What is Branding and How Can It Help My Business?
Just like in any trade, marketing has a lot of its own special language that, I suspect, was originally invented to keep eavesdroppers from eavesdropping. Or maybe it was developed for clarity. Who can tell?
Anyway, this blog is about branding, a buzzword that I honestly am really tired of hearing. When you use the word “branding,” a lot of people think that it equals “marketing.” It doesn’t, though it’s an important component. You can have effective marketing without effective branding, and vice-versa.
Breaking It Down: Branding 101
Branding is, in essence, the ‘personality” of your company. For example, In The Cloud Marketing utilizes lots of images of lightning, tornadoes, hard rain and umbrellas. The idea we’re trying (and hopefully succeeding) to plant in your head is that we can raise your marketing to a higher level, so you can take the world by storm. Get it? We also think we’re hilarious.
For In The Cloud, it was important that we use a lot of very strong visuals to drive the point home. If you take a look at our marketing materials, you’ll notice I wasn’t shy about repeating imagery over and over. That’s branding. I’m trying to plant an image in your head that reminds you later, when you’re in need of a marketing solution, that you thought we were pretty cool. Along with being hilarious, we are also cool.
Anyway, this can be done with anything, using any sort of imagery, tone and voice. If you’re a cabinet maker and you want branding to evoke old fashioned cabinet making techniques, it’s just a matter of consistency in applying language and visuals. What you end up with is now the personality of the brand, the thing that makes it stand out from all the other cabinet makers out there. The more competitive your market, the more aggressive your branding can get (to a point).
You have seconds to make that first impression on potential customers. Branding helps make it stick.
How Marketing Interacts with Branding
So, you have your branding figured out for your electric service: you’re calling yourself “Sparky’s Arc Fault Interrupters & More.” All the imagery is based on sparks, wall plugs and AFIs. Nailed it!
Now, Sparky, is where the fun begins. Since your branding is a vital part of your company’s identity, you need to remember to weave it into your marketing each and every time. The more you repeat your brand, the better it sticks. But you don’t just want to repeat your name over and over, incorporate your imagery, too. Those subtle subliminal messages help carry the message, too.
The difference between branding and marketing, when it comes down to it, is that branding is all about developing a unique identity for your company. Marketing, on the other hand, is about convincing your audience that your brand is ideal for them and that your company will provide a benefit that they may or may not realize they even need.
In this example, Sparky’s marketing might be tailored to young families that are first time homebuyers. Sparky places an add on social media targeting these very people, along with a question like, “Lights flickering? Five Signs You Need an Electrician” and a link to a blog on the subject. A potential lead is scrolling along their feed and they notice that ad. The lead says to themselves, “My lights do flicker more than seems normal… maybe I should call Sparky.” This customer had no idea they had a problem, but when they realized it could be serious, they defaulted to calling the expert (and bearer of bad news).
Now, you won’t always experience that easy of a conversion, especially if your ad copy is sloppy or weak. This is where branding and marketing collide. Metaphorically and confidently stride out in your bright yellow suit with “Sparky’s” embroidered across the front, no matter if you’re online and off. No one will doubt who you are or what you’re there for. Your name is Marty and you’re there to party. Or to check the load center. Either way.
You Need Branding and Marketing
Any marketing company worth their salt will be capable of helping you establish a strong brand image. All it takes is an eye for details, creative tendencies and a little bit of organization to get you well on your way. Use that branding so you can be identified from a mile away. Use the marketing so you can solve problems, even if the customer doesn’t realize they have one.
By the way, that customer with the flickering lights was relieved that their problem, wires in the attic that had been chewed by squirrels, was fixed before they started a house fire. Sparky has a lifetime cheerleader now.
Be awesome like Sparky. Embrace your brand and use it to market to your audience, make sure they can’t mistake you for anyone else in the market.