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Branding vs. Marketing: What’s in a Name (and Logo)?

Branding and marketing are words everyone has heard countless times, and usually people have a general sense of what they are or involve. People, however, often use them interchangeably when they are distinct and accomplish different things for your business. We’ll explain the differences between marketing and branding, why both are essential and how they work together to create real connections to your business.

Branding vs Marketing

Let's break down the key differences between marketing and branding. Both are important parts of your company's communication and promotion, but they have significantly different roles.

What is Branding?

Most simply put, branding is creating and maintaining the identity of your business. That identity includes elements like logos, visual design guidelines, and taglines. These are often the most prominent elements people associate with a brand. Just like someone’s identity is more than just their signature or wardrobe, so is branding. Branding also includes your business’ tone of voice, its compelling story, and the values and ideals it promotes. This collective identity makes your business unique and sets it apart from your competition.

Branding Is Essential for Creating Connections

The identity, tone, story, and values that make up your branding are all how people create strong connections with your business. Humans form true, emotional, and impactful connections with people and identities. They have a much harder time forming attachments with impersonal businesses, so constructing a brand identity that appeals to and resonates with your audience underpins your organization’s success. We’re always stressing the importance of creating real human connections for your business, and your branding is the critical factor to give your customers and audience something they connect to. 81% of customers say they need to trust a brand before they buy from them, and that trust comes from a brand’s consistent values. Once customers have that trust, they are more than twice as likely to stay loyal and promote those brands themselves. A brand that resonates will create true loyalty and retention.

So, what is Marketing then?

While branding is your company's identity, marketing is everything that broadcasts it. It involves every attempt and campaign of a business to communicate with and reach its audience and the more general public. That involves advertising and promoting specific products and services, but also much more. Your business' social media accounts, email communications, being present at and contributing to public events, blog articles on your website, improving your SEO performance, etc. are all part of a business’ marketing. All these methods share your business’ identity to get more notice, grow its reach, and pique people's interests. Your branding gives something for people to connect to; marketing creates and fosters those connections.

Symbiotic Relationship

It can be easy to mix up branding and marketing because they are closely related. In fact, they are constantly working together. Your branding serves as the essential guide and basis for creating and strategizing your marketing’s content, appearance, and tone. The strongest and most effective marketing then communicates those values and your story. It reflects your brand’s positioning and voice. This deepens your brand recognition while also ensuring your marketing is relevant and empathetic to your customers and audience.

It's not just marketing though; your branding should govern any strategies or directions your business takes. You don’t want to deviate from the identity that has built those human connections. Have you ever had a friend say or do something out of character? It probably shocked you. It’s no different with branding. When people have developed an understanding and familiarity with your business’ personality, values, story, and voice, it will be disillusioning when your marketing, a new product, or a design change doesn’t align with those. That disruption can harm and undermine your brand’s authenticity. Staying true and loyal to your own brand will ensure other people will too.

Both are Crucial for Your Business

While there is a lot that distinguishes branding and marketing, an important similarity is that both are essential for your business. They work together to give your business recognition and loyalty. Branding gives something for people to attach to, and marketing helps people discover that connection. Thus, both are paramount for you to plan and revise regularly. If you need help creating and positioning a brand that resonates or strategizing marketing that properly reflects that identity, contact Creative Solutions for our strategic consulting. We are experts at creating marketing and branding blueprints that emphasize human connections.


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