branding is like apple messaging is like oranges

That’s Not Branding – A Costly Confusion

In Branding Evaluation by Distility2070 Comments

Brands and businesses suffer when decision-makers don’t see the difference between defining a brand and other kinds of “messaging” or marketing projects.

A serious branding effort is built on the ultimate, distilled, enduring ideas that have the very best chance of sticking in the customer’s mind. By contrast, the typical “messaging” or “value proposition” or “competitive positioning statements” project never reaches the altitude and distilled strength to grow a brand that really grows awareness and closes sales.

If It Isn’t Enduring, It Isn’t Branding

“Value propositions”, “messaging”, “competitive positioning statements” will change depending on who is being addressed. They will change as the offer matures. They will change with the competitive environment. But “brand” specifically brand promise, brand personality and (with some exceptions) brand category positioning, should change every few years at the most, and must be seen by all as being rock-solid consistent and enduring. These elements — promise, personality, position — are the embodiments of what Distility calls “Brand Strategy.”

Distilling a magnetic brand strategy gives your team the conviction and direction to make the right choices – day in and out – to successfully build an enduring reputation. “Messaging”, “value propositions” and the like do not achieve this effect.

What happens when you power your brand marketing with mere “messaging” projects instead of a high power, distilled, super-sticky brand strategy?

1. You lose control of your reputation.

In the absence of an articulated brand strategy, an unconscious brand strategy will emerge which will be dictated by your disparate marketing, sales, and HR messages and campaigns. These disparate messages never roll-up into an ultimate, distilled, brand strategy. Instead, the audience is underwhelmed and left to themselves to intuit — often incorrectly — the repute of your brand, and what they think about it. Your brand is fragmented, and your reputation weak. Others — including competitors — are defining you, instead of you leading the way.

2. You waste money
With no clear brand strategy, your marketing lacks power. You waste money in disseminating messages and campaigns which are not in line with the brand you would ideally be building.  You squander your marketing spend by not placing your brand in a consistent position and category in your customer’s mind.

3. You waste time and team spirit
The development of marketing, sales and HR campaigns will be slower and more frustrating. Marketers, writers, designers, coders, sales managers, sales people, HR, will all be subconsciously trying to ladder the messages provided into something bigger and “brandier”. Without the direction of a winning brand strategy, chances are high they will be trapped in long iterative communication and design cycles. Time and team spirit wasted.

Team frustrated. Time wasted. Money wasted. Opportunities lost.
Unfortunately for most brands, the lack of a distilled, sticky, ultra-powerful brand promise, position and personality is the norm. But it doesn’t have to be this way for your team and your organization.

Make branding better.
You can make a difference. Share this post to your teammates so they too can understand the difference between messaging and branding. Together, we will make branding better.