Branding 101: Why does the difference between 'Brand' and "Branding' matter?


“Brand is the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” – David Olgilvy

As a guy who’s worked in branding and marketing for decades, I tend to get a little exercised about the misuse of particular words and “brand” is at the top of my list. All too often, people think of a brand as simply a logo, package design or other tactical expressions. Because your brand, and associated branding efforts are critical to the success of any organization, it’s important to understand each term and how they work together.     

Of course, things were a lot simpler in the past. The term “brand” was just that: a means of marking livestock to identify ownership. As the industrial age progressed, consumer products companies like Coca-Cola, General Motors, and others realized there was more to a brand than just a unique name and logo.

“Brand” is a Noun

A brand defines how your organization is recognized and remembered.  At its best, your brand is an expression of the vision and values of your organization. It is the sum of all of your communications and interactions with your audiences. It is inherently strategic. It is more than a logo,  tag line, or clever commercial.

“Branding” is a Verb

It is the array of internal and external communications that your organization creates in order to influence how your audience perceives and values you. Optimally, tactical communication are driven by strategy so that every touchpoint, word, and images are reinforcing your vision and values.

david barnum