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Branding vs Marketing vs Advertising

The Difference Between Branding, Marketing, and Advertising

Mixing up branding, marketing, and advertising is a common mistake businesses and professionals make. Figuring out the difference between the three will help you set the right goals for your business.

What is Branding?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. This involves the collection of things your audience expects and experiences. Branding is just: who you are, what you stand for, and what you offer customers. This has to be done with branding work such as name, logo, design, color-schemes, typeface, tagline, and most importantly: your story.

Your story is what gives purpose to your business, setting you apart from others. It also inspires your team and collaborators, as well as your customers. You have to create a bridge in people’s minds between their aspirations and beliefs and your company’s ideals.

What is Marketing?

Marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising, according to It’s meant to build awareness of your company’s products or services. Every business markets a different way, but it all comes down to knowing your customer. Marketing is the bigger picture when it comes to reaching people.

Reaching customers could be done with advertising on social media, television, or print media.; But advertising alone is not marketing. Proper marketing strategies include social media engagement and interactions, exceptional customer service, personal relationships and connections, and anything that contains brand imagery. PR is all about creating “buzz”. There’s an art to engaging media to get articles published and to get someone else to talk about you or your product.

What is Advertising?

According to, advertising is bringing a product or service to the attention of potential and current customers. Advertising is focused on one particular product or service. Most advertising is done with paid campaigns through various media outlets to a targeted audience.

Advertising is more direct and aggressive than branding or marketing. You have to have a call-to-action, such as: visit a store or online platform, calling in or booking an appointment, downloading an app, etc. Getting the word out through your social media, website, printed ads, or video ads is easy, but only the strong survive. It all comes down to creativity and knowing your audience Dare to stand out from the crowd!

So What’s the Difference?

To put it simply, here’s the main focus of each one:

  • Branding: You

  • Marketing: Customers

  • Advertising: Someone Else

All three of these are intertwined. Part of your marketing strategy could be to advertise a product, involving brand imagery in each ad you create. You could also think of it like this: Branding is who you are and what you stand for, Marketing is how you reach customers, and Advertising is focusing on a specific product or service for a specific audience. A business should be able to do all three in harmony, creating written goals for each category.

We don’t just make ads or take photos.

We brand.


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