Branding vs Marketing- What are the differences?

Marketing and branding are two important concepts that you need to understand to get your brand known in your chosen marketplace. They are two different things, but both are crucial for the success of your business.

The Importance Of Understanding Branding vs Marketing

A female with a question mark on top of her head questioning the difference between marketing and branding.

Branding and marketing are two concepts that are often confused. However, it is important to differentiate marketing from branding if you want your business to be successful in the marketplace.

Both marketing and branding are of equal importance in your organization, but due to their differences, both must be conducted separately.

The brand focuses on the brand of your business. Branding means differentiating yourself from the other businesses in the marketplace through the brand you build for your business.

Developing a strong brand name is important as it dominates communication about your business and distinguishes your organization from its competitors. This was following an article posted in Renderforest, where it claimed that 77% of Business-to-Business (B2B) marketers said that establishing a strong brand is one of the keys to their companies' growth.

Marketing, on the other hand, is the process of promoting your brand. It is the method that you use to reach your target audience and keep them entertained, informed, and interested in what your company will offer.

The importance of marketing is evident with Wordstream's findings that eCommerce in the US has experienced a 20% growth post-pandemic, and this means that with the global lockdowns and restrictions that are still in effect, ensuring that your eCommerce marketing is still competitive is a given.

What Are The Goals Of Branding And Marketing?

The goal of branding is to create an identity or image for your company that differentiates you from the competition. The goal of marketing is to communicate that brand to customers and prospects to focus their attention on your business.

Marketing, contrarily, aims to inform the public, on both your brand and products. Put simply, marketing sells the brand to customers while branding builds a strong reputation.

But then again, branding and marketing do not work in isolation – they are entities dependent on each other. Marketing establishes the identity or image of the brand; branding helps to build it. Without marketing, branding becomes meaningless, because no one knows what your brand is about.

Note that branding and marketing are only part of a company's business strategy – they are not the be-all to end-all of success, but rather one in a series of related activities including customer service, price management, sales promotion, public relations, and product development. Although all parts are important for the long-term health and growth of a company, marketing and branding are essential for immediate success.

A good example is that of an envelope manufacturer who creates a new blue envelope for personal letters. The company's advertising campaigns will inform the public that this new color is available in all post offices; this makes potential customers aware of it and encourages them to try it out. If the customers enjoy using this envelope, they may continue to use it in the future and even spread their positive comments about it to others. Now that is one example of brand marketing through promotion.

The above envelope example also illustrates a marketing concept called ' brand identity.' A company uses its marketing activity to identify itself with some core values – in this case, the color blue and simplicity.

Definitions of marketing vs branding

Even though marketing is sometimes confused with branding (or vice versa), each term refers to a different concept. Marketing is part of branding - not the other way around. You cannot have a strong brand without marketing. Marketing is the activity of creating, communicating, and delivering your message to the target consumer.

In practice, marketing can be broken down into smaller activities such as research, promotion, sales promotion, and direct marketing. A brand is the set of values and associations that symbolize an organization. It's what people think - or feel - about your company or product.

Because a brand is often referred to as a 'prominent' or 'distinctive' name, term, design, symbol, or any combination of these,' it has many meanings and applications in the business environment today. In summary, however, branding is all about owning the customers' minds by consistently conveying your brand values through promotion, distribution, and pricing.

Notice how much goes into a single product or service before a customer interacts with it – all that effort needs to be considered as part of marketing. Promotion is part of the marketing effort to introduce a product or service, but it isn't sufficient to create positive brand awareness.

What Is Marketing?

Marketing, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the activity or business of promoting and selling products or services. To understand the concept behind marketing you have to see it as a process that begins with identifying a target market and ends when a product has been purchased by the consumer. 

The marketing mix consists of four elements: product, price, promotion, and place. If any one of these elements is missing your marketing campaign will be a failure.  A successful marketing strategy also requires extensive knowledge of consumer needs and behavior to devise the right combination best suited for each product/service on offer.

Marketing ensures that the product/service is available to the consumer at the right time and place. It also includes generating consumer interest in that particular product, creating a demand for it, and ultimately persuading them to buy it.

What Is Branding?

Branding, in contrast, is the process of creating and projecting a positive image of the product/service in the minds of consumers, to ensure repeat buying and brand loyalty.  Branding can be done through advertising or promotion.  Branding is important as it increases profit margins by helping customers to differentiate between similar brands, thus making them more willing to spend on your brand.

In fact, according to research conducted by the American Marketing Association, brand loyalty has helped various companies across the world to increase their revenues by more than $1.6 trillion a year.

So, while marketing creates demand for products, branding helps consumers to determine which product is best suited to their needs and ensures they will continue to purchase it.

Which Comes First—Marketing Or Branding?

2 males competing which one comes first, marketing or branding with their colleagues cheering behind them.

Should marketing or branding come first?

