Branding or Marketing: Which Comes First?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? We’ve debated this question for generations, have we not? Thankfully, when it comes to branding vs. marketing, the answer is much less scrambled (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Regardless of size or industry, successful businesses practice both branding and marketing. But it’s the order in which they approach them that really matters.

Branding first. Marketing second.

Branding and marketing are often interchanged but in truth they’re completely separate entities. Branding is determining who you are. Marketing is telling who you are. You must know who you are first, then you can tell who you are.

But what is a brand?

Your brand is not your product. It’s not even your name or logo specifically (although those develop through branding). Your brand is the whole of who you are, what makes your business (product or service) what it is. It’s the image of your business in the eyes of your customer.

In the third (episode 61) of our In Her Boots podcast series, Lisa Kivirist and I discuss the elements of branding, namely the Five W’s and an H—who, what, when, where, why and how. What is your business? Who is your target market? How do you want to be perceived? Answering these questions and more lays the foundation for your brand. They convey who you are.

Once you’ve examined yourself and determined your brand, you can then go forth and visually present your business. You can create your logo. Hang your sign. Begin your marketing!

Those Five Ws and an H

In the corporate world, much time and expense is used for brand strategizing. Small businesses commonly don’t have that luxury, but we can build a brand nonetheless. I’ve come up with a fun questionnaire to get you started. These are the same Five W’s and an H questions I ask new clients in our initial interview.

Once you complete the front side, flip the sheet over and continue asking and answering your own questions. Your goal should be 50 questions minimum! The more you brainstorm, the more questions come to mind, and the clearer you see your business!

Check out my questionnaire. It’s Free!

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