Oftentimes, when people hear the word marketing, they don’t realize there’s a lot more under the surface that goes into “marketing” a business.
For example, there’s marketing and branding.
Marketing vs branding.
Frankly, it can all get quite confusing if you don’t start by understanding the basics first.
These are actually two different concepts and without distinguishing between them you won’t be able to recognize why you need both.
So you might now be asking “what are the key differences of these two and what do I need to know?”
Well, lucky for you, you’ll find this out and everything you need to know about marketing vs branding and more!
In the end, you will understand the main differences between these two concepts – marketing and branding and why they matter for businesses today.
Now let’s get into marketing vs. branding. First, we will start with branding.
What Exactly is Branding?
To be completely truthful, if you were to look up the answer online, the answer isn’t so clear…
According to Google, branding is the action of marking with a branding iron. And in the case of marketing, this doesn’t help us understand what branding really is.
But there is a 2nd definition that Google provides.
“Branding is the promotion of a product by means of advertising and distinctive design.”
Now when we look at this definition of branding, it more closely correlates to what we know about marketing.
Branding Mag refers to branding as “a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol, or design that is easily identifiable.”
Let’s pause for a second and break down these definitions.
So far, we’ve heard that branding is:
1) a marking
2) advertising and design and
3) a name or symbol
One consistency we can see here is that in all definitions, there is some element of visual identity or creative design in it, whether it be a mark, symbol, or illustration.
But surely, branding is more than this, right? There has to be a reason why they didn’t just call this “art” or “graphic design.”
It’s because branding is much deeper than that. Branding is a BIG deal.
There are other terms that you might encounter when searching for branding such as brand equity, brand promise, visual brand, etc.
Therefore, let us tell you what branding ACTUALLY is.
We went to the source and learned what branding really meant. We learned the actual definition from a branding agency.
Branding is a person’s gut feeling about a product or service.
Branding is an emotion.
An emotion that someone has about your business.
It is how your brand information makes your target audience feel when they first come into contact with it.
You probably think we’re full of it, don’t you? But we’re serious.
This is actually what the term branding means in the world of marketing.
To prove to you that this is true, let’s do a simple test right now.
Take a good look at this photo of Spirit Airlines.
Now, take a look at this photo of Delta Airlines.
Which one makes you feel better?
Which do you trust more?
Which are you happier to see?
If we had to guess, we’d probably say you lean more towards Delta.
Their branding captures a feeling of reliability and trust. No, we can’t explain why it’s this way, it’s just how this image makes me feel.
Still don’t believe it? Let’s look at another one.
Here’s an image of Yahoo’s search engine.
And here’s an image of Google’s search engine.
Now don’t think about which one you use. Think about which of these speaks to you more.
If we had to guess, we’re going to say the answer would be Google. If you think about what a search engine is used for, you will understand why we said Google.
It’s primarily because people use search engines to find information.
And Google’s search engine makes this very easy.
They remove all of the other news, ads, and other things that Yahoo does on their home page.
If we asked which platform you associated with news and ads, Google probably wouldn’t be your answer.
Google will only show you ads based on what you’re actually looking for like if you do a specific search you’ll see ads at the top relevant to that topic.
And many users prefer this.
Let’s look at one more comparison.
Samsung vs. Apple.
Which of these brands tug on your heart the most? The answer really depends on what you’re into.
If you’re wanting innovation, Apple’s branding might speak more to you.
Not because they actually are more innovative, but just look at their brand – it says innovation.
What tech company do you know that has an Apple as their logo?
You can probably remember the time you first learned about a new tech company called “Apple” and thought “what is this?”
Meanwhile, if you’re wanting reliability, and arguably better features for less money, Samsung might pull you.
There are a handful of people who LOVE Samsung products. But when it comes to phones and computers, there are many others who would disagree.
What all these top companies have in common is the way they have positioned their brands through branding.
This shows why branding is important for business owners and really is a key factor to consider when creating the image around your brand.
Let’s bring branding to a close with some major points here before comparing it to marketing.
The Important Points of Branding
As stated, branding is the FEELING that people, your target customers included, have when they encounter your brand.
Branding is an art, not a science. It involves choosing the right symbols, messaging, and design in your company.
Even things such as color play a major role in your branding.
For example, take a look at our blog about Color psychology where we go more in-depth with what colors mean for different brands.
This is why understanding colors is also an important part of your branding strategy.
To do branding correctly for your business, you can use a website like Brand Personalities to identify your brand archetype.
Basically, this is a character that defines your brand’s personality. It takes a certain personality to spark emotions for a specific person.
Using this archetype will help you identify what characteristics of your brand connect the most with your target market.
Ultimately, this takes you really understanding your customer avatar and who you’re trying to resonate with.
