Communication, Marketing, Branding: The Difference?

This may seem pretty basic but it's always worthwhile to define basic terms. Otherwise they get murky fast:

1. Communication

This is the capacity to convey accurately an idea, argument, concept, fact, opinion, belief, etc.

It is accomplished through language (words), tone of voice, body language, and symbols (pictures).

It can take place face-to-face or remotely, one-on-one or in groups.

Communication can be direct or indirect, reality-based or mediated through culture.

It varies based on your gender, culture, ethnicity, geography, occupation, and more.

Communication varies so much it is sometimes amazing we understand each other at all.

2. Marketing

Marketing is the art and science of creating a customer. It is the same thing as owning and running a business.

Whenever you are creating demand, you are marketing. There are tons of tools with which to do this.

3. Branding

Branding is the art and science of keeping a customer, and getting them to prefer (and pay more for) your offering vs. equally good competition.

Just as in marketing, brand professionals have tons of tools. The difference is that whereas marketing tools emphasize loudness and reach (the microphone effect), branding tools emphasize loyalty, inclusivity, community, and even exclusivity and insularity.

Sometimes you can have both...look at the Red Bull display they had at a local Exxon gas station. Cute!

Communication, marketing and branding all matter. But at the end of the day it all comes down to communication. If you can't do that well you won't be much good at the rest.

One other thing...even though we live in a digital world, all of the above depend on people. For the system to work you've got to be able to connect human beings to one another.

Good luck!