Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

There are a lot of buzzwords that float around the business world and, if you don’t have a background in branding and marketing, you might be confused about what makes them different.

It’s true; they are two sides of the same coin, as they both serve to connect you with your ideal clients. Yet, while these two concepts often intertwine, they must be approached differently to make the most of each avenue.

Simply put, branding is who you are and marketing is how you tell people.

Your brand may be friendly, inclusive, and professional. But, deciding upon that is an internal choice until you make your audience aware of who you are.

That’s where marketing comes in — with those brand adjectives driving your marketing, you can start generating social media content, blog posts, and emails that use messaging and imagery that conveys your friendly, inclusive, and professional way of business.

What is Branding?

It’s nearly impossible to have a powerful marketing strategy without an impactful brand, so let’s start with branding first. What is it?

Branding is a strategy that builds a consistent, cohesive look-and-feel for your business that attracts new clients and helps them to remember who you are.

Your company’s brand should reflect your personal and professional values, telling the world exactly what you consider to be most important. It might be timeliness, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, formality (or informality), and so on. Ultimately, it’s these values that will serve to set you apart from competitors.

Every brand is different, so yours will undoubtedly be unique — just make sure that it feels right to you! If your gut feels off, it’s a good sign that you need to make some adjustments. You should be able to go into the world as a proud brand ambassador for your business, ready to share all that sets you apart.

What is Marketing?

Marketing, on the other hand, is a strategic approach to communicating with external stakeholders. It involves various messaging channels, including social media, blogs, public relations/media features, sales emails, lead magnets, and other elements that connect you with your audience.

The key to great marketing is in your brand. A company that is confused about who they are is one that will miss the mark with their ideal clients, simply because they are not able to establish a memorable identity.

After all, marketing is all about promoting a product or service in a way that your target audience has no choice but to want and remember it. Without a cohesive brand, your ideal clients will be left thinking: “Hmm, I remember that product being a great concept — but who was selling it? Oh well, I’ll just look for similar items.”

...and that’s how you end up losing business to your competitors. An effective marketing strategy is a vital component of every business’ sales and outreach, but it needs to be built upon a solid brand foundation in order to succeed.

If you’ve been thinking about a brand refresh, consider this your nudge to get started. Whether you’re contemplating new color palettes or think new product photography is the answer, make this your first step to a smarter, more holistic approach to your marketing strategy. There’s no use spending your time and money on selling a product if people won’t remember who you are!

I’d love to hear about your biggest branding challenges! Get in touch so we can further explore your brand identity and develop the imagery you need to showcase it for all to see.

Jessica Brown is a brand photographer for Jessica Brown Photography who is committed to uplifting modern business women. Based in Northern Virginia, she is an international photographer with nine years of experience behind the lens and loves jetting off to capture her clients in new destinations. In addition to professional headshots and product photography, Jessica also offers full product styling for picture-perfect brand design.

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