This morning I read a point/counter-point style article that came my way via Twitter (thanks to @boxofnuts22) talking about the difference between branding and marketing. Here’s the gist of it:
The first person’s explanation was long and winding, full of MBA-style doublespeak and overly complex sentences. Boiled down he says that branding is company reputation and marketing is everything else – from logo design through advertising, etc.. The second fellow wrote short, simple statements claiming that branding was what makes you different from your competition, logo design, color schemes, etc.; and marketing is how you sell your company’s product or service.
Now if the description of the styles of explanation didn’t tip you off, second fellow is correct (I’ve no idea where the first guy got his ideas).
Branding is what helps the audience know who you are without explanation. It exists to make it possible, at a glance, for a potential client to say, ah, this is a Spacely Sprockets product, not a Cogswell Cogs one. It encompasses logos, color schemes, typeface choices, and the style that makes a company recognizable (think Apple’s simplicity and penchant for black, white, and aluminum).
Marketing is how you use your branding to get the message out there – whether it be advertising, PR, social media, etc..
Very simply put, branding defines the topic and marketing is the message.