Marketing vs. Branding: What’s the Difference?

Branding, Marketing

Branding vs marketing competition | branding and marketing specialists san francisco california | 2022

In this post we’re going to review the difference between marketing vs. branding. We are going to dive deep into each strategy to uncover the differences, what strategies work best for both, and which is most important. So make sure to read this review on marketing vs. branding until the end so you can make the best marketing decisions for your practice.

Branding vs marketing competition | branding and marketing specialists san francisco california | Cristy Roskelley Creative Studio | 2022

Branding vs. Marketing

Before we get into the review itself, let’s quickly answer the question: What’s the difference between marketing and branding? Many private practice owners mix up the two, so you’re not alone in your confusion.

The short answer is that branding sets your business apart from others while marketing gets customers in the door. Branding comes first, and marketing follows.

Many people jump straight to marketing tactics and then wonder why their efforts fall flat. Let’s dig deeper into the difference between marketing and branding to further understand the differences.

What is branding?

Branding involves creating emotional attachments that resonate with consumers over time. As a result, they remember your brand and prefer it to competitors who offer similar products or services at the same price point.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, when taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” ~ Marketing expert Seth Godin

An example of branding is when a company creates an image in the consumer’s mind surrounding its particular product or service such as:

  • Nike = athletic wear
  • Louis Vuitton = luxury bags
  • Toyota = reliable family cars

Brand building involves spending time, money and resources to create associations in consumers’ minds.

Your practice’s brand identity includes brand elements such as your logo, fonts, colors, patterns, and tagline. You will then incorporate those brand elements into your marketing tools such as your website, signage, social media posts, advertisements and more.

Some private practices minimize the importance of a well-designed branding identity. When deciding whether or not to incorporate a logo with your business cards, website, and other marketing materials, keep in mind that people may assume the company doesn’t have anything to do with the service or product if no logo is present. Branding and branding elements (such as your logo) builds loyal customers, strong referral networks, and increased profit.

Branding builds awareness so your target audience recognizes your business as an authority.

If you’d like more information on why and how branding is helpful for your private practice, check out our helpful branding article here.

What is brand strategy?

A brand strategy is a cohesive way to deliver your product or service to your target audience to build client relationships. Brand building encompasses both elements of branding and marketing. Branding forms an emotional connection with customers, while the implementation of your brand strategy helps you communicate and reinforce those feelings.

Brand strategy includes:

  • What do you want people to think when they see your name?
  • What are the benefits they’ll receive from purchasing your products or services?
  • How will you compete in this market?

Brand strategy creates loyalty. After customers gain awareness of your brand, your brand strategy will guide them down the road toward making their first purchase from you. Your initial approach may be one-sided, but you’ll want to maintain a relationship with customers so they continue to come back for more.

An important element to developing loyalty through your brand strategy involves making it easy for customers to take action on your message the first time around, by laying out clear calls-to-action (CTA) on all of your marketing materials. If members of your audience don’t understand what they’re supposed to do, then they won’t know how to become one of “your people.”

What is positioning?

You may also have heard the them ‘positioning.’ Positioning simply means showing consumers that you’re the brand they should choose. Positioning involves creating products or services that fulfill a particular need or desire such as wanting to feel safe or have instant gratification.

What Creates a Successful Brand?

Learn the five key steps that your brand needs to have in place to create a successful brand identity.

What is marketing vs. branding?

Marketing creates awareness. The goal of marketing and your marketing strategies is to get potential customers aware of your company’s existence and to choose your services or products over a competitor. (And your branding is often one of the main reasons that you will be chosen over the competition.)

Do you have a strong marketing plan for your private practice? Research shows that 50% of small businesses do not have a marketing plan while 20% of small businesses fail within the first year. A marketing plan prepares you for the ups and downs of your growth strategy and is imperative to grow a sustainable and profitable business.

