Brand is who you are. Marketing is how you tell people about it.
This sounds lovely, doesn’t it? It’s a statement that is so clear, so obvious. Like the clouds have parted and angels began to sing.
But something happens in the real world that makes this statement much harder to execute against. When you ask most people to give you an example of a great brand, they usually will tell you about a great ad they saw last night. They are describing the exterior, not the interior. It’s like saying “I have brown hair and blue eyes,” when what matters most is what you think, how you act, and the way you carry yourself in the world.
At this point, marketers everywhere are starting to get bored. This isn’t new. What’s interesting to me isn’t the fact that this happens, but WHY it happens? Here is my working theory:
Seriously, human beings get in the way every time. I love humans. I am one. I know a lot of them, and would go so far as to say I even like many of them. But human beings want things that they can touch, feel, and see.
That’s why people confuse marketing and branding. Marketing is the tangible stuff, like the logo, color, and slogan. Brand is the stuff of faith. Brand is infused in the fiber.
I don’t mean to imply that brand can’t be measured, managed, or analyzed. You can influence a brand to create a deeper resonance with aforementioned humans. You can create order from perceived chaos. In fact, if any marketer out there wants to execute a brand strategy, you will likely have to rely on these in order to get people on board.
But if you lead with the easy things—like logos and slogans—you’ll only get so far. Think of this as a call to action—to dig deep into the soul of your brand, and let it lead the way.