A Simple Analogy To Explain The Difference Between Marketing, Branding and Advertising

Peter Gasca
3 min readJul 8, 2018
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

In my work with entrepreneurs and business students, I often hear marketing strategies explained as “having social media,” “having an online brand,” or “advertising a lot.”

These explanations make me cringe because, while they might be part of a plan, they grossly oversimplify the deeper and more complex concepts behind a truly effective marketing strategy.

In order to explain and help others understand marketing — namely the differences between marketing, advertising, and branding — I ask them to apply each of these concepts to themselves personally. When you do, this is what it would look like.

Marketing is how you see yourself.

Marketing is the image that you are trying to present to others. It starts with how you dress, the colors and patterns you choose, and how you groom. We all have a strategy for this — yes, everyone, including your unkempt second cousin who rarely showers and wears the same Star Wars shirt he’s worn since college.

Even not having a strategy for your personal appearance is a strategy itself.

You choose your image to portray yourself as a business professional, a punk rocker, a tech nerd, etc., and by doing so, you are expressing to others through your appearance your character, lovable attributes, and in the end, the value you offer to others.

It isn’t fun to admit that appearances are as important as they are, but let’s be honest, first impressions are driven by appearance. Impressions can evolve and be molded later, but as we all know, they require time and effort to change, so we do our best to get it right up front.

For a business, a marketing strategy considers how you want others to perceive your company. It should convey the vision and values of the business and express these in a way that the public will recognize and associate with your company.

How you “dress” your company will determine how effectively your message and image will be accepted by consumers.

Advertising is how you act in public.

Peter Gasca

Mgmt Consultant living at the xsection of #business #dadhood #wellness #lifeworkbalance.