Many people regularly interchange branding and marketing while speaking about products, services, and customers. To the average entrepreneur branding in marketing and brand marketing sound the same.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
While the two share a few areas of congruence, they differ in some fundamental ways.
What is Branding in Marketing?
A brand is the identity of a company, product or service. It is the total of everything that it stands for. Branding in marketing, therefore, deals with understanding what your identity is and how it looks like.
Take a consumer-packaged goods manufacturer that produces and sells toothpaste. Although they have a product that provides a particular value to potential consumers, they still can’t go to market without understanding what to present to their target audience. In this case, if you want to identify what is branding in marketing, you will look at the item they will promote to the consumer.
Some questions to ask yourself when coming up with your brand include:
- What differentiates you from your competitors? Here you will find the answer to why your target market would opt to buy from you and not your competitor.
- What encompasses your mission statement?
- What is the reason behind why you’re offering your product or service to the target market?
- How does your company culture look like?
- Why did you start the business?
- Brand identity – what do you want a potential target customer to immediately think of when they hear your company’s name or see its logo?
- What emotions do you want to evoke in people when they hear your firm’s name?
- Integrity – what forms your business’ values and core principles?
- How do you want your target clientele to describe your business?
Branding in marketing defines who you and your product or service are. It is this identity you communicate to market through different channels and strategies.
What is Brand Marketing?
Marketing is the practice of using a set of tools to create awareness of a specific brand and the benefits the target audience will derive from it. It is the tactical strategy used to communicate the what behind the brand.
Some of these marketing tools include:
- Print media e.g. catalogues, magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Social media marketing.
- Influencer marketing
- Vehicle wrapping.
- In-store sampling.
- Content marketing.
Take our earlier example of the toothpaste manufacturer. Their brand could be toothpaste X targeting the teen demographic and meant to evoke fun and color. If you want to understand what is brand marketing in this scenario, you will look at the ways or tools employed to create awareness of toothpaste X among teenagers.
What Precedes the Other?
While brand in marketing and brand marketing might sound alike, they work in certain distinct ways.
Branding is the core driver of any marketing strategy you employ, and it should, therefore, come first. There is no benefit in looking for a client to talk to them if you don’t have any valuable thing to say to them. That is the essential nature of the relationship between branding in marketing and brand marketing.
Differences Between the Two
Your brand is what will make customers buy from you and not a competing firm. Once they buy from you, branding is also what will keep drawing them back to your product or service over time.
Let’s take an example of a diaper brand:
If you have a toddler or newborn, you most likely have an individual diaper brand that you prefer. You might travel out of state, or you might just go across town to see family. And when you need to restock your diaper supply, you might end up visiting a different store than where you usually shop at since you’re in a different area. However, you will most likely pick the same diaper brand that you use despite shopping at a different location. That is a direct result of the trust, or loyalty branding evokes in a consumer.
Branding in marketing tends to remain more or less constant while brand marketing shifts on a regular basis.
What you stand for has to be consistent so that you build credibility with your customer base. How you communicate with your clients about what you stand for needs to keep up with market trends to be effective.
Here’s another example:
- In the 40s, 50s and 60s print media was the most effective means of marketing. Brands would, therefore, feature newspaper, magazine and catalog ads as a primary marketing tool.
- From the 70s onwards, however, mass media took over in popularity. TV and radio ads became the go-to marketing channels.
- And in the last five years or so, we’ve seen the meteoric rise of digital marketing.
P&G shook the advertising world when they dedicated 30 percent of their annual advertising and marketing spend towards digital media back in 2013. Their products still retain the same brand characteristics, but the channels through which they reach out to their consumers keeps evolving.
Brand marketing is a periodic activity, but branding in marketing is something that you do on a daily basis. Every interaction with a customer ought to be informed by and reaffirm your brand.
Branding and marketing are two different aspects of customer-facing activities that people often use interchangeably.
To understand what is brand marketing, one needs first to understand branding. Identifying differences between the two leads to improvement in your conversion rates. You get to sell more if you know what your product or service stands for and how to share that with your customers effectively.
Do you find yourself using these two terms interchangeably? Do you think they are any different?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.