What’s the Difference Between a Brand and Branding?
By Kim Dickerson
Ghostwritten by Wendy Scheuring
Last year, we wrote a blog on branding and its importance to your business. Today’s blog offers a reboot on branding. Your logo is vital to your branding. So is your company name. So is your mission and your vision which we discussed in our latest blog.
Throughout your entire life, you have probably seen thousands of logos. Hundreds upon thousands of them. You probably also recognize the ones you prize, cherish, or even don’t like so much. You might also recognize brands from your childhood. Branding your business is not all about advertising. It’s also about creating a strong impression upon the beholder that can last a lifetime.
So, before we delve more into branding, let’s take a consumer’s point of view by defining what a brand is.
Brands are names.
When you hear the name of a popular brand, you know exactly what it is. There is absolutely no question. In fact, many of us have favorite go-to brands just because. When it comes to athletic shoes and apparel, think of Nike or Reebok; when it comes to coffee, think of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts; or when it comes to fashion think of Gloria Vanderbilt or Tommy Hilfiger. How about home décor, such as Martha Stewart?
Brands are represented by logos, too.
Did you know that the word “logos” means “word”in the Greek language? Think about that for a moment. Your logo is actually a word which represents you.Some of companies I mentioned earlier are names of the people who started them. This is rare and the result of an amazing advertising campaign carried out over a period of decades to associate the name with the brand. This can happen not only with names but also with the company logo. Eventually, the name fades away and consumers recognize the brand only through the logo. McDonalds has the yellow double arches. Nike has the black swoosh. Starbucks has the green goddess. They just changed what she looked like over the years.
Brands mean something to consumers.
You may like certain brands because they resonate with you. They stand for something. Maybe they make their goods in the good ole U.S.A. Maybe they care about the environment. Maybe they use organic materials in their products. Maybe you just like how the product looks and feels. Maybe you feel rich or luxurious wearing or using them. Certain brands appeal to certain people or certain groups of people for one reason or another.
Now, let’s talk about the word “branding.” Branding is, in effect, advertising. That’s where we come in. So, here’s our first piece of advice.
Your company name is part of your branding
First of all, you need to know that your company name is part of your branding. Some new business owners may want to name their company after themselves. After all, Martha Stewart did it. So did Tony Robbins. So did Vidal Sassoon, etc. etc. etc. Yet even today, the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, did not name his companies after himself. Think Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink, and PayPal. The names of these businesses show what the company does, with the exception of Tesla, which was so named after the famous and well-known inventor, futurist, and engineer, Nikola Tesla. Because most people are familiar with Tesla, the name says it all about the electric car brand. If they weren’t familiar with Tesla, they certainly are now. Musk brought Tesla back to life.
Now, if you have already named your business after yourself, that’s okay, too. Over time, your name may actually become synonymous with your product of service due to a great logo, vision, and mission. You can still brand around your name and we can show you how. Or, you may be thinking of rebranding. We can help with that, too. Companies rebrand all the time and for the right reasons. Maybe it is time for you to rebrand, too.