The difference between marketing and branding

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The terms marketing and branding (also called branding) are often loosely tossed around Norway. We define what the differences are and look at some examples.

Two terms most people have heard of, but which not everyone may know the exact meaning of, are marketing and branding.

Although the two concepts often overlap, we will try to clarify some differences between them.

We can take the example of the car and the truck to explain some of the differences: A truck is a car, but a car is not necessarily a truck.

In the same way, we can say that branding is marketing, while marketing is not necessarily branding.

What is branding?

Branding is about offering more than just a product or service. This means that the customer experiences getting something more when he or she chooses to invest in what you offer.

It can be a special feeling or an association, for example, a customer who buys a box of Coca Cola, which is one of the world’s most famous brands, can get a special feeling because he or she associates specific associations with Coca Cola as a brand.

Image and reputation are important when it comes to branding.

When the customer hears the name of the brand, he or she gets thoughts, feelings and associations related to the product, service and your company.

Building a brand means building a good reputation and an image that highlights what you want the product to be associated with.

To do this, there are several elements that you should pay attention to, including how you want to define your brand, which target group you target and what makes people actually buy what you offer.

An important part of brand building is to position the brand in the market.

You do this so that consumers have a certain perception of the brand versus other products.

This means that you take certain steps to make it easier to reach the target group with the message your company has.

Positioning a brand can be done in several ways, but the two most common in the brand building are:

Highlight psychological product benefits Positive experiences related to the product.

Associating associations with the product: What do consumers associate with the product? What thoughts and feelings do consumers get when they see/hear about the brand?

In the introduction, we wrote that brand building is marketing, which can be explained by building a brand by conducting targeted marketing over time.

Many of the same elements recur when engaged in both brand building and marketing.

Examples of this are how you present goods and services in social media, how you present content on your website and that you have clear goals both for how to conduct brand building, but also for how to conduct marketing.

We will further try to explain why marketing is not necessarily brand building, even though the two concepts have many similarities.

What is marketing?

Marketing is one or more activities where the goal is to make a specific target group familiar with the goods or services you offer and then make sure that they choose to buy the product or use the service.

While the main goal of branding is to create the image, reputation and associations of a particular brand, the main goal of marketing is to create profitable returns for the business.

You do this, among other things, by conducting targeted brand building, but marketing is a much more comprehensive concept than just this.

An example is when a company lowers the price of part of the product range.

In most contexts, this will not build up under the company’s brand, but can be financially beneficial for the company because more customers then choose their goods over the competitors’.

In short, it is natural to call marketing sales.

These are the activities the company performs to sell the goods or services they have to offer, and here is much of the difference between branding and marketing.

Where marketing is used to increase a company’s profitability relatively quickly, branding often has no immediate effect, and it is also much more difficult to measure the effect of branding versus marketing.

Building a reputable brand takes longer than marketing a product.

Where brand building mainly focuses on the product being offered, marketing is to a greater extent based on making well-considered assumptions and assessments of the market.

That is, to form a picture of the target group, what needs exist and what any competitors offer within the same segment.

Both branding and marketing should be processes that take place over time, but marketing can also be smaller and shorter processes to sell more of a particular item, for example in connection with the Christmas gift shop.

In marketing, it is common to actively use what is called a SWOT analysis.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

By using SWOT analysis, the company can get a clearer picture of where the company stands as of today, and in that way be of great help in creating a plan to get the company where you want it.



Understanding the difference between the concepts of branding and marketing is no easy task.

The reason for this is that many of the same elements are included in both concepts. Nevertheless, there are some main points that most clearly define the difference between them:

  1. Although branding is part of marketing, marketing is a broader and more comprehensive concept that deals with more than just branding.
  2. Where brand building is mainly about building the brand’s reputation and image, marketing is more about understanding the market and knowing what the competitors are offering and taking actions based on this.
  3. Branding is a process that takes a long time, and which is not very measurable in concrete results (sales). Marketing, on the other hand, gives measurable results faster, preferably here and now, through the sale of goods.
  4. Branding’s overall goal is to give customers good feelings, thoughts and associations related to a product, service or company as a whole. Marketing, in reality, means sales, and therefore has as its overriding goal to sell goods and/or services to increase the company’s profitability in the short and long term.

As we have mentioned before, both brand building and marketing are important processes for the company, both of which should be worked on purposefully over time.

By creating brands that give consumers positive associations and a sense of benefit when buying the product, will increase the company’s profitability and strengthen the company’s position in the market.

The same applies if you get to run marketing that often enough causes consumers to choose your company’s goods and services over competitors’.

A combination, where you through systematic work both position your company and your goods in the market and engage in active marketing will, in the long run, ensure that your company both gets a good reputation in the market and gets profitable dividends through sales.

Then the customer will buy the goods you offer and get a good feeling of doing so, precisely because they have good associations related to your company and your brands.

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