The terms branding and marketing too often being misunderstood or mixed up. Although both are crucial to building a business, it's critical to know that they aren't the same at all. You can effectively utilize both to your best advantage.
As a business owner, it is essential that you understand branding and marketing both in detail, so that you can effectively utilize them together. Below is a closer look at the differences between marketing and branding.
Let's start with marketing because it is the umbrella under which all these other industries live. And that's exactly how you should look at it. It's an umbrella that covers, branding, messaging, online presence, content, social media, PR, advertising, research...you name it, it's under the greater canopy of marketing.
Marketing is the term people tend to understand comparatively better than branding. Marketing should not be confused with advertising. Marketing is a collective term that includes any tools and tactics we use to build our business. And advertising is often one of these tactics. Marketing is an umbrella that covers, branding, messaging, online presence, content, social media, PR, advertising, research, etc. A good marketing company can provide all these under one roof.
Every business must market itself. Even if you have a shop in a high-traffic area, you will need a good sign board, nicely designed menu, or some good brochure to inform customers about what you have to offer. Today, you're likely to use a combination of different marketing tools and strategies such as print ads, pay-per-click ads, social media marketing, videos, billboards etc. In brief, anything you do to draw the attention of your leads or customers to your store or website is marketing.
Branding is a more complicated and expressive practice than marketing. Just to be clear, branding is not just a logo created by some logo designer. Many businesses fail to engage in any real branding which limits their potential but it's still possible to run a moderately successful business without the need of branding. That’s where a good reliable branding agency comes into play.
A brand exists only in the minds of consumers and nowhere else. Your brand is how your customers perceive you. Just as people have personal identities, businesses too have identities. This includes your image, values, and personality. Think of Apple and Harley Davidson - each of these companies have their own distinct character. If Apple was a person, they would be hip, smart, approachable, fun, and dependable. Harley Davidson would exude confidence, brotherhood, and ruggedness. That is branding - the process of identifying and communicating the personality traits.
Branding is not directly related to selling or to a specific ‘call-to-action’. It is more concerned with intangibles such as emotions or values. Companies that are exceptionally good at branding are Apple, Nike, Disney, and Coca-Cola. Nike has been known to associate its products with a healthy and athletic lifestyle. Apple's advertisements focus more on the originality and aesthetics of the company than on product features.
The Importance of Understanding Branding vs. Marketing
Now that the difference between marketing and branding are clear, the importance of understanding the two all comes down to conversions. While you could create your marketing strategies with the right keyword trends, your conversions still will be lower if your audience is not connected to your business as a brand.
Your branding is what generates the connection. Although marketing content might be engaging, it is the ongoing branding that keeps customers coming back. There are companies who offer comparable or the same products and services that you offer. It is your branding that will keep your customers returning for more, building loyalty and trust. It is your branding that makes you unique.
Without branding you may achieve success. But with branding, your success will be far more extensive. Understanding the difference between marketing and branding will allow you to build your foundation of branding.