“The Difference Between Branding and Marketing”

Two words that often get intertwined, and are often seen as interchangeable are branding and marketing. Let’s establish something upfront – they are not the same.

By definition, marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large. By definition, branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. 

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time.”

– Elon Musk

Branding has changed a lot over the years. There are eight elements to branding that are essential, and they are your brand name, brand logo, brand color(s), graphics, images, shapes, slogan and typography. But to make it plain and simple, branding is your promise to your customer. Organizations and companies used to have control over their brand, but with the internet and social media, the brand is whatever the customer says it is. You can create all the graphics and slogans you want, but if you don’t deliver your promise to the customer, then your brand will be redefined by the customer. 

“Make your marketing so useful people would pay for it.”

– Jay Baer

Coming out of college, we were taught that marketing consisted of the four P’s – product, price, place and promotion. Then it changed to the five P’s with the “fifth P” being people. And now marketing has numerous aspects to it like content marketing, guerrilla marketing and influencer marketing. The four, or five P’s, are referred to as the marketing mix. But in addition to the marketing mix, the opportunities in marketing are created through positioning, segmentation and targeting. And those opportunities come by way of buyer behavior, data intelligence and market research. 

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

– Albert Einstein

As you can see, branding and marketing are disparate. When trying to explain marketing to people who are not marketers, it’s actually kind of complicated. So, I like to show them this visual in the form of a hierarchy. 

This is not encompassing of everything that falls under the marketing umbrella, but it gives you an idea of how these functions relate to one another. In simple terms, everything is a function of marketing, because no tactics can exist without it.

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