Brand or marketing – what do you need?

The terms brand and marketing are so confusing. They are like BFF’s working together. So as a small business owner, which do you need?

In my experience, most small business owners don’t realise they need a brand strategy. They just want marketing to create results but without getting their brand right first, their marketing efforts will be wasted.  They’ll start with ‘I need a website’ or ‘I need more marketing so I can get more customers’. Actually, what they need is brand and marketing. But the brand has to come first. The two go hand-in-hand to get the best results.

So what is your brand?

Your brand is the foundation of your business or product.  It is the perception you want to create in the minds of your ideal customers. It often encompasses your values, purpose, personality and the reasons why your customer will choose you (your differentiation).

Branding is the visual and written identity that help your ideal customers understand your brand.

This is the mistake many people make. They work on their logo (their visual identity, the branding) without really understanding their brand, the perceptions they want to create so that their ideal customers will buy.

Many small business owners bypass their brand strategy and go straight to a design-led marketing agency. They invest in some ‘marketing’  – a logo, a website, some business cards and wait for the sales to roll in. Some get lucky. Others hear crickets and have wasted a lot of money.

True marketing involves understanding your market and your position in it. It should encompass your brand and the marketing activities that will take your brand out into the world so that your ideal customers can understand what makes you different and why they should choose you.

Yes, you absolutely need to understand your brand strategy, the perceptions you want to create.

You also need a marketing strategy. Spend some time on these two things before you create your visual identity and you will reap the rewards.

So remember, brand and marketing go together like peaches and cream, peas and carrots, chips and gravy!