Are Branding and Marketing the Same Thing?
Updated: Oct 4, 2022
The short answer is no. Branding
and Marketing serve two different, but critical functions. Here is a brief overview of how to understand the power they both bring to your products and services.
What is a brand anyway? And how do branding and marketing really relate to each other?
Let’s divide branding from marketing and show how they depend on each other to contribute to an overall marketing strategy.
Branding should evoke an emotional connection from your audience. Marketing should evoke action and compel people to buy or your product or service. Consumers may recognize a brand's identity but does mean they understand exactly what that brand represents and how it persuades them to buy that product or service or another?
Many people use the term brand and marketing interchangeably, but in reality, they are two different things.
Can You Market Effectively without having a Brand?
You can't really have a great marketing strategy without having a great brand. Branding and marketing are similar but different concepts. Whenever one of these two topics comes up, the other one inevitably comes up too as well - mainly because they interact with each other so closely. Brands promote themselves through media. Essentially, brands rely on marketing tactics to fuel them, drive awareness and decision-making, whereas marketing relies on branding to buoy credibility and reinforce positivity.
For example, if Apple created a new tablet that had all the same features as an iPad but was priced $100 less, it would do a really good job of marketing that tablet. But the brand itself would get hurt because people would start to think about Apple products as cheap. Apple's pricing strategy is in their branding strategy.
On the other hand, what if Microsoft decided to change their logo from blue to red? They are trying to make money like Apple does. But this is such a big change that it might hurt their brand and they lose sales for no reason other than changing their brand image.
A brand is not just a name, a logo, a tagline, or an icon used to identify products or services of a business organization A strong brand tells a story. It’s an intangible entity. It should feature points of parity, but it should also add clarity the to the foundational questions of: WHAT, WHO and most importantly - the WHY it's differentiated amongst its competition – their special sauce. Marketing is the HOW. Brands build loyalty. Dig deep and ask: what makes people prefer your product or service over other brands in the same space which work just as well but with lesser awareness among consumers?
Marketing is one of the driving forces that governs how people see brands, products, services, and people. It’s up to marketers to build trust among consumers through clever marketing tactics that compel them to act.
How do you measure Brand Vs. Marketing with ROI?
The simplest answer would be that brand measures the ability to drive sales while marketing measures return on investment (ROI). However, this doesn't provide a complete picture for how it functions because it's not just about money. There are other things such as customer satisfaction, overall brand experience and customer journey (how does your company handle customer service, defective products, backordered items, or bad reviews). What about internal considerations such as employee satisfaction, management philosophy and profit-sharing? All of this is to be taken into consideration for an organization's overall success.
For instance, a great brand puts money into advertising and marketing often. However, if the marketing does not raise the quality of the product to meet customer expectations, then it will not produce good sales. A company with poor marketing can raise advertising expenses without earning more revenue. If an organization doesn't have a good brand then they might have a tough time with marketing. On the other hand, if an organization's brand is weak and they invest in marketing that does not provide better products or services that are efficient their customers will lose trust in them and lose their business to competitors who have more efficient products as well as better service levels from personnel who know what is going on.
As Jeff Bezos famously said, “Branding and marketing are not the same thing. To put it one last way: branding is what people say about you when you leave the room, marketing is what you say about yourself when you're in it.”