Branding and marketing are two terms that you’ll often encounter when discussing business promotion and target market engagement. They help with establishing your business for the long run by contributing to profit generation and by securing your place in the industry. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding branding vs. marketing vs. advertising. Yes, these three concepts are different!

A large part of the discussion will focus on making their differences clear. We will also cover how they can work together and how you can maximize the potency of both for your campaigns.

Understanding Branding and Marketing Strategy Part 1: What is Branding?

Branding is the process of establishing the uniqueness of a business or product. As you’ll learn later on, branding and marketing go hand in hand. However, the role of this particular strategy is to create an identity that makes it a separate entity from the rest of the market. In so doing, the organization will benefit from:

  • Customer loyalty and recognition;
  • A higher perceived value of the products or services sold;
  • Emotional connections with your target market.

So, what is branding in marketing? It’s an important process that largely benefits your capability to pull in big sales, albeit indirectly.

What Are the Core Components of Branding?

Branding and marketing may go together, but it will only be possible if this part is done well. So, your efforts must cover the development of these core components.

  • Brand identity: This includes the font, colors and aesthetics that will allow your audience to visually identify the company.
  • Brand positioning: This helps in framing the value proposition so that potential customers choose it over other options.
  • Brand personality: This humanizes the brand and is also the basis of how the company “speaks.”

These are good places to start, but we recommend going deeper to develop a more appropriate strategy.

Examples of Successful Branding Strategies

To better illustrate what branding is, we have gathered some of the most successful strategies for branding.

  • Corona and beaches: Corona became a beer brand synonymous with relaxation, even outside the context of beaches. This is because, in their branding and marketing strategy, they continued to associate the brand with relaxing, summer vacations in their ads.
  • Invisalign as an alternative to braces: Invisalign established itself as an alternative to traditional orthodontia through the constant comparison to braces in all branding and marketing materials.
  • Old Spice as your man’s scent: Old Spice started to market to women with the line "Smell Like a Man, Man." This campaign, launched in 2010, was primarily targeted at men but also cleverly appealed to women. The idea was to persuade women to buy Old Spice products for their male partners.

Understanding Branding and Marketing Strategy Part 2: What Is Marketing?

Marketing refers to all activities associated with promoting a product or service, from strategy formulation to getting consumers to buy. In essence, marketing gives you the bigger picture, involving various activities like:

  • Customer research;
  • Advertisement;
  • Monitoring and analyzing results;
  • Modifying details of the campaign;
  • Get the reader closer to a sale or convert them right on the spot.

Did you notice that these marketing tasks seem to focus on sales? A helpful tip to understand what marketing is: if it attempts to move the user closer to the bottom of the funnel, it’s most likely marketing.

How Does Marketing Generate Sales?

Between branding and marketing, marketing is more focused on direct action. Remember how we said that marketing moves you closer to the bottom of the funnel? That’s essentially how it works here. Branding and marketing may both be essential, but only marketing is directly responsible for the sale itself. Before the actual sale, this happens with:

  • Lead generation: Do you have strong branding and marketing strategies? Lead generation will be easy. The role of marketing here is to create an ad that will convince them to get on your site or sign up for your lists.
  • Lead nurturing: Both branding and marketing have a hand in this. But for your marketing strategy, you’re setting them up for the sale.

What Key Marketing Strategies Should You Know?

As you can see, marketing is all-encompassing! Together, branding and marketing contribute a lot to business success. And to help make this happen, you should try these strategies.

  • Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing: You pay for every click on your ad. Even though it can technically be used for both branding and marketing, marketers tend to use it when it’s close to driving a sale.
  • Email marketing: Send your leads emails for various purposes, like introducing a new product or telling them about a discount.
  • SEO marketing: This works for both branding and marketing because it makes it easier to generate leads through higher SEO rankings.
  • Affiliate marketing: Make honest and thought-out reviews to improve branding and marketing.
  • Content marketing: This can help with both branding and marketing because it is simply distributing valuable content.
  • Social media marketing: Place ads on social media platforms to bring in sales.
  • Market research: Successful branding and marketing are based on hard data. This can include surveys, interviews and other third-party info sources.

What Types of Tools Will You Need?

To be successful with branding and marketing, you’ll need tools. However, marketing has a lot more options, perhaps because of its ROI-generation capabilities. What you’ll need depends on what you want to accomplish (which is true for both branding and marketing), but here are examples of marketing tools to help you along the way.

