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Branding Vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

12/06/22

Content Creation

When you talk about how you show up to share your services or products, is that branding or is that marketing?

Yes.

Honestly, the answer is both. You can’t market without strong branding and your amazing branding won’t go far if you don’t have marketing. But let’s talk about where these two facets of your business end and how they blend together to get you results.

So…what’s branding?

Branding is a culmination of four different things (that we learned from the lovely Nicole Yang).

  • Your visuals: Font choices, photography style, colors, etc.
  • Your voice: The type of tone in your copy and writing style (are you more witty or more cut-to-the-chase?)
  • Your customer/client experience: This includes any communication you might have with them too
  • Your marketing/advertising methods: How do you position your business online/other media and advertising channels?

V. IMPORTANT PSA: Brands who only focus their branding efforts on visuals and voice get lost in the sauce as time goes on. 

The brand is often too shallow to make it long-term. They haven’t thought about their brand at every touchpoint, so the result is one wonky casserole with a bunch of mismatched ingredients. 

Your visuals and voice are what get noticed first, but you need a good customer/client experience and marketing strategy to give it legs.

Okay, but, what’s marketing? 

Marketing is how you show off your biz. It includes how you show up on social media, how you show up in people’s inboxes, and how strategic or effective your website is. 

It’s the strategy behind all the content and copy you produce. It’s the quarterly content plans or Q1 launch calendars. It’s the thought process that makes the brand.

Marketing is essentially the brains of the operation, doing all the BTS work to make things like solid branding and effective advertising happen. 

Types of marketing

There are seriously so many ways to market your business, including: 

  • Social media marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Email marketing 
  • Outbound marketing (like cold calling)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Video marketing
  • Affiliate marketing

Okay woah, yeah, that’s a lot of ways to put your business on the map. But here it’s about quality over quantity.

Take a deep breath, my friend — just because they’re out there doesn’t mean you have to do them all. Not all types of marketing are that effective, and not all of them will be right for your business right now.

Why you need both branding and marketing

Would you buy a house that was gorgeous and fully renovated on the outside, but was a total shit show on the inside? Probs not. 

It’s the same thing with your business. Good branding needs good marketing, otherwise, it’s just a pretty package tied together with a ribbon but nothing inside. You can’t rely on looks alone for success.

But on the flip side, would you buy a house with a badass kitchen, fully renovated with light fixtures that would call out HGTV like a bat signal, but the outside was in shambles and a ture hazard to be around? Again, probs not. 

That’s what a business with a solid marketing plan but no cohesive branding whatsoever is. 

Marketing and branding feed off of each other and work hand-in-hand to make your business successful. You need them both. End of story.

Examples of brands we love (and the marketing strategies they use that make us love them more)

We’ve made many posts before about brand voices we love, but now, let’s look at businesses who are truly THAT GIRL when it comes to a complete 360 view of brand voice, visuals, and marketing strategy. 

Vacation, Inc. 

There are not enough good things I could say about this brand. First of all, their website feels like it came straight from a 1980s catalog, so they already have a cute theme going. But where a lot of businesses start to fall short with branding like this, Vacation, and their line of suncare products, completely embrace their “theme” in their copy, their advertisements, and their marketing tactics. There isn’t a single piece off-brand. 

Selling your latest line of product as a sweet summery treat to pair with their poolside-daiquiri culture? GENIUS.

Normally we’d give a big thumbs down to website advertisements, BUT this fits so well with the brand they’ve created that we have to admire it instead.

They even have to explicitly mention this on their FAQs page because they’re so dedicated to the brand they’ve created that people are like…”What IS this?? Is it real or am I having a fever dream?” Honestly, goals. That’s what good branding AND good marketing should do.

Drizly

You’re telling me I DON’T have to leave my sweats and my coach for a bottle of wine? Okay, I’ll bite. 

Drizly does alcohol better than any brand we’ve ever seen. Why? Because they combine humor, pop culture, AND their brand values in a way that isn’t too obnoxious or too subtle. They can definitely hold their liquor. 

They’re kind of like everyone’s cool cousin that’s young enough to be considered “cool” and in style, but old enough to be calm, cool, and collected. Because truly, nothing kills a brand voice faster than too many jokes. 

They know their market, and they know what they’re selling. They’re not trying to be something they’re not. They just are. And that’s the ultimate brand flex. 

I can’t think of a better, more subtle yet effective, way to ask people to purchase from you. Plus these situations hit so close to home that even as I’m writing this I’m slowly reaching for my phone to order. 

Wicked Clothes

It’s like Hot Topic, but for grown ups, and way cooler. 

First of all, coming at this from a design perspective, it’s really really hard to nail Halloween-ish visuals without going overboard. Especially in their header fonts, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use a Halloween one so well. #Proud

The icons are perfect! Their entire site is laid out like this — simple, easy to navigate (V. important with e-commerce), and pleasing to look at. Their site design doesn’t take away from looking at the clothes themselves (the most important part!).

They also lean into their “satanic” vibes by talking about cults, sacrifices, and more.

They even share BAD reviews like badges of honor. It’s a bold marketing strategy, one that pays off because of the spirit of their branding.

Need help tying it all together?

Design attracts, marketing entices, and customer experience supports it all, but copy? Copy sells. And if you want your own brand voice and carefully-crafted word bank that does that, give us a ring. From brand voice to web and sales copy or content strategy, our team can help you find the “it” factor that takes your brand to the next level.

Ashton Hoot, Lead Copywriter + Dedicated Swiftie
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