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01 Aug 2022

Branding vs Marketing

Nicholas Sollitto

Writer for Store Space Self Storage

The Difference Between Branding and Marketing

Branding and marketing are two strategic tools used by companies to grow and differentiate their business. Where one defines the personality of a business, the other introduces this personality to potential customers. In other words, branding is the nail that pierces through the competition of an industry, while marketing is the hammer that drives the nail to the desired audience.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between branding and marketing. After defining each term in more detail, you’ll learn how both tools can be used harmoniously to increase the reach of a particular business. By the end of this article, you’ll know what separates effective branding from powerful marketing. Better yet, you’ll be able to start constructing a strategic growth plan that utilizes both tools to elevate your business.

What is Branding?

branding graphic

Branding is your company’s identity. A strong brand will highlight the personality and values of your business. By building a strong brand you can differentiate your business from other competitors in your field.

Consider Apple, which was just one company among many upon its introduction to the consumer electronics industry. However, through world-class branding, Apple has developed an emotional connection with its customers. This connection has separated the company from its competitors. Apple has achieved this separation by crafting a brand that is not tied to any one product it releases. Rather, the brand is consistent across its product line.

Apple’s personality and values are not the MacBook or iPhone. From the beginning, Apple has promised to always value imagination, innovation and design. You see, it’s these values that have allowed Apple to establish a humanistic relationship with their customers that goes beyond the reach of “business.

The Discourse of Branding

Like any ideology, branding is chocked full of technical jargon and phrases. The following are the most common terms and phrases marketers use in conversations about branding:

It’s also important to note that the most successful brands use verbal and visual cues to present a unified personality to their customers and audience. Elements of visual branding include logos, graphics, imagery, typefaces, and color.

What is Marketing?

marketing graphic

Marketing is how your company presents its identity to attract an audience. A powerful marketing plan will share your brand’s personality with like-minded customers who are in the market for the goods or services your business offers or produces. By crafting a strategic marketing plan, you can increase the reach of your business.

Unlike branding, which relies on an emotional connection, thus making it more difficult to measure, marketing is calculated and quantifiable. Another significant difference between the two tools is that the marketing strategy of a particular company will change over time, whereas the branding of a company should remain consistent to build a trusting relationship with its customer base.

In the case of Apple, the company’s marketing strategy has shifted considerably through the years; most notably, the company increased its advertising budget from $15 million to $100 million during the early 1990s. While this shift was a calculated marketing decision, the company’s branding remained consistent through the change. Today, Apple is still known as the technology brand that encourages people to “think different.”

The Discourse of Marketing

In today’s digital world, there are many marketing methods companies can pursue to develop strategic growth. The following are the most common marketing channels businesses utilize to promote their goods and services:

Like branding, marketing has its own terms and phrases. In order to capitalize on the marketing channels previously mentioned, businesses also need to familiarize themselves with their target audience and develop personas to define this target audience.

When working to define their target audience, a business should assess the value of the services and goods they offer and then brainstorm what type of person could benefit from this proposed value. By completing this exercise, a business will have a better understanding of its target audience, which will most likely be a composite of several smaller groups.

What Comes First?

Branding. Together, branding and marketing form a powerful duo. However, a business can’t develop a complete marketing strategy without absolute understanding of its brand. Let’s take a minute to explore why branding must always come first.

As you have learned, branding is the identity of your business and marketing is the collection of methods you use to share this identity with the world. Therefore, it makes sense that you would have to establish your identity before promoting it. Also, establishing your mission, goals and values will give your company a nuanced understanding of exactly who it is. This solid footing will make marketing vastly easier.

As your company grows, solid branding will not only allow you to evolve your marketing strategy, but it will also allow your business to attract future employees that fit well into the collective culture of your brand. Great branding will last longer than the current marketing fad.

How Successful Marketing and Branding Work Together

It can be tempting to start marketing your company soon after its inception. Promoting your goods and services solely off price can even seem like a strategic approach. However, in most cases, marketing your brand solely off price will, at best, provide short-term success. In order to have long-term success in your industry, you need to market your company’s goods and services alongside your company’s personality, values and mission.

Producing a cohesive marketing strategy that takes your branding into account will give your audience a chance to align itself with the values and personality of your brand. While it’s tough work, establishing your company as a leader in its field will require a cohesive plan where branding and marketing work together to produce powerful results.

The Power of Branding and Marketing

Now that you have learned more about the differences between branding and marketing, you’re ready to get started putting together your own growth plan that utilizes both tools. Remember to start by developing the identity of your company. Here’s a reminder of what tasks you should start with:

  1. Establish core values. What matters to your business?
  2. Define your personality. How will your company interact with its audience? Are you witty? Funny? Sophisticated?
  3. Write a mission statement. What does your business hope to accomplish? Why does your business exist?
  4. Draft a vision statement. How will your business evolve over the next quarter? Year? 5 years?
  5. Design a logo and other visual elements. How is your branding communicated visually?

After spending a good amount of time completing these tasks and answering these questions, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a growth plan for your company.

While Steve Jobs was speaking more towards individual decision making, his words still provide perspective when it comes to the importance of branding and marketing:

“We must recognize that we are always a product of what we’ve done and who we aspire to be. It is not enough to lead our current businesses; we must also lead our future businesses.”


Store Space Self Storage

Store Space is a self-storage operator and third-party management company. Located in Winter Garden, FL, the Company currently owns, has under purchase agreement, and operates more than 100 properties in 20 states. The Company fuels growth and value with its experience-driven operations, state-of-the-art proprietary platforms, and strategic digital marketing programs. If you have an acquisition opportunity or would like to discuss third-party management, contact us at inquiries@storespace.com , or visit us at www.storespace.com.