Branding, Marketing, Selling… What Is More Important?
By Brian Walsh
There is often a lot of confusion around what is really meant by Branding, Marketing & Sales, so allow me to give some much needed clarity and make some critical insights.
Branding is not a logo, name or design but rather what people associate and feel about your business. In other words, people only start paying any attention to a logo or name when they make a connection with a product or service to that logo or name. And that connection can be good or bad.
For example, if you’re think of Leemans Brothers Bank, what do you think. Its a brand right and most of you most likely did not do business with them, but you immediately think bankrupt, recession, financial doom (they where the first big bank to crash at the start of the recession. You see a brand is a feeling that people have towards your business. It takes effort to build a brand and requires effort to ensure the association with it is predominantly good.
There are 2 critical pointers here:
1. Your brand is more about the relationship people associate with your company and products that a name, logo or design. Focus on building great connections with your clients and suppliers to ensure you build a great brand.
2. Having said that, you need to have a name, logo and/or design that people can attach their experience to. Be careful they don’t attach their good experience with a product rather than your brand, because when your brand is respected you want to sell through the brand not just a particular product. Apple is one of the best known brands in the world, but for a long time they only made computers. When they launched the iPod, people bought it because of their relationship with the brand. Same with the iPhone and iPad. They could launch different products but people believed in the brand so they supported them.
Marketing vs Selling
Simply put, Marketing is what you do to attract potential clients but you almost always need to still sell to get them to actually buy. Marketing might attract attention or even people to you and your business, but selling is the personal one-on-one relationship or interaction that often dictates whether a sale is made or not.
Many people focus on marketing and not selling, but in truth they are both critical. One could even argue that selling is more important because unless you are selling a product through a third party store or outlet, you still have to manage the connection with the buyer at a personal level. Anything that involves human to human communication is selling.
There are 2 critical pointers here too:
1. Marketing is often a challenge because you have to compete with huge brands and the current statistics show that the average consumer needs to hear about your product 13 times before starting to pay attention. So be very strategic with your marketing and live by the golden rule of ‘repetition’. Get the same message to the same people as many times as possible but with different mediums.
2. Selling is an essential skill and you should want to sell if you believe in what you offer. But please realize, the selling process affects your brand – because remember a brand is how people feel and experience your business and that is often dictated by the human interaction they have in the process of buying. Everyone sells because everyone comes in contact with other people at some stage. Don’t ignore this and don’t ignore the relevance to all your staff.
I hope this sheds some light on the often misunderstood relations between your brand, marketing and selling. They are all important and you should not ignore any one of them.
Please leave comments and ask questions and I will get some of the experts to answer as well.