Brand vs Branding – What’s the difference?

‘Brand’ and ‘Branding’ are big words. They are often referred to as one in the same thing but actually have quite a different meaning. One is an emotion or set of emotions, and the other is a business tool, but is it really as simple as this? Here’s my take on it.

What is a ‘Brand’?

Your brand is not owned by you, it is owned by your customers. This is because your brand is a set of ideas, associations and feelings in your customers’ minds. Your brand is the perception of a crowd, shaped by your company’s actions, culture, and visual style.

As brand strategist Marty Neumeier defines it, “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company. […] When enough individuals arrive at the same gut feeling, a company can be said to have a brand. A brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.

A brand’s goal is to get more people to buy more products, for more money, for longer. Brands achieve this by making people trust in a product or service by purposefully positioning it.

Brands are of social and commercial importance and create value for the consumer and positive brand equity for the business. In fact, on average, a third of all corporate value in the world comes from brands.

What is ‘Branding’?

Branding affects every single department within your organisation. It is based on a focused brand strategy, that guides the process of consistently implementing and managing an organisation’s values, actions, visual and verbal style to influence how people think and feel about you.

It is the attempt to close the gap between how you are being perceived and how you want to be perceived by your customers. The smaller the gap, the more relevant, authentic and differentiated your brand is being seen by your audience.

A key part of your branding is the style of your brand – your brand identity. Our visual and verbal identity consists of a suite ob rand assets, such as your logo, colours, typography, imagery and tone of voice. These elemenst make your brand more tangible, so that it can be felt through all the senses and be recognised through a consistent distinctive style.

It all starts with brand strategy

But to steer your brand to where you want it to be, your branding efforts need to be based on a focused plan of action – your brand strategy. This long-term plan helps you to clearly position and differentiate your business to reach the right type of customer.

A focused brand strategy framework also provides you and your creative partner with a clear creative brief for your brand design. Our article 5 reasons why strategy is key to building a successful brand explores this in more depth.

To sum up

So, to sum up: ‘Branding’ is the combination of your brand strategy and its consistent implementation. Your ‘brand’ is the effect of these efforts, felt by your audience.

We’re rather passionate about brands and brand building. If you’re looking to refresh your brand or would like to learn more about how a brand builds trust and credibility, get in touch.

About Franzi Scheithauer

Franzi is Creative Director at Studio Brand Up and specialises in brand strategy and identity design.