What’s the difference and how can you utilize both?
If you own or manage a business, it’s likely you’ve come across the words “marketing” and “branding.” It’s also likely that you either think they’re the same thing, or you’re unsure how they differ and how to utilize each one. Fortunately, the team at Pixel Fire is here to help you out! While marketing and branding are sometimes used synonymously, they are different and should be used together rather than interchangeably. Here’s a primer to help you understand the distinction and discover why they are both crucial to the success of your business.
Branding is why. Marketing is how.
Branding is the heart of your company. Your brand is who you are as a business. It identifies your ideal customer, your reason for selling what you sell, and it differentiates you from your competitors. Branding is your WHY.
Marketing is that brand in action. It’s how you tell your story to the world, reach those ideal customers, and encourage them to take the next step necessary to work with your company. Your branding will be used in your marketing efforts, but they are not the same thing. Your company name, logo, tagline, and mission statement are all parts of your brand. Social media posting, ads, and taking part in tradeshows are all parts of your marketing strategy.
Branding is long-term. Marketing is short-term.
If you brand your company correctly, you should never have to change that brand unless you do a full overhaul of the heart of your business. Marketing, however, needs to be changed regularly to keep up with customer demand and the changing marketing algorithms and landscape. It also makes sense to try out different marketing techniques to see which works best. It’s okay to change up your marketing efforts if the brand at the heart of these efforts is solid.
Branding builds loyalty. Marketing generates response.
When you create a strong brand, you build loyal customers and clients because they know what to expect from your company and they are never disappointed. They have decided their values align with yours, and they trust that you will deliver on your promises. Once you have a strong brand, you can then market to these loyal customers and generate a positive response from them (i.e. they will buy more from you, give you referrals, expand the scope of work they do with you, etc.). You should never expect a response from your branding efforts. Instead, think of it as giving value to your customer base in order to earn the right to ask for a positive response from your marketing efforts.
Branding is the being. Marketing is the doing.
There’s a big difference between being and doing. Think of it this way: you may be a wife, mother, business owner, friend, etc. even if you don’t always do all the activities that go along with that role (make lunches, meet for drinks, hire employees, etc.). Of course, to successfully be who you are, you do have to engage in the behaviors that support that role on at least a somewhat regular basis.
It’s the same with your business. When you have a strong brand, you (and your prospects and customers) know who you are even if you aren’t currently engaged in doing. And, once they know who you are, they will be better able to respond when you actually do—i.e. market to them. If you try to do before anyone has a strong sense of who you are, your efforts will likely confuse people and ultimately fail.
So what’s more important? Branding or marketing? There’s no right answer to this question because they are both crucial and, for a business to be successful, must work hand in hand. If you need help with either your branding or marketing, please reach out to the talented team here at Pixel Fire. We would love to help you out!