Marketing and branding are two terms that are often interchanged. Knowing their key differences will help you better understand what to do next with your business.
Marketers don’t have a clear agreed definition of terms like “marketing” and “branding.” These two terms get interchanged easily. For example, if you ask a marketer what branding is all about, they might answer logos, color schemes, and website design.
While this may not totally be wrong, concepts like logos and color schemes are only a tiny part of a bigger concept such as branding. So what is marketing and what is branding? Why is knowing the difference important, especially in digital marketing? Read on to find out.
Definition: Marketing vs Branding
Marketing is the set of activities a company undertakes to promote its business. It involves the use of tools and strategies to achieve its desired results. The goal of marketing is to generate interest in the company’s product or service.
Branding, on the other hand, is more about actively shaping how consumers perceive the product, service, and business in general. It’s understanding why the company exists and communicating that narrative to whom it exists for.
It’s easy to get confused and think that coming up with “brand names” and “logos” is part of the business’s branding activities. But many consider them as part of marketing— they’re part of the tools used by the business to communicate its identity and what it stands for as a brand.
To put it simply, branding is internal and marketing is external. A business should come up with the branding first, before marketing the brand to target audiences. Knowing the difference lets businesses understand what to prioritize first and what actions to take next.
5 Key Differences of Marketing and Branding
Creating a great brand that stands out isn’t easy. Many of the popular brands we have now Let’s explore more on the key differences between marketing and branding:
1. Marketing piques customers’ interest, branding sustains it
Competition is inevitable for any business. And capturing customers’ attention is a challenge. Sustaining it? That’s the biggest problem.
What marketing does is use all the strategies and tools available to reach out to customers and pique their interests. For example, marketing teams launch campaigns involving Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, pay-per-click (PPC), and email marketing, to generate leads.
Once leads convert into customers, it’s the branding that encourages them to stay. Consumers want to do business with brands they believe in. So, in short, marketing allows you to say “hello” to customers, while branding keeps the conversation going.
2. Marketing drives sales results, branding builds trust and loyalty
Most marketing strategies are results-oriented, or at least, they should be. And ultimately, it’s all about sales. Sales are what keeps businesses afloat. They bring in the money needed to sustain the business’s operations and make it grow.
But branding ensures that the business is able to build brand recognition— that total strangers won’t have trouble converting into loyal customers. It ensures that the business’s activities are able to drive positive brand sentiment and build customer trust and loyalty— all needed to keep customers coming back for more.
In fact, trust and loyalty are considered key factors in consumers’ purchasing decisions. A survey found that 81% of consumers need to trust the brand first before buying from them.
In the end, because marketing is results-oriented, it looks at the short-term results. Are we able to get leads this month? How much sales do we have during this period? Branding takes a different approach— it assesses whether you can still drive sales in the long run.
3. Branding should be crafted first before marketing
As mentioned in the introduction, businesses should be able to finalize their branding first, before strategizing how to market that brand. The reason for this is simple— it’s hard to market a brand you haven’t designed yet.
It’s important to first define who you are as a brand, what you want to introduce to the market, and what values you are proposing. More importantly, you have to know how you are going to communicate your value to your target market— what tone or style to use, how you are going to be seen or heard, and how to stand out in the competition.
4. Marketing is short-term, branding is long-term
Marketing, in general, is short-term— they provide a temporary boost in business and traffic. But we understand that marketing can be long-term, too. Strategies such as SEO often take a lot of time to build.
But if you consider these strategies as tools to ensure that the brand is not quickly forgotten, then they fall under branding. Branding does not try to make an immediate sale or get a direct response from leads. It seeks to build awareness and recognition over time.
But businesses can combine both. In fact, research from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) claims that brands are most successful when they combine long-term brand building and short-term sales activation.
It shows examples of short-term marketing such as discount pricing, offers or incentives, new product features, or some other promotional event being combined with long-term brand-building activities such as competitions, gifts, and instant wins.
5. Branding affects employees, but marketing— not so much
Branding can affect employees as much as they affect consumers. Marketing? Not so much.
This is one key difference between marketing and branding. Marketing tends to focus on customers alone and rarely impacts employees. Branding, on the other hand, can have profound effects on employees— especially when the brand that they work for is a brand they believe in.
A great brand can motivate employees to be more committed to their work. It can give them organizational pride, which can have a direct, positive effect on employee commitment to customer service and creativity.
Combining Marketing and Branding
Branding and marketing are two different parts of a business. But they both rely on each other. For example, having good branding foundations make it easier for companies to run marketing campaigns and achieve desirable results. Conversely, effective marketing strategies make it easier for companies to spread brand awareness on the market.
These two components will play a crucial role throughout the stages of a business. The early stage of the business will need a solid foundation of branding so the business can have a defined identity. This makes it easy for consumers to recognize the brand.
When the brand has established sufficient awareness of the market, marketing campaigns will then be needed to drive sales results to keep the business running. What’s important is that businesses are able to recognize when to prioritize marketing over branding and vice versa.
Marketing and branding are two different but interdependent components of a business. Marketing captures customers’ attention, while branding keeps their attention right to the end.
Marketing produces short-term results so that the company can keep on running its branding strategies in the long run. Additionally, a strong brand is needed for marketing to work.
The key to business success is to know when to prioritize one over the other at every stage of the business.
Need help with your branding and marketing strategies? Partner with our experts here at Eight Media. Click here to contact us.