There is certainly no shortage of articles on the topic of branding and marketing. But has anyone explained the simple difference between branding and marketing? There is often confusion or misuse of these terms. So we would like to set this one straight and make sure it is understood by even a 5th grader.
Branding Is Strategic and Influential
The simplest way to describe branding is the process of creating a brand that represents who you are or who you want to be. A brand is the essence of an organization, product, or services reflected through the overall brand experience. Branding starts at the top of an organization and impacts its culture, operations, employees, customers, and ultimately, sales & marketing.
Marketing Comes After Branding
Once your brand foundation (brand strategy) is established, marketing is used to promote your brand. Marketing is both strategic and tactical in nature and it supports the brand positioning and makes sure the right messages are communicated to the right audiences at the right time. There are many channels of marketing such as website, collateral, email, social media, and events. Don’t mistake marketing for branding and vice versa.
The Brand Cycle
Since we are talking about branding and marketing, let’s touch on the basics of a brand cycle. In short, the brand cycle is described below:
Brand Perception ► Brand Purchase ► Brand Experience ► Brand Loyalty
Your website, identity, messaging, collateral, email, etc. all create a perception of your brand and make promises. Once someone decides to purchase, he or she will start to experience your brand in a tangible way. If his or her experience with your brand aligns with the brand perception, then it may lead to brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is powerful because your customers continue to purchase from you or even become an advocate of your brand and tell others about it.
Of course, there is a lot more to branding than what is described above, but when it is done well and done right, it can be very powerful and ultimately impacts the bottom line.