Branding and Marketing

Branding and Marketing: Who Leads in this Dynamic Duo?

Our last post talked about having a “complete brand,” like that is really a thing. In case you are wondering, it may be Troubadour vernacular, but a “complete brand” is ABSOLUTELY a “thing.” When you are building a brand, there are multiple (5 to be exact) components to include. Once you have a complete brand, you’re ready to market, but how do you know which one is the most important?

We already know branding and marketing are NOT the same thing: branding IS your story, and marketing is TELLING that story. Although they are different, they are both critical to your business. Here are two stories that demonstrate why it is so important to understand the roles of branding and marketing and how to use them together successfully.

A TALE OF TWO COACHES

STORY #1

Once upon a time, there was a new business owner named Mary. Mary was a life coach. Although she knew that competition was fierce in her niche, she also knew she had an approach that was unique, and a personality and background that was different than most in her field. Mary also understood it was important to define exactly who her ideal client was, as that would attract the right people to her practice and weed out the people who were not. She took the time to research her competition, dive deep into defining her ideal client, craft her message carefully, and create a look that she felt really portrayed her brand well. She loved her logo, her colors, and how they seemed to align with her business name and mission statement. Mary made sure her website developer built a website that easily showcased her brand and, most importantly, how she helped people.

Mary was excited. Mary was ready. She was gonna crush it. Big time.

In six months, Mary was frustrated. She was not attracting her ideal clients. Even worse, she was not attracting any clients at all! Her carefully crafted brand looked exactly like she wanted it to. She thought she did all the things she was “supposed to do.” She wondered if all this talk about branding was a bunch of garbage. She had invested time and money and tons of effort, and was left thinking she might have to close her doors before really even getting started. Mary lay awake at night wondering “WHAT WENT WRONG?”

LESSON: Branding without Marketing DOESN’T WORK. Mary was branding without marketing.

If you build it they will NOT come (unless you are Kevin Costner and you hear voices telling you to plow under your corn and build a baseball field). No matter how brilliant your idea is, no matter how polished your logo looks, no matter how carefully you have mapped out the perfect customer journey, your business will not succeed unless people know about you. Let me say that again: your business will not succeed unless people know about you. You have to market! Marketing is telling your story. To people. To the right people. Marketing takes your brand and launches it into the world. It makes the invisible visible. It makes the intangible tangible. It makes an idea reality.

STORY #2

Once upon a time, there was a new business owner named Debra. Debra was a life coach. Although she knew competition was fierce in her niche, she also knew she could succeed if she could just get the word out. She was excited to get going. She thought it was a bit foolish to spend a lot of time and money on a logo before she was sure this thing was going to fly. She had seen other people open businesses that went out of business before a year or two had passed, and she was NOT going to make that mistake. She knew that “if you build it, they will come” was not a real marketing strategy. Debra joined her local chamber of commerce, went to meetups, got active on social media platforms, and put herself out there. She built her marketing collateral as she went and operated with a lean, gorilla marketing mentality. Debra covered a lot of ground and jumped at every opportunity to promote her business.

Debra was excited. Debra was ready. She was gonna crush it. Big time.

In six months, Debra was frustrated. She had worked SO hard. Debra had more business cards than she could count, had gone to numerous coffee meetings, and even had a few clients. But she was confused because the clients were not the kind of people she thought she would attract. She even had to turn some away because they wanted coaching in an area that she did not specialize in. How did this happen? Debra thought she did everything right- she just didn’t sit around thinking clients would materialize out of thin air- she knew she had to market. She had to make a hard decision, and quickly, about whether or not she had the time, money, and motivation to keep going. Debra lay awake at night wondering “WHAT WENT WRONG?”

LESSON: Marketing without Branding DOESN’T WORK. Debra was marketing without branding.

Although a lot of people had met Debra and knew who she was, they had no idea who she really “was.” “Life coach” was a broad description and people were not sure if she was a fit for them, because her messaging changed as frequently as her clothes. She became frustrated when she thought she wasn’t communicating clearly, so she kept getting creative and changing her message. Her lack of branding showed in her inconsistency across marketing channels. Her posts and website and postcards and flyers all looked so different that if her name was not at the bottom you might not know they were even the same business. If you are marketing, you are telling a story, and if you are not telling the same story, EVERY SINGLE TIME, you’re going to create confusion and missed opportunities. You have to build a brand so you are clear on what your story actually IS before you market.

MORAL OF THE STOR-IES

It’s simple – you need to work on your branding AND your marketing. The two go together like peanut butter and jelly, Spock and Kirk, or Ben & Jerry. Create the story then tell the story. Over and over again. A story without a reader is just sad. A storyteller without a story is just boring.

So, now you know. Branding and Marketing get to join the dynamic duos list, alongside Sam and Frodo. And even though you aren’t trying to destroy something in the flames, you are trying to create an epic explosion. Get busy stoking the fire-create your brand and then share it with the world!

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