Marketing vs Branding: What’s the Difference?

Marketing and branding are excellent tools that will help your business cut through the noise and stand out in the crowded digital world. Though they do work together very closely, marketing and branding aren’t the same things. And If you want to impress your customers with a deeper insight into your company, keep your brand in their top-of-mind, you need to learn how to master both marketing and branding.

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Let’s take a closer look at the key difference between marketing and branding.

Definition of Marketing vs Branding

Before we jump into the differences between marketing and branding, let’s first discover what marketing and branding are.

What is marketing?

Marketing refers to the tools and strategies your company actively implements to deliver your brand message and ultimately promote your products, services and company profitably.

Think of marketing as the action you take to stand out and connect with your customers to get them to buy your products or services.

What is branding?

Branding, on the other hand, is the marketing practice of actively shaping your brand perception in your customers’ mind. It highlights who you are as a company. It expresses your mission, your values, and what makes you special and unique. Some physical key brand elements include your logo, your website, and your brand style guideline.

If marketing helps businesses share their distant message to make people engage with your company for the first time, branding resonates with their customers and keeps them coming back for years to come. Think of it like this: if your brand was a Big Mac, your branding would be the “special sauce” - and your marketing would be anything you do to get your customers excited to take a bite (through social media, billboard, or TV commercials).

Key Difference between marketing vs branding

There’s some overlap between branding and marketing. However, these two concepts have different goals and results.

Marketing attracts customers for the first time and branding is a way to keep their attention.

Branding is your company identity and it boosts recognition and loyalty. Meanwhile, marketing drives sales goals.

Branding comes first, and marketing comes second.

Marketing strategies come and go - but branding is consistent and stays forever.

Marketing get a customer’s attention, but branding keeps their attention

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are, you’re just one little salt in a sea of competition. And if you want to make waves and get customers' attention, marketing is your best friend.

Depending on your company's target audience, you may develop comprehensive online and offline marketing strategies, using different tools such as social media marketing, direct email, pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, mobile, television, podcast…These are just a couple of examples of the most common marketing channels, that helps your business cut through the noise and get noticed.

Now, when marketing helps your brand be visible in front of the right people if you want to keep it there, you need to build a brand that people want to connect with. It’s time for branding. It refers to what your brand’s personality is, your mission statement, what makes you unique, what kind of feelings you want to inspire, and everything else that shapes the brand prescription in the mind of your customers. The more you define who you are, the more your branding will resonate with your audience. Ultimately, consumers are even willing to pay more for brands with a clear purpose.

Branding comes first, marketing comes second

In the plan of launching your business, branding always comes before marketing. As mentioned above, you have to answer various questions to define who you are:

  • What do you want to bring to the marketplace?

  • What are your core values?

  • How are you going to communicate that to your target customers?

When you have your branding in place, you’ll have a better understanding of who your customers are, how you can communicate with them - and then you can build a marketing strategy to spread your brand messages.

In a nutshell, branding is who you are and marketing is how you sell your products and services. In the relationship between marketing and branding, branding comes first. You need to clearly define your brand before developing a suitable marketing strategy. Through marketing channels, your brand will reach out to the targeted audience, share your distinct message and foster a long-lasting relationship with them.


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