Branding and Marketing are two terms we hear a lot when talking about online business and rightfully so. Why is something we’ll get to soon. But something else that we hear a lot is the two words being used interchangeably – when in fact they are very different activities.
In this article I’ll be outlining what branding and marketing are so you can be clear about the difference between each. But to really understand the importance of branding in marketing, we need to go further and get clear about how attracting, engaging and retaining your ideal customers (or as we like to say here at Keetrax, delighting your future customers) requires you to connect branding and marketing in your business.
What is Branding?
If you answered; a logo, colour palette, tagline and some imagery and graphics on your website, you’re partly right. These elements are the visual part of your brand and are important, which is why we offer logo and package design as part of our brand design service.
But your Brand is much more than what it looks like.
In a practical sense this definition can be broken down into five key elements of a brand:
- Mission, vision and values (your business purpose and vision for the future)
- Perception, personality and positioning (in the marketplace)
- Culture and People – (of the company and the ideal customer the business aims to attract)
- Identity and Voice (what does the visual identity and messaging say about the business – fun, bold, serious, trustworthy)
- Communication and Connection (which channels does the business use to communicate and connect and why?)
[Source: Fiona Killacky – Passion Purpose Profit, page 77]
Which means a logo, packaging, imagery, a company’s values, mission and personality, along with customer service, price, product and more, all represent a company’s brand.
If you’re just getting started in the world of Ecommerce, or focused more on your logo than your overall brand when starting out, the following questions will help you to get clear on the five elements of your brand:
- What are your core principles and values?
- What is your mission statement?
- How would you describe your brand’s personality if it was ‘human’?
- Why do you want to offer your products or services to your target audience?
- What is your internal company culture?
- What is the visual identity of your brand?
- How does your brand sound?
- How do you want people to feel when they think of your business?
- How do you want customers to describe you as a company?
- What would someone say about your brand if you weren’t in the room?
- How will you build connections with your customers so they perceive your brand in the way you want them to?
Your brand is important – here’s why
When all five elements of a brand are represented to anyone connecting with your business, whether they’re viewing your logo or interacting with your customer service team, a brand becomes an experience that distinguishes your business and what you sell, from that of your competitor.
When two businesses sell exactly the same products – brand becomes the all-important distinguishing factor.
And one of the main ways you get a customer to interact with your brand in the first instance so they can discover what makes buying from you different from buying from someone else, is marketing.
What is Marketing?
Now that we have a clear understanding of what branding is, marketing is so much easier to define.
Marketing is simply the tools you utilise to cultivate a connection between your brand and your ideal customer.
Where marketing becomes less simple is making the choice of the right tool for the right audience, product or service. Marketing can be performed online and offline using a mixture of methods including:
- Content Marketing (like this blog post for example)
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Paid Advertising (Facebook Ads & Google Adwords)
- SMS Marketing
- Print Campaigns
Your business will need an overall game plan for connecting your ideal audience with your brand so you can turn them into customers. This game plan is known as your marketing strategy and whilst this strategy will be informed by a range of things including data on target customer demographics, it must also reflect your company’s value proposition and messaging – in other words your brand.
The importance of branding in marketing
Now that we’ve distinguished branding from marketing, let’s bring them together – because it’s there that your business success lies.
Where Branding is your business’s why and vision for the future, marketing is your how. And where marketing can deliver you leads and sales, only branding can help to enhance your reputation and create connections that lead to sales and then loyal customers who become raving fans.
The key takeaway here?
You can’t run an effective marketing campaign without first developing and defining your brand.
Branding in your Marketing will help your business to:
- Convert more potential customers into consumers – by educating them about the value you have to offer by making it clear how the experience of buying from you is different to what your competitor offers.
- Build on the like, know and trust factor – by creating meaning in your marketing and it’s this that consumers buy into not simply features and lowest prices.
- Creates powerful emotional connections that influence buying decisions – our emotions have the power to influence why we buy, what we buy and who we buy it from.
- Build a community of loyal and raving fans – the way your business delivers on its brand promise influences how your brand is perceived by your customers and it’s this that drives brand loyalty so your customer keeps buying from you long after that first purchase.
Whilst your brand will evolve as your business grows and marketing methods will come and go and vary from season to season, your business needs a marketing strategy that is reviewed regularly and monitored for success. A marketing strategy will help you to represent your brand to your ideal customers so you can sell more and more often.