I recently had the opportunity to speak at my local chapter for The Rising Tide Society on this month’s theme of “Elevating Your Brand”.
Being the owner of a brand and web design studio, I get asked all the time what’s more important- having a brand or a business. So today, I’m sitting on my porch enjoying the firs tastes of spring, writing to you about what I believe to be the primary difference between building a brand and building a business, and which is more important.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BRAND AND A BUSINESS
Let’s start by clarifying some terms here. The word “brand” gets misused a lot and everyone seems to have their own idea of what a brand actually is. Some say it’s a logo, some say it’s your personality, but after several years of studying the art of branding, my favorite definition of the word was said by Seth Godin.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
— Seth Godin
WHAT A BRAND DOES FOR A BUSINESS
You can have a business without a brand and vice versa- you can have a brand without a business. Have you ever bought something on Amazon having no idea who the seller was or anything about their company for that matter? You simply bought it because it was the best price you could find on Amazon.
I recently bought a few packs of baby hangers for the nursery and I couldn’t tell you the name of the company I bought from if my life depended on it. All I know is that a pack of 30 hangers was $9.99 with free 2-day Prime shipping. Deal.
The drop-shippers on Amazon are a prime example (see what I did there??) of a business without a brand. I have a couple of friends who own VERY successful drop-shipping businesses and make a ton of money doing it, and you know what- they spend zero time or money on branding.
But unless you’re killing in the drop-shipping business, here’s why you might want to consider building your brand.
A BRAND IS…
What causes someone to pay a premium for one product over another.
The hangers worked out great but you know what I didn’t order off of Amazon? My running stroller.
This isn’t meant to be a baby post by any means but it’s the most relevant example I can give you because for the last several months, I’ve found myself searching online for the best brands to buy for my baby.
So back to my running stroller… I ended up going with the BOB Rambler (not sponsored) because I bought into their brand. This is by no means an inexpensive stroller (shoutout to my wonderful aunts and cousins who purchased this for my baby shower).
On the flip side, it’s quite expensive and I’m sure there are hundreds of other jogging strollers on the market that would have cost much less. But I was willing to pay a premium for the BOB brand. And I know you’re doing it too.
HOW A BRAND ADDS VALUE TO A BUSINESS
Your brand is made up of several things. I put together something that I call, “The 5 ‘C’s of Branding”. In a nutshell, here they are:
- The Cure– Your brand is the cure to someone else’s pain-point or problem. Every successful brand has this at its core. They are solving a problem for their customers. (BOB is solving my problem of not wanting to hassle with a clunky stroller when I go for a jog with my baby. They sell a lightweight, safe, and beautifully designed running stroller that hit all of my checkboxes).
- The Content– In other words- your brand’s message. You should constantly be communicating your “cure” or solution when you craft the content for your branding. In the words of Donald Miller, “If you confuse, you lose”. You have to have a consistent brand message and voice that repeatedly states your cure.
- Consistency- This is one of the most critical components of branding. People don’t always recognize consistency but they ALWAYS recognize inconsistency. Your brand should have a cohesive look, feel, and message that is repeated over and over again.
- Community- Every well-crafted brand has a community of loyal fans who will choose that brand over another every single time. Are you working to create a community with your brand? Social Media has given us a golden opportunity to do this with our prospects and customers. We can now engage with them on a daily basis and add a “humanness” to our business by sharing our values and personality with others, creating a more loyal fan base who can’t help but share our product or service with others. THIS is how you scale your brand! By getting others to talk about you.
- Colors- Ironic that a brand designer would save this one for last, right? When I say colors, I’m referring to your brand’s aesthetic in its entirety. And yes, I put this last on purpose. Your brand SHOULD have a well-designed logo, a cohesive color palette, and a website to match if you want to use it to grow your business. But without the first four ‘C’s, a logo will only get you so far.
WHICH ONE COMES FIRST?
At the end of the day, there‘s a pretty significant difference between a business and a brand. I believe the most successful businesses understand the value of branding, and when done right, they reap the benefits of a loyal fan base who will pay a premium for their product over another.
If you’re just starting out, focus on building your brand by finding a problem to solve, communicating that problem clearly through your content, showing up consistently, building a community, and developing a logo, website, and color palette that compliment your new brand’s message and personality.
This will set you up for success in the long run. If you already have a business (you’re currently selling a product or service) but have never paid much attention to your branding, now’s the time to start.
Who doesn’t want to be able to charge a premium for their product or service? I know I do!
If you need help getting started with your branding, I would love to connect with you. If you’re trying to brand on a budget, check out my template shop that just launched and save 20% off with YAYBRANDWELL.
Keep branding well,
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