Brand vs. Branding vs. Brand Strategy: What’s The Difference?
Here’s one that we hear from clients, friends, and even industry kin all the time: What’s the difference between brand, branding, and brand strategy? We figure you might be curious about it as well. And since we eat, breathe, and sleep all things brand, we figured we’d share our thoughts.
What is brand?
Brand is much more than the definitions you’ll find in the top search results of Google. It’s not just a mark or a logo or a name. Brand is everything a business, organization, or entity does. Your website experience is your brand. How your receptionist answers your phone is your brand. The condition of your bathroom is your brand. Brand is the thread that runs through every piece of your business. That’s why brand is so important. If you want someone to know what you stand for, it should be displayed in everything you do, spoken or unspoken, written or unwritten, explicit or implicit. Heck, brand can even be a smell (Auntie Anne’s Pretzels in mall comes to mind). We love it when we see a 100% effort to get brand right, and we’re over the moon when clients get it.
Take Nike for example. Nike’s brand isn’t the swoosh, or its slogan, Just Do It. Nor is Nike’s brand about sponsoring athletes or promoting athletics. Nike’s brand is about empowering its consumers to unlock their own inner-athlete. And that’s an incredibly powerful idea that comes across in everything they do.
What is branding?
This one is a little more cut and dry. Branding is all the ownable, identifiable marks that make an organization stand out in the product landscape. Good branding has the ability to bring a brand name to mind even when the name isn’t present. It’s a look, a tone, and a feel, and even a sound — everything that is uniquely your brand. For example, that sound when your Macbook starts up? Branding. The way the Apple lights up on the lid? Branding. You’ve probably go this one down. Let’s move on.
What is brand strategy?
Brand strategy uses the above points and creates a framework that lays out the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your organization’s communication of its brand. Just as it is with a communication strategy or social strategy, brand strategy is the roadmap that allows you, your employees, and your partners to build equity in the way you want it to be built. It’s an absolutely critical piece of building something meaningful and for the long haul. And that’s what everyone is going for right? Right.
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