A recent article in Forbes detailing the so-called 'end of marketing' at corporate multinational Proctor & Gamble raises an interesting question: Is there a difference between branding and marketing?
The piece, which can be found here, explains how P&G is putting an end to 'marketing', and instead re-branding its consumer outreach divisions to, well, branding. These units include both traditional and internet marketing solutions. This focus on brand will serve as the foundation for a new way of speaking to customers, both current and potential, explained a representative for the company.
"These changes will help us unify brand-building resources to focus on delivering better brand and business results, clarify roles and responsibilities to make faster decisions, and simplify our structure to free up time for creativity and better execution," the spokesperson told Forbes.
So what's going on here? P&G argues that marketing itself is too broad of a function, and risks the wasting of resources on projects that don't contribute to the brand. That is seems to be the distinction that P&G is drawing: That 'branding' focuses on the brand itself, whereas marketing may, for example, focus on a more diverse set of subjects that relate to the company but might not actively build relationships.
From the perspective of a small business, branding should be utilized to build a concerted narrative about the company. But instead of being its own department, why shouldn't branding be an element of marketing? P&G might be inching into the area of semantics here, but the effort is noteworthy because the organization is realizing the importance of crafting a defined voice that, at its heart, is about selling the 'why' of a business.