Branding & Marketing Companies: What Are the Differences?

If you’re a rising star, you need someone to help build your image. You need a trusted confidante who knows just how to dress you on the red carpet, find your best angle, and choose the right Instagram filter for your selfies.

But this can’t just be a buddy who knows you well; it should be an agent who knows the biz.

That means a marketing or branding company. 

What is a branding company? What is a marketing agency for nonprofits? In this guide we’ll cover all your questions about what a branding and marketing company can do for your organization or nonprofit.

What is a Brand Agency?

Brand agencies focus on creating, developing, maintaining, and improving brands. They are there to understand your business, clarify your goals, and elevate you to the next level of brand recognition. 

What Do Branding Agencies Do?

Brand agencies drive your nonprofit’s branding strategy—they control messaging, image, and overall, write a story your ideal audience wants to hear. 

Here are a few actions agencies take to elevate their clients.


  • Hone your nonprofit’s image, voice, and story. Where did you start? Why are you here? Who and what do you stand for? Brand agencies will zero in on the heart of your business and present it to your audience in its best light.

  • Plan how that brand will be positioned in the marketplace. Who will be exposed to it? What kind of messaging will be used? What are the presentation guidelines of your brand? A brand agency will place you in the perfect position for success in your field.

  • Manage the brand as it grows and becomes exposed to wider audiences. Brand agencies will make sure those guidelines are adhered to while adjusting according to new audience insights. 

  • Measure the brand’s growth. Brand agencies are there to track the ups and nix the downs. They find what works and put it to good use.

What is a Marketing Agency?

The goal of working with a marketing firm is to convert your target audience into customers or donors, retain your current audience, improve sales and revenue, and grow your brand. They follow a similar 4-step process as brand agencies, but focused toward your monetary goals, whether that be making money or raising it for a cause.

Marketing agencies specifically geared towards nonprofits understand how precious an organization’s resources are. They are deeply familiar with ensuring every dollar spent on a campaign is spent well, while maximizing return on investment.

What is Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations?

A beautiful thing happens when marketing is applied to nonprofit organizations.

If your nonprofit is a flower in a field, ripe with pollen that can make a change in the world, you need to attract the right pollinators for the job. Marketing makes sure volunteers and donors buzz and hum their way over to you and recognize you for your fantastic ideas. With the help of marketing, your message and mission can spread all over. 

Nonprofit marketing is the creation of copy, logos, taglines, and media campaigns. It’s message-focused. It exposes your budding nonprofit to those vital people and organizations that can push you from online donations to hosting whole fundraisers.

What is Branding in Marketing?

A fantastic example of branding in marketing is the story of how the iconic dancing penguin became Penguin Books’ logo. 

Image source:

The creator, Allen Lane, was unsatisfied with the book selections at a train station’s bookstore, finding every novel either so-so quality or overpriced. While working on his logo for his own publishing company, a typist suggested a penguin for its attitude, “dignified, but flippant.” Lane immediately sent his designer to the zoo. Thus, the penguin on the spine of endless wonderful books was born.

A brand is not just a name and logo. It’s the attitude, the tale of your business, rising from considerable need or exceptional ideas. 

When the story is told well, people are hooked, and an image lasts forever. And when it comes to marketing, that kind of branding power is invaluable. Especially for non-profits. 

Why Hire a Marketing Company to do Your Branding?

The same reason you would hire contractors to build your house. 

If branding is the style of your home—a bungalow, condo, craftsman, modern, or mid-century—then marketing is the execution of that style, from the roof to the windows to the smallest detail in the crown molding. Branding is the big idea, while marketing works to make it come to life.

If you’re trying to build a home for your nonprofit, you want to feel sure those four walls will stand for a long time, withstand any weather, and house generations to come. Building a home takes expertise, experience, and passion for the art of construction.

So go with the professionals. Someone who will understand your non-profit and what its goals are. Someone like us—Puzzle Pieces.

At Puzzle Pieces Marketing, we don’t just do branding or marketing. We offer the best of both worlds to our non-profit clients. We want to help guide people to your organization so you can enact real change in the world. So whether you’re building homes for the homeless, saving the bees, or just trying to make the world a better place, we can help you get the message out. 


The Branding Journal. What is a branding agency? 

Investopedia. Nonprofit Marketing.,of%20potential%20volunteers%20and%20donors.

Looka. The Origin Stories Behind 5 Famous Brands.

TheBalanceSmb. What do Marketing Firms Do?,to%20improve%20their%20marketing%20efforts