The concept of branding has been around almost forever — cattle, countries, armies, etc. Marketing has also been around as long. However, there’s a common misconception about what branding is, and what marketing is. People use them so often and interchangeably that it can leave you wondering, “What’s the difference?”
First, there is a brand, and there is branding.
A brand is formed through a series of experiences — it’s the sum of all information about a product, service or organization. A brand is formed in the mind and then reinforced at all points of contact.
Branding establishes, reinforces and enhances experiences with an organization or product. It communicates a promise to your intended audience and creates a distinct and memorable image in the mind of your customers.
Branding is a pull tactic
Branding is strategic — vision, strategy, execution and evolution
Branding helps build customer loyalty
Branding is achieved through simplification — less = more
Branding reinforces the truths about an organization
Branding influences purchasing decisions by occupying a place in the mind
Then, there is marketing.
Marketing is actively promoting a brand’s product or service. It’s a way of reaching and engaging people. Marketing keeps your company top-of-mind among the decision-makers you are trying to do business with.
Marketing is a push tactic
Marketing is tactical — traditional, digital and unconventional
Marketing cultivates customers
Marketing is one-on-one communication, no matter what the form
Marketing promotes a brand’s products or services in the market
Marketing can influence a customer’s immediate decision to purchase
The main difference between branding and marketing is that marketing promotes the intended value whereas branding reinforces it. If you have a substandard service, to begin with, marketing may help you make a sale, but branding will only enhance the thought of your substandard service.
At the end of the day, branding gives your customers the knowledge to draw a line underneath, or through your organization.