It’s not uncommon that potential clients compare a branding agency like us with a marketing agency to help with their website needs. It’s especially confusing when both agencies say they can do the work. If this is your situation, this article might help answer the question of which agency you need: branding or marketing.

Branding versus marketing agencies: what is the difference?

Marketing is a big playfield where brand marketing and direct marketing co-exist harmoniously. As the name suggests, brand marketing is the core service (we also call it “superpower”) for a branding agency, and direct marketing is the superpower for a marketing agency.

Brand marketing is the foundation work upon which direct marketing operates.

Like building a house, the stronger the foundation, the more stable the building. The weaker the foundation, the less stable. If you want to build a tall building, you need a strong foundation that can even survive earthquakes. Through the branding process, you will achieve a strong foundation based on: clear statement on your business purpose – your “why”, positioning in the marketplace that differentiates you from the rivalries, compelling benefits you product/service offers and your customers are raving about, identification on your key audience, values to build your team, and a messaging system your brand communicates to the world.

Like a person, a brand has a personality including a name, tone of voice, and visual identity. They are represented in your logo, messaging, packaging and collateral design of your business. If you want to establish, or revisit these elements of your business, you will want to talk to a branding agency.

Branding versus marketing: foundation versus tactics

Once your branding foundation is in place, it’s so much easier to figure out the tactics and implement them, whether it’s SEO, ROIs, content strategy: emails/newsletters, social media, advertisements, public relations, or any combination of elements that make up your campaign. For these needs, a marketing agency is your best bet.

“I think my brand foundation is solid. What should I do that my website isn’t attracting much business?”

When people say “my website isn’t attracting the businesses we hoped”, it often turns out that it’s not the website. The problem is that the branding work hasn’t been done properly to establish the brand. The solid foundation just isn’t there.

Our recommendation is always starting from the foundation and making sure that the key elements of your brand are aligned before moving on to the marketing tactics.