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Marketing tactics vs branding strategy: what’s the difference?

The difference between tactics and a branding strategy are distinct, but each has a vital role to play in marketing.

While the primary function of marketing is to elevate brands, future-proof companies, and increase profits, it’s a not-so secret fact that many marketing professionals consider themselves artists.

Their goal is to make customers feel a certain way and behave a certain way. And like all great masters, marketers come to their canvas with a branding strategy and an array of marketing tactics.

For those not so marketing-inclined, the difference between marketing tactics and branding strategy is as clear as the distinction between post-modern and pointillism, but each has a distinctive function and role to play in marketing.

What are marketing tactics?

Marketing tactics are the means you use to achieve your marketing goals and grow and solidify your brand.

Common marketing tactics can include social media posts, article or blog creation, digital advertising, email direct marketing and website development.

However, marketing tactics are only effective when delivered as part of a branding strategy. Using marketing tactics without a branding strategy is like randomly throwing paint on a canvas.

What is a branding strategy?

You probably already know what you want your brand to be: instantly recognisable, valued, and aligned as quality and value for money.

Your branding strategy is the long-term plan to achieve each of these goals.

A great branding strategy is a roadmap to creating a brand that, with one mention or glance, tells your customers who you are, what you offer, your values, why you are superior to your competitors, and how your company is the one to solve it.

That’s a lot to achieve, and what your branding strategy should do is identify the marketing tactics you will employ to achieve it.

What’s the difference between marketing tactics and branding strategy?

Branding strategy dictates what is needed to define and elevate your brand, whereas tactics answer how exactly that will happen.

Let’s break it down.

Branding strategy defines competitive advantage

Branding strategies are long-term plans, whereas marketing tactics are broad and basic activities that support these plans.

Brand strategy defines competitive advantage – a brand strategy looks not just at your business, but at those of your competitors.

A brand strategy involves detailed brand positioning, the strategic process of placing and positioning your company in the mind of your customer and potential customer.

Brand positioning answers the three essential marketing campaign questions:

  1. What is the issue being experienced by the customer?
  2. How can my product or service address it?
  3. What is our unique selling proposition?

Essentially, brand positioning establishes your company as credible, your product or service as superior, and your company different to its competitors. In a nutshell, it reflects your unique selling proposition.

Branding strategy outlines long-term goals

It makes sense that a key part of any brand strategy has to be setting marketing goals.

They may include growth in sales and clients, industry recognition, and customer loyalty. The one thing that all marketing goals must have is that the goals must be achievable, and they must lead to a significant outcome for your business.

Branding strategy tells the whole story

A branding strategy tells the whole story; marketing tactics are used to build that story.

Your brand story is the story of your business as perceived by your customers and potential customers. It’s the emotional-based narrative – also known as a brand story – of how your product or service improves the lives of your customers.

The marketing tactics used to tell stories can include video tutorials, customer reviews, product explainers on social media, and stunning photography on your website.

Branding strategy and marketing tactics that work together

While they are distinctively different, a branding strategy and marketing tactics are only effective when they are used together strategically.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne. We have expertise in developing branding strategy and marketing tactics, and we know how to bring them together to deliver strong and effective brands.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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