Clearing the confusions on Brand Management and Marketing Overlap

Want to run a successful, profitable restaurant? We hope you have a strong stomach. Like many other new businesses, the failure rate is exceptionally high. According to CNBC, “Around 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year, and nearly 80 percent shutter before their fifth anniversary.”

However, if done right there can be huge returns. This year alone restaurants are collectively predicted to clear upwards of $783 billion, and it’s the seventh straight year of growth for the industry.

At first, we have noticed that restaurant owners who come to us take brand management and marketing as one.

But it is not. There are differences and us at team ekaart is here to help you and guide you through the same.

Let’s get this clear!


First things first. What is brand management and how does it work?

Brand management is the deliberate presentation of your business to the world. It’s how you communicate who you are and what you do, how you live up to the promises you make in your advertising, and how you set yourself apart from your competitors. Overall, brand management helps customers know what to expect from you through a combination of factors: everything from your logo to your uniforms to your website, service, and – of course – your food. Brand management touches every part of your business.

And now what is the difference between marketing and brand management?

Some people like to say one push (marketing) and one pulls (brand management). A marketing plan might include offering $5 appetizers every Friday from 4–7 pm, to push that specific menu category to potential customers. On the other hand, a brand management strategy, says a steady stream of behind-the-scenes posts on Instagram, is designed to establish a following for your restaurant that indirectly pulls customers to your venue and all its menu items.

Brand management goes beyond individual transactions to inspire customer trust and loyalty with every interaction customers have with your restaurant, at your venue, online – everywhere. Your brand is your identity.

You’re managing your brand every time you answer the phone, build a menu, choose suppliers, and train your employees. You’re even managing your brand when you clean your washrooms! These are all ways customer experiences and perceives your brand.

The more strategic you can be when managing your brand, the more control you have over the customer experience and the success of your business.

Now, let’s get tactical, people.

In a nutshell, branding is who you are—and marketing is how you build awareness. Branding is your strategy, while marketing encompasses your tactical goals. In order to determine who your brand is, you need to ask yourself several questions. Questions that go beyond industry generalizations, and services or products offered and also questions to determine who you are as a company, and more importantly, who you are as a brand. The questions below are an excellent place to begin:

  • What are your core principles and values?
  • What is your mission statement?
  • What inspired you to build your business?
  • Why do you want to offer your products or services to your target audience?
  • What makes you unique?
  • What is your internal company culture?
  • What is your professional sense of style?
  • What are your communication characteristics?
  • What do you want to come to mind when someone hears your business name?
  • How do you want people to feel when they think of your business?
  • How do you want customers to describe you as a company?

Answering the questions above will help you to understand the difference between branding and marketing. Invest your time in providing elaborate answers, and bounce them off your colleagues and professional mentors. What you will notice, is that all of the questions are related to your internal operations and your internal culture. Therefore, what you build on the inside, is what will emanate externally.

Your branding will cultivate what your consumers can expect of you, and what they will experience when they utilize your products or services. By clearly defining who you are, your branding can then be utilized to precede and underlie your marketing efforts—both today and for years to come.

Please don’t mess it up with Marketing

When speaking of marketing vs. branding, marketing refers to the tools you utilize to deliver the message of your brand. Marketing will continually change and evolve, just as the products and services you offer will continue to change and evolve. Marketing will be directly and specifically geared towards sectors of your target audience, all while supporting the core values of your brand.

Marketing is vast and wide. It can be heartfelt, funny, or serious. It can be any mix of text, keywords, photos, charts, graphs, and videos. Marketing will be performed by a variety of online and offline methods—some of the most common being:

  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay Per Click Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Print Campaigns

However, there are many other methods of both online and offline marketing for you to consider working with your marketing campaign. While marketing methods will come and go, and the methods you utilize may change drastically from year-to-year, or from season-to-season—your brand will always remain constant.

So now which Comes First—Marketing Or Branding?

Branding is at the core of your marketing strategy, so branding must come first. Even if you are new to the industry, it is essential to clearly define who you are as a brand—before you begin to devise your specific marketing methods, tools, strategies, and tactics.
Your brand is what will keep your clients coming back for more, it is the foundation upon which you will build consumer loyalty. Think of restaurants and retailers in your local area (independently owned, or major corporations), it is the brand that keeps customers coming back generation after generation.
While marketing methods will evolve, and respond to current industry and cultural trends—branding remains the same. Even if you make adjustments to your brand, they will typically be in response to your growth or expanded services offered—but is rarely an overhaul of your core principals, mission, or values.

Your branding includes attributes such as a high commitment to quality, community, convenience, communication—or an ongoing commitment to a specific need your target audience needs to be fulfilled.

Also, keep in mind that branding is something you and your team must do on a daily basis, and with every transaction processed, with every phone call received, and email responded to. However, your marketing is most often partially or fully outsourced to marketing professionals. When speaking of branding vs. marketing, branding is who you are—while marketing is how you attract consumer attention. Also, think of branding as the way you keep current clients and marketing as to how you attract new clients.

The One Area Branding And Marketing Overlap

While branding and marketing are distinctly different, there is one area where they overlap. When selecting imagery to be utilized on an ongoing basis, branding and marketing become one and the same. As the saying goes “A picture speaks a thousand words.” With that in mind, when you choose your company colors, graphics, and logo—remember that they must first represent your brand—but that they will also play a substantial role in your ongoing marketing campaign.

The Importance Of Understanding Branding vs. Marketing

If the difference between marketing and branding are now clear, but you are still unsure of the importance of understanding the two—it all comes down to conversions. While you could create your marketing strategies with nothing other than keyword trends, and the most effective marketing methods within your industry—your conversions will be lower if your consumers are not connected to you as a brand.

Your branding is what generates a timeless connection. Even if your current marketing efforts are designed to engage, it is the ongoing branding that keeps customers coming back. Competition is fierce, and the fact of the matter is that there are companies who offer comparable products and services—or even the exact same products and services that you offer. It is your branding that will keep your customers returning for more. It is your branding that builds loyalty and trust. It is your branding that makes you unique.

Without branding, you may achieve success, but with branding, your success will be far more substantial. All strong structures have a solid starting point and foundation, and understanding the difference between marketing and branding will allow you to build your foundation of branding—and your extensions via marketing.

Do it the right way!

Reach out for more to our expert team @ekaart digital systems

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