It's quite simple. Marketing is a push, branding is a pull.
Marketing puts new products out into the world and helps people solve new problems. It gets the word out. It tells how this product will change a user's life. Marketing is the act of putting new things out there.
Branding makes people care about what is being marketed. It is the heart and soul, the personality that makes a marketing effort more likable than the next. Branding makes things that are marketed attractive.
If you don't do a good job marketing, no one will know.
If you don't do a good job branding, no one will give a shit. You need both and they must feed off one another. They are two sides to the same coin.
Creating brand personalities is hard. In fact, I rarely create one from scratch because of it.
Why? Because it's easier and more effective to look at authentic personalities that already exist, win people over, and copy them.
You can do this by thinking of movie characters, authors, influential thinkers, musicians, etc. Point is, your brand's soul is out there, you just have to find it and steal it.
Things are going to change for this series.
For the longest time, I've been writing about branding, but it's hard to distill such a big concept into something tangible and practical. In light of this, I'm going to channel my thoughts on branding and design through a specific market: software and digital products.
Why? Because they fascinate me and there are so many amazing examples of software companies that have leveraged design with authentic precision (Dashlane, Uber, Mailchimp, Notion, etc.). It is also evident that we are entering a new era where creating software is becoming less exclusive, but good branding and design services aren't poised to service company's smaller than $1M MRR.
This is going to become a place where SaaS Founders and Digital Pioneers can come for inspiration and guidance on design. More importantly, where they can learn how to leverage it as a tool to delight their users and build a badass brand.
Here's to a fearless, focused, and forthright 2021. 🤘 😎