Although branding and marketing are ultimately communication tools for a brand, their objectives and how they go about achieving them are quite different. Although you might argue that both of them serve to communicate the brand to the consumers; however, their paths diverge from there.

Branding aims to influence and shape how customers perceive a brand whereas marketing aims to reach them as frequently, as effectively, and as convincingly as possible. In actionable terms, branding and marketing form a communication team, in which branding is the substance of the message that is intended to influence the consumer, and marketing is the channel/s that ensures that this message reaches the consumer and urges them to take action.

Every brand needs to understand this difference to ensure that its branding and marketing strategies work in tandem to ensure that you achieve a strong brand image in the minds of your consumers.

However, before we do, let us find out a bit more about these approaches:

The impact of a prominent brand like Nike

What is Branding?

“If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they will do business with you.”

-Zig Ziglar

A brand is how consumers perceive a company and its products. It is born from how your consumers feel about and connect with your company. However, you need to give your consumers a reason to form an impression of you in their minds.

Branding is how you are going to influence your consumer’s perception of your brand. It encompasses how you are going to tell your consumers who you are, what you stand for, what your aspirations are, and what you seek to achieve. In doing so, you aim to help form an image and gut feeling about your brand in the minds and hearts of your consumers

A brand is akin to your reputation and branding is how you go about establishing your reputation. A reputation is formed from how others view you and a brand is the same.

Branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem. Good branding allows your brand to stand out and be distinct from its competition. It’s your unique story that you tell your consumers, and subsequently how you communicate who you are to the world.

A real-world example would be a flagship store like Apple. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for the products and services because they believe that Apple is the best at what they do.

All the elements of a conceptual marketing strategy for your brand

Source: Guessing Forum

What is Marketing?

“It’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.”

-Douglas Warner III, Former CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co

Marketing is all about how you are going to reach your target audience. It’s the process of creating awareness and interest in your product or service through various channels like advertising, public relations, social media, etc.

A real-world example of marketing would be a company that spends millions of dollars on advertising during the Super Bowl. An Ad creates awareness and interest in their product so that people will go out and buy it.

Marketing is about using all the sets of tools, processes, and strategies you possess to ensure that your existing and potential target audience can receive the message you are trying to deliver to them.

A real-world example is when a company that spends time and resources on making sure their website is optimized for search engines so that when people search for keywords related to their product, their website will show up as one of the top results.

The comparison between elements of branding and marketing

Source: Mann-co

What’s the Difference Between Branding and Marketing?

The main difference between branding and marketing stems from what they seek to achieve. Yes, they are communication tools, but what they are communicating is entirely different.

Branding communicates who you are and marketing makes sure as many people as possible can hear you. This difference is critical to understanding the differences between a branding strategy and a marketing strategy because it is vital to your business’ communication strategy and methodology.

A branding strategy is about creating an emotional connection with your target audience, while a marketing strategy is about reaching your target audience and getting them to take action.

When you’re thinking about your business’ communication strategy, it’s important to understand the difference between branding and marketing and how they work together. Let us discuss them under the following sections:

Branding and marketing target different areas.

Source: Venture Harbour

Who is it for?

Branding is for the customers whereas marketing is for the business. In other words, the branding strategy is made with the customer in mind and as the main focus. It targets the emotions and thoughts of customers to make a connection with them. Branding shapes the customer’s perception of a company.

A marketing strategy, on the other hand, is made with the business itself in mind. It maximizes the strengths of the business to various channels such that it reaches the intended target audience. This essentially means that the marketing strategy is made with the business in mind and as the main focus.


Branding inspires and cultivates customer loyalty whereas marketing reaches customers and increase sales

A branding strategy describes your identity, your vision, and your essence. All these aspects are vital for any customer to build a connection and a relationship. This relationship is necessary to cultivate brand loyalty. A marketing strategy, on the other hand, drives results, increase sales, and reach as wide and as influential a target audience as possible.

Marketing may be able to reach more people, but branding will have a more lasting effect because it builds trust and credibility. Although branding does drive sales to a certain extent, it does so in the long term. Marketing, on the contrary, is intended to drive sales in the short term until the impression of the brand is enough to take over.

Branding is as much for the employees as it is for the consumers whereas marketing is for your consumers only

Source: Dlinkers

Branding is as much for your employees as it is for your consumers

Branding is how you instill pride in what you do and who you are as a company as well as being the sum total of how your customers, employees, investors, partners, and other stakeholders perceive you. Marketing is for your customers and prospects, it’s how you reach them and communicate your message.

