Growing a business and growing a brand often go hand in hand – but there are a few key differences. If you Google the phrase “the difference between a brand and a business,” you’ll come up with an infinite number of search results consisting of explanations aplenty describing what a brand actually is. The two work in conjunction, naturally, but growing each is a rather different endeavor.
A brand can generally exist autonomously of the businesses that operate under its umbrella. You can have numerous businesses or companies under one brand – Procter & Gamble or The Coca-Cola Company, for example – but the majority of the time, you won’t have multiple enterprises under one business. A brand is a broader representation of your business – it’s the image or identity behind your business, your ventures, and your community.
In this article, we’ll explore the major differences between growing a brand and growing a business and reveal how you can successfully do both.
Businesses Are Centered On Sales, Whereas Brands Are Community-Focused
Presumably, the aim of any business is to generate income. But the broader goal of building a brand ought to be to establish a community. Having a dedicated community can certainly lead to sales – that’s how business and brand go hand in glove, and why both are so crucial to your success.
That said, in order to grow a brand, you’re not going to be concentrating on the number of products you sell or the number of leads you generate – you’ll be much more concerned with engagement, reach, and recognition. Whereas building a business entails expanding products or offerings, developing a brand often means zeroing in on a singular concept or focus that you want your brand to encapsulate.
Your brand forges a reputation for you and any businesses that operate under that brand. Simply put, your brand is what helps people recognize and relate to your business.
Your Brand Is Bigger Than Your Product
Since building a brand transcends generating income or marketing new products, it concentrates more on public perception and sentiment. Establishing a brand isn’t about what you sell, it’s about how you make people feel.
For example, let’s take another look at Coca-Cola: this sweet, carbonated soda brings to mind unanticipated moments of happiness – not necessarily as a result of the product itself, but due to the branding around the product.
Lots of us have probably seen the Coca-Cola commercials depicting cheery people sharing a cola as part of the brand’s “Share A Coke” campaign. In this manner, Coke becomes more than simply a beverage; rather, it serves as a community for people who favor the brand and its products.
This is a clear-cut example of how product, business, and brand come together to construct a community and stimulate sales. These are the types of campaigns and connections that loom large in people’s minds and invoke an indelible impression of your brand and how your company functions within that brand. By linking your products and offerings together, you create the connections you need to have with your customers so as to maintain their interest in those products and offerings.
Your Brand Can’t Be Stripped Away from You
Your business might possibly fail, but a brand doesn’t work like that. A brand only fails if you neglect to find the right community and keep growing it. If it’s not working, you can attempt to alter the direction of your brand or change its focus. Your brand can’t ever be dispossessed of you, nor can it be appropriated outright. Your brand is an embodiment of your values, views, and goals rather than a physical offering of services or products.
For one reason or another, your business may ultimately cease operations – but your brand can unquestionably endure beyond that. A brand is the image and voice of the companies which it comprises. In a sense, a brand is more of an idea than an actual entity – and no one can take an idea away from you! Thus, growing a brand becomes just as critical in any business undertaking as growing the company or business itself.
Growing a Business and Brand Are Different, Yet Equally Essential
As an entrepreneur or an established business owner, it’s just as important to grow your brand as it is to grow your business. Your business permits you to meet the needs within the community that your brand creates. Your brand affords you the opportunity to reach more people whose needs your business can help to resolve. Growing both of them concurrently helps you achieve your business goals more effectively. Certainly, these concepts can function independently, but the most successful businesses have devoted communities and a high degree of recognition around their brand. Therefore, it’s crucial that you make the effort to establish and build up your brand in addition to your business.
If you find yourself in need of a brand refresh, if you aim to increase brand awareness, or if you need some help establishing an air of authority around your brand, HighClick Media can help! Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website to see how we can help you #elevateyourbrand!
NOTE: An earlier version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.