The dictionary. To be honest I’ve never loved using one, but it does have a purpose. It helps us all stay on the same page when it comes to properly communicating ideas with one another. Marketing concepts are no different. We throw the terms below around all the time, but I thought it would be helpful to pause for a moment, and really explain how they are different, work together, etc. Yes, there will be a reading comprehension exam at a later time – so pay attention you in the back row. We’re going to focus on brand, positioning, marketing, and public relations, and how each connects with the other.
Defining the term “brand” can be tricky, so we’ll tackle it first. It’s often described as a vague feeling about what separates companies in the mind of the consumer. You could say a brand is “the thing you build for a company,” like a reputation. But that’s still pretty vague. What exactly does that mean?
A brand is the summary of all interactions between people, products, services, and the reputation of a company in the mind of a consumer. These layered elements work together to form a company’s brand.
Seth Godin’s definition is an equation: [Prediction of What to Expect] X [The Emotional Power of that Expectation] = Brand
Here, branding is a promise and delivery. Consider Coca-Cola’s emotionally charged messages around holidays and celebrations. They promise a drink that always tastes the same, delivering on the customer’s expectation. Successful branding delivers on the promised expectation and adds a powerful emotional element.
Building a strong brand is a slower and more methodical task, because you have to build up all of those different types of interactions over time. No shortcuts to get there, you can’t just buy it. To make it even harder, those interactions should have a level of consistency in message and tone.
Positioning describes a company’s orientation within their marketplace, their competition, and their customers. The first step in positioning your company is acknowledging the other companies in the market. After that, you need to create a strategy to separate yourself from them.
What are you purposefully doing to set yourself apart from your competition? Any builder serving every kind of market can find ways they differ from their competition.
What does a quality strategic positioning look like? Car rental company Avis has a famous slogan that focused directly on their placement. Their slogan was “We Try Harder,” which references their position as number two in their industry. The success they saw from this slogan wouldn’t have been possible without the concept of positioning.
Don’t get the terms confused: marketing is different than advertising. When people think of marketing, they conjure up images of Facebook ads and billboards. Though they may overlap in some sense, marketing is entirely different.
Marketing is primarily concerned with present-day results. It’s heavily focused on immediate impacts, return on investments, and the speed of results.
I’ve broken this down into five different points – the 5 P’s – to explain what is involved in bringing a product to market:
- Product: What you’re selling – the home
- Price: The cost of the product and place
- Place: The house’s physical location
- Promo/PR: The meaningful communication of the product, place, and price
- People: Salespeople, supervisors, managers, etc.
Branding and marketing often go hand-in-hand. People in marketing roles are generally responsible for defining and maintaining a company’s brand.
People have an easier time defining this term. We see ads everywhere we look: on the radio, on TV, on annoying website pop-ups. We’re pretty familiar with what they look like and what they do.
Think of advertising as when marketing touches the consumer. How do you communicate the brand, positioning, and marketing? Advertising pushes out those 5 P’s to persuade audiences to take a desired action. For us, that desired action is often to start the process of buying a home or visiting a sales person in the model home.
We want to convince our audience to choose our company over our competition. We also want them to connect with our brand and message through advertising.
PR is the practice of getting others to speak about or promote you in a desired fashion. You can’t control PR in the same way that you can run an ad, but you can control how you communicate your company to those you are hoping will pass it along. Positive PR correctly packages your brand, positioning, marketing, and advertising to match the needs of a producer, editor, or social media influencer and the goals of your company. The object is to make it easy for people to talk to others about your company. In this respect, PR is the complete intention of trying to control a message.
With these terms defined, it’s easier to see how these separate areas connect to bring awareness to a company and help it succeed. If you want to hear even more about these terms, Andrew Peek and I spent around 15 minutes breaking them down. Listen to the entire podcast episode here: Defining the Definitions.