Branding vs. marketing strategy to grow your business
In today's episode, I'm going to be diving into the difference between branding and marketing, two terms that are often used interchangeably and misunderstood. Plus I discuss how I use Human Design and Gene Keys with each of them. So let's dive in.
Today I want to clear the air on something that is very commonly misunderstood by online entrepreneurs or aspiring online entrepreneurs, and that is the difference between branding and marketing when it comes to your business.
Even as someone who has 15 years of experience in this exact area, I’ve noticed that these terms aren’t used correctly, or they are used interchangeably.
And if I'm being honest, there are times that I'm even guilty of this, even though I know the difference and I should use the terms correctly, because the truth is that there's a little bit of murky water between these two terms. There is a little bit of overlap, and that's what I'm going to explain today.
While I certainly do not fault anyone for not knowing this or not understanding this or not knowing the difference or using the terms incorrectly, that's why I have so much empathy for online entrepreneurs who are trying to figure these things out all by themselves as they're building their business.
So if you're one of these people, it's very hard to understand the difference, especially when there are people, like me, who might be using it incorrectly even though I am an “expert” in marketing.
When it comes to online businesses, if I had to narrow it down to the biggest mistake when it comes to utilizing branding and marketing in your business, I'm just going to say that I think that most entrepreneurs, most business owners, think way too small in how they define branding and how they define marketing… and how you can use them effectively in your business.
So most people I talk to tend to think of brand strategy as the visual part of your business—your logo, your fonts, your colors, and your vibes. It's the visual part of your business and your marketing.
Similarly, entrepreneurs think that a marketing strategy is just the channels that you are posting content to and the tactics that you are using in terms of reaching new people. And the truth is this: the mistake is that branding strategy and marketing strategy are so much more than that.
My intention today is to increase your awareness of both of these terms and how you can use them in your business. So let’s start:
Branding & Brand Strategy represents what you want your customers & potential customers to experience through your business
Your brand strategy is how the universe of clients and potential clients experiences you and your business on every level and across all your senses.
The visual aspects of your brand or your business—the logos, the fonts, and the images that you use—are definitely important as they are part of a great brand strategy.
When it comes to a brand strategy, experience is key because when you experience something, you experience it through those five senses.
So if you're only taking into account the visual aspect of your brand, you're missing four other senses and how people can experience you according to those four other senses, i.e., how does your audience hear you? How do they perceive you? Does your taste resonate with theirs?
Those are the types of questions that a great brand strategy can help you answer. So think of this: your potential client's experience of you is not just the time when you're trying to sell them something.
Your brand is a critical piece of the puzzle at each stage of your customer's journey with you, from when they meet you, to when you're actually selling to them, and especially so when they are your paid customers.
When they've already invested in you at each stage of that journey that they take with you, your brand strategy is critical at each of those stages. It's not just when you're trying to get them into one of your programs.
When you think of your brand, think about how you want this universe of people to be at all different places in terms of their relationship with you and how you want them to experience you at each of these places. What do you want someone’s first impression of you and your business to be? What do you want your customers to know and expect from you as they work with you? What do you want them to know, understand, and believe about you and your business through their interactions with you? What do you want your past clients to say about you?
So yes, a pretty logo and colors are definitely part of that. I'm not dismissing that. But an impactful brand strategy also includes your mission and vision, your core values, your methodology for your practice, who you want to serve, and how you help them. It's your message, and it's the personality of your business. In many ways, your brand strategy is truly the strategic foundation of your entire higher business from start to finish.
Many people may see your brand strategy as just your marketing, and, truly, your brand strategy infiltrates every single experience of every single person that crosses your path, whether they are a potential customer, an existing customer, or a past customer. This speaks to your long-term relationship with your soul mate clients.
It is a deep connection with them. It's a resonance that is brand strategy. It's about building trust and loyalty over time when your potential clients' interactions with your business are consistent and in alignment. With what your clients believe to be true about you.
So it's what they experience and it's creating a consistent experience with them that is the experience that you want them to have, so there's alignment between what they're experiencing and how you want them to experience it and being consistent with that experience.
In many ways, your brand strategy is the strategic foundation of your entire business.
-Your brand strategy speaks to your long-term relationship with your soul-mate clients. It is a deep connection and resonance.
-It is about building trust and loyalty over time when your potential client’s interactions with your business are consistent and in alignment with what they believe to be true about you.
-Whether you are signing a new client or processing a refund, the way you make your client feel after the experience is the same.
-When you think of branding and brand strategy, think of the experience and the feelings that are evoked, and think of the 5 senses in terms of your brand strategy.
The experience you create for your clients and potential clients is similar to having them experience your genius, tapping into or connecting to your genius, and then building that resonance with them by opening your heart and connecting heart to heart with those potential clients.
So a lot of that is through the Gene Keys. I do sprinkle in some human design tidbits here and there in that context. That's how I work when it comes to creating an energetic brand strategy.
Marketing Strategy is how you tactically execute your brand strategy
So, now let's talk about marketing and marketing strategy. Marketing strategy is a small piece or sub-section of your brand strategy.
As a result, most people who are just learning about business and marketing at least initially, think that it’s the other way around and that your brand is part of your marketing strategy, But it's not your marketing strategy. It's actually part of your brand strategy. I know it's kind of mind-blowing, right?
Because I think it's kind of counterintuitive in a way, but it's the truth. Your marketing is a subsection of your overall business strategy, just like your marketing strategy is a subsection of your brand strategy.
So, first and foremost, you can, of course, market to clients and potential clients at every single stage of that customer journey, from those that are just beginning to know, like, and trust you, can also market to existing clients and customers. In fact, there's a whole type of marketing strategy called "retention marketing.”
