Is there a difference between brand and branding? Well, the simple answer is YES! There’s a well-worn mantra that “a brand is more than a logo” and this is most definitely true however some might think that this only extends to anything that can essentially be ‘branded’, for example, business cards or a website.
So what makes a brand?
The difference between brand and branding is that one is an emotion and the other is a marketing tool. Brand and branding are often referred to as two of the same when in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. Branding is only one element of building a successful brand.
Your brand represents your identity in your market – who you are, what you do, how you are perceived. It’s essentially the connection that you make with your audience. It’s your reputation. It’s what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
A brand is the emotions that people associate with your business. A brand is almost entirely the result of how your audience feels when they come across your business. It’s how your customers feel when they do business with you. It’s what they take away after coming across you on Instagram, reading a blog post, receiving an email, working with you 1:1 or purchasing a product. It’s the words and emotions they use to describe your business to friends, family and colleagues.
“Your brand is whatever your customer says it is”
What encompasses a brand?
Let’s think of it like this. You’ve spent money on your branding and it all looks great! Your website looks professional, your social media platforms look cohesive and you have fancy letterpress, gold foil business cards but your message is unclear. When potential clients or customers come across your brand, if they don’t really know what it is that you do or who you do it for, they will simply leave and you don’t want that.
You want your audience to resonate with you. You want them to feel a connection so you can start to build that know, like and trust factor.
I say this ALL.THE.TIME and I’ll say it again. There is no point in investing money in brand identity and website if you don’t have a clear marketing strategy and visibility plan in place.
It’s the reason I created The Flourish Experience after 18 months of being a branding and website designer. I saw that my clients were struggling with what to do once they had launched and I knew that I could help them. I bought my 10+ years of experience as a marketing manager together with my passion and talent for branding and website design and created The Flourish Experience.
Your Client Experience
Client experience is essential to a successful brand. You need to make your clients and customers feel appreciated and looked after. It’s important to provide a high level of customer service.
Having fantastic visual branding but poor customer service will not equal a successful brand. Disgruntled clients and customers will talk about you to their friends and family but it won’t be positive. It won’t refer you potential new business. With the wonders of social media and the internet, they don’t just need to speak to friends and family about you, they could just leave a bad review on your Facebook page. Your products and/or services and levels of customer service are then in the public domain for any potential customer or client to see.
One bad review isn’t going to hurt your business and I’m not going to pretend that we can please everyone but continuous bad reviews, now that’s bad for business, no matter how pretty your website or Instagram feed.
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
Spending money on branding only makes sense if you have these other elements in place. Otherwise, you really are just wasting your money and your time.
All this talk of branding? But what is it?
Branding is part of the process of creating a brand and it is so much more than just a logo. Branding is the look that you give your business. When done well and thoughtfully, it’s what attracts your ideal customer.
Branding is a lot like online dating. As much as anyone says that they find personality more important than looks, when it comes to online dating, this can’t be the case, at least not initially (unless they have written an amazing bio (which is the message I mentioned above). Their looks are what, in the first instance, is going to make you make that initial contact. That’s the branding part. Once you get to know them, you start to get a feel for their personality, that’s the brand part.
So in essence…
Branding makes your business memorable and recognisable in visual form. Think of all the brands you know and love. I bet you can remember their logo, the packaging, the colours they use. I bet you can also remember how you felt when you dealt with that brand or when you walked into their shop – the personal connection and the client experience. The latter part, that’s the brand.