branding, marketing

Are you Marketing with an Incomplete Brand? What that means and why it matters…

branding, marketingARE you marketing with an incomplete brand?

If your first answer to this question is “I don’t know,” that is completely normal. After all, what is the definition of a COMPLETE brand? And what does it have to do with marketing? People don’t talk in terms of having a complete brand or an incomplete brand, do they? Well, if they don’t, they should! Keep reading to find out why.

TRUTH: You can’t market effectively without a brand. An incomplete brand means your marketing may be missing the boat, partially, or even worse, totally landing in the water.

To help clarify matters, it’s important to understand that branding and marketing are NOT the same. Although most of us think we know this, you couldn’t tell it by our actions. We create marketing campaigns, or even worse, random acts of marketing (one-off marketing projects) with little regard for our audience, our identity, or our strategic vision. In short, we ignore our brand at times when it is most critical.

When you look at your brand from a different perspective, this makes more sense. Try this perspective on for size:

TRUTH: Your brand IS your story, and marketing is TELLING that story.

If you’re telling the wrong story, you won’t get the results you want from your marketing efforts. Most stories are bigger than mere words and bare facts. If I say “Tell me about your new boyfriend – what’s his story?” I don’t want to simply know his name, date of birth, and his address or job title. When I say what is his story, I want to know who he is, what he looks like, what he thinks, what he believes, and what about him stole your heart. Just the word STORY implies more than dry data. It suggests emotion, cause-and-effect events, meaning, and connection. A true story is larger than the sum of its parts – it takes on its own life.

Before you can tell a story, however, you have to KNOW it. You have to believe it. You have to feel it. In your business, your brand is your living, breathing story. When you tell it, you are marketing.

How do you really know your story? You build it piece by piece. Your brand is bigger than you typically imagine, and includes components you may not initially think belong in it.

TRUTH: There are five critical pieces to a complete brand. Not being aware of all of them, or skipping any of them, can cause disconnects with customers and prospects.

When you are clear and strategic about building your brand, and truly understand all the pieces, you are ready to market. Start by thinking of your brand as an overarching, fully built-out story of your business. Who are you? What do you value? Who do you serve? What is your look? What do your customers think of you? Now you’re starting to get the picture.

Stay tuned for our next post, next week- a deeper dive into the differences between branding and marketing- AND what it looks like when you do one without the other. Hint: it isn’t pretty! See you next week!


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