Marketing vs Branding

Before I knew anything about what marketing was, people used to ask me if I was working in a marketing industry or studied/majored in marketing.

The answers were no and no. I was curious though. I wondered why people said it. Being confused and intrigued, I wanted to know what the actual marketing is. So, I started my own research to figure out. It was not serious, but curious. There are (too) many learning resources out there and I was digging about marketing, branding, PR, advertising, inbound marketing and digital marketing, etc.

My first reaction. Meh. I sensed hyperbole and felt like everyone was over selling their own stuff while talking about marketing. I came to my own conclusion that I can be seen as a marketer because I was aware of which trend was coming and going or ‘returning’. I am into patterns and naturally intuitive about what people want or don’t want.

Marketing, especially digital marketing is such a buzz word in a crowded marketplace. Wading through the sea of loud and proud information and contents, I found a handful of marketing leaders to be the real deal. Now, I am able to identify who is promoting their own ‘package’ to sell and who is truly promoting to educate and train the audience.

When I learned about Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing and Storytelling, I was finally able to see myself positioning in the marketing world. That is how I started my journey as a marketer.

Technical and boring details made more sense once I see them as effective/automated tools to implement strategies while it is not a fun working on the frontend designs. Still… the backend of softwares is depressing. I learn by doing and clicking every possible button to figure out how things work. I googled the heck out of everything I wanted to learn. I also use my advantage of learning in two languages : Korean and English. It is quite fascinating to see the difference with styles and trends.

Branding became more like the process of giving a birth and raising an identity with its own characters. Maybe, being a parent to three kids gives me that perspective.

While working on branding with clients, I started thinking about my own branding of “Storigation” as well. That is for another post.


  • Branding is who you are.
  • Branding is to define your mission, your values and what makes you special and unique.
  • It should come before marketing. You can’t market a brand you don’t have.
  • Branding is a way to keep customers’ attention and make them loyal.
  • Branding is a more long term approach. More like a marathon.


  • Marketing is how you build awareness.
  • Marketing is the actions, the set of tools, processes to promote the product, service and company.
  • Marketing is attracting and getting customers’ attention.
  • Marketing is to cultivate customers and get them to buy your products.
  • Marketing a more short term like a sprint.

If your focus is to drive sales, branding isn’t the best solution.

If your goal is to build brand recognition, positive brand sentiment, and nurture client’s loyalty, branding is the best solution.

Branding is the expectation when people walk into your business to buy products/services.

Outbound Marketing

  • Traditional ways of marketing
  • Sending messages out to the masses. It can be interruptive.
  • Direct mail, telemarketing, newspaper and magazine ads, cold calling, billboards, TV and Radio Ads, banner and display Ads
  • Search engine marketing (SEM), Display ads, Social media ads, Over-the-top (OTT) ads, Email ads, Video ads
  • Cost is high and ROI is low.

Inbound Marketing

  • Building relationships
  • Having conversation with audience by giving them value
  • Helpful, relevant contents at the right time
  • Giving the experience they will value
  • Align with the audience: feel, think like them
  • Information Generosity: ex) product reviews, problem solving, questions FAQ