Branding vs. Marketing: Which Comes First?

I often hear people use the words “marketing” and “branding” interchangeably, but it is important to know the difference when attempting to raise the profile for your organization, company or your personal brand.holidays office


It is interesting, often my individual/solopreneur clients are eager to jump to branding and want to stop there.  My company, church or organization clients want to jump into marketing and will often ignore or skip over branding.

Steve Forbes says: “Branding is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” Branding is critical.

Both marketing and branding are absolutely necessary to move a vision or business forward. Before marketing begins, there must be a brand.  If you are unclear of who you are, why you or your company exists or is different than the company down the street, then you probably need help with your brand.

Why Begin with Branding?

Branding is your promise.  It creates loyalty.  It will be what remains long after the marketing initiative or idea has gone.  This is why branding is critically important.

As I’ve stated in previous blogs and podcasts, branding more than about consistently using your logo, or personal branding – making sure you consistently look great. Branding communicates your values, your character, your credibility. Without it, you cannot effectively do marketing.

Wait…You Still Need Marketing 

Marketing is still important. You can have the best story, the best brand, but no one may know about it. Marketing walks out your brand. It tells the world you exist and why they should visit you. It gives your brand a voice.

However, marketing is very tactical. It involves processes, procedures and normally a system to make sure the brand is communicated effectively.  A brand is all about strategy and carefully putting things together to make sure the brand is communicated accurately.

One of my favorite quotes is “Branding is the being.  Marketing is the doing.” However, be sure that before you get to the doing and the activity, you spend a good amount of time with being… your branding.

If you need assistance with branding or marketing, feel free to reach out to Lee at ashby & watts consulting. 678-806-6266 or

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