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Never take these two functions for granted. They are entirely different processes and will break your chain of Color Management.
A successful Color Management workflow will always consist of a Source and Destination profile. These profiles will “link” devices and maintain the most accurate translation of color from device to device. The profile connection between Source and Destination is the LAB color space.
When you Assign an RGB profile, the numbers within the file will stay the same, however, the color will be DIFFERENT. The difference in color stems from the size of the gamut for the particular color space you are working in. Don’t forget that sRGB has a smaller color gamut than Adobe RGB and the color will be different.
Always convert to CMYK, never use “mode” change. Convert to Profile is a best practice to produce the most accurate color.
If your printer can not provide you with a custom CMYK profile, run! There is no scientific method they are using that will provide you with an acceptable color match on press.
Always communicate your color objectives from the very beginning.
Does this clear things up? Please leave a comment below…