What is the main difference between Business Strategy, Brand Strategy, Marketing Strategy?

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what is the main difference between business strategy, brand strategy, marketing strategy?

May 16, 2018


Today’s question: “What is the main difference between business strategy, brand strategy and marketing strategy?”

You’re probably hearing one [if not all] of these terms floating in and out of your business conversations, and you’ve been wondering what the difference is between them… and how they are different to that business plan you whipped up when you started your business. All this jargon!

Ok, Let’s unpack it for you.

What is the difference between business strategy, brand strategy, and marketing strategy?


Before we look at the differences, let’s first look at the common element across all three… they are rooted in the same word: Strategy.

If Strategy is essentially a plan of action designed to achieve a long-tern or overall aim… then whether we are talking about a business strategy, a brand strategy, or a marketing strategy – they are all focused on a future plan.

We often refer to this animation to explain the difference between a brand strategy + business strategy [but scroll below to see how all three are different, but work together].


what is the main difference between business strategy, brand strategy, marketing strategy?

What is the difference between business strategy, brand strategy, and marketing strategy?

Now that we see how similar they are, let’s explore how they are different.


But how is a brand strategy different from a business strategy?

What is a Business Strategy?

Your business strategy outlines the “goals + visions” you have for your business [with a topline plan of what’s needed to get there]

What is a Brand Strategy?

A brand strategy outlines how you’ll position your brand [or business] to the world [creating an experience that attracts ideal clients + reaches business goals].


What is a Marketing Strategy?

Your marketing strategy is the plan you create to connect with the customers you outlined in your brand strategy [and get them to buy].

Business Strategy vs brand strategy, vs marketing strategy – do I need all three? 

“Do I need all three – isn’t a business strategy, brand strategy + marketing strategy too much?”

Whilst all three are long term plans, and there is often overlap between them… the reality is that each has it’s own unique function.

The business strategy, brand strategy and marketing strategy should be working together towards your business success.


If you have no Business strategy – then marketing branding and marketing are running the company… and the two together could lead your business in a variety of directions that wouldn’t help you achieve the dream.

If you have no Brand Strategy – then Marketing could be spending way more money than needed to try and help you reach your business goals… using the “spray and pray” method of acquiring clients.

If you have no Marketing Strategy – then you may have a dream / vision + a really well positioned / good looking brand… but no-one knows about you.

When Business Strategy, Brand Strategy + Marketing strategy work together…

Then you’ll find that you are clear on the business goal, your company is positioned to achieve it – and marketing are properly set up to ensure success. 

How big does my company need to be before investing in Business Strategy, Brand Strategy or Marketing strategy?


Every case is unique, and should be assessed based on needs [depending on the kind of business you have, the industry you’re in and the industry you serve]… but use this as a general guideline:

Solopreneur / Starting out:

// Business Strategy: Your business plan will be enough of a strategy,

// Brand Strategy: instead of a full brand strategy – rather look into a brand roadmap,

// Marketing Strategy: and your marketing strategy can be DIY’d initially… at least until you’ve tested your model / service.

Small to Medium business: 

Once the model has been tested, and the business is more established – the focus becomes on growth in market share / sales + how to attract, retain / maintain customers.

// Business Strategy: is generally introduced on an annual basis at this stage – with 1 – 3 year plans in place. Many business owners also invest in a business coach to help them reach their goals.

// Brand Strategy: Branding is more of a longer term focus + is usually needed when the business strategy requires a shift in customer base, or the kind of clients, or when the current brand is not going to help the company achieve its business goals. The frequency depends on the company growth + requirements.

// Marketing Strategy: is set annually – and performance is reviewed monthly

Larger Company:

// Business Strategy: Larger companies tend to set their 3 – 5 year strategy at board level, and then the management team will need to set 12 – 24/36 month business strategies – and these strategies are generally reviewed annually, 6 monthly or quarterly.

// Brand Strategy: As with Small to Medium companies – a full brand strategy is generally reviewed when the business goals require a shift in how the brand is positioned in the market – at this level – brand strategy is generally more 2 – 5 years [as businesses generally experience 7 year cycles]… although most companies tend to run an annual brand review – to ensure the brand will still get them to their desired business goals.

// Marketing Strategy: In a large corporate – the marketing strategy is more of a shorter term focus + is aligned to the companies annual business strategy. Strategies are generally set on an annual basis – and then reviewed way more frequently in order to ensure the marketing efforts will help reach desired end results.


Strategy alone is not enough.

“The gap between what’s expected

and what you deliver

is where the magic happens, in business and in life.

Jay Baer

Having all three strategies in place are one thing.

But the secret to most businesses success…

– Is to make sure that all three strategies are aligned + talking to each other.

– and when the team are working to implement all three strategies.

… delivery is where the magic happens.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out – let’s see if we can help you.



About the Author

Emma is the Chief Coffee Drinker here at FreshSage. With over a decade in branding + another decade in corporate business - she's always balancing the creative with business strategy + goals. She believes everyone has a purpose + calling, and secretly loves helping her clients find theirs. When she's not building brand experiences, she's spending time with her High-school sweetheart + kidlet, tinkering in her veg garden, painting an abstract, and enjoying vino with friends.

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