Therefore, be sure to carefully construct your branding with brand archetypes and your customer in mind.
But branding is bigger than this.
EVERYTHING your business does has a branding impact.
That’s why establishing a good brand image is crucial for not only big businesses but also small businesses just entering the market. It definitely helps a business grow.
Your marketing, your solutions, and ESPECIALLY your reputation is all important.
You can have a great brand design but still have horrible branding.
Just take McDonald’s as a great example of this.
McDonald’s branding is pretty good.
With their logo “The Golden Arches” and their use of fun-loving characters, they have managed to create a brand image that appeals heavily to their audience.
In addition, they’re playful, spontaneous, and funny. This is evidenced by their Instagram page.
McDonald’s is very consistent in their brand archetype, color scheme, brand voice, brand promise, and messaging and everything with their branding just makes sense.
However, their branding isn’t the reason their image has taken a hit in recent years.
What went wrong?
Well, none of this matters if your customers find out you’ve been feeding them pink slime.
And when food documentaries start coming out they suggest you’re basically killing people by injecting them with processed foods, loads of sugar, and those salty french fries everyone loves…
…your brand image is going to take a toll.
McDonald’s reputation took a huge beating over the years, but they have been recovering by making several adjustments to its menu and ingredients.
Nonetheless, we say all of this to say that you can have the best brand design in the world but still have horrible branding due to everything else not related to design, like your reputation.
So by now, you should have a general idea of what branding is.
But you may be wondering… “what is the difference between branding and marketing?” So let’s get into that.
Marketing vs Branding: Why Do You Need Them?
Marketing is more of an overarching umbrella that encompasses other aspects.
Strategies such as email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, SEO, and more all fall under marketing.
On the other hand, branding is a subset of marketing.
It is an aspect of marketing, but is not the only thing marketing is concerned with.
For instance, marketing also includes advertising. And many times people also think these two terms are interchangeable.
But in actuality, they are not.
Marketing’s primary focus is to communicate your value to customers.
Branding is simply one of the ways marketing communicates to your customers but is not the ONLY way to communicate.
Your Product and Solutions communicate value.
Pricing communicates your value.
Your advertising and promotion channels communicate your value.
Your website and geographic location also help you to communicate with your customers.
Branding helps you present your marketing message in the best way possible to aid marketing in its attempt to communicate with your customers.
Marketing drive sales and helps you to acquire customers.
But, branding is what makes people keep coming back to your business. And you can’t market bad branding. It doesn’t work that way.
A great marketing value proposition with a crappy website, blurry logo, and weak messaging can be more harmful to your business than helpful.
Both, marketing and branding, depend on each other in order to be effective.
Thus, it’s not really Marketing vs. Branding, but instead, Marketing AND Branding.
As we mentioned in the beginning, to really communicate your business message in the best way possible, you need the two to work together.
Simply trying to have one without the other isn’t something we recommend.
As we’ve mentioned before, marketing is the bigger umbrella, so there is a lot more to it than we can fit in this blog.
To learn more about what marketing is really about, then check out our blog about Why is Marketing Important…
…to get more insight on how you can use it to make a difference in your business.
In other news, let’s go ahead and recap everything we’ve discussed in this blog so you can start working on your branding strategy!
Marketing vs Branding; A Quick Recap
Today we focused on one simple question – What is the difference between marketing vs branding?
As discussed, branding is the FEELING people associate with your business.
While marketing helps COMMUNICATE that FEELING and ultimately, your business’s value proposition to your ideal customer.
When it comes to branding, it’s important for you to keep in mind that EVERYTHING your business does can impact your branding.
Yes, your logo and design is important. But none of this matters if your customers aren’t happy and you have a terrible reputation.
So, you need great marketing to supplement your branding.
Likewise, great marketing with HORRIBLE branding won’t do you any good either.
No one will buy from a business they don’t trust, or that flat-out looks unprofessional.
So the best solution is to carefully build both, your brand and your marketing – together.
But where do you start?
Well, you can start by checking out more of our detailed blogs. For example, to learn how to build a marketing plan we have more information on that.
Having a marketing plan in place will help you to better communicate your message to your audience.
Or if you want to learn more about what content to produce for your marketing, we can provide insight on that too.
We have plenty of useful information small businesses can use to gain more insight on what they can do to enhance their marketing efforts.
Maybe you don’t want to wait and want to jump right into developing your branding and marketing strategies, but you don’t want to start on your own.
No problem. We can help with that too!
You can start with your branding and marketing, however, there is much more you can do with digital marketing today.
You can invest in web design, search engine optimization, and even social media advertising.
These are all major online marketing solutions that we can help your business utilize. Contact us today to learn more!