Last updated: 4 June 2024

What is the difference between brand and branding?

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Branding is a process that when done well will ensure you stand out from the crowd and pull in your dream audience.

You might think your branding is done and dusted because you’ve got a logo and a set of brand colours (which I’m not knocking by the way!). But that’s a very small element of a much bigger picture that many organisations are often missing out on. This is actually good news for you because it means you have an opportunity to stand out!

“Branding is the process of giving a meaning to specific organization, company, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in consumers’ minds.”

We love this definition of branding from The Branding Journal.

Giving meaning to your brand and shaping it in the minds of the customer. It sounds very simple doesn’t it? But there is so much more to it. And when your branding is on point, it will break through the marketplace and grab your ideal customer’s attention. You will become memorable for the right reasons. 

It’s generally agreed that on social media our attention span is at around the 8 second mark – shocking! So, the importance of having a memorable brand that connects and stops your ideal customer in their tracks is pretty critical and might be the reason why you’re not seeing as much traction as you should right now.

What is the difference between brand and branding?

Branding’ and ‘brand’ are two very similar words, but with two very different meanings. 

Branding is the process we go through to build the outward-facing identity of your business to shape perception. 

But your brand isn’t actually decided by you – it’s decided by the customer. They get to decide how they perceive you. 

When done well, branding will ensure you stand out from the crowd and pull in your dream audience.

Branding is more than just a logo

Branding is a process that we take our clients through. We very often have to get rid of this common misconception right away and tell them –  branding is more than a logo! During the branding process, we look at the overall experience for your customer. It’s a feeling – your entire philosophy, values and culture. Getting your branding right is important, so your customers can experience, feel and understand what you want to portray. 

You could do your branding yourself. But just like your favourite meal you get at your favourite restaurant – when you cook it at home it’s just not the same. It doesn’t have the same ingredients because you’re not entirely sure what they all are. And no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t even look the same. Why? Because you’re not an expert. The Chef however is. The Chef has worked in Michelin Star kitchens around the world. Not quite the same as cooking in your (very lovely) kitchen.

Your branding foundations (or branding pillars)

or as I like to call them, the 6 Steps to Branding Success.

  1. Brand Purpose

This is the core messaging of your brand. What is your purpose? It’s quite a big question! So take your time on it. You can use your mission statement as a guide (or we can help you to create one). Many brands have a story of why and how the business or organisation came about. Very often the founder will have experienced a problem and created a unique solution. Whether that’s a product, service, or charity that’s meeting a need. From this mission your values are formed. When you convey your purpose and your story, you connect with your audience on a much deeper level. They become more invested in you emotionally (which we know from research is more effective) and they start to see the ‘human’ side of your business. You’re no longer just a logo in a sea of logos. You’ve started to create a feeling around your brand.

  1. Brand Positioning

This is a marketing term that you’ve probably heard of which basically means ‘how are you positioning your brand within your market sector?’. You might be able to communicate how you stand out from your competition, or what your niche is. You might already know who your ideal customer is and how they differentiate from the rest of your sector’s audience. But do THEY know that? Are you positioning yourself as their ‘go to’. Are you sharing stories and content that clearly identify you. It’s a gap we see a lot. Positioning your brand is a valuable tool and one that can make a big shift in your customer journey. Expect more of the right customers when you start actively positioning your brand!

  1. Visual identity and brand personality

This is the part of branding that most people are familiar with. Your logo, colour palettes, imagery and typography. Did you know that a simple colour change can make your audience feel a completely different emotion? Brands also need a voice. One that connects and resonates with your ideal customer. Your tone of voice will set out how you sound and how you behave. Do you use humour or are you quite serious? Does this meet the expectations of your customers? Once you’ve decided on these, they will become elements that everyone in your organisation will need to be aware of to create consistency around your identity. 

