Branding vs. Marketing for Small Businesses: Key Differences and Strategic Insights

Branding vs. Marketing for Small Businesses: Key Differences and Strategic Insights

Today, I want to chat with you about two essential terms that you’ve probably heard a million times: branding and marketing. They’re kind of like fraternal twins in the business world—they’re related and share some traits, but they’re not identical. So, let’s unpack each one and see how they can play nicely together to help your business shine.

Branding: Who Are You Really?

Think of branding as your business’s personality. It’s all about who you are, what you stand for, and how you want the world to see you. Your business name, logo, colors, and the tone of voice you use—all these things create your brand. It’s like the face you present to the world.

Why is branding so important, especially for small businesses like yours? Because it helps you stand out from the crowd. It’s how your customers remember you and why they stay loyal. It’s like your secret sauce!

Take “BeanBrew,” a local coffee shop. They’re not just about caffeine fixes. Their brand is all about creating a cozy community space, offering quality coffee, and being kind to the planet. This branding makes them a favorite among coffee lovers in their community.

Marketing: Let’s Get the Word Out

Now, if branding is the face of your business, marketing is how you introduce that face to the world. Marketing is all about shouting from the rooftops about your amazing products or services. It’s about knowing who your customers are, what they want, and how to get their attention.

Marketing is super important for small businesses. It’s how you attract new customers and keep the existing ones coming back. It’s your ticket to business growth.

Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

If you’re wondering how branding and marketing differ, think about it like this:

Branding is about creating your business’s identity, while marketing is about promoting that identity.

Branding is long-term, focusing on things like your reputation and customer loyalty. Marketing is more short-term, aiming for immediate goals like sales and lead generation.

Branding involves tasks like designing your logo and defining your mission. Marketing is about turning that brand vision into a living thing. 

I’ve found that business owners “kind-of” know this topic, but they don’t really know it. And I can tell by asking one simple question: can you show me the branding campaigns you’ve outlined for the upcoming months? 

Their answer: “what do you mean?”. They have thought about social media posts, newsletters, and possible articles for their blog. And while that is PART of what a marketing plan will have, that’s NOT ALL. 

Let’s put it this way: every brand strategist is a marketer. But not every marketer is a brand strategist. And if you want to grow a business today, you need to level up your branding game.

What does a Brand Strategist do?

A Brand Strategist is responsible for the overall brand awareness of a company. They help create, manage and maintain branding through various strategies. They conduct extensive research and use data to develop branding that fits the company and market to create a positive image of the organization. 

Brand Strategists can work for corporations or marketing agencies. An in-house Brand Strategist works with different departments and leaders to strengthen and maintain the organization’s branding. When working for an agency, a Brand Strategist works with different companies that come to the agency for help with their brand identity development and management. They meet with a company, develop branding and manage the branding or teach the company how to implement the branding strategies themselves.

When I was developing the Hispanic Market for Beachbody, my official title was “coach,” yet I played a significant role in their branding strategy team. My biggest challenge was figuring out how to sell a protein shake that cost five times more than a regular one. The company had some marketing materials in Spanish, but they didn’t genuinely reflect my culture.

I proposed a series of events, and they loved my idea. During that time, I was living in Connecticut and would often fly to San Juan to host these events. Reflecting on those times, I realize that from the inception of these events, Beachbody consistently ensured their brand was accurately represented. I incorporated my personality, as well as my team’s personality, into the mix. However, we always had to stay “on brand.”

Brand Strategist

Babak Azad, SVP, media & customer acquisition at Beachbody (the creators of P90X, Insanity and Shakeology), who helped the company acquire more than 10 million customers and eclipse $1 billion in sales, was interviewed in 2018 when Beachbody broke the news on hitting their billion dollar milestone. He said that what drove him to succeed was to focus on three areas — customer lifetime value, BRAND and operational excellence — can dramatically increase the chances of scalability and sustainability of a business. Source: Entrepreneur. 

The creators of P90x and Shakeology turned Beachbody into one of the most powerful fitness brands in the world. Beachbody just rebranded as BODi. Their rebranding strategy kicked off with a marketing campaign announcing their health esteem movement. 

What can business owners learn from Beachbody-now-BODi? 

One crucial lesson that every business can glean from this success story is that branding serves as the fountain of youth for a business. Your products may change, your team can adapt and evolve, but a robust brand remains timeless.


My experience with Beachbody became the foundation of what I’ve done as an entrepreneur and business owner and what I do today for the brands we grow in our agency.

Branding and Marketing: Better Together

The real magic happens when branding and marketing come together. 

Your brand guides your marketing efforts, helping you craft the right messages and choose the best channels to reach your customers. Meanwhile, your marketing helps spread the word about your brand, enhancing its image.

Imagine your brand as your business’s heart, pumping out your values and identity. Marketing is like the veins, carrying this identity to the world. 

Without a brand, your marketing lacks focus. Without marketing, your brand stays hidden. 

So there you have it! Now you know the difference between branding and marketing and why they’re both super important for your small business. 

The next time you’re about to send a newsletter to your customers, think about their experience with your BRAND. 

When you are sharing content on social media, think about how will your future customers FEEL about that content. Will they gain any value? Will they EXPERIENCE a particular feeling? What are the feelings that you want to project as a business?

Your brand is like a person! It has FEELINGS! And if you tap into the power of a strong brand strategy, the opportunities are endless!

Remember, your brand is the heart of your business, and marketing is how you let the world know you’re here. 

And hey, if you ever want to chat with a brand strategist, I’m a click away. Book a call and let’s chat. I would be honored explore how far can your brand elevate your business.

5 Proven Strategies To Scale Your Business

There are several reasons why entrepreneurs want to grow and scale their business fast. Besides the obvious, making money as fast as possible, there are more reasons why a business should grow and scale fast. Success loves speed! Speed activates momentum and virality.  

