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Branding vs Marketing: What’s the Difference?

branding vs marketing

The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for advertising and marketing. Hiring a firm to help you with branding can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000, depending on what they consider branding.

These are two different ideas that both need attention for your business to be successful. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg theory. You can’t really have one without the other – this article will tell you which comes first the marketing or branding.

You’ve probably heard you need both branding and marketing. But it’s easy to confuse the two. Here’s your guide to branding vs marketing.

What is Branding?

Branding is who you are. Marketing is how people learn about you. Branding gives you strategy-it’s your reason for being.

Let’s think about strategy. In order to describe your brand, you should know the following to get started:

  • Values and core principles
  • Mission statement
  • Internal company culture
  • The inspiration for your company

Now, let’s dig a little deeper to really figure out what brand means. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you different?
  • How do you want customers to describe your business?
  • What do you want people to think about when they see your business?
  • Why do you want to sell your products or services to customers?

This should give you a good idea for a brand. You can really learn a lot about yourself and your company by answering these questions. Check with other employees and see if your answers match, and if they don’t, it’s time to examine if your thoughts and reality align.

When you determine your brand (or your driving force), you can really tailor the marketing to get what you want customers to think of you. You want to match what you want to be with what your customers think because they ultimately control your brand.

Your brand is the promise to your customers. It helps you build your customer base because you invoke trust. Branding is your why and marketing is your how.

You need to choose your brand carefully, so it aligns with your customer thoughts. The brand is the emotion and it sticks with customers. When misalignment happens, your brand can actually cause you to fail.

What do you think about when you see Google? Do you think creativity and innovation? This is Google’s brand, and they market it in various ways via online ads or those tv commercials.

What is Marketing?

Now that you see who you are, you have to get that message out there. This is marketing. You need to gear your marketing toward your target audience and also demonstrate the core values and meaning of your brand.

Marketing is very broad and can be heartfelt, funny, or even to the point. It all depends on your business and your core values (or brand). Here are some forms of marketing to promote your business:

  • Social media
  • Radio ads
  • Newspaper ads
  • Television
  • Pay per click
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing

You can utilize both online and offline marketing in campaigns. You can change your marketing, but your brand should stay consistent.

Marketing is much easier to control. Customers can get their own idea of your brand because it is a feeling. This is why you must live your brand in everything you do because a bad experience can make a customer consider your brand something much different.

Branding vs Marketing: What To Do First

Now we are back to the chicken and the egg theory. This one is a little bit more clear of an answer – you need branding first. You have to decide who you are before you can deliver any message.

You build customer loyalty based on your brand and not marketing. When you go to a restaurant, you go because you like the food or service-not necessarily because of the marketing. The marketing may remind you to go; but the brand keeps you going back.

You can make needed adjustments to your brand if you are growing or expanding services. You shouldn’t have to change your values, mission, or principles. Your company must maintain branding every day with every interaction, call, transaction, or email.

Can Marketing and Branding Overlap?

Even though marketing and branding are two different things; they can certainly overlap. You need to have the right images to convey your brand from your logo to photographs used in ads. Remember the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Your logo and colors represent who you are, so marketing and branding work together here. These images will help your marketing campaigns to reinforce who you are.

Marketing is your message. Your brand determines what you want your message to say. Marketing gives you calls to actions and how you entice your audience.

The Keys to Understanding Branding vs. Marketing

Here’s a key thing to remember: you plan marketing while customers perceive your brand. In other words, your branding is the overall and you plan marketing around your brand. It’s your brand that builds loyalty and trust to make you unique in a customer’s eyes.

You will have more success with branding because it gives you a foundation or starting point. You need to know what to market. You can think of marketing as pushing your brand.

Branding comes before marketing because it drives your business. It makes a customer want to buy your product. Marketing may help buyers find you.

Your brand will keep customers coming back for more. Your brand is everywhere. Remember the brand is your foundation, and marketing is how you get your brand out there.

Looking for More Marketing Ideas?

Now that you understand branding vs marketing, are you ready to increase your digital marketing efforts?

Check out our blog for more insights to connect your brand with online marketing and social media. You can also find more ideas on Internet marketing strategies and other marketing trends to keep your business marketing strong in a digital world.