Many people, even many who are marketing professionals, are often confused by the terms marketing and branding. If asked, some people would tell you that marketing and branding are virtually the same thing. In reality, marketing and branding are quite different activities.
Branding is really comprised of two things. One half is the artwork, the pictures, logos and other ways in which your product is visually presented. Think of the Nike swoosh or the Coca-Cola name written on a can or bottle. Those images are part of the brand those products have. Even if you were to place the Nike swoosh on another product, or write another word in the Coca-Cola font, most people would probably still think of Nike and Coca-Cola. Those companies have done an excellent job with developing the visual brand of their products.
The other half of a brand is the emotional tie that consumers form with the brand. Volvos are safe cars. Allstate Insurance will treat you well, because you’re in good hands. Kentucky Fried Chicken will bring your family together by providing a full course dinner. This part of the brand may never be stated in actual words, but every peice of marketing that a company puts out will do its best to reinforce this brand. As all marketers know, a customers emotional relationship with a brand can be very important.
Marketing, the other activity we’re discussing today, is the act of presenting your brand to the world. It involves advertising and how your logo looks on your storefront and too whom and where you sell your work. Marketers have the job of selling their product’s brand to the public, and of reinforcing that brand in every communication the company has with the public. If you don’t have a solid brand, your marketing message can get very fragmented. If you don’t have good marketing, you could have the greatest brand in the world, but you won’t be very effective when you try to tell people about it.
Although marketing and branding are not the same thing, they do go hand in hand. Before you can tell anyone who you are or what you business is, you have to figure that out for yourself. That’s where branding comes in. Once your brand has been determined, and the visual symbols of that brand assigned, then it’s time to introduce that brand and your company to the public through marketing.