In striking up a conversation about advertising, its common to hear the terms branding and marketing being used interchangeably. These terms are seen by many as different words to describe the exact same thing.


Well, the truth of the matter is that these terms are not the same and are actually describing two different concepts. Branding and marketing are linked, but they each represent different aspects of your corporate strategy.


In today’s post, we look at the concepts of branding and marketing in order to understand the important roles they play. In understanding the differences between the two, you can then optimize how they will work for your company.



What is branding?


In order to understand branding, you need to understand what your company is about. It’s not sleek logos or flashy websites. Its all about who your company is and what it represents.


James Heaton describes it best when he says, “Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.”


It is through branding that a customer connects with a business. It allows a brand to remind customers what it stands for, thus connecting the customer to the company in a meaningful way.



Branding Examples

To bring the branding concept into focus, let’s look at branding examples for some well-known companies.


1. Airbnb

Airbnb turned the travel world on its ear when it set out to change the way people travel. The Airbnb magazine headline best sums up their brand in just a few words “Be at home in the world”. Their company is designed to connect travelers with property owners around the world to allow for a more personalized travel experience.


The company’s core message is summed up by them well in this statement: “We champion commonality and connection, and spotlight the experiences made possible when we are open with each other and curious to explore the world—and ourselves.”


This explains who the company is and what drives them. The statement is also powerful enough to allow other like-minded people to strongly connect with these views and the company itself.



2. Starbucks

Starbucks is a coffee giant who has spanned the globe with its stores. The key to this company’s global success is explained here in its mission statement, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time”.


The Starbucks brand is not just about selling coffee, but to provide its patrons with a personalized experience. Their branding is centered around their attention to detail. This ensures that customers have a consistent, relaxed experience no matter if they are in Brazil, France or the US.



What is marketing?



Now that you know who your company is and what it stands for, its time to start spreading the word. The way you do that is through marketing. Marketing is using the tactics and tools available to bring brand awareness to your target audiences.


Marketing is using the tactics and tools available to bring brand awareness to your target audiences. Click To Tweet


Marketing can use various media to advertise a company’s branding. From text and graphs to photos and graphics, it can be used in different ways to reach your audience. Some common marketing techniques include SEO, print campaigns, social media, live demonstrations and content marketing.



Marketing Examples

Marketing is about connecting with your audience and bringing awareness to your brand. Here are some creative marketing examples that have been used to do just that.


1. Sochi Winter Olympics

If you wanted to promote the winter Olympics while staying true to the Olympics core of being an athletic competition, why not use an athletic challenge to give your audience free stuff. That’s exactly what a train station in Russia did.


A special ticket machine was placed in a train station west of Moscow. Passengers were given the option of doing 30 squats in exchange for a free train ticket. This marketing strategy kept to the Olympics brand by tying in an athletics challenge all the while bringing awareness to the general population that the Olympics were coming.



2. Intrepid Travel

This company used content marketing to help bring exposure to their brand. They did this in two ways, by posting real life travel stories and by publishing inspiration travel photos from members on its Facebook page.


The travel stories helped to engage its members and build a connection with the company. The photos were used to help drive traffic to its Facebook page. Both marketing strategies worked to bring in new members and retain current members. But it also kept to the travel sites core value of traveling the world to build human connections and support local communities.



Final Thoughts

As you can see, while branding and marketing are connected, they are in fact two different concepts. Marketing techniques can change overtime and can employ various techniques. However, a company’s branding is what they stand for and should remain unchanged over time.


To improve your advertising efforts, your company should work on creating a solid brand. Once you understand what you stand for and what you want to be known for, you can work on building an audience. As marketing techniques are often influenced by branding, it is best to build a brand first then work on your marketing.




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