Branding is Marketing

A few years ago we wrote the book GUIDE TO BRANDING IN THE PUBLIC AND NOT-FOR-PROFIT SECTORS. We decided not to charge for the book as we believed that everyone in the sectors we serve at the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing should have access to the book and it is still free.

Why did we write the book?

We felt that as markets become more competitive, and clients become more demanding, public sector and non-profit organizations must work harder to secure their fundamental relationships. Building distinctive relationships with their clients and stakeholders is what branding is about, whatever the market, whoever the client. The brand is the marketer’s most advanced emotional tool. It combines and reinforces the functional and emotional benefits of the offering, adding value, encouraging consumption and loyalty. A good brand facilitates recognition, makes a promise, and, provided the full marketing back-up is in place, delivers satisfaction. Over time, brands become a fast, powerful way of confirming the synergy between marketer and client.

Branding in the commercial sector is pervasive and fairly easy to understand and recognize.  However, branding in public and non-profit sectors is not as common but is becoming more popular because of its ability to create visibility effectively and ensure memorability. Many members of the public and non-profit sectors are hesitant to recognize that they face stiff competition and they fail to see the need to put an emphasis on branding and positioning. However, this view is slowly changing as more leaders in these sectors are recognizing that they are in a competitive market with limited funding. This realization highlights the fact that strategic identity and branding can significantly help organizations achieve increased program awareness, utilization and satisfaction.

Branding facilitates consensus building within your organization. Focusing on “them, not us” will lead to great collaboration among organization members. Communication silos are often a challenge that members of organizations face; branding will help break down the silos.

By engaging all members of your organization there will be an increased level of involvement and buy-in to the entire branding process which ultimately leads to the increased ability of your organization to deliver your brand promise.

As shown in the figure above, brand can be central to your organization’s strategic planning. A brand creates internal benefits in various areas which are ultimately reflected in the delivery of your brand promise.

Not only is branding a great strategic investment for your organization, it also provides greater leverage of marketing resources. Since branding strategies are not restricted to advertising or promotion, a strong brand can ultimately help you spend less on marketing efforts and make budgets go further.

In a recent article Marketing article  marketing guru Al Ries states that We have entered a golden era of marketing, but it might not be the golden age of marketing people. “Today’s marketing shops want to be known as brand consultancies or idea companies.”

Why is that? Because “marketing” is too broad a concept for a service business. Marketing is the essence of what a company is all about, the essence of what a company is trying to do. Over the past few decades, it’s become apparent that there’s a better word to describe what today is called the “marketing” function — “branding.” In future Reis believes a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) will become a CBO, (Chief Branding Officer).

Branding has become a marketers’ most important role.  Reis feels it is time for the powers-that-be in the marketing community to shift gears and focus on the essence of what the current marketing function is all about. Not just an abstract name for a wide range of activities involving consumers in some fashion, but a simple, single concept that top management can instantly understand. A simple, single concept that is certain to get more important as the years roll by. BRANDING.


While we are on the topic of branding check out  this piece on Tim Hortons decision to sell upscale brews




2 Replies to “Branding is Marketing”

  1. Thanks for making the ebook available, and I’ll be sure to take a good look at it. I’m not, however, convinced that it serves taxpayers to “brand” in government. It think that while it makes sense in some settings, for example, to create brands for national parks, local attractions, and even brand locales to attract economic development, the VAST majority of government functions do not require branding, or marketing, per se. More to the point, we can’t afford those costs.
    I’d be interested to hear your views.

    1. In my view if you are working in the public sector and responsible for communications and don’t have a strong branding and positioning strategy for your organization you are wasting your communication dollars . Branding actually saves you money in the long term.

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