Branding vs. Marketing

Branding vs. Marketing

What is the difference? Is there a difference? And what should you be focusing on as you build your business?

We ask this because we were just at ICON, Infusionsoft’s annual digital marketing conference and while there we got the above questions, in some form or another quite a bit.

Before understanding the answers to those questions we must first understand that branding and marketing are inherently linked but different endeavors all together. In order to understand what we need to focus on we first need to understand what marketing really is and what branding really is.

Marketing is the act of promoting and selling products and services.

Branding creates a perception of your goods and services in the marketplace.

Marketing therefore is an extension of your brand. It is one of many brand touch points.

Think of it like this, marketing is like sending out an invitation to a party you are hosting. The invitation is important. It’s got to look good and it has to entice the reader to come. If people show up to your party your invitation is considered a success.

Branding on the other hand is the experience people have when they arrive. If your company is a party, (just play along for a second) is it a wild, crazy party with beer pong? Or a more distinguished wine and cheese event?

The invitation must match the experience.

But the experience of attending your party goes beyond an invitation. The experience starts with the invitation, which makes it a very important touch-point, but the experience also includes the music, the conversation, the drinks, the people and the fashion.

Attendees come to the party because you have a reputation for hosting the type of party they like attending.
People do business with you because you have a reputation for providing goods and services that they like, or find valuable.

Too many people focus all their efforts on the invitation and not the party itself.
Just as many people focus on marketing without developing their brand.

This brings us to our original questions

Is there a difference?
Yes. Marketing is an extension of your brand, similar to how an invitation is an extension of the party-going experience.

What is the difference between marketing and branding?
Marketing is the invitation to the party.
Your brand is the experience people have at the party.

The experience people come back again for and tell their friends about.
The experience that makes your party the best party in town.

What should you be focusing on as you build your business?
Depends.

If you already know how to throw a great party then all that’s between you and the party of the year is a nice invitation. If you have a well-defined and positioned brand that resonates with your ideal clients then a great marketing strategy should be your focus.

However, if your brand isn’t well developed, and isn’t positioned to attract your ideal clients then the greatest invitation in the world isn’t going to make people show up to a party they don’t feel is for them.

The good news for those of you who are very good marketers is that investing in branding will bring a huge boost to your marketing efforts. If you know how to get your message heard, and in front of the right people, then defining that message so that it inspires people to take action will allow your marketing to take off.

That’s the power of having a great brand. It pre-sells your products and services for you so your marketing doesn’t have to.

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