Have you ever heard of the saying "it's not what you say, but how you say it?" That's the difference between marketing and branding. Marketing is the process of convincing people to purchase your product or service, whereas branding is the strategy of inspiring people to love your product or service.
Branding and marketing are intertwined, but branding encompasses your whole company and why it's relevant for consumers. In contrast, marketing is the means by which you let consumers interact with your brand and its products.
When you hear about Apple, for example, you don't think: "oh they sell laptops and phones" You think something along the lines of: "Apple is cool, creative, innovative, it’s so easy to sync up all my devices, they make great products, I can't wait for their next launch, or I really want to see the new version of X product I already have." The reason you think that way is that Apple has spent the last few decades building a brand around those qualities and excitement.
Branding is a complex topic, is about how people perceive your company. Every decision you make should be made with branding in mind, from logo design to product packaging and pricing. A brand can be many things: it's your name, your logo, your website, and even the way you write emails. It's everything that makes people think of you when they see or hear something related to your business.
Every interaction with your brand is important, and branding allows you to create a deeper and more emotional connection between your company and the people that buy from it.
It's how others see your company—it's the reputation that precedes you. If a potential customer sees one thing when they come across something related to your brand (like an ad), they'll make assumptions based on that experience alone; those assumptions form their opinions about what kind of business you are and whether they'd want to work with someone like that—or buy from someone like that.
Like any other product, if you're selling something that no one wants, no amount of marketing will make that right. Marketing by itself is just advertising and ineffective. Marketing through a solid brand it's about how your company presents itself, including its products and services, with the ultimate goal of selling products, and services or generating leads.
Once you've created a trustworthy brand, marketing is so much more than just channels of communication. It's how you get people to know about your company before they think about the products, which will make them want to be part of it.
Marketing helps expand your brand, and it's the most effective way of doing this. But if you have a good idea or product and know how to market it effectively, then you'll be able to create an image in the minds of potential customers—and get them to buy from you instead of someone else.
The key is to create a brand that people love and then use marketing tactics to build that brand. With marketing, you’re talking to your customers. You’re trying to sell them something or get them on board with an idea or product that you have. Marketing is about selling, educating, and persuading people of the value of what you have—and how it can benefit them.
Ultimately branding and effective marketing are all about connection. You want to generate positive emotions towards your brand so people relate to it, and want to make your brand part of their lives. You want them to associate good feelings and a positive experience with you when they think of your company or use your products/services.
Your marketing efforts are only as good as the quality of your brand message. And when it comes down to it, branding is about creating value for your customers and making them feel like they belong in a community with you.