Ever get the terms “brand” and “branding” mixed up? Or maybe you just assume they are the same thing?
If so, you’re not alone – there’s a common misconception that a brand and branding are the same things. While the two go hand and hand with one another, they are actually completely different things.
A brand is the identity of a business that sets it apart from others. It’s the FEELING that your target audience gets when they think of your business. A brand is what creates profitable, lifelong relationships between an ideal client and a business.
Think Coke vs. Pepsi or Nike vs. Adidas. We all have very different perceptions of these brands and associate different thoughts and feelings with each. That’s why we tend to be a more loyal consumer to one brand versus its competitor. We tend to be more loyal to one brand due to the ways it makes us feel – whether that’s pleasure, nostalgia, comfort, satisfaction, etc. Brands that create strong feelings and provide the best experiences for their target market are the brands that last.
If you are the face of your business then your brand is a personal brand, meaning that YOU are literally your brand. This is most typical for service-based businesses and bloggers/influencers. When people buy from your business, they buy because they want to buy from YOU! The best way to build a strong personal brand is to be authentic, show off your personality in your marketing, and have branding visuals that represent who you are, what you do, and who your ideal client is.
Branding is the process you go through to shape a strong brand. It’s the visual brand identity, brand personality, and messaging that’s associated with a brand. It’s what outwardly differentiates one brand from another that is selling virtually the same product or service. It reinforces the emotional connection that an ideal client has with a business and makes a brand stand out in a saturated marketplace. Branding is what generates that initial interest and turns first-time customers into loyal, lifelong fans.
The visual elements that make up a brand identity include logos, color palettes, typography family, and any other visual elements that a target market associates with a given brand. When the same visual elements are used within all marketing activities, consumers will directly associate those elements with that specific brand.
While the visual brand identity is critical in the branding process, it’s also just as important to reinforce the brand’s messaging and personality through the tones used in it’s marketing, taglines, buzzwords, etc. The visual brand identity should be a direct reflection of the brand personality, and vice versa.
The key to effective branding is consistency. I see a lot of entrepreneurs constantly changing up their branding visuals, which makes their brand difficult to recognize as belonging to a particular business. Good brands are memorable, and the most memorable brands are consistent in their branding.
Having consistent branding that is created with the business AND its ideal client in mind leads to an immense increase in its perceived value. When a business is perceived as high value, the easier it is to sell its products or services.
In a nutshell: A brand is the emotion that connects a target market with a business. Branding is the representation of a brand through consistent visual imagery, messaging, and language that is directly associated with the brand.
I always suggest holding off on investing in branding until your business has been established for a while and you’ve started to scale it. The beginning stages of any business tend to be somewhat experimental, and you’ll likely make a lot of pivots and transitions until you feel fully aligned with what you are doing and who you are serving.
So if you are a beginner, get creative and create your own brand identity! I suggest choosing 4-6 core brand colors to start off, 3 fonts: a title font, subtitle font, and body font, and a mood board that represents the overall “vibe” you want your brand to exude.
Once you’ve established your business and have begun to generate a decent amount of money (let’s say, $5-$10K+ months), then I highly recommend prioritizing your brand identity and investing in up-leveling your brand.
If you’re ready to uplevel your business and invest in a rebrand, I invite you to check out and apply for my branding and web design services and we’ll give your brand – and business – a major uplevel!
Website Designed By Me, Kerry Ireland
Kerry Ireland is a Web & Brand Designer and Online Business Educator. Her mission is to help entrepreneurs across the globe exponentially expand their brand and business so they can live the ultimate freedom-based lifestyle.