What is the Difference Between a Business and a Brand?

by | May 27, 2019 | Craft Your Brand, Podcast, Season 3

What is the difference between a business and a brand?
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What is the difference between a business and a brand?

So one of the things I talk about all the time as a branding expert is having a brand statement. This is sort of like an elevator pitch and you can find lots of resources on jnicholesmith.com to help you craft your very own. That’s for another video. But my brand statement is, well, you’ve already heard it.

I help entrepreneurs find freedom and fulfillment by building brands instead of just businesses.

Now you won’t really hear in there is what I do for a living or what I sell necessarily. But you do hear what I care about and what I care about is helping entrepreneurs. And what I care about is helping entrepreneurs find freedom and fulfillment. And what I care about is helping entrepreneurs build brands instead of just businesses. So it gives you a good insight into what I do and why I do it and who I do it for.

It doesn’t necessarily tell you how I do it, but that’s a conversation starter. Hopefully you’ll ask, but sometimes when I introduce myself or use this brand statement in public, it can inspire some questions. And that’s kind of the point, right, is that it’s a conversation starter. But often one of those questions is what is the difference between a business and a brand? I totally have a brand. I definitely have a business and sometimes people get really annoyed with me if they’ve been in business for a while and they’re like, how dare you think that your brand is better than my business? And that’s really the point.

Now, if you were to go to school for marketing like I did, I did a master’s in marketing at one of London’s top business schools, I learned a lot about how coca cola should do things and how Unilever does things, but it wasn’t really helpful when it comes to how entrepreneurs should do things. And one of the critical differences between what I believe and what I’ve seen with successful entrepreneurs and what Coca Cola and Unilever do is this idea of business versus brand. So Coca Cola believes that the brand is an asset that the business owns. And in fact the Coca Cola brand is one of the most profitable, valuable brands in the world.

But when you’re an entrepreneur and you don’t necessarily have a board of directors and shareholders, your business is so connected to you as a human being and that’s great. That gives you a huge advantage because all of those big corporations are spending billions trying to get which you have, which is closeness to your customer, insight into what they want and humanity. They are trying to retroactively create something that looks and feels human on a corporate entity. And you don’t have to do that because you are human.

And that comes down to my definition of branding. I don’t believe that a brand is something a business owns. I believe that a brand is something that is a combination of a human and a business. So it’s bigger than both you as the business owner and the business itself. And here’s how that shapes up. You are human being like it or not. Your humanity is going to come with you every day to work when you’re building your business. And again, that’s great. We have to find ways to manage that because being a human can sometimes be hard, but it’s also what gives you a real authentic connection with the other humans who are going to buy stuff from you.

Now the other piece is a business. A business has one goal and one goal only and that is to make revenue. It’s to make money.

So when you combine your humanity and your passion and all the things that make you a person and the desire to make money through a business, you have a brand. So brands are fundamentally half human and half business. And that’s how I see it. And I think this is a really important differentiation because it helps you understand that when you have a brand, you also have a business. You know it’s part of the deal and you’ve got to grow that business. But you also have to act human. And the best brands in the world are experts at this. They make us feel alive because they treat us like human beings and they talked to us like human beings instead of like robots. They use humor, they take risks, and we can find a million examples of packaging and commercials that absolutely delight us because they are human.

So keep that in mind as you go out into the world. Even if you don’t have the beautiful, perfect packaging or the perfect website or a new logo, yet that doesn’t matter because really what makes a brand a brand is that it’s half human and half business. It cares. It does good stuff just for the sake of doing good stuff. And most of the time if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re trying to make a living at this, you also need to make money. And that’s okay. It’s not an either or equation. So what makes, what is the difference between a business and a brand?

A brand is half business and half human and a business is only one half of a brand.

And you’ll probably start by growing a business and move into one day, being able to understand your humanness a little better and the humanness of your customers to be able to communicate that and really build a powerful brand.

And once you do that, you get the keys to the kingdom and you’re more sustainable and it’s harder to compete with you. You can charge more. And we see that all the time with brands all over the world who are able to charge more for the same thing because we love them because we trust them. So if you want more resources about how to build a brand or how to grow your business, check out jnicholesmith.com. If you want more free resources to help you work through this, visit us over at facebook.com/groups/magicmakersHQ. This is a place where we have conversations all the time about topics like this and support and chanted rebels like you who want to find freedom and fulfillment by building brands instead of just businesses. I hope to see you inside.