Branding vs Marketing

In this episode, Hazel and Michelle discuss the differences between branding and marketing. There IS a lot of overlap, but they’re not the same.

Branding isn’t sales. It isn’t advertising. So what is it? Can you measure ROI on branding alone? How do you measure the effectiveness of branding and brand awareness? And where in the sales funnel does branding come in?

Listen along to this discussion that includes Pepsi, Bud Light, current campaigns, and more, and how branding can support – or even hurt – a product’s sales.

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to Audacity Marketing with Hazel Quimpo and Michelle Frechette. On this podcast, we’ll challenge you to think differently and break free of the same old strategies. We’ll push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to think outside the box. So take notes, make bold decisions, and be audacious.
Speaker 2 00:00:33 Hey, Hazel.
Speaker 3 00:00:35 Hello Michelle. Happy to be back for another episode.
Speaker 2 00:00:38 I know it’s exciting. Uh, we’ve both been incredibly busy, but it’s nice to get back on a regular recording schedule with you and always as always, to see your smiling face.
Speaker 3 00:00:48 You as well. And we’ll throw a audacity out there in the sense of, you know what? You just keep going. Sometimes you wanna stop when a thing happens, but otherwise you just keep going. Just keep going no matter what. That’s right.
Speaker 2 00:00:57 And one of the things that I love is that like when it’s your own project, you can hit pause when you need to and come back. Right. Because you have to do the things for your family, the things that make you money, and the things that are the fun things can be on pause and then come back when it’s appropriate. And here we are.
Speaker 3 00:01:14 You’re so mature. You’re so mature. .
Speaker 2 00:01:18 Yeah. That’s the the things I have to tell myself. So I don’t feel guilty about not having published something in the last few weeks.
Speaker 3 00:01:23 . So today you pinged me and had a thought about the differences between branding and marketing and, and sort of the long-term promise of branding and the tactical effects of marketing, right? What were your thoughts? Pick up that conversation. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:01:44 So words like sales, marketing, advertising and branding get thrown around as though they are interchangeable. And while there is a lot of overlap, the Venn diagram for this looks like a flower, right? Because there’s definitely spotted the middle where they all overlap and the pedals overlap with one another. However, it is not just a circle, it is several circles, because while there is overlap, they are distinct from one another. So you could have an ad, right? You run an ad on Twitter, you run an, well, maybe not Twitter anymore. You run an ad on Facebook, ,
Speaker 3 00:02:18 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:02:18 You run an ad, um, in the newspaper if those were still around, but you know what I’m trying to say. Mm-hmm. television ad, whatever. And you can connect an ROI to an ad. You can look at, um, click the click through rates. You can look at click to sales. You can look at those kinds of things for advertising to some extent, depending on what you’re selling and where you’re selling it. An in-person event may or may not be tied to sales, right? Because it may also be a branding event.
Speaker 3 00:02:49 Yes.
Speaker 2 00:02:50 So for example, you are a sponsor at a Word camp. The likelihood of seeing a huge spike in sales immediately after a word camp is not incredibly likely. You’re not gonna see this huge, like, you might see some increase, but it’s not necessarily that your sales are tied to that event because brand awareness and branding is very different than just direct sales and marketing. It’s kind of all under that marketing umbrella, if you will. But sales, advertising, marketing and branding are distinct, in my opinion. What do you think?
Speaker 3 00:03:27 I, I think so too. And I think when I, when I think of branding, I think of it, it is the hardest thing to teach out of any of the skills because marketing, I could tell you exactly how to do marketing. Mm-hmm. branding it, it, as I teach people it, and I’m teaching more and more people about it, I take the level of self-awareness of understanding why you buy a thing whenever you buy a thing. Mm-hmm. mm-hmm. . And I promise you that it’s often because of branding, there is this really strong thread of trust. Whenever you buy something, you bought it because it has a cool logo and that cool logo hitting your mind because, oh, I could tell that they spent money on all of their branding and design and they cared about it. You’re not thinking about that overtly, but secretly behind the scenes, that’s what we care about.
