Branding vs Marketing? What’s more important?

A question popped up again today that aligns with something that’s been on my mind lately. It’s also popped up 5 other times in the last week – everyone I know must read the same blogs!

What is more important – Branding or Marketing? ​

The truth is – marketing and branding are synonomous. Symbiotic. One embodies the other. But which comes first, chicken or egg?

Branding is part of building and rebuilding businesses that I truly love. it touches every part of the business’ DNA and activities. 

How I see it – Marketing gets their attention. Branding makes them remember. 

And don’t get it twisted, this applies whether you’re a multinational, flipping houses, selling lunchboxes online or even applying for a job. Don’t believe me? Think about this.

You respond to an ad, you cold-call a company for a job, you post  a cold outreach ad, you post a free seminar, you shoot a 15 second video and post it on Facebook. All with the hope of converting. Getting you that job, getting you that sale, landing you that client.

You gain their attention and make your sales pitch.

Now, success depends on many factors, but a big part of that is what does the prospect think during and after your interaction. Do you seem credible? Do you stand out? Do they even remember you after the next ad, the next resume, the next sales pitch? After the next hour? After the next day?

THAT is branding. Branding is more than a logo and a tagline. It’s an image. A consistency. Think of it as word association. A level of trust or recognition that is built. Lasting effect. If you do it right, your branding will have embodied marketing. Even when I’ve been in client offices, if people haven’t seen my logo about, or the way I produce certain reports and document; they recognise me as the guy with the dreads, fancy car out front and dressed differently to everyone else wearing grey suits. That’s not to say I do any of those thongs to particularly stand out; they’re just part of who I am. My brand. and it just so happens that it’s one that generally sticks out. 

What do I mean by embodied marketing? Take the car below. It gets seen in photos online, driving around town, getting filled up with fuel, parked up at car meets.

In simply interacting in the natural elements of the business i.e. attending shows, producing content as I would any time doing things under that business – there is a less obvious effect taking place. Brand awareness. People become familiar with seeing the logo, seeing the car and it builds credibility.

Hell, even from just driving around, a list of people who ‘have seen that before somewhere’ is ever growing. A list of people that may not even be reached by your ads all of a sudden have ‘seen you on the shelf’. And that can be from just driving to get some groceries. This effect is doubled down on when someone sees an ad and thinks ‘ohhh, I’ve seen these guys before’. And it happens. It happens a lot! 

I have two conversations very regularly. ‘oh I’ve seen your logo about’. OR when people see the logo: “oh cool, what do you guys do”.

Therein lies the power of branding. Even when someone stumbles on your ad first, when they flick through your pages – in the first 10 seconds, if they instantly find a consistent brand, photos on “the socials” with an image and so on, trust is effortlessly built. 

If you stumble on an ad and what you click through is a miss-match of random photos and videos, it just doesn’t feel right, does it.

And to think about it further, this effect happens on the micro scale. How often have you met someone’s friend or colleague and thought ‘oh they’ve posted funny things and tagged my friend before’ or ‘they had these cool photos together’. How much more memorable are you going to have in a job application if your personal brand is on point? Your CV arrives, polished, with your photo that matches your linkedin. They remember that they’ve seen you post or are a mutual connection to someone they know. They recognise your face from a seminar. 

All of these are opportunities that you simply miss out on if you don’t give the attention that your personal brand deserves.