It is easy to confuse marketing with branding and vice-versa. It is also easy to consider branding an instrument of marketing or marketing as a branding component. However, these misconceptions are far from the truth.
For sure, these two go hand in hand and are necessary for a business to flourish, but none can replace the other. Hence, understanding the concept of branding vs marketing is vital for small-scale as well as large enterprises.
Branding aims to turn a company or a product into a brand. At the same time, the goal of marketing is to increase sales. Branding creates a distinguished image of the company in the marketplace, but marketing focuses on augmenting the sales and reach of the product or a company.
Marketing is a fast-paced, constantly switching business tool, while branding is a sturdy long-term process.
Branding wheels how the world should see a brand and what values of the company must be highlighted. On the other hand, marketing dives deep into the psychology of the audience to find out the potential customers and encourage them to make a purchase.
If you are still confused about branding vs marketing, keep reading. The below-given vital differences will help widen your understanding of these important business terms.
Comprehend Branding Vs Marketing with these 10 Key Differences
1. A Slight Difference in Definition Makes all the Difference
Let us start by understanding the definition of branding and marketing. To put it simply and as said before, branding is the process of converting your business or product into a brand.
A company or a product turns into a brand when it becomes popular, recognizable, and respectable, and people follow it. Branding promotes the mission and values of the companies while drawing particular attention to the uniqueness of the business.
On the other hand, marketing is a method to introduce, promote, find a target audience, and sell the product. Marketing attracts new customers and works towards increasing sales by deciding how, when, and where to promote the brand.
- Logo, website, color theme, brand style, etc., are all part of branding.
- Market research, consumer analysis, advertising, sales, distribution methods, etc., are part of marketing.
Nike Air Jordan is a perfect example of understanding the differences between these two terms. From color to the logo, and theme, and even limiting the shoe sales, Nike used marketing as well as branding strategies to gain such popularity. In 1984, when Nike collaborated with Michael Jordan to create sports shoes, it was a well-thought marketing strategy.
However, due to the popularity of NBA stars and other factors, Air Jordan overnight became its own brand. Today, it is so huge that the Jumpman logo is enough to recognize Jordan products.
2. Aim of Branding and Marketing is Not the Same
Of course, branding affects sales, and marketing helps create a brand. However, the primary focus of both is not the same.
Branding builds value, loyalty, and community. The aim of branding is to create a perspective of a company or product in the mind of the customers.
It targets to make the brand more likable and relatable so that people can relate to it on a personal level. Ultimately, good branding upgrades the customer into a devoted advocate.
Marketing aims to escalate sales. Marketing strategies are result driven and focus on increasing profit. It functions as a bridge between the customer and the product.
While doing so, it works on developing the product, keeping track of the new trends, doing intensive customer research, creating strategies for distribution, product promotion, and more.
3. The Outcome of Branding is Relationship and Marketing is Need
Due to the difference in the aim of branding and marketing, the outcome of both is not the same. By dint of branding, companies create relationships with the mass audience.
Multiple examples where branding successfully creates a fanbase for the product or company. In contrast, marketing establishes a desire for the product. It tells customers why they should buy the product and how it can solve their problems.
4. Branding is to Know the Company; Marketing is to Know the Customer
One of the most critical components of marketing is research. The market research focuses on knowing the audience, their need, and demand, along with the competition analysis.
This helps in knowing where to find the customer and how to place the product or service in such a manner that the customer buys it.
Alternatively, branding is about making the company known to potential customers and the world. Branding promotes company values, ethics, and mission in such a manner that it imbibes in the memory of the masses, and they start to recognize the brand via a sign, logo, symbol, music, etc.
Apple Inc. has a deep understanding and regard for market research. The brand is a firm believer in product innovation, and to do so, they depend heavily on online and offline research, including Apple Customer Pulse.
However, when Apple promotes itself as a brand, it promotes class, innovation, and minimalism. This is how it has maintained its A game for such a long time.
5. Basic Principles of Branding and Marketing
Basic principles can very well define branding vs marketing. It is the fundamental principles that put branding apart from marketing. To sum up, these are the principles of branding and marketing.
Branding understands the brand’s purpose and then prepares a strategy to bring consistency, emotion, and loyalty through employee involvement and competitive awareness.
Marketing first understands the product and its usefulness. Then, it defines the price and makes a plan for promoting the product at the correct place to the target audience. Next comes the packaging and process.
6. Marketing is Short-Term, Branding is Forever
Since its inception, McDonald’s has released numerous campaigns, but the mascot, Ronald McDonald, has always been there. Now, this is the contrast between marketing and branding.
The marketing strategies are short-term and keep changing with time and as per the need of the hour. However, the brand values are long-term and don’t change easily. The branding focuses heavily on storing a particular perception in the customer’s mind.
