The term Branding gets thrown around a lot by marketers and in the media. Too often marketers substitute the term Marketing for Branding. This is horribly incorrect. Although the two are related, they are not the same.
Lets define what branding is first, because it is very important for business in today’s UX/UI oriented digital products and business.
So what is branding, anyway? Branding is the process of building a positive collection of perceptions about your business in your customers’/end-users' minds.
Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in a market, thereby attracting and retaining loyal customers.
Branding goes beyond just making things look "pretty", it is a promise of a repeated experience through the combination of the logo, colors, style and the product itself. If the branding is good, but the product is bad, you get nowhere. If the branding is bad and the product is excellent, no one will adopt it and know how good it was.
Having a unique and memorable brand helps you build brand awareness and create a long-term position in the marketplace. This is your organization’s Brand Identity.
Branding and Marketing are not the same. You do, however, need solid branding in order to establish marketing strategies and campaigns. All your marketing efforts should reference the promise your brand represents in some way. Its important to be consistant with your brand image.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.
You want your organization to be different from its competitors, but in a way that emphasizes your attributes that set you apart from your peers. Based on this image you can then establish goal-oriented marketing campaigns.
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials (all of which should integrate your logo)communicate your brand.
The how, what, where, when and to whom you are relaying your brand promise is your Brand Strategy. When you employ marketing and advertising is also a part of your Brand Strategy. The product and how you visually communicate are an integral part of your Brand Strategy.
Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, this translates to added value brought to your company's services or offerings. It sets your organization apart from similar unbranded or poorly branded products or services.
The dictionary definition of Marketing is as follows:
Marketing is communicating the value of a product, service or brand to customers, for the purpose of promoting or selling that product, service, or brand.
Marketing blends art and applied science (such as behavioural sciences) and makes use of information technology and is purpose is to promote or influence the selling of these (including the brand itself). Ergo, branding is not marketing, but it is entwined and all serious, professional, modern businesses need both.