Editor’s note: Hey, folks! Our team at Blackwood has launched a podcast called The Big Brand Theory, and we’re currently doing a “Marketing Vs.…” series. If you’d prefer to listen to the episode about Marketing vs. Branding, you can do so at this link. Enjoy!!

Marketing and branding are two words that often get tossed around interchangeably. However, though they do tend to overlap, there is a distinct and clear difference between the two. What’s the difference between marketing and branding, and how do you make sure both are working for you?

What makes marketing and branding different?

Your brand is, in essence, who you are. It is the visual expression of your company, your products, and your services. You may have heard that your logo is the face of your brand; this statement is very accurate. When your clients see your logo and your brand as a whole, they will begin to associate those visual stimuli with your company as a whole. Thus, you want to make sure you’re putting out a positive image of your business. 

Marketing, on the other hand, is how you connect your brand to your audience. According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” It’s how you make sure your audience is receiving and connecting with your brand message.

Your branding should always come first.

A concrete and solid brand leads to a great marketing campaign. You can have a “good” marketing campaign without a solid brand, but your brand is what people are going to come back for. For that reason, branding should be a priority for your business.

The key elements for excellent branding include your logo, colors, and personality. We recommend that you start with your logo; since it’s going to be the face of your business, make sure it’s high-quality! Start off by deciding what you want your logo to include: an icon, a letter, your tagline perhaps – whatever represents the best parts of your business.

Then, decide on your company colors. These should be present in all of your marketing materials. Even if you choose to have variations of your logo (for example, a colorful version and a black-and-white version) you should strive for consistency. More on that in a moment. 

Consistency and clarity should be your top priorities. 

Consistency in branding is absolutely vital to the success of your business, and it goes way farther than your logo. Believe it or not, your fonts, shapes, the way you share quotes, video content, and photos are all included in your branding. And that’s not an exhaustive list, either.

There’s a rule in radio that says you need to say the name of your company at least three times in your ad. This is because repetition is one of the most effective ways to make people remember your business. In the same way, consistency in your branding is the most effective way to make people remember your business. If your branding isn’t consistent, your audience may believe that your product or service is of lower quality. Even though this isn’t the case, you want to help people have a positive opinion of your business. A great way to keep up that consistency is to have a brand guide. Check out our comprehensive post about brand guides here.

Another vital aspect of your branding is clarity. A great way to test your website for clarity is to approach a friend (or stranger, if you’re brave!) and open the website in front of them. Give them a few seconds to look over it, then close it and ask them to guess what it is you’re selling. If they can’t tell, you may want to take another look at your site.

Once you’ve got your brand, how do you move into marketing?

Inevitably, this shift will vary from business to business. However, something any business can do is to test different marketing strategies to find what works best. A/B testing is a wonderful place to start! You can even do that while you’re focused on branding – keep your marketing in mind as you create your brand identity to make sure you’ll be communicating your brand message effectively.

The ultimate goals are to find your target audience and the platform(s) through which you can reach them most effectively. Whether that’s through traditional print marketing or more digital advertising, find the best channel to get your message to the people who need to hear it. Additionally, keep in mind that your target audience is broader than it may seem; essentially, tap into every market where you could potentially see growth. You may discover another crowd of people who love your business!

Have you been marketing without a solid brand?

If you’ve already got a working business but your branding isn’t consistent or solid, it may be time to consider rebranding. Rebranding definitely comes with a price tag, but think of it as an investment. Not only are you investing in the face of your company, but you’re building a new foundation for your business to grow in the future. If rebranding seems like a logical next step for you, Blackwood can help!

If you’re looking for assistance with your branding, marketing, or both, reach out to us here at Blackwood Creative. We’re in the business of building remarkable brands – and yours could be next. Contact us today!

Make sure to tune into our podcast, The Big Brand Theory, every other Tuesday! We’ll be sitting down and discussing tons of aspects of marketing, and we’d love for you to join.

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