The dangers of confusing marketing and branding

Paul Cash, CEO of Rooster Punk, warns of the dangers of confusing marketing and branding

It can be all too easy to trash your credibility by confusing branding and marketing. This is a big mistake because no matter what your experience, if you blur branding and marketing it makes you look amateurish and calls your business strategy into question.

Understanding the difference between marketing and branding isn’t difficult, so make sure you do your experience justice by explaining these two very different concepts clearly and concisely. Put simply, brand is who you are. Marketing is your message. 

What is brand?

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” This quote from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sums up the purpose of brand. Your brand is who you are. It precedes marketing and stands for what you do and why you do it. 

It has to make your name and logo mean something and remain consistent to deliver its promise. It provides the unique value you offer customers and breeds loyalty, but ultimately it is controlled by your customers. Allegiance also extends to your employees: brand has the power to permeate the culture of your company and if your brand exudes the right feelings then you’ll be top of customers’ minds. 

What is marketing?

Customers own brand, but you control marketing. Marketing is a tool for you to get your brand message across. Marketing is not just about the stuff you make but the stories you tell. Because stories are a shortcut for helping customers buy. 

You can control how customers perceive your company by what you say, what you look like and the value you deliver. Crafting marketing campaigns by listening to customers, and ensuring these work hand-in-hand with brand positioning, will help prospects identify with you and gently push them in the right direction until they are activated buyers.

In summary, branding is about trying to sell a big picture view of who you are and why you exist. Marketing is about trying to sell your products. Both need to co-exist to make sure you are human, engaging, relevant and useful.