Differentiating Branding and Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

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Shannon Robinson

9th December 2019

Shannon Robinson

Do you happen to contemplate the difference between marketing and branding? Well, you are of course, not alone, because the majority of us do. Marketing and branding are two important buzzwords that we use very often in the industry, and often are used interchangeably.

The two are undoubtedly connected, but there are minute differences, and as a business owner, one must thoroughly understand those differences. Not to mention that both are powerful tools for spreading information, but both have their own specific uses. But before we figure out differences between the two, let us first define each in detail.

What is Branding?

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Branding is basically the process with which one can reduce a brand or product’s reputation to a single word. It is an effortlessly identifiable representation of who you are as a company and what are your products. Branding is something that resonates with the potential customer so that at the very first encounter, they have a clear idea of what they are dealing with.

Branding gives an overall personality to the business or brand by attaching an attribute to it that tends to appeal to the demographic of its targeted audience. Many of the top brands appeal to their potential customers in a unique way because they are remembered or recognized by their memorable traits. These traits further help the business into more than a faceless entity.

Now, in order to determine who you are as a company, and more significantly, who you are as a brand, it is essential to ask yourself a list of questions. Some of these are:

• What are your core values to be followed?
• Do you have a clear-cut mission statement? If no, make one!
• What are your products and why are you offering them to potential customers?
• Do you know your communication characteristics?
• Is there someone or something that inspired you to go for this particular brand?
• How would you want the target audience to define you as a brand?

When you are able to find out answers to all the above-mentioned questions, you surely will differentiate between marketing and branding. These questions give you a clear idea that branding is all about your internal operations that will emanate externally. It will help customers know who you are and what to expect from you as products and services.

What is Marketing?

Marketing talks about all the tools you need in order to define who you are and what message are you expecting to be delivered to the customers. Marketing is not something that will be stagnant like your brand, and rather it will evolve from time to time. This will be geared straight to the targeted audience, while making sure the core values of the business are taken care of.

Marketing is wide and vast in terms of its nature. It can sometimes be funny and heartful, while other times it is serious according to a particular event or the services you offer. There are a variety of online and otherwise platforms through which marketing is performed. Some of the popular ones are:

• Search Engine Optimization
• Social Media Marketing
• Sponsored Ads
• Mobile Marketing
• Broadcast Media such as TV and Radio
• Print Media such as newspapers, magazines and brochures etc.

The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

The boundaries between marketing and branding are often distorted or nonexistent. Not only are newcomers confused about both the terms, but some professionals also lump the two together. Not having enough knowledge of how one term is interconnected to the other, yet different, can affect the overall sales of your business. We, therefore, have done the research and now will rectify all the misconceptions connected to marketing and branding. Here are the 3 main differences between the two:

1) Branding is your identity, while marketing is promoting that identity

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Just like every person has a name, and that name is his identity, branding in a similar way is a businesses’ core identity. It not only includes the values of a company, but also defines the experiences, characteristics, and interests. While the hobbies might change over time, but the identity will always remain the same.

On the other hand, marketing is all about engaging in promotional activities that help people understand what your identity is. This is usually done through advertisements, posts on social media platforms, and blogs that reach masses. All the Instagram posts that you see every day by your favorite brands are marketing.

2) Branding cannot be measured while marketing is measurable

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Branding has no hard and fast rules or any formula. One can build an identity that tends to entice potential customers, but there is only one way to outline the direction of your success- it will be coming from a place of validity and rootedness. However, you can measure how impactful your brand is. For example, you can get an idea of how much your brand is liked by the target audience from the number of likes and followers you get on the social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

3) Branding is a long-term commitment to the customers, while marketing can depend on short-term goals.

Branding is not just a huge responsibility but a lifetime commitment that you make with the target audience, especially customers that already use your products and the services you offer. You tell them to buy your products because you promise them, they will, in return, get XYZ. Since you are consistently communicating the same promise, it turns into a long-term commitment.

However, marketing is not a commitment or a long-term strategy. You can post daily on social media, but there will be times when you won’t connect with potential customers via any medium, and that is totally fine. This means the customers will bear that you are not marketing your products every now and then, but they certainly will not tolerate if you do not keep the promise or the long-term commitment(branding).

4) Branding gets you more followers, but marketing will get you more buyers

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You will notice that not everyone that follows you buys your products or enjoy the services you offer. No matter how great your products are, there will be people who still prefer other brands for the same products. This is where marketing comes in. marketing will not bring awareness about your brand, but persuade them to choose your brand from the crowd.

It is hard to say which of these two is more significant as both go hand in hand. If branding is the door, then marketing is keeping it wide open for people. Although branding is what comes first, but it is only active as long as your marketing tools are active. It, therefore, is necessary that one is gnostic about the similarities and differences, so that overall a strong brand image is built, welcoming more customers to join in.

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