The difference between branding, marketing, and advertising…

I was researching a similar topic for one of our clients, and became fascinated by the differences between these “things” – these “things” that can either propel our businesses forward into an abyss of awesomeness, freeze our businesses into a state of stagnation, or hurl our businesses backwards into a state of non-existence. Yes…it is that serious…

When I started reading through various articles, it became more and more clear how crucial it is to KNOW the difference between branding, marketing, and advertising, and to not confuse them. Just KNOWING the difference will affect how you choose to get your business out there – actually GETTING your business out there will also become a lot more consistent and strategic.

After much interweb exploring, reading, and comparing, I have come up with my simple definitions:


Branding is what shows the world what your business stands for – it is the personality, the glue, and the passion behind your business. Branding is psychological.

Branding says, “Hello, I am trustworthy, reliable, cool, trendy, and awesome.”


Marketing is the act of getting your business/product out there. Marketing is practical.

Marketing says, “Hello, look at me! This is what I am and what I can offer you. Look at me!”


Advertising is simply the purchasing of a space where you can push your business/product. Advertising is persuasive.

Advertising says, “Hello! Here I am, now buy me!”

Once you understand these differences, you can understand the value of each one separately, and then also understand how they work together:

Marketing and advertising gets the public interested and gets them buying, but it is the branding that will keep them loyal year after year. 


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