Branding and marketing are essential to helping drive growth, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or if you’ve been around for decades. But what’s the difference between the two, and what do you need right now: branding or marketing? Let’s do some quick definitions and help determine what you need.
What is Branding?
A brand is what you stand for and it’s what you say about your business. As Simon Sinek likes to say: It’s your WHY. Brand creates an expectation in the mind of your customer – and brand lives up to that expectation. It defines your customer’s pain points and addresses how you’re their solution, and it highlights how you’re different from the competition. It underscores your unique value proposition for winning. Brand captures your company’s heritage and your reason for being; it embodies your business vision and where you want to go. It is a North Star for you and your team.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is the tools you use to deliver your brand message. It’s how you convey your WHY. Swag, newsletters, website, social media strategy: these are the means to deliver your brand message. Marketing covers a vast area of business, including website + SEO; social; content; newsletters; collateral; design (logo, font, colors, etc); Go-to-market; influencer; retention strategies…and more.
Branding precedes marketing. It’s essential to define what your business stands for before you begin your marketing efforts. What should your new logo convey? Who is your ideal target customer? What should your newsletter be all about? If you’re doing marketing first, answering these questions can be frustrating and confusing. Brand avoids all the confusion. Brand is your roadmap, your North Star that tells you everything you need to know.
What is your Priority?
Branding or Marketing: what should you focus on? Here are a few statements to assess your business needs:
- I know my company’s core principles and values, and can articulate what we stand for. We know our WHY.
- We know our brand’s purpose for being, and what gap we fill in the marketplace.
- I am clear about my Unique Value Proposition and what differentiates me from my competition.
- We know who our target customers are and understand their psychological drivers and mindset.
- I know what messages will best resonate with my target customers.
- I know where to find my target customers and how to engage them in a genuine, compelling way.
- Our communication materials – my website, collateral, business cards and logo – convey my brand and what it stands for in a way that captures my target customers’ attention.
- My brand tells a story; it talks about customer pain points, how we solve those pain points, and how my customers are better for working with us. Our brand story is compelling to those I’m trying to reach.
If you can answer these statements easily, you need marketing and we’re happy to recommend some great leaders in this space. If, however, you’re not quite sure what you stand for and how to attract your ideal customers, then you might need some branding. That’s where we come in.
At Magnetic Current we firmly believe you are your brand’s best storyteller and help a lot of companies DIY branding themselves (read this post for more on this). That said: we’re also skilled brand builders and storytellers. If you need help with your brand, connect with us and let’s make you magnetic to growth.