Branding and marketing are kind of the same thing. They’re approached the same way and are built on the same principles. They both do what they exist to do by asking the same questions and prioritizing the same things. And really, to a certain degree, you can’t do one without necessarily doing the other. Well, you can, but you’d be wasting time, money, energy, or all three.
Practically, however, branding and marketing can be legitimately categorized in terms of strategy vs. tactics—that is, message and communication vs. vehicles and promotion. In other words, branding is what we’re saying, and marketing is how we’re getting the message out. In the words of James Heaton, “Branding is a pull, and marketing is a push.”
Branding is what we’re saying, and marketing is how we’re getting the message out.
Example: A local community organization may decide to hold an event. So, we devise a communication system that visually and verbally conveys the event, and that appeals to a certain target. That’s branding. Printing up a bunch of flyers, creating a Facebook Event, making a landing page on our website, doing a bunch of social media ads, etc.—that’s all marketing.
Branding is a pull, a visual and verbal message that accurately reflects who you are and that appeals to the people we’re trying to attract. Marketing, on the other hand, is a push; it’s how you get the message out in front of as many people as you can.