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Brand vs. Branding – Do you know the difference?

Everyday we are bombarded with messages about our brand and our branding, two words that have become synonyms for business, used so frequently and casually that everybody is now an expert in some way, shape or form.

The fact that many graphic designers don’t know the difference between brand and branding or how to accurately describe them, makes matters worse, particularly because businesses expect us to know. Some designers use brand and branding interchangeably, reinforcing confusion instead of providing clarity.

Simply put, the difference between brand (a noun) and branding (a verb) is that one is a marketing tool and the other is an action.

Unfortunately their is a lot of self proclaimed ‘experts’ out there that don’t know the difference and use these words in confusing ways limiting everyone’s understanding and learning. So what do these terms actually mean, how do they relate to each other, your business and your audience?

Branding

Branding also called brand development is the act of creating a brand. The process involves positioning your company or product in the market, devising a brand strategy (how you will reach your goals), creating your name, designing your visual brand identity (logo, brochures etc often confused with branding but a term within it’s own right), writing brand messaging and setting brand standards (how you keep your brand consistent and strong).

It is these activities that affect your audience perceptions. In order to effectively build a positive brand perception, you must engage in both the internal and external activities outlined above which aligned deliver a consistent impression of who you are. Branding is not about stamping a trademark on everything, but guiding and managing relationships with your audience and customers with your tone of voice and your visual identity. Once the branding process is completed, the word ‘branding’ has no continuing relationship to your brand, unless that is, you work with cows…

Brand

Your brand is the result of the branding effort, a set of intangible assets of a company, service or product. It is the definition of an emotional relationship between customers and the business. Your brand describes who you are and what you do by use of visual identity, verbal dialogue and tone of voice/actions. It is utilised for virtually all of your marketing communications and is the collective ideal of Marketing, PR and Design working together to inform how people identify, know and remember you, it is NOT your logo, it is the relationship between you and your audience and what they think about you.

Strong brands don’t just happen over night. They are usually the results of a long-term strategy that guides how a company does business and its understanding of it’s customer needs. By understanding the difference between brand and branding you can create a stronger brand because you will be more personally invested the development process. Your understanding also helps your audience grasp the full significance of the business you have created, supporting your goals and initiatives.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

Now you know the difference…Branding is a process of building awareness by engaging in the process of identity creation (what we can see, what we want them to feel) and Brand is a relationship between customers and the business.

If you would like help with your branding to get your brand off the ground why not take a look at my packages and services?