Branding and Marketing. To some, these two words might mean the exact same thing. But to a team of communications and marketing professionals, there’s a big difference between them. Whether you’re a small business owner or the CEO of a major firm, knowing the distinction between branding and marketing is essential to understanding how to accomplish your communication goals.
Think of branding as identity-making. It’s about understanding what you value as a company and what makes you different from your competition. McDonald’s isn’t just like any other fast-food chain. It is welcoming, lighthearted and dependable. Sure, it may serve burgers and fries like many other restaurants, but it has established a unique brand identity to differentiate itself from its competitors. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognize those iconic yellow arches.
So when it comes to finding your own brand identity, consider what is important to you and your business. What do you hope to achieve through your work? How do you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business? What is your business’ personality? The deeper you dig into the answers to these questions, the stronger your brand will be and the more your audience will connect with your brand.
Now that you’ve established your brand, what comes next? Marketing is the work you do to communicate what your brand is and the messages you want to deliver. It’s more short term than branding. It involves using tools to relay your brand message and then using more tools to measure how well you’ve done so. While your brand identity should remain consistent, your marketing initiatives should change depending on your goals and objectives as a brand. It also changes depending on how your audience responds to your work.
There are a variety of different types of marketing through which you can convey your brand message, including:
These are just some examples of the different marketing methodologies you can use to communicate your brand messages and drive sales. When it comes to marketing techniques, the list is always evolving.
No matter which types of marketing you go with, it is vital you keep your brand identity in mind. Consistency is key—visually and in the actual content of your messaging. What colours, typefaces, icons and images are associated with your brand? Whatever they may be, try to keep them the same throughout your marketing efforts. What about your brand’s tone, personality and style? Keep those attributes consistent in the way you write your brand messages, too.
This means that, if it hasn’t been made clear already, branding should always come before marketing. If you don’t know what your brand identity is, it is difficult to develop a strong marketing strategy. This is because, ideally, your marketing strategy should be focused on communicating your brand. Although branding and marketing work together, they are part of two very different steps that you must take to help grow your business.
Your brand and marketing doesn’t have to be big to be memorable—we can’t all be Coca Cola, Apple or Nike. Cohesive branding and marketing can be just as sticky, making your customers remember you with a glance, increasing loyalty.
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