(by Shia Teichman)
As the Creative Director of a branding agency, one of the most common mistakes I see being made is the interchangeable use of the words marketing and branding.
I want to put this mistake to rest.
Marketing and branding are not the same. They are two parts of one whole, which is successfully getting and retaining your desired client.
Here’s why they are different.
Branding is your client’s gut feeling about you. In other words, it’s not what you say but what they say about you. Identity is who you are. Branding is the son of identity.
I often see, particularly on LinkedIn, that when someone asks a person what it is they do, the person answers with the most technical answer. For example, writers say they write and programmers say they program. This is not the best answer for generating sales for your company. Instead, think about what you do for others.
Do you increase brand awareness? Do you make sure your customers get noticed and understood so they increase their sales?
Think of a plumber. He doesn’t say he uses a wrench to turn a valve. Instead he says he fixes leaks. Everybody has a brand. In fact, everybody has several brands. They have a personal brand, a professional brand, etc. The difference between a successful brand and an unsuccessful brand begins with whether the brand is controlled or not.
Are you taking care of your images?
You could be a futuristic state-of-the-art company (this is your identity) but be perceived as something very different. The goal is to bridge the gap between your identity and your brand. It doesn’t matter how happy your clients are. Your branding could still be very off, which would prevent you from getting new clients. Branding is the sales engine.
So what is marketing then?
Marketing is simply pulling people into your company. If your branding is not good, then please hold off on your marketing. This will only get you angry customers and a bad reputation. Now would be a good time to discuss inbound versus outbound marketing (Hubspot Academy has a course on this.)
In outbound marketing, you have a list of prospective clients and are trying to get them.
In inbound marketing, you are shooting in the dark. For example, you compose posts that connect to your desired client. You don’t know who will respond but you know the type of person that will because you specifically targeted them (i.e. by demographic and psychographic).
The difference between these two strategies is very important. The difference is whether you want long-term or short-term gains.
Coming up with a strategy that does the math on how you’d like to handle this is the smartest thing you can do.