11 Differences Between Branding and Marketing You Need to Understand

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What’s one difference between branding and marketing that people often misunderstand?

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. One Helps the Other

“There is a huge difference between branding and marketing that so many people don’t understand. Branding is building the visual, tonal and audiovisual messaging behind a company or product, whereas marketing is the promotion of that service or product to a targeted demographic.”

Bryanne Lawless, BLND Public Relations

2. Marketing Is About Increasing Revenue

“Marketing is all about increasing revenue. It’s not just about growing traffic and leads, because without increasing sales, there would be no marketing (or at least there shouldn’t be). Branding, by definition, is a “lasting mark” that a company has on its audience. Good branding can lead to an increase in referrals because it left a lasting mark on a company that people remembered.”

Josh Harcus, Hüify

3. It’s About Push Versus Pull

“While branding and marketing both work together, there is one simple difference. Branding is a pulling force that draws consumers in — it’s the framework that defines all marketing tactics. Marketing, on the other hand, is a pushing (or guiding) force that directs consumers closer to the brand. Marketing communicates a secondary message that is part of a larger brand message.”

Jarrett McCraw, Mighty

4. Your Marketing Efforts Reinforce Your Brand

“Your brand is incredibly important. It’s your mission, your vision, and what separates you from the rest of the competitors. People often mistakenly think that marketing efforts are purely meant to drive sales and don’t realize how any marketing project has to align with your brand first. Even if your marketing brings in new customers, it will cause more harm than good if it dilutes your brand.”

Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

5. Great Branding Amplifies Good Marketing

“It’s all too often that people “brand” after they market. Good marketing is amplified by great branding. Brand first, and then market second to help the people who you’re marketing to see the value of your brand. You can shout messages all day, but without a solid brand, the people have nothing to stick that message to.”

Lee Salisbury, UnitOneNine

6. Branding Is Unique to Your Company

“Anyone can set up the same or similar marketing campaigns and channels — it’s just a matter of execution. A good brand, on the other hand, is the result of building trust over time and having it come through in every aspect of your business. No one should be able to copy your brand if it’s truly reflective of what makes you unique as a company.”

Roger Lee, Captain401

7. It’s What You Do Versus What You Are

“The best way I’ve heard it summarized is marketing is what you do, and branding is what you are. Branding has much more to do with tone and voice in the long term. It deals with how you are perceived by the world. Marketing is about function — what services, products, goods you offer, etc.”

Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench Studios

8. Branding Is About Reputation and Marketing Is Relationship Building

“Branding is how you look and feel to your audience, while marketing becomes a more one-on-one experience with prospects and customers in which a relationship is formed and nurtured. Branding is more of something that goes out to the crowd in a less personalized way.”

Drew Hendricks, Buttercup

9. Marketing Is Operational and Numbers-Oriented

“A big misconception that I see, especially among fresh graduates interviewing for marketing positions, is the belief that all jobs marketing are creative jobs. Much of marketing is operational, and like any other function in a business, marketing is about action — building processes and systems to support your brand (what/who you are), and then tracking and measuring the success of targeted initiatives.”

Patrick Linton, Bolton Remote

10. It’s Strategic Vesus Tactical

“Marketing is wrapped around campaigns that push customers to act, whereas branding determines whether a customer becomes a loyal customer and brand ambassador. Marketing is what searches out new buyers and gets them to buy. Branding is whether they stay and/or return. Branding is a long game and theoretical, whereas marketing is strategic and measurable.”

Marcela De Vivo, Gryffin

11. All Brands Can Be Marketed

“It sounds almost silly to say it, but truly not everything can be “sold,” so to speak. If a product is branded well, it can sell itself. But, sometimes the marketing narrative can be more compelling than the brand. I saw a commercial which I assumed to be the latest BMW ad, only for it to be an ad for a tire maker. The commercial was doomed to fail because of how ubiquitous the BMW brand is.”

Cody McLain, SupportNinja