The Difference Between Marketing & Brand Management
For many, the line between brand management and marketing can be a little fuzzy. After all, both play an integral role in the development of a brand.
But there is a distinct difference between the two. While brand management is responsible for creating the brand itself, marketing handles the individual campaigns that promote the brand and generate engagement.
This delineation is crucial, because successful businesses depend on both unique functions. Lose one or the other, and the brand falls flat.
But let’s back up. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of both brand management and marketing, we need to get clear on brands.
So, what is a brand? How do you go about defining it?
Put simply: your brand is what customers perceive your business to be. It’s the sum total of hundreds of interactions, both digital and human.
It’s not your logo. It’s not your color scheme. It’s not your products or services.
Your brand is the overall impression you leave with people, whether they’re your customers or not. It’s how they think about you. It’s how they talk about you. It’s what they associate you with. It’s the feeling they have when they come into contact with your business online, over the phone, or in person.
Done right, your brand has the power to…
- Make your business stand out
- Increase demand for your product or service
- Deepen customer loyalty
Brand management, then, is...
Exactly what it sounds like: it's the ongoing work you do to maintain a consistent brand identity. It ensures that all content, communication, products, events, sub-brands, and stylistic elements are aligned with your desired branding.
Said a different way, brand management functions as the blueprint for building strong brand equity. It provides the departments and teams across your organization with the research, guidelines, and strategies to effectively build rapport with customers. Done properly, it ensures that everything from digital collateral to physical products and human interactions are on-brand.
For example, good brand management can empower your product developers to innovate without veering off-brand, by clearly defining your brand’s positioning. It can also help HR hire the right people, by providing a solid set of values to hire against and a clear explanation of the company’s culture. It can even help customer service teams say the right things in the right way when chatting with customers.
Most importantly, brand management helps marketing departments create emotional, powerful, on-brand campaigns, by equipping them with a strategic set of guidelines. These Brand Guidelines can include anything, such as:
- A style guide, detailing color schemes, fonts, and images that can be used in marketing collateral
- A brand voice guide, discussing the tone, brand words, and writing rules for content
- A messaging document, pinpointing your mission, vision and positioning statements
So, where does marketing fit into everything?
If brand management is the blueprint (i.e., the guidelines for maintaining your brand and correcting any faux pas), marketing is where that plan is put into action.
Here, the guidelines for the brand voice are used to create social media posts, write scripts for YouTube and streaming service ads, and draft blog post content. Color schemes in your Brand Guidelines are infused into your email newsletters and used to advertise sales and charity events. And multi- or omnichannel campaigns are developed to integrate new products seamlessly into your brand.
Brand Management & Marketing
Because brand management plays such a critical role in the development and maintenance of a brand, it’s important not to blend it with your marketing work. Rather, allow your brand management work to happen separately. Doing so, will not only enable your marketing team to create more impactful campaigns, but will also allow departments across your organization to innovate and branch into new territory without losing your brand image.