A number of people, even those who are entrepreneurs themselves, are often confused by the words “business” and “brand”. So, what really is the difference between a business and a brand? We have all heard people say “We are no more a business. We are a brand.” What they imply is, they have become an “institution”. They are not a non-entity anymore but people recognize their products and services for what they are. They no longer look up in yellow pages and arrive at the doorstep of the business.
What is a brand and what is a business?
A business that becomes a “brand” is a business that is easily recognizable and is almost the talk of the town. Yet, this is not the right definition of a brand. A brand is actually the name, term, symbol, design or just about anything that identifies a company’s products and services as distinct from those of others. A brand is then something that is offered by a business entity and is recognizable on its own and is not confused with others in the same category. While LVMH is a company, it has a number of brands.
A brand makes a company unique and recognizable
While Levi Strauss is a company, Levi’s 501s are a brand. Everyone knows what a Levi’s 501 is and how it feels to wear. Thus, it is a brand. In order to build a good brand, we first need to identify what separates a brand from a company or business. To put in short, a company or a business is a legal entity that engages in brand building, so that its products and services are recognized for their uniqueness.
Thus, brand building activity is undertaken by companies and businesses to create their own niche and to build an audience. Brand building is not about becoming known among people but is a lot more than that. It is about creating a niche and building a good rapport with the target audience. All this can only happen when products and services are top-notch and have been around for a while. No company or business can create a brand without being in business for some time.
The importance of time in brand building
Every brand has a cycle and it begins with incubation. Once it is incubated, a brand becomes known and is exposed. It becomes part of people’s conversation. Similar to a product cycle, a brand cycle starts abruptly with the launch and then plateaus, only to end. Brand cycles are, however, longer than product cycles.
A successful business will try to keep a brand in a plateau-stage by making sure that it is being rejuvenated often. Brands need to be rejuvenated and revamped in order to remain in business for a long time.
Pepsico’s Pepsi is a brand that has been around for decades. It has taken various roles and has been marketed differently each time. The ingredients and the substance of the drink haven’t changed but the branding strategy certainly has. When people became aware of extra sugar in carbonated drinks and the empty calories in them, Pepsico launched Diet Pepsi, another brand that is still in the plateau stage.
For a brand to be successful, it needs to reinvent itself according to time, space and culture. A successful company understands that its brands are its assets. A company or business needs to begin building brands, instead of just products and services. That is the only way they can remain in business for a long time.
How to start building a brand?
If you are asking yourself when you can possibly become a “brand” as the lay people say it, it could be from today. Start offering something new and unique & create a buzz around that on the social media. Brand building can only happen when people recognize you as a brand. In order to do that, you need to begin spending time on social media or invest in a good digital marketing agency that will be able to help you build a brand online. If you have any questions regarding online brand building, do not hesitate to contact one of our digital marketing professionals.