Marketing Verses Branding

Is marketing the same as branding, or is branding a function of marketing? Or are they two entirely different things altogether? I guess it helps to define what is meant by both terms …

Marketing Verses Branding

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably“. As they don’t seem to provide a definition for branding, I’ve had to go to The American Marketing Association (AMA) who defines a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers“.

“It’s that simple!”

But lets face it, in the real world of small and medium sized enterprises, what do they really mean and does it really apply to us?

Now, of course, who am I to challenge the might of these organisations? I certainly can’t boast that I’m better educated than they are, all I can do is refer to the work I’ve done in marketing and branding over the last 25 years creating millions of pounds worth of value for my clients.

Large corporate organisations spend loads of money on marketing and researching what their audiences wants. Answer truthfully: when you’re asked to do a survey, whether by phone, email or in person, do you take it seriously? I know I don’t and I doubt I’m not the only one, which makes me wonder whether the data they collect and subsequently analyse is worth the paper it’s written on (or, in this day and age, worth the hard disk space it’s saved on?)

For the businesses I work with, typically turning over £250,000 to £10,000,000, with an element of ‘family’ ownership, marketing is simple to define as “generating sales leads and business opportunities” and when they find this hard to implement, Kim and I get invited to help.

So what does branding mean for businesses we typically work with? Remember, branding isn’t necessarily right for every business (check out my previous blog post Huh, who needs branding?. From my perspective, firstly your ‘brand’ is your promise, or your reputation, reflecting your values.

Try answering the question, “If I am your ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than your competitors, or buy anything at all?” The answer should lie right at the heart of your brand.

“Branding is the activity you use to deliver your message to your audience!”

When done right, particularly to an affluent audience, the results can be brilliant and great design lies at the heart of effective branding. A report published by The Design Council called ‘Evaluation of designing demand 2012’ shows that for clients who place design at the heart of their vision and strategy, every £1 invested in design delivers £20 more in turnover and £4.12 in net operating profit; that’s a 412% ROI!

So if you’re happy with my personal definitions of marketing and branding, then it might help to talk about the tools we use and how we use them differently.

Marketing – and I mean direct response marketing – doesn’t necessarily need a brand to work. And it can often be a quick win for sales. Modern direct response marketing is often based around what the Internet can provide us with: email campaigns, landing pages, squeeze pages (data collection), autoresponder emails. And the only bit of magic about making this work is to test, refine and repeat.

Of course, print and exhibitions can also provide great direct response opportunities, but – and its big one – whilst you can achieve some great results without committing to your brand, it’s a bit like building without foundations as you’re going to have to keep propping it up.

Effective branding is all about making you a ‘come to’ business, i.e. people beat a path to your door and your brand is right at the heart of the relationships you have with your customers. Your brand is your positioning in your marketplace and places you as a leader within your industry and builds understanding, empathy and yes, even love.

Done right, using your visual identity, the right words, an engaging website, print, packaging, events and exhibitions will all win your brand a space in the minds and hearts of your customers.

“You can accelerate your business performance using great design to deliver an amazing transformation!”

To learn how to build your powerful brand to make you a ‘come to’ business, either ping me an email ( or call me on 07583 047103 today.

I’m off now as Kim’s shouting at me and she wants a direct response.

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