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So, What’s the Difference Between Branding and Marketing? Where Do I Start?

If you've ever asked yourself this, you're not alone. We've got a crash course on how to get started.

Your business depends on branding and marketing. Both will help drive your business forward, and both paint a clear picture of what your company is really about. You can’t have one without the other! They are, however, two different things. It’s very easy to get confused about the difference between branding and marketing. After reading this article, you will know exactly what branding and marketing are and how to start using them to your advantage!

What’s the difference?

Let’s begin with marketing.

Marketing is a certain step a company takes to promote the products they are selling or the services they offer. Marketing is not about sales – a good ad should simply attract the interest of your target audience. The audience should learn what benefits they gain from choosing your company, and what exactly your company has to offer.

Marketing can be done in various ways. You can post ads online, pay from promotions on various social media platforms, send specific emails or even post an ad in your local newspaper. Marketing can become pricey, but it’s all about figuring out whether your ads are generating enough revenue to pay for themselves (and more). Before you start pumping out ads, you need to come up with a good marketing plan. Determining the kind of message you want the ad to convey and figuring out your target audience are just some of the multiple ways you can start thinking about it.

Branding is all about figuring who you are.

According to Marty Neumeier in his book, “The Brand Gap,” a brand is “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.” In other words, your brand is “not what you say it is; it’s what they say it is.”

Branding is just as important as marketing. Your brand has certain characteristics, like who you are at the core and your values. Nailing your branding down doesn’t just mean that you’ll have a beautiful visual representation of your company. You’ll also have the right positioning in the market and you’ll create connections with your ideal target audience.

Where to begin?

Branding is the heart of marketing, and that’s where you want to start. Even the smallest companies need to figure out who they are before they start announcing their presence to the world. Your company is nothing without its image. How will your customers know the products are coming from you if they have no way to identify you? Your brand is to your company what your ID card is to you. You can’t go strutting all over the place without one.

Marketing will keep evolving forever, as people find new ways to get their message across, but branding will always be about showing the world who you are. So, to answer your question: always start with branding!

Here are a few simple ways to start:

  1. Identify areas in your business that makes your product or services unique
  2. Have clarity of your ideal target audience
  3. Analyze competitors in your market and review your company’s positioning

The brand is the foundation for customer loyalty and crafting rapport. When your brand is trying to build connections and provide services or products in the market, it should be able to not only pique your ideal customers’ attention but also help them see your brand as part of their identity.

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the differences between marketing and branding, and helped you realize the first steps you should take on your branding journey!

Article contributor Ari Krzyzek

About the author

Co-founder and chief creative officer of Chykalophia (read: see-ka-lo-fia), Ari Krzyzek helps femtech and women-led companies craft a brand that delights their customer beyond a pretty design, delivers no-brainer user experience and gets them the clarity they need to for their business to thrive online. Additionally, she founded and hosts Creative Women’s Co., serving as a design consultant, mentor and professional peer in support of fellow female entrepreneurs through 1871 Chicago and Interaction Design Foundation.

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