Marketing and branding go hand in hand, right? If you asked someone the difference between branding and marketing, it would be the same as asking the difference between fire and ice. Just as fire and ice are both elements of our Earth, marketing and branding are two essential components for a successful web marketing strategy, and business planning. However, this is where the similarities end. Below you will find three very important aspects to help explain why branding and marketing are two entirely different things, but very necessary. I must admit that I struggled to understand this in the beginning of my business, so I hope it is helpful. If you’re looking for good examples of branding, McDonald’s, Target, Disney and many other multi national corporations are some of the major brands that come to mind. But proper branding is not just limited to major corporations with seemingly limitless budgets. Message versus DefinitionMarketing is your message to the public about your product, while your brand defines who you are and what you want to reflect. An authentic brand is developed through the creation of an exceptional product, emanating every successful move the company makes. The brand is unique, offering superior value and authentic quality, communicated to your consumers whenever they come into contact with your product – not the marketing message. Your marketing message is not your slogan, mission statement, or business’s reputation and awards. Instead, this is what grabs the attention of your prospective customers, telling them how great your product is and why they need to buy it. Additionally, the marketing message should appeal to your customer’s needs, triggering an emotional response to your product. Branding Comes FirstMost business owners believe that once the logo and packaging has been designed, and a slogan has been decided upon, they have a brand. In actuality, these items are just marketing materials, or messages, to appeal to your potential customers. The first step in branding is determining the value of your product within the desired marketplace, and determining the ‘brand strategy’ you will use. This is when your marketing campaign should be crafted, once you have a solid understanding of your position in the market. This campaign should include the small details such as composing advertisements, deciding on the use of uniforms, choosing office decor, stationary and more. Your Marketing Campaign, Their BrandIn comparison to branding, marketing is far easier to control and understand in today’s business world. Your marketing technique includes writing attention-grabbing headlines, choosing attractive artwork, and posting across social media platforms in an effort to educate and interact with potential consumers. These are some of the issues that can determine success or failure of your marketing campaign. Saying that your brand is actually ‘their brand’ may seem a little strange, but you must understand that no matter how you try to convey your product, you cannot control how the brand is perceived by consumers. There have been instances where consumers actually found new uses for products, much to the surprise of marketers. Some good examples of this occurrence include vinegar, baking soda, and even tennis balls. The bottom line is simply this: your customers will show you what your brand is all about. As a marketing expert, you must learn to listen to your customers. Find out what their hopes and expectations are in regards to your product. Then, use a savvy marketing campaign to convey your brand’s story by communicating via smart, creative, and hopefully unforgettable, implementation.