Branding vs Marketing – 9 Key Differences Explained

Branding and marketing are two of the most vital functions that help to generate revenue for a business.

Though branding and marketing are interconnected as they help to reach out to the target audience and spread awareness of the product/ service, the two functions are different.

While marketing involves activities that promote the product and convince the target audience to buy them, branding refers to activities that help businesses to create an image in the consumers’ minds and develop a positive long-term relationship with the customers. 

Understanding the differences between these two functions helps entrepreneurs to develop appropriate strategies to improve brand image and boost sales by developing effective synergies between marketing and branding.

Before proceeding to the differences between marketing vs branding, let us first know the definition of both terms.


According to Investopedia, marketing refers to activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service.

Marketing includes advertising, selling, and delivering products to customers. It involves all the activities undertaken by a business to reach out to the target audience, acquire customers and build relationships with them.


Branding is a marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

Branding helps businesses to create a space in consumers’ minds by establishing trust, reinforcing the value and enhancing the customer experience.

According to Seth Godin, an industry expert “a brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Businesses, especially startups should first concentrate on building a brand, before proceeding to marketing.

Branding does not only include designing a logo and selecting a name, it answers the questions such as who are you? What value do you bring to the market? What are your core beliefs? What attributes make you different from your competitors? What is your vision and mission? How are you going to communicate the message to the target audience?

Once you answer these questions, you can proceed to design a marketing strategy to communicate with your target audience.

Branding Vs Marketing – Key Differences

Point of ComparisonMarketingBranding
PurposeMarketing is a set of activities undertaken by a company to acquire customers and build client-customer relationships. Branding is a set of activities aimed to build trust in customers by reinforcing brand value to promote brand loyalty.
UseMarketing is useful to improve sales and boost bottom lines.Branding helps to build brand value and reputation among the target customers.
OrderMarketing activities are used to spread the message of the brand. Marketing strategies are designed with the brand at the core.Branding comes first as it is crucial for businesses to clearly define who they are and what value they offer.
ImpactMarketing is to gain customers. Marketing strategies are used to identify the need for the product, reach out to the target audience, promote the product, sell the product, and build customer relationships.Branding is for the customers as well as your team. Branding not only helps to build a loyal base of customers. It also helps to build a strong team that believes in the brand and is committed to delivering the best results.
Type of StrategyMarketing is a push strategy that involves pushing the product to the consumers.Branding is a pull strategy that involves informing the customers about the value and pulling them towards the brand.
FormsMarketing can be done in many different forms depending on the message to be conveyed.Branding has to be clear, concise and consistent to facilitate easy brand recognition.
AimMarketing unearths new customers and builds effective client-customer relationships.Branding talks to the customers and converts them into loyal customers who not only buy the products but also recommend them to others.
  Time frameMarketing strategies are for a shorter time-frame. They change according to the changing demands of the market.Branding is constant. Though you can make minor tweaks to your branding, the overall brand story stays constant.
ValueMarketing promotes intended value to attract customers.Branding reinforces value and occupies space in consumers’ minds.

Branding is the expression of the character of a business organization or a product. It showcases the values, beliefs, and attributes of the business.

Marketing strategies are designed to communicate the brand message to the prospective customers and convince them to buy the product/service.

Every marketing promotion, every advertisement, every action and every policy of the business affects the brand perception of the consumers.

It either has a positive or negative impact on brand loyalty, which, in turn, affects your sales and revenue.

For example, when you watch an advertisement of a Tata car, it convinces you to buy the car by informing you about the product, price and features of the car.

It is a marketing activity. But branding continues far more than marketing. It ensures that you buy a Tata car, everytime you are buying a new car by facilitating a positive experience with the brand at every touch point. 

Though branding and marketing are two different components of a business, they are interdependent. They rely on each other to deliver the intended results for any business.

The long-term goal of both marketing and branding is to attract customers, increase sales and grow business.

Marketing activities deliver optimum returns when they have a solid brand at the core as people connect easily with a business when they are familiar with the brand.

Successful branding allows marketing teams to design strategies that highlight the brand characteristics and promote products/services.

Understanding the differences between marketing vs branding will allow you to develop effective strategies to promote your brand and cultivate a loyal base of customers.

While branding defines the business and its values, marketing helps to discover new customers and pass on the message to the customers and build meaningful relationships with them.

Marketing and branding are interlinked as marketing is the expression of the brand value. Marketing is the front line of a brand, every marketing strategy falls under the purview of branding. However, the opposite is not true.

All branding activities do not fall under the purview of marketing. There are many activities a business may undertaken to enhance the brand experience of the customers such as after sales service, ongoing content, product trials and other brand experiences that do not constitute marketing.

Reader’s Insight

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