9 Main Differences Between Branding And Marketing

What is the difference between branding and marketing? And which one should you be using for your business? In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between branding and marketing, and we’ll give you some tips on how to use them both effectively to market your business.

Branding Vs. Marketing

Branding and marketing are two terms you’ll come across often in the business world – especially if you’re seeking growth. 

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs confuse them or think they’re the same thing. 

The problem is that you must first create a brand before you can promote it. Even though they seem similar, they aren’t the same thing. If you clearly distinguish them, you can better understand their role and better use both to grow your business.

In this article, we’ll look at what branding and marketing mean and the nine differences between the two terms.

Branding starts with a name. 

Make sure you pick the right one. Try our business name generator to ensure you have a great name for your new business venture. 

Differences Between Branding And Marketing

There’s a lot of confusion between branding and marketing. Many people think they’re the same thing, but that’s not the case. 

To understand the difference, you first need to know what the two terms mean.

Branding is about creating a unique identity for your business, product, or service. 

Marketing is about bringing that brand in front of as many people as possible. 

Let’s look at the nine main differences between marketing and branding.

Branding vs marketing

1. Branding Is A Promise, While Marketing Sells The Promise 

The first difference between the two terms is that they’ve different definitions. Branding is everything you do as a business to become a brand. A brand is a business that’s memorable, respected, and recognized.

More specifically, your brand is a promise you make to potential customers when they choose you.

You usually reinforce this promise with brand assets like a logo, a font, a tagline, and more.

Apple is a popular example of a brand. This is because their products are easily recognizable thanks to their logo and other brand assets. Another characteristic is their brand name. It’s short, memorable, and efficient. 

While there’s a lot of speculation about the reason behind the name, it’s stood the test of time because it’s so unusual. Aside from the large fan base, Apple is well respected in all the markets they’re present in – gadgets and software.

Marketing, on the other hand, is any tactic you use to get the word out about a product or service and sell it. This is all about attracting new customers and generating more sales for your product. A good example of Apple’s marketing is its unveiling events, where the company presents stunning visuals. All this helps to increase the demand for new products. 

So the next time you hear the terms branding and marketing, remember that one means trying to become memorable and respected, while the other is simply trying to increase demand and sales of a product.

short term and long term promotion

Did you know?

The first Apple computer sold for $666.66 and spun many conspiracy theories – which could have been a marketing strategy. 

2. Branding Is Company-Centric, While Marketing Is Customer-Centric

In branding, you create value for your company and make sure those values convey your company’s vision and mission.

When you focus on branding, you pay attention to the consistency of your messages, your logo, your design, and even your tone. This way, anyone who comes in contact with your brand can instantly recognize you. They can instantly confirm that it’s you.

For example, would you walk into a McDonald’s store with a pink and white logo? You’d first pause to make sure you were in the right place. That skepticism wouldn’t be there if you saw the normal red and yellow logo. 

The same is true if you see a bowl of rice in the ad instead of a normal burger. That’s because burgers and the colors red and yellow are part of the McDonald’s brand.

Marketing works with customers in mind. What would they like to see? What channels do they spend the most time on? How can we best appeal to them and record a sale? 

This is where market research and analytics come into play. You need to know your customers and your target audience to appeal to them. 

Also, McDonald’s marketing isn’t based on the company’s values but on the ads you see during the Super Bowl or on YouTube. It’s also the flyers, the campaigns, and the thought that went into creating them.

So, in summary, branding is about understanding and working with your business. Marketing tactics are about understanding your customers and working with their interests.

customer-centric vs company-centric

Did you know?

Mcdonalds had to rebrand in 1948 as a place for burgers and fries. Before that, they were a hotdog and barbecue restaurant.

3. Branding Is The Foundation Of Marketing

While you can argue that it’s the other way around, the truth is simply that you’re marketing a product/service for a brand. You can’t market a product unless it’s branded. 

You need a price, your logo, an accompanying tagline, and most importantly, the brand name. Without any of that, it’s impossible to sell a product to your target audience.

What about small businesses? You may be wondering. Even if a small business can start marketing its products/services without branding, it’s vulnerable to marketing mistakes. And even if it’s successful, it needs to keep working on its branding to grow its business.

However, with solid brand assets, you can put a lot of resources into your marketing. You need to prioritize your branding efforts by getting a solid mission statement. You should also invest in a good business name so you don’t have to change it halfway through the process. 

So remember, you need to work on branding before marketing.

Did you know?

Nike was formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1971, an employee suggested they change it to Nike, and it’s been that ever since.

4. Marketing Is A Short-Term Strategy, While Branding Is A Long-Term Plan

Twenty-three years ago, Nike released the slogan “Just do it,” and to this day, it remains one of the most notable brand slogans in the world. Over the years, however, Nike has run a whole series of marketing campaigns. Many of them have been successful. 

The difference between these two campaigns is that while they’re both successful, one has visible results decades later. That’s the difference between marketing and branding.

Marketing is a short-term strategy because it’s to keep up with trends. And as the trends die out, so do the effects. As ideologies, perspectives, and technologies change, marketing has to adapt to them. 

