Marketing vs Advertising vs Branding

Published on
June 12, 2023
Jonathan Petrous
Owner & Creative
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Marketing vs Advertising vs Branding

Three words that at first glance don’t seem like much, but can be summed up with three simple questions; “How do you see yourself?”, “How do you act in public?”, and “How do they see you?” 

Chances are you are familiar with or heard of one of the above. But, even if you’re not, you have been influenced by one or more of these at least once this week such as helping you decide your morning coffee. Like many topics, Marketing, Advertising, and Branding are often confused with one another. They do impact each other, and without the right support they may find it challenging to be successful. But each of these three should be treated differently and uniquely, because they cover very specific things. Let’s find out just what they do and how they help each other and you. 

Truthfully, one of the best ways to identify which is which is by putting yourself into the equation and asking yourself three simple questions; “How do you see yourself?”, “How do you act in public?”, and “How do they see you?” Which you think is which?


Simply put, marketing is the image that you are trying to present to others. It is a strategy to build awareness of your businesses products and services through proper market research, social media engagement and interaction, customer service, networking, printed or digital material, websites, profile pages, and anything else that contains your branded content. 

Still a bit unsure. Try this scenario. 

When you start your day, what do you do? Do you dig through your closet and pick out what you plan to wear for the day? Maybe you match your shoes to your belt, or look for the perfect striped shirt to pair with a solid tie. Afterwards, you might tend to your hair, brush your teeth and later walk out the door to start your day. All of these are choices you make. Colors, patterns, textures and more, each is your decision. You are mapping out the perfect appearance to start the day. After all, you see yourself a certain way and want to dress the part. What you choose to wear is how you see yourself – as a business professional, a Star Wars fanatic, or even a nudist. With how you present yourself, you are displaying your characteristics and attributes to those around you. 

You probably heard that a first impression is very important, often the most important. Meeting the parents of your significant other for the first time, a job interview or what you wear to church are all examples of how you choose to dress for an occasion. Let’s be honest, when was the last time a nudist attended a formal setting where clothing was a requirement without failure? Knowing how you want to be perceived is important, and making sure to do it right on the first try is ideal.

GoPro is a household name, thanks to all the of the user-generated content that has been shared and used as part of its marketing, it’s difficult to find anyone who has not heard of them. GoPro is one of the most trusted company for athletes, car enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies, and more due to how the user can record content in a unique way. Not to mention the ease of video editing. To assist with its image, GoPro maintains a consistent look a feel to its content; adding the company logo or branding to the first and last frame, and then sharing it on social media for others to see it. The focus is not on them, but the content being shared. And, In turn, it encourages and inspires others too create amazing content to be seen and even shared on the official GoPro website and social platforms. Their marketing, or the way they see themselves, is through the user generated content.  

In regards to your business, how you dress your company will determine the effectiveness of the message and image your customers will perceive you. Don’t be the nudist at the black tie event. Give it some thought, and plan ahead. Dress to impress in your own unique way. 


Advertising is every action that you make. The goal here is to acquire customers and drive sales. It is normally completed through paid campaign services that are carefully planned. Each targeting a specific audience or demographic. These campaigns can be found though paid ads on social media, google ads, radio and more. Of course, you can just as easily purchase a one-off or a series of recurring billboard, digital banners or a space in a magazine your target audience reads. It is often seen as a part of or subsidiary to marketing in some lights, but should still be treated as its own entity.

Scenario time.  

Do you have a favorite place to eat? Are you a regular at Starbucks or Tim Hortons? Maybe you fancy the weekends in your garage watching the game with the gang, sharing a bag Doritos yelling at the tv. What you do, where you do it, even the conversations you have with others are just as important as how you dress. Imagine going to a university football game dressed up in the traditional University of Michigan maze and blue, your face painted red and white like Ohio State, then yelling and screaming for Michigan State to win against the University of Iowa. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Certainly those around you will be confused too. The same could be said if you are going out on a date eating meat and saying you are really a vegetarian or you are dog person but have ten cats and a canary in your apartment. 

