I must start by stating that we are not a marketing agency, and that we do not offer marketing strategy as a service. We are a design agency, but have learnt over the years that strategy is a very big part of what we do. Our passion is to shape brands for organisations that make a difference, and as an agency our focus is the execution of a brand across design-focused channels.
Understanding what branding is though is important to grasping how necessary it truly is.
Let’s start with what it’s not.
Branding does not actively promote (or push) a product or service. It doesn’t scream “Buy me now!”, but rather “This is who (or what) I am. This is what I stand for and why I exist. If you like me you can not only buy me but also tell your friends and family about me.”
Your brand is a promise your customers believe in and it is the presentation of that promise. It’s a guarantee of who you are, what you stand for and what benefits you deliver, and it is reinforced every single time people come in contact with any part of your organisation. It is the expression of the values of an organisation, product, or service and the communication of characteristics, attributes and the personality that clarify what the brand is (and is not).
An organisation’s brand is what will ultimately determine if a potential consumer becomes a loyal customer or not. The marketing may convince the person to buy their first product or service, but it is the brand that will determine if they will buy it for the rest of their life.
In a nutshell, branding is who you are and what you believe in, marketing is how you sell your product or service. With this in mind, branding should precede and set the foundation for marketing.
Marketing wins the day. Branding wins the lifetime.