People are often confused about the difference between branding and marketing. They don’t really know what each is and which one to focus on to grow their business.
The answer is actually both. Branding and marketing each have their own definition and place in building a business, but one can’t work well without the other.
But before you can use them in conjunction to grow your business, you need to first understand what each is and what role each plays in your business.
There are a lot of definitions for branding out there and with so many different variations it can be hard to pin down exactly what branding is. Typically people think of the visual component of a brand first, but your brand is made up of several elements that go much deeper than the visuals on the surface level.
Although your brand is communicated through visuals, a brand isn’t just made up of visual elements and pretty things. Your brand is every piece of the puzzle that makes up your business. Your brand is your logo, colors, and style, but it is also your voice, tone, and message.
Digital branding is the process of creating and promoting the online identity and brand story of your business. It typically involves using things like a website, social media, webinars, and blogging to build engagement and drive exposure.
A brand is a business’s promise to deliver certain features, benefits, services, or experiences consistently to buyers. The bottom line is that your brand is what people say about it. It’s the perception of your business. Simply put, your brand is a promise to the buyer about the kind of product or experience they are purchasing, and how they will feel when they use it.
Marketing has changed so much in our digital world that it can be hard to know what’s up and what’s down. On top of that, there are so many people out there telling you all about their magic tricks and guaranteed strategies to make more money that worked for them years ago, but just don’t work the same today.
We can go really in-depth about marketing, but for the sake of this topic, I’m going to keep it simple. Marketing is the act of promoting and selling products and services.
For an online business marketing typically consists of content creation, social media, and email marketing. It serves as a path for interested people to get from where they to where your product or services are available.
The difference between branding and marketing
In a nutshell, branding is who you are—and marketing is how you build awareness.
Branding is defined as what people are saying about your business. Marketing is the term used to describe anything that connects your audience with your offering (product/service).
Branding creates a perception of your offerings in the marketplace.
Marketing is an extension of your brand. Think of it as the way that you present your brand in order to get a certain perception.
Think of it like this, marketing is like sending out an invitation to a party you are hosting. The invitation is important. It’s got to look good and it has to entice the reader to come. If people show up to your party your invitation is considered a success. Branding is the experience people have when they get to the party.
The invitation must match the experience. Your marketing must match your brand and bring it all together.
How they go hand in hand
Although branding and marketing are 2 different pieces of building your business, they go hand in hand. You can’t market your business well without building your brand. And you can’t build your brand unless you market it. They are interdependent strategic activities that feed, inform, and drive each other.
Branding is what drives marketing because branding is strategic and marketing is tactical.
When your marketing is done right, the right person will get the right message and have the right perception of your brand. BUT you can’t put the right message out there through marketing unless you first understand what that is – and that is what your brand strategy does for you.
The most successful marketing campaigns are built from strong brand foundations because the marketing is fueled by a clearly defined target audience and message.
When developing brand and marketing strategies, remember it’s not one or the other, but how you can use both to work together. One cannot work without the other. Each needs to be developed in a focused way while being connected to the other.
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