This sounds like an obvious question, right? People seem to know the general gist of the term, but terminology can get a little lost along the way. The definition of branding is commonly used incorrectly, especially when it’s used next to words like “advertising” and “marketing.”

Branding is an essential aspect of any business, and in order to get it right you should know the important details and definitions.

Well, What is Branding After All?

When most people hear the word “brand” they tend to think of a company’s name. Think back to cattle ranchers back in the day who branded their cattle so they knew which cattle were theirs.

However over time, branding shifted to a bigger and broader idea. There is a big difference between a company’s brand name and a company’s overall branding. These two ideas are commonly used interchangeably and incorrectly.

The brand name is objective and simply states the name of the company or product. However the branding as a whole is the bigger picture.

Today, branding refers to everything that your customers, clients, potential clients, etc. think about when they see or hear of your company. This means that your branding can have different emotional connections with different people because, to an extent, your branding exists in people’s minds. Branding includes all of the connotations that come along with your company.

Marketing vs. Branding

Since branding should be at the core of your marketing strategy it needs to be established before marketing tactics are put into place. Use your branding as a part of your marketing strategy, but don’t confuse the two.

How your customers feel about your brand is the crucial question. This is where branding differs from marketing and advertising. Branding includes details such as how easy it is to do business with your company. If they feel like they can trust your brand, you’re doing something right. Marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

What does branding mean to you?

The personal connections, your company has with its clients is more important than ever. However you should still think back to the original idea behind branding: marking the cattle. 

Branding allows your company to place its own unique mark on the world. No matter what industry you’re in, you have the chance to make an impact on people and make them remember your company.

Some of the greatest branding “wins” are by companies such as Kleenex or Xerox. These companies have replaced the “real” word with the name of their own products without most people even realizing it.