[Note: Branding consultant Ed Burgard asked me to repost this comment to a thread on his website, <http://strengtheningbrandamerica.com/blog/2011/08/branding-versus-marketing>, after reading it on a LinkedIn group’s page.]
Brands must fit each company’s size and established image–or lack of one. A large and already popular company’s brand serves to support marketing campaigns in a general way, cementing existing relationships with its many customers and prospects. The logo of a sports team, for example, keeps fans committed by making them feel included as members of an extensive but cohesive crowd.
The evolving brands of most medium sized companies should increase the company’s new credibility, and its position as a future industry leader.
Startups, sole proprietors and some medium-sized companies should reinvent the traditional brand to reflect social and business changes. It should have the kind of edge that attracts prospects who don’t yet realize they need the company’s product(s) or services(s).
The saturating effect of corporate branding described in the book No Logo, and the fact that consumers are increasingly seeking business collaborations that are voluntary, temporary and tactical, means a small business owner or entrepreneur must get creative and think outside the box in order to gain traction in the marketplace.
Their brand should be based on their nuclear core personal message or “Why” (see Simon Sinek’s excellent Ted.com video). It must make each prospect or customer feel the business owner has started a personal and important conversation. For these companies, copying a large corporation’s brand strategy in a misguided attempt to attract a mass audience is worse than having no strategy at all.