Marketing strategies change because it needs to keep up with the new generation, technology, and changing perspective of customers and competitors. Whereas branding modifies the process, the ultimate goals remain the same, i.e. to create and maintain a brand by showcasing values and mission.
7. Micro and Macro of Branding vs Marketing
Branding is macro, and marketing is micro. As said above, branding focuses on creating a long-term effect on the people. The concept of branding goes beyond the target audience to make the brand so popular that everyone knows it. Marketing is more restricted to targeting the correct audience and increasing traditional and online sales.
Remember when Lamborghini said they don’t do TV commercials because their target audience does not watch TV? Hence, they clarified that TV commercials are not part of their marketing strategy because it is not a suitable medium for luxury car company.
Though their marketing targets a niche audience, the brand Lamborghini is so huge that everyone knows about it. That is the impact of branding.
So, marketing targets the actual audience, whereas branding focuses on making the brand known across the world.
8. Value of Branding and Marketing
When talking about branding vs marketing, value is an important point. Branding works on building value, and marketing uses the value to monetize.
Branding strategies sow deep emotional resonance of brand values in the audience. Marketing uses this emotional resonance and converts the audience into customers.
When you think of Mercedes, luxury, precision, efficiency, and prestige come to mind. It is because the branding for Mercedes has promoted these values. Marketing takes this value and monetizes it to increase sales of Mercedes.
9. Marketing Follows Branding
What comes first, branding or marketing? This is a debatable topic. However, to have a sustainable business, branding is the primary need. This is because marketing is done for a brand. If there is no brand, there will be no marketing.
For sure, there are small businesses that tend to do marketing without defining a brand, but this move is just the luck of the draw, which may or may not work and even if it did work then also branding has to be needed to scale. Hence, branding comes first and then comes marketing.
10. Branding is for Customers, Marketing for Business
By all the above-given differences, it is evident that branding is done for customers. To create an image of the brand in the mind of customers, to make customers like the brand, to make customers become a community, and more. Whereas, marketing is all about business and how to expand it.
The primary tool that marketing uses to attract customers is messaging. Through messaging, you let your leads know your product or service, what it does, and how it can benefit them.
Social media paid campaigns, search engine optimization, etc., marketing tools are used to swell business and not for the customers. On the other hand, using social media to create buzz, asking for feedback, etc., is part of modern-day branding.
5 Powerful Branding and Marketing Stories to Know
Here are some real-life examples of top branding and marketing to further understand both concepts.
1. Just Do It
The first-ever ‘Just Do It ad featured 80 years old Walt Stack, who disclosed that he runs 17 miles daily. The campaign was launched in 1988 and is one of the most popular marketing strategies ever.
This campaign promoted sportsmanship and health by making famous professional athletes a part of it. Following this, people worldwide started to pour in their motivational story and how they ‘just do it, even when it is impossible.
2. A Diamond is Forever
De Beers’ Diamond is Forever’ revolutionized the image of diamonds worldwide. Though this was part of a marketing strategy, thanks to the slogan, the image of a diamond have been recreated in people’s minds. Now, a diamond is no more a stone but a promise of forever, sturdiness, and status.
One perfect example of branding is Chipotle. The brand snatched away the limelight from Taco Bell by promoting itself as a brand that uses locally grown fresh food products. Due to this, Chipotle branded itself as a healthy food option that supports the local market.
4. Personalization by Starbucks
Your name on the coffee cup is no big deal, right? Apparently, it is. Starbucks came up with a genius idea to write a customer’s name on the coffee cup, which became one of the biggest reasons for their organic social media promotion. The brand strengthens its hold in the market by personalizing the customer experience.
5. Offering User Experience
Spotify stood apart from competitors by carefully creating filters that helped users find new music. This gave users a unique experience and eased their need to find new music.
In a nutshell, branding and marketing are like socks and shoes. These complement each other and are both vital for the business. Branding is essential for creating a brand and connecting with the customers. However, this is not enough. A solid marketing strategy is needed for higher sales and to make the brand stand out in the herd of competitors.
Apply a creative approach to create a good branding strategy and prepare a solid marketing plan via market research and understanding the desire of the consumer.
On an ending note, instead of focusing on the branding vs marketing debate, businesses should focus on using branding and marketing together.
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1. Are branding and marketing the same?
No, marketing and branding are not the same. Branding is all about creating an image of the brand in the customer’s mind. However, marketing focuses on increasing sales.
2. Is branding more important than marketing?
Both marketing and branding are important for a business. Branding creates a brand for which marketing can be done, and a good marketing strategy assists branding in sustaining the brand.
3. Which comes first, branding or marketing?
First, the branding is done. Companies prepare a branding plan before launching the brand so that logo, color theme, font, values, etc., can be defined. Once the product is launched, then marketing strategies are put into action to sell the product.