One of the most repeated mistakes in business and marketing is using the words brand and branding as if they are two of the same. I can understand why people get it wrong, mainly with the inflation of "branding" companies that are just graphic design companies using a trendy, "sexier" term. It is very important to understand the difference between the two. Both terms - branding and brand are fundamentally important in marketing and in business success, that's why it is crucial business people will comprehend that branding is not a brand. Branding is a verb. It is an action, a marketing activity. Branding is a process. Brand, on the other hand, is a noun, it is a concept, a thing. A brand is a personality - a collection of attributes, traits and values that evoke certain feelings. A brand is intangible, and branding is the tangible manifestation of it. Branding is the act of building a brand. If a brand is a personality, branding tells the customers about this personality by using colors, tone and voice. Branding is about positioning the brand in the customers mind.
Some business owners and managers put the cart before the horses and get a logo before they build the brand because they think having a cool or beautiful logo that they like is building a brand. This can not be further from the truth. A brand is not about the logo (mainly these days, but this is a whole different topic). Designing the brand's logo or identity system must be the stage after you define the brand and the brand's strategy. Building the brand's personality, define the benefits, customers, values and the right strategy is more "branding" than designing the brand's logo. Good branding is more about marketing and business knowledge than design capabilities. That's why you see so many companies spend money on a logo or a new identity system, new website design and so on, but their bottom line stays the same, their brand awareness is not growing...
Branding is like building a house - you can't design the interior before you have the building's plan.
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