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Branding vs Marketing

Branding and marketing are two different processes with distinct objectives. But if you’re building your first business, untangling the two concepts can seem confusing!

Branding and marketing are common buzzwords in the business world – but what exactly do they mean? How do you brand or market a business? Do you need to do both, or will one or the other suffice?

Fortunately for you, you happen to be asking the experts. Here at Create8, we’re a branding agency that also offers an extensive range of digital marketing services – so you’ve come to the right place for an answer.

In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between branding vs marketing, delve into their core components, and explore the objectives that each aims to accomplish.

What is branding?

Ok, let’s start with some branding basics. What exactly is branding? 

Your business’s branding makes up its identity. In other words, it’s the overall image and perception that your business establishes in the minds of consumers.

Ask yourself these questions – Who is your business? What does it look like? What are its values and objectives? How does it speak? Your business’s branding should pull together all the answers to these questions and more to create your business’s distinct identity. 

What’s the purpose of branding?

Branding aims to create a unique identity for your business, helping set it apart from its competitors and building customer trust and loyalty.

What’s involved in branding?

Creating a distinct brand requires a branding strategy and the creation of many different elements, which, when pieced together, will form your brand. The three key components of branding are brand values and mission statement, visual branding, and brand voice.

  • Brand values and mission statement – Your brand values and mission statement are the foundation of your branding. They are the seeds from which your brand will grow. You must carefully define your mission statement and values before you begin working on any other aspect of your branding. Brand values are things like ‘equality’, ‘prioritising customer experience’, ‘putting family first’, and ‘sustainability’. There’s no point picking a few random values that you think sound good on a whim. Your business must truly believe in its brand values and be prepared to put them at the heart of every business decision it makes. Your mission statement should describe, in a sentence or two, what your business does and what makes it unique. Once you’ve got your brand values and mission statement, you have the framework for the rest of your branding.
  • Visual branding – Your business’s visual branding incorporates all sorts of design elements, including its logo, colour scheme, fonts, graphic elements, and imagery. Your visual branding should be consistent with your brand values and reflect the messaging and identity you want to be associated with. Your logo will appear everywhere, so it needs to be attractive, eye-catching, and a good representation of your business’s identity.

Pantone colour swatches

  • Brand voice – A business’s brand voice is how it sounds when it communicates. The language it uses, the way it speaks, and the personality it conveys. Using the same voice across all communications can help you stand out and create a more memorable brand identity.

What is marketing?

Once you’ve completed your branding, it’s time to start learning marketing.

If branding is the process of forging a unique and memorable identity for your business, marketing is the megaphone used to shout about your brand from the rooftops and promote your products or services to the right people.

Marketing exists in various forms and can be carried out both online and offline; there’s a huge variety of ways to market a business.

What’s the purpose of marketing?

The purpose of marketing is to promote your brand, products, or services, increasing their visibility and building brand awareness amongst your target audience. The goal is to win more conversions.

While branding seeks to establish lasting emotional connections, marketing focuses more on achieving short-term goals.

What’s involved in marketing?

The scope of marketing is vast; it encompasses a broad range of different activities and strategies, including the following.

  • Advertising – Paying to advertise your business is one of the quickest ways of achieving short-term gains in marketing. You can pay to advertise your business across various media, including print, digital, TV, and radio. The primary aim of paid advertising is to increase brand awareness and generate consumer engagement quickly. 
  • Content marketing Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content designed to attract and engage a target audience. This could include articles, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and more. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that aims to nurture a brand’s relationship with its target audience over time by fostering credibility, trust, and brand awareness. 
  • Social media marketing – Businesses can leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X (previously called Twitter), Tik Tok, and LinkedIn to grow brand awareness, create a community, and engage with a broader audience.
  • Email marketing Email marketing involves sending targeted and personalised messages to an email list of customers or prospects. The goal is to nurture relationships, encourage repeat business, and keep your brand fresh in your audience’s minds. Get in touch for a free email marketing audit from Create8!
  • SEO and SEM – Search engine optimisation and search engine marketing help to enhance your brand’s online presence by improving its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO focuses on improving visibility in organic search results, whilst SEM involves paying to appear at the top of the SERPs (also called PPC).
  • PR – PR entails managing your brand’s public image and reputation by distributing press releases and handling media relations. 

