Why Marketing & Branding Are Not The Same Thing

Marketing and branding regularly get grouped together as the same thing when the truth is, they’re two very different concepts! Yes, both are used to get your name out in the marketplace, but one is about what you’ve got to offer where the other is why you offer what you do. 

As a business owner, it’s important that you understand the difference between marketing and branding your business so that they work in harmony. Going hand-in-hand with each other, the most effective marketing comes from a strong and well-connected brand. 

Today, let’s take a closer look into the differences between marketing and branding and the role they play in each of your businesses.

What is marketing?

Marketing refers to the tools that you use to spread the message of your brand. It’s geared towards specific target audiences with the goal of driving sales of products or services. 

Marketing will encompass trends and methods that evolve and grow overtime, just like your products and services themselves. They shift to match audience engagement, trends in the market and what is performing well for the business. This could include the likes of social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimisation or marketing, television or radio ads and print marketing. 

With every marketing effort, the strategy should link back to the mission, vision, and values of the brand itself to create the strongest and most effective connections.

What is branding?

Branding is so much more than the design of your logo or the colours and fonts you use. Whilst yes, those elements of branding are crucial to your identity, branding is fundamentally the definition of who you are and what makes you special and unique in your audience’s mind.

Branding is your why, your core purpose, your sense of style, your culture and importantly, what comes to mind when your dream customer thinks about you or mentions you in conversation. It’s this very notion of brand identity that makes you stand out from the crowd and celebrate the value you’re bringing to that customer.

Why is it important to know the difference?

It is important to know the difference because in order to build a successful business, you need both to be working in harmony with each other. The strength of your branding will determine the success of your marketing. 

Where marketing engages with that customer, it is your branding that keeps them coming back for more. Branding should be at the core of that marketing strategy to give it the authenticity and injection of values it needs to be effective. 

For example, let’s take a look at the quintessential branding example, Apple. Despite what feels like constant marketing to their audience, it is in fact Apple’s brand that is the testament to their success. Whilst you’re being marketed the latest iPhone or laptop, it is the brand experience that sees you returning to the Apple Store each time a new product is launched. 

The imagination, design and innovation that comes with every inch of Apple’s marketing links back to the core purpose of their brand. Let’s face it. We don’t have an emotional connection to that mobile phone, we have it with the feelings the brand evokes from the moment it is marketed to us to the moment we step out of the store after feeling their in-person brand experience. 

Apple is a brilliant example of how their marketing efforts are here to spread the word and bring in the dollar bills but without that brand identity and the loyalty that comes with it, they’d be nothing but just another tech company.

So, what comes first?

We’re not talking about the chicken or the egg here but it’s not surprising that marketing versus branding has created similar debates across the years. 

For us, branding always comes first. How can you market something that has no identity?

Even if you’re a brand-new business, branding is essential as it allows you to be crystal clear on who you are, what you stand for, how you speak, how you sound and how you make others feel.

The core of any effective marketing strategy, your brand should be at the core of everything you do. It is the truth north of all decision making within your business to ensure that each experience, whether that be for your clients or team, is aligned with your vision, mission, and values. 

Whilst your product or service may be incredible, the professional beauty, hair and wellness industries are overwhelmingly competitive so if your customer wanted to find your service elsewhere, they totally could. So those that have been with you, perhaps since the beginning, are with you because of so much more than that service. It’s your brand they come back for. It may have been the marketing that welcomed them through your doors in the beginning, but it is your branding that has crafted their loyalty.

Marketing tactics will come and go, branding is forever.