What do you get when you spend money on marketing without branding?
I hate to break this to you, but not much. You are wasting your budget. Mic drop. That really should be the end of my article. However, in order to convince you that my opening statement is more than just one of my many Carrie Bradshaw musings, let me explain.
I often get incoming inquiries from businesses who want Studiothink to help with marketing. They are discouraged by the results they are getting and believed that investing in a robust marketing plan would result in more customers, more followers, more incoming leads. But that just isn’t happening. Now they would like to improve their results with more marketing.
Red flag. Often times the reason that marketing is getting poor results is because the brand has been poorly thought out and implemented. Somewhere along the way they were given bad advice about what to do with their money, and not only that, but were not clearly informed what the difference was between branding and marketing.
And, news flash—there can not be one without the other.
Branding and marketing are like Thelma and Louise. Ernie and Burt. Bonnie and Clyde. Brad Pitt and George Clooney. (Okay maybe not quite like that last example, but I’ll use any lame metaphor if it means I can drop a George image in my blog.)
Here is a very basic explanation that will help clarify the difference between the two.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is the act of promoting and selling. It’s how your message gets out.
What is Branding?
Branding is the act of communicating and positioning. It’s how you are perceived.
Here’s a relatable example.
Here’s how branding and marketing work together in a real life situation. Let’s pretend you are a single woman with a goal to go on five dates per month (you are ambitious). So you get your hair done, buy a new outfit, lose a little weight, put on some makeup and upgrade your dusty wine rack with full bottles of French wine so you look sophisticated. That’s your brand.
You then drive to karaoke night at the pub and put your profile on Tinder. That’s marketing.
You simply can not have successful results without each thing.
If you looked amazing and were confident in who you were, but didn’t go out—no dates. If you marketed yourself on Tinder looking like you just got captured on the People of Walmart website, you’d get a whole ton of swiping left. Again, no dates.
Your business wants dates, aka, customers. Interested people who like what you have to offer, see your value and like your vibe. In order to get them, you first need to brand yourself in a way that showcases your best self. You need to display your personality and product or service in a way that is visually appealing so they enjoy the experience and can relate to your messaging. What is your company image? What do you want to project? What do you want your values to be, and your company to stand for?
Branding encompasses the design, the colours, the voice, the feel, the vibe and the usability of each piece that you are going to show your customers. This is particularly relevant in today’s digital marketplace, where a website has only a few seconds to command the attention of a fleeting buyer. At first glance, do they want to do business with you, or are they going to swipe left?
“If you want to achieve sustained success, invest in brand first, marketing second.”
— SHERRY JACOBI, STUDIOTHINK
Once you have a strong brand, marketing can come in and do its job.
You can put together marketing strategies that focus on promoting your brand consistently and effectively. This is some powerful stuff. Research shows that the average revenue increase attributed to consistently presenting a brand is 23%. Customers are going to feel more connected to you, spend more and stay loyal. They are going to talk about you, share your product and tell people all about you.
Want more proof that I’m right about this? 64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. And brand equity is a measurable business asset, for example in 2018 the brand equity of Apple was $182.8 billion.
A well-communicated brand is a game changer. Customers are even willing to pay more if your brand has a clear purpose. And about your website? Well, 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. That’s a pretty strong case for a brand first approach.
My advice is simple.
If you want to achieve sustained success, invest in brand first, marketing second. Create a relevant, purposeful brand and keep it consistent across every communication touchpoint, from social media, to websites, to business cards and trade show booths, and everything in between.
Then open up a bottle of that expensive French wine and watch the swiping right begin.
Sherry Jacobi is our sassy, wine-loving, pink-haired blog writer who also happens to be the Founder and Creative Director of Studiothink. Studiothink is a creative agency located in the suburbs of Vancouver, BC, where an experienced, off-the-wall-talented team are making waves creating kickass websites, marketing and brands. Follow her on Instagram as @thatsherrychick.