Branding Marketing

Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

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Businesses can either thrive or dive, depending on how effective their marketing strategies are and brand recognition. Business owners need to know the difference between branding versus marketing and how to utilize both for their business’s success. These two strategies are very similar and connected, but there are some slight differences. In simpler terms, branding is your identity and marketing how you build awareness. To understand the difference between branding versus marketing in more detail, let’s take a look at each strategy individually. 


Branding is a marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product or service. When determining what your brand is, you should ask yourself several questions beyond industry generalizations and services or products offered to identify who you are as a company. Questions to ask can include answering the following:

  • What are your core principles and values?
  • What is your mission statement?
  • What inspired your business?
  • What makes you unique?
  • How do you want people to feel when they think of your company?
  • How do you want customers to describe your company?

Remember that your brand is your promise to your consumer. It lets your customers know what they can expect from your product or service, and it sets you apart from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you aspire to be, and whom consumers think you are.

The foundation of a company’s brand is its logo. It is best practice to communicate your brand by integrating your logo on your company’s website, packaging, and promotional materials.  Logos are crucial to a company’s branding because it’s the first thing that people see and how they will identify or recognize your company’s product or service.

Brand strategy is the how, what, where, when, and to whom you plan to communicate your brand messaging. Where you choose to advertise is a part of the brand strategy. Distribution channels and what you communicate visually and verbally are also a part of your brand strategy. Social media distribution channels are the go-to in branding and marketing strategies in getting the attention of today’s digital audience.

Choosing distribution channels is only part of the branding strategy process. You have to be consistent. Consistency in branding creates substantial brand equity and can add value to your product or service. This added value can allow you to charge more than other identical, unbranded products or services. This branding strategy is easily seen in the top nationally and internationally known companies. 


Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and the process of creating, communicating, distributing, and exchanging offerings that are of value to consumers, clients, partners, and society in general. Marketing has four basic steps, known as the 4 Ps of Marketing.

1. Product 

The set of attributes that includes its features, functions, and benefits that can be exchanged or used.  A product can come in the form of an idea, a physical entity, or a good or a service.  It can also be a combination of all three. The term “products and services” is still used, “product” is a term that includes both goods and services.

2. Price

The amount a customer pays to acquire a product. The formal ratio indicates the number of money, goods, or services needed to get a set amount of goods or services.

3. Place (Distribution)  

The act of marketing and delivering a product to consumers. The placement also describes the extent of marketing coverage. There are a variety of distribution channels to choose from when marketing your product. As previously mentioned, social media channels are popular among businesses to reach their target audience. Companies can advertise on social media websites, like Facebook and Instagram, by placing ads on these platforms that can be viewed by their chosen demographic.

4. Promotion 

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) defines promotional marketing as tactics that encourage short-term purchase, influence trial, and purchase amount. They are measurable in volume, share, and profit.

According to the (ANA), there are different marketing strategies used by individuals and companies depending on their product and target audience.

Influencer Marketing is the act of leveraging specific individuals who influence potential buyers and centering marketing activities around these individuals that will drive a company’s brand message to a broader audience. The focus is on inspiring or compensating influencers that include celebrities, content creators, and customer advocates rather than marketing directly to a group of consumers.

Strategies and tactics that segment consumers to build loyalty are known as relationship marketing. This method leverages database marketing behavioral advertising and analytics to focus solely on consumers and develop loyalty programs.

Another type of marketing that is well-known in today’s online social media society is viral marketing. Viral videos are spread continuously across social media and often make an appearance on television news media. This phenomenon encourages people to share a specific marketing message. This particular strategy is nicknamed “viral” because it imitates the spread of a virus or disease passing from one person to another.

Companies whose mission is to produce, promote, and package products that are sensitive or responsive to ecological concerns use a method called green marketing. This style of marketing involves the creation and marketing of products that are perceived as environmentally safe. These products are developed to lessen the adverse effects on the environment or to improve its quality.

If your goal is to reach your target audience with the right message at the right time, then keyword marketing may be best suited for you. This strategy consists of placing a marketing message directly in front of users based on keywords and phrases they will use to search.  Marketers use this method because it results in an ad’s placement in front of potential buyers when they search for specific keywords or phrases.

Marketing Research is what links the consumer, customer, and general public to the marketer through information. Marketers use this information to identify and define opportunities and issues, generate and refine, assess actions, monitor performance, and improve marketing comprehension as a process. This research is necessary because it specifies the information needed to address issues, outlines the method for collecting information, maintains and implements the data collection process, analyzes results, and communicates these results and their implications.

There Can Be Overlap

Being that branding and marketing are so intertwined, there will be some overlap. Overlap happens when you choose your company’s imagery that will be used continuously. Your choice of colors, graphics, and logo for your company will first represent your brand, but they will also be a crucial part of your marketing campaigns.

Which Should You Do First – Brand or Market?

Since branding is your company’s identity and the core of your marketing strategy, it should come first naturally.  Even if you are a start-up business, defining who you are as a brand before you commence marketing methods or tactics is crucial. It would help if you had consumer loyalty, so you will ensure that customers will keep coming back by focusing on building your brand. Think about businesses like restaurants and stores that you frequently use, whether they are locally owned or a part of a major franchise. You and your family have probably been a customer of those businesses for a long time. Your genuine commitment to go back is because they have developed trust and loyalty with you through branding.

Marketing strategies will always change or evolve since they need to respond to current trends and industry changes in society. Branding remains the same. There may be some adjustments to your brand over time, but it will usually be in response to your company’s growth or the expansion of services. It is extremely rare for a company to change its mission, core principles, and values entirely.

Branding is done daily and achieved through every transaction processed and communicated to customers by phone, email, or other channels. You and your employees are always representing your brand. Marketing, on the other hand, can be done partially or entirely through outside sources. When looking at branding versus marketing, remember that branding is your identity, and marketing is how you get consumers’ attention.

About the author


Michelle Alese

Michelle Alese is a Senior SEO Strategist at Kantaloupe an omnichannel digital marketing agency. Her main strengths include off-page SEO, keyword research, and competitor analysis. When she's not working on marketing projects, she can be found writing fiction novels and walking her rescue beagle, Tommy.