media update’s Taylor Goodman explores the difference between brand and branding, and the role these concepts have to play in your corporate image and growing your business.

As public perception plays a key role in the success of your brand, branding is critical. Not only does it influence how consumers see your brand but it can also help to expand your consumer base and increase brand awareness, goals every business wants to achieve. 

Now without further ado, let's get into the difference between brand and branding:

What is a brand?

Think of your favorite brands: Apple, Coca-Cola or McDonald’s, for example. When these corporations come to mind, you likely associate it with certain products or services based on experiences you’ve had with them. 

You may think the company determines the brand, but this is largely in the consumer’s hands.

This is because a brand is based on what your customers think about your business, based on their interactions with it. This perception is subjective and emotive, meaning that opinions can fluctuate. 

Consumers also influence brands because they can either build or break your brand based on personal experiences, making it essential that you create a positive and consistent customer experience. 

What is branding?

You may think ‘How different could branding really be from the term brand?’ Well, it is not only an entirely different concept, but it does have its own way of affecting business. Additionally, it is reported that 77% of marketers say that branding is essential to future growth.

Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution, defines the concept as: “Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company.”

In essence, branding is defining who your business is, what your brand’s story is and how you can tell that story in a way that resonates with your audience.

In a more literal sense, the function of branding is to:

  • position your company or product in the marketplace
  • devising a brand strategy
  • creating a verbal, corporate and product identity
  • streamlining brand messaging, and
  • setting brand standards
Being conscious of and consistent with your branding helps to ensure that your brand’s story aligns with consumer perceptions. 

Once branding is solidified, businesses do not often rebrand; but, when they do, it’s a big deal. It is likely that in a business’s life-span of 50 years, it is likely to rebrand 2 or 3 times. This process occurs when a brand becomes outdated

However, if your business is regularly releasing new products or branching out into new ventures, it is likely to work with branding on a more regular basis. 

In the South African context, one of the most noticeable rebrands has to be from Pick n Pay. The supermarket chain conducted a major brand overhaul in 2009:

Not only did it completely update its aesthetics, but it also had a shift in its vision to be ‘more conscious of the consumer’. The brand did this by putting a greater focus on improving its shopping experience and introducing its customer magazine, Fresh Living

Pick n Pay revamping its branding refreshed its overall brand image, thereby prolonging its relevance and allowing it to remain competitive in the industry. 

The importance of branding 

Branding is an important marketing tool because it helps to define your brand and it influences consumer perception. The way your business conducts branding directly correlates with how consumers connect and interact with it. 

If you want to ensure positive customer experience and cultivate a loyal consumer base, it is essential to actively work on your branding in order to stand out from competitors

What is your favorite brand? Why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Strong employer branding is a key attribute of a successful brand, but it’s often neglected in favour of consumer-facing branding. Read The importance of employer branding to learn more.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy