Branding vs. Marketing: Better Apart or Stronger Together?

Better Apart or Stronger Together? Before answering that question, you need to understand what makes branding and marketing different.

Branding is the process of identifying and crafting the meaning that people attach to your company. It provides context around why your brand exists and the purpose behind what you do. Marketing, on the other hand, involves using various channels to effectively communicate your branding to a target audience.

With that in mind, branding always comes first. Because once you have relatable branding in place, your marketing strategy can flourish.

How Branding and Marketing Work Together

If you’re reading this and wondering how branding and marketing work together, I know where you’re coming from. As someone who firmly believed in branding only, I had the same thoughts. But then I began working at a marketing agency that specialised in creating and executing integrated strategies. That’s when I witnessed first-hand how these two strategies feed off one another to produce powerful results for businesses.

How does it work? Strong branding ensures your marketing aligns with your target audience. As a business, you need to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it before you start marketing — and your branding provides those key answers. By getting more acquainted with your branding — such as through building buyer personas — you can create marketing messages that truly resonate with your target demographics.

Imagine Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and put branding at the base of your pyramid. Therefore, to reach marketing goals, you need to define your brand first. Once you’ve achieved that, you can move to the next level of the pyramid and develop more results-driven marketing campaigns. 

But the importance of branding doesn’t just apply to attracting customers. Remember, branding provides context around why your company exists and gives meaning to what you do. That said, use your branding to define your company’s values, establish your organisation’s culture, and drive internal and external communication.

Create Your Brand, and Your Marketing Will Follow

Branding establishes the foundation of why your business exists. And successful enterprises integrate their brand beliefs into every customer touchpoint and marketing message they create.

But enough of just talking about great branding; let’s look at a real-life example of a company executing branding and marketing strategies flawlessly: Apple.

Apple positioned itself as a visionary leader in the tech space, which formed the basis of its marketing campaign of making life simple. Think about it: Apple has the same resources as Microsoft, but their branding is completely different. This has resulted in a totally unique, albeit more successful, marketing strategy. 

The takeaway: Use your branding to define your positioning, then confidently execute your branding values through a data-driven marketing strategy. As long as your branding creates the foundation of your marketing campaigns, you can feel confident that you’re communicating effectively with your target market.

Marketing vs. Branding? Work With an Agency That Can Do Both

Creating a solid brand identity sets you up to execute a consistent, powerful and successful marketing strategy. Take it from me — someone who once only believed in the importance of branding — and be open to establishing both a brand and a marketing strategy. To do this, you need to work with an integrated agency.

At StrategiQ, we often find that clients come to us wanting a marketing strategy without having the proper branding guidelines in place. Therefore, when exploring new partnerships, our approach is to:

  1. Discover what values your organisation holds — then use those values to create the foundation of your branding.
  2. Perform business and market research to learn about your target audience.
  3. Develop branding materials and toolkits that propel your marketing strategies.

So, in regards to the debate of marketing vs. branding, it’s not about picking one. You need to consider both for really powerful communication. Schedule a call with an agency that can help you refine your branding and create a strategic marketing plan that yields the results you’re looking for.