Branding v/s Marketing
Marketing is a term not unheard of. It is also synonymously exchanged with Branding, a concept that is slowly gaining momentum. Even though both concepts may seem similar, they are quite different and should not confuse one for the other. Both are crucial for a business and its growth, and both play on the same field, yet each have their own positions and roles to play in the game.
In today's market, one of the major blunders you can do is treat branding the same as marketing and make decisions based on that. You cannot paint your house if you do not lay a proper foundation for it. Treat your business like your house where branding is the basic foundation and blueprint, and marketing is the paint and furniture you add to make it more appealing. Let’s break it down further.
What is Branding?
Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand. -Kotler and Keller (2015)
When I say brand, you immediately think of the big names. Apple or Tesla or in my case, McDonalds, and it is just not the name, you remember the face, their colors, the style and the emotions they convey. Almost as if the brand is a living being, which makes it a successful brand in our books. Living beings are easier to connect, to love and to resonate with; probably why brand ambassadors took off really well in the early internet phases.
What I mean is that branding your business gives a character and a personality, goals. It can be classy and elegant like Mercedes or ambitious and daring like Mitsubishi. Either of the brands do not stray away from their message in their products, services and conversations. People who want to be seen as ambitious opt for Mitsubishi while those who want to be seen as classy take Mercedes. It all boils down to what message you want to convey.
Branding is so much more than just colors and logos. It is not just a sticker that you slap everywhere, it is a message that you want to convey to the right people. Branding is a blueprint of your plan; it is a huge umbrella covering the goals and aspirations, the face and voice, the people you want to engage with. Once again, it is the basic foundation upon which you build your business on. When you build and shape your brand, you inadvertently select the type of market you want to target and the mode of communication.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is the process of getting your product/services out into the market. It is a game plan you make so that the right people get to know you and convince them to make purchases. How you reach out to your target market, via online mails and promotions, or physical hoardings and event promotions is marketing. A key factor in marketing is knowing your consumers and their habits, also known as market research. It is a hands-on process with visible results.
Your marketing strategy is outlined by your brand strategy where you have laid out how, why and what you wish to communicate. After you have answered these crucial broad questions, then can you chart out the small details and road map for your business. Marketing has one goal, to promote your business in the most efficient way possible and increase sales. There are various ways to market your business, print, radio and television or digital content like social media and SEO. Endless avenues and possibilities to create awareness.
Branding and Marketing: Differences
Marketing brings in the audience, Branding keeps them.
Marketing and Branding go hand in hand with each other. You cannot do one exceptionally well and leave the other out. Without proper marketing, even if you have created a solid brand, no one will come to appreciate it. On the other hand, if you market your business but there are no loyal or recurring customers, then you will keep spending big bucks on marketing. Strong brands need an equally strong marketing strategy to do it justice.
Through marketing you can grab the attention of the audience, after which the brand can make them stay for longer. The fun and stylish marketing's purpose is to bring the audience to the door, but it is branding that must keep them entertained and satisfied for them to never leave.
If branding is about knowing who your company is, marketing is knowing who your customers are.
Marketing requires a detailed plan of action. You first start with identifying your target audience and studying them. Learning about the purchasing process, the mind set, where they are located and their habits will provide you with insights as to which way you should market your product. Once that is done, then you decide on the modes of communication, the distribution channels and promotion of the business. This is where you make contact with your customers and bridge the gap. Good marketing requires a strong message, a message that is powerful and aligned to the brand. You might think that when the purchase is done, the transaction is complete. Truth is that the transaction starts once the purchase is done. Feedback is an equally important aspect in marketing which eventually feeds into the market research. It is also necessary in order to make the customers regular purchases and become a part of the brand.
Trust and Loyalty above all
The world is changing fast with exposure from every corner of the world. Taste and preferences, habits and demography are all influenced by the evolving trends and concerns of the world. One of the main challenges businesses face today is how to adapt to all these changes and continue serving customers in the most optimal way. Irony of the situation is that brands with consistent messaging and services usually end up keeping their customer base intact and even attract new customers. Why? Because consumers trust them and can depend on them even if new competitors arrive in the market. Not that brand messaging and personality does not adapt; it is crucial to tweak a little but the core personality which is the soul of the brand remains the same.
Branding does not only cater to the consumer but is also handy when it comes to hiring the best. People want to be associated with not only the best but what they connect to as well. That same theory applies when applying for jobs too, where employer branding plays a huge role.
Branding before Marketing
I want to re-emphasize how crucial it is to build a brand for your business, so that it sticks and moves your audience. Branding always comes before your marketing, for it sets the tone (quite literally). You always draw the skeleton first and then add the skin. In today's commercial world, one cannot live without the other and to invest in both is the wise choice. Build the story and then let the world know.