Both branding and marketing are vital for a business and its products or services. This guide will look at what these terms mean and how they differ.
Did you know that more than half of all startups in Canada won’t survive their first three years? And that of the business owners interviewed, two of the five top reasons for failure included poor market research and ineffective marketing.
If you’re a startup company beyond your second year in business, with a market validated product, understanding how to leverage effective branding and marketing strategies can be the difference between a profitable business or becoming a part of a gloomy stat.
However, do you fully understand their differences and how they can help your business grow? Keep reading to learn everything you need to effectively use branding and marketing to grow your business to the next level.
What Is Branding?
Your brand describes who you are as a company. But more importantly, it is the memorable impression on customers and the perception of how your customers would describe their experience of who you are or how they think of your product, service, or company.
When you can clearly articulate how you can solve a real problem for your customer and provide a cohesive stellar customer experience in delivering a solution for them your customers know what they can expect from you and they’ll tell everyone they know.
While your branding does include your logos and your style guidelines, it goes far beyond that also. What makes your company special, or unique, within your industry? How can you stand out in a crowded field, in short, what is your value proposition and how are you the better choice?
Outlining your brand strategy first is imperative before you can begin marketing. Having solid branding in place will make your marketing efforts more cohesive and more successful.
What Is Marketing?
Once you’ve clearly defined what value you will provide in a market, how you’ll deliver on that promise, and how you are uniquely positioned from the competition now it’s time to tell the world about your business. This is where you start marketing your business. Marketing is the action you take to promote your product or service.
Marketing tactics may change over the years, however, the foundation stays the same. Your marketing strategy is your long-term plan for how you’ll communicate your position in the marketplace and attract your ideal customer. Your fundamental marketing strategy will include making integral decisions on the 4P’s of marketing – product, price, promotion, and place. In short, marketing connects your customers to your brand and is tied to driving sales in your marketing mix.
There are several different types of marketing, they include but not limited to:
- Content marketing
- SEO marketing
- Event marketing
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
Your business will eventually want to develop a marketing mix using a combination of these tactics. However, in the beginning, you’ll need to simplify based on immediate vs long-term objectives and focus on one or two until you’re successful before incorporating more.
Difference Between Branding and Marketing
It’s easy to see why so many business owners tend to combine branding and marketing. However, as you can see they are quite different even while working together. Branding and marketing work together to form a cohesive plan to grow your business.
However, there are several slight differences. Namely, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse. Remember, branding comes first before marketing or you risk creating marketing that doesn’t attract your ideal customer and won’t convert.
You may be tempted to set up your social media page and start posting about your new business. However, your posts won’t move your business forward towards your goals. And worse, they won’t follow a cohesive strategy because you haven’t defined your brand yet.
The second difference is that while both branding and marketing have the shared goal of growing your business, they have distinct goals also. Your marketing strategies aim to grow your revenue and profits directly through tactics that gets you in front of more consumers, more often for longer to produce sales. And, your brand strategies aim to build your position by managing consumers perception in the market over the long-term.
Finally, the last key difference to remember is the idea that your customer’s attention is valuable. Your marketing strategy will attract the attention of your prospective customer. However, your brand experience is the key piece of the puzzle that keeps your customer’s attention.
So, even though the first difference is that you must create your branding first the last key difference is that your branding is the culminating aspect that engages with and holds the attention of your customers.
Tips for Success
Now that you can clearly see the difference between branding and marketing, let’s look at some tips you can use to successfully use both to grow your business.
First, to maximize your conversion rates you need to market intentionally. This means that you need to know who your audience is and how your business can help them. When you take the time to outline your branding first you’ve already mapped out the blueprint your team can follow to reach your audience.
Second, remember that you don’t have to do this alone. Work with a branding and marketing expert no matter what stage of business growth can be valuable in ensuring that you effectively leverage your resources without jeopardizing your brand experience. Knowing your next steps can become daunting, especially as your company begins to grow beyond the startup phase.
As your company grows, your priorities will change. You’ll then need to adapt your strategies accordingly. An expert marketing agency can walk you through these changes. They will have a pulse of current consumer trends and market insights to help you make important short-term and long-term decisions while staying true to your brand.
Lastly, remember that your branding and strategies are just as important for your team as they are for your customers. While everything you create needs to be customer-centric, your team and organization’s culture is also important to the brand experience.
Creating a process to manage your brand internally and externally gives your team the blueprint they need so they can ensure that all your marketing has the same look and delivers the same message. Your blog, social media, email campaigns, and video content needs to all send the same message or you’ll confuse your customer. Unfortunately, a confused customer doesn’t convert and they’ll head to your competition.
Take the time to focus on your branding first. Once you’ve created the blueprint for your team to follow then you can focus on creating the right marketing strategies to grow your business.
Level Up Your Branding and Marketing Today
As you can see, branding and marketing play integral and distinct roles in growing your business. If you need help with creating a strategy around your branding and marketing then book a free clarity call with us today.
We focus in helping Canadian business owners in the start-up tech space develop their brand positioning and marketing mix strategy and we can help you too.