So where do Brand, Marketing and Advertising sit in relationship to one another? You get a sense from talking to people that there is confusion about what each is and where they sit relative to one another. This is not helped by the fact that some articles online reflect similar confusion.
Everything should start with the brand, or more accurately, the owners “vision for the brand”. I say vision for the brand because if you read my article about what a brand is, you will see a brand does not happen overnight, but rather develops over time and is subject to change. A brand, however, is how the outside world perceives your business.
So, what is marketing and what is its relationship with the brand? The role of marketing is to help in the first instance crystalize the “vision for the brand” publicly and subsequently maintain and help evolve the public view of the brand as required. Marketing is not the sole basis by which the brand is built/maintained and evolved, but nonetheless it plays an important role. Marketing can include anything from email communication, organising public events, public communication to advertising. Some marketing is obvious whereas other times it is less overt!
Your marketing plan is about understanding the “vision for the brand” and developing a strategy to use marketing initiatives to help facilitate that vision being created in the public domain (bring the brand to life).
What is advertising? Advertising is a subset of marketing. It is direct communication in the public used predominantly for the purposes of gaining sales for businesses. Advertising is also one of the tools used by marketing which helps influence the creation and evolution of a brand. The nature, tone, look and feel of advertising can all influence the public’s perception of a brand.
Having said all of this, more often than not, small businesses do not follow the above sequence. Often advertising is confused as being the same as marketing and a brand is just a logo that you get done at some point when you think about it. Many small businesses will argue that they have done just fine that way and see no issue, which is probably true.
To create something special, you should most probably not follow in the footsteps of the majority, but rather step out in your own direction. If you want to step out in your own direction, then starting out with a vision for the brand and understanding its relationship with marketing and advertising can only help!