Four reasons why entrepreneurs should focus on growing their brand as much as they focus on growing their business.
Growing a brand and growing a business often go hand in hand – but there are some differences. If you Google “the difference between brand and business,” you’ll find tons of results with a myriad of explanations of what actually is brand. They of course work together, but growing each is a slightly different experience.
A brand can typically exist independently of the businesses that operate under its umbrella. You can have multiple businesses or companies under one brand (look at Procter & Gamble or The Coca-Cola Company). But most of the time, you’re not going to have multiple ventures under one business. A brand is a broader expression of your business, it’s the image or identity behind your business, your ventures, your community. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between growing a brand and growing a business.
Business is sales-focused, brand is community-focused
The goal of your business is likely to generate income, while the broader goal of building a brand should be to grow a community. That community can of course lend to sales – that’s how brand and business go hand-in-hand, and why both are so important. However, to grow a brand, you’re not focused on the number of products you sell or the number of leads you generate – you’re more focused on engagement, reach, and recognition.
While building a business involves expanding products or offerings, building a brand typically means focusing on a single idea or focus that you want your brand to embody. Your brand creates a reputation for you and any businesses that operate under that brand. It’s what helps people identify and relate to your business.
Brand is larger than product
Because building a brand goes beyond generating income or offering new products, it focuses more on public perception and sentiment. It’s not about what you sell, it’s about how you make your people feel. For example, bringing in Coca-Cola again, the sugary, carbonated beverage brings thoughts of unexpected moments of happiness, not because of the product itself, necessarily, but because of the branding around the product.
Many of us have likely seen the Coca-Cola commercials showing joyful people sharing a cola, promoting the “share a Coke” campaign. It becomes more than a beverage this way, instead, it’s a community for those who love the brand and its products. This is a clear example of how product, business, and brand, work together to create community and sales. It’s these kinds of campaigns and connections that stand out in people’s minds and create a memorable view of your brand and how your company functions within that brand. It brings your products and offerings together with the connection you need to have with your customers in order to keep them interested in those products and offerings.
Brand can’t be taken away from you
Your business might fail, but a brand doesn’t work that way. A brand only fails if you fail to find the right community and continue growing it. If it doesn’t work, you can likely just try shifting the direction of your brand or changing the focus. It can’t ever be taken away from you or stolen, because it’s an expression of your values, views, and goals rather than a physical offering of services or products.
Your business may end for one reason or another, but your brand can easily live beyond that. Brand is the face and voice of any companies that exist as part of it. So in that sense, a brand is more of an idea than a tangible item or entity, and no one can take an idea from you! And in that way, growing a brand becomes just as important in any business venture as gowing the company or business itself.
Different, but equally important
As an entrepreneur, it’s equally important to grow brand and business. Your business allows you to solve the needs within the community your brand creates, and your brand allows you to reach more people whose needs your business can help to solve. Growing both of them simultaneously helps you to reach your business goals. Sure, these concepts can operate independently, but the most successful companies have dedicated communities and recognition around their brand – so take the time to establish and build your brand with your business.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.