Business or Brand: Which one do you want to be?
Updated: Aug 7
I get this question a lot. What's the difference between a business and a brand, and how do I become one?
Lucky for you, I absolutely love talking about this.
The boring way of differentiating the two is by definition. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a business is "usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood: trade, line" while a brand is "a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted."
Read past the definitions and what you'll find is this: When you transform your business into a brand you've effectively made your mark on the consumer landscape leading to more customers or clients, more revenue and more recurring business. The end result is the most important part anyway, right?
I define a brand as a combination of three things:
1. Your Reputation - Essentially, your brand is what people think of when they say or see your business' name or likeness (logo, signage, etc.).
2. Your Differentiating Factors - There are several coffee shops in existence, but there's only one Starbucks. People used to make fun of Starbucks' Tall, Grande and Venti size system, because it was so different than what we were used to, bit this one element, among other things, helped Starbucks stand out, generated buzz and caused people to give it a try leading to loyalists who would never show up to work without a Starbucks in their hands.
3. Your Ideals - This is otherwise known as the things you stand for. There are several businesses that sell computers, but there's only one Apple Store. There are several cell phones in the market, but there's only one iPhone. Apple is a brand because it stands for something more than just computers and phones. The store and the products themselves exhibit core qualities, values, and ideals that the brand architects at Apple successfully infused into every commercial, every ad, every store, and every package. Apple stands for more than just the actual products it sells. It extends past the actual products to mean innovation, a lifestyle, a "cool factor" that has created a population of loyal consumers who wouldn't think of buying anything without that cute little apple symbol.
Becoming a brand gives your business its legs to expand and extend offerings, product lines, and services. You not only have a great reputation and are different from the other business in town, but your core persona and brand presence are things people can relate to and gravitate towards. You will create recurring and loyal clientele who come to you because you stand for something they believe in.