Branding vs Marketing: The Strategic Difference

Branding vs Marketing
The Strategic Difference

Branding vs marketing, marketing vs branding.

Though many think splitting the difference is semantics, like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first… it’s far from it.

Although branding and marketing share overarching goals and often work in tandem to achieve them, Branding and Marketing each have distinct roles and individual goals.

By the end of this article, you won’t just understand the difference between the two, but you’ll be able to explain it clearly to clients and colleagues alike.

Branding vs Marketing
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What Is Branding?

OK, I really don’t want to, but I’ll start with what it’s not.

Your brand is not your logo or fonts. It’s not your brand values (aka what the brand stands for), purpose, position, personality, message, tagline, story or promise.

It’s also not the creation, development or design of the elements that make up your visual brand. I.e. “branding” is not the designing of your logo. Though those make up your brand identity (also known as visual identity).

Branding is a set of short and long-term expressions of the brand to attract and nurture the target audience to become and remain customers.

It does this by shaping their perceptions of the brand.

Definition Of Branding

Branding is the act of expressing a brand in the market.

This includes all promotion messaging (marketing) as well as long-term non-promotional messaging.

In other words, when you are “branding” you’re expressing everything your brand represents from its differentiation strategy to its personality to its purpose whether that’s visually, verbally or otherwise.

When you post a tweet you’re “branding”.

When you launch your new website you’re “branding”,

When you tell a story you’re “branding”.

When you send out emails you’re “branding”.

A strong brand takes all of these elements into account and creates a brand experience that captivates your target market and fosters customer loyalty.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing makes up the collection of activities and tactics brands use to place their messages into the market with the goal of influencing the audience to buy.

Marketing is more focused on sales than branding and is based on a shorter timeframe — aka a marketing campaign. It almost always has a call to action to buy or to step towards a buy.

Definition Of Marketing

Marketing is the act of promoting a brand in the market to drive sales.

In other words,

Search Engine Optimisation is “marketing”

Social Advertising is “marketing”

Content Promotion is “marketing”

Promotional Emails are “marketing”

Which Comes First: Marketing or Branding?

Because marketing drives sales and provides the initial traction for the brand, you could be forgiven for thinking that marketing comes first.

However, the messages that makes up the marketing stem directly from the brand and the brand strategy.

Marketing only comes into play after the brand has been built with a clear brand strategy in place to guide brand expression.

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Build Brands Like A Pro Brand Strategist