4 min read

Branding Vs. Marketing - What's the difference?

Building a business is work. Learning all the buzzwords that surround today's companies is a feat in itself. Two of today's business concepts are largely used interchangeably – branding and marketing – but, while inextricably linked, are two totally different concepts.

Dan Bowen

Dan Bowen

Founder + CEO
Published: March 27, 2020
Last Updated: April 29, 2024
(Brand Identity/Digital Marketing)
Branding Vs. Marketing - What's the Difference?

To truly be successful, understanding the difference between marketing and branding is important. Knowing how to use both to your advantage is vital.

Whether you're curating images for your company's Instagram profile or preparing an industry newsletter, you'll find that marketing efforts are impossible without some form of branding. For instance, graphic designers and marketing agencies often look at your marketing goals as they help design or revamp your brand. Remember, inextricably linked.

It can be difficult to see where marketing begins and branding ends. In fact, how do your branding goals and strategies support your marketing strategies? Is having a brand even necessary? What's the difference?

You're no doubt in business to make money, and you'll see that these questions are essential to your bottom line. Here's what your company needs to know about these two business concepts – branding & marketing – and why your brand needs both. In simplest terms, branding is who you are and marketing is how you illustrate that to prospects.

What is Branding?

Branding is a practice in which you continuously and actively shape your brand. It's all about defining your company’s identity. What is your mission? What are your values? What makes your brand unique to the many competitors you likely have in your industry?

Branding is all of the elements of your company that, together, define your company's identity, such as your company's:

  • Logo – brand identity design

  • Website – branding vs. website design elements: they go hand in hand
  • Style guidelines – this goes for color choices in graphics, and tone and word choice in content

Branding is the introduction. Marketing is the handshake. Together, these business concepts are the dialogue – it's what keeps people coming to your door as opposed to your competitors'.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is a defined set of processes, strategies, and tools that a company uses to effectively promote products, services, and their company as a whole. Marketing can be in the form of physical items, like business cards, or digital marketing, like email drip campaigns. Part of any marketing strategy includes such items as:

  • Audience definition
  • Customer segmentation
  • Messaging creation
  • Buyer persona development
  • Customer journey mapping

In order to know how to deliver your brand, you have to know who you're speaking to. In other words, discovering your audience and dividing it into segments based on demographics, behavior, or other items means that your marketing strategies may differ depending on who your brand desires to reach. Marketing is the sum total of all the actions your company takes to connect with prospects, leads, and customers in an effort to move them to make a purchasing decision.

Differences Between Branding and Marketing:

  • Must come first
  • Keeps a customer's attention
  • Drives recognition and brand loyalty
  • Is a forever strategy
  • Must come second
  • Gets consumer attention
  • Drives sales and revenue
  • Strategies have definite beginning, middle, and end

Building a great brand impacts your employees just as much as it impacts customers. With a great brand strategy, you can source talent around the world.

Final Thoughts

While marketing is a vital tool to build awareness, bring in new customers, and meet revenue goals, branding is the firm foundation it's built upon. A strong understanding of the differences between these two business concepts can help you shape a marketing strategy that's driven by your branding – that will ultimately drive results.

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