Branding & Marketing

Marketing vs. Branding: Understanding the Difference

By Oh, Hello Branding Group on July, 1 2020
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    Oh, Hello Branding Group

    When we think of marketing, it can be easy to group a lot of other topics into it, such as branding. However, marketing and branding are two very distinct aspects to a business, and each is equally important. So let’s clear up the difference between the two.

    What Is Marketing?

    Marketing refers to the tools, strategies, and campaigns that companies utilize to spread the message and awareness of their brand. This can include content marketing, social media marketing, paid advertising, traditional marketing, etc. Your brands’ marketing efforts should be specifically targeted toward your target demographic. Marketing is such a broad area, it could be creating an interactive campaign such as a branded scavenger hunt, or it could be a simple email campaign.

    What Is Branding? 

    Branding is the action of defining your company. Branding can answer these questions:

    • What does your company represent?
    • What does your company stand for?
    • What are your company values?
    • What is your company’s mission?
    • What sets your company apart from similar competitors?

    Your branding consists of all of the key elements, such as your logo, website design, branding colors, and other stylistic features of your website. When a new customer comes to your website or sees a piece of content from you, how do they know it’s your company, what is the recognizable element? That is what branding is.

    The Differentiation Between Marketing and Branding

    Let’s pretend you are the owner of a small shoe store. In order to attract new customers, you decide to run a “Which Shoe Fits Your Personality” Quiz campaign over a few weeks, which results in 10 new prospects. This is marketing. As a result of that, 5 of those 10 prospects begin to purchase multiple pairs of shoes from you, because they view your brand as high quality and reliable. This is branding. Your marketing campaign brought their attention to your brand, but your branding kept them coming back. Some other things to consider when it comes to marketing vs. branding are:

    • Marketing is constantly evolving, while your specific branding is forever
    • Marketing attracts new customers, while branding retains customers and keeps them coming back.
    • Branding and marketing are interconnected in a lot of ways to complete your overall brand direction, but should be treated as equally important

    Case Studies

    Branding and marketing are interconnected in a lot of ways to complete your overall brand direction, but should be treated as equally important.
    However, it can often be easy to group everything in with “marketing” and just neglect branding efforts, or vice versa. Here are some case studies of great marketing and great branding:

    Great Branding - Trader Joe’s

    Trader Joe’s has established a strong brand that is well known for high quality grocery items at an affordable price. They are also well known for being “the neighborhood grocery store” by strategically placing their stores in specific locations. Trader Joe’s brand is much more casual than their competitor, Whole Foods, which can be seen by the employee’s Hawaiian shirt uniforms and the colorful and playful fonts on each item. If someone put two bags of chips in front of you, one from Trader Joe’s and one from Whole Foods, you would be able to tell right away which one is from Trader Joe’s based off the packaging alone.

    Great Marketing - State Farm

    State Farm is known for great marketing campaigns, because they often incorporate recurring characters and humor into their short ads. Their consistent messaging is that they are “Here to help life go right”. In a recent ad campaign, they showed a man being broken up with by his highly successful girlfriend. When he leaves her house, Jake from State Farm is there to greet him, with very kind and reassuring words. State Farm incorporated 3 things in this ad campaign that makes it memorable and great marketing tactics:

    1. A recurring character - Jake from State Farm
    2. Humor - playing off the recent Bachelor TV season
    3. Jingle - Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

    All of these 3 things combined make this commercial memorable even though it is only 30 seconds long.

    By now, it should be clear that marketing attracts customers, while branding drives customer loyalty and each has their own distinct strategy to improve your overall brand.


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