In short, no—because there is no way to create a brand without marketing. You can't sell products you don't have, and branding is the step to make your company's name known.

But, how do these two things fit together?

Marketing without brand-building efforts cannot be effective long term.  For example, while the Japanese manufacturer Sony has been one of the most successful brands in recent years and while it has made significant sales with its PlayStation, the brand is not as strong as it could be.

A 2009 study by leading global brand consultancy Interbrand found that Sony's ranking had slipped from 15th in 2007 to 18th in 2009—just behind its rivals Nintendo and Panasonic.  The biggest reason for this was because of waning brand loyalty.

If you compare Sony's brand with its main competitor, Microsoft's Xbox, it is clear which has a better overall marketing strategy. While both brands have been successful in their own right, the biggest driver of success for Xbox has come down to one simple factor: Microsoft understands that you cannot simply put together a product and expect consumers to automatically flock to it.

The marketing efforts have been tried and tested, and the brand is a symbol of successful advertising strategies that can be immediately linked with the product. This has lead to Sony having trouble understanding what leaves a lasting impact on consumers.

Additionally, marketing means that your products or services are being marketed online and in the real world while brand represents the feeling of loyalty customers have towards certain brands because they feel like they belong together, which can not be done with marketing alone. Also, no matter how much you market your brand, it will be of no use if you fail to establish a strong brand identity that perfectly matches your marketing strategy.

Branding vs Marketing: Finding the Difference

A male finding the difference between one brand the other at a supermarket, just like branding and marketing.

In the marketing world, branding and marketing are two terms you hear all the time. A proper understanding of brand marketing is essential for any business that wants to be successful in its endeavors. Knowing the difference between brand and marketing can help you with making important business decisions regarding your product or service.

The major difference between branding and marketing is that brand marketers develop the brand positioning, strategies, and initiatives while brand managers implement the plans. Marketing is more reactive than branding because it involves responding to competition, user opinions (e.g., product reviews), market trends, etc.

When Is Branding Not Marketing?

Branding is not marketing when it is used to define a product class. For example, the terms "Coke" or "Pepsi" are often used to describe any cola beverage, but they don't necessarily mean a brand like Coke or Pepsi has created the product.

Imagine if every morning you woke up and drank corn flakes with strawberry-flavored milk, but then you never ate corn flakes again… the brand would not have made an impact in your life on that product. That is why it is important to know which terms are truly branding and which ones are marketing.

When Is Marketing Not Branding?

On the other hand, marketing is not branding when a product or service can be used interchangeably in a category. For example, when everyone knows what you are talking about when you use the brand name but there is no specific connection between that product and the brand.

Think of it like this…in some ways, branding is like marriage. If it just ends one day with no warning as if it never happened, are you married? It is only worthwhile if it lasts a long time.

What are the Differences Between Branding And Marketing Strategy

2 males playing chess thinking of a strategy. Just like chess, there are different moves for different branding and marketing strategy.

When it comes to strategy, branding and marketing are also different in such a way that marketing is just one component of a branding strategy. So let's define the concepts for clarity again. 

What Is Brand Strategy?

Brand strategy is the core concept that drives every major decision on how a brand communicates and interacts with its target audience. It has to be consistent across all possible touchpoints, so it means finding ways to work with partners and associates in creating experiences your customers can cherish.

The brand strategy focuses on what the company stands for (what the brand represents for its clients), what it wants to achieve (clients' needs and expectations), and what's going to be the brand promise.

The real value of your brand is what you are willing to deliver, not just what you say. It's a balancing act between perceptions and reality, marketing hype and actual results – in short, it's facing the challenge of delivering on the expectations the brand generates.

For any brand to be successful, it must be expressed consistently across all channels and touchpoints with every customer encounter. The cost of not doing that is losing customers, as they get confused or dissatisfied when an organization is saying one thing while doing another.

What Is Marketing Strategy?

On the contrary, a marketing strategy is a long-term plan that defines the goal of the organization and how it intends to reach that goal. A marketing strategy is concerned with identifying target markets, determining which products or services will be offered to specific segments, and what needs these offerings will satisfy.

For your marketing strategy to be successful, it must align with the organization's brand. It must allow your company to do what it needs to support its brand promise, including developing customer relationships, creating positive perceptions, and keeping customers happy and loyal. 

How do marketing and branding work together?

3 team mates work together to push the graph up. Just like marketing ad branding, they need to work together to achieve objectives that neither could accomplish by itself.

So, how can we get the best of both worlds? Marketing and branding can work together to achieve objectives that neither could accomplish by itself. By working together, marketing and branding can help you take advantage of people's natural desire to connect when they identify with a product or service brand. A strong brand is what ties all marketing efforts together and gives them purpose.

Furthermore, branding contributes to the marketing process, whether you're trying to reach a new market or expand beyond your current customer base.

Thus, while branding and marketing share many of the same goals, they have different ways of reaching those goals.

