Know the Real Difference: Branding vs. Marketing

know-the-real-difference-branding-vs-marketingWhen promoting your business understanding the distinction between marketing and branding is essential. Read on to learn how branding differs from marketing, and which promotional strategy is a better investment of time and money.


  • Is a long-term endeavor
  • Cultivates your company’s reputation
  • Is the reason customers buy a service or product


  • Is a short-term campaign
  • Drives sales
  • Is the reason customers think of buying a product or service


Your brand is the visible representation of your company. A brand is easily identifiable, and gives a face to the operation. An effective brand appeals to its core demographic and gives a the company a unique personality.  Having a recognizable brand is what prevents a business from wallowing in obscurity.

In an increasingly competitive business climate, today’s marketers depend on social media and word of mouth to spread positive news about their brand. A CMO Council report revealed that 71% of Internet users prefer to buy from brands they are following on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Branding creates a connection with the customer. Your company’s name can only take you so far. Good branding creates a base of passionate customers who will promote your company to friends, family, and on social media. If you don’t have a strong brand before you market your business, you could end up wasting hundreds of dollars on ineffective marketing strategies. Brand development companies like Digital Surgeons specialize in making your brand unforgettable in the minds of your target audience.


The term “marketing” refers to any activities that involve interacting with customers and using advertising to appeal to a company’s target audience. Marketing and PR professionals use various forms of advertising, including:

  • TV and radio advertising
  • Press releases
  • Billboard advertising
  • Internet banner advertising
  • Email marketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing

In addition to utilizing the above forms of promotion, marketers study their customers’ behavior to determine the most effective advertising strategies. A common misconception is that marketing is only accomplished through advertising. Marketing is, in fact, any activity that promotes the brand.

How are Branding and Marketing Similar?

While branding and marketing are separate disciplines, the two practices overlap. A successful marketing strategy will incorporate branding to drive customer loyalty. Including branding in your marketing materials gives you control over your company’s image and helps you build a relationship with your audience. Branding and marketing, while separate concepts, should be given equal attention in your promotional plan.

How are Branding and Marketing Different?

Marketing involves short-term advertising campaigns whereas branding remains consistent. The goal of marketing is to make a fast sale, not improve customer loyalty. Once a marketing campaign has ended, the company must stand on its own merit. Branding, on the other hand, involves shaping the customer’s opinions toward the product or service offered. The goal of branding is to cultivate an image of the company that the customer associates with your service or product. Customers buy from companies they know and trust. Improving brand loyalty is the key to creating a base of engaged customers.

Branding vs. Marketing: Which is More Important?

Both branding and marketing are necessary to the success of your company. Branding is an investment you make over a long period of time, while a well-executed marketing plan can help pull in fast needed sales. While a thoroughly researched marketing plan can boost your profits immediately, good branding should be your long game. Branding will help develop your customer base, which is your company’s greatest asset. A GigaOm study revealed that email marketing is the single most effective way to build relationships with consumers.

If you have the time and money to invest in only one of these efforts, concentrate on branding. Marketing is extremely important, but branding is what makes your customers come back for more. Marketing should be used to improve your brand, not represent it.

Branding is the foundation on which you should build your marketing strategy. A successful marketing campaign is impossible without a brand customers recognize. Consider outsourcing brand development to a company that specializes in marketing businesses in your niche. When it comes to branding, the old adage is true: you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.


Lola Humphries has worked with multiple small retail businesses on their branding and marketing strategies. Look out for her print and digital marketing articles on business websites.

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