Branding vs. Marketing: What Each One Means for Your Business

Matthew is a Marketing Copywriter with a B.A. in Professional and Public Writing from Auburn University. He aims to learn a little more about the SEO world each day, and share as much of that knowledge with you as he can. When he's not striving to put out some fresh web content, he's usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.

As you’ve worked to develop and expand your business, you’ve probably heard quite a few terms thrown around. You’ve no doubt learned the importance of marketing for making sales and driving revenue.

But you might also have heard the term branding. When looking at branding vs. marketing, you may think they’re the same. The truth is, though, they aren’t. 

So, what is the difference between branding and marketing? What do each of those terms mean for your business? Keep reading for a full explanation of both terms and how they relate to one another.

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What is branding?

Branding is essentially the process of developing your company’s image and identity. Your brand is the face you present to the world. It’s what your audience pictures whenever they think of you.

Things that factor into your branding include:

  • Values
  • Tone (professional, friendly, elite, etc.)
  • Visual appearance (colors, design styles, etc.)
  • And more!

At the end of the day, the simplest way to think about branding is that it focuses on  showcasing who you are.

What is marketing?

Marketing is the process of actively promoting your business to specific audiences. You focus on persuading potential customers to buy your products or use your services.

Some examples of marketing include:

The goal of marketing is to push users toward converting into customers, thereby generating revenue for your company.

Learn more about digital marketing in this video:

Branding vs. marketing: What’s the difference?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of both branding and marketing, what’s the difference between the two?

The easiest way to explain the distinction is that your brand is who you are, while your marketing is what you do. 

Your branding is where you build the image you want to project for your brand. Marketing, meanwhile, is where you actually go out and advertise that image via specific pieces of media.

Though different, the two are often intertwined. Let’s look at Apple for an example. Part of Apple’s brand is that they’re innovative. They’ve spent years making that trait a key part of their identity — when you think Apple, you think innovative tech.

You can see that brand reflected in this Apple ad:

The above ad isn’t the full extent of Apple’s brand, but this piece of marketing does contribute to it. It accomplishes this by promoting their reputation for being innovative through the phrase “Light. Years ahead.” 

That phrase promotes the lightweight MacBook while simultaneously evoking the phrase “lightyears ahead.”

As the above ad demonstrates, marketing and branding are different concepts, but they do frequently intersect. Your branding determines how you market yourself, and your marketing helps you promote your brand.

3 tips for branding your business

Now that we’ve covered the branding vs. marketing distinction, you may be wondering how you can get the best results from each of them. Branding and marketing bear plenty of similarities, but there are certain things you’ll want to do for each one.

When it comes to branding, there are a few main techniques you should aim to follow. Here are three ways to optimize your branding strategy!

1. Focus on what makes you unique

One of the most important things to consider when branding yourself is what makes you stand out. If you choose to build your brand around the same qualities as every other company in your industry and take the same approach, your brand won’t stand out.

For people to remember your brand, though, it has to make an impression. So, emphasize things your company does differently. Look for the ways you stand out from the competition.

By building your brand around those qualities — otherwise known as unique selling propositions (USPs) — you’ll help your brand stick in users’ minds and influence the way they think about your company.

2. Create a visual brand

Your brand consists of many things, but one of the most important elements is your visual design. Visual branding applies to multiple facets of your marketing — your website, your marketing materials, and even your product packaging.

When optimizing your visual design, you should focus on everything from color schemes to font styles. Every visual component of your marketing can contribute to your brand. 

The point of visual branding is to convey specific ideas and help users retain a clear picture of your brand in their minds. For example, if you handle lawn care, you may use a lot of green in your marketing to build a brand association between your company and lawn care.

3. Be consistent

Finally, be sure you’re consistent with your branding. If you decide to identify your company as prestigious and high-end, don’t run a marketing campaign that inexplicably portrays it as casual and fun. Ensure that you keep the same tone across all your branding.

That goes for more detailed elements, too. If you choose a particular color scheme, try to stay true to that color scheme. Don’t use yellow and green across all your marketing but then create a website that features red and blue instead.

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3 tips for marketing your business

Now that we’ve covered how to optimize your branding strategy, let’s talk about marketing. Marketing is an incredibly broad concept that covers many strategies, but here are a few things to keep in mind across all your campaigns!

1. Focus on specific products and services

Try not to be too general with your marketing. Rather than running an ad that just says, “buy from [your company],” craft marketing materials that advertise specific products or services.

Imagine you need a new Dutch oven. If you see an ad that simply says, “Shop at Williams Sonoma,” it won’t necessarily catch your eye. But if Williams Sonoma runs an ad saying, “Check out our new Dutch oven,” you’ll be interested, because that’s exactly what you need.

2. Use calls to action (CTAs)

Another marketing tip to keep in mind is that you should always use calls to action (CTAs). When you run a marketing campaign, you’re trying to get users to do something. Maybe you want them to buy, or maybe you just want them to sign up for your emails.

Whatever it is, they won’t complete an action until you tell them what you want them to do. That’s the purpose of a CTA. By including CTAs in your marketing materials, you can tell people what you want them to do and provide them with a handy button they can click to do it.

3. Harness multiple strategies

You’ll want to use more than one strategy to market yourself. There are many ways to promote your business online, and it’s generally a good idea to use several of them together so that you reach your full audience.

Some strategies you can use to market yourself online include:

With some or all these strategies at your back, you’ll expand your online influence and drive up your revenue!

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WebFX can help you master your marketing and branding strategy

Still unsure how to go about branding and marketing yourself? Just let WebFX help! We have over 25 years of digital marketing experience, so we know just what it takes to drive a killer marketing and branding strategy.

Ready to kick your marketing and branding into gear? To get started with our digital marketing services, just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

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