Brand vs. Branding

What is a brand? How is it different from branding?

We’ve worked with a lot of brands here at Ideas On Purpose – here’s a good overview of the difference.

Your brand is … you

Your brand emanates from the very core of what your organization does and what its values are. Your brand encompasses:

  • Your purpose, your mission
  • Your history, your story
  • Your “why,” that is your “Why we do what we do.”

And, of course —

  • The products or services you provide

A good brand starts from within, from your purpose and your goals. A start-up is a brand before launch — Coca-Cola made a carbonated beverage long before it became a “brand.” Legally, a brand is a trademark or trade name.

That said, a successful organization communicates their brand early and often… through strategic, thoughtful and well-executed branding.


Branding is a marketing and communications tool

More than a name or symbol, a brand is derived from your brand essence. Your organization’s branding is a marketing tool, a tool that does some heavy lifting to communicate — in images and words — what you’re all about.

Effective branding helps organically and authentically convey to others the answers to some big, important questions for your business or organization:

  • Why should customers or potential employees or partners or any audiences trust you?
  • Why do they need the benefits of what you’ve got to offer?
  • Why should they buy the goods or services that you’re selling?
  • Why should they sympathize with and support your mission?


Branding your organization involves expert strategy, story and design

While you can answer many of the questions about your organization and the benefits of working with you, communicating those things efficiently and effectively takes:

  • Strategy – to help find your unique value proposition.
  • Storytelling – to get to the core ideas and messages that will succinctly, clearly and appealingly engage those who you are trying to reach.
  • Design – to translate all that is your value proposition and unique story into a cohesive visual identity language — logo, color palette, typeface, etc. —  that effectively and immediately evokes what you want to convey.

Strategy, storytelling and design all have their own sets of principles and best practices — not for the amateur.


Rebranding is branding, too

Times change, businesses evolve — and after some years design trends can become overused or tired. Rebranding — or doing a “brand refresh” — can help bring more current sensibilities — and a new audience — to your organization.

Branding your business takes investment — but the effort will pay many dividends — and can help support your organization in surprising ways.


Do you need to a new brand or a brand refresh? Contact Ideas On Purpose and learn what we can do for you.



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Defining Branding isn’t easy, it can mean different things to different people. Here are a few definitions we found, for your reference:

Business Dictionary 

The Branding Journal


and of course, Wikipedia.