Branding is strategic Marketing is tactical

Branding is strategic in the sense that is supposed to guide and define every marketing strategy. Branding makes marketing's role clear while helping people see how each marketing tactic contributes to the big picture. as David Aaker claimed, "branding is much broader in scope than marketing."

Marketing is claimed as tactical because it is mainly concerned with the tactical approaches and techniques that are used to achieve a given result. Furthermore, the claim that marketing is tactical can be seen by the primary concern of marketing practitioners about taking action. According to marketing authors, marketing is concerned with taking action based on marketing research.

The Overlap of branding and marketing

Branding and marketing overlap in such a way that marketing is not just about the product or the service, which then becomes a brand but it also goes into areas of communication and advertising. Marketing is used to promote the brand from being a mere product or service into a name, symbol, or sign that performs some kind of symbolic meaning for its users.

In addition, branding and marketing overlap in the sense that marketers are responsible for creating a brand image for the product or service that is being marketed. This means that marketing practitioners are tasked and responsible to assure that the brand image of any entity becomes an enduring memory of the customers even if there are changes made to its brand identity.


A female boss choosing between A or B as she holds a small flag to decide her final choice. Understanding branding and marketing will allow you to make more informed decision.

Understanding what branding vs marketing is will help you take better care of both branding and marketing in your organization. This will allow you to make a more informed decision in the long run. It is also a good way to gain a better understanding of such marketing and branding concepts.

However, before finalizing your branding and marketing plan, you must consider factors like what kind of brand personality you want for your product or services, how do you translate this personality into marketing. Furthermore, it is also essential to consider how to develop the brand in a way that it will remain consistent but still be able to meet changing customer needs and market conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For a more in-depth knowledge of brand marketing, you can also consider answering the following questions:

What are the differences between branding and marketing?

One of the main differences between branding and marketing is that branding defines a company's identity as well as its products or services, while marketing helps position those entities about competitors and customers. Marketing is the art of strategically constructing a communication so that it meets its intended objective.

For example, marketing can be used to communicate messages about low prices or high value to influence consumer behavior. Branding, on the other hand, involves the creation of identity and associations around a brand (or product). Marketing reflection short-term strategies versus branding's long-term strategies.

are branding and marketing the same?

Branding and marketing are two separate entities. Marketing is concerned with an organization's short-term tactical direction, including communication plans that may at times overlap with branding activities. Branding, on the other hand, relates to the long-term strategic positioning of your product/service: this typically includes building awareness and associations about a brand (or product) while marketing is concerned with communicating about the product but not necessarily creating associations or a brand image.

For example, when Coca-Cola changed its packaging by adding new colors to it and placing "contour" on the bottle which made it look more attractive so that it would reflect people's moods, this was an advertising or marketing issue because it involved changing the way they advertised Coca-Cola.

However, when a company like Pepsi decides to change its logo by adding more colors and using "contour" on the bottle as well, this is an example of branding because it was enhancing the image of the brand itself.

why is branding and marketing important

Branding and marketing are important because, to sell any product, service, or idea, one needs to give consumers a reason to buy.

This means that the brand should be able to tell people what the company stands for and how it's different from its competitors. You can't just say you're "the best" or you have the "lowest prices," without the what is more important branding or marketing.

what is more important branding or marketing

Both branding and marketing are important, but it's not possible to practice one without the other. If you have a great product, branding alone would not be able to succeed with just an average marketing effort. But if your product isn't competitive (or even if it is), branding won't help it sell.

What you need to keep in mind is that a brand is a perception a customer has of your product or company. Branding is different from marketing because it's an ongoing process that must permeate all aspects of the business starting at its inception. So, branding and marketing are interrelated and inseparable, but they're also different in their ways.

Why Branding is Important in Marketing?

Branding is important in marketing because it sets you apart from other companies. It makes your product or service memorable. And that's because the value is closely linked to branding. When people are looking for something unique, they look for brands that offer them quality and uniqueness over price.

Additionally, brands offer trust and security among customers. Oftentimes, consumers are more likely to buy from a brand they trust than one whose name or reputation is less known. A brand represents the promise you make, so your product must live up to it.

What is marketing?

Marketing is more than just branding. You have to offer your product or service in the right way at the right time, and that takes marketing efforts. Marketing encompasses all of your selling activities, including how you present yourself and how you interact with potential customers. A brand is simply an extension of all of these things. 

Marketing is important in business because it increases awareness about your brand. It also delivers your products or services to new groups of people.

What is branding?

Branding is the identity of a certain product or business. It generates an emotional reaction about the product and establishes it as unique in the mind of the consumer.

Opportunity for branding increases when consumers are searching for solutions that fit their needs exactly, not just something similar to what they already own. If you can brand yourself as the exact solution, you have to opportunity to ensure that your business has a sustainable competitive advantage.

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