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Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Branding vs. marketing…

What are they? What’s the difference? Do I need both?

If you’ve ever struggled to navigate this stuff, you’re NOT alone. In fact, it’s one of my most frequently asked questions. So let’s dive in…

Check out my explanation on video if that’s more your style!

What is branding?

Your brand is kind of like your reputation. My favorite definition is that it’s the gut feeling someone gets when they think about your business. 

For example, when I think of Nike, I think of the highest levels of achievement, defying the odds, competitive spirit, and of course, the sleek, powerful imagery they’ve become known for. Those are all a part of their brand.

Branding is the process and the system you’re using to build that reputation and shape a specific perception for your customers.

Branding defines what you want to be known for.

It includes the ideas, messages, and visual language (colors, fonts, images) that capture who you are, what’s unique about you and why your customers should care.

What is marketing?

Marketing is about making a connection with your customers and ultimately selling some stuff.  It’s the tools and tactics that you use to spread your message.

Marketing is how you spread your message.

This includes advertising, your website, your social media, press releases, sponsorships endorsements, influencers and more. All of these things help you attract customers, get sales and build your brand.

Marketing vs. Branding: How are they different?

Let’s say you’re planning an amazing celebration.

Your branding is the experience of that party.

It includes the theme, the decorations, the music, the food, the setting, the entertainment, and all the other details that shape what the night will be like.

Your marketing is how you tell people that there’s a party.

It includes the invitations, flyers, social media posts, texts to your friends and word-of-mouth when you say, “Hey, be there at 5 o’clock!” It’s everything you do to try to get people to attend your celebration.

Can you have marketing without branding?

Yes, but it would be a pretty lame party. People might show up, but you’d be missing the amazing experience that keeps them coming back. It definitely wouldn’t be memorable or leave a positive impression for years to come.

Can you have a brand without marketing?

Yes, but it would be a pretty lame party because no one would be there! You can create the world’s greatest celebration (or branding), but does it really matter if no one knows about it?

So…

Do you need both?

Yes! You absolutely need both.

Just having branding doesn’t help you that much if no one knows about your business. You need to spread the word.

And just spreading the word about your business will fall flat if you’re not delivering a really awesome experience from start to finish.