Branding versus marketing – understanding the difference

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Communication is key when online competition is tough. Many new real estate businesses are making their way into the marketplace, and there are so many channels for targeting customers. How do you stay ahead of the game?

When you’re building and growing a business, all the marketing buzzwords can feel confusing and overwhelming. In particular, two concepts often get lumped together – “branding” and “marketing.”

In today’s market, it’s more important than ever for marketing managers to understand the difference between these two. In reality, they are completely different concepts, serving different purposes.

What is branding?

Branding has to do with who you are as a company. It involves defining your mission, values and what makes you special and unique.

There’s a common misconception that branding is limited to brand colours, your company logo or your website. However, your brand is much more than that. Put simply, your brand is your company’s personality and the main message you want to send out into the world.

Building a brand is a lot like building a house. It requires both architects (brand strategists) and contractors (designers) to bring ideas of a blueprint to life. Initially, most business owners think they have an idea of what they want their brand to look like. But they’re not always aware of all the structural elements required to build this foundation.

  • What do you want your customers or clients to know about you?
  • How do you want to be perceived?
  • What are the benefits of your offerings?

Remember, you’re trying to create an emotional connection with your customers or clients. Without a proper brand strategy, why would people choose you over other developers working on similar projects?

Download our free strategy toolkit to get the tools and tips you need to create an outstanding brand for your real estate development company.

What is marketing?

Your branding strategy determines your marketing strategy. Marketing is the practice of promoting and selling your company’s offerings. Market research and developing strategies are used to distribute and promote these offerings. Marketing increases your brand’s visibility.

The primary goal of a marketing strategy is to plan out all the steps and tactics your brand needs to follow and use to reach its goals. Each component of this strategy needs to be well defined and planned out to be successful.

The main tool that marketing uses to attract customers is messaging, which is carried out through various channels, such as:

  • Company website
  • Office space
  • Direct mail
  • Online ads
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media
  • Customer service

The difference (and confusion) between the two

Marketing manages all the technicalities of achieving your business goals. It is often confused with branding because marketing is an extension of your brand. Your marketing strategy should be based on your company’s branding strategy and stay true to your brand message. Marketing gets a customer’s attention and drives sales. Branding keeps their attention and drives recognition and loyalty.

Branding is about knowing who you are as a company, while marketing is knowing who your customers are. Marketing efforts may drive a short-term increase in sales, but your brand will keep your customers coming back. Businesses need meaningful relationships with their target audience to achieve their goals.

You need strategies for both to achieve different goals and results.

Blending branding and marketing methods

Another way to explain the difference between branding and marketing is to imagine you’re hosting a party at your house. The invitation you’re sending out is the marketing. It has to be appealing enough to entice your invitees to show up.

Branding is the ambiance you’ve created for the party and people’s experience when they arrive. The experience of this party, of course, goes beyond the invitation. It includes music, conversations, food, drinks and people. Do these match what you’ve promised on the invitation?

After a while, the right kinds of people will attend your parties because you have a reputation for hosting ones they like.

To extend the analogy: Often, all the effort goes into the invitation. The party is a disaster, and people are reluctant to come back. In other words, some real estate developers focus too much on marketing without developing their brand.

People will come to you because of your reputation of providing great offerings that they find valuable.

Branding first, marketing second

Do you already have a well-defined and positioned brand that resonates with your target audience? Then you can focus on creating a great marketing strategy.

But say your brand isn’t well established or positioned to attract your ideal customer or client. Then the best-designed marketing isn’t going to make them approach your company.

Marketing is essential. But you must know how to get your message heard by the right people. Then you can create a message that will inspire them to take action.

Download our free strategy toolkit to get the tools and tips you need to create an outstanding brand for your real estate development company.

Use both branding and marketing to take your business to the next level

With an understanding of the difference between branding and marketing, you can take the next steps. You can push your real estate development company to the next level. Be sure you are working with an agency with expertise in branding, not just marketing. They can help you craft a business with a strong foundation, not one with just beautiful colors.

If you need help, get in touch with our branding agency today.