business messaging blog
Branding vs Advertising
Scott Navratil

Marketing is an umbrella term that includes any type of method in which you try to bring in new or past customers. Under that umbrella, you will find both branding and advertising. But what is the difference between the two, and why is each so important?


When you create an advertisement, you are putting together some sort of push of a specific product or service. For example, you could use text marketing to push a promotion for 20% off services. Another option would be to put an ad in the newspaper for $0.50 off a candybar. The purpose of advertising is very specific to getting a customer in immediately or the very near future. Often these promotions have an expiration date for sometime in the following few weeks. It is not necessarily about getting your name out there so much as it is about direct sales generation.

Advertising can be tracked through analytics and other tracking service because you can see exactly what brought your customer to the site, what they browsed through, and what they ultimately chose to buy or not buy. By tracking this information, you can determine what forms of advertising are working best, be in text marketing, social media, email campaigns, or online ads. It also helps you to determine what forms of advertising are effective for your audience because you can see whether or not they are motivated more by discounting, charity pledges, location-based ads, etc.


Another purpose for creating advertisements is to brand your company a specific way. The ultimate goal of the ad is not necessarily to bring in a customer immediately but to create an image that is positive and will be remembered later. For example, a healthcare provider might not want to put up a billboard offering discounted rates for the next few weeks. Rather, it would be more productive to create a positive ad on the billboard that will create name recognition and branding. Then, when your potential customer has a need for a doctor later on, they will remember that positive image and your brand to come to your office.

So what is better?

You may be wondering which of these forms of marketing is better for your business. Because they have completely different purposes, they are both valuable. Advertising towards your customer for the short term is about getting an immediate sale and is typically more related to small, low-dollar purchases. Branding is important in all cases because your customer isn’t going to buy from you if you have a bad brand. However, it is most important for businesses looking to make big sales or long-term investments.

Real estate agents, banks, healthcare providers, etc are the types of companies who will focus a lot on branding because they don’t have a lot of small-dollar purchases that can be made. However, companies like McDonald’s or Johnson and Johnson tend to focus heavily on both forms of marketing. It is important to have a positive image that can be remembered by customer later, but sometimes you need to motivate them to get a sale now. In fact, you can actually do advertising for an immediate sale that also helps build your branding.

Chantel Fullilove

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