on long beyond your current marketing campaign, and can live on long beyond your business’ life.
A designer’s job is to interpret this ephemerality (have I just made up a new word?!) and turn it into the tangible through your logo and marketing material. Your copywriter will interpret your brand through the tone of voice and style he or she uses when writing your text.
And this is where marketing comes in. The job of marketing is to identify your target customer, anticipate what they want and need, and then communicate to them that you have what they want and need. (NB marketing is not sales…good marketing leads to good sales, but they are two different disciplines). Marketing activity is fairly transient in its implementation, whereas your brand is – and should be – consistent and permanent.
You communicate your message through your marketing material, for example your website, pull up banners, online ads, Facebook page, press ads etc. However communicating your message without a strong brand underpinning it and running through all your marketing material will do no good. A message surrounded by your brand evokes an emotional response in the target customer, and it’s that emotional response that will help people choose you above your competitors.
Dedicated to your success