Brand vs. Branding

We often hear the words “brand” and “branding” used interchangeably. We want to set the record straight by explaining the difference and the value of brand.

What is branding?

Branding is one vital expression of brand that uses language and visuals to express the core concepts and purpose of your brand. Branding includes taglines, copy, photography, typography, color palette, logos, icons, graphics, and more. For example, the words you say and the clothes you wear are a fair expression of who you are as a person, but they are not you.

What is brand?

Brand is who you are, how you’re unique, and why you matter to your customer. It’s the purpose and perceptions you own in the minds of your market. Brand is a business value multiplier and the way to ensure your business is sustainable long-term.

Brand is the best tool you can have to generate long-term business value that is a multiple of your revenue, and not just incremental. You can realize this value if your brand is clearly articulated, and your entire organization is focused on a single purpose that shines through in everything it does. And a purpose-driven brand that delivers goodness to the market is the best way to ensure your sustainability for the long-haul.

When your purpose is something only you can deliver, and no one else, and it’s deeply meaningful and important in the lives of your customers and your employees, then your business will thrive.

How does brand impact business?

ROI is a great metric for marketing, but the wrong metric for brand, as it begs the question, return on which investment?

While you’re able to increase the return on investment made in your sales and marketing channels incrementally, driving higher volume at a lower cost, if that’s all you’re asking of brand in terms of financial impact, then you’re not asking enough.

Perhaps more meaningfully, the business impacts that brand can make are at a multiplier level (not just incremental) and include both increasing value and reducing OpEx, for example:

  • You’ll be able to command a price premium.
  • You’ll be able to lower the cost of doing business over time by retaining employees, retaining customers (which is far less expensive than constantly finding new customers).
  • With an empowered workforce that is all operating from the same purpose, you’ll be able to decentralize decision-making so that your business can be more agile and responsive to the market and customer needs without wasting a lot of time and money.
  • You’ll be able to introduce new products with greater ease, and with a reduced cost to cross-sell.
  • You’ll create a new marketing channel through your loyal customers and employees who spread word-of-mouth accolades that garner, for free, new customers.
  • You’ll have a protective barrier should crisis occur, a competitor appears, or the market shifts, because your loyal customer base will be emotionally tied to your products in a way that will take longer to disintermediate, buying you time to address and “fix” what’s needed before customer attrition occurs.
  • Your meaning, as defined by the tensions you resolve in the lives of your customers and in the world, will be more than what you make, thus making you able to pivot and weather change with more forgiveness and with greater latitude from your employees and customers.
Brand Integrity to reap the benefits of brand

You can only realize the benefits listed above if every part of your organization is working from the same song sheet. When your product teams are operating with the same intention and understanding as your human resource teams, and when your sales team is aligned with your marketing team on who your customer is, what matters to them in the market, and how you are unique and meaningful to them, then you can see the broad efficiencies that are gained through the intangible value of brand. That’s Brand integrity.

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We solve business challenges with brand.