Branding Confusion? An Apology— From My Industry to Yours.

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Brand? Branding? Brand Identity? Brand Strategy?

How to make sense of the nonsensical branding world when you're not a marketer... or designer.

I'll just come right out and say it: My industry's terminology has failed you, and for that I'm terribly sorry.

It's kind of laughable and truly ironic, really — you'd think for such a creative industry as marketing, we’d do a better job innovating on one of the most important aspects of modern businesses everywhere:


There are so many opinions out there on what a brand is, what a brand isn't, what it can do, what it should and shouldn't do for certain types of businesses, and more.

The one thing everyone who has experienced it can agree on, however, is that with the right strategy, Branding is powerful.

It works wonders— helping businesses everywhere level up by paring down, and honing their focus on the very core of what will drive their business forward in a concentrated effort.

But honestly, we need new names to distinguish Brand, Branding, Brand Identity, and Brand Strategy, because they ARE different. Despite all the confusion, here’s a quick rundown according to my understanding over my decade+ in the marketing industry.

Hopefully it'll help you, too.

Brand / Branding - Verb

To Brand or Branding (verb) is the activity of making specific choices about your business or business assets to create something greater or recognizable; the process of building your brand’s reputation in the broader context of the industry by way of the noun, Branding.

Brand - Noun

A Brand (noun) is the experience of your business; the entity that’s created as a way people connect with and relate to your business, and assess how it fits into their life and to what degree. A Brand can be a purposefully curated experience designed to build trust, or it can happen as a wild grown  by-product of the way people interact with it (whom, how, how many, and why). Brand can also refer to said entity— whether the entity is a Personal Brand, Corporate Brand, or anything in between.

Branding - Noun

Yep, you guessed it— Branding can be a verb or a noun, as well. :) Surprise, surprise! Branding (noun) is often used interchangeably with Brand (noun). An article on 99 Designs put it wisely when they said,

“Anywhere a Brand (noun) is visible, Branding (noun + verb) happens.”  

(noun/verb added by yours truly for clarity.)

To myself and others who have come up through the design world, Branding (noun) refers mostly to the visual elements of a Brand but isn’t always the case… and this is, in short, how many coaches and service providers have come to mistake what a Brand and a Brand Identity is (see next definition), and as such fail to recognize that a Brand Strategy is useful, even as a solopreneur coach.

Brand Identity- Noun

A Brand Identity (tied closely to Brand Strategy) is the collection of elements (aesthetic and non-aesthetic) that comprise your Brand in order to make it recognizable as your business.

A solid Brand Identity is strategized to stand out in its given industry; last as long as possible; have a certain psychological effect on its audience; serve audiences that are accessible today and consider ways to branch out in the future; and so much more.

At Day Studios, I've been really careful in my choice of words when it comes to Brand Identity, because this is a place where SO many people get wrapped and stuck on elements of their brand identity. The strategy behind a Brand Identity is important regardless of industry, but it's especially crucial for coaches and other types of businesses where the work is deeply personal.

The more personal the nature of your business, the greater the need for a seamless transition between the experience of you and the experience of your Brand (noun).

Brand Strategy- Noun

Brand Strategy is the plan for how to effectively employ your Brand Identity in the long term and the short term.

A Brand Strategy is revisited often to make sure it’s doing what it needs to for the Brand (noun), and to see what needs to change in order to see the most success. It’s the process of pulling levers and tweaking tactics to meet business goals— like reaching your intended audience, revenue goals, and becoming the gold standard your competition aspires to.

In Closing

I genuinely feel that if a coach can adequately express their essence and their message through their brand, they will attract exquisite-fit clients.

If this sounds like something you're up for, reach out or even schedule a free consultation. It's never a bad time reach the people you were born to help.

Until next time...



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Primary Photo by Oleg Hasanov on Unsplash

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