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I’ve heard it all before; Countless business owners who tell me they don’t need branding to grow their business. Others argue that they “just” need to make more sales. And yet a third owner will tout better marketing as the solution to growth.

I think it’s important to state that while branding does inform marketing, they are separate strategies. 

Marketing (along with direct-response, sales, advertising, social media, public relations) are designed to get our attention RIGHT NOW and elicit an immediate behavior. Branding, on the other hand, is not about grabbing your attention today. Instead, it’s about creating a perception over time. 

The reason I always say that branding should come before marketing is because I often see companies use outlandish marketing tactics, gimmicks, and even neurolinguistic programming to trick people into buying from them. These tactics may generate revenue today, but they can tarnish a brand and negatively impact the overall customer lifetime value. 

The beauty of entrepreneurs and small businesses is that they can be great at marrying branding and marketing to create unprecedented results. Many of our clients understand marketing, so when we dial in their brand, they optimize their marketing strategies and tactics which result in better conversions and faster results. They are not just throwing guesswork against the wall and seeing what works. They can confidently say, “This is who we are. This is what we stand for. Love us or hate us.” They take a proactive stance versus the reactive attitude of marketing. 

In short, we need marketing. It helps us make money. But you can make a lot more money and have a more significant impact (while spending less on marketing and advertising) when you’re clear on your brand. 

So, what should you focus on—sales, marketing, or branding? I believe you need ALL three. But, where people get it wrong is they have the wrong context for branding. What I mean is that some people see branding as something to do after they make sales or after they implement their marketing. That’s undoubtedly one school of thought. And it has worked for many businesses in the past. 

But that doesn’t mean it will continue to work today or for the long term. 

Peek inside of the mind of a Brand Strategist in the recently launched book: Your Brand Should Be Gay (Even If You’re Not): The Art and Science of Creating an Authentic Brand. 

Visit to learn more.  


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