What's the Difference Between Branding and Marketing?

Branding, marketing, advertising, PR—from an outside perspective these might seem like the same thing. We sometimes see businesses (both old and new) struggling to understand the differences. If that's you, don't worry, this post is just for you.

While advertising and PR are just two tools in the vast arsenal of tactics your business can use in marketing, branding is an entirely different beast. So let's breakdown the definitions of these two concepts.

Branding is the foundational identity of your business. It's WHO you are. When working with our clients to develop a brand, we often create brand guidelines, messaging, and initial content. With some of our long term clients here in Los Angeles, we regularly asses and create branding strategies to expand a business's identity and ensure they communicate a consistent, persuasive message with every form of communication they have. This means both internal branding (how you express your company identity to your team) and external branding (how you communicate your company identity to the outside world.) A strong brand opens the doors for a business to have a clear direction to go in. More than just a logo, branding encompasses your whole purpose. It allows your sales team to understand how they can represent you, your product developers to know what kind of products are perfect for your business, your team leadership to instill pride in your employees (which statistically means more revenue for you). It's the pulse of your business. Your brand is something that grows with your company through every transition, every new employee, and every new customer.

If you make a conscious effort to cultivate your brand, it will drive you forward.

It leaves a lasting impression on your clients, your employees, and the world at large. So make a brand that counts.

Once you have your brand in place, you can dive into marketing. Marketing encompasses all the strategic actions used to promote your business. It's the social media advertisements, the email drip messaging, the catchy jingle on the radio, the search engine optimization. Marketing often takes competitor analysis, customer behavioral patterns, and industry statistics into a giant tactical ball of numbers and spits it back out into the world in the form of smart, sales-driven campaigns. It’s the machine which, once up and running, should bulldoze into the world reaping profit for your business.

We. Love. Good marketing.

But it's not step one, and certainly not what leaves a lasting impression on the world. That's what we're here for.

So what exactly does a company without marketing look like?

Even the most beautifully branded business will not be able to grow if there isn't a marketing strategy to let the world know about it! While some brands are fortunate enough to survive without marketing as their clients come back every season, they can not grow their clientele optimally without marketing.

What does a company without branding look like?

The short answer—a chaotic mess. A quick overview of a company website can tell you if a company has a strong brand identity or not. If all the images, words, products, and customer reviews all say different things about the company, the brand is broken. Businesses can seriously harm the growth of their company without a clear brand. Just like a person going through an identity crisis, company's can also have a branding crisis. It completely stunts the growth of a business. A branding crisis often results in customers who become angry that marketing campaigns don't accurately represent what the company is. Even companies who start with a robust foundational brand can fall away from it. Your brand is the embodiment of your business. Without proper management or a conscious effort to cultivate it, your brand will stagnate. Weak brands can also result in a sales team ill-equipped to sell a confusing message, employees who feel unmotivated, and a lasting impression to both employees and the world that your company is soulless or worse, forgettable.

So, for a branding agency like Robyn & Robyn, we love to find clients who are excited to collaborate on a long-term branding strategy with a healthy marketing plan in place.