When it comes to business development, branding and marketing are no strangers to many misconceptions about their roles and responsibilities. When they aren’t used interchangeably, people sometimes assume that one houses the other or that there’s a secret formula everyone can use to maximize both.
Unfortunately, these assumptions can be costly for new business owners who don’t understand the individual value of each concept and how they work together.
Let’s start with branding. Branding is the story you tell about yourself and your business. Your brand includes things like your target audience and the impact your product or services will have on that audience. Branding creates the emotional connection between you and your potential clients, establishing a sense of trust and loyalty. Essentially, your brand is the personality of your business, and your goal is to cultivate a brand personality that your target audience wants to befriend.
While branding focuses on building a personality for your company, marketing focuses on helping you get that personality in front of as many potential new friends as possible. Marketing drives sales and elicits value from your customers.
The trick to marketing is developing a marketing plan that fits your brand and reaches your target audience. Marketing includes many tools, techniques, and strategies to help you do this, including social media platforms, advertising, SEO, etc. The key is to meet your potential clients where they currently are and develop messaging that cuts through the noise and connects with your customer’s emotions. That’s right; marketing needs to have an emotional component, too.
The Cyclical Cycle of Branding and Marketing
While some people might enlist “the chicken or the egg” paradigm, there is no contest here. Your branding should always be the first thing you work on. When developing a business plan, it’s common for folks to want to get their business out into the community quickly to begin generating sales. However, you can’t market a personality you haven’t created yet.
Once you’ve done building your brand, your marketing plan should take over. Like your brand, your marketing plan should reflect your company’s personality and message. For example, if you have built your company brand to embody sustainability, you wouldn’t want to use single-use plastic bottles in your marketing strategy.
Your marketing plan should capture the attention of your target audience with relative ease, meaning you’re already in the places your potential customers reside. For example, If you are starting a business for children, you might consider partnering with a daycare or posting flyers at a local playground or YMCA.
Regardless of the geographic location of your marketing strategy, the plan is always to generate enough capital to live a sustainable life. A strong marketing strategy will help you drive your sales. Once your marketing has captivated the attention of your target audience, your branding strategy will take over to reengage your audience. Thus, the process turns cyclical.
Branding is where your business begins, marketing pulls your potential clients into the fold, and your branding keeps your customers engaged in the business community. As you gain new clients and make tweaks to your brand, your marketing strategy will help pull in new clients, and your new branding will keep them engaged. This process is ever-evolving and ever-rotating, constantly churning up new clients and leading to a successful business.