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Branding Vs. Marketing: Building Relationships While Driving Sales

Many business owners find it difficult to distinguish between branding and marketing. While both are similar and have the same overarching goal of helping the company to grow, there are many ways the two are differentiated. In marketing, the focus is on driving sales. A company will develop a marketing strategy built on the foundation of a branding strategy to increase their sales.

Branding, however, is focused on the relationship between the company and the customer. That relationship, though not directly driving sales, could be the difference between having repeat customers or not. Understanding the differences between branding and marketing is crucial in developing effective strategies and strong tactics.

  • Marketing and branding are differentiated in many ways, like the goals and strategies of each.
  • While marketing focuses on sales, branding focuses on the relationship a company has with the customers.
  • Though marketing is important, it likely won’t impact your team in the same way branding will.
  • When it comes to customers, they own the branding of a company. With marketing, the company retains ownership.
  • You can’t have a great marketing strategy without first developing a strong brand and branding strategy.

When it comes to getting your company out there, it’s easy to mix up branding and marketing. Both are important to your customer relations and both will impact your sales. However, each also has a distinct place in the life cycle of a business and should be looked at individually.

Branding is the collective vibe of a company. It’s how you communicate your company’s principles, style, mission, and values. Your branding is what sets your company apart from competitors. It’s generally displayed in things like your company voice, color scheme, logos, and fonts.

For branding, you might do the following:

  • Develop a color scheme
  • Design a logo
  • Establish core values and your company principles
  • Manage the company reputation
  • Write a mission and values statement
  • Establish the tone and voice of your company
  • Create a brand style guide

Marketing, on the other hand, is the connection between your product or service and a paying customer. Marketing has a singular goal in mind: sales and promotions. Your business isn’t profitable if people aren’t buying what you’re selling and marketing is how you facilitate that. It includes strategies and tactics that should, ideally, ebb and flow in response to the attention of your customer base.

To accomplish marketing goals, you could find yourself focusing on the following:

  • SEO
  • Social media marketing
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Email marketing
  • Pay-per-click and digital advertising
  • Web design and development
  • Traditional media placement
  • Trade show marketing

Here are some key differences that separate branding and marketing.

Role Of The Manager

The marketing manager needs to become an expert in marketing. They should organize the tactics and strategies the company uses to help with the sales process. In theory, the marketing manager should be able to step into any company without losing a beat because these are transferable skills.

The brand manager, however, becomes an expert in the brand. They understand it so thoroughly, as if it was a family member. To make that happen, they should do extensive user testing to know where to place focus. In essence, they work as an agent and advocate of the brand, rather than focusing entirely on the sales process.


There is some overlap in the ultimate goals of both marketing and branding. Both aim for the company to grow. Yet their more immediate goals are different. Marketing has the goal of driving sales. Through SEO, advertising, and content marketing, it chases the sale using specific strategies and tactics.

Branding works on the goal of building recognition of the brand, positive sentiment surrounding the brand, and customer loyalty. While it impacts the sales, it doesn’t drive them. A good way to think of it is like a marathon versus a sprint.


While both branding and marketing have similar overarching goals, the pathways to achieve those goals are different for each. Take brand strategy, for instance. One of the first things a business does is develop a brand expression. This will set the foundation and lay the building blocks for what your brand represents, who they want to service, and the brand messaging. This will shape the perception of the brand. Branding seeks a relationship, rather than just a transaction.

The marketing strategy is the plan for promoting or activating the brand in the mind of the consumer on the back of the brand strategy. That brand strategy gives the tools for building a marketing strategy. These are the front lines of the brand. The goal: a transaction.

Interaction With Customers

One of the biggest differences between marketing and branding is the interaction with customers and the ownership. With marketing, you own it. You have easy control and comprehension over things like headlines, art and graphics, and social media posts. This is your story telling to the customer.

Branding is a good name for the area between your marketing efforts and the actions of your customers. A common misconception is that the company or business owner owns the brand. They don’t. In reality, the customers own the brand and dictate what direction it takes. Great branding can only happen when you stop talking and start listening. With branding, the customer tells the story.


Even the order you focus on branding and marketing differentiates the two. You should always focus on branding first. This is your chance to define your brand in a definitive way in the marketplace. You’ll answer questions like who you are, what you want to bring to the marketplace, and what your core values are. This lays the foundation for marketing.

After you establish your branding, you can work on marketing. Think of branding as drawing a map for someone. Marketing is their decision making that allows them to navigate that map.

Impact On Your Team

The impact on your team is another way that marketing and branding are different. With marketing, the team is responsible for development and implementation. They care about it, but it doesn’t often have a large impact on them outside of driving sales for the company, leading to growth.

Branding, however, can have as much impact on your team as it does on your customers. Your branding is the personality of your company, both in front of customers and behind the scenes. When your team believes in the brand, they’ll become more passionate about their work, leading to them working harder, bringing better ideas, and pushing themselves harder. Branding will ultimately determine the company culture you want to embody.


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