5 surprising differences between a brand agency and marketing agency

August 5, 2022

“Brand is the expression of a business, person, product or service as designed by its creator and perceived by the world.”

Taylor & Grace

When a business needs to launch a product, design a logo or write an engaging blog post, they often turn to a specialised agency for help when they don’t have dedicated expertise in-house. Agencies (like ours) have dedicated teams of experts who excel in their chosen area, whether that be brand strategy, design, content creation or account management. They typically source top talent to bolster their efforts and have years of experience helping businesses grow. But how do you know whether to choose a brand agency or a marketing agency?

Understanding the difference between a marketing agency and a branding agency will help you to choose the right team for your needs – and minimise time-wastage in your quest.

So, what are the main differences you need to be aware of?

1. What are your goals and objectives?

A brand agency (also known as a creative agency) focuses on creating, developing, maintaining and improving your brand – the fun stuff (!). They provide you with a toolkit to embed your purpose, values, positioning and brand identity into your business. Branding agency activities involve:

  • Helping you craft your brand identity, positioning and strategy.
  • Implementing the design of your brand’s visual identity.
  • Managing your brand communications, rebranding and branding strategy management.

A marketing agency, on the other hand, helps clients achieve their business goals through marketing operations, strategies and digital services. This can include:

  • Identifying the strategies that will help get you the best results and return on investment (ROI).
  • Implementing marketing campaigns that align with your overall strategy.
  • Evaluating your results using data in order to improve your campaigns.

In other words, a marketing agency helps you define your goals, shows you how to reach those goals and then executes your marketing campaigns for you.

2. What services do you need?

In a nutshell, a branding and creative agency like Taylor & Grace provides the following services:

  • Finds out where your brand’s strengths and (unfortunately) weaknesses lie with a brand audit
  • Does some serious digging into staff, consumer and competitor perceptions of your current or future brand through in-depth research
  • Maps out the foundations of your brand so that you can communicate it clearly – we do this with a document called a Future Brand Model.
  • Creates your brand proposition statement for you which, when crafted effectively, makes it a no-brainer for a potential customer to engage with your brand.
  • Helps you craft your brand positioning – meaning what you’re known for in the minds of your customers
  • Uncovers your brand values that will underpin how you work every day, how your employees interact with each other and the decisions you make.
  • Designs your brand’s creative assets. This can include services like website development, videography, photography, style guidelines, tone of voice, brand naming, logo design, packaging and taglines (to name just a few).
  • Helps your brand sizzle through different channels with brand-informed communications like social media content, blogs, case studies, external and internal documentation.

On the other hand, a marketing agency offers the following types of solutions:

  • Search engine marketing (SEM) services such as pay-per-click (PPC) and Google Adwords.
  • Social media marketing and advertising including data-driven social media strategy and management.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) to increase traffic to your website using keyword research, organic and paid search strategies and content marketing.

3. Long-term relationship or summer fling?

Jonah Sachs once said, “Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” It’s the perfect way to describe the difference between marketing and branding. Marketing is of the moment, and branding is an unfolding story.

Of course marketing is important, but marketing is designed to be more in the moment: What’s going to resonate with your customer this weekend? How can your SEM strategy be altered next month to generate more sales? How can you pivot your social media management strategy to get more followers by the end of the year?

Where marketing is about getting people through your physical or digital doors, branding is about your long-term reputation and relationship with customers.

Although many brands tweak their branding frequently (sometimes even annually), the core fundamentals of their brand often remain consistent. Why? Because branding is about trusted, cohesive, strong, long-lasting relationships. Yes, their visuals often evolve, but their mission, values and brand fundamentals typically remain very much the same.

4. Attracting attention vs keeping attention

Whatever industry you’re in, chances are, you’re one of many in a sea of competition. If you want to make real waves, getting the attention of customers is a must, and that’s why marketing is important. But if you want to keep their attention, you need your brand to sing.

You could be getting increased SEO-induced traffic to your site and sending out eDMs to a targeted customer base, but if your brand identity doesn’t speak to the desires and aspirations of your audience, they might not stick around and make a purchase.

People want to do business with brands that speak to them and businesses they believe in. So, while marketing can help you get your products or services in front of as many eyes as possible, if you want to keep those eyes on your business, you need branding.

So, do you need a branding agency or a marketing agency?

The truth is, it depends on where you’re at in your business and what your goals are. To really drive your business forward, you’ll likely need to use the services of both a brand agency and a marketing agency. From our experience, if your branding isn’t up to scratch, then no matter how good the marketing campaign is, it just won’t make the same impact on those you do reach.

Strong brands make people do wonderful, wacky things. If you’re ready to boost your brand and start making a real impact in your niche, check out our services and case studies with past clients. . Alternatively, we’re always in the mood for a chinwag so give us a call to talk branding. Alternatively, take our Promised Brand Scorecard or download our eBook, ‘The Promised Brand’, to see where you are on the journey to market leadership.