Think of branding as the roots of a tree and marketing as the branches and leaves. The roots provide support and stability, while the branches and leaves reach out to the sun and rain. Marketing is important, but without a strong foundation (branding), you will never grow as tall or be as stable.

Your employees won’t really be affected by your marketing strategy and means. They will develop and implement. But that is where it ends. Your brand, on the other hand, definitely affects and impacts your employees. Your employees need to believe in your message if they are going to be passionate and committed to their work.

Branding first, Marketing second

Quite a few sources say that branding must come first and marketing second. However, is this completely true?

Although it is true that without branding your marketing will have no substance, it is equally true that without marketing, your branding strategy will have no influence on your customer because it will never reach them.

Branding is what sets you apart from your competitors and makes you recognizable, relatable, and trustworthy. Your marketing strategy, on the other hand, is what you do to communicate your brand message to your target audience and promote your product or service. It’s the how of getting your brand in front of consumers and generating leads, sales, and customers.

Marketing strategies, trends, methods, and even channels might change with the times and technology; and even though our brand stays the same, how you are executing your branding strategy will definitely adapt to suit the times. Therefore, in terms of hierarchy and order, branding might come earlier than marketing; however, it certainly does not fall behind in terms of relevance or significance.

The ideal solution would be for your branding strategy and your marketing strategy to work in tandem.

Can branding and marketing work in tandem?

Source: Panorbit

How can marketing and branding work together?

The key to successful marketing and branding is finding a way to integrate them so that they reinforce each other.

Some ways to do this include:

Define your brand’s identity and purpose:

This gives you a clear direction for your marketing efforts that helps you create messaging that is aligned with your brand.

Developing a style guide will ensure that all of your marketing materials are consistent with your brand identity. Thereafter, using customer insights to inform your marketing strategy will help you better understand your target audience and help you create more effective marketing campaigns.

Develop a consistent visual style:

Your visual style should be consistent across all of your marketing channels. This includes the use of your logo, color palette, and typography. This will go hand in hand with creating compelling content. Your content should be interesting and informative, but most importantly, it should be aligned with your brand identity. Posting relevant and engaging content on a regular basis will help you attract and retain customers.

Make sure your marketing materials are on-brand:

All of your marketing materials, from your website to your business cards, should reflect your brand identity. This is important for both online and offline marketing efforts. Your branding should be evident in everything you do, from the way you answer customer inquiries to the design of your packaging. This will allow you to use your brand to guide your marketing decisions.

Summing up, your brand should be the north star that guides all of your marketing decisions. From the colors you use and the images you select to the messaging you craft, everything should be in alignment with your brand.

What is the impact of your marketing and branding working together?

  • Connecting with your audience:

Assuming your customers support your business, it means that they have shared values. When you align your marketing with your values, they will recognize it and feel more connected to your brand. This will allow you to find out what your target audience values and how best to reach them. This will allow you to resonate more closely with your existing and potential target audience.

  • Balances your priorities

Your business is affected when either your branding or marketing efforts get left behind. A continuous effort with both these approaches allows them to complement each other and send a more holistic and consistent message with the kind of reach you envisioned, if not exceeding it.

Branding and marketing must work in tandem for the future of any business

Source: Marketingevolution

Importance of Branding and Marketing In The Future

While some claim that branding is dead, we believe that the importance of branding will only continue to grow in the future. As technology and the world around us change at an ever-increasing pace, our need for connection and community will only increase.

Branding allows businesses to create that connection with their target audience and build a community of loyal customers. A strong brand will continue to be a valuable asset for businesses in the future. It will allow them to cut through the noise, differentiate themselves from their competitors, and build trust with their target audience.

The importance of marketing is in its ability to reach a large number of people with relative ease. Marketing helps businesses connect with their target audience and promote their products or services. It is an essential tool for businesses to reach new customers and grow their business.


To sum up, branding and marketing are both important tools for businesses to connect with their target audiences. Branding helps businesses build trust and loyalty, while marketing helps businesses reach new customers. Both branding and marketing are essential for businesses to grow and succeed.

So if you need an agency that specializes in helping businesses create and strengthen their brand identity, Pixelstreet is your man. We would be happy to help you grow your business! Our team will help you outline a suitable branding process that will be customized to suit your business. Thank you for reading!!

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Khurshid Alam

Khurshid Alam is the founder of Pixel Street, a web design company. He aspires to solve business problems by communicating effectively digitally. In his leisure, he reads, writes, and occasionally plays a game of table tennis.