In today’s digital age, marketing has evolved into a complex landscape with many different strategies and tactics. Two of the most popular modern marketing approaches are brand marketing and content marketing.
While these strategies have some overlap, they serve different primary purposes for businesses. Understanding the differences between brand marketing and content marketing is key for marketers to develop an effective overall marketing plan.
In this blog, post we will talk in depth about the difference between brandings vs content marketing, and their channels and purposes. So, let’s start with the basics.
What is Brand Marketing?
Brand marketing refers to marketing efforts focused on promoting a company’s brand identity, vision, and values. The goal of brand marketing is to build brand awareness, increase brand loyalty, and establish an emotional connection between consumers and the brand. Brand marketing utilizes various strategies to reinforce the brand image, including:
- Advertising campaigns on TV, radio, print, and digital platforms
- Visual brand assets like logos, fonts, and color schemes
- Messaging focused on brand storytelling and spotlighting brand personality
- Sponsorships of events, athletes, influencers or organizations to reach target audiences
- Promotional merchandise imprinted with brand logos and imagery
Brand marketing establishes brand authority and the overall perception of the company in the minds of consumers. It works to make the brand famous, recognizable, and top-of-mind within the target market.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing refers to creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and engage with a clearly defined audience. The goal is to drive profitable consumer action by developing relationships through useful content. Common content marketing assets include:
- Blog articles
- Ebooks, whitepapers, and guides
- Webinars and podcasts
- Social media posts
Content marketing provides consumers with the information and entertainment they seek, positioning the business as a trusted resource.
By consistently publishing targeted content, brands pull in organic website traffic, convert leads, and build brand loyalty over time. Content marketing success is measured by metrics like traffic, leads, sales, and SEO rankings.
The Goals of Brand Marketing
Brand marketing revolves around promoting a brand’s identity and shaping how consumers perceive the brand. Brand marketers utilize various strategies to meet three core goals:
1. Build Awareness and Recognition
The most basic goal of brand marketing is to build awareness of the brand’s existence. People must first know about a brand before they will consider purchasing its products or services. Brand marketers aim to get the brand name and logo in front of target audiences as much as possible through consistent messaging across channels.
This includes utilizing advertising campaigns, social media, sponsorships, promotional items, and partnerships to increase visibility. The more exposure the brand receives, the more familiar it will become to consumers. High brand awareness and recognition gives businesses an edge over obscure competitors.
2. Create Strong Emotional Connections
In addition to familiarity, brand marketers want to make their brand likable and meaningful to consumers. They aim to form emotional bonds between customers and the brand. To build these relationships, brand marketing often focuses on storytelling. Brands spotlight their history, mission, values, vision, and personality.
Brand marketers bring out the human elements that consumers can identify with and get excited about. Strong emotional connections result in higher brand loyalty, with customers viewing the brand as a meaningful part of their lives. These emotional ties are powerful, as they go beyond rational purchasing drivers.
3. Position as an Expert
Brand marketing also establishes thought leadership and expertise. When a brand consistently provides valuable knowledge and resources for its audience, it builds authority and trust.
Brand marketers create content like blog posts, videos, and social media updates that highlight the brand’s unique perspective, products, services, and industry insights. This strategic positioning converts casual audiences into loyal brand advocates. It also cements the brand’s reputation as a trusted resource compared to alternatives.
The Goals of Content Marketing
Content marketing involves creating and sharing various types of content to nurture relationships with a target audience. Done well, content marketing works to achieve the following key goals:
1. Create and Distribute Valuable Content
The foundational goal of content marketing is to consistently produce content that delivers value to consumers. Value can take many forms, including being informative, educational, inspiring, or entertaining. Examples of valuable content are blog posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, ebooks, guides, and more.
The focus is on creating content the target audience finds genuinely useful. This earns the audience’s attention and trust over time. Distributing this content across multiple online channels also increases its reach and impact. Delivering value through excellent content is the basis of succeeding with content marketing.
2. Attract and Engage a Target Audience
Next, content marketing aims to leverage valuable content to attract and engage with a clearly defined target audience. The content is optimized for specific consumer personas by speaking directly to their needs, interests, and preferences.
When content resonates with the audience, they willingly give the brand their attention and stick around to engage further. This engagement is measured by metrics like website traffic, time on site, social media follows and shares, email list sign-ups, and conversions.
Quality content draws in qualified organic traffic by appearing in search engines and getting shared socially.