Speaker 3 00:04:14 Marketing and branding. And it’s funny, I actually, branding is the part that gives marketing a little bit of a brand bad name, right? Like it feels sometimes it’s like you’re trying to mess with people’s mind a bit with branding. You want, I mean, yeah, psychological tricks, totally different. But yeah, I, I’ll say with strong branding, marketing is so much easier. There’s no world where marketing doesn’t become so much easier with branding. And while nobody’s invented a number for that yet, it feels like that is a measurable thing of how much easier marketing becomes the more branding you do. So for the roi, man, it just, if your life is easier measured in roi mm-hmm. , that seems good to me. ,
Speaker 2 00:05:00 You, you said that it’s easier to teach marketing than branding, and I a hundred percent agree with that. I think that with branding, gut instinct, like what does your gut say has a lot to do with it, right? Like, you know, your product or your service, you should know your audience. So what does your gut say is gonna ring true with those people? Now you can do things like some testing, right? You can do ab testing, you can do, um, focus groups, you can do surveys of your customers. And that does help you get to like a better understanding of your own brand as, as how it’s perceived out in the wild and to civilians, if you will. But, um, yes, , but it’s hard to teach the brand aspect of it. Cuz some of it, like I said, is just that the gut instinct.
Speaker 2 00:05:44 Like, I’m gonna go for it. Uh, and like we said in a previous episodes, like sometimes you have to pivot because sometimes, oh, I guess that was branding for me and not branding for my customers or, or whatever, you know? And some of that’s early stage, right? Early stage, um, brand development as opposed to, uh, how much, how much branding does Coca-Cola still have to do, right? As opposed to direct marketing, because people pay money to advertise for them by buying all of their stuff T-shirts. And like you think about Jeep, right? We talked about Jeep before. Correct. People buy
Speaker 3 00:06:17 Jeep stuff.
Speaker 2 00:06:18 Crazy. If you love the Buffalo bills, you own all of their jerseys, right? So people will pay you money to advertise for you if your branding is strong enough.
Speaker 3 00:06:29 And I think where small businesses get into trouble is, especially when you’re build, if people who are building a business where they’ve never been the customer of that business mm-hmm. . Cause branding is all about the customer. And when you don’t know the customer and you try to do branding, it feels dishonest and it feels dishonest to you making it, it feels dishonest to the customer and it doesn’t land. And if I can say it any way of teaching it, I think that’s the disconnect of people that mm-hmm. and, and it, it’s not intentionally dishonest, but I think you don’t have a true understanding of what your customer is looking for. Yeah. So you, you’re not speaking that language. You’re making shit up. Mm-hmm. mm-hmm. it technically .
Speaker 2 00:07:08 No, it’s true.
Speaker 3 00:07:08 Everybody doesn’t, everybody can tell in marketing, it’s just a tactic you get by eventually it’s the numbers you’ll make a sale, but that branding, if it doesn’t pass the sniff tests, like, it’s sort of like that uncanny value. You know, people say when they see like mm-hmm. , uh, AI generated human or used to before new AI two weeks ago, .
Speaker 2 00:07:28 Yeah, exactly.
Speaker 3 00:07:30 It feels like that with the kind of branding when you’re like even a large company like Pepsi, right? They did that many years ago that, um, highly gendered, uh, Pepsi protest one. Right? And like, it felt so disingenuous that immediately people were like, that’s just gross.
Speaker 2 00:07:47 Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I can backfire on you if you’re not careful too, right now. And, you know, hopefully people will still be listening to this podcast and back, listen to our back episodes years from now. But right now there’s a huge thing going on with, um, a trans woman, Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light. And they did not create, as far as I could tell, they did not create every can to have Dylan’s face on it. They created a specific set of cans and sent them to Dylan who made a video about them. And now we got people literally buying Bud Light to go out and run it over with their trucks because they’re so anti-trans and they’re so, you know, not my Bud Light and, you know, right next to their gun case and everything else, . You know, and you know, I’ve, I’ve heard two different things.
