Don't fear change! Change is refreshing. There is never a wrong time to change your branding if you feel it necessary. You may feel your company too young or alternatively too old with too much heritage attached. Your brand will need to change to suit your market, and this may be driven by your consumers due to changes in attitude or even technology.
Companies that are young or venture into new markets, such as a more online driven business, often change their company name along with it. It is common to update the style of logos, fonts and colours to keep up with an ever changing culture, and good examples of this can be seen if you look up Shell's logo history or the BBC.
Advertising. This is a means of shouting at people to whoever will listen, you have no control who will listen other than trying to define a readership demographic whether online or offline.
Marketing. This is for the people who are interested in what you have to say and actively go out to seek further information. This could be your website, a brochure or linking through a QR (Quick Response) code etc.
PR. This is where you try to influence the people who influence your demographic. This is persuading a 3rd party to advertise or market on your behalf to your target market.
Advertising, Marketing and PR are your communication mechanisms that make up your marketing strategy.
Branding. Branding is the words and imagery that, together with your communication mechanisms become your brand strategy. This is the words on your wall, the words spoken by your employees, the fonts, the use of shape and colour, the style of your photography. All this is wrapped around everything you do; all your marketing, advertising and PR.
Notes for creating a successful brand:
Branding is not your logo. Your logo is just part of it and should not be the first step in building your brand. Research your market, their likes, their dislikes, where they spend time, other products they use, the language they use, colour use, etc.
Always ask if its on brand. If you're simply on the phone ordering a new piece of furniture get into the habit of asking during every decision, 'is it on brand?' and you will be on track for building a strong brand.
Measure your campaigns as often as possible to get as much data and statistics as it allows. You can then tweak them to improve the engagement with your audience and ROI (return on investment).
Consistency is king. Once you have a set of rules stick to them. Your target market will get to know this style, those words and it will become part of their culture as they build a relationship with your brand.