Branding is About You, Marketing is About Your Target Audience
It’s easy to think that branding and marketing are one and the same, but you’d be mistaken. When you hear people speak about marketing, they often lump in branding as if it were identical. To the casual customer, marketing terminology isn’t a need to know, but if you’re the one selling services or products, it’s vital to understand the difference.
What’s the difference?
Branding is about who you are
Marketing is about reaching your audience
Branding and marketing are each piece of your overall strategy when you’re seeking awareness. Potential clients need to understand not only what you do, but also the reason behind why you do it. This creates an image in their mind which will help place you as the solution to your customers’ problems.
When it comes to branding, starting with the strategy, it’s about stating who you are, what you stand for, what promise do you make to help your customer, and the personality you convey. It’s about your customer experience. It’s your face in a crowded market, your visuals, your logo, and your reputation.
The purpose of branding is defining a true identity based on the real story, so that everyone on the team, from sales, marketing, product, support, to operations, and corporate culture can align their effort to develop, support, and grow the brand.
Branding Focus On:
Brand Purpose (Core)
Brand Visuals & Guidelines
Branding comes first, marketing comes second
Marketing, on the other hand, is about your target market or buyer persona. While you create your brand with your voice in mind, marketing becomes the avenue by which you travel to build awareness, trust, confidence, and authority. With marketing, you show your target audience who you are and what you can do for them.
Each time they come in contact with your message, you’re showing them a piece of who you are and how you can help. By providing potential customers with channels to reach you, offering helpful resources, or answering their questions, you’re showing them that you are authoritative in the field and that they can trust you to take care of their needs.
Marketing Focus On:
Making Introduction (Promote)
Inspire, Influence, & Build Trust
Marketing is a selling tool
Marketing is how you promote yourself and the way you reach out to your potential clients and customers. By carefully selecting how you market, they become aware that your company is not only an option but that you have the answer to their problem. You are the solution they’ve been looking for.
In the awareness stage, they’ve become aware of a problem. They are now searching for answers. With this in mind, they seek out who might help them solve their issue. At this point, they may not know your company is a choice or that you’re the right business to help them.
Inbound marketing allows you to draw them to you and confidently show them how you can make things better. Once they are aware, you can start the process of building trust. Trust builds relationships, which then helps sell your product or service.
In marketing, you may be familiar with the terminology flywheel or sales funnel. Whichever method your company relies on, it all starts with that first step. Until your customer is aware that they have a problem, and that you have the solution, there is no relationship. Without a relationship, there is no sale.
Branding and Marketing Work Hand-in-Hand
While each is a separate piece of the puzzle, they work together. By knowing who you want to reach (your target audience) and why (value alignment), you can tie those pieces together. Just like a well-oiled machine, from beginning to end, every element needs to work together.
Have you overlooked a crucial element? Have you tried to create them together, rather than understanding each piece as its own component?
The buyer journey starts with awareness. You create via content to draw your potential customer your way. That could be in the form of an ad, a video, an article, social media, or even via word of mouth from another subscriber of your service or product. This first step is important.
Now, that you have their attention they can learn more about who you are, what you’re about, how you can help them, and they’ll learn what your company or business can do for them.
Branding is strategic. Marketing is tactical.
This is where your cohesive message and branding comes in. What is the customer experience like? Does it help answer their questions? Does it build confidence that says, yes, we have the solution to your problem? With this confidence comes trust. As mentioned earlier, with trust you build relationships.
So, while you’ll most likely build your brand details first, it’s actually your marketing that draws your customer to you. Once they’re aware, your well-thought-out branding helps leave a mark and forms a reputation that says, yes, you can trust us to be the answer you need. This is who we are and what we stand for.
When was the last time you took a good look at your branding and marketing strategies? Is it time for an overhaul?
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