Speaker 2 00:08:32 I’ve heard one that, um, that Bud Lights, uh, their sales went down, but I’ve heard another saying their sales are actually coming back up because the people who really care about all of the issues are like, well, I’ll bud. I’ll buy Bud Light because I’m gonna support somebody. I’m gonna support a brand that does that. And that’s what branding is. Right? And so are you branding for your former customers who are fading away and dying out and that kind of thing? Or are you branding for the next generation and hoping to bring new people in and they’re, I mean, that’s, that’s an interesting thing to think about too, right?
Speaker 3 00:09:07 100%. That whole thing made me think about the difficulty that large brands are happening. The bigotry of all of this is a whole stupid story, which sure. You know, what side of story I have on all of that. So that aside, I think it’s so interesting. Cause one of the thing becomes, well that became such a big story because Bud Lights brand as like all American, you know, beer Belly dude is like such, I think it’s such a
Speaker 2 00:09:35 Brand,
Speaker 3 00:09:35 Right? Me, I apologize, I apologize. I pronounced it wrong. Mer uh, the, it was such a strong brand that having the trans, uh, woman on there can felt disingenuous to the people that worry, which wasn’t even true because they had the point I’m trying to make. I think these large, large companies can’t win today. There’s no way you can, you’re gonna end up in this, in today’s world no matter what. Which leads to a cool benefit for smaller companies and brands of the folks that we’re talking to, because I think there’s these really interesting branding niches that you can fall into mm-hmm. and not have to try to put your, your hands on every single base at the same time like a Budweiser does.
Speaker 2 00:10:18 Right. And you know, what’s interesting too is with, you mentioned AI a little bit earlier, right? With ai, with other tools that we have, Photoshop, things like that, it’s hard to know all of what we’re seeing as the backlash, whether it’s true or not. So for example, I saw, I can’t remember if it was on TikTok or Twitter or where I saw it, maybe Facebook. I saw a couple different billboards that said L o l Crybabies with the Bud Light logo. And I thought that has to be photoshopped. Somebody had to, but then, hmm. It would be really cool if Bud actually did that, right? I mean, who knows, right? For sure. , right? And I love the people who are so uninformed, uh, as a customer that they’re like, I’m not gonna drink Bud Light. I’m gonna go for Anthos or Bush instead. Well like, who do you think makes Bud Light? Right. Kind of thing. Or, or the people that are like, I’m gonna do Coors. Well, have you seen Coors Rainbows? Like they, Coors did a whole thing for the LGBTQ community. So,
Speaker 3 00:11:10 Well, we’ll talk about that from, from, uh, get a little nerdy from a capitalist lens whole. I love it that that beer, that beer company does own all of the different ones because of branding, because they can sell the same product. Beverage is, I’ll tell everybody my favorite, I dunno if I’ve already said this on the podcast, but my favorite like way to study marketing is beverage marketing. Because it, it is pure marketing. There’s nothing else you’re selling, you’re not selling me anything. You go look at a giant wall of water that is all just marketing the same with beer. And they have all of these business lines because it’s an exercising branding. So I think it’s really interesting to study beverage brands as a way of absolutely. Branding. They understand that better than anybody. Liquid is a good
Speaker 2 00:11:54 . Exactly. . So it, it’s interesting. And I love that there’s always something happening in the media that we can point to with whatever our topic is.
Speaker 3 00:12:03 Well, Michelle, I have a question for you. What have you seen or done recently that has been, uh, particularly audacious, either in, in your, that you’ve seen around the marketing world or that, uh, that you’ve done that, that you wanna feel that you’ve done recently?
Speaker 2 00:12:19 Oh gosh. Um, what have I done recently? I, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. You go first. Well, I think ,
Speaker 3 00:12:28 I’m wanna go first. I’ve done, I’ve been really into this concept lately of build a list, work, a list. I’m always into build a list, work a list. Like part of my marketing is like build a list of folks, reach out to those folks, whether it’s sales or partnerships, generally, partnerships on my lens and the audacity that I have to reach out to some people that I’ve known business reaching out to, which, uh, is, it always pays off every single time. Um, every single time I’m like, I’m gonna reach out to this person, even though they will probably never respond. , you know, two minutes later I’m in a meeting with them. You never, you never know. So I think that’s where, yeah, I probably shared those examples before, but it’s never ceased to amaze me the audacity of just, who cares? Yeah. What’s the worst that will happen?