A strong marketing strategy appeals to the core values of your customer and requires building strong relationships and trust so that consumers place you at the top of their list when they decide how to spend money on a particular product or service.

Successful marketing efforts drive new leads and increase sales.

Marketing Tools


A cohesive online presence is critical for your practice. Your website should be well-designed so that it represents your practice and your marketing strategy. Your website acts as a springboard for all of your marketing strategies, especially search engine optimization (SEO). Creating drool-worthy websites that convert are our bread and butter, so give us a shout if you’re ready to get serious about growing your practice with website design.


Email newsletters are a way to keep customers and clients informed about your products or services, products you’re offering for free, upcoming events, and more. Newsletters can also help you build relationships with your audience. If they automatically receive a newsletter from you in their inbox each week, you will stay front of mind for when it’s time for them to seek your services.

Lead magnet sales funnel

A lead magnet sales funnel can turn a static, boring website into a marketing machine.

First, you create an engaging, helpful (and fun!) lead magnet on your website that your ideal clients NEED. Your visitors then give you their email in exchange for something of value (the lead magnet, also called a “freebie”). You then create a followup sales funnel that warms up those leads by keeping you front of mind until they’re ready to hire or purchase from you.

For example, we recently created a quiz lead magnet for a therapist’s website that was both fun and educational and cranked up his email list. His sign-ups were then funneled into an automated email sequence that culminated with an offer to purchase some digital downloads. His sales have quadrupled since the quiz was implemented.

A lead magnet sales funnel is an effective way to get your marketing message out there with the goal of generating awareness and, ultimately, driving sales.

SEO services

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process that helps you get found on Google searches. When potential customers search for counselors in their area, they may not know which counselors are best for them. But many people will use search engines to help narrow down their choices. Luckily, if you are listed on the first page of a Google search, there is a chance that these potential clients will choose your counseling practice over others.

Social media

Social media is a vital part of any private practice’s marketing strategy. On social media, you are able to build and retain relationships with your audience, share your story and/or philosophy about your practice, and get out the word about your services.

Paid advertising such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads

Online ads can be a helpful, although expensive, way to get the word out about your practice quickly. Online ads can help you drive more leads from search engines—and build awareness about your practice, all while tailoring a message that resonates with each person who sees it. Plus, landing pages and tracking allow you to set up specific conversion goals for your practice.

Are you curious whether SEO or paid ads is a better investment. This article might help.

As you can see, a successful marketing plan involves many tools that you need to learn in order to successfully grow your practice.

Marketing vs. branding strategies

Now that you understand the difference between branding and marketing, you may be wondering if you need both branding and marketing strategies.

Branding helps build awareness and business loyalty while marketing gets people to notice you. Any business that wants sustainable success needs both, although one has a longer-term impact.

Branding vs. marketing: Who is the winner?

While branding and marketing are both important in business, one is more important than the other. Any guesses as to which?

While both are important, branding is the winner. In other words, branding has a higher impact

Branding creates awareness of your brand so people recognize you as an authority on a particular topic.

In order to build awareness, it’s critical for your branding elements to be consistent across all vehicles. If consumers see that there’s no consistency they won’t recognize you as an authority and will choose another company instead of yours.

If someone visits your website and doesn’t see any branding, they may not come back to your site again or call your office number listed on the site because they’re unsure if it’s still active. Think about when you go to websites that you use often. You know immediately whether or not you’ve been to that site before based on the color of the text, logo and any other branding elements listed on the page.

It’s your job to make sure consumers recognize your practice’s brand as they conduct research online so they know exactly where to go when it’s time to look for exactly what you offer.

Growing Your Private Practice Reach 

If you want a branding or marketing strategy that will connect, get you noticed, and make your ideal clients choose you over your competitors, contact us. We are a boutique marketing agency who have helped hundreds of private practices just like yours nail their branding and marketing, book more clients, and make more money.

Let’s grow your brand and get you noticed.


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