A series of tweets (status updates on Twitter, for the uninformed) beginning with a tweet by Chris Brogan and progressing to this tweet, followed by a tweet from Jake Luer lead me to thinking about the difference between branding and selling (it also led me to challenge Chris Brogan to a fight at Podcamp, but don’t worry, The Diva Rockin has requested all proceeds go to beer).
The Question Is: Is Branding Completely Different Than Selling?
Let’s start with a Wikipedian definition of Branding:
- A brand includes a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the use of the product or service and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary. A brand is a symbolic embodiment of all the information connected to the product and serves to create associations and expectations around it.
To be fair, lets also take a look at the definition in Dictionary.com:
tr.v. brand·ed, brand·ing, brands
- To mark with or as if with a hot iron. See Synonyms at mark1.
- To mark to show ownership.
- To provide with or publicize using a brand name.
- To mark with disgrace or infamy; stigmatize.
- To impress firmly; fix ineradicably: Imagery of the war has branded itself into the national consciousness.
(I don’t think it is necessary to get an official definition of “selling” so let’s take it from here)
If we analyze all of the definitions of branding, the net output is the fact that there is an element of distinction for the purpose of differentiation.
Why would one want to create differentiation for a product or service?
There are many potential answers to this, but it is my belief that one of the core answers would be to sell.
I do recognize that the two functions are different, but the reason I felt the need to write this is I feel that it is important to recognize the two as being part of the same function. I think that there is often times a negative connotation with the concept of selling, whereas branding somehow has a more acceptable ring to it, and this is where I find fault.
I think we all sell ourselves in one way or another every day, and I see no shame in that. After all, if you have a great product (yourself) why not sell it (of course there are negative ways one can understand the phrase “sell yourself” but I don’t think I need to disambiguate)?
You should love the best brand in the world, yourself. And there is no shame in selling it!