Branding vs marketing - what's the difference and why it matters
We hear the terms marketing and branding being bantered around together too readily, which causes confusion as to what is what.

The 8 key differences between branding and marketing

We hear the terms marketing and branding being bantered around together too readily, which causes confusion as to what is what. Let’s make no mistake about this – branding and marketing are entirely different. It’s important to know where to place your focus and your hard earned dollars.

1. Why vs how

Branding is your ‘why’. What do you stand for? Your values and ethics. This is the reason why you are in business and what you promise your clients. It’s how consumers feel about your business, services or products. This is the basis for your entire reputation.

Marketing is the ‘how’. It is the process you go through in order to make more sales. You may market online, face to face or even print. This is a process, not a position.

2. Reputation vs sales

Branding is all about creating an enduring reputation. It is cementing into the minds of your consumers that you are a trustworthy business based on consistent values.

The key aim for marketing is to generate sales. These may be discounts or focused on a particular season or event. These don’t necessarily relate to the brand values. For example, Mercedes Benz having a runout sale on a particular product doesn’t devalue the brand, but it makes the product a more cost effective option for a short period of time.

3. Strategic vs tactical

Building a brand requires strategic thinking – planning ahead, looking at all of the ways your brand can be positioned in the market. From the personality of your brand, through to your brand story, language and tone, dress code, brand culture – and oh yes, your visual identity (although this is a small component of branding).

Marking is tactical. How to increase revenue in a certain amount of time, how to leverage off seasonal selling, promotional offers etc. It can be measured and is usually deemed successful if it has increased sales.

Marketing may contribute to a brand (whether good or bad), but the brand is bigger than any individual marketing campaign.

4. Long-term vs short-term

Branding is a long-term strategy where you build a reputation for your business in the mind of the consumer. It creates longevity and takes time to develop.
Marketing is a short-term solution to get a quick result. It is often based on promotions, announcing new products or leveraging off events such as Christmas, Valentine’s day or school holidays. Marketing has a limited lifespan.

5. Macro vs micro

Branding is big picture thinking. It involves long-term strategies, and future planning and positioning.

Marketing is focused on immediate, short-term outcomes and is often deadline dependent. It may promote a single product or service rather than the entire brand offering.

6. Loyalty vs response

Branding is about building loyalty with your clients so that they keep coming back, repeatedly use your services and then tell all their friends about how great your business is.

Marketing is about generating an immediate response from the customer. Marketing evokes action. This is all about activating customers and increasing sales.

7. Value vs revenue

Branding also refers to the value created for the customer. It’s intangible yet gives a sense of being part of something bigger than simply a transaction. The value is tied up with the brand.
Marketing is about promoting a service or product for the end result of increasing revenue. Marketing should always be measured by your ROI (return on investment).

8. Pull vs push

The process of branding is about pulling people towards your brand. It’s about connecting with them on a level that surpasses your product or service. The idea with branding is to resonate, entice and influence.

Marketing is about pushing products and services in front of prospective customers in the attempt to get them to act.

Marketing may contribute to a brand (whether good or bad), but the brand is bigger than any individual marketing campaign. Your brand is what stands the test of time after marketing has stampeded through the room. Branding is the memory that comes to mind to the public about your product, service, or company name, regardless or whether they have used or are purchasing from you.

To learn more about branding an how you can brand your business on a budget, check out the Brand Magic Masterclass. Alternatively, if you require any assistance with design or website development, contact our team at White River Design to see how we can create a brand that you can be proud of.


Written by branding specialist Debbie O’Connor
Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Written by our Creative Director & Branding Specialist Debbie O'Connor - Consultant, Strategist, Keynote Speaker

Published: Nov 15th, 2016