Simply put, branding is "Who You Are". It's your name, your logo, your style. What's your look? What's your message? Effective branding will give a focused presentation of who you are and what you stand for through graphics, slogans, and even the locations in which you place your products. Think about it, you don't typically find premium clothing lines at a skating rink; because the atmosphere of a skating rink doesn't fit the brand style of premium clothing. Likewise, a skating rink won't typically use elegant, cursive type fonts in their logo. Branding is absolutely important and should be the first thing you prioritize in your overall marketing plans. Once you have clearly defined who you are, you can effectively connect with your target audience.
MARKETING VS ADVERTISING
Even more so than "branding", marketing and advertising are terms that I hear misused all the time. Perhaps that's because we typically refer to the overall strategy for growing a business as "marketing" and we pay for "advertisements" when we want to gain more exposure. But when it comes time to develop a game plan, it's very important to understand the difference between marketing and advertising.
Marketing says, "This is who we are" or "This is what we offer".
Marketing has long term goals of building "brand recognition" and awareness.
Marketing requires great consistency, frequency, and creativity to be effective.
Advertising says, "Buy our product or service".
The goal of Advertising is to make as many sales as possible, as quickly as possible.
Advertising requires a great incentive to buy now and a limited time frame for the customer to feel compelled to purchase. (Think: Coupons)
When Branding is done effectively, Marketing becomes much easier. When Marketing is done right, Advertising becomes more effective. If your brand is attractive, and people are familiar with it, they'll be more apt to trust your company with their money when you offer them a coupon or other incentive to make a purchase. So, for long term success, be sure to include strategies for Branding, Marketing, AND Advertising in your overall business development plan.
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