Many people talk about branding and marketing in the same breath, like they are the same thing. Branding and marketing are related, but they are distinct. 

Branding vs. marketing

Imagine coming up with the idea for a business. You research what people want and see what competitors are currently offering. Then you figure out a name for your business and get a logo designed. All of these activities are developing your brand.

But without marketing, you probably won’t have a successful business.

Marketing is any outreach that helps tell the world about your product or service and gets them interested in buying from you. Marketing covers many different activities and can be free or very expensive. 

Still not sure what is branding and what’s marketing? Read about the difference between branding and marketing.

Branding vs marketing

Types of marketing

Marketing can be done very simply by talking to people you know about your business or social media. Some companies need and can afford a lot of complex and expensive marketing plans. 

Many small businesses rely on lower-cost strategies like:

  • attending networking events where the business owner can have casual conversations about their business and what they do
  • selling their products at craft fairs where the fair organizers help them find the customers
  • Sharing information about their new business on their current social media channels

Building a brand is not marketing

Branding by itself is not enough. 

If you have your logo, packaging, or value proposition completed but don’t do any real marketing, you will not have the leads and sales you need for a successful business. 

For example, if you have great-looking graphics on your food truck, then as you drive around, people may become aware of your business.

Or, you might spend time writing a compelling story about your passion and why you started your business. But if that sits on a website that no one visits, it won’t help customers find your business.

Having a tremendous visible brand—on a truck, a sign, or apparel—can build awareness of your business. Having an elevator pitch or compelling story can pique someone’s interest in your brand.

But most people will need additional brand touchpoints—as many as 5-15—before they are ready to buy from you. To make sure they continue to hear more about your business, you will need to market to them actively.

Your branding will help with your marketing

Branding and marketing are connected. Here are some ways that branding and marketing interact:

  • Use your brand visuals and messaging to develop a website, and then use marketing tactics like SEO or PPC to get people to your site.
  • Create engaging social media posts that match your brand standards, share your content, and engage with other people on social media to gain followers.
  • Design a compelling ad and then find a publication or website with your ideal customers as readers and advertise there.

Great branding can contribute to your marketing, and spending time on your branding will make your marketing more manageable, but you need both to have a successful business.