By Ed Zitron
You’d be surprised at the amount of companies out there who don’t understand branding and marketing for their business. Social media is too busy and doesn’t provide value. We’ve never spent more than X amount on advertising. Videos won’t work for us. And so on. It’s truly shocking. How the hell do these companies keep their doors open and how they hell have they stayed in business for this long?
The term branding doesn’t work the same on a ranch as it does in the business world. Too many owners, it seems, miss this distinction. Let’s create a video and throw our logo on the end reel and call it good, right? That’s branding. Except there’s a small problem, it’s not. Yeah, okay, so adding a logo to something is, in a sense, branding but it’s so much more than that as well. If you read the words “just do it” on a blank billboard you probably could guess that it’s an ad for Nike, right? Right. That’s the point here.
Logos don’t constitute branding. Branding covers messaging and positioning as well. It’s about the overall service that is provided when dealing with a company, it’s about providing value. Marketing, more or less, deals with gaining more attention, market-share or awareness. It’s about selling more product, scheduling more services, or attracting more foot traffic and I know it’s a little chicken or egg but the differences are important.
It’s easy to be confused at this point. If a company is marketing their products, isn’t that branding? In short, yes, it can be. But what about once the box is shipped? Does it just come in a blank box? What if the contents were wrong or broken? What if I need to register the product in case support is needed? You don’t often see ads for this stuff do you? Marketing doesn’t usually cover the fine print of these services or situations and the service provided here can be the determining factor between a life-long loyal customer or a one-time purchaser. So, if you want loyal customers, the kind that stay around, it’s best to think about the process from the beginning to absolute end. Do the marketing materials being used to attract new customers match the same messaging and fulfillment the support team uses? Does the support team care as much about solving issues as the same team who are attempting to sell your products or services? Why or why not? These are some simple areas that can often be overlooked, so pay close attention to every little detail that has to happen in order to cover all your bases and ensure that the branding is working with your marketing.
If you’re still reading along and this hasn’t been made clear, I’ve probably done a shit job of explaining. So, in a short answer, YES there are different strategies for your branding and your marketing efforts. Again, we need to use marketing to attract new customers and branding to stay on message and expectations. One strategy will look into the most effective ways to attract new clients. Is it Social Media, is it TV ads, radio spots, or Google Ads? The other will look at each piece of marketing used within each of these channels and determine if the messaging and follow through is on-brand. Are they saying the same things that people are expecting? Mixed messages, no matter where they happen, can cost time and money and ultimately lots of customers. Can you imagine how fast Amazon customers would delete the app if all of a sudden free shipping wasn’t an option? These messages and options have to be made crystal clear and you should NEVER go off message without letting them know, it’s just a bad experience all the way around and you may even cause extra strain on your employees. That’s how important these little differences can be too. It may start with a simple logo, a message to customers, but if it gets overlooked, customers won’t be happy, employees will be strained and your company name and image may suffer, maybe even catastrophically. Take these notes seriously, do your part and understand exactly how your brand is being used within your marketing efforts, not the other way around.