Speaker 2 00:13:14 So I, uh, so having thought a little bit while you talked, I will tell you that for me, one of the things I tell people is don’t give away things for free. Right. Don’t do work for free. Mm
Speaker 3 00:13:23 Mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:13:23 Unless it’s incredibly strategic. Okay. Because I have done, and, and I, I mean I’m the do as I say, not as I do girl, right? Because I I volunteer and give away Uhhuh
Speaker 3 00:13:34 Uhhuh so
Speaker 2 00:13:35 Much of myself. But it’s also put me where I am in the community today. And, and I haven’t, like it’s, it’s, I won’t say that it’s all been strategic cuz a lot of it was like, oh wow, look where I am. Right? Like happenstance and serendipity and, and whatever. And in retrospect, like, wow, I worked my way here, but I didn’t see it in the moment. But I am doing something, um, taking on a new project, creating a new project for the WordPress community that is, at this point, a zero money maker. Unless I get some sponsors for it, which would be lovely. Um, but I will be over the weekend creating wp and
Speaker 3 00:14:09 Oh, that is what’s needed.
Speaker 2 00:14:11 Yeah. So as, as somebody who organizes not only word camps, but my local meetup constantly looking for speakers to come in and talk about topics because the 20 people in my room can’t keep talking about the same topics over and over and over. And, and right now it’s a virtual room anyway. So I could bring anybody from all over the world and I have through the pandemic, but I’m starting to think like, gosh, who do I know that could do something if I just had a list of people that I could search? Wow, wouldn’t that be awesome? And so we have that a little bit with underrepresented in tech, but as specifically underrepresented folks, this would be specifically WordPress and anybody that wanted to speak publicly.
Speaker 3 00:14:45 I love it. I have one more question. Do you think audacity is contagious? Cause I kinda think it’s, I’m like, I want, I have this idea that everybody should have a very audacious friend because I feel like audacity is very contagious.
Speaker 2 00:14:58 I think it is. I think that regardless of how contagious it may be, you, there’s still a tipping point within each person that says it’s okay to, to dip my toes into the aud audacity world, right? So, uh, I was the kid who was afraid to dip her toes into the water when I was a kid. Ah, I did not even wanna go to swimming lessons. We had a pool in our backyard. I did not want anything to do with it. Right? Like, but there was a tipping point. We’re sitting in the backyard listening to everybody else have fun in the pool, meant I had to go through those swimming lessons because my mom wouldn’t let me swim unless I had them. Right? So there’s that tipping point where you go, even though I’m afraid and it could be dangerous, I’m still gonna do it and see what might happen. And it could be little, a little step or it could be like a jumping in both feet, right? But I think that yes, I think that a lot of people won’t even dip their toes into it without somebody else going, this is fun, right? Yep. Come along with me. So it definitely is contagious, but I also think that you have to swallow the fear and take that stuff into at
Speaker 3 00:15:58 Some point you have, you have to. Yeah. Good, good thoughts on that? I’ve been wondering about that. Cause I always feel, uh, especially, um, audacious after I get a call off a call with you, I’m like, I’m gonna go conquer the world .
Speaker 2 00:16:10 Same . Absolutely.
Speaker 3 00:16:13 All right, Michelle. Well great chat about branding and marketing and we look forward to connecting next week.
Speaker 2 00:16:18 Yeah. We’ll see what, what we come up with, but it’s always gonna be fun. Bye
Speaker 3 00:16:23 Bye. Hi,
Speaker 1 00:16:25 This has been Michelle Frechette and Hazel Quimpo with Audacity Marketing. Dare to Be Different and Dominate Your Market with Audacity.