What is the Difference Between a Business and a Brand?

Brand Photography, Branding, Personal Brand, Personal Branding • February 28, 2023

As a brand photographer, I absolutely love talking about branding; how to create a personal brand, and how to elevate that brand.

But without getting ahead of ourselves, let’s back up in order to explore the difference between your brand and your business.

Where do they overlap? Where do they differ? (And why should we care?)

Dictionary.com has this to share:

Business: noun 1. An occupation, profession, or trade. 2. The purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit.

Brand: noun 1. The kind, grade, or make of a product or service, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, or the like. 2. A set of distinctive characteristics that establish a recognizable image or identity for a person or a thing.

Translation: Your business is the operational entity, offering a service or products to a consumer. If you are doing a transaction, you are doing BUSINESS.

Your brand is the image or identity. This is achieved through reputation and connection. If you are creating an emotional connection, that is BRANDING.

The beauty of a brand?

It has the ability to expand the reach of your business…

Where as the business has a focus on sales (transaction = money for a good or service), the focus of your brand is to help ideal clients relate to you, preferably in a unique way. How do you want to be experienced? Remembered? What ideals do you want to embody?

If you’re not quite sure what your brand is, one way to figure this out is to ask yourself “What are you really selling? What are people buying from you, really?”

For example, if you have a catering company, your business is most likely in the set-up and delivery of food. But what is important about the way you do this work? What ideas are your customers buying into? Maybe it’s the importance of a community gathering, family celebrations, a healthy lifestyle, or an elegant experience.

Why is your brand so important?

While it’s true that you need a balance of focus on your business and your brand, here are three reasons why branding is key:

  1. Creates Future Connections. Having a strong brand invites future clients into your world. Maybe someone isn’t ready to buy from you now, but your brand voice gives them another reason to stay interested. Perhaps they aren’t in a position to invest in professional photography services at this time (i.e. my business), but they sure love the weekly dose of empowering women that I serve up as social media content (i.e. my branding) hence an engaged following (and possible future clients)!
  2. Competition? What Competition? Imagine for a moment a business solely focused on transactional sales. Now, imagine another similar business comes along that adds the extra branding layer of a personality and values that align with the ideal clients. The brand making the connection will edge out the competition, because connection builds to know, love and trust, which leads to sales
  3. Brands Live Longer. Product lines may come and go, and business (especially small businesses) can fail, change and re-grow. But your brand, your voice, the way people relate to you and your reputation stays constant. One benefit of this is that strong branding can make it possible for your small business to pivot, grow, and change. For example, perhaps you want to switch up your business focus, add passive income, or start educating in the digital space. An aligned brand allows these additional outlets to be possible, and to flourish, as you have already built up know, love and trust.

It’s never too early to start defining your brand. How do you want to be experienced by the people who work with you?

I am proud to walk alongside business owners to create strong brands through stunning images, and would be honored to join you on your branding journey!

I get it.  There is nothing natural about stepping in front of the camera.  Grab some inspiration in this guide!
  • My 10 best poses and how to set them up
  • Confidence boosting tips to make you feel relaxed
  • My favorite prompts for natural expressions

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