6 Key Differences in Branding vs Marketing

by | Apr 14, 2020 | Tip Tuesday

6 Key Differences in Branding vs Marketing

Branding vs Marketing

The terms “branding” and “marketing” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these two have a different meaning. If you ask marketers to tell you what branding is, you may be surprised that they will give you different answers. It’s not like asking doctors to explain what nephritis is, at least, they will tell you it’s inflammation of the kidneys. So, when it comes to branding and marketing, we need to draw a clear line between the two so that we use them appropriately where applicable. 

While the two are connected, there are some differences between them. As a business owner, it is important you understand marketing and branding in detail.  

There are many points that can help you understand the differences between marketing and branding. 

Marketing inculcates the message you convey 

You need to realize that your brand is your business’s identity. It’s often said that authentic brands don’t usually emerge from advertising agencies or marketing cubicles. They come from all the things that the company or business does. The reason why your business exists in the first place is your brand. It is the unique, singular, authentic value you will give to your customers. Your brand includes your business or company culture. You always converse your brand to your customers every time they involve or interact with your product and services or marketing campaigns. 

You own your marketing, but customers own your brand

This is a very important point to mention. Marketing is easier to understand and also control when compared to branding. You find that branding doesn’t come as easy as it may seem. While there are things like customer service and marketing that help with your branding efforts, however, you cannot create your brand value if you don’t use these important aspects. Your brand isn’t your idea; it’s the idea of the customers. You need to give your customers what they want. Many marketing executives think that they can control how customers perceive their brand, but that’s not possible. 

Marketing is about storytelling, but branding focuses more on listening than talking. Your customers are in a better position to tell you more about your brand than you can tell them.  

The best brands you have ever known such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Walmart, and others have established a comprehensive difference between marketing and branding. They are able to create market campaigns able to work in harmony with their marketing and branding strategies. These brands always pay attention and listen to their customers. They allow their values and expectations to define the standing of their brand. They, then build their marketing campaigns to convey the values using unique, simple methods. 

Marketing is a tactic, and branding is a strategy. 

Your brand is more significant than your marketing activities. It’s what you have left behind after your marketing sweeps the place. Your brand is what sticks in the conscious mind of the consumer after they come across it through your marketing as well as non-marketing campaigns. 

A brand doesn’t have to feature in the mind of the consumer after they have bought or tried your service or product, it can stick in mind even without interacting or using the product. 

Throughout the customer’s purchase journey, they will interact with the brand features, and they will pick them up and store them in their minds. Whenever they encounter something that relates to your product, business, marketing, advertising, they can tie that with the brand features they picked. This helps influence the behavior of the customer towards your product or services. 

It is the brand that will determine the realm of customer loyalty. Your brand consists of many components; it consists of the lived experiences of the customer. 

Marketing discovers and stimulates your buyers, branding makes your devoted customers

All businesses have to sell- that’s why they are in business, after all. However, how they sell their products, services, or brand is a different thing. Each staff member of your brand either contributes to the selling process or harms it. 

Your every action, every policy, every ad, every strategy, and every business process impacts your brand’s loyalty to the people who see the brand. What this means is that the things you do regarding your branding efforts will impact on your sales. 

When it comes to cost elements, marketing takes the centerstage part. A properly built marketing campaign is an investment that will pay for itself in both brand fortification and cementing as well as in sales. That being said, branding can also be a cost center, however, it pays in the form of loyalty – your customer loyalty is what you get from branding. That means, although there is an element of cost in branding, it’s a cheap cost center. Your business, through branding, gets returns in the form of self-motivated, hardworking employees and super loyal customers who serve as your brand advocates or ambassadors for your company. 

Branding is just as important as the success of your business

While branding may seem to be a cost center, however, it is an important substance for a business’s prosperous action. Your business is unlikely to go far if it has not defined its brand. It’s the brand that will keep it moving forward even when the marketing efforts have failed. It’s the brand that will allow your customers to remain loyal even when your business is struggling to remain afloat. Also, it’s the brand that will distinguish your business from the competition. Unless you understand how you can build your brand positioning, you are likely to fail. 

Branding is a promise you deliver  

A brand is a promise delivered – every brand owner will make certain promises he or she has to deliver to the customers. In order to brand effectively, you must deliver the promises you make on each and every campaign and occasion. 

So a brand is not merely the color scheme, name, logo, or other elements of your business, it is everything and anything that your company does. Branding aims at helping you know your target audience – their desires, their wishes, and their demands or needs as it pertains to your business, products, communication, customer care, customer relationships, and other components. 

Branding helps the target audience to understand why your business, your product, your service, or even your customer experiences are better for them than those of your competitors. 


Your marketing needs to be built on your brand’s values, identity, the pitch of voice, and positioning. At the same time, branding serves to keep up with the promises you make by delivering them to your employees and customers. Branding should trigger and precede your marketing activities. “Marketing is a tactic, branding is a strategy” Therefore, branding isn’t a push tactic, it’s a pull tactic. However, marketing is a push strategy.

Branding involves communicating the values, attributes, identity, and positioning of your customers. A brand supports your marketing efforts by guiding the consumer to purchase your products and service. However, you won’t find branding explicitly saying, “Buy me!” but you will find it saying, “This is me!” 

You are not the final decision maker when it comes to branding; it’s the customer who has the say.  When you understand the elements that distinguish branding vs marketing, you can apply these two components effectively and intuitively to get the desired results in your business campaigns. 

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