Though it may be easy to treat the concepts of branding and marketing as vaguely interchangeable, the truth of the matter is that branding and marketing are very distinct from one another on a fundamental level.
There may be some slight areas of overlap between the two in terms of what they mean for the business as a whole, but branding and marketing come from very different places and only diverge further when it comes to their ultimate manifestation in the ways that a business operates throughout its lifespan.
The Difference Between Marketing And Branding
To put it in the most simple terms, the branding is more like the nuclear core of the business, while the marketing is more like its radiation. While branding will stand for the tonality of the business, marketing will be more accurately described as the dialect and words that a business will use in order to convey the underlying message that the brand stands for.
The best way to break down all of the fine details between branding and marketing is to consider two distinct columns: the key essence of the business itself, and the manner in which that essence is conveyed.
The Order of Operations
First and foremost, branding must always precede marketing. There are plenty of overzealous entrepreneurs that jump right into the marketing side of things without first understanding what the nature of their brand is, and because of this, they are unable to develop a loyal following that truly resonates with what the business stands for; that is, if the business does stand for anything at all.
No matter how much money is invested into marketing, there must be a solid foundation of identifiable branding beneath it to give it an anchor in an identifiable market. Marketing may be very flashy, but branding is what determines where the market itself flies to begin with.
Branding is not necessarily synonymous with the buyer persona that a business’s products are marketed to, but rather the manifestation of all qualities that said buyer persona finds agreeable and relatable.
Through branding, a business defines what it prioritizes and emphasizes most as an entity in the market. Once consumers have given their approval to the brand, they can be marketed to with the most efficiency.
The Sales Factor
Perhaps the biggest difference between branding and marketing is the difference between their relationship with sales, which is more on the marketing side than the branding side. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to describe branding as a practice that is best performed in a sales-agnostic manner, whereas marketing is much more tightly interwoven with sales.
One of the most popular sentiments is that people who truly identify with the brand are never truly “sold” to, but rather provided value that they interpret as being inherently present within the brand itself. Branding doesn’t necessarily need to ask for a sale, but should branding be successful, marketing can be used to segway into the final sale in a much more efficient manner.
Related resource: Top 20 Best Visual Communications Degree Programs