Branding vs Marketing vs Advertising: What’s the Difference?

Branding vs Marketing vs Advertising - What's the Difference from Shelten, LLC at

Are you a small business owner confused by terms like branding vs marketing vs advertising?

First, know that’s completely understandable! These words are often used interchangeably, and it can be hard to keep them all straight. However, this confusion doesn’t mean they’re all the same thing.

Each of these marketing terms plays a vital role in building a successful business, so taking the time to understand each concept is invaluable if you want your company to thrive.

In this article, we’ll discuss the key differences between branding, marketing, and advertising and how best to incorporate these three elements for maximum success.

Let’s get started!


Branding vs Marketing vs Advertising

What Is Branding?

First, let’s define the terms “brand” and “branding” so we can better understand their difference from the other words.

According to Kotler and Keller, a brand is “a product or service whose dimensions differentiate it in some way from other products or services designed to satisfy the same need.” Additionally, the American Marketing Association (AMA) defined a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

Branding is a combination of both art and science, as it requires knowing the behavior and interests of your target audience. An effective branding strategy sets your product apart from the competition and makes it memorable in your target customers’ minds. Also, incorporating strong brand awareness can help with your brand identity, as it ultimately evokes brand loyalty from your customer base.


What Is Marketing?

On the other hand, marketing is the promotion and selling of products or services, which includes activities like market research and advertising.

Effective marketing tactics help companies choose the best way to maximize their revenue by allowing them to attract the right people to their business and even keep their current clientele happy.

Business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing focuses marketing efforts on potential customers who are consumers. Similarly, the specific goals of business-to-business (B2B) marketing are to sell more products or services to businesses, who are the customers in this case. 


What Is Advertising?

Finally, advertising is a subset of marketing involving producing and distributing marketing messages to promote a good, service, or brand. Advertising aims to find a large audience that will eventually be loyal customers. Another goal of advertising is to persuade that audience to buy your company’s goods or services.

One of the ways you can do this is through traditional media such as television, radio, or print media. Likewise, you can promote or advertise your business through digital media forms, like social media platforms or search engines.

Related: Why Starbucks’ Brand Awareness Strategy is So Effective


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Importance of Branding vs Marketing vs Advertising

First off, branding is one of the most critical components of marketing. A strong brand can help people remember your product or service better, differentiate it from competitors, and trigger certain emotions and associations in the minds of your target customers. Therefore, successful brands have better brand equity.

To illustrate, brand equity isn’t so much the value of your product or service. Rather, it’s the commercial value of your customer’s perception of your particular brand. Take Apple, for example. This company has high brand equity because of its customer’s perception of its products and services. They also have high brand trust and brand loyalty thanks to their efforts in this category. 


Another equally important part of growing a business is your marketing strategy. Marketing initiatives are crucial to surviving and growing as a business because they enable businesses to communicate effectively with their target market, drive sales, and improve brand recognition.

In order to reach your revenue goals in your business, it’s important to take the time to create a marketing strategy. A successful marketing plan includes planning and acting on the creation, pricing, promotion, advertising, and distribution of your business’ offers.


Lastly, advertising is the key to success for businesses of all sizes and ages. It increases brand awareness and can help to spread the message about your company far and wide, quickly and efficiently.

By taking advantage of targeted advertising, you’ll be able to reach plenty of potential customers who are likely to be interested in what you offer. With effective advertising, you’ll be seeing results in no time!

Related: Top Examples of Branding for Real Estate Agents


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Choose the Right Agency for the Success of Your Business

Now that you know the differences between each of these terms, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and draft your next advertising or marketing campaign for your brand!

If you’re not sure where to start, we suggest getting help from an agency like Shelten, LLC. Agencies are easy to work with and they take all of the guessing out of growing your company.

With the right help, branding your company and implementing effective marketing and advertising strategies is easy.

If your business is ready for growth, click here to schedule a free consultation with Shelten, LLC.

Related: 10 Pros and Cons of Social Media Advertising



Marketing, advertising, and branding all work together to create a cohesive strategy that helps businesses succeed.

As a business owner, it’s essential that you understand the subtle differences between each one so you can allocate your resources more effectively. Keep these distinctions in mind as you develop your own marketing strategy for your business.

For more helpful tips on digital marketing, click here to check out our blog!




  1. Marketing Management 14th Edition by Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller
  2. Branding from American Marketing Association


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