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Branding And Marketing: Key Differences

It is a common misunderstanding that people assume branding and marketing is the same.

Branding is commonly defined as “the act of giving a company a particular design or symbol to advertise its products and services.” Before now, this was what branding was about. However, branding today goes beyond design and symbol.

Often, branding is reduced to only aesthetics because, for most, it is all about the visuals- logo, packaging, design. However, visuals are but a piece of branding

“Branding is about signals — the signals people use to determine what you stand for as a brand. Signals create associations.” — Allen P. Adamson. 

It is an essential part of your business because your brand is your identity. It represents who you are as a business and how you are perceived. What do your clients think about you? 

Through branding, your clients know what to expect from your practice. No matter the company or industry you find yourself in, there’s no doubt you’re only one in a sea of competition. Like you, several other people offer the same services and products you offer. However, what distinguishes you from them is your brand. You can clarify to your target audience that you are the better choice amongst your competitors.

What is branding?

According to Brandingmag, branding, is the perpetual process of identifying, creating, and managing the cumulative assets and actions that shape the perception of a brand in stakeholders’ minds.

  1. Perpetual process: Branding is a perpetual process because it never stops. People, markets, and businesses are constantly changing, and the brand must evolve to keep pace.
  1. Identify, create, manage: There is a structured process to branding. You must first identify who/what you want to be to your stakeholders. Then, create your brand strategy to position yourself accordingly and constantly manage everything that influences your positioning.
  1. Cumulative assets and actions: Your positioning must be translated into assets (e.g., visual identity, content, products, ads) and actions (e.g., services, customer support, human relations, experiences) that project it into your stakeholders’ minds, slowly building up that perception.
  1. Perception of a brand: Also known as reputation is perception is the result of the branding process (or lack thereof).
  1. Stakeholders: Clients are not the only ones that build a perception of your brand in their minds. Stakeholders include possible clients, existing customers, employees, shareholders, and business partners. Each one builds up their perception and interacts with the brand accordingly.

Why is it essential to build Your brand?


The way you build your brand will determine how the public perceives your business and the products you offer. Successful brands can influence the way people perceive a company’s name, brand story, and marketing campaigns. In many cases, the brand is just as important as the quality and price of a product. 

When consumers buy products, they are also buying into the lifestyle that the product represents. If a company creates an exciting and memorable brand, the public will easily recognise its products or services. And have a clear understanding of the value that the goods can add to their lives. Branding is also one of the most effective ways to gain your customer’s trust.


The term marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products, to consumers or other businesses. For example, professionals who work in a corporation’s marketing and promotion departments seek to get vital potential audiences’ attention through advertising. 

Understanding Marketing

As a discipline, marketing involves all the actions a company undertakes to draw in customers and maintain



“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Networking with potential or past clients is part of the work too. Marketing may also include: 

  • Writing thank you emails,
  • Playing golf with prospective clients,
  • Returning calls and emails quickly, and
  • Meeting with clients for coffee or a meal.

 At its most basic level, marketing seeks to match its products and services to customers who want access to those products. Matching products to customers ultimately ensure profitability. Marketers understand that consumer’s associate a product’s price and distribution with its quality. They take this into account when devising the overall marketing strategy.

“Marketing is really just about sharing your passion.” — Michael Hyatt.

What Is a Marketing Strategy?

A marketing strategy refers to a business’s overall game plan. Plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers. A marketing strategy contains

Branding Vs Marketing

Both collaborate to achieve the ultimate goals, but they each take different routes. For example, while Brand strategy wants a relationship, Marketing strategy wants a transaction. 

Marketing draws a client’s attention, while branding provides a means to keep that attention.

Through marketing, you can grab your client’s attention. But it would be great if you kept that attention. You don’t just want a client not to obtain your products or services once and go. You don’t only want to keep them; you want them to refer their family and friends. You want to build a relationship with them. And that is where branding comes in.

Your clients need to believe in you to stay with you. So although marketing will get your products and services in front of prospective clients, you’ll need to build a connection with them.

Marketing brings sales, while branding brings loyalty and recognition.

“At the core, most marketing strategies (think SEO, content marketing or advertising) are meant to drive results—and, often, the results those strategies are trying to drive have to do with sales.” Felipe Charria

Which is essential for your business to thrive.

But branding takes a different route— it’s more focused on the long-term goals. Branding is looking to foster a relationship with your audience and drive positive sentiment. This, in turn, yields loyalty and recognition- which will drive sales eventually.

Branding comes first; marketing comes second.

You can’t sell what doesn’t exist! So before marketing, you need to have a brand to market. What is your identity? What are you offering? These all come up before marketing.


When you have defined your brand, you think of putting it in front of your target audience. And this when marketing strategy evolves.

Marketing strategies come and go—but branding is forever.

What are we saying here? Simple, as a business owner, have you used one marketing tactic all through your marketing over the years? Chances are you’ve used different approaches and tactics. That is because one marketing tactic cannot work for all. For example, the marketing tactic you use during the festive season is different from the one you use when there’s no festivity. This is because marketing strategies are temporal, unlike branding.

Your brand is your identity, and that never changes. Regardless of where you are in your business journey, you’ll constantly define who you are as a business. Also, make continuous efforts to shape your brand’s perception and foster relationship with your audience.

In a nutshell, while marketing strategies will come and go, branding is forever.

In conclusion, branding is your why and marketing is your how—why your prospects should buy your products and services you offer, and HOW you promote these products and services.

Further Reading: How to build brand trust for your practice.

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