Marketing vs. Branding
Are you a Coke or Pepsi person? Apple or Android? Do you usually go to the local family owned pizzeria, or recently decide to try a new place in town based off an appealing advertisement you saw in the local newspaper? Do you only buy cars from one specific car dealer, but have noticed that another place is offering huge discounts, and decide to buy your new car from them instead?
Each of these questions represents a fundamental distinction when it comes to running a business—the difference between marketing and branding.
The difference between marketing and branding is commonly overlooked while developing one’s business. However, it is crucial to understand, so that you may effectively tackle each one. Therefore, let’s discuss the main differences between them.
The Main Difference
Basically, marketing represents the techniques
and strategies used to advertise your business, and find new customers, while branding represents the development of what your business stands for, and what people can come to expect
from your business. Branding is essentially who you are, the goals of your business, and the connection you forge with your customers. On the other hand, marketing is how you create awareness and interest for your business within your target audience of prospective customers.
What it boils down to is this—marketing draws in new customers, and your brand is what keeps them as customers.
Which Should Come First?
Branding, since it represents the characteristics and values of your business, should always be developed before marketing. Your brand is what you will be building your marketing campaign on, therefore, it should be the first priority in the growth of any business. This is especially true because your marketing strategies will continue to change as you learn of what works best, and as you begin to learn more about your customer base, but your brand should remain consistent to its values.
Marketing includes a wide array of techniques, both online and offline, that serve to increase the visibility of your business and its brand, while also attempting to attract new customers. Some of the techniques include:
- Social Media
- Newspaper/Magazine Ads
- Search Engine Ads
- Youtube Ads
Your marketing campaign should focus on finding new customers, sparking interest for your business, and displaying your brand identity. As your marketing campaign advances, you will be able to learn more about the demographics of your target audience, and which techniques work the best, allowing you to tweak each technique to better suite your marketing needs.
Developing Your Brand
Not only is it up to you to determine and develop your overall brand identity, but it’s important that your business practices actually reflect what you decide to construct. The reason this is so crucial, is because even more than you developing your brand, your customers will actually define a lot of it for you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while trying to establish your brand identity:
- Why did you start this business?
- What do you hope to ultimately provide for your customers? (Take this to mean more than simply services and goods, but also customer experience)
- What makes your business stand out from competitors?
- How would you like customers to describe your business and their experience to others?
- How do you hope to come across when communicating with customers?
- What are the primary values and characteristics you hope to represent?
Why the Difference is Important
While it is important to bring your marketing techniques and your branding strategy into harmonious cooperation, the only way to truly do this is by understanding the difference between them, and how to develop each one individually. Your marketing techniques should be used to engage and attract people to your business, while your brand will establish a valuable relationship with them, producing a loyalty to your brand. Together, a successful marketing campaign, with a well-developed and trustworthy brand identity, will improve your lead conversion rate, and grow your loyal customer base.