Marketing, advertising, and branding are easily confused among almost everyone. This blog is here to clean up that confusion and share insight (along with dessert tips) into how these three can be applied to the strategies of your business when it comes to promoting your products or services. It can be easier to understand a concept when applying it to something personally relatable. So, we did just that. Read on to explore the delicious differences between the three and how they can be applied today to be successful in 2020.
Let’s talk about ice cream, specifically ice cream sundaes. Everyone loves ice cream sundaes! Those of you who don’t, I am sorry to hear that. For those that do, imagine you are craving something sweet and need to be satisfied. When creating the perfect sundae, you carefully select your favorite flavor, or two, or three of ice cream. Depending on the wonderful taste you want to delight your tongue with, you choose your toppings all while thinking about who you are going to show off your delicious creation to or perhaps even share with. Maybe it needs some nuts to give it that surprise crunch in every bite, or some hot fudge to compliment the creaminess of the ice cream itself. How about some berries and sprinkles as finishing touches? Every thought that went into producing this masterpiece of a sundae can be compared to that of marketing. Starting with the selection of ice cream flavors, toppings, why you chose them, who you want to see them and finishing with the final touches for some pizzazz and visual elegance. Mix it all together and you’ve got a big bowl of delicious marketing all combined to create your final product. Now that you have created this masterpiece, of course you want to show it off to the world before devouring it. You take pictures of it, send them to your friends and family, and post it on social media with the caption, “Almost looks too good to eat! I highly recommend!” Whether it’s promoting your creation by showing it off to people on social media or physically taking the sundae to them and taunting them to try it, that is advertising. You show the sundae to your friends, family, lovers of ice cream and as soon as they see the bright colors and warm drizzled fudge they get filled with fuzzy feelings and sense of excitement. Or maybe their mouths start watering. Now any time they look at you they think of the mouthwatering, colorful, delicious ice cream, and how generous it was of you to let them try some and share your wonderful creation. Their perceptions of you as the creator and the sundae itself are what you now represent. The reason why you created this stunning dessert, the look of it, and the feelings you aim to create in your consumers is branding.
The seemingly all-inclusive topic of marketing, with a little bit less ice cream. Marketing is doing research to define your target market (why you selected those particular flavors of ice cream), it’s creating strategies and making decisions to grow your product or service to its fullest potential (choosing the toppings to better your sundae), it’s the overall way you want to approach communicating with your audience to develop and promote a product or service that meets their needs (deciding you want to show off the sundae on social media to friends, family, ice cream lovers). Marketing is how you are going to persuade consumers to buy your products. What research have you done to back up why you are targeting these specific consumers? Speaking of research, research is essential to marketing strategies for any company no matter the industry. Identifying your target market and how to appeal to them can be made easier by doing research on their needs, their interests, and how your product or service can help them in any way (a little more extensive process than choosing ice cream flavors). Without knowing your audience, you will not be able to effectively advertise to them.
The concept of marketing is not going to change but how it’s applied and the strategies to do so will. It’s 2020 and trends are constantly changing. It can be hard to keep up with the fast paced, technology filled world now more than ever. Doing informational research often, can help you stay on top of popular trends appropriate to your industry. It will also keep you aware of controversial topics to stay clear of as to not implicate your company with negative publicity. A new phenomenon can become extremely popular overnight and you might realize it’s something you can relate to and use in your marketing strategy. We have the resources today, with just a tap of our finger, to receive trending results within seconds. This can help in staying ahead of the game in your marketing tactics. Knowing how to appeal to your consumers is key. Today’s technology creates more digital opportunity in the realm of marketing.
You have done research, created strategies, defined your target market and now want to bring in more sales and clients by promoting your company. Welcome to the wonderful world of advertising. Advertising is the act of promoting your product or service to a large audience using different methods and platforms at a price (sharing a picture of your sundae on social media or bringing it to friends, family, and lovers of ice cream to see and potentially try). Advertising is essentially just a fancy word for begging people to buy your product or service. Alright, begging is a strong word. You are persuading your audience to check out your product or service and make a purchase. Today’s forms of advertisement are much different than those thirty, or even five years ago. There are multiple ways to advertise. Social media, print ads, tv commercials, radio ads, and billboards are some examples. However, just because one form of advertisement works for one company does not mean it will work for yours. Every target market is unique which means each method of advertisement needs to be tailored to your company with a specific audience in mind. In order to advertise effectively, a marketing strategy promoting to a specific group is crucial. It won’t do any good to advertise without a goal and a plan. You won’t know where you’re headed or if you are meeting your goals.
Today, we live in a digital age, but advertising is the same concept it was thirty years ago as I described above. However, how it is carried out and popular methods for it are ever changing. 2020 is full of smart devices even more than last year or the year before that, if that’s even possible. Promoting products and services on social media is becoming increasingly more popular. Facebook and Instagram are getting more users each year and YouTube has become a go to platform for entertainment and information. I’m not saying print ads or billboards are useless because that is not true. If your target market is early risers who prefer to read the paper with their morning coffee, then by all means submit that print ad! There is no rule saying you can’t advertise on multiple platforms, so whichever methods you choose, just be sure that it caters to your target audience.
The B word we have been avoiding… yes, I’m talking about branding. You have read about marketing and advertising, how on earth does branding fit into all of this. Branding is the result of the perceptions your consumers have of your company based on your values, what you have to offer, and the experience they share with you anytime or anywhere they encounter your company. This experience you provide influences what they think of you (the fuzzy feelings, excitement, and hunger your friends get from looking at and experiencing your ice cream sundae). It’s the first thought that pops into their head when they see your logo or hear your company name. As Jeff Bezos puts it, “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” It’s the opinions people have about your company, the way you interact with customers, and the reason behind why you do what you do (you made a sundae because you were craving something sweet, odds are other people were too). The logo and colors (berries and sprinkles on top for pizzazz and visual elegance) are elements of your brand that make you identifiable to consumers and represent the company they are putting their trust in. Your logo itself is not the brand, rather a component to visually identify your brand.
I know what you’re thinking, how can this be different in 2020? Isn’t a brand stuck the way it is and that’s it? As a business, you have the power to determine what you want your brand to represent. If you realize it’s not where you want it to be or not appealing to your target audience, consider rebranding (don’t worry, we have a blog for that too). Focusing on 2020, we are naturally more conscious about ourselves. How can it benefit ME, what’s in it for ME? Build relationships between your brand and the consumer to create trust and positive experiences. With a focus on the consumer and what the business can do for them, you’ll have them hooked from the start. You can also take advantage of the social media opportunities and increase your digital branding. Liking posts your company is tagged in and interacting with customers through comments are great ways to create a positive brand image and positive experience for them to associate with your business.
Enjoy Your Sundae
Marketing, advertising, and branding are related in one way or another, but instead of being triplets they’re more like cousins. In summary, marketing lays the foundation with research, development, and messaging to reach consumers in a variety of ways (creating your sundae with flavors, toppings, and deciding who you want to share it with). Advertising promotes that message using numerous channels to persuade consumers (posting a picture and caption of your sundae on Instagram and bringing it to lovers of ice cream to entice), and branding is what values you hold and how consumers perceive your company because of them (you believe in deliciousness and solving the problem of craving something sweet). There is a lot of potential between marketing, advertising, and branding your business. If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t be. We have you covered! THIEL has been wanting to satisfy our sweet tooth and help you with your marketing needs. We’ll scoop out every inch of strategy and creativity from the bucket to make sure your ice cream is the very best! Check out THIEL to see the toppings we can provide for your sundae.