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What's the Difference Between a Brand and Branding?

The terms brand and branding can be confusing. Is it A business? A product? A logo? Although all of these may contribute to it, a brand is much more than this.

According to Marty Neumeier, widely regarded as the father of branding, a brand is “a person’s gut feeling on a product, service or organization.” A brand is not what you're saying, but what they are saying about you. No wonder businesses spend millions of dollars monitoring their brand’s perception.

Although a company’s brand is determined by the consumer, businesses can help influence the consumer by the process of branding. Branding is the act of shaping opinions of one’s brand.

Everything a company does can be considered branding; from advertisements to charitable donations to a video they share on Instagram. Let’s look at an example of how a company crafts their consumers’ feelings with branding.

Patagonia sells outdoor clothing and sports gear and has been in business since 1973. However, they aired their first commercial in 2017, and it wasn’t about a new jacket or their latest vest design. The commercial aimed to explain the importance of protection for the United States public land.

Patagonia is very intentional in trying to convey their message of protection for the environment. Their website is full of different environmental causes they support in each state and they even have a new podcast about the relationship between humans and nature. To take it one step further, in 2022, Patagonia committed one-hundred percent of profits to saving the environment.

To the public, Patagonia is a company that cares deeply for the environment and wants to bridge the connection between people and nature. Their actions (or branding) help form this perception of the company and reinforces their brand in the minds’ of consumers. In other words, their brand and branding is aligned.

How do your consumers perceive your brand? Does your branding help with that perception?


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