When it comes to startups, entrepreneurs tend to focus on developing a minimum viable product. Once early adopters' minimal needs are satisfied, the focus shifts to marketing the product in order to grow users.
But what about branding?
A common misconception is that branding is only about the logo and design. While branding does consist of what the public sees, it’s more about how they perceive. Marketing and branding are not interchangeable, and below is a closer look at what distinguishes the two from each other:
Branding is strategic; marketing is tactical. To put it plainly, branding is who you are and marketing is how you build awareness. While marketing focuses on positioning your product or service, branding is the process of building your personality, voice and message into your company’s DNA.
Marketing activates buyers; branding creates loyalists. Marketing’s focus is driving user action (e.g. clicking on a link). Branding goes beyond customer acquisition and focuses on turning customers into advocates.
You drive your marketing, but customers determine your branding. You hold the power over your tone and content; however, the customer ultimately defines your brand - and their perception of your company influences what they share with their network.
Thus, while marketing and branding go hand-in-hand, branding is what ultimately drives your marketing campaigns and shapes how you do business. Before you make the shift from product to marketing, be sure to consider how you want your company to be perceived, what your vision is and why your product or company exists.