branding your businessDo you have a brand? Is it unique? Are you effectively marketing your brand? Many entrepreneurs I mentor struggle with these questions—mainly because branding and marketing are often confused and used interchangeably. But branding and marketing are two very distinct concepts that are key to the success of every business.

So what is the difference between branding and marketing?

Here are some insights explaining the two.

Branding vs. Marketing

Although branding and marketing may sound the same, the two concepts are different in very important ways. Branding is best understood as who you are and what you stand for. It is the essential story of an organization—your mission and values, your reason for being. The best brands immediately conjure a distinct image in the minds of consumers. For example, think about how Apple is associated with innovative and accessible technology, and Coca-Cola with being free and living the American Dream.

Branding tells the audience who you are, but it doesn’t necessarily send out an overt message asking for a customer’s patronage. This is where marketing comes into play.

Marketing is an active effort to spread the word about the value of a brand. It is the strategy that drives customer acquisition and generates sales. Ultimately, good marketing amplifies a brand: It should deliver your message clearly and effectively to your target audience.

Integrating the Two

Integrating your branding and marketing efforts so they work in harmony is essential to achieving consumer value and momentum. Great branding is of limited use if your message is never heard. And exceptional marketing will not have any impact if your branding is not clear. The key is to develop an effective strategy that combines the two for optimal results.

The Result

Branding your business should be at the top of your priorities. If you do so effectively, customers will identify with your product and reward you with enduring loyalty. By combining it with a great marketing strategy, you will amplify your brand exponentially. And that’s something all business owners should strive for.