Developing your brand and marketing strategy can be slightly overwhelming at first if you aren’t sure what those words actually mean or how they influence each other. You may be asking yourself what is the difference between branding and marketing? Which one comes first?

Branding is a process that consists of establishing your name and image – this often includes a logo and a tagline. This establishes a unified look for the company that is broadcast to consumers and makes your company consistently recognizable. Marketing consists of sending this image you have created out to the world and developing strategies to reach your customers.

While branding and marketing definitely should be intertwined and work together to produce the best results, you should work on branding first. It is necessary to establish a company image and determine the messages you are sending out to your audience before you put too much effort into creating marketing strategies. Branding consists of establishing a unified image across all platforms so your company becomes instantly recognizable. It makes sure you are consistent across all mediums, your employees know how to talk about the company, and your customers get a clear, concrete idea about who you are. Branding is the experience you give your audience and turns them into loyal customers. You need to establish these guidelines before you start a marketing strategy so you have concrete ideas about your company image and the exact content that will be included in the various communication channels you will be using. It’s important not to run headlong into a marketing strategy without clear messages because you’ll run the risk of sending mixed signals to your audience and a confusing company image.

Keep in mind that branding shouldn’t be treated as a stand-alone process. While working on branding it is important to think about your marketing strategy and tie the two together. Thinking of them simultaneously is important as they are not totally independent of each other, but rather are intertwined and lead to the overall success of a company. Once you have your brand established and you start developing your marketing strategy, you will be ready to project your brand across all possible mediums.

Developing a marketing strategy consists of determining which marketing channels to utilize; which is the best method to reach your audience. This is how you choose to send your image you’ve established through branding, out to the world to influence consumers. If you have solid branding principles developed, then this step should be easier because you’ll already have ideas formed about your brand personality and what type of campaign you want to create around your product or service.