The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

The word branding is such a buzz-word these days, that it’s difficult to figure out how to actually do it, much less decide if you should be doing it at all. Today Don walks through the difference between marketing and branding, and why one of them is far more important than the other.


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20 responses to The Difference Between Marketing and Branding

  1. The difference between being profit centered and purpose centered (or purpose DERIVED). It sounds crazy to me to be all about marketing without a strong brand first, with a strong purpose. In the world we live in we have too much product being made, too many meaningless companies. In this dying world we need to tone it down, return to our roots, our essence, sustainability and purpose. So as someone building their own business, I-m brand first (defining positioning, values, feel, offers, customer experience) and THEN after I launch it will be mostly marketing but with a love of value being delivered.

  2. Well.. I don't think that both can go without each other. Branding is just a part of marketing. Marketing strategy – as the name "may" suggest – defines branding and other vital elements of a successfull business. Marketing defines the brand. Branding executes the marketing strategy.
    There's a lot of people starting businesses who spend a shitload of money on "branding". They invest in beautifull and expensive logos. Websites. Social media presence. Very often they then end up without resources to plan and execute a marketing strategy. Or they just can't answer simple questions like "who's ypur target customer?" Etc.
    I know a lot of businesses without even a website. Or a fancy logo. But they know to whom and how to sell.
    There's no business without sales.

  3. Marketing is your message, branding is your direction. Trust is, you need bought, marketing will bring sales fast, but you are gonna end up competing in pricing, and paying for every sale.. branding will show you the way, a clear path to build an emotional conexión with your customers, the goal is to set you apart, and have then speaking about you, and how you are different, how you get them. Branding is a strategy, marketing is tactical, is the action.

  4. WOW!!! Disappointed!!! How incredibly disingenuous !!! Branding is NOT important ???? This coming from a guy that has a whole platform and book dedicated to crafting the story of your brand??? How are you going to sell/market something if you don't know WHO you are selling to or WHY they would need it? Your answer is to inundate your audience with emails?? You think that's what gets the job done? Not impressed.

  5. Whew! I almost bought your book on Building A Story Brand… Now I'm glad I haven't. I think you have a few things mixed up here and it's super confusing.

  6. I understand what you're saying and agree to a degree. However, branding isn't just about the visuals or the end result of making people feel something, it's also about establishing who you are and why you do what you do. If you don't know who you are and who you're selling/talking to, how do you market to them? The biggest problem we have at our advertising agency, is clients who want to market, but have no idea who they're marketing to or why, because they haven't established brand. Using the Storybrand principle: the mentor in the story cannot have any influence on the hero, if you haven't established him/her as a mentor and why his/her experience is relevant for the hero's story.

  7. Very good message! Drayton would be pleased. SELL something and that's why we advertise. We sell. If we don't sell, we'll die. end of story!

  8. His definition of branding is off. Branding defines your identity as a business. It presents you as distinct from your competitors. It establishes your basic messages: 1) Who you are – 2) What you do – 3) Who you do it for – 4) And why it's better than other people offering similar stuff. Without it, you are average, ill-defined, confusing, faceless, forgettable and not compelling enough to do business with. It doesn't need to be complicated or mysterious. It simply needs to establish the foundation. Logos, colors, fonts, video, music are all expressions of the MESSAGES that you need to get across to your ideal customers. Then you need to be consistent with it throughout your marketing. Without at least some thought to your branding it is your marketing that will be a waste.

  9. I totally disagree with waiting until you have 500 Million before you think of branding. I don't think you would get that far without intentional branding.

    Marketing may be the fuel, but branding is the ship and without the ship, all that marketing money will burn up in the atmosphere. I see it time and time again. "My marketing isn't working". Often it is because they've unintentionally become a commodity who is not positioned, is undifferentiated and is trying to be everything to everyone. It takes a ton of cash to market an undifferentiated product or service. Businesses must do the work to develop their business model and take the time to create a visual AND verbal brand personality that is applied to, and rides along with, all marketing and advertising. This is important for any firm $500K and above. I do agree that pre $250k, you need to focus on validating assumptions through 100% marketing.

