The difference between branding and your brand

Here’s a post that I originally wrote on my SEEattle blog. It’s an amplified version of a remix I did a year ago of a cool post Clementine put on her blog.

I’ve added a frame to show the difference between “branding” and your authentic brand.

Difference between marketing, advertising, PR, branding, and your brand.

Only the brand is real.

Seth Godin has been the clearest writer on this (and John Moore is a close second)

A brand is what you are… how you are perceived. It has value if you are perceived in a positive light. “Branding” is just marketing or communication efforts being performed on behalf of your reputation. … Thus branding is the design we create and the noise we make to try and get folks to identify us in the marketplace. Branding, you might say, is how we wish to appear, while the brand is how we really do appear.

In politics, for example, marketing involves research to determine what the electorate wants to hear; often, the campaign promises that emerge are crafted to respond to the research. PR is the manipulation of the news coverage to set up speaking opportunities and generate buzz; Advertising is the spots, jingles, and brochures making the case; and branding is the spin and posturing that makes a person look Presidential, appear tall, sound authoritative, seem to be a nice guy, etc.

The Brand is the only authentic item in the list. It is simply a description of how individuals have experienced the product or service. In politics, it’s the actual experience of the nation with the elected (or unelected) candidate. Though a brand is often spoken of as a promise, in reality it is the actual character or track record of the one making the promise. The brand includes both the promise and the delivery or non-delivery of that promise… the actual facts, the actual integrity, or lack thereof.

A brand is what we are; branding is the manipulation of what we seem to be.

Thanks, Clementine, for the creativity and incisiveness of your metaphor…

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