Advertising hits a broad audience and is generally short-lived. It is the process of communicating via mass media such as TV, radio, outdoor and web. Advertising’s strengths lie in the sheer mass of people that see it as well as its frequency and timing. It’s a push tactic mainly used to achieve a specific action from the consumer.
For instance, a baseball team might promote “Elvis Night” or “Bring Your BringPet to the Park Day” to get people involved. A carwash might produce a commercial for a limited-time discount to get people to buy the service. A department store might mail out coupons as part of a sale. All of these examples are of advertising. They push a certain agenda to achieve a specific goal. This is not branding.
How is Branding Different from Advertising?
Branding, on the other hand, is more holistic. The brand is ultimately what determines if you will become a loyal customer or not. Advertising may have been what convinced you to go to a particular event, but it is the brand that will determine if you will continue to come back year after year.
Did the advertised event deliver the promised experience? Delivery of the message’s promise is the test of the brand experience. If you don’t actually deliver the experience you promise in your advertising, you do a disservice to the brand.
Branding includes consistent vocabulary and behaviors as well as incorporating a distinctive logo to enhance your competitive advantage and build customer loyalty.
A great example of branding at its best is Mr. Clean Car Wash. When leaving any Mr. Clean Car Wash, the customer receives a manager send-off. After completely inspecting the vehicle, the manager greets the customer with a dry towel. Once the customer is seated in the vehicle, the manager closes the door and sends the customer off with a wave, saying, “thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again.” It is this kind of consistency and customer service that makes Mr. Clean Car Washes a leader in the industry.
And who doesn’t recognize and trust “Mr. Clean”? When you see Mr. Clean on a sign, your attention is drawn to it. That is advertising. When you feel things like trust and familiarity at the thought of Mr. Clean, THAT is branding.