What Is Brand Marketing? (With Elements of Branding)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 9, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Branding and marketing are important aspects of business for any organization that intends to profit and stay sustainable. Through both processes, businesses can define the value of their brand and connect with their customers. Understanding what brand marketing is can help you apply the concept in your workplace. In this article, we discuss what branding is, identify the elements of branding, and explore some differences between marketing and branding.

What is brand marketing?

Brand marketing or branding is the process of building, managing, and publicizing an organization's identity. Branding aims to create an identity for a company and increase the visibility of that identity. Through that, companies can form long-lasting connections with their customers and use that relationship to drive sales and make profits. Essentially, branding aims to help companies develop a message around their products and value propositions to build and maintain a loyal customer base. Branding is a thorough process that involves more than the company's products. It also involves its corporate culture, communications, and marketing efforts.

Branding aims to create an idea, which all aspects of the company can follow to create the appropriate effect. For example, a car manufacturing company may brand itself as a luxury brand for the elite. In that case, it's necessary the design, functionality, and build of the manufacturer's cars reflect that brand. Such a manufacturer also requires luxurious packaging for its vehicles. As the manufacturer aims to attract high-income customers, it's necessary its customer service is responsive and polite to match its clients' tastes.

Related: A Guide to Marketing as a Career

Elements of branding

Here are some of the elements of branding:

Brand identity

A company's brand identity refers to its overall brand. It comprises all elements that differentiate a company from other companies within the industry. Some of the elements that make up a brand's identity include:

  • Brand name: This is the distinct brand name that customers use to identify the company or its product. For the right effect, ensure the brand name is unique and easy to remember.

  • Logo: A logo is a symbol or design which companies use to represent their brand and products. Logos are one of the most popular branding elements, so it's important it's meaningful and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Graphics: Many companies associate certain visual elements with their products to help customers find them. For example, a soda company can use a distinct bottle shape, or a clothing manufacturer can use a certain pattern.

  • Theme line/motto: These are words or catchphrases that companies associate with their brand. Theme lines aim to briefly communicate the product's value and attract the attention of customers.

  • Sound: Some companies associate certain sounds with their products to make them distinct. For example, a computer brand may use a unique booting sound for its products.

Brand image

A company's brand image refers to the effect its branding has on the mind of the public. It refers to the reputation a company has developed due to its branding efforts and how the public interprets its actions and strategies. Usually, brand image affects what the public expects from the brand. As the brand image is how customers form a bond with a company, inconsistency can affect the company's customer base. For example, a luxury watchmaker uses luxury materials to maintain its brand image.

Brand positioning

Brand positioning refers to the aspects of the market that a brand targets. Essentially, it's how a company approaches a market. Brand positioning includes determining a niche market and forming strategies to appeal to that niche. For example, a soda company may appeal to children by offering products in smaller bottles with animated designs. Brand positioning helps companies focus more on their target audience and build a stronger bond with their customers.

Related: What is Market Positioning? How to Develop a Strategy

Brand personality

Just like human beings, brands can also have distinct personalities. A company's brand personality refers to human qualities which the public associates with a company based on its branding. Companies can communicate their brand personality using advertisements, packaging, and other marketing efforts. For example, a biscuit company that uses vintage designs may portray a conservative brand personality. It's important companies pick a personality that can appeal to their target audience.

Brand equity

This refers to the value of a company's brand, which is separate from the product itself. A company's brand equity is how much more value a company generates because of its unique brand identity. Companies with good brand equity can charge more for their products, even while offering the same value. In such cases, customers pay more just because they have a positive relationship with its brand. Companies can make good brand equity by making their products more unique and offering a better user experience.

Brand experience

The brand experience refers to the customer's overall experience with the company's product. This includes the customer's experience from the point of purchase until when they used the product. A company's brand experience involves many elements, including its product functionality, packaging, customer service, and distribution channels. This is one of the most important aspects of branding, as a positive brand experience usually translates to greater customer loyalty.

Brand differentiation

This refers to how a company differentiates itself from its competitors. Usually, brand differentiation has to do with the value proposition of the company's products. A brand can differentiate itself from others in the way it packages its products or unique functionalities. For example, a coffee retailer can differentiate its brand by allowing people to build their cup of coffee rather than picking from pre-set options.

Brand communication

This refers to how companies communicate their brand identity to their customers. It comprises the company's marketing strategies and the channels it uses to reach its customers. For example, companies can use channels like websites, social media pages, billboards, banners, and sales events to communicate their brand identity and attract customers.

Brand gap

A company's brand gap is the difference between its actual performance and what it promised its customers. The higher the company's brand gap, the less impressive a company is. Companies can maintain a healthy brand gap by working on their performance and making realistic promises to customers.

Brand extension

Brand extension involves a company expanding its identity. Companies often do this when it grows to a certain stage and expand into other markets. Usually, this involves modifying some core statements to cover other aspects of the company's activities.

Branding vs. marketing

Here are some of the major differences between branding and marketing:

Definition

While branding and marketing remain related, they're separate concepts. Branding is the process of creating an organization's identity. It's the process of determining the fundamental values that drive a company's actions and strategy. Branding involves deciding on a mission and vision statement, company values, corporate culture, brand name, and logo. In contrast, marketing refers to the array of processes and strategies companies use to promote their products and services. Marketing aims to improve the visibility of a company's products and brand while ensuring patronage by members of the public.

Purpose

Branding aims to help companies develop an identity. While one of the purposes of branding is to drive sales, it extends beyond that. A company's identity developed through branding informs other parts of its activities, including its strategy, production processes, and customer service. In contrast, marketing aims to increase sales and profits by improving a company's visibility. It focuses on various aspects of a company's processes to improve the consumer experience and encourage loyalty. Generally, marketing has a more specific purpose than branding.

Related: What is a Presales Process? (With Tips for Effectiveness)

Hierarchy

Branding is usually one of the first tasks companies complete before starting a business. This is because the company's identity determines other aspects of its strategy. For example, by determining its brand identity, the company can determine its target audience, marketing strategy, and corporate strategy. In contrast, marketing occurs after branding has taken place. A company's marketing team develops campaigns based on the company's brand identity.

Creative process

Branding is a creative process that involves using abstract concepts like logos, colours, and shapes to pass a message. Marketing personnel responsible for branding speak to the company's founder or executives to understand the idea behind the company. Then, using various creative processes, they develop a brand identity that aligns with those ideas. In contrast, marketing involves following specific strategies to convince members of the public to patronize a company. While marketing strategies also require creativity, they generally follow logical and straightforward processes.

Related: Top 10 Skills of a Marketing Manager

Longevity

Another major difference between branding and marketing is their longevity. Once a company develops a brand, it usually maintains it throughout its lifespan. While companies can amend the specifics of their branding, it usually refers to the same values and principles. As a result, branding focuses on a company's long-term goals. In contrast, marketing strategies usually change to reflect industry trends and different audiences. Marketing campaigns usually highlight certain products or groups of products. As a result, they often relate to short-term company goals like making a profit or reaching a sales target.

Explore more articles