If you’ve ever struggled to grasp the difference between branding and marketing, you’re not alone. Without a doubt, they are both interlinked.
However, there are minute differences between marketing and branding. To utilise them both together is key to understanding them both in great detail. As an entrepreneur, here’s what you need to know.
What is Branding?
In its essence, your brand is your company’s identity. Your brand represents who you are and what you stand for. Branding is the activity of nurturing and shaping that identity. Marketing encompasses this goal and is how you build awareness.
If you want to figure out what your brand is, start by asking yourself the right questions. These questions should go beyond your products, services, and industry generalisations. To help you out, here are a few:
- What are your core values and principles?
- What makes you different from other companies?
- What is your mission statement?
- What is your company culture like?
- How would your clients or customers describe your business?
- What do you want them to associate your business with?
What is Marketing?
Marketing is a set of processes, activities, and institutions. You use these to create, communicate, deliver and exchange offerings that have a value for your target audience. It is how you deliver your brand’s message to others.
Marketing is vast and wide. It can include a variety of tactics and methods. Some of the most common forms of marketing include print campaigns, television, pay per click, social media marketing, content marketing, and link building and other SEO activities.
New marketing tactics, trends, and techniques are always emerging. To succeed in marketing, you need to experiment with different methods. However, your branding efforts should underlie and precede all of them.
Where Marketing and Branding Overlap
Naturally, there are areas where marketing and branding overlap. Marketing and branding become the same when you need to select the imagery you will use on an ongoing basis.
Your logo, graphics, and company colours represent your brand above everything else. But, since colour psychology, signs, and symbols play an important role in marketing.
You have to consider how these elements will play into your marketing campaigns.
Marketing is Tactical, Branding is Strategic
After marketing has swept through the room, the brand is what remains. Your brand is bigger than any of your marketing efforts.
Your brand is what people associate with your business, products, or services. Even if someone doesn’t buy your product, what sticks in their mind still matters.
Branding is what earns you loyal customers. For instance, marketing can convince a person to buy a Samsung phone, and it might be the first android phone they ever bought. Branding will convince them to stick to Samsung phones for the rest of their life.
A business builds a brand from many things. But, the lived experience of the brand is one of its most important elements.
Do the sales rep or tech support rep know what they are talking about? If the brand promises reliability, does the phone deliver on its promise? Does the manufacturer continuously uphold the quality standards that make it popular with its target audience?
Marketing Attracts Buyers, Branding Makes Them Stick Around
Marketing locates and converts members of your target audience into buyers. But branding turns those buyers into loyal customers, brand evangelists, and brand advocates.
This goes for all types of organizations and companies. Different organisations sell in different ways, but you can rest assured that all of them must sell—even nonprofits.
Every member of your company participates in the construction (or deconstruction) of your brand with their every action.
Every thought, every promotion, every ad, and every policy can inspire brand loyalty in people you are targeting, but it can also deter them. And all of this affects sales.
Both Marketing and Branding Are Necessary Investments
Many business owners see marketing as nothing more than a cost centre because they fail to understand the importance of branding.
But, marketing is an investment that can deliver great ROI in terms of brand reinforcement and sales, provided that it is well-researched and well-executed.
On the surface, branding is a cost centre as well. However, the loyalty it brings will help your business thrive.
Other benefits of branding include customers who become advocates and ambassadors for your business as well as sales reps whose jobs become more effective and much easier.
Branding is just as important as having quality employees, having a vision for the future, and having financial coherence.
So yes, like organisational innovators, financial experts, and good employees, branding is a cost centre, but it is key for a successful operation. Branding and marketing do cost, but it costs even more not to have them.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects.
He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.