Branding and marketing are two sides of the same coin – you cannot consider one without the other. Whether you’re running ads, crafting emails, producing blog posts, or performing any other marketing tasks, it’s not unusual to think about branding. In fact, if you’re not, you’re doing it wrong.
Where people stumble is in differentiating between them. We assume because they’re so entwined, they’re the same thing. Not so.
Distinguishing between these concepts and appreciating the interplay is critical to communicating your company’s message effectively and consistently.
You’ll need a brand voice, identity, and personality. You’ll need to consider not just what you say but how you say it. And you’ll need to think about how this company persona feeds into the various marketing channels.
While we often treat the branding vs marketing dynamic as a conflict, they’re really quite complimentary. Let’s get started.
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Branding VS Marketing
What is branding?
We can think of a company as a personality. Sure, it’s made up of lots of individuals, but that’s not how it’s perceived. When we think of certain companies, we describe them just as aptly as we could our mother or best friend.
Nike is go-getting and active. Apple is sleek, refined, and professional, whereas Skittles is eccentric and wacky. You can almost picture how they’d all act at a party.
That’s the genius of branding – it’s turning the inhuman into the human.
Crafting a brand identity is never easy, but it can be game-changing. Apple uses their brand identity to develop a legion of adoring fans: would it be nearly as effective without a clear aesthetic and brand language? Steve Jobs didn’t seem to think so.
- What do we believe in?
- What values do we associate with our company?
- What is our industry? And how does that inform our brand? (You wouldn’t buy medications from a brand that behaved like Skittles.)
- How do you want to be perceived?
Now let’s see how branding and marketing work together.
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What is marketing?
Marketing is the method of communicating your services and products. It can be digital ads, blog posts, social media posts, newsletters, emails, and more. It’s the art of selling to your audience.
When too general, however, marketing efforts fall flat: they’re bland.
That’s how marketing and branding work together. Your brand supplies the voice to inject some personality into your marketing.
Think about them as people again – while two brands could talk about the same topic, how they do so is different. What do they focus on? What words do they use? What’s their tone?
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Branding vs Marketing: Working together
We understand the basics. Now let’s talk about bringing these two concepts together.
Before you start churning out marketing – be it logos or blog posts – you need a branding strategy. Your fundamental goal is to build a relationship with your customer: to create brand loyalty.
To do so, write out your brand as a character. Who are they? If you were a pharmacist, you could be the kindly old lady who tells you the unvarnished truth in a caring way. If you’re a furniture seller, you could be the guy who’s always looking out for his customers, giving them the best deal.
You’ll also want to establish what you’re not. If your tone is that of a caring, wise older person, using slang will shatter your brand image. You can say, “Our door is always open for an honest conversation about your health”; you can’t say, “give us a bell to chat about what’s new for you.”
With your brand voice in mind, think about how you’d write an abandoned cart email or social media post in your brand voice. Would you be witty and whimsical like Skittles (“Just giving you a poke.”) or refined like Apple (“Here’s a gentle reminder.”)?
It’s up to you.
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Branding vs Marketing: An Example
Despite being one of the biggest companies in the world – and marketing to essentially everyone – they’ve established a clear brand voice of positivity, friendliness, and enjoying life’s simple pleasures: like sharing a coke with friends.
Translating that branding into marketing, Coke created a campaign called “Share a Coke.” Bottles and cans were personalized with common names, and their copy and images talked about sharing a moment of happiness with your friends and family.
In contrast, MailChimp‘s brand is humorous and genuine. Even the name is a fun idea. Nevertheless, you get clear, precise language, written in a light tone and littered with fun little doodles. Read through their landing page, and you’ll find vibrant colors, open, informative language, and a few dry, witty comments.
Different results; same idea.
Branding and marketing: A few helpful tips
We get it. It can all be a little confusing – as you begin writing from your brand’s perspective, it will get easier. Sooner or later, it’ll be second nature.
Here are a few tips:
- Describe your brand in three words. By focusing on three attributes, you can prevent yourself from being pulled in all different directions.
- Branding is flexible. Even our most lively friends are serious sometimes. Just because you have a specific brand, certain occasions call for a shift. Not every piece of marketing needs to be exact. Rather it’s about creating continuity and personality with which customers become familiar.
- Adapt to the medium. Depending on the context, we speak in different ways; your brand should do so too. Whatever your marketing medium, adapt your brand voice to the audience you’re speaking to. If you’re talking to fellow businesses, you’ll be more professional and knowledgeable than when persuading a customer about your product.
- It’s as much what you don’t do as what you do. List out the dos and don’ts of your branding – and how they relate to different forms of marketing. Do you use emojis on social media or not? Do you use slang – if so, when? You’ll want to hammer out these rules into a guide that everyone in your business can follow.
Remember: the key to branding and marketing is consistency. Deviate too far from your norm and it can be as jarring as if your grandfather suddenly became an avid gamer.
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Branding and Marketing: They Work Together
Are your branding and marketing strategies not aligned or producing results? Work with a digital marketing agency who understands the importance of uniting your brand voice and internet marketing strategy.
Contact Clicta Digital today for a free consultation and place a results-driven campaign together today!