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 affect, 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 successfully branding and marketing 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.)
New definition: 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, to like and trust you."
If marketing is doing then branding is being. Often the two are so integrated strategically and tactically that it’s hard to say one comes before or is more important than the other.
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.
Article by Scott C. Margenau CEO/ImageWorks Studio - Updated 6/8/2011
ImageWorks can help you build a brand from the ground up or re-brand a “tired” or outdated corporate image. www.imageworksstudio.com
You can also get great insight in the new book, Mastering the World of Marketing, which features Scott in chapter 24. It is an excellent reference and combines some insight and strategies from some of the best marketing minds in the business. http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-World-Marketing-Ultimate-Training/dp/0470888415