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What's The Difference Between Branding And Marketing?

POINT: John Moore

Earlier I explained how the simplest definition of a brand is equating it to reputation. It’s how someone feels and what someone thinks about a company. Branding is about understanding. As in, how a consumer understands what a business believes in and why it exists. Which brings us back to brand equals reputation.

Marketing is everything a company does that touches a customer. EVERYTHING. Which includes, but not limited to… a television commercial airing during Jersey Shore … an a-frame sidewalk sign promoting a lunch special … an educational pamphlet sharing nutritionals … a quarter-page print ad in a High School football program …. the design of an employee uniform … a response from an employee to a question from a customer on Twitter … the cleanliness of a store’s parking lot … the price of a product … the copy on a tabletop tri-fold sign … a company’s business card design … an employee twirling a banner sign on a busy corner … etc.

Yes … EVERYTHING that communicates ANYTHING about a business to a customer is MARKETING.

Marketing communicates things a business is doing. Branding is how a customer understands what a business does, what a business believes in, and why a business exists.


I agree with John’s definition, that marketing is everything a company does that touches a customer… This includes your branding.

I think this will help some operators realize marketing as more than making signs and creating direct mailers.

I also think this will offend some operators who don’t think of customer service or product prep and sales as a marketing function.

Branding is broader than marketing.

Branding is/are the elements that differentiate you from your competition.

It gets confusing because a company can be referred to as a brand and a line of products can be a brand. Apple is a brand of computers. Apple has a brand of mp3 players know as iPods.

The company and brand, Unilever, sells many brands of products. A few include Dove, Ragú, Vaseline, Q-Tips, Lipton, and Breyers Ice Cream. (You can find a full list of Unilever brands on Wikipedia).

Marketing typically refers to strategies and tactics used to build awareness of products and services.

Branding often has more to do with the logo, color scheme, package design of those products and services.

And again, it can also be applied to the corporation level and refer to activities engaged by the entire company.

One way to think about these two…

A Marketing Guide will have information, guidelines, and tools for creating advertising, communication tools, and engaging customers. That may also include customer service and sales tips.

A Branding Guide will have information, guidelines, and tools for elements of your brand such as the company mission, values, goals. It will have a style guide with information on how to use the logo, the company color scheme, and type styles. If it was a branding guide for a product, it may also include packaging design style guide.
Crackerjack Marketer
This article is part of the Crackerjack Marketer series.

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