One of my favorite advertising examples comes directly from Coca-Cola’s share a Coke advertising campaign. Every company wants to achieve something truly groundbreaking, but often never even come close, however, Coca-Cola did and so much more. In short, it started the Share a Coke campaign in Australia in 2011, with 150 of the most popular names in the country. The purpose, as found on their website, was to create a more personal relationship with consumers and inspire shared moments of happiness. It was spun over and over in multiple countries by adding holidays, nicknames and even song lyrics for a more individualized approach. Every bottle gave customers the opportunity to express themselves and share that experience with someone else. People, myself included, would scour shelves for same names, or the names of loved ones just to say they found it or give it to that person. And if they couldn’t find a name, they would submit a request to have it printed for them. Later, these same instances would be shared on social media, news outlets and more, making wave after wave of attention and engagement. What we learned was that this level of personalization can be highly engaging and incredibly effective with a large audience. 

The advertising strategy for your business will need solid action plans in order to be successful. The last thing you want is to confuse your customer or target audience. The wrong message, the wrong tone, the wrong face paint can lead to direct miscommunication and potentially a bloody nose. If the goal is to attract business, then proper advertising is important. The last thing we want to do is confuse those we are targeting. 


Regardless of how you see you, branding is how you are actually perceived and the definition of who you are. Your branding actively shapes your very existence. It is how they, the everyday guy or gal, comes to understand you today, tomorrow and so on. It is the culmination of your marketing efforts and more. Very often, the consumer will associate a product to your brand, such as Coca-Cola, Band-Aid and Tylenol. Great branding can drive a loyalty program unlike any other as well, such as Apple, Google or Nike. The commitment a consumer has to a brand is truly unbelievable, sometimes even a little cultish. In all, the brand consists of important components that link your consumers or customers to your company such as your business name, logo, catchphrase, fonts, colors, imagery, tone, textures and other elements that people identify with or associate to your brand. 

In the case of Apple, it is an apple or an iPhone. For Nike, the swoosh and the phrase “just do it”. Coca-Cola, the recognizable logo that has stayed true for decades. Are you feeling sore, maybe have a headache, take some Tylenol. Have a scrape, instead of using a bandage, grab a band-aid. Looking for something in particular, maybe try and Google it. 

Can you pinpoint the companies behind these other examples of great branding? “Have it your way”, and “We do chicken right”? Maybe you can identity a mascot to these descriptions; a pink bunny and a drum, a talking white duck, or a Gekko with an accent? 

One last scenario. For old time sake.

Imagine for a moment that you are a hair stylist and you have a particular shampoo and conditioner you would want to recommend to your customers that can only be found in the salon you work in. This shampoo and conditioner is name brand, high-end, and a bit pricey, but to you it is totally worth every penny. Because of these traits and what you have come to learn, you swear by it, and would not recommend anything else because of how well it works. The high-end quality you are familiar with, the not for retail stores exclusitivity shampoo and conditioner you are pitching is the brand. It is how you are familiar with it, and you are trying to make them just as aware of it as well. The trust and honestly you share with your customer is also your brand, that will later generate loyalty, that is of course unless you are lying then the opposite may happen just as easily. But, if you are being truthful, your customers will begin to listen to you more and may even be more open to risks that you recommend such as a new brush that glows in the dark or hair dye made from organic compounds. 

Another great real world example can be found with Proctor & Gamble, a world-leading marketer based on the number of products they sell. Research told them that consumers want one of five different benefits from laundry detergent, and therefore, created five different brands of detergent; Tide, Cheer, Gain, Dreft and Era, each with a unique trait that targets consumers differently, such as a fresh scent, ease of use or extra soft clothing. In this example, it is not the messaging, but the unique benefit that makes the brand.


Marketing, Advertising and Branding are all good, but together is where the magic really happens. If marketing is how you see you, advertising is how you act in public, and branding is how they see you then how would they not interact with each other. The lines may get a little blurred from time to time, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. 

If your intention is to dress regularly in a suit and tie, act cool and collected under pressure and you are perceived as a patient and professional then each of our three categories are aligning for you as a salesperson, mortgage broker or maybe even the secret service. 

Long story short, good marketing manages the brands accountability. Good advertising creates the interest in a brand. Good branding generates and maintains customer loyalty with products, service and driving the direction of your advertising campaigns, all backed by solid marketing. Marketing s something that every business has or needs to drive sales and keep food on the table. In order to reach those people to make sales, you need advertising. And in order keep a steady flow of customers, new or recurring, you need branding. 

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at”
— Leo Burnett

All that said, each is very important, and how you intend to use them is entirely up to you. However, here at JpCS, we believe that you should understand those three simple questions before venturing off into the great unknown. And, if you are feeling a bit uncertain, or maybe just some help better understanding one or more of these topics, contact us today. We offer a wide variety of services to assist you and your business related needs.

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