Why marketing is not brand
In a word, yes. There is certainly a relationship but it is seen the wrong way around. Marketing is a subset of brand.
And for the record, so is HR, finance, technology, operations – pretty much everything you do in your organisation contributes to the promises you keep and to the resulting brand you have. Like strategy, brand sits horizontally across the business not vertically within it.
It is true to say that the relationship between brand and marketing is complex. It is also misunderstood on several levels.
The first misunderstanding is that brand is just about the customer and so must be part of marketing. Thankfully that one has been on the wane for awhile now and most organisations see that at a minimum, without people inside "living" the brand there is little chance customers will get behind it.
The second misunderstanding is that brand is only about image. I've talked about brand markers before, but there is a huge industry out there committed to protecting that particular status quo, so that one is proving much harder to shift.
The third misunderstanding is where I see the greatest damage being wrought – that by changing the image you change the brand. This is most often referred to as "rebranding" and my personal opinion is that the term is amongst the most dangerous and costly in business today (and if any agency suggests you need to do this run for the nearest exit).
You can't change a brand by changing the image, you can only change the image. If the actions, decisions and promises kept stay the same, then the brand hasn't changed.
Marketing and all the supporting functions have a hugely important role to play for a business. Part of the role is to help to build the brand via awareness and delivery to customers. But marketing is not, should not and cannot be the sole arbiter of the brand.
To truly unlock the value of brand it should be thought of as something that informs every aspect of the business. Brand is not a subset, so don't let anyone try to tell you it is and don't treat it like one.
See you next week.
Michel Hogan is an independent Brand adviser and advocate. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia and in the United States, she helps organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make, with a strong sustainable brand as the result. She also publishes the Brand thought leadership blog – Brand Alignment. You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan