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To anyone outside of the marketing industry, I can see why branding and marketing would seem synonymous in nature. However does somebody who spends most of their day interacting with clients trying to help them create a unique brand that they can then effectively market to consumers, there are some key structural and business-related differences between branding and marketing.
Your level of understanding of these differences often translates into how effective your branding and marketing become. So let’s dive Right In and talk about the differences between branding and marketing.
What is Branding?
Branding: Branding is everything from the assets used to personify your business to the copy you use across all of your site assets to unify your company’s personification goal. To make it a little bit easier for most people, I like to tell people that most politicians are great at branding but not great at marketing…
Branding is your way of telling your consumers, investors, and strategic partners what your company values and what your company aligns with.
If I were a politician, my political brand would start with core issues like abortion and economic strategies for prosperity. From there my sub-brand might expand into what cultural norms I embrace and how I go about achieving those goals. For example, both conservatives and liberals believe in speaking the truth to power. But liberals might be more inclined to believe that power comes from a different source than conservatives do.
Further, they might go about addressing power inequities in different ways. This is because the Republican wing and Democratic wing of the United States political sphere is very well branded. What you are allowed to and not allowed to say on different political isles is very defined with very little room for variation.
How does Branding Affect Your Audience?
Also within these political spheres, you have your audience types that might enjoy those different branding measures for different reasons. In the Democratic party, you might have anyone from a young enthusiastic college liberal who is becoming politically awakened, all the way to the experienced liberal who has voted Democrat their entire life and continues to vote because they have always been a single issue voter. On the flip side, you might have your conservative who has been voting conservative for exclusively cultural reasons, or you might have the conservative who is a single-issue voter.
Politicians understand and recognize that their brand has everything to do with speaking reasonably to these audience types. That’s why every political speech is intentionally both reductive in its goals, and generalistic in its language.
So how can you make a better brand for your business, side hustle, or other audience-facing organization?
Every good branding starts by identifying core messages that your key audience types are looking to hear. Is your core audience going to be people or not for their holiday shopping? Or is your core demographic looking for ways to maximize the current investment portfolio?
This is where every good brand strategist is going to tell you that we need to identify parts of your audience’s pain points. This is where I’ve seen a lot of brands really struggle…
How does Political Branding work?
Because if we’re being honest, none of us want our clients to have pain. We want everybody that we know who interacts with our product to have completely perfect healthy lives. But the problem with that wish is that it’s super unrealistic and it also makes your brand super difficult to interface with. This is what makes political actors so good at branding.
If you have a minute today, pull up any political speech. Because every politician will spend a good portion of their speech talking more about what the issues are as opposed to what we do to get them solved. Yes I understand that this is a core problem with politics, I’m just talking about the reasons why.
Politicians know that views, clicks, and attention comes from addressing what issues are. Because everyone in your core audience is going to understand when an issue is an issue. Most of your core audience is going to empathize with you when you claim “hey doesn’t this thing that exists, kind of suck?”
So one of the things I talk to every one of my clients about when they first start working on their website, is “what about your client’s lives kind of sucks a little bit?”
Every business owner who can answer this question well inevitably has better branding on their website.
All right so how is marketing different from branding?
Marketing is the way you bring in new leads. It should always JUST be the methods and practices that bring in new people to your brand and sales funnels. It can be text messages, emails, sales reps, call centers, etc.
Your marketing should always be structured. Loose marketing plans are like loose lips… They tend to sink ships.
You can start structuring your marketing by looking at where your leads come from. From there, follow the path until you hit a stumbling block. I highly encourage testing, beta tests, and independent testing to make sure you find those holes in your marketing plan.
The thing about marketing is there are always holes. Some text links might be broken or maybe a section is out of date. In this way, marketing tends to be more about the processes and structural ways your company handles new leads rather than the presentation of your company profile.
If you like this article about the explanations between branding and marketing, check out some of my other articles.
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