As a small business owner, you know that marketing is important. Without it, you’ll have a lonely website that’s buried deep in the depths of Google, competing against others who have a consistent stream of traffic and loyal customers. Marketing helps you put your product or service in front of the eyeballs of those who need it most. It is the driver that spreads your message far and wide, enticing the right people to take notice.
You’re also told that branding is important, but how do the two work together?
Let’s explore the difference between branding and marketing, because they are all too often confused as being the same thing.
The truth is, they work symbiotically.
They’re like cheese and Saladas; gin and tonic; tea and toast. One on its own is ok, but when used strategically together, they’re a powerhouse.
The question is, what should you focus on first? Let me break it down for you.
What is branding?
Your brand is the heart and soul of your business. The process of branding defines your entire brand foundation, cutting to the core of who you serve, why you serve them and HOW.
It’s not just about a beautiful visual brand identity (although this will elevate and strengthen your brand positioning immensely!).
It’s actually about how well your message is being communicated, and how it aligns with your brand personality, which is amplified through your marketing. ALL of the elements of your brand should align and send the same consistent message across all of your marketing channels.
If there are cracks and flaws in your brand foundation, by amplifying that through marketing, your audience will pick up on it a mile away.
A rock solid brand attracts your dream customers, making them feel all kinds of amazing feelings and emotions about your offer (in theory… BAD branding will actually do the complete opposite!). Having a strong brand foundation will fast track your brand to elevate your reputation and make marketing easy.
The branding process results in a unique, easily identifiable brand personality. It’s a clear, concise set of boundaries and parameters that work together to translate your brand foundation through your visual brand identity, brand voice and imagery
It’s important to have a unique brand personality to:
- Stand out amongst competitors
- Attract the right people to your offer
- Marketing your offer with clarity and confidence
So what’s marketing?
Marketing is HOW your brand message is being communicated.
It’s all of the different methods you’re using to communicate the benefits of your product or service.
Think social media, flyers, signage, word of mouth, websites etc. Once your brand personality is established, you can easily and confidently spread your message with marketing tools, knowing that you’re building a strong reputation, enticing the right people to your offer and building an army of loyal brand advocates.
In short. Branding comes before marketing.
Without branding, marketing is tricky and confusing. With branding, marketing with confidence is easy. Conversely, without marketing, branding is pointless. Why? Because nobody will ever see it!
By applying your branding consistently throughout your marketing channels, you’ll increase recognition, enhance your reputation and evoke trust in your audience.
How do you maintain consistency?
After you’ve established your sophisticated new brand personality, it’s imperative to keep the elements of your brand consistent.
Here’s some tips on how to maintain consistency:
- Use the colour codes stipulated in your style guide and don’t be tempted to stray
- Don’t use all of the things all at once – keep it simple
- Ensure your imagery has a similar tone/feel to your brand personality
- Use the same three or four fonts, forever and ever
- Reach out for professional help.
At the end of the day, whether you’re a start-up wanting to launch with a bang, or an established business that has evolved and is ready to grow up a little, establishing a rock solid brand foundation will see you fast tracking your brand reputation and achieving better results through your marketing efforts with crystal clear cohesiveness and consistency.
CONNECT WITH RACHEL:
Facebook: Hopscotch Branding Studio
LinkedIn: Rachel Reiter
Hopscotch Branding Studio
Rachel Reiter is the creative director, brand stylist and mentor of Hopscotch Branding Studio. She works closely with flourishing female entrepreneurs to create bespoke, impactful brand personalities that attract their dream customers and align with their heart-aligned vision. She is also founder of her signature brand foundation course, Brand Alchemy and monthly membership, The Branding Hub, which guides and supports passionate women in business to create an authentic, intentional brand.
When Rachel isn’t creating and mentoring, she’s raising four daughters with her husband and business partner, Matt. While she’s addicted to coffee, she’s a passionate tea lover and takes pleasure in the simple things like warm sand between her toes or curling up with an epic novel.