I saw an interesting discussion in a LinkedIn group the other
day. The question posed to group members: What is advertising?
Answers ranged from concise ("Ability to make people like
the product.") to technical ("A series of integrated actions to most
effectively and economically communicate… [yawn]") to witty ("A lot like
Disneyland, only with pressure."). Every response has some validity. After all, it's a group
for advertising professionals. None of the answers defined advertising exactly
the way that we do here at Mikula-Harris.
Our team does branding, brand strategies and brand images
as well as complete advertising campaigns. Sometimes clients wonder about the
relationship between branding and advertising. Some even think they are the same thing. It's a topic that we have given
• You all know that a brand is much more than a logo, name
or tagline. It's the way that people feel about a product, or in the case of our tourism
clients, a destination. It's the emotion they feel whenever they are reminded of
the product or destination. So, the verb "branding" is the act of helping
people arrive at the right conclusion. It's about defining, establishing and keeping the right reputation.
• Advertising is a creative interpretation of a brand
designed to reach a specific goal. A goal of advertising is often to make a
sale — plain and simple. If a product has a longer sales funnel, another goal
of advertising may be to motivate prospects to sign up for a newsletter or
request a brochure. In case you're wondering, it is perfectly acceptable for
the goal to be general awareness and brand building. In all cases, no matter
what the specific goal, advertising must be consistent with the larger brand
objectives. It has to support, not contradict, the positioning and the
reputation of the brand.
So you see, the two are closely related but definitely not the same thing. The influence of the branding efforts on the advertising
is profound. Without a brand strategy behind it, advertising is like setting a ship
adrift without a rudder.