3. Position the Brand as an Expert
Content marketing also focuses on positioning the brand as a leading expert in its field. By only creating content that provides unique, substantive value, the brand builds authority on relevant topics. This thought leadership makes the brand a trusted go-to resource for target customers.
Positioning expertise earns respect and preference over the competition. It also nurtures loyalty among consumers who look to the brand first for valuable insights.
4. Build Trust to Earn Business
Earning consumer trust is the end goal. Content marketing aims to build credibility and preference for the brand through consistent value. In the process, potential customers go from unaware, to aware, to educated about the brand. This trust makes them highly receptive to future promotions or calls to action.
Quality content and expertise lay the groundwork for sales. With content marketing, brands earn business from audiences who already know, like, and trust them.
The Channels of Brand Marketing
Advertising covers any paid media placements that expose a brand message to audiences, including:
- TV and radio commercials
- Print ads in magazines and newspapers
- Billboards and other outdoor advertising
- Online ads like banner/display ads, paid social media ads
Advertising allows brands to reach broad audiences and control messaging. Wide reach builds rapid awareness. Ads can spotlight brand personality, products, promotions or any brand-centric message.
Public relations (PR) focuses on earning positive media coverage and placements:
- Press releases to pitch news stories about the brand
- Setting up brand representative interviews and guest articles/columns
- Securing product reviews and giveaways with media outlets
- Sponsoring contests, charity events or promotions to get media attention
PR builds brand visibility and trust by getting independent media outlets to share the brand story.
Social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, etc. allow brands to interact directly with target audiences. Brands showcase products, culture, values, and personality. Social content spotlights real employees and brand advocates to humanize the brand. The goal is to drive followers, engagement, and community.
The Channels of Content Marketing
Blog articles and posts published on a company’s owned media website are a foundational content medium. Blogs allow brands to regularly publish long-form, in-depth content like tutorials, case studies, industry commentary and more. Blogs build SEO authority and give brands an owned platform to attract and engage audiences.
Infographics condense complex information into an easily digestible, visual format. Combining stats, facts, charts and graphics allows brands to create shareable content that educates audiences. Infographics work well for content distribution on social media and websites.
Both live-action and animated videos allow brands to explain key topics or spotlight their products/services. Videos bring content to life through motion, visuals, and sound. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram allow videos to reach wide audiences.
E-books or digital guides go even more in-depth on single topics. They can serve as lead magnets in exchange for contact info. E-books demonstrate thought leadership while offering readers valuable self-service information.
White papers are authoritative guides that establish B2B thought leadership on industry topics. They take a research-focused approach with stats and analysis. White papers nurture prospects in the consideration phase.
The Messages of Brand Marketing and Content Marketing
Brand marketing messaging is centered on the brand itself – its name, logo, slogan, vision, personality, products, services, etc. The focus is shaping how people perceive the brand.
Content marketing messaging revolves around creating truly useful, relevant information for a specific target audience based on interests, pain points, and questions. The focus is on being audience-centric vs. brand-centric.
The Measurements of Brand Marketing and Content Marketing
Brand marketing is measured by:
- Brand awareness – % of audience who knows about the brand
- Brand recognition – how easily the brand is identified
- Consideration – % who would consider purchasing
These metrics indicate how well brand marketing builds familiarity and mental availability of the brand.
Content marketing is measured by:
- Website traffic – how many visit the site
- Leads generated – email sign-ups, downloads, inquiries
- Sales – purchases or conversions from content
This shows how well content provides value and generates interest in the brand’s products/services.
Brand marketing builds external brand identity and associations while content marketing seeks to engage and convert target audiences by offering them value. Together, these strategies influence both brand image and bottom-line business results.
How Brand Marketing and Content Marketing Can Be Used Together
- Brand marketing can be used to create awareness and recognition for a brand, while content marketing can be used to attract and engage potential customers.
- Brand marketing can be used to drive traffic to the brand’s website, whereas content marketing can be used to convert visitors into leads or customers.
Brand marketing and content marketing both play an important role in attracting, engaging, and retaining consumers. Brand marketing builds awareness through consistent messaging and memorable brand identity. Content marketing provides value to consumers through education and entertainment.
Businesses should leverage both approaches together as part of a comprehensive marketing plan to achieve their goals. With an integrated strategy, brand marketing and content marketing can work synergistically to drive growth. Learn here more about business branding, marketing, and growth.