If you’re an entrepreneur with audacious goals and want to find strategies to grow revenue while scale your business to maximize profits, keep reading! 

What Does Scaling A Business Really Mean?

It is important to note that growing a business and scaling a business are not the same thing. As a business grows, meaning the business is increasing revenue, it is also utilizing and adding resources equally as fast in order to sustain the and build that growth.   

While it is encouraging to see an increase in revenues, business owners need to be able to adjust their revenue-generating model to find ways to get more customers with minimal added costs.  This is where having the knowledge of scaling becomes key.

Scaling a business, on the other hand, means you are adding revenue faster than costs to generate new clients. 

For example, a business that is scaling may gain $50,000 in new revenue for which they spent only $5,000 on marketing automation tools to allow more efficient marketing to a wider audience. The business’ gains outpaced its losses, allowing it not only to grow but also to scale, by not adding additional costs. 

For small business owners, growth and scaling are a must, in order to survive and make it to the next level; otherwise, you will be forced to cap your income potential.  Business owners who have not been able to successfully scale either have to turn business away or return to the job market.  

5 Ways Small Business Owners Can Scale Their Business

⁣Let’s explore the key activities that entrepreneurs or small business owners can do to scale their business.

Number 1. Delegate Strategy To Experts ⁣

I’ve seen so many business owners that have started their company “by accident.” They identified a problem, created the solution, and talked to a couple of friends, and the next thing they know … they have a business!

If your business started “by accident” there’s a good chance you are analyzing success just by seeing the revenue that comes in and the expenses that go out.  Typically, that is a good plan for the first 1-2 years, until you realize that you have no life and need to add more resources in order to have a sense of normalcy..

Can you relate? 

Can you see your business getting to a point where you can’t sell more products or serve more clients because there’s only so much you can do alone? For professional services, this happens very quickly. 

To avoid the hectic days when your business is no longer fun, it’s important to have a scaling strategy. Don’t try to do this yourself. Find a business strategist who can help you see what you can’t. 

I’m a fan of recommending the Business Model Canvas exercise to my clients, and then discussing with them a way to create even bigger opportunities. Typically, their vision is smaller than the opportunities we create for them. 

One of the most effective strategies that help entrepreneurs scale is automating their customer acquisition process. This means acquiring more clients without hiring a sales team. By automating the customer acquisition process, the cost structure is more predictable, allowing business profits to skyrocket. 

Number 2. Invest In Yourself⁣

In order to scale, as a business owner, you need to find ways to increase your value. If you’re a service-based business, adding a new skill can help you add more services, especially if those services can be presented as “add-ons” to your existing clients.

Are there other services that you can add, without adding costs?

If you have a team, for example, learning customer service strategies can help you become a better leader. Can you think of ways you can invest in yourself so that you can offer more value in your business?

Number 3. Outsource Strategically ⁣

In the ideal world, marketing should pay for itself. This means, your marketing costs should bring you a return on investment, plus more. For startups, this is a challenge. There are many marketing costs associated with developing a brand that will take more than a year to recover. 

When it comes to identifying a company that has done a beyond-amazing job at branding its product, Starbucks is at the top.  As a small business owner, you might not have access to the kind of capital that Starbucks has, but you still can use some of their branding strategies, adapted to your budget.

When you look at Starbucks, you will notice that their message is clean and consistent. If you go to the website, you will see a campaign called “Black History Month”. They use social media to share the message around this campaign.

How can you do the same? While you might not be as creative and great with words as Starbucks, you can simply outsource your content strategy to a marketing wizard who can structure the content for you, even if you take care of your own social media management! 

Social media can be a powerhouse for any marketing team if used correctly, and Starbucks is doing just that by:

  1. Repurposing content
  2. Interacting with their customers
  3. Starbucks creates a lot of content; however, they make it easier by repurposing content across all of their social media channels.

By repurposing, I mean breaking down a larger piece of content into smaller sections to reuse across multiple channels.

Let’s be clear, Starbucks is not copying posts word for word and pasting them across every network. Each social media channel is different and requires its own message.

Outsourcing strategically means you don’t need to increase the costs by outsourcing everything, but you can outsource the critical steps of acquiring a client. 

You can find content creators for as low as 2 cents per word these days. If you’re not having the conversions from your marketing, then outsourcing content should be your next key resource to find. 

Number 4. Find Money

While it’s true that a business can’t grow without money, it’s also true that money, without a strategy and a plan to scale, will just be wasted. Your business will always be in debt, and quickly you will be out of business.

Money is a crucial factor to scale your business, but only if it’s used for resources that can help increase profits.

Investing in automation is a great example of how you can use money to add more revenue streams to your business, without investing in human resources and labor costs. 

Putting money in your SEO plan, for example, will allow you to replace your sales force. It will cost you less money to have a sales team, than to get your website ranking in Google, and converting web visitors into clients.

5. Find Marketing Partners Who Can Get You Visible ⁣

Let’s just make a pact! You want to build a business, but you also want to have a life. For this to happen, it’s crucial for you to find opportunities to collaborate with others.

Your goal is to find other companies so you can expand your visibility by tapping into their audience. They don’t have to be equity partners in order to establish a synergy where both businesses can benefit.

Vertical partnerships are your best bet, as long as they share your same values, because teaming up with a horizontal competitor is asking for conflict. 

Aligning with key influencers in vertical industries have given my company enormous access to a qualified audience of potential new customers. As a result, we saw the explosive growth that quickly increased sales and made us more attractive to future partners.

This process doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start with identifying opportunities to collaborate, on Instagram, for example. Play team! 

Looking for business strategy, marketing strategy? Here in Austin, Texas? I can be of help!