  1. Brand perception

We touched on this earlier. Perception is the brand pillar that needs to be under constant review. How do your customers perceive you? This is important because it’s like the measurement stick as to whether your branding is achieving its goals. When there is a mismatch then you know you need to work on the foundational pillars of your branding to find out where the problem is and start to re-shape that perception. Authenticity is key here. For example, if you say you’re inclusive, but you don’t actively show it, people will notice. There are lots of ways to explore your audience’s perception of you and we can help you with this.

  1. Promotion

Another term that crosses over with marketing products but in branding this is centered around how you promote your brand. You’ve put all of these lovely brand pillars into place, now you need to make sure that’s consistently working across all of your channels. From social media to your website. Are your customer’s touchpoints giving off your brand values and that perception we talked about? Or are they showing something else?

  1. Investment

Branding is an investment. Often an ongoing one. If you are a charity or organisation that is impactful, or purpose-led, it’s even more crucial. Why? Because your values are so intrinsically linked to your branding. You are led by your values, and they are the exact things that your customer connects with. Maybe even more so than your products or services. 

Your branding is probably the most important part of your marketing strategy and it’s one we’ve seen our clients get great results from. Your marketing should work hard for you and branding is one area that does just that.

The benefits of branding for a business

Branding build brand recognition

Impactful branding (across your logo, website, and other brand assets) presents a distinct style and will get you recognised in a crowded market. We all know and recognise some of the biggest brands without even seeing their name. Apple has a simple apple logo. But that logo represents so much! Quality, customer care, high tech, innovative. Even the packaging oozes quality.

Branding help you stand out from your competition

Your branding should highlight how you’re different, unique, and why your customers should work with you. If you’re a charity for example, your branding should leave no doubt in your audience’s minds as to why you do what you do, and how you do it differently. This will be the reason they choose you over another charity. Your branding will do the explaining without you having to spend hours trying to persuade them – after which time they’ve switched off and walked away. 

Branding will generate new customers

When branding is effective it delivers a positive impression of your organisation. That creates dependability which in turn creates trust. These are all words that we want associated with our business, right?! This is the power of branding. It will bring in new customers who weren’t entirely sure what it was you provided. It’s not uncommon after a branding process for people in your audience to say ‘Oh I didn’t realise you did that!’ This just means you got clear on your brand and so did they. 

Branding will create a consistent brand experience

We may have overused the word consistency when it comes to branding in this article BUT we make no apologies! It’s vital to present your brand consistently across all touchpoints. Nothing portrays a professional image better than high-quality design delivered consistently. It enables you to control how people perceive and experience your brand. 

Remember the difference in words that we talked about? ‘Brand’ is how people perceive you. You have no control over that other than by ‘shaping’ the brand through branding. When you create consistent branding, you CAN shape how people feel. If you only work on one touchpoint (for example your logo) but nothing else changes. Then nothing changes.

Branding will create a loyal audience and advocates

There is something quite special about the process of moving a customer into a loyal brand follower. One that becomes an advocate for your brand and does the selling for you. This is the place that all brands strive for. And this can all be done through branding. 

Branding is an asset for your business or organisation

“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business”

Steve Forbes: Editor-in Chief, Forbes Magazine

Branding is an investment. Often an ongoing one. If you are a charity or organisation that is impactful, or purpose-led, it’s even more crucial. Why? Because your values are so intrinsically linked to your branding. You are led by your values, and they are the exact things that your customer connects with. Maybe even more so than your products or services. 

Your branding is probably the most important part of your marketing strategy and it’s one we’ve seen our clients get great results from. Your marketing should work hard for you and branding is one area that does just that.

Brand Marketing is exactly what Two Shoes Creative can deliver for you: marketing to bring your customers to you, and branding to help you retain them.

We’d love to have a call to discuss your branding needs – just click here to arrange a call with our branding specialist and founder Emily.

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Emily Jones

Founder and Creative Lead at Two Shoes Creative

The creative agency for nice people doing nice things

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