What is the difference between branding and marketing?

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This post was written by the amazing writers here at Nomadic Advertising!

October 13, 2022

It isn’t uncommon to see people using branding and marketing interchangeably. However, they represent two different concepts. Understanding the difference between branding and marketing
can mean the difference between success and failure in business. The reason why most people don’t use these concepts successfully is that they don’t understand the difference, which is such a rookie mistake. Keep reading this post so you can skip this beginner’s confusion.

Let’s start by defining both terms:

What is branding?

A brand defines a company, its mission, vision, values, and uniqueness. Branding is about building a brand that encompasses a name, symbol, term, or other features that differentiate your company’s products/services. It is a practice that aims to distinguish a company’s products and services from those of other companies while at the same time creating customer loyalty.  

Branding is done via many tools, which include but aren’t limited to the actual products/services, packaging, website, apps, company logo, company mission/vision, company colors, etc.

What is marketing?

While branding is about distinguishing your company’s products/services, marketing is about actively promoting those products/services using tools, strategies, and processes. All actions meant to connect with customers and convince them to buy your products/services qualify as marketing. 

Marketing includes any product or service promotional efforts like social media ads, commercials, and other campaigns meant to connect with customers and get them excited about what you are selling. 

Branding vs. marketing: What’s the difference?

There are many ways branding differs from marketing. Here are the main ones;

1. Intent

Marketing intends to capture a customer’s attention, while branding is a great way of keeping that attention. Marketing is crucial regardless of the industry. You must market your products or services for your potential customers to know they exist. 

With the right marketing strategies, you’ll be able to capture your customers’ attention. However, once you get it you need to keep it. Branding keeps attention by giving customers something they can connect with and trust. It also makes products/services more attractive than other similar products in the market. In a nutshell, the intention of marketing is to break through the market, while branding intends to build a loyal customer base.

2. Impact on team and customers

The difference between branding and marketing can also be explored based on the internal and external impact. 

Generally, marketing strategies are developed and implemented by marketing teams. They are the ones responsible for creating strategies that make their client’s services or products stand out, seem relevant to their audience and keep the business going. 

On the other hand, branding must have a strong impact on both the team and customers for it to work. Just as your potential customers need to love your brand in other for the business to succeed, your employees’ care and passion for your company will also be very important, they need to buy into your brand. If your team truly believes in your brand, they will do their best to make sure it is thriving.

3. Longevity

Branding and marketing are both essential parts of your business, but branding has an additional point to its favor: it is “forever”. While the need to market and promote your business will always be there, the specific strategies need to be changing with the times. It is a critical process but one that needs to be active, and the best marketing team will be one that can understand the flows and the trends of internet culture. Your brand, however, could benefit from having a little structure and order. It is true that you will always be working on your brand. As your business grows and evolves, you must continue defining your company, shaping brand perception, and creating deeper, more meaningful connections, but that doesn’t mean you should completely change your brand unless it is absolutely necessary. Having a strong brand that customers can easily recognize goes a long way, it will help you gain your customer’s trust and loyalty while remaining at the top of mind. 

4. Precedence: Which comes first? 

Branding comes before marketing. You can’t start marketing your business without thinking of what you want to offer, the mission and vision of the business, your target audience, and how you wish to reach them. You must answer these brand questions before thinking of marketing. 

With a brand in mind, you have a clearer understanding of the kind of company you want, your preferred customers, ideal products/services, and other important information that is key for crafting
a successful marketing strategy.

5. Timeline, sales & loyalty

The main intention of marketing is to drive sales in the short term. Marketing strategies such as content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media marketing are largely meant to increase sales which means a successful strategy will need to have something to show for it, it is very results oriented. 

Branding, on the other hand, focuses on driving loyalty. While loyalty eventually boosts sales, this is usually in the long term and not as immediate as with marketing. Branding is the best solution for you if you want to foster customer loyalty, which takes time but has a better impact on sales. In short, branding can be compared to a marathon while marketing is a sprint.


Using branding and marketing at the same time

Branding and marketing might have their differences but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together. It’s true that marketing helps you connect with your customers, but you need branding efforts to nurture that connection. Your business won’t thrive if you don’t understand the difference or choose one over the other, you need both to succeed. Marketing strategies that are launched without a clear brand strategy tend to be less effective. However, you shouldn’t be limited from certain marketing opportunities if your target market changes. 


You need the right marketing and branding strategy to blend these two methods effectively. Expertise is also needed to consistently balance marketing and branding priorities. Luckily, we are experts in all things related to digital marketing strategies, with a variety of services to assist in these efforts. We make it look easy because it comes as second nature to us. If you think you can do it on your own, we’ll encourage you and be your biggest fans. If you realize it is harder than it seems and could use a hand, we’ll be here waiting for you. 

Contact us for digital marketing and branding services and see everything we can do for your business. You can book a free consultation and claim your branding and marketing proposal in just a few clicks. 


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