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Removing the confusion: Branding, Marketing & Sales – What they are, how they differ and some excellent examples

Small business owners are often confused about the differences between branding, marketing, and sales. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at all three business functions and learn what they stand for, what the differences are between them, and some examples to help you understand it all. So, let’s begin!

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In simple terms, branding refers to all the business activities that you undertake to create a unique identity for your business. Creating your business’ identity comes much before marketing and sales, as both of those business functions and how they are undertaken tend to revolve around the brand. Branding also includes the following:

  • Establishing your business’ core values and principles
  • Determining your business’ work culture
  • The characteristics of your communication (with both business associates and customers)
  • How you want people (more specifically, your target audience) to perceive your business
  • Designing your business’ logo and complementing it with a suitable tagline

Branding allows businesses to establish consistency through the creation of logos and taglines and their integration with suitable visual elements, which are then used extensively during the marketing process.


Marketing is all about promoting your brand and its products and/or services so that your target audience becomes aware of your business and all that it has to offer. Modern-day marketing involves formulating and executing several strategies with the goals of spreading the word about your business and driving sales. Depending on how much you can invest, marketing strategies can be simple and inexpensive, or they can be elaborate and expensive.

For example, social media marketing has emerged as one of the biggest forms of digital marketing, and every business in today’s times has to have a social media marketing strategy in place. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer businesses both free and paid options to market themselves in front of both local and global audiences.


Sales activities involve turning interested and prospective customers into buyers, and for them to be successful, your branding and marketing have to be on point. Sales activities are much more short-term in nature than those revolving around branding and marketing and the ultimate goal of sales is to generate revenue for your business and earn a profit.

Simply put, sales offer businesses the chance to recover the money they invested in creating their brands, developing their products and/or services, and formulating and executing marketing campaigns. Every business must decide on measurable sales goals, which should be evaluated every month. If a business fails to meet its sales goals repeatedly, it indicates potential problems not just in the sales process, but also in the branding and marketing processes.

Some examples of iconic Australian brands are QANTAS, Bunnings and Bundaberg Rum.  Even if you aren’t a consumer of these, chances are you are familiar with them and know what the key services and products of each are.  You probably also have a fair idea about what their key message is. Who will beat that by 10%?

The supermarket chains are known for their targeted campaigns designed to appeal to the young members of the family. A “priceless” “collectible” item available with a grocery purchase of a set value. The pressure was there to complete the “set”.   Of course, one chain was promoting small plastic “priceless collectibles” at the same time that the Australian public were demanding a reduction in plastic bags, so there was a backlash. The marketing for the next campaign was pivoted to be educational readers.

When it comes to Sales, this is the third arm which creates the income.  It works in tandem with brand and marketing.  A simple process, but effective, is

  1. Reach out to your target audience contact, identifying a piece of content they have produced, and share it with your networks.
  2. Compliment them on their content and work, and let them know about the share.
  3. Ask for the best person to discuss working with to do some work with the company.
  4. Make contact with that person, mentioning the original person who produced the initial content.

Branding, marketing, and sales are three distinct business activities, but they are interlinked, and if one of them is not up to the mark, the others are/ bound to fail. The ultimate goal of all three activities, however, is singular, i.e. to ensure the growth of a business. As a business owner, you should ensure that all three activities have their distinct as well as common goals that can be measured in both the short and the long terms.

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