Lots of people think “branding” and “marketing” are interchangeable. But they’re not. Marketing refers to individual promotional efforts like advertising, passing out business cards, sponsoring events, running sales or coupons, and all sorts of other stuff focused narrowly on increasing sales of products or services and boosting name recognition.
Branding is bigger, and marketing is just one part of it. Branding is anything that affects how the public perceives your business or organization (or even you, if you are your brand, as with many freelancers, authors, speakers, consultants, coaches, etc.). Branding is more broadly about making people think of certain qualities and feel certain emotions when they encounter a brand, whether its name or logo, one of its products, its storefront or website, or anything else associated with it.
When you accomplish this, your brand becomes easier to market and grow, thanks to a number of benefits of branding; here are four big ones:
People Trust Brands
This is the ultimate benefit of branding and the foundation for all its other benefits. Every consumer wants products, services, and guidance from brands they trust to provide value. Value simply means getting something they need or want safely, consistently, and at a reasonable price (which isn’t necessarily cheap—it’s any price people think is worth paying for what they get).
Branding focuses on getting your target market to associate your brand with a particular value. With that comes a built-in reassurance that your brand conducts business honestly and dedicates itself to the best possible customer experiences. And branding builds familiarity. All of this amounts to trust. There’s no limit to what a trusted brand can accomplish.
People Are Loyal to Brands
Of all your competition, you’re probably not the cheapest option. Even if you are, you probably aren’t also the fastest. But even if you are, there are subjective considerations like whether you’re also the prettiest and the most luxurious and the best-smelling. And even if you somehow are all these things, you can’t possibly be the closest to everyone and have the most convenient hours for everyone’s schedule.
People can always find logical reasons to use someone else. Loyalty trumps logic, though. While people value certain qualities in products and services, they develop loyalty to brands. They are loyal to something they trust and that makes them feel something they want to feel.
People Pay More for Brands
If you’ve ever looked at the cost of brand-name and equivalent generic medicines next to each other on the drug store shelf, you know how true this is. They’re exactly the same—same quantity of the same active ingredient and exactly as safe and effective—but people pay 35, 50, even 75 percent more for the brand-name package.
Successful branding instills trust and convinces people that, for one reason or another, you are the single best choice amidst all the options available to them. Getting the best from a trustworthy supplier is something consumers willingly shell out extra for.
People Affiliate Themselves with Brands
When people value the way a brand makes them feel and develop loyalty to it, they also develop pride. They’re proud to be smart enough to use the best brand. They’re proud to be able to afford it if it’s a luxury. They’re proud to be part of positive change if a brand is associated with a cause they support. They’re proud to make healthy choices for their family. They’re proud to be an early adopter of the newest technology. They’re proud to be in the know about something…
There are plenty of reasons, but invariably, people are proud of the brands they’re loyal to. That means they gladly display a logo on their clothing or a bumper sticker or the bag they carry around. They enthusiastically tell their friends and family about the brand. They follow the brand on social media and share its posts. They market the brand.