As independent business owners we seldom ask ourselves, “Am I marketing or am I branding?” We have a tendency to intermingle marketing and branding together as if they were one. The crazy thought is that when they are completed, they are one, but they require separate actions and approach. The two strategies are different, yet complimentary and when used effectively together, they provide a strategic foundation for a successful business; especially in today’s market, unless you prefer to take on the tactics of the later century, in which case, out of date tactics likely will not work.
Let’s get the differences straight right off the bat. Marketing is the tactical action of promoting a specific product or service. Notice the word “action.” It is a verb and actually requires “action”, as if the Director said, “Action, camera, roll ‘em.” Branding is the process of creating a unique characteristic, such as a name, image or quality through a consistent campaign, such as advertising or word of mouth. Think of it as marketing is getting the product out there, pushing it out. Branding is the pulling of the customer into the product, such as loyalty and recognition. Marketing is action related and branding is emotional.
It is very important for the business owner to recognize the pushing and pulling of the campaign to increase sales. Branding is what makes the customer care; marketing is what makes them act on your product to consume or buy it. Do they ever cross over into each other’s jurisdiction?
- Customer returns to buy a second car from the same distributor.
- Customer hears that there is a great “end of year” sale.
- Customer tells his neighbor that he had a great experience with a distributor.
- Customer gets a flyer in the mail with the monthly deals.
- When all products are lined up on the shelf, no matter what the price, the consumer buys your product.
- Customer goes out of their way to get to your store.
- Peanut butter and jelly.
- Our mattress has over 100 levels of comfort.
- Blast emails that contain your logo with a blurb about your product.
- 10. Sponsoring a public event.
11. You send out a Christmas card with a picture of your family.
The answers with brief explanation:
- This implies loyalty. Loyalty requires a person is
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drawn to a particular thing or brand. This is a pulling of the consumer and therefore, branding.
- In order for a customer to hear about a sale, some action has been required to get the word out by some medium; this is marketing.
- Word of mouth is always branding. Fortunately for you some customer liked your product and is willing to give it merit. They are essentially branding your product.
- For the identification and stratagem of the particulars of the sale, or whereas the product requires the business owner to identify and choose the best approach for the proper audience, this is a push or marketing.
- This is branding. The consumer is willing to overlook things like packaging, shelf location, price or sale price and maybe even the superior quality of other products to find your brand. You have succeeded to pull a consumer to your name.
- Branding, you have made a loyal customer for whatever reason; possibly a good reason, maybe no reason determines it in terms of academic explanation.
- A trick question, but whereas “peanut butter and jelly” go together like a marriage, this becomes a brand. We refer to using the term “brand” as an identifier.
- Using the quality of a product as a means to sales, is in fact pushing your product out and is considered marketing.
- Though the emails contain you “logo”, which is considered by recognition to be your brand, you are pushing your products out there and this is a marketing strategy.
10. Sponsoring a public event depends on the details. Suppose that you are literally running the event and your product is involved; this is marketing. On the other hand, suppose that you are just giving to the event and your logo will be placed as sponsor, this is branding. You are connecting your identifier (the logo or your name_ with good will. This is a pulling of consumers’ emotions towards your brand.
11. Another tricky question depending on what you did the year before. If you have sent a card on the previous year, you have then entered into a marketing venture year after year. You are not looking for sales, but then what are you pitching? You are pitching for emotional attachment. However, if it is the first year, you are asking the consumers to identify with your brand (your family name) and consequently become emotionally attached to your brand.
You cannot are about a product unless you know its qualities (marketing). Subsequently you buy a product because you are attached to it; emotionally by things such as trust, or appeal. For the most part, the greater the marketing you have generated, the greater the sales or consumption. The greater the sales or consumption acquired, the more recognition to the identification of your product and the stronger the brand. If you are tired of the “same-old, same-old” and you need to incorporate your sales strategy into a plan that challenges the future, rather than the future challenging you then finish this White Paper.
These are the five most questions you should ask about your organization.
- What is our mission?
- Who is our customer?
- What does our customer value?
- What are our results?
- What is our plan?
Is this the chicken and the egg scenario? The riposte: not really. Branding determines who your are. It says, “This is who we are, and/or what we stand for and if you like our product, you can buy them and endorse us to your friends and family. Things like, logos, brochures and websites display who you are. Once you build your brand foundation, you can market to an appropriate audience.
