Branding vs Marketing. Do you know the difference?

You’d be surprised how often the two terms are used synonymously! So, if you need a quick refresh, here you go.

Have you ever been to a party or out for drinks with some professionals and heard one of them say “yeah, our company’s going through a rebranding?” What does this actually mean? Is it safe to assume you’ll be seeing all sorts of new creative TV spots, billboards, digital ads, bus kings, elevator posters, online radio spots, transit ads, minute videos, street art, some grassroots or guerilla tactics, news stories and on-site promotions to name a few? The answer is probably; but only if the branding (or in this case the rebranding) has a marketing rollout.

The “branding” aspect of the above company rebrand has more to do with discovering and developing what it is about your brand that is attractive to the desired customer segment, and what value it will bring to them. It’s establishing a firm understanding of the true characteristics, values and singular attributes that clarify and differentiate your brand from its competitors. After all the research and introspection is accomplished, the development of a new brand identity can begin to take shape (a name, a look, a feel and an overarching message) that will ultimately portray these characteristics in a positive way that will resonate with your defined target audience.

If branding was akin to dating and you had a very good understanding of who your brand is, what your core values are, and who to best target for a long relationship, your branding would start at the affection phase. The affection phase is that period of time when a lot is learned about the object of your desire (target audience) and what you need to do to get noticed and ultimately win them over.

Let’s face it, your brand may not be like a Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johansson on the dating scene. So, when you’ve learned everything there is to learn about your primary and secondary target audiences, and you finally put yourself out there, you may have to test a few things in the process. You’ll need to try a few new looks perhaps (brand identity), work on your game (messaging), and figure out what makes you different, special and totally attractive (unique selling proposition) to this particular group.

Once you clearly see the best way to win your target audiences’ hearts and minds, it’s time to put the word out there in hopes of building your dating pool (market share). This, my friend, is where “marketing” comes into play. Marketing is utilizing the important branding information you’ve learned about your brand and your target audience to develop tactical activities to mesh with like-minded consumers, encourage trial, inspire consumer loyalty and support ongoing sales success. Marketing is getting the word out there!

If you believe your brand is the perfect fit for your target audience, let them know—constantly! Just like the dating scenario, interest in your brand can be short-lived, because, well, people are busy, fickle and the competition is relentlessly, brazenly and unapologetically coming on to your desirable customer. It’s up to you, and your brand evangelists to use every marketing technique in the book to stay on their mind night and day!

So, in simplistic business terms, “branding” is creating potential relationships by identifying who your brand is, as well as who would benefit most by utilizing your brand’s core values and offerings. “Marketing” is creating the need for your brand by taking all of this information and connecting your brand with the target audience(s) who are most likely to value and use your brand.

The strongest and most successful marketing programs unite branding and marketing. You have a better chance of winning the hearts and minds of your market if you truly know what your brand stands for. Then, it’s all about making them fall in love—and stay in love with you!

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How to Attract Gen Z to Banking

Who is Generation Z? Me.

Children born between the years of the mid 1990s through the early 2000s, otherwise known as Generation Z, is the generation that should be the next target for banks, credit unions, and businesses alike. Not only is this generation the largest in history, at about 82 million, but they are just starting out in the workforce which is great news for financial institutions.

Whether that be as a part time worker in high school, or fitting work into their college schedule, this generation is starting to really focus on their money. It’s not just the money of the individuals in this generation that’s important though, it’s also their families. According to, Gen Z influences $600 billion in family spending. Parents are spending more money on their kids than ever before. Financial Institutions and businesses alike need to update their marketing strategies to take advantage of the influence this Gen Z has.

They are Different from Millennials.

Generation Z are quite different from Millennials. While millenials are most definitely one of the more tech savvy generations, Generation Z grew up in a world where smartphones, Internet, and social media were already a reality, and it was something they learned as they were also learning to walk and talk. It’s a normal part of their world.

This is why the most important factor when it comes to marketing to this generation is to utilize digital marketing. This generation is spending over 7 hours a day on average viewing media online, in many different formats. This means if you want to get their attention, you’re going to have to place your brand and your message right on to their phone screens to get your message across. Make sure your brand is accessible on mobile devices, whether that be through an App (most ideal) or having an easy to use mobile website.

This is key.

The next step would be to make sure your financial institution has an account on social media channels that this generation is using multiple times per hour.This means having an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even a YouTube channel. All of this will increase your brand’s awareness to this generation.

Utilizing Social Media.

Just having your financial institution own and manage social media channels isn’t enough. With the amount of competitors and other companies having their businesses involved with social media, you are going to have to stand out and be attractive to this generation. How?

The key is to be relatable, and involve this target audience.

Show me (a proud member of Gen Z) that you are aware of our lifestyle, our worries and our interests. Getting a college education is very important for this generation for example, so demonstrate how your financial institution understands the stress of saving or preparing for school and beyond. Connect with local high schools or colleges and get your brand in the talk around campus. Sponsoring sporting or school events will build familiarity and brand loyalty. Not only should you make an effort to get involved in the school community on campus, but online as well. On social media, make sure you are connecting with the students by cheering on local sports teams, talking about things that are happening in the community, and communicating with community members.

Make Your Financial Institution Attractive.

Other methods of relating to Gen Z and making your company more attractive to us is implementing aspects of our lifestyle into marketing campaigns, and on to these social channels. By providing images and video in campaigns of things that we can relate to, we will feel more comfortable about giving our business and our future business to you. For example, using images relating to school, college life, getting coffee out with friends, enjoying concerts, etc. All things that will get my generation to see aspects of ourselves in your brand.

Make sure to take full advantage of student accounts. This means allowing students that are attending school to have an account where there is the ability to transfer money easily, no minimum balances, free savings account along with checking, and higher interest on the money that’s kept in savings. Let Gen Z know that you are there for us as we continue on our journey.

Utilize the tools that social media can provide you, in order to stand out from all of the other accounts we follow that continuously fill our timelines. Use social media as a tool for YOU to communicate directly to my generation, and build a better relationship with us.

Twitter offers a ‘Poll’ feature, in which you can ask a question to your followers, have multiple poll answer options, and allow it to be open for answers for 24 hours. That’s 24 hours of free availability to get answers directly from Gen Z. You can ask anything, from “What are you saving up for this year?” to “What’s the first thing you do when you get direct deposit on payday?”.

Twitter also has a feature where you can post GIF images along with your post. This is a great tool to not only capture the attention of a user as they are scrolling through their timeline, but also to get their attention to the information you are trying to communicate in the post.  Have fun with it. The more interested people in Gen Z are in your financial institution, the more likely they will want to work with you.


Going back to the previous point about connecting to the community in which Gen Z is highly involved with, you want to make sure this is a part of your marketing strategy. Gen Z is one of the most socially and environmentally aware generations. My generation is filled with kids who want to use their time and energy to truly make the world a better place. Use it to your advantage! Get connected to local charities and raise awareness of problems going on in the community through your institution’s own channels, so your brand is associated with all the effort to help the world and our community be a better place.

Being a community financial institution, you are probably aware of the locations near you where Gen Z’s frequent. Bringing flyers and sponsoring fundraisers at these locations like coffee shops, cafes, school libraries, and campus events, will create a lot of buzz about your brand. Make sure to advertise your social media account information on flyers and other collateral pieces, and display how YOUR financial institution is perfect for students (like me) just getting into banking.


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