Branding vs marketing — while all businesses understand the need to focus on both of these elements, it can be difficult to know how to strike the right balance between the two. In this article, we are going to nail down some definitions to help you understand exactly what you are working with, and then we are going to look into how to achieve the right strategy for your business.
Branding is all about identity. When your customers — or anyone else for that matter — look to your business, what they see is your brand, as this is the public face you present to the world.
As such, building a brand, at least in the early stages, is something of an introspective process. You will need to look within your organisation and answer key questions based on what you see.
These questions help to provide a fundamental understanding of what your business is all about, and you can use this to build your brand. Of course, after these fundamentals are defined, you can begin to build more concrete, technical aspects based on this. For example, which colour scheme best represents you? Or, how are you pricing your products based on your target demographic?
Marketing is focused on raising awareness and spreading the word. The public needs to know about your business, your products and services, and what you can do for them. There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved, including:
These are just a few examples, but they all revolve around the common theme of promoting and raising awareness.
Branding versus marketing implies a kind of opposition, as if one can exist without the other. In fact, this is not really the case. While there are significant differences between the two disciplines, there are also substantial overlaps.
Let's take a look at the differences first:
What about the similarities?
What about if we add more aspects to the mix? What about marketing vs branding vs advertising, or sales?
We can start by defining what advertising and sales really are. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are in fact distinct concepts.
Advertising can be considered a component of marketing. Marketing is an umbrella term that refers to the preparation of a product or service for the market, including analysing customer demand and need, raising the profile of what your business provides, making the product known to the audience segment, and then assessing the response. Advertising refers more specifically to the third element in this list — making the product or service known. Advertising is always a form of marketing, but marketing is not always advertising.
Sales is often defined as the next step after marketing. While marketing and advertising generate interest and move the customer along the path to conversion, sales is geared towards actively achieving that conversion. It is the final step of the conversion process, although marketing activities will continue beyond this point.
Choosing your path is not so much about selecting whether you need to focus on marketing, branding, advertising and sales. As we have seen, all of these elements are crucial to success in your field. Instead, it is about deciding how to deploy these components together in one unified strategy. There are a few things you need to bear in mind as you go about this.
One of the key areas of overlap between branding and marketing — and advertising and sales to boot — is data. You can't achieve success if you do not have a solid foundation of insight and understanding. The engage™ platform can help you get closer to your audience and to individual customers, providing you with the understanding you need to really get the best out of branding and marketing activities. Reach out to our team today to take a free tour of the app and platform, and find out more about how the solution can work for you.