Branding is Strategic
Branding should both precede and underlie any marketing effort. Branding is not a push, but a pull. The brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room. Itâ€™s what you associate with a product, service, or organisationâ€”whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.
Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organisation, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what a particular brand is and is not.
A brand does not explicitly say â€śbuy me." Instead, it says â€śThis is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.â€ť
Every thought, every action, every policy, every ad, every marketing promotion has the effect of either inspiring or deterring brand loyalty in whomever is exposed to it. All of this effects sales. Branding is as vital to the success of a business or non-profit as having financial coherence, having a vision for the future or having quality employees.
It is the essential foundation for a successful operation. So yes, itâ€™s a cost centre, like good employees, financial experts or organisational innovators are. They are cost centres, but what is REALLY costly is not to have them.
Marketing is Tactical
Marketing unearths and activates buyers. It is actively promoting a product or service. Itâ€™s a push tactic. Itâ€™s pushing out a message to get sales results. Marketing may contribute to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any particular marketing effort. Financially speaking, is marketing a cost centre? Poorly researched and executed marketing activities can certainly be a cost centre, but well researched and well executed marketing is an investment that pays for itself in sales and brand reinforcement.