Brand Strategy vs. Marketing

The Differences

The question between Brand Strategy and Marketing tends to arise quite often in the field of business and advertising. Many leaders find it difficult to accurately describe the two terms. However, this is quite understandable since both Brand Strategy and Marketing are clearly inter-woven and work hand-in-hand in order to sell a product.

In other words, think of Brand Strategy and Marketing as two sides of the same coin. The coin itself is the product. In order for that product to be successfully sold, it is necessary to employ both Brand strategy and Marketing at the same exact time. Thus, a company must emotionally invest the target audience in the product by creating a specific feeling or brand image as well as accurately promote and efficiently employ marketing tactics to increase sales of said product. To simply put it, Brand Strategy is an emotional involvement while Marketing is a rational involvement when it comes to selling a good or service.

There is yet another difference between the two business terms. Brand Strategy is typically a long-term plan to develop a product into something more than just another item sold on the grocery shelf. Instead, Brand Strategy is a slow, patient, and consistent process that takes years, decades, and even generations to create and maintain. Unfortunately, it can also be destroyed with a single breach of the consumers’ trust with the company and/or product. Marketing, on the other hand, can be short-term or long-term, depending on the goals of the marketing team. To better understand these short and long-term goals, let’s look at an example.

Example

Let’s say a shoe company wants to promote its new line of women’s running shoes to the Millennial generation because of its incredible spending power. A possible Marketing Strategy could be as follows:

Increase overall company sales by 10% within the next fiscal year by launching and promoting our new line of women’s running shoes to American females aged 20-32 years old living in the Midwest.

In other words, it is a measurable and attainable strategy that deals with the product itself and its sales success.

Now, let’s use that same example to write a Brand Strategy. One statement could be:

Our new line of women’s running shoes will empower and liberate the athlete within every young woman, no matter their level of athleticism or strength.

Thus, Brand Strategy is an emotion, image, or idea of the product in consumers’ mind. It makes the target audience feel, not think.

The last difference between Brand Strategy and Marketing is where they are implemented. Marketing is an outward strategy, meaning the company establishes their sales goals and then promotes them out towards the target audience. It is a one-way street that starts at the company and leads directly to the target audience. Brand Strategy, however, is an inward and outward strategy. It must first be implemented within and be accepted by the company. Once that is established, then the company can successfully build its brand’s reputation and emotional connection with the target audience. Thus, making it an outward approach now. If the target audience accepts the idea and/or emotion of the brand established by the company, then it can potentially mold and enhance the brand even further. One example of this is two-way conversation via the internet and social media. Now more than ever, consumers have the power to speak directly to companies about their products and brands. It is a two-way street, rather than a one-way.

Working Together

Although Brand Strategy and Marketing have many differences, they are actually very similar. Both are needed to accurately sell a product, and both help with the success of a product over the course of its shelf life. Thus, one cannot be successful without the other. Keep these similarities and differences in mind while promoting and selling your product and/or service.

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