Branding vs. Marketing

| October 16, 2018

Branding vs. Marketing – you really can’t have a successful business without both. In the simplest terms, branding is who you are as a business, and marketing is how you build awareness of your business, and build a following. As a business owner, it’s important that you know the difference between the two, and how they work hand in hand to promote your business.

What is Branding?

Branding seeks to identify who you are as a company, who you are as a person, and how prospective customers see you. Branding is more than just the product or service you sell. You create your brand by asking questions that dig beneath the surface. Some of those questions might include:

  • What are your core principles and values? What do you stand for?
  • What is your promise to your customers?  What is your mission statement?
  • What inspired you to build your business?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Why do you want to offer your products or services to your target audience?
  • What makes you unique? How do you differ from your competitors?
  • What is your professional style?
  • What do you want to come to mind when someone hears your business name?
  • How do you want people to feel when they think of your business?
  • How do you want customers to describe you as a company?


Answering these questions honestly and in detail will help you understand the difference between branding and marketing. You’ll notice that most of the branding questions have to do with your internal operations and business culture. By clearly defining who you are as an organization, you can reflect those internal values into the external customer experience. Your branding will determine what customers think they can expect when they buy your products or services. Every customer interaction can help strengthen your brand, if you consistently deliver on your promise.

What is Marketing?

When we talk about branding vs marketing, the marketing component refers to the tools you use to promote your brand’s message. Your marketing efforts will be geared towards your target audience, and specific sectors within that target audience. For example, say you sell products that help seniors stay in their home longer. Your target audience would include seniors and their adult children. You might have different marketing strategies to reach those two sectors of your target audience.

Marketing tools include digital marketing and traditional marketing, such as:

  • Your Website
  • SEO or Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Channels
  • Email Marketing
  • Television Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Billboards
  • Print Advertising
  • Direct Mail
  • And more.


Brand3 offers a number of creative services to help you market your brand with strategic insight and creative designs that communicate your brand promise to your customers.

Branding Comes First

Branding is the core of who your company is, so good branding comes first, before any thoughts of marketing. Whether you’re a startup, an established company or a company in the midst of change, it’s critical that you clearly define who you are as a brand, before you start spending money on marketing.

Your brand is what attracts customers to you and keeps them coming back for more. Brand loyalty is what gets customers to recommend you to friends, family and co-workers. Marketing methods may change, but branding remains the same. Even if you make adjustments to your brand to include or exclude products or services, your core values and your customer promise remain the same.

Your branding may include things like a commitment to quality, excellent customer service, convenience, affordability, etc. Successful branding requires consistency in delivering on your customer promise in all you do – whether it’s answering a phone call, posting on social media, your print advertising, meeting with a client or some other interaction.

Branding builds trust and develops relationships with existing customers, while marketing strives to attract new customers.

Where Branding and Marketing Overlap

Branding and marketing have one area where they overlap, and that is in the visual representation of your organization. Your logo, color scheme and font choice will introduce customers to your brand. They should reflect who you are and what you do, and should be memorable.

So, bottom line, it’s not really branding vs marketing, but rather branding AND marketing, because the two go hand in hand. Both branding and marketing need to be fully developed in order to realize the benefits of both.

Category: Marketing

About the Author ()

Email | Website | Matt Christ has managed and produced effective brand and marketing strategies for a wide range of corporate and nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. His success is driven by his simple and profound belief that the same quality standards that make national brands successful should be applied to every size business. Matthew serves his current client base through the utilization of a virtual network consisting of local and global creative and manufacturing resources, combined with 27 years of industry experience and a passion to help business owners improve their bottom line. A sampling of his client list includes CSX, IBM, Bel Air Construction, NMTC, City of Aberdeen, DRD Pools, Survice Engineering, Lambda Technologies, and University Center. He has served on the Economic Development Commission for the City of Aberdeen and has developed and taught on the subject matter of effective brand/marketing for the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the Northeastern region. He lives in Harford County and is enjoying 37 years of marriage with his wife Kim, and their 8 children and 11 grandchildren.