Branding is Commerce. Commerce is Branding.

We grew up viewing these two worlds in isolation, like oil and water.

In brand marketing, “branding” represents the emotional world; commerce is the rational one.

Branding provides purpose and identity. Commerce gets people to transact.

We create different tribes to manage these worlds.

The brand team is comprised of liberal art majors. The commerce team is comprised of science majors.

We arm them with different weapons and measure them in a variety of ways.

Branding uses mass media. Commerce focuses on direct marketing.

Awareness and perception measure branding. Conversion and sales measure commerce.

We called this model “pray and wait,” which is inefficient and dark. We had a limited view of who was going through the purchase funnel. We experienced significant drops during each stage without knowing why.

Hence, we focused only on the top, “the brand,” and the bottom, “the commerce.” We neglected the middle, “consideration,” which was hard to measure.

Technology and data disrupted this model. Today, branding and commerce have blended into one funnel that’s measurable and immediate.

Now, we can purchase any goods, anytime and anywhere, through our mobile devices. We can target and track people by search intent (“what you are searching for” in Google) and latent search (“what you are not searching for, but you want” on Facebook).

We can go in minutes from brand “awareness” to purchase “Commerce” within the same social frame.

We can now book flights through Facebook Messenger. Icelandair has rolled out flight booking capabilities on Facebook Messenger. Users can message the Icelandair Messenger profile and input their desired trip information, including the destination and the number of people traveling, to book a flight.

Twitter’s Buy button makes it easier than ever to shop from a tweet. Any merchant using Shopify, Bigcommerce, or Demandware can add the “Buy” button to tweets.

The Google Buy button make it easier for consumers to purchase products directly from mobile search ads.

Instagram is testing new features that will enable brands to share posts that include more product information, with the aim of getting more consumers to buy products they see on the image-sharing site.

In summary, branding without commerce is ineffective. Commerce without branding is irrelevant and lacks scale. Businesses that can seamlessly integrate branding and Commerce will edge the ones which only excel at one part of the funnel. In a connected world, integration wins.