Branding vs. Marketing: What's the difference?

Marketing is tactical. Branding is strategic.
Marketing is push. Branding is pull.

Get either element right, and your customers begin to rapidly understand why they should hold your brand with esteem over your competitors. Fall short and you could end up strengthening your competitors' efforts.

Check out this excerpt from an online course OPELLO™ Founder Richard Etienne posted which answers the question: what is a brand?

Three ways to understand how marketing and branding differ

1. Marketing is your message; your brand is who you are

When done right, your brand is your reason for existence. It is the authentic unique, and singular value you provide to your customers. It's the lifeblood of your company, and is communicated to your customers each time they see, touch, or experience your brand—not just when they experience a marketing message.

2. Branding comes first, marketing second

If you have a logo, a package design, or a slogan, you may think you have a brand. What you actually possess is a suite of marketing materials and messages.

What’s the first step? Determine and define your brand value in the marketplace. Only then should you progress to developing a brand strategy—followed, finally, by crafting a marketing campaign.

3. You own your marketing; your consumers own your brand

Compared to branding, marketing is easier to control and to understand. You compose the headlines, you decide which images to use, you post the tweets. You study analytics closely and determine whether your marketing effort is a success or a failure.

Something very revealing happens in that space between your marketing efforts and your customers’ actions—this is where branding exists. While your marketing, customer service, and other consumer touch points influence your brand, you alone cannot manufacture brand value.


It is important to identify the difference between branding and marketing, thus adding clarity to your tactics. Marketing is storytelling. The most powerful branding happens when you listen, not when you talk. Your consumers will tell you what your brand is—or what they need it to be—because it is they alone who know.

The strongest brands use their understanding of the difference between branding and marketing to build marketing campaigns that work hand in hand with their brand positioning strategy. They listen to their customers, and let their values, hopes, and desires define the brand’s position—then craft marketing campaigns to communicate that value through simple, creative, show-stopping executions.

Posted by Richard Etienne.

Day in the life of a Brand Consultant

Day in the life of a Brand Consultant

The first of an insightful series revealing the working life of professionals in very different sectors, all seeking a common goal: elevate their brand’s reputation. Today, Richard Etienne explains what a brand consultant actually does.

Posted by Richard Etienne.