How Branding Is Not Marketing


I have been an entrepreneur for the better part of 22 years. As a performance artist in the realms of dance and acting I've learned quite a few things about branding and marketing. I used to think, probably much like you reading this, that they are pretty much one in the same. Or, that branding is simply color scheme of the business and logo design. However, branding is so much more than that and really you can't really market what you don't brand. Huh? Yeah, I had that response too when I first started on this branding and digital marketing venture.

What I had been doing through what I though was marketing myself as an independently contracted performer (aka poor freelance artist) was that I all I was doing was actually branding. Let me break this down in a pretty easy to understand description:

Marketing is the the processes of promoting your business.

Branding is the personality, culture, and message of your business.

Marketing is using different platforms of promotions of the business through social media, SEO, networking, and traditional methods of advertising such as pamphlets, booklets, business cards, commercials, blogs, media spot, and so forth.

Branding is the personality, feel, culture, and message you put behind and into your marketing strategies.

Marketing is supposed to communicate your brand message.

The problem with so many thinking that marketing is branding is that this allows for consumers, customers, and clients to define what your brand is if you don't take control of it. That's right, consumers are the ones that define your brand for you unless it is ultimately clear what your brand's voice and message is. You know when someone you know on social media is promoting their business yet sometimes says something that contradicts what they claim their business to be? Strange, huh? Do you find yourself viewing their business differently because of this? Well, you just defined the brand for the business because they didn't define their brand's personality, voice, and message appropriately and you defined it.

This is why clear, precise branding is important and should be consistently flowing through all of your marketing channels. How do you do this? You really must ask yourself fundamental questions as to exactly what your brand is. If you can't answer it, how do you expect your consumers to do so?

Questions you should ask yourself as an entrepreneur, mompreneur, solopreneur, small business, etc are listed below. A concise answer to these and you can start to see how your brand is actually defined by you or your potential customers.

Why am I in business?

Who is my target audience and WHY am I targeting this specific group of people?

Why does it matter what I do?

Once you are able to answer these fundamental questions you are able to start seeing where your brand is going and how the voice, culture, and values of your business start to form.

Establish what your voice is for your brand, how do you want people to perceive you and your business, and are you able to stay authentic and true to this voice for the life of your business? Once these are answered you can consistently put the voice, message, culture, and value of your business across your marketing platforms.

I like when businesses list their core values of their business and that it is apparent in their marketing from their website and the writing style on it, to the layout, to the imagery and even more impressed when it crosses into social media and their traditional marketing platforms. The consistent message shows me that they are reliable and I know what to expect. If you look further within yourself and your business can you honestly say that this is something you do? If the answer is no, then you should start to redefining your brand and how you market that brand.

YOU define your brand or the customer does it for you. I mentioned that above though without clear understanding of your own brand then you leave it to be open season for customers and this could lead to a dumpster fire really quick.

For more detailed information schedule a branding consultation with me and I can assist you along this journey to help define your business' voice, culture, and values.

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