As your business grows you may decide to attract a new demographic or to encourage old customers to visit your business again. You may want to change or add to your offering with improved products or new services. You may decide to open new locations or offer temporary discounts to increase short-term sales. These business-building activities require short-term communications, and these communications should build upon and expand your brand (the overall mental image of your business). "Branding" refers to long-term activities that speak to everyone, including your employees, vendors and the media. "Marketing" activities use your brand to appeal to a particular group of people for a specific reason, usually for a predetermined length of time.
After you build your brand you will still need to maintain it, and repair it if it becomes damaged. You may decide to upgrade your website or buy a bigger sign that can be seen from the highway. You may realize that people on your staff aren’t giving customers the right information and decide to invest in training. These are branding activities, which are general in nature and appeal to everyone. But if you want your business to grow, you will need to use your brand to develop specific communications that expand your customer base — you will need to do some marketing.
“Marketing” activities are designed to accomplish a specific goal. A marketing campaign leverages an existing brand to expand the customer base, announce new locations, promote new products and service offerings, or reach new demographics. Generally, a marketing program has a specific audience and a specific goal, and will be conducted for a specific period of time. Advertising campaigns, public relations, seasonal promotions and sales events all fall under the auspices of marketing activities.
- a logo
- a website
- a permanent outdoor sign
- weekly specials that repeat all year long
- multi-year nonprofit sponsorship
- training staff how to ring up purchases
- setting up policies and procedures to be used in all daily operations
- alter the logo for a short period
- create a new page, new graphics or alter the design of a site to promote a specific offering
- an event that occurs each summer
- sponsorship of a single nonprofit event
- training staff on seasonal specials
- setting up policies and procedures to be used during a sales event