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What comes first for manufacturers: branding or marketing?

To ensure a prosperous strategy in 2020 and beyond, there is absolutely no question about what comes first for manufacturers: branding. In fact, before manufacturers invest one more penny in marketing, it’s time to invest in the brand. Why? Because branding is at the core of everything you do. And if you have a rotten core, it negatively affects everything (and we do mean everything).

Here’s a helpful guide that explains the differences between branding and marketing, and why investing in your brand is so important.

What’s the difference between branding versus marketing (and what do hamburgers have to do with it)?

Let’s use a restaurant as an analogy to differentiate branding versus marketing activities. If you’re opening a restaurant that’s featuring hamburgers, your brand starts with the hamburger ingredients. It’s at the core of your offering and deserves thoughtful consideration. For example, if you hire a chef who carefully sources local ingredients and features regional flavors, then your brand is likely to focus on upscale farm-to-table experience. If you hire a chef who focuses on making delicious burgers from lean meats and includes whole wheat and gluten-free bun options, then your brand is likely to focus on delicious food with a healthy twist.

To stay consistent with the restaurant analogy, the restaurant name, menu design, color scheme, and décor should all stem from the brand. Look around at your local restaurants—you can tell at a glance if the brand is selling convenience and value or a higher quality experience. In short, you are buying more than just a burger. You’re buying the whole experience, which becomes part of your lifestyle and must align with your overall philosophy. And don’t make the mistake of thinking business decisions don’t need to align with your customers’ emotional philosophies. You must align with their vision for how they want to do business to create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Keep in mind, every industry is affected by trends. Like food trends, manufacturing brands are affected by their customers’ interests at the moment, and manufacturers need to evolve over time to stay relevant. Manufacturers touting their original brand identities need to update and avoid looking stale in today’s marketplace.

If that’s the brand, then what’s marketing? 

Marketing is the day-to-day operations that support the brand. Marketing operations include managing traditional advertising campaigns, social media, targeted pay-per-click campaigns, SEO, and networking to raise awareness of your brand. It’s all part of the day-to-day operations that ensure the phone keeps ringing and your customers walk in the door. But all of the marketing efforts are rooted in the brand, and none of the marketing efforts will be effective if the brand is not thoughtfully defined. A clear brand identity ensures your marketing efforts are cohesive and will consistently reinforce your key messages.

In other words, if your brand is not thoughtfully crafted, your messages are not crisp and appealing. This negatively affects sales, employee morale, and customer retention, because people tend to shy away from brands that have exceeded their “use by” date and need to be disposed of.

Do you know your special ingredients and the chefs who pull it all together? In other words, have you identified what makes you special and why you’re appealing to your customers? The branding experts at id8 are ready to reinvent your brand with a fresh new approach that your customers crave. Contact us today!