Branding vs. Marketing: Which is more important?
Both branding and marketing are equally important.
Trying to separate the two will less likely lead to successful results. As a business owner, it is essential that you understand the difference between branding and marketing, and how to effectively use them together.
Branding: the message
Before marketing, you must establish a strong brand.
To create and establish a strong brand, you must define and illustrate all the characteristics that would affect how your customers will perceive your brand.
- Your product and/or services
- Your company values and principles
- Your company mission and vision
- Your target customers or audience
- Your competitive edge in the industry or marketplace
- Your company culture
Moreover, you need to establish your purpose to have a strong brand. To do so, you should ask yourself the following questions.
- Why did I build this business or company?
- Why do I want to provide a service or product to this specific group of people?
- Why does it matter to me that I do this?
- What do I want to come to mind when someone hears my business name?
- How do I want people to feel when they think of my business?
Time Magazine answers these questions. The company knows why they exist. That is to make sure their products are relevant and appealing to the busy consumer who needs to know and wants to be inspired by what’s going on in the world.
A clear purpose will reflect your brand and everything you do. Thus, you should keep your actions, comments, and insights consistent with your brand.
Branding is the message that you must establish as clear as possible.
Marketing: the medium
The goal of marketing is to reach an audience and move it to act, says Billups.
Branding comes first because this is your company’s identity. You cannot market something that is vague and impractical.
However, this does not mean that marketing is not as important.
Using your brand identity as a guide and framework, you can make efficient decisions on how to reach and sell to your audience.
A brand may stand on its own but without marketing, it won’t be able to push forward. It emphasizes your products and services in a way that your potential customers will be encouraged to make a move.
The brand is the message and the marketing is how you communicate (or the medium of) the message.
Uniqlo, an innovative Japanese apparel, created a global image campaign where participants were encouraged to share their photographs on social media and get their families or friends to join the campaign. As a result, 25,000 people signed up to receive the UNIQLO newsletters. The campaign provided 35,000 new customers to the company.
Marketing is a great way to creatively engage with customers and let them discover your brand and what your product does. Below are the types of marketing that you can use in your business.
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Radio advertising
The brand says “This is what I am, why I exist. If you like me, if you agree with me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.” Then, marketing will create a framework by which consumers will want to buy or consume the brand.
The differences between branding and marketing
The similarities between branding and marketing
Both branding and marketing are intended to add value for customers and help the audience. They also work as one, influencing purchase decisions and providing information. Both branding and marketing speak to customers directly.
They may not be the same but they share a common purpose, which is to move your business forward.
If your branding is clear and effective, your marketing will also be effective, and vice versa.
Once your brand is determined and established, you can push it out through marketing.
Branding and marketing should both be priority investments, especially for startups. They are also important throughout the lifetime of a business.
Branding is a never-ending process. You must keep on refining your brand. Likewise, marketing strategies must constantly evolve. What works now might fail after 5 to 10 years.
Some people may think that branding is not important and a generic product can be generated with great marketing. They can’t see the point that branding is creating an identifiable mark that people will have at the back of their minds.
Strong structures have a solid foundation and starting point. Understanding the differences and similarities between branding and marketing will help you build your foundation of branding, and your extensions through marketing.
Through branding, your audience will understand your business. Then, your audience will encounter it via marketing.
Keep in mind that they are equally important and can when used properly together, your company will more likely progress.
Yet, you must first develop branding and marketing strategies separately so they would be even stronger when they were combined together in the end. And no matter what strategies you choose in developing your brand and marketing, you should commit to it and see it through.