Marketing vs. Branding – What’s the difference?

Marketing vs. Branding – What’s the difference?

In a recent conversation with a senior director at a financial company, I was told, “I think our managers will have a hard time seeing the value of branding—they see marketing as a cost center, not a driver of sales.”

Hold it. What?

How did we go from branding to marketing in one sentence like that? You’d be surprised how many people can’t explain the difference or don’t think they are even actually different.

What is marketing? What is branding? How do they differ? Knowing the fundamental differences and the interrelationship between the two will ensure you make smart investments in the short term and plan for success in the long term.

A quick google search on these two terms displays a a range of metaphors and definitions:

Branding is strategic. Marketing is tactical.
Branding is pull. Marketing is push.
Branding is the cart. Marketing is the horse.
Branding is who you are. Marketing is how you sell it.

These descriptions reveal differences but also allude to the inherent relationship.

Branding should both precede and underlie any marketing effort. Branding is not push, but pull. Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.

Branding is strategic. Marketing is tactical.
Marketing may contribute to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any particular marketing effort. The brand is what remains after the marketing has swept through the room. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.

It is your brand that builds loyalty, trust and relationships and your marketing that gets your brand in front of the right people.

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