Why Advertising is not Branding

“Advertising” and “Branding” are two words that many people think are interchangeable. Like “smart” and “intelligent,” or “merry” and “jolly.” But they’re not. They actually mean completely different things.

Advertising is a form of communication. It’s a way of telling the story of your product or service. It’s a television commercial, a billboard, a magazine ad, a Facebook profile. Advertising aims to drive consumer action.  Advertising is a means to an end. And that end is sales.

Branding, on the other hand, is much bigger. Branding requires a deeper connection with your product or service. Branding is what you get when you delve into the essence of a company; it’s the result of countless hours of analyzing, hoping, figuring out, looking at your company’s core. When you create a brand, you have your product or service, your employees, your mission statement, your culture, your customers, your company signage, your employee uniforms, and a host of other esoteric factors. Branding aims to create consumer feelings.

Advertising is concrete; branding is abstract.

And while advertising and branding are two very different parts of a business, they couldn’t exist without each other.

Advertising needs a brand on which to build its ideas. It needs a loyal customer base to grow sales. Branding needs advertising to get the word out about the company’s offerings. Neither exists in a bubble.

Forte Marketing Group is a Birmingham, Alabama-based branding, marketing and advertising firm that helps companies nationwide differentiate their brands. Learn more about us at www.fortemg.com.