Branding Videos Vs. Marketing Videos… What’s the Difference?

As a video content producer, I get this question a lot, without actually getting this question, specifically. What I mean is, I have had plenty of clients in the past approach me about making a “commercial” for them. Now I’ve just gotten used to the fact that people will always refer to any type of video I make as a commercial, but trust me, I haven’t made a legit commercial since my 30 second TV spot days. 

What they want is a video that advertises their company, while also showing their customers who they are, and what they are about. So then that raises the question- do they want a branding video or a marketing video? And why can’t it be both? 

First things first, let’s define the terms “branding” and “marketing” and then add in the video aspect a bit later. Director of New Business & Strategy of Harmelin Media, Garry Herbert, once told me that marketing is like dating, and branding is putting a ring on it. Marketing is fun and exciting because we get to try new things like “20% OFF” promos and “Buy 1, Get 1” deals. If it brings in some new sales, it’s a short lived victory before you have to launch another marketing campaign. Branding can only be built up over time. Branding is what other people think of you. It’s your reputation! Your brand is your business’s character. And if you build a good brand, then you are going to win lifelong customers. It doesn’t matter if your price is a little higher than the competition. If people fall in love with you, then they will have no issue paying your price (within reason, of course). By the way, no one falls in love with a company because they offer promo deals. The deals are the only reason they shop there in the first place! If you shop at JCPenney, you know what I mean.

Now let’s apply this to video.

When people say they want a commercial, they usually have the idea that the commercial will bring in new sales. This is a marketing video, without question. The video will include information about the product or service they are selling, with a call to action at the end to entice people to buy immediately. Maybe even throw in a “10% off” if you call within the next 10 minutes 😉

Branding videos are different. They are almost new in a sense, if compared to the decades of TV advertising (marketing videos) that we’ve grown up with. Branding videos are value driven. They are made to provide something helpful or entertaining to the viewer. They are meant to make the viewer feel an emotion within themselves. 

As an example, my favorite camera store, B&H Photo & Video, creates a ton of informational videos that go out on YouTube and on their website. Their videos range from high end technical reviews of new $15,000 cinema cameras, to beginner photography lessons. All of their videos aren’t for everyone. But what’s the common thread? They want us, the consumers, to be comfortable buying a new camera. They aren’t just trying to take our money and run. They genuinely want to make sure that we enjoy our new camera, and get the absolute most out of it. I personally feel so well taken care of by them. Any guesses how I feel when I have to go on Amazon to buy something…? 

Here is an example of a branding video and a marketing video. There are two videos that I recently produced for Garry Herbert (mentioned above), who was running for mayor of his town. One is a testimonial mashup of people talking about his character, which showed his reputation (brand). The other video talks about the issues that he supports, and ends with a call to action to vote for him (marketing). 

Branding Video Example
Marketing Video Example

By this point, you may be wondering if it’s possible to blend the marketing and branding aspects into one video. Maybe make some sort of hybrid? Give value, while adding on a call to action at the end, perhaps? 

Yes, you can absolutely do that! But know that if there is any type of call to action or sales incentive within your video, it will be categorized as a marketing video. So yes, you can and should provide value to your customers in any type of video you make. Just understand that it’s very hard to create a brand foundation if your videos include a sales pitch. You also run the risk of desensitizing your audience if every video you put out has a sales pitch. I know from experience that people will tune you out if they expect a pitch coming. A good rule of thumb, as stated by Gary Vaynerchuk, is to provide 3 pieces of value (branding videos) before asking for a sale (marketing video). He wrote a whole book, Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook that explains the in depth nature of providing value to earn trust from your audience, then asking them for something in return. 

While it may be confusing what type of video you should make first, either branding or marketing, just know that any type of video is better than no video. I am a huge supporter of building up a strong library of branding videos, then implementing strategic marketing videos along the way. And that’s why I structure video packages that are heavy on branding, with accents of marketing. But if you need fast cash, then perhaps a marketing video would fit your needs more. 

If you’re curious on which style of video would most benefit you, give me a shout, and we’ll figure it out together!

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