What is the difference between branding, marketing, and communications?
Whether you’re in the industry or not, the terms branding, marketing, and communications get used quite often — most times interchangeably.
However, each of these business-related terminology references different areas of the marketing and promotional umbrella.
With so much competition in the market, companies are looking to put their best foot forward — and in order to find success, they must align their branding, marketing, and communications strategy with the overall business objectives.
To better understand these concepts, let’s do a general breakdown of each term.
Branding helps the audience identify a particular company, product, or individual. It is how a company differentiates themselves from the competition — most often, visually. A popular example of fantastic branding is Apple, as their brand is synonymous with innovative and aesthetic high-end products.
Marketing refers to actions and initiatives that a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service. It is the tools, processes, and strategies that are used to reach the customer and accomplish your business’ goals. These are very tangible actions and directions implemented daily, and over a long period of time.
Communications, at times referred to as corporate communications, is how organizations speak to or deliver messaging to external and internal audiences, including customers, employees, stakeholders, media, general public, and regulatory bodies. While there is some marketing cross-over involved, this is essentially how a company would communicate, including developing key messaging, sending emails, and generating earned media.
With an overview now on each of these terms, let’s understand how it all works together.
Branding and marketing are often confused with one another, because both have the same goal of promoting and setting your business apart.
But there is a main difference between these two. A brand strategy is a long-term plan that encompasses the company’s mission, values, and purpose that subsequently determines the overall aesthetic (or look) of the brand, as well as its position in the market.
A marketing strategy is then created around what is laid out in the brand strategy, which includes everything from the tools the company uses to communicate with its audience, such as social media and SEO, to the market research done to determine target customers. Marketing manages all the technicalities that help achieve your business goals while aligning with your brand’s message.
Now, you’re probably wondering how communications factors into this. Unlike branding and marketing, communications focuses on conveying a specific message. However, that message does not necessarily have the goal of selling a product or service.
Communications is often a tool that will be used in your marketing strategy. For example, any copywriting that your team produces is actually a part of your marketing strategy, which, as we mentioned above, is based on your branding strategy.
See how it all works together?
Communications tell the story of a brand while marketing does the work of advertising and promoting it. Together, communications and marketing share in protecting, enhancing, and bringing awareness to a brand.
For branding, marketing, and communications strategies to be effective, this requires all three pillars to be in sync. And that’s where an experienced firm like Sageus Strategy + Digital can help — by providing one-stop for all services mentioned, from developing brand strategy, to implementing marketing initiatives, to amplifying messaging through proper communications.
With more than two decades of combined experiences working alongside global brands and organizations, Sageus Strategy + Digital focuses on getting to know your business, and help you connect with your audience.
Headquartered in Canada, and committed to making a global, cross-cultural, sustainable impact — we’re your one-stop firm for cultivation and growth, in all areas of branding and marketing.
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