Branding vs Marketing
Branding and marketing are both used to foster and enrich awareness of a product or company. Though they refer to different things, there is substantial overlap (and substantial confusion): your brand should inform your marketing, and likewise, your marketing should inform your brand. One cannot exist without the other and for this reason, the lines between branding and marketing seem to blur, making it hard to see where one ends and the other begins.
What is Branding?
Branding is a strategic decision. One way to think about it is by analogy: branding is to a company as personality is to a person. A brand is an identity, a point of view, tone,voice and a distinct look. Branding is more than colour scheme and a a logo, it is a philosophy. It drives everything a company does, from customer service to business development to sales to yes, marketing.
Branding is as much inward- as outward-facing. If you have a strong, trustworthy brand, your employees are happier, more motivated, and more loyal. In this way, the brand is determined first by the company’s philosophy: What is important? What do you stand for?
Remember that if you cannot define your brand, your customers surely will not be able to, and the risk is that someone else—possibly one of your competitors—will be able to define it for you. That is something you want to avoid.
Your brand determines how you present yourself to your customers and, in this way, it drives your marketing
What is Marketing?
Marketing, in contrast to branding, is a tactical process. It is the allocation of resources to promote awareness of your brand, products and services. This ranges traditional marketing channels like TV ads and billboards to newer channels like search engine marketing (SEM) and social media efforts.
What channels you choose to use should be determined by the specifics of your brand. Your high-end luxury vehicle might not reach the right audience if you choose to market it by distributing flyers on the street. Likewise, a discount clothing brand would be poorly served by an advertisement placed in Forbes Magazine.
For marketing to work, it needs to work with your brand. Your marketing needs to reach the people likely to respond to your brand and introduce it to them. The purpose of marketing, in a nutshell, is to communicate your brand’s value to potential customers.
A good marketing campaign finds the right customers and activates them by telling them what your company can do for them.
How does Branding inform Marketing?
Take the case of Barilla pasta products. Back in 2013, Barilla’s CEO went on the record saying intolerant things about LGBT people. In the media frenzy that followed, rival pasta-maker Bertoli looked deep into their brand’s heart and asked, “what does Bertoli stand for?”
They decided it stood for acceptance, and used the occasion to show their brand’s values by tweeting a special image. With a single tweet, they defined themselves as the playful, friendly, and accepting pasta brand.
What is more, they were able to do it in a playful, fun way, without coming off as predatory or opportunistic. Their brand determined their opinion about the controversy, their marketing determined how they reacted to it.
Branding vs. Marketing
It can sometimes be difficult to see where branding ends and marketing begins. This seems confusing, but in reality, it is the different pieces working together exactly as they should! Branding and marketing should inform each other seamlessly, creating a complete picture of a company for consumers to learn about, appreciate, and if you are lucky, come to love.
About the Author:
The author Russel Cooke is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specialist and journalist based in Louisville, KY. His work often covers social media, CRM, and content marketing. You can follow him on Twitter@RusselCooke2.