Mixing up marketing and branding is only one of the most common mistakes people encounter. So what’s the difference?
Marketing and branding are often pronounced in the same breath. They’re the things that help businesses to connect with customers and to put their message out there. In this article, I’ll explain in detail what marketing and brand are and outline the difference between the two.
Marketing vs. branding
Before we jump into the differences between marketing and branding, let’s first cover what, exactly, marketing and branding are.
I couldn’t explain it better than the marketing guru himself, so here’s Seth Godin’s definition of marketing: “If you need to persuade someone to take action, you’re doing marketing.”
Marketing is best recognised as a set of tools, processes and strategies you use to promote your product or service. They’re the link between your customers and getting them to buy what you’re selling.
Branding is the marketing practice of shaping your brand. It can be thought as choosing how you dress, how you speak, and how you act. Branding is defining your brand’s personality. This includes not only key brand elements like your logo, but also non-visual aspects such as your mission, values and what makes you different from your competitors.
In a nutshell, marketing is promoting, and branding is shaping.
Check out the below illustration for a snapshot of the major differences.
Marketing gets their attention, branding keeps their attention
No matter your industry, you’re bound to face fierce competition (unless you’re playing in a super niche category). If you want to make waves and get your customer’s attention, marketing is an absolute must.
Once you have your customer’s attention though, you need something that will keep their attention, which is where branding comes in.
Trust is driving factor of branding, and people want to do business with brands they believe will follow through on their promise. While marketing will help cut through the noise, it’s the brand building that you need to follow up with to connect with people.
Marketing drives sales, branding drives recognition and loyalty
Executing marketing strategies has the intention of getting results, and the results of those strategies are usually tied in with conversions.
This is crucial for any business to survive, but branding takes a more long-term approach. Branding isn’t the solution if you’re looking to drive sales, but it’s the best solution if you’re looking to build brand recognition, build positive brand sentiment and foster customer loyalty, which will all have a major impact on your brand to drive sales in the long run.
Marketing is the sprint.
Branding is the marathon.
Branding comes first, marketing comes second
In the grand scheme of building your business, branding always comes before marketing. Otherwise, how will you market a brand that hasn’t been designed yet?
Before putting a marketing strategy in place, focus on branding first. Who are you as a brand? How are you different to your competitors? What is your mission statement? And most importantly, how are you going to communicate to your audience?
When you have the answers to questions like these, you’re better equipped to know what the best ways are to connect with that audience – and you can start building a marketing strategy that brings that to life.
Marketing strategies come and go—but branding is forever
One final thing to keep in mind is that branding isn’t a one-time thing that you do at the beginning of your business. It’s an ongoing effort that goes through constant revisions and development and your business grows. You’re always defining who you are as a company, shaping your brand’s perception with your audience and continually creating deeper and more meaningful relationships with your customers.
Your branding will grow and evolve as your company continues to grow and evolve.