Today, there are many marketing strategies that focus on short videos because that’s the new wave, whereas 50 years ago, it was TV ads and radio jingles. 

Branding, on the other hand, is a long-term plan. Brand values don’t usually change overnight. The reason is that it’s about creating a perception. This is why Nike works with athletes and strong personalities because it sells dreams. The fact that dreams can come true if you just do it.

Even though the style and messages change, the goal of branding remains the same: to showcase the brand’s core values and mission.

buy now

Did you know?

Nike’s slogan was inspired by the last words of Utah criminal Gary Gilmore.

5. Marketing Puts You On The Playing Field, And Branding Separates You From The Rest

If you’re relatively new to the market, it’s likely that there are already players in the field. Over time, these players will be called competitors. 

With marketing, you can draw attention to your product and join the ranks of other companies doing the same thing. Think Doctor Pepper, Pepsi, and other cola drinks joining the world dominated by Coca-Cola. 

However, your brand is what sets you apart from the competition. It shows your users how different you are in terms of your values, style, and everything else. 

A good example of this is Olipop. Instead of positioning their brand as just another diet soda, they set themselves apart by offering a different kind of soda – a healthy soda.


Did you know?

The slogan of Diet Coke – “You’re On” – was almost misunderstood as an advertisement for illegal substances.

6. Marketing Focuses On Sales, While Branding Gets Loyal Users 

The primary goal of any marketing strategy is to generate awareness. Marketing also drives sales – which is only fair because every business is out to make a profit. 

So while your marketing strategy can drive initial purchases, your brand focuses on customer loyalty and retention.

An effective marketing campaign will result in purchases. But a customer will only come back if they love your brand. This can be either your processes, your values, or what you stand for 

You’ll see that many people will boycott a brand with a negative element. This is also the reason why many businesses are taking action on climate change and showing that they’re committed to sustainability. They want to appeal to their customers by showing they care. 

But instead of short-term sales, branding helps you gain long-term customers who’ll even recommend your product to others. 

Although both marketing and branding can help you, the difference is that one brings immediate customers, while the other aims to bring repeat purchases from those same customers.

Did you know?

The body shop brand was once boycotted for its animal testing. It was considered an animal cruelty brand until it stopped.

7. Marketing Is More Targeted Than Branding

When running your marketing campaigns, you first identify your target audience and then divide them into segments. And often, the identification of your target market also determines which channels you use and what kind of messages you spread. 

A great example of this is Lamborgini saying that TV won’t be a part of their marketing strategy because their target audience doesn’t watch TV. As a luxury brand, they rely on exclusivity in their marketing strategies to appeal to their customers. 

The takeaway from this is that marketing materials target specific people in order to generate sales. 

Even though Lamborgini’s advertising isn’t mainstream, the brand is known worldwide. This is the effect of their branding. As we discussed earlier, branding creates a long-term impact and perception. Thus, Lamborgini has always been perceived as an exclusive brand. 

However, unlike marketing, branding isn’t as targeted. With branding, we want to create awareness of our brand. Branding appeals to a larger audience. We’ve already said that branding is company-centric while marketing is customer-centric.


Did you know?

You can build a memorable brand with an eye-catching name. Our brand name generator can help you find creative name ideas. Try it out. 

8.  Branding Builds Relationships While Marketing Fills Needs

Marketing helps position the company as a solution to a need. You tell your target audience why they should buy your product and how it can help them solve their problems. 

So you’re fulfilling a need for your customers. Over time, they can come back and use your product/service again and again.

With branding, you build a relationship with people who resonate with what you do and why you do it. It’s why some people prefer Gucci over Louis Vuitton. It’s also why Google has its die-hard fans and why Apple users refuse to switch over.

Branding creates a fan base for your business, and over time these people may even recommend your brand to their network. It’s very hard for people to switch brands once they click with them. So your marketing answers the question “how?” while branding answers the question “why and who?”

brand relationships

Did you know?

Starbucks has a community store program that ensures that they hire members of the community.

9. Marketing Attracts Attention While Branding Keeps It

As we’ve pointed out, branding builds relationships, so a big part of your branding strategy is telling stories. It’s about curating stories and creating assets that convey the story you’re telling. 

Marketing curates strategies that attract users to you. That’s because they create demand by spreading the word about your brand.

Once a customer has found your business thanks to your marketing efforts, they need to trust you enough to stay with you. That’s why they do their research by reading your reviews, press releases, and looking at how you handle certain situations. This gives them insight into the importance of your brand. 

For example, if you’re a financial company and your brand is too playful and comedic, users might be skeptical about trusting you with their money. No matter how serious the ad may be. 

So you need to combine marketing and branding to attract and keep customers’ attention to your brand.

Did you know?

Kellogg’s has been a cereal brand since 1894?


In this post, we tried to clarify the differences between two popular business terms – branding and marketing. Branding and marketing are important aspects of any business. However, they are not the same thing. 

When it comes to your business, it’s important to understand the differences so that you can put in the necessary effort to create a successful branding and marketing strategy.


Matija Kolaric

Matija Kolaric

Amazing content is the core of what we do. With more than 5 years of experience in branding, name development, and business, Matija helps create and manage content production.

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