  • SEO: Yoast, Google Analytics
  • Social media marketing: Sprout Social, HootSuite, Later
  • Native advertising: MGID (it already has all that you need for both branding and marketing!)
  • Email marketing: ConvertKit, Mailchimp
  • Content research and marketing: AnswerThePublic, Moz
  • PPC: Google Ads, Optmyzr
  • Marketing automation: ActiveCampaign, Marketo

What Are the Similarities Between Marketing & Branding?

Before we discuss what is the difference between marketing and branding, let’s first talk about how they are similar. The similarities that you’ll find between branding and marketing include:

  • Goal-oriented: The actual goals may be different, but both of them are created with specific purposes in mind.
  • Customer-centric: Good branding and marketing strategies are focused on delivering value to the customer. These are always created based on their frame of mind.
  • Measurement and optimization: For both branding and marketing, you’ll rely on data to see if your efforts are working. Then, you make changes based on your evaluation.

So, for either strategy, both of these elements should be present.

Branding vs. Marketing: Understanding the Differences

Now that we have an understanding of the similarities let us look at the other side of the coin. Having a good understanding of what’s the difference between branding and marketing allows you to:

  • Draw a clearer line in the sand when determining what to include in either of the campaigns;
  • Identify appropriate KPIs;
  • Set a realistic timeline for when you can expect results;
  • Determine how you’ll frame the campaign.

So, what are the differences between marketing and branding? We have discussed this in the following subsections:

Focus and Objectives

Let’s clear the air. Both types of campaigns may focus on consumers, but that’s basically all that branding and marketing have in common. This is how they’re different:

  • Branding is about individualizing and humanizing the company. Here, your focus is on creating a unique identity and emotional connection with the audience.
  • Marketing is all about sales. The biggest difference between marketing vs branding is marketing’s focus on convincing people to buy.

Knowing the difference here helps set the direction that you’re going to take for your strategy creation. Think of it as wearing the appropriate metaphorical suit based on where you’re going.

Timeframe and Longevity

Why is this differentiation between marketing versus branding important? You want to know when you should start switching gears and when you should wait a little bit longer for more data. For time frame and longevity, here are the biggest differences between branding and marketing.

  • Branding is a long-term strategy. Your goal is to build brand equity over time, which helps elevate the consumer’s perception of the brand.
  • Marketing campaigns are short-term. The campaigns are often short-term and focused on immediate results.

Branding and marketing operate in vastly different time frames. Branding seems to be a relatively permanent fixture like Nike’s Just Do It, while marketing can be a Black Friday Sale.

Scope and Elements

What you highlight will be different for your branding and marketing efforts. There will obviously be overlaps, but these are the scope and elements of the two.

  • Branding covers developing how a company is perceived, whether through values or personality.
  • Marketing revolves around specific promotional activities, like advertising, sales promotions and digital marketing.

So, is branding part of marketing strategies? Definitely! Even though it’s not the main objective, your branding efforts can help with your marketing strategy. Whether it’s the colors, the personality or just the general “feel” of the ad, branding and marketing are always present in some way.

Measure of Success

In any type of activity that involves some form of promotion (whether overtly or covertly) of the company, you need to have a measure of success. For branding and marketing, these are as follows:

  • Branding success is measured through brand awareness, loyalty and reputation.
  • Marketing success is measured by metrics like ROI, conversion rates and sales figures.

Between branding and marketing, only one of them is purely measured by hard numbers. Whether a marketing strategy is successful or not depends on quantitative data. Meanwhile, branding success can use qualitative data to measure success, such as the target market’s perception of the company.

How Value is Used

Both branding and marketing involve value, but the difference is how they are used. With branding, the company itself is building value to improve brand awareness and perception. Meanwhile, with marketing, you’re extracting value from the customers through payment.

While both branding and marketing can assist with this task, any help that marketing delivers is a natural consequence of creating an ad. But just to be clear, with branding and marketing, the customer always benefits. They get to enjoy a quality product or service delivered by your company.

Actual Implementation of the Strategy

In the majority of branding vs marketing examples, there are stark differences in how they’re implemented. Here are the biggest that you’ll see:

  • The need for an ad: Even though both branding and marketing can be implemented using an ad, it’s less common for the former.
  • Messaging: Marketing tends to have a very strong call to action. Meanwhile, a branding strategy may just be about sharing something with you, just like a friend would!
  • Personalization: Branding and marketing are both personalized in the sense that they’re (ideally) created with a customer persona in mind. However, a marketing strategy may have a more segmented audience.

How Do Branding & Marketing Work Together?

