How is branding different from advertising?

THIS IS PART OF OUR BRANDING 101 SERIES WHERE WE TAKE A MOMENT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WORLD OF BRANDING. ALL IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE IT SIMPLER TO UNDERSTAND NO MATTER YOUR BACKGROUND.

If you haven’t spent the last ten years working in the creative industries it makes sense that you might only have a vague understanding of the differences between all the things that the creative industry does. In this post I’m going to talk about the differences between branding and advertising, as I have worked in both, and while they do cross over a lot, their purposes are very different. 

Let’s think about what each one is individually:

Branding is the process of turning your business, organisation or project into a recognisable entity. Like if your business were a person. Creating a brand is really about crafting how you want to come across, so people experience you the way you hope they will. This threads into everything you do. It’s your history and heritage. It’s the seed that helps to sew every aspect of your business together, from something as simple as your logo to the values your company makes decisions by. 

Advertising on the other hand is comparable to that person trying to promote the things they had accomplished or made, trying to get a job, or trying to make friends. It is self-promotion in order to achieve an outcome, for example making people aware of you, selling something, encouraging engagement in a cause or rallying for support. It can be done in a number of ways and should really be there to create those visceral connections between a company and the audience through acts that make them memorable.

 

 

branding your business online

importance of branding your business

At its simplest – Branding your business will define you as an entity. Advertising will promote you.

Both are informed by strategy, and serve an individual purpose. They are also worked on independently. Businesses don’t rebrand very often and the value is built over time, advertising works as shorter pieces of work, put out consistently in order to keep a business present in peoples minds. 

Branding will typically inform the advertising process while allowing for creative flexibility – an ad will need to look recognisable to ensure it links back to the brand it’s trying to advertise. 

But there is no reason advertising can’t shape and help create a brand either. 

Think of the John Lewis Christmas ads here in the UK, those ads are very much a part of the brand now. Same for Marks & Spencer, ‘this is not just salmon, this is M&S salmon’ along with Albatross by Fleetwood Mac playing in the background, has become a HUGE part of their brand.

When the brand and advertising work in tandem, that’s when you start to get something really impactful.

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