Branding vs. Advertising: Know the Difference to Grow

A common marketing gap is the failure to understand the difference between branding and advertising. In this  guest post Chris Garrett illustrates how knowing the difference between branding and advertising can strengthen your marketing strategy and your brand. Read about Chris in his bio below.  If you would like to be a guest blogger for BrandTwist contact Jamie@BrandTwist.com for more information.

apple branding

A common marketing gap is the failure to understand the difference between branding and advertising. While both are a part of marketing and are done with the express purpose of increasing revenue, they do so in different ways, and each has the ability to make other more or less effective. Let’s take a look at branding and advertising and how knowing the difference can strengthen your marketing strategy and your brand.

Branding

Branding is a lot deeper than we might realize when we’re reading about the newest marketing fads on the internet. Branding has everything to do with identity: who are you and what kind of business are you? What’s your name, and why should I remember it? How do you and your brand make me feel? The answers to these questions should be  related to your products and services – but not limited to them. Your brand is what makes your business feel like a person, and a person is more than an automatic vending machine, business transaction or product; a person has a personality, and just like a person, your business’ brand needs to show its personality. For example, in Apple’s iPod advertisement pictured above, Apple goes beyond simply presenting a “product” for you to purchase. It’s the explosive size, lively color and the dancing, active “youthful” silhouette that communicates how the brand wants you to feel when you interact with them.

Let’s take a look at the major contributing factors and ways to communicate your brand identity.

Logo and Name – Your logo and name are often the first thing people see, and they work essentially as a visual representation of your name. “Brand Recognition” usually refers to people recognizing your logo or your company name, but brand-building encompasses more than that, because in brand-building, the focus is on what people will think of and how they will feel when they hear or see your name.

Atmosphere – Think of Starbucks, what does it make you think of? Wood paneled décor, warm yellow lighting, comfy seating and the cozy smell of coffee, right? What about McDonalds? Bright colors, bright lights, play areas and a whimsical looking clown. Consider what you want your customers to think of and experience when deciding on your décor and environment. How does it make people feel? If you don’t like the view from your windows, get a wall mural that gives your clientele the view you want them to experience; customize everything and make your business’ space the one that people will want to come back to.

Community Outreach – What does your business and it’s employees do during down time? Lay on the couch and watch TV?  Buy fancy things and party all night? Volunteer at a neighborhood shelter? That’s not to say you need to literally go volunteering, but it means you should think about the image your company projects beyond the professional realm. Does your business donate to any causes, or participate in fundraising efforts? Does it sell fair trade goods or use particularly energy-conscious equipment? Let people know what your brand and employees care about.

Work Environment – You might be surprised to see this listed here, but think about the companies we’ve all recently read about in the news and you’ll find that most of the negative brand associations for these companies are related to disenchanted workers speaking out about their abysmal working conditions. On the other end of the spectrum are brands like DreamWorks, Costco, and Whole Foods, all of whom are famous for their widely-recognized employee-friendly policies and happy, helpful workers. Your employees are also part of your brand. Provide a supportive business culture and guide employees on how to best represent your brand and customers will feel and apreciate the difference, too!

Advertising

Your customer’s relationship with your company begins and ends with your brand. What keeps your business profitable is, of course, sales, but the ideal customer comes to buy from your business or use your service specifically because they want to support your brand, not just because they want a product. That’s why it is important to really identify clearly who your ideal target customer is.

Advertising is about communicating what you have to offer through sales, coupons, radio and TV ads, and posters. An advertisement is soliciting a meeting between your ideal customer and your company, and the difference between a customer who knows your brand and one who doesn’t is like the difference between asking a stranger on the street to go to coffee with you, and asking a friend.

Advertising, Branding and Trust

Let’s examine this through the lens of a personal relationship. In the two scenarios below, let’s say that your brand is you; your product is a cup of coffee and your customer is your friend:

Scenerio A: You call up your friend and ask them to come over because you have a cup of coffee you’d like them to purchase. Most likely, your friend will feel you were only interested in making a deal; that you (the brand) don’t really care for them, their feelings or their experience – because you’re clearly placing your product and profit before your relationship with them. What’s missing here? A genuine brand relationship.

Scenerio B: You ask them to come over for a cup of coffee because you want to visit with them, engage in conversation and enjoy some warm and cozy time together. In this instance, you’re making the relationship between you, and how your friend will feel when they engage with you, more important than the product – and you are experienced as being a trusted and genuine person (brand).

The bottom line is to consider the many ways that your brand goes beyond colors, logo design or a jingle, to provide the experience and feeling your consumer is seeking. Once you clearly identify who your ideal customer is and what they need and are specifically looking for, you can pinpoint what your brand should be doing to gain your customer’s trust and deliver what they want. Once you do, your business’ brand can generate loyal followers, who will keep coming back for more.

About the author: Chris Garrett is marketing writer who blogs about aesthetics in marketing, brand building, and advertising for Megaprint.comOn Twitter he’s @GiantGarrettArt.

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