As you have seen in the previous sections, these two endeavors are designed for specific but very related purposes. We have comprehensively explored what is the difference between branding and marketing. So, now, let’s develop a deeper understanding of how these two can work together. The two are highly necessary if you want to achieve sustained success in your industry. You’ll learn how you can have branding and marketing efforts in one campaign, how they affect each other and how you can implement them through examples. Before we tie everything up in a neat bow in the conclusion, get the final piece of the puzzle on how to implement both branding and marketing successfully.

How Can You Combine Your Branding and Marketing Efforts?

You don’t have to understand in-depth marketing and brand development to make this happen. It doesn’t have to be exclusively a brand campaign vs marketing campaign because you can create a bridge between these two separate efforts by:

  • Establishing brand guidelines: This would ensure that the elements that you’re using are consistent for both branding and marketing efforts.
  • Using the same platforms for the campaigns: By doing this, you’re increasing the brand exposure to the same target market.
  • Using the same metrics: There’s a huge difference between marketing strategy vs brand strategy, so monitor them individually. Try integrating the data for both to see the macro perspective.

Understanding the Mutually Synergistic Effects of Branding and Marketing

Two is better than one. This isn’t just an old hit from 15 years ago: it’s also a generally accepted truth if you’re running both types of campaigns. If you understand the difference between brand and marketing, you can implement strategies that will benefit each other.

  • A strong brand makes marketing better because trust has already been established. With strong branding and marketing strategies done well, it will be easier for you to convert.
  • A good marketing strategy builds your brand because you’re creating an opportunity for them to see what you do well. With branding in advertising materials, you’re inevitably spreading the word about the company.

As you can see, they both build each other up!

What Are Good Examples of Successful Integration of Branding and Marketing Strategies?

Sometimes, the lines between these strategies are blurred because, as we’ve talked about in the previous subsection, they’re very related. We will discuss two brands that were able to merge branding and advertising in one campaign. It obviously helped that they are operating on an international scale, but that doesn’t mean only big companies can successfully integrate the strategies. To make it easy for you to attempt to replicate their success, we’ll highlight the branding and marketing elements of these integrated promotional efforts. We will also include the results so you can see the potential of doing this awesome digital twofer.

Southwest’s Transfarency

Southwest’s 2015 Transfarency campaign is so effective that you’ll still see it on its website! But what made it so successful?

  • **Branding: **The company focused on its competitive edge by demonstrating its straightforward fee structure through fun social media content.
  • Marketing: For the marketing element of branding and marketing integration, Southwest emphasized their baggage inclusion, no cancellation fees and transparent rates when you book a flight directly with them. This helped encourage the user to choose them over the competition.
  • Result: A year later, this branding and marketing strategy increased revenue by $20.4 billion.

Dove: Real Beauty Campaign

A beauty product like Dove is created to enhance a person’s looks in some way. However, through the branding and marketing campaign, it was able to frame beauty as more than skin deep.

  • Branding: Dove’s branding evolved throughout the years from simply highlighting natural beauty to promoting causes and values through branding and marketing campaigns like racial equity, positive masculinity, children’s self-esteem and more.
  • Marketing strategy: One of their more impactful strategies featured real women across all races, ages and body types to show that everyone can be beautiful.
  • Results: Revenues increased by 10% from 2010 to 2011, and the campaign is still ongoing today.

Setting Up for Business Success: How to Maximize the Effectiveness of Both Branding and Marketing Campaigns

The information that you have learned above is already enough to form solid strategies that will elevate your brand and drive sales. However, if you want to take your branding and marketing to the next level, here are a few things that you can do.

  • Invest in functional collaboration: The people or teams involved in strategies that focus on branding and marketing can work together to ensure consistency and coherence of all efforts.
  • Understand your audience: As we have discussed earlier, the strategies for your branding and marketing efforts are centered on your customers. So, gather as much info on them as you can.
  • Monitor brand sentiment: Keep this positive for the success of your strategy implementation.

Achieve Consistent Results That Only Get Better with a Strong Brand & Marketing

As we have learned, marketing gets you immediate results while branding gets you long-term recognition and success. So, it’s not really brand strategy vs marketing strategy. They work together to support both your short-term and long-term aspirations for the company. Considering your company’s current position, should you prioritize branding versus marketing or the other way around? Either way, know that all of MGID is ready to support you with our native advertising solutions. Just create your MGID account to access advanced tools, a dedicated account manager and a team of creative specialists to help with your future marketing and branding campaigns.