Branding, marketing – it’s all the same, right? Not quite. Branding and marketing are two pieces of the same puzzle. They share a common goal, but they work in different ways to achieve that goal.
If you’re confused and a little overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Let’s clear the air and explain the difference between branding and marketing.
Branding vs Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Branding and marketing work together to drive more clients to your firm. But they achieve their goals in different ways.
What is Branding?
Your brand is your firm’s identity. Branding is the process of shaping your firm’s identity to let potential clients know:
- What you offer
- What you can achieve
- Why you do what you do
Think of it as creating a character for your firm with its own look, values, mission, voice and group of friends (your target audience).
Branding has both visual and intangible aspects:
- Visual components include your logo, brand colors and fonts. You’ll use these elements consistently across all marketing channels and social media posts to ensure clients recognize your brand immediately. Using a signature color can boost brand recognition by 80%, so visual components are a powerful part of the branding process.
- Intangible components include your firm’s voice and the experience you provide to clients. Authenticity is important when developing your brand’s voice and when communicating with clients on social media or through regular communication channels. A staggering 88% of consumers say that authenticity is a crucial factor in deciding which brands to support.
The purpose of branding is to create a memorable and identifiable experience for clients. Everything from your logo to your colors and the way you interact with clients creates a lasting impression. If you’re consistent in your efforts, you can control the way your firm is perceived by clients and ensure that impression is a good one.
Inconsistency or worse, failing to build a brand, will make it difficult to stand out in a sea of firms. It will also make marketing more challenging and less effective.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is all about promoting and selling your firm’s services. It’s a multi-faceted process that involves:
- Building and optimizing your website
- Market research
- Building and growing a presence on social media
- Digital marketing strategies, such as content marketing, social media marketing and SEO (among many other things)
The goal of marketing is to reach your target audience and convert them to loyal clients. Branding is also part of the marketing process and it will impact virtually every part of your marketing campaigns. From colors to the language you use in your advertisements and content, branding will play a crucial role in your marketing plan.
How Branding and Marketing Differ
Branding and marketing work hand in hand, but they work in different ways. Here’s how they differ.
Branding is the Foundation for Your Marketing Plan
You can’t market a firm that doesn’t have an identity (not successfully, at least). When you build your brand, you create the foundation for your marketing plan.
- Logos and brand colors give your brand a visual identity that clients can instantly recognize.
- Your voice and brand persona allow you to create content and social media posts with a unified tone.
Your brand identity will guide your marketing plan and help you reach your target audience in a more meaningful way.
Branding Builds Trust. Marketing Boosts Sales.
The goal of marketing is to increase sales, but the goal of branding is to build trust and loyalty. Marketing draws in new potential clients, but it’s your brand’s identity, or personality, that keeps them around.
When you have a solid identity and voice for your brand, clients receive a consistent experience every time they engage with you. They know what to expect, and that builds trust and loyalty.
Marketing is the tool your firm uses to promote not only your services but your firm’s brand and everything you stand for.
Marketing is How You Reach Clients. Branding is How You Communicate With Them.
Branding establishes how you’ll communicate with clients and prospects. Marketing determines how you’ll reach them.
- Your brand’s identity will guide the visual components of your marketing campaigns, the language you use and your tone.
- Your marketing plan distributes your message using channels that put your brand in front of your target audience.
Branding and marketing work together to promote your firm and your services in order to attract new clients.
Marketing is How You Learn More About Your Clients
Branding is all about building your firm’s identity and sharing who you are with your target audience. Marketing is all about your clients and learning who they are.
For marketing to be successful, you need to reach the right people. But who are the “right people” for your firm? Marketing will help you identify your target audience so that you can craft your marketing campaigns to appeal to them.
Marketing is how you grab your target audience’s attention. Branding will help reel them in and convert them to clients.
Marketing Drives Short-Term Results. Branding Drives Long-Term Results.
Marketing can work quickly to increase sales at your firm. Branding drives long-term results by building client loyalty and increasing repeat business.
The way your brand engages with clients and the services you provide all work together to create a positive experience for clients. That positive experience helps keep clients around, but it also encourages them to spread the word about your firm.
Marketing is a highly effective tool for driving new business in the short term, but your branding is what will drive repeat business.
Branding and marketing work together to achieve one common goal: to bring more business to your firm. But before you start building your marketing campaign, you have to first build your brand. After all, your branding will influence your marketing materials and all of the visual aspects of your advertisements.