What are the key differences between branding and marketing?

So, to summarise, let’s take a quick look at the key differences between branding and marketing.

Objective – A key difference between the two is what they each set out to achieve. Branding is about building a unique identity and customer loyalty, whilst marketing aims to drive awareness and win conversions.

Timeframe – Branding and marketing are both ongoing processes. However, branding is a long-term investment that aims to nurture long-lasting relationships with an audience, whereas marketing tends to operate on shorter timeframes and focus on immediate goals and metrics.

Pink alarm clockConsistency – To be successful, branding requires consistency. A brand’s logo, colour scheme, typography, and messaging should be used consistently across all platforms and interactions. In comparison, marketing allows for more flexibility. The message and visuals used may be adapted from one marketing campaign to the next to resonate with specific audiences or tap into the latest trends.

Measurement – The success of branding is measured over the long term by looking at metrics like customer loyalty and brand equity. However, the success of marketing campaigns is usually simpler to quantify and available much faster. It may be tracked through metrics like clicks, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).

Do all businesses need both branding and marketing?

Whilst there are clear distinctions between branding and marketing, the two have a symbiotic relationship. They are inextricably interconnected; each relies upon the other for ultimate success.

You can use marketing to drive all the traffic you want to your website, but you will lose potential conversions if your branding is lacklustre. Equally, you can build the most unique and compelling branding, but without marketing to showcase it, who’s going to see it?

As you can see, each needs the other to succeed. Investing in one while ignoring the other will likely yield poor results.

To succeed, businesses should view their branding and marketing strategies as two essential components of a holistic approach.

How does marketing complement branding and vice versa?

Branding and marketing each rely heavily on the other to succeed. While they both serve distinct purposes, they are two parts of a machine working towards the same end goal – to help build a thriving and prosperous business.

Let’s look at some ways that branding and marketing don’t just coexist but complement and enrich each other.

Branding creates a strong and consistent message, and when consumers already have a clear idea about who a brand is and what it stands for, they are more likely to respond to its marketing messages.

Marketing helps to draw people in and build brand awareness, then strong branding helps to maintain their attention and keep them returning.

Because people are more likely to engage with brands they recognise, strong branding helps to increase the efficiency and return on investment (ROI) of marketing.

Getting started with branding and marketing

So, now you know that both branding and marketing are required for a successful business, the next question naturally is, “Where do I start?”

Define objectives, metrics, and target audience

Before you even start thinking about branding or marketing, it’s important to set the stage. Define your business objectives, identify key performance indicators (KPIs), and pinpoint your target audience. A clear understanding of these elements will help to inform both your marketing and branding strategies, resulting in more focused efforts.

Audience written on a whiteboardStart with branding

Wondering what comes first, branding or marketing? The answer is always branding. Why? Because branding lays the groundwork for all your marketing activities. It helps create a consistent representation of your business, making it easily recognisable and enhancing brand awareness.

By starting with branding, you set the tone for your marketing strategies. This ensures that every campaign, every message, and every customer interaction resonates with the core values and visual identity you’ve established.

Once your branding is strong and consistent, you’re better positioned to leverage marketing for immediate gains. With both elements working in harmony, you stand the best chance of achieving your business goals and succeeding in today’s competitive marketplace.

Partner with Create8 for branding and marketing

Ready to improve your business’s visibility in the marketplace? Understanding branding and marketing and the vital roles they both play is the first step. And what comes next? Partnering with experts who can help to bring your vision to life!

At Create8, we specialise in both branding and an extensive range of marketing services, offering you a one-stop solution for elevating your brand and amplifying its reach. From impactful branding strategies to targeted PPC campaigns, from compelling content marketing to marketing principles, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to find out more? Contact us today to find out more about our branding and marketing services.