What is the difference between branding and marketing?!
When you’re starting a business there are many words and phrases that you will hear. When you’re not an expert they can all sound the same and you can be left wondering what the difference between them is. Two of those terms which can be easily confused are branding and marketing.
Both of them are vital and as with many things in business, they are connected with each other. This can make the terms even harder to understand. Here we will go through them in more detail to ensure that you’re fully up to speed.
What is the difference?
Before we go further into the terms, let’s have a look at a quick definition. The branding of a business is everything about their image. It’s your logo, name, customer service and everything in between. Everything about your business says something about it and that is your brand.
Marketing is how you deliver the message of your brand and how you sell yourself. If branding is your image then marketing is how you communicate that image. Without a strong brand, it’s hard to market yourself, and without good marketing, it’s hard to get the message of your brand across.
Let’s look at an example using a person. If you go into a car dealership and see a salesperson dressed smartly, with a kind face and a clean appearance then you’re more likely to approach them. That image is how they have branded themselves. The way that they then communicate with you is them marketing their services to you.
As you can see, the two are closely linked. The more confusing aspect is that how a company markets themselves is also a part of your brand. If you’re still unsure, we’ll now go into more detail on both subjects.
What is your brand?
Branding is a vital part of any business and you’ll see that most companies act and deliver their brand in a consistent way. Before starting any business you need to know the image that you want to deliver to your customers.
The likes of McDonald’s aren’t bothered about appealing to those who want fine dining and the likes of Prada don’t want to appeal to regular shoppers. With both companies, you know what makes them unique, who they appeal too and what everyone else thinks of their business.
When developing a brand you need to ask yourself key questions such as who are you appealing too? What are your core values? What makes your business unique? And how you are going to style your business?
If you think of any major business whether it is an airline, a supermarket or a clothes shop you’re going to be able to answer these key questions. You want anyone to be able to do the same for your business. Are you professional or casual? Aimed at rich or regular workers? Convenience or Luxury? Your business needs to deliver a clear and consistent brand.
When you develop a strong brand, consumers will learn to trust it and know what to expect. This can help to make your business thrive. Having a weak and confusing brand and put people off and turn them away from your business.
Where does marketing come in?
You have your brand. Now you need the whole world to know it and recognize it. You need to get yourself out there and deliver your message. The way that you go about that is marketing and there are many ways you can market yourself.
Take that salesman we talked about earlier. They could look great, have all the knowledge and be incredibly good at sales. But if they are kept in a back room away from the customers they won’t be able to sell anything. Marketing is about getting out there are promoting your brand.
With a business, this can be done in a vast number of ways. Marketing is closely related to advertising. Advertising is a form of marketing but so is your social media presence and your online presence which aren’t forms of advertising.
You can market yourself with SEO-rich blog posts, viral social media posts, adverts, radio messages, leaflets and a whole lot more. Marketing is everything that you do to get the message of your business, and therefore your brand, across.
Which is more important?
They are both equally as important but you can’t market effectively without a solid brand. Therefore, you need to nail down your brand before you move on to marketing. This involves careful business planning.
A trap that many people fall into is trying to please everyone. You may think that appealing to everyone is the best way to maximize your business but you’ll end up diluting your brand and not standing out.
Do Ferrari appeal to close needing cheap hatchbacks? No. Do Target appeal to those wanting high-end furniture? No. These big companies know how to market themselves as they have a very clear and concise brand with clear values.
When you have a watertight brand, it makes marketing a lot easier. You shouldn’t pretend to be something that you’re not. A business won’t survive if it can’t market itself but it can’t market itself without a strong brand.
One of the fundamental differences between branding and marketing is that your marketing methods change often but your branding should never change. Or if it does, it should be with very careful consideration. Take McDonald’s, they were established in 1940 and their brand has never changed but their marketing changes all the time.
They are equally important but very different when you focus in on them. You’re branding will help to keep a loyal and consistent customer base. Your marketing will help to bring new customers in and highlight new products.
Why they are so closely linked?
Say you have an ice cream shop. A potential customer does up to the counter and speaks to the server. Their clothing, attitude, and greeting is a part of your brand. How they communicate with the customer is marketing with the likes of explaining flavors, upselling and providing good customer service.
Also, all of your logos, taglines, and colors will be a part of your brand but they will also be on all of your marketing material. This is why they are closely linked and why you can’t be good in just one area.
Be an expert in both.
With good branding, you are giving your business solid foundations on which to build. Some of your marketing tactics might fail but if you have a strong brand to fall back on, it makes it a lot easier to succeed.
Your branding will give you a strong marketing platform and when your marketing works, customers are going to keep coming back to your trusted brand. With all this knowledge you’re going to become an expert in both which will make success a lot more likely.