    In your video, I think you meant to say $500 thousand and not million based on your statement at the end of the video (3:16) "that is only after you have a quarter-million dollars or more, before that 100% on marketing".

    THAT I agree with.

    Pre $250k you need to make sure you look decent and your messaging in on point enough to connect but you should not be spending serious cash on a branding firm. Validate the business model then work on polishing the brand.

    Marketing is a hell of a lot more effective with a solid brand personality (visual and verbal) behind it creating a connection between the company, their prod/services, and the prospects' needs. And equally true, even a kick-ass brand can't survive without marketing.

  10. Don, great subject matter and some great points. Thanks for sharing. I think marketing is a big driver for making sales, but I don't think it stands so high above branding on the priority list. I think the way you define branding here is a bit limited. There are many brand consultants like myself that do far more than make logos, match colors, and find the right music. A good brand designer or consultant will start with goals. "What are we trying to accomplish?" "Who are we trying to sell this to?" "What is the message we wan't people to buy into?" "Why would they buy into it?". A good brand strategy helps set the tone for successful marketing. Let's take the rocket analogy a step further. Marketing, might be the rocket, but you have to know what kind of rocket to build before you launch. If you're goal is to land on the moon your going to build a different rocket than if you're trying to orbit the Earth or send a drone to Mars. If branding is done right it tees up marketing for success. It's not just colors, logos, and music. If you're trajectory is off by even the slightest amount, it lands you way off course in the long run and then you have to spend precious resources to course correct. Marketing might take on 80% of your time and resources, but I think the value of the two is a little more equal. Also, I'd be curious to know what your branding efforts were for getting StoryBrand up and running, and did you wait to hit 500M before spending much time on your brand?

  11. Hi Donald. Thanks for this video series. It's been so helpful not only in terms of growing my own business (after all, my website is entirely based on your StoryBrand framework) but also in inspiring my clients to improve their own messages because your content provides a lot of inspiration for sharing my own expertise.

    One thing that boggled my mind after this particular clip was this. What you mention (generally speaking) in this video is mainly brand identity (visual and brand theme) and how too much focus on brand identity alone doesn't serve the company. Marketing is more important. I get that. And it makes sense in the context of that particular company (that you couldn't mention).

    I wanted to respond to this clip because I felt the need to clarify in my own mind about marketing vs. branding (after all, branding is my gig). The branding you mentioned in the clip is only one aspect. The other aspect I would like to argue is what Al Ries talks about in this book "the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding". According to Al, "Marketing is about building a brand in the minds of prospects". Also according to Seth Godin "Branding is making a promise to a specific group of people and keeping that promise consistently.". The distinction I see here is the ongoing delivery of the promise as 'branding'. I feel that this distinction is important for businesses of any size.

    While setting brand identity (tangible stuff you mentioned in the video) is important to set up right at the start of any business, marketing is vitally important for the viability of the business. The other side of the branding is the ongoing effort of keeping the promise (e.g. the marketing message you build using StoryBrand) to the customers. In the context, branding informs marketing.

    I think my point is clearly defining what you mean by branding here. In fact, if you could share your thoughts on these two different aspects of branding it would be immensely helpful for all of us.

    Thanking you as always for your generosity and leadership in this field.

  12. Donald, probably a lot of the customers that buy your Storybrand book (me included) are brand designers. You might want to cut them some slack 😀
    That being said, I am applying marketing strategies to the brands I design and help the customers shape their message and reach customers. I will make sure to improve their rockets too 😉

  13. Branding can often be easier than marketing – That's why people get stuck on it which turns into confusion. Great video!

  14. Great tip. Question… when you are working with professional service companies as opposed to companies that make a tangible product do you find that different strategies / messaging must be used?

  15. "Branding" or brand strategy is defining what you want people to think about you, to be able to sell more products. Marketing is how you make that happen. A "brand" is what happens when enough people think the same way about you.


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