I had a friend ask me recently about the difference between Marketing and Branding.  While related and intertwined in application, in definition they are very different.

Branding is the process of creating a unique name and image for a company and/or product in the customers’ minds.  Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

Marketing is the activity and processes for creating, communicating, and delivering, offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.

Branding is the foundation on which marketing can effectively construct campaigns and communications that address a target audience with a unique message.  Let’s use VOLVO as an example.  For years, when you would ask a person what they thought of when you mention the name VOLVO, the answer in some form would speak to “safety.”  To differentiate themselves in the automobile industry, VOLVO developed their brand around “safety.” Their auto models focused more on structural integrity rather than sleek lines.  Consequently their marketing built on this brand to produce ads that spoke to safety and withstanding impacts during accidents.  The message was that if you wanted your loved ones safe as they traveled about in this hazardous world, buy VOLVO.  It was marketing that cleverly placed mangled vehicles on display at dealerships with the explanation that the passengers “walked away from this crash.”

So, the BRAND is how people remember you, how they feel about you.  Emotions and memory are key components to the brand.  MARKETING then takes that brand and forms communication that takes advantage of that brand to send out the message, so to speak.

The great thing about the BRAND is that it can be constructed and formed to create that unique memory and feeling you wish to appeal to your specific target.  By clearly defining things like functional values and brand personality you can create a brand manifesto to use as a guide for reaching out with effective MARKETING strategies. But just as creativity is critical to the creation of the BRAND, creative ways to communicate that brand message, like displaying crumpled VOLVOs, is equally important.

Marketing communications not based on a well defined brand send a message that sounds common and ordinary without the punch to get the desired response.  A great brand deserves creative marketing strategy to best take advantage of that unique positioning.


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