Whenever someone asks me what I do I reply, “I provide branding and creative marketing services to make you the business people think of.” Then they reply, “So…logos and stuff.” Yes, logos and stuff. But what is this….“stuff.”
Most people don’t have a marketing background or an understanding of branding so it’s difficult for most to grasp. Can you have one without the other? What if you had $100,000 would you spend it on marketing or branding? Let’s find out.
First, we need to understand what marketing is.
the act of informing others about your product or service repeatedly.
In other words, it’s the practice of memorization. You want people to see the product or service you offer until they memorize it so that when the time comes for them to use your type of service or product they’ll choose you over your competitors.
P.T. Barnum, a founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus said, “If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday,’ that’s advertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations. If the town’s citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions, and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.”
You see, Barnum understood what his audience wanted and delivered it to them. While I would agree everything above is indeed marketing, I don’t believe it could have been as effective as it was without branding.
Now imagine seeing that advertisement about the circus arriving. The image on the poster features trapeze artists in bright retro 80’s fashion. Then you see an elephant come to town with the same advertisement, except the elephant has a ball and chain tied to his ankle and the word “Freedom” is written on the ball. The elephant walks through the flowers of city hall so they bribe the Mayor with an expensive bottle of whisky so that he’ll laugh about it. The circus employees explain how much fun you’ll have at the circus but each circus employee explains it differently to the extent that it creates a wide variety of expectations leading to confusion. Now finally, when you arrive at the circus everything is bland. No bright colors or 80’s fashion as depicted, only dull and depressing brown drapery. The trapeze artists you were looking forward to were the shortest act to perform, just a blip compared to other acts. Last but not least it did not provide you with the feeling of awe and wonder the employees told you to expect. You feel cheated and unfulfilled and you’ll never return.
You see, while you can market or even market terribly for some time and STILL bring in clients. HOW that is accomplished is of extreme importance. This is where branding comes into play.
creating consistency with the mission of your business/organization across every way your customer comes in contact with your business.
Without a consistent message for your business, you’ll cause confusion and lose customers. You must also understand that words are not the only way we communicate as humans. Have you ever wondered why bank logos are typically blue, red, or green? Or why fast food logos are typically yellow and red?
There are a vast number of ways we communicate without ever saying a word. This nonverbal communication can be the difference between a customer choosing your business over your competitor. Most business owners know this whether or not they are aware of it. We don’t typically start a business to intentionally market it in a confusing manner. You do your best to make your marketing consistent. However, most business owners fail miserably because they either lack the skills or the time in order to create an effective brand.
Branding is even more important today than ever before with present technology. I can view your social media profiles, website, printed materials, advertisements, promotions, reviews, all while listening to you about how I should use your product or service. If one or more of these modes of communication is confusing it may be the only seed of doubt I need in order to look for someone else to solve my problem.
A good brand strategist will know how to use your mission to communicate clearly with your customer base. They will do research on competition and help position your business to have an advantage over competitors. The designs they use will not be simply for aesthetic purposes but will be used in an effective manner to draw customers through your door and increase your bottom line.
To answer the question what if you had $100,000 would you spend it on marketing or branding? Both would be the correct answer. Like a “sock and a shoe” and a “glove and a hand,” branding and marketing work best when used together.
As you can see, the topic of branding vs marketing can become a very in-depth conversation. So instead of stating all of the above when someone asks me what I do, I simply say: “I provide branding and creative marketing services to make you the business people think of.”
Are you thinking about investing in your brand? Check out this page “What is Branding”