Retention marketing is a whole facet or a side of marketing that is, of course, important, but you don't really want to focus on it. That's one piece where you're talking about existing clients or past clients.
A lot of people, when they think of marketing strategy, are thinking more of people who aren't quite clients yet, who they want to turn into clients.
So that's the context of most of what I've talked about so far on the podcast and how I work with people in my program, which is kind of the main part of it Because a business isn't a business unless it has clients and customers.
So that's kind of the most important thing to focus on initially, at least, and, of course, just make sales and revenue. A lot of people have goals related to sales and revenue, and working with new clients. So all of these things are relevant, right now?
But for the most part, generally speaking, marketing tends to focus on that first part of the customer journey-building that know, like, and trust factor & potential soulmate clients. But whereas branding is all about experience and the feelings you provoke in those your business comes into contact with, marketing is all about how you logistically create those experiences.
Your marketing strategy comes down to not just the tactics, but how you apply those tactics in a strategic way. And because marketing strategy is more tactical and logistical, there are usually very specific goals and outcomes for your marketing.
Goals like awareness, engagement, action-taking, hand-raising, and selecting the communication channels that will help you achieve those goals.
A good marketing strategy is about interactions and touchpoints and how you can make the most out of each interaction you have with your audience in terms of accomplishing your goals.
While marketing may seem transactional, there is an artistry to it as well, because, in order to achieve a specific outcome, you must engage someone, and in order to engage someone, you must grab their attention and have something compelling or resonant to say to them.
It’s not just the channels or platforms you use, but the way you use them and how they work together to achieve that specific outcome.
When it comes to marketing strategy, while genes keys can be helpful, I actually lean a bit more into the human design to craft a marketing strategy that is not only effective but also aligned with your unique energetic blueprint so you can experience less force, less frustration, and less burnout over time.
So the brand strategy is a feeling and marketing strategy is the action behind delivering that feeling, so I'm going to put this in a different sort of analogy that might help if you're still feeling a little confused.
So, imagine you just got a reservation at a new, cool Michelin-starred restaurant, and you just happened to get a reservation for it. It's hard to get reservations but you're super excited and since it is well, Michelin- Starred.
When the day comes for your reservation, when you get to the restaurant, you decide you're going to do their tasting menu where you get an appetizer and you get the main course.
Maybe you order a drink with it and you get a dessert and maybe some other things that come with the tasting menu, and it's when it comes when you get there, like everything about that reservation and that meal was the best that you've ever had.
It's not just that the food tasted really great, but it's like every little detail of that experience for that reservation, from the service staff to the music to the ambiance to the way the food is plated. Everything was just fine picture perfect. It was just amazing. The experience was off the charts, just like nothing you've ever experienced before.
You are going to have an experience. You're not just going for the food alone if you're going to something that's as nice as a Michelin-starred restaurant. You're going for the experience as a whole. But since it's a restaurant, of course, you're going there to have a meal.
The desired outcome is to leave feeling full or satiated, but you're going to this Michelin-starred restaurant, and the reason that you pay money to go there is probably you know, it's a little bit pricier than your typical night out at a restaurant because you're going for the experience as a whole.
From ordering to receiving the courses and eating the food (all the tactical logistics of going to a restaurant) all contributes to the outcome of eating a meal - that is the marketing strategy. But everything else - the staff, the ambiance, how the food is presented, all of that is just as important to the food itself when it comes to the experience - that is the brand strategy.
A great brand strategy with a very poorly executed marketing strategy looks like: if you're going to a restaurant where the ambiance and the experience are amazing but the food itself is bad or unremarkable. That's a great brand strategy with a very poorly executed marketing strategy.
A good marketing strategy without a compelling brand strategy looks like: Or, on the flip side, imagine if the restaurant had food that tasted great and you left full but the wait staff was rude and it looked like someone threw a bunch of stuff on a plate haphazardly like it was just really unappetizing to look at before you ate it.
And when either the brand or the marketing fails, without a doubt it will negatively impact your relationship with your customers in some way, so you need both because you don't want to have a great experience with bad food and you don't want to have bad service. It'll leave an interesting aftertaste (excuse the pun) in your customers' mouths.
So if you're listening to this and you know you need help with either brand strategy or marketing strategy or both, I recommend you focus on your brand strategy first and then use that brand strategy to build out your marketing strategy.
The tactics and the actions that generate the outcomes that you desire for your audience are the best marketing strategies because the best marketing strategies come when you understand the experience that you want your potential clients and your existing clients to have so if you're looking for help in crafting your brand strategy, in my program Radiant On Purpose, where we use your gene keys and your human design to build or rebuild your brand strategy so that it is uniquely authentic and radiantly you on every single level.
Excavating a brand strategy that helps you stand out in a sea of sameness online is a journey of self-discovery, and if you look, that's more of a, you know, there's definitely mentorship with it.
However, it is a much deeper place where you must excavate on your own. Chart. It's kind of a little bit more of a self-led journey where I am there in support of you.
If you’re looking for more support or a more intensive format to build or rebuild either your brand or marketing strategy using your human design & gene keys, I have a new offer for you that I talk about in-depth in last week’s BTS episode it’s the first track or pillar of the Marketing Magic Intensive - Energetic Brand & Strategy track where I help you do a lot more of the heavy lifting on a shorter timeline so you can hit the ground running quickly
If you feel good about your brand & marketing strategy but need more help with planning & executing it in alignment with your human design, there’s the second track or pillar of the Marketing Magic Intensive - Aligned Planning & Execution.
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