A great way to think of branding is by thinking of associations. Remember that question about “peanut butter and jelly”? Peanut butter is associated with jelly; peanut butter is now associated in collaboration with jelly as the single term “peanut butter and jelly.” This is what a slogan or jingle does. When you hear the phrase as two different words, it is associated with the other word and one picture comes to mind; what comes to your mind if I say, “peanut butter”? I will bet it is jelly. How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been made over the past centuries? That number is a big one. These repetitions lead to deep-seated brand associations.
Let’s reverse the scenario. If I give you a word or phrase, tell me what comes to mind.
- Fifteen minutes will save you 15% or more.
- Just do it.
- Plop plop. fizz fizz.
- How do you spell relief?
- A diamond is forever.
- Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
- Finger lickin’.
- Eat fresh.
- Life’s Good.
- Have it Your Way,
- Let Your Fingers Do the Walking,
- Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
These phrases create magic. They cause your mind to associate with a product. In order they are: Geico, Nike, Alka Selzer, Rolaids, De Beers, M n M’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway, LG, Burger King, Yellow Pages and State Farm. These implicit and explicit meanings to a consumer identify your brand by every representation you display in the marketplace. These are all big names; how did they get there?
Now, does that statement hold the truth? If it does, the more power to it. “Eat Fresh”, would never hold up if the sandwiches a Subway were stale. Once the consumer comes ready to buy, it is not the branding that the probable motivator. The direct influence at this point is usually switched to marketing.
Marketing is an essential for the success of your business. This is not about what you do, what matters is what you communicate to your consumers. A failed marketing campaign is costly and one that is not working should be revamped or dumped. Before you begin again, you should understand what went wrong.
Communicating your strengths to the world should portray your branding strategy or theme so that consumers can become well informed about the marketplace. Marketing should differentiate your company in some way: emotionally, superior quality, symbolic or service. A unique well established brand message or theme should be consistently marketed evoking trust, differentiation, loyalty and stability. Marketing without a strong brand is usually a dead end street, no sales! A well-established brand within the marketing campaign should bring higher prices for products and greater sales volume. An ideal marketing campaign leverages strength within the brand.
Measurable and attainable goals must be sent for your marketing campaign. Phase One of your campaign should be planned using the SMART system.
- S – Specific
- M – Measurable
- A – Attainable
- R – Relevant
- T – Time – Scaled
During this phase of planning you must concentrate on the features and qualities of your product. This is not the time to promote emotional attachments. Write a one sentence stating how your product differentiates from other products. Answer the question; why is a rationally thinking consumer going to purchase my product?
Marketing is communication to build awareness and reputation positioning your product within the marketplace. Unhappy customers may be the worst things that ever happened to your business due to their ability to use Social Media to spread negative information. All attention to your brand is not always positive. Pay attention to your consume and make your communications work for you, not against you.
What you plan in your mind is free; think it out. Are you being innovative in your marketing? It is time to convey your message to the consumer; this means transferring the message of you product from your mind to a plan that engages the consumer.
Every marketing campaign must be launched with your audience or consumer in mind. Who are they? What really matters to them? What are their shopping tendencies? How do they find you? How do you get them to respond? Have their been any changes in the market? Considering these questions during the planning of your marketing campaign will target your market. Marketing to the general market can be done, but is very expensive. Big companies have budgets to spare, do you? Keep in mind that changing a consumer’s behavior and thoughts is not usually an instant process.
You are trying to win over consumers, as is your competition. It is important to know your competitors, but not obsess over them. Learn what you can, but rely on your brands strength by developing the features and qualities of your product. Research and analytics about the competition are valuable; use this research to look for unknown opportunities. Trial and error is costly even though there is a learning curve. Reduce the learning curve by being objective when you analyze your product against the market. Find the natural and easy key attributes that are desirable to your consumer and communicate them in your marketing campaign.
Building Your Campaign
Once you have analyzed the market and evaluated your place within the market you can begin to build your campaign. A good campaign should include a strategy to get consumers and keep consumers. Word of mouth endorsements should not be taken lightly.
Social media can no longer be ignored. The good news is that with proper use it makes your job a lot easier. Social media gives you access to your consumer, their thoughts in terms of what they like and what they dislike. Social media also gives your consumer insight to you and your brand. Much of the information that you need to plan your campaign is now available and worth adapting your campaign if you have not done so already.