Internet Radio- 21st Century Entrepreneur | Marketing Versus Branding | Aired Friday, July 10, 2015 at 12 NOON
This Friday July 10 we will be airing another episode of “21st Century Entrepreneur” which is an Internet radio program aimed towards educating business owners and their advisors on how to make their businesses more successful and profitable. It is a show hosted by JC Maldonado who is the CEO of BizGro Partners, a Business Development Firm that helps small and midsize companies grow, expand, and transition. This week we will discuss the differences between marketing and branding which is a greatly misunderstood contrast.
Below is a blog that describes the discipline of branding and its importance. Finally, we have gained some interesting insight during our recent interviews from experienced entrepreneurs. To hear recorded versions of these shows, click on 21st Century Entrepreneur Archives. Feel free to touch base with us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Branding as a Business Development Strategy
There is much confusion in today’s world of small and medium size businesses with regard to the role of branding in a company’s business development strategy. In fact, oftentimes companies confuse branding with marketing and do not know how to create, utilize, and sustain a brand within the marketplace they serve. In other instances, the “branding” strategies implemented by large corporate entities create a mystique around branding and gives the average entrepreneur the impression that the development of a brand requires major capital resources. We believe that a brand is the foundation of any business; in fact we would say that a brand is not only the foundation of the business, it is the cloud that oversees every aspect of the business and is not merely a promotional strategy. Rather, a company’s brand gets communicated at every level of the business.
KEY ELEMENTS TO ANY BUSINESS
Look at business as having three core functions at its foundation. These functions include Sales & Marketing, Client Fulfillment/Operations, and Finance/Administration. Sales & Marketing’s role is to generate sales leads and converts these leads into paying customers. Client Fulfillment/Operation’s role is to deliver the product and service to the customer and create customer satisfaction. Finally, Finance/Administration’s job is manage the money the business brings in. One of the challenge businesses always face is the reality that one needs all three of these elements to work in unison for a business to maintain profitability. Bringing in tons of business without being able to deliver what you promised is not fruitful. Having a great product, without being able to sell the product, will not lead to profit neither. Finally, if you are bringing in business and keeping customers, but fail to manage the company’s monies, disaster will be sure to loom.
WHAT IS A BRAND?
So you may ask then how does a brand play into the key 3 elements of a business. A brand is simply a unique promise that a business makes to the marketplace that is relevant, achievable, and executed in a manner that creates positive perceptions and associations from the marketplace that is served. In short a
Brand = “Relevant Promise + Delivery = Positive Marketplace Perception.”
All three major functions of a business give a company the opportunity to communicate its brand. Sales & Marketing communicates its brand via its marketing venues and sales presentations to potential customers. Client Fulfillment/Operations communicates the brand through the delivery of the product and service which has to be able to fulfill the brand’s initial promise. Finally, the way a company manages its money will have impact on whether a brand can be fully developed and executed.
Hence, developing a brand really comes down to a company’s ability to create a distinctive promise, deliver on that promise, and manage the perceptions of the marketplace. The execution and development of a brand will also depend on a business’s ability to create consistency and fluidity in its sales/marketing, client fulfillment/operations, and finance/administration functions of the business. It does not depend on a name, a logo, image or various public relations or marketing strategies that often confuse the entrepreneur’s concept of what a brand represents. Remember, without a relevant promise, the delivery of that promise, and the proper management of marketplace perceptions, you do not have a brand; you are simply a peddler of commodity products or services. And without a brand, it is very difficult to build a thriving company.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRANDING & MARKETING
So another question that comes to mind is what is the difference between marketing and branding? We see marketing as the process of generating qualified sales leads, while branding is more of a process of making a promise, delivering that promise, and managing the perceptions of the marketplace in a way that gives a business a stellar reputation; it is a process that encompasses every aspect of a business. It is important to note that a business can spend money simply promoting its brand’s promise without trying to directly generate leads. This approach can be effective so long as a business’s marketing strategies are generating enough qualified leads that are being converted into business that can afford the business the luxury of strictly promoting its brand promise. However, if a business is not generating qualified leads, money invested in brand promotions is a waste for most small and mid-size companies.
With that said, one of the best brand promotion strategies a business should consider is the utilization of social media venues. These venues give businesses an inexpensive method of promoting its brand’s promise while managing its relationships with its customers and their sphere of influence. If one develops a community of followers online, the potential to develop a positive marketplace outlook becomes easier and qualified leads can oftentimes be generated long term.