The dictionary definition of “branding” usually refers to the name and image of a product or service. However, in the business world we take it a few steps further. BNET defines branding as:
"a means of distinguishing one firm's products or services from another's and of creating and maintaining an image that encourages confidence in the quality and performance of that firm's products or services."
A bit wordy, but it really gets to the point and accurately describes the overall effect, goals and purpose of branding. Jon Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing offers an even simpler definition that we really like:
"Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likeable and trustable."
So how are branding and marketing related?
Ah, the great marketing/branding debate. Here at ImageWorks Studio we have long argued that marketing and branding are very similar and are, in fact, dependent on one another. When fused together branding and marketing would successfully create and promote value, trust and confidence in a company’s image, products and services.
The American Marketing Association’s new definition of marketing is as follows. (Notice that it sounds a LOT like branding.)
Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
The older definition: (Notice creating value, (Brand Equity) is missing)
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individuals' and companies' goals.
So think of branding as the creation/re-creation of tools and media used for marketing purposes and marketing as the planned execution of those tools and media. Or to keep it simple lets go back to Jon Jantsch and take a look at his definition of MARKETING:
"Marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you."
Confusion in the word "brand"
We are surprised by how many customers think a brand is just a logo or name and branding as something used to raise awareness by Fortune 500 companies. A Brand is everything that creates an impression about your company and/or your products and services. It's the whole enchilada. This impression is what we call the "Brand Image"
Brand Image: A customer's perception of what a brand stands for.
Perception is everything in the business world. Advertising professionals call it “outside perception” when it’s in the eyes of the customer. Everything that comes in contact with customers — brochures, direct mail, Web sites, advertisements, presentations, e-mails, signs, exhibits, salespeople, etc. — helps them form an opinion, good or bad, of your company.
A successful branding program is multidimensional, emphasizing the total customer experience. Companies often focus on a specific marketing project and forget the total package. Your brand must convince your prospects that you are the clear-cut choice to fulfill their expectations. This leads to credibility and anticipation, which will give you a huge advantage when it comes to converting sales.
ImageWorks can help you build a brand from the ground up or rebrand a “tired” or outdated corporate image. Follow the links below to get started.
Article by Scott C. Margenau CEO/ImageWorks Studio - Updated 12/21/2009