This is a 2-minute crash-read into a surprisingly complex subject. If you’re at all confused about where the line is drawn between Marketing and Branding, you’re not alone. Indeed there is a lot of cross-over between the two which is why these concepts are so often misunderstood. Understanding how they work together is essential in helping your business succeed.

What is Branding?

Branding is a vital consideration for any lasting business, and it’s not just a clever logo. It’s about developing an understanding of the core values of what your business is about. Why you are in business. Who your business is for, and how you will communicate this with people.

These can be difficult questions to answer and many businesses skip them because they feel too vague, take too long or feel too hard. However, not doing so is like trying to bake a cake without flour and eggs.

In a sentence, Branding is about really understanding who you are as a business, and thus what you offer and how it provides tangible and distinct value to your customers.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is like the mouthpiece that wants to tell everyone about what amazing products or services your business offers. If you’ve done the hard work of Branding, then questions of marketing become simpler, because you have the core of why your business exists to align your marketing strategy with. For example,

Is this project bringing us closer to our mission?

Does our messaging resonate with our core values?

Misconceptions about the two

Many feel that marketing comes across as too “pushy”. This is likely because some outdated takes on “marketing” are only interested in making money, rather than providing a valuable service or product. Tom Fishbourne would say “the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing”. This can only happen when marketing comes from a place beyond just money – I.e. a business who has done their branding well, intentionally or otherwise.

Others feel that marketing or branding are too expensive and don’t work. In reality, successful business operators see marketing as an investment. Apple – one of the most successful businesses in history – spent in 2015, $1.8 billion on marketing to make $233.7 billion (gross turnover). Apple truly understands the importance of foundational branding to help make more effective and more economical marketing. We hate to highlight the overused example that is Apple, but no one can argue against the fact that they have built brand loyalty like no other company. There are numerous other examples, like Nike or Harley Davidson, where the same is true. We understand that your business may be vastly different to these, but the concepts are still applicable.

So, how do I get started?

We’ve got some reasonably straightforward, but highly valuable homework. Some further reading (if you would like to unpack the topic some more) and our branding worksheet. This worksheet forms the first piece of material in our branding workshop and rebranding services, with fundamental questions that help give you clarity surrounding your business:

We unpack this topic at length in the full version, which includes some DIY tips:

Or, if you’re a visual learner, like me – our branding vs marketing presentation

Like anything worth doing, branding and marketing take time, effort and intention. Businesses who don’t brand may be forgotten, or find resistance each step of the way. Businesses who don’t market get left behind. Branding and marketing are indispensable tools to achieve your business goals. As Seth Godin says, “Marketing, more than a lake or a forest, is the landscape of our modern lives.”

Sam Petrusma