Branding has become a buzzword and trend in the online business and personal development industry over the past few years. It seems that suddenly everyone is a branding expert: graphic artists, web designers, business coaches, and even photographers.

While some of these people may be very skilled at making your brand look good, it’s crucial for you to understand that developing a brand, and executing a brand, are two very different disciplines. Do not confuse them or let anyone else confuse them for you.

Brand Development

Brand development, or brand strategy, is about identifying your platform—what you stand for… that unique position you and your business hold in the marketplace.

A brand strategist will take you through a detailed process to uncover your brand positioning and a name that represents it, and will make sure you can own that name, that you know how to implement it across your business, build equity in it, and protect it.

During brand development, it’s extremely important that you do some research to make sure you can own the brand name you choose. You want to make sure someone is not already doing business under that name. A few simple ways to find out are to do a Google search; do a domain name search to see if someone has registered the website domain, and if so see if they have a live website; and do a free trademark search on the name at All of this research is free, can be accomplished in a matter of minutes online, and will let you know if the name you want to use is available.

Brand Execution

Once you have a brand position and a name to represent it, you will want to implement your brand across your entire business. You may create a logo, a website, a social media presence, and other marketing materials to represent your brand.

There are many fine graphic artists, designers, website designers, and even photographers who can help you with the creative execution of your brand. However, it’s important to understand that many of these people are not trained in brand strategy, so while they may be extremely talented at designing your brand, you wouldn’t want to call on them to develop your brand, as they may not be trained in the proper process and you could end up with a brand that isn’t strategically grounded, or worse yet, you may end up with a brand name that someone else is already using because they may not know to go through the research process.

These people are what we used to call “creatives” when I worked in the advertising agency business, and they are an essential part of the branding process. But it’s important to understand, they are just a part.

I spent 20 years working with advertising agencies and I’ve run my own marketing consulting business since 1998. When I worked with agencies I was responsible for strategic advertising and marketing development, and management of an entire creative team that executed the strategies we developed.

The art directors, copywriters, production artists, and web designers (the creatives) were masters at designing logos, ads, marketing materials, and websites. I don’t think any of them would have said they could do my job. And I would never have said I could do theirs. They were very different jobs requiring very different expertise, skills and talents. All roles were necessary. But it was a team effort with everyone playing a specific role.

Branding is a great way to set yourself apart from everyone else who does what you do. It’s also makes marketing easier and more effective. But it’s important to know exactly what branding is. It’s not just a name, or a logo mark or a website. And, it’s essential to understand who is qualified to help you develop your brand, and who is qualified to help you make that brand look good.

Author's Bio: 

Debbie LaChusa is a marketing consultant, speaker, blogger, and the author of three books including her latest, "Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness". She's also known as The Business Stylist because she helps service professionals package their services, and design, brand, and market their businesses so they are more enjoyable, successful, and profitable. To learn more about Debbie and register for a free chapter from "Breaking the Spell" please visit