Tag Archives: what is marketing

Marketing and Branding, how are they different?????


Branding defines who we are while our marketing defines what we do for whom. We create a brand strategy first and then follow it up with how through marketing we shall deploy resources to decimate information w.r.t what we stand for. A true brand strategy will also entail detailed insights about the targeted consumers which will help build the strategy in the first place.

Through branding an organization wants to create a pull for its brands and underlie any marketing effort. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not. It defines why this particular brand is different from its competition and lets consumers know why they should go for a particular brand. In plain words it says “This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.”

Unilever, P&G, Canon, Ebay, CAT, Levis, Shell, WD, Apple, Harley Davidson
Global Brands

Building a brand isn’t a onetime exercise it’s an ongoing one with multiple variables impacting a brand. Very important among these things is the lived experience of the brand. Did that car deliver on its brand promise of reliability? Did the maker continue to uphold the quality standards that made them what they are? Did the sales guy or the service center mechanic know what they were talking about? All of this together, is a part of the making of a brand.

Brand is bigger than any marketing effort I feel since the brand is what remains after the marketing activity has happened. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy. It communicates a promise to your intended audience, and creates a distinct and memorable image in the mind of your customers.

Brand manager, marketing manager, marketing jobs, digital marketing Consumers become loyal to brands and not to their marketing efforts. Marketing activity will drive the consumer to the store or the website but it’s the brand experience which will make him buy or reject the customer. Good brand management will make loyalist, advocates and even evangelists in case of cult brands which will drive the brand equity scores.

Branding Strategy highlights:

  • Branding is a pull strategy
  • Branding is strategic — it involves crafting out the vision, strategy and evolution
  • Branding build loyalty and conviction in a brand pyramid
  • Branding simplifies the existence of a brand
  • Branding differentiates a product, services from those in its category
  • Branding influences purchasing decisions by occupying a place in the mind

Then, there is Marketing….

What is marketing, marketing management, brand management, digital marketingMarketing strategy is basically a road-map to deploy the brand strategy using various media vehicle, it is in lay man’s term actively promoting a brand’s product or service. It’s a way of reaching and engaging people. Effective marketing ensures that one’s brand is always top-of-mind among its consumers and awareness scores in a brand equity model are high.

Everything that includes communicating a brand strategy to a consumer is Marketing. This includes running a TV commercial on channels, full-page or half page print ads, signage’s on streets, leaflet distribution, events, banner sign, business card, social media management, gifting, etc are part of the marketing plan or a strategy. Basically a marketing strategy is something where millions of dollars are spent on and hence for most people marketing is an extremely important function as there are huge investments made apart from CAPEX.

Marketing Strategy Highlights:

  • Marketing is a push strategy
  • Marketing is tactical — traditional, digital and unconventional
  • Marketing develops customers by making them aware
  • Marketing is one-on-one communication, no matter what the form
  • Marketing promotes a brand’s products or services in the market
  • Marketing can trigger a customer’s immediate decision to purchase

The main difference between branding and marketing is that marketing highlights the intended value of a product or service whereas branding reinforces the same. If you have a substandard product to begin with, marketing may help you make the first time sale but repeat sale will become an issue as the product experience during the first time was not convincing.

Branding is “What you are”

Marketing is “What you do”

Your True Brand Ambassador – An Awesome Product

Millions of products in the market but not everything sells like hot cakes. There could be many reasons for the sales of these products to not happen
– Bad Marketing
– Bad Product
– Bad Distribution
– Bad Positioning
– Wrong Market
– Wrong TG
And the list can go on and on……
But there are certain brands where people await the launch of new products, stand in long ques or book the product well in advance to get their hands on the same. Companies or brands like Apple, Harley Davidson, Ikea, WV Beetle, etc are not just known for the latest offering but most people can remember what they started with and what is their current offering. Now think the same about say for e.g. a Samsung who is competing with Apple for the best smart phone, what was the first product they launched, some of us would know but a lot of consumers will not be aware of their first product.
One thing the emerges common among most cult brands is that they have a product which is just awesome. Everything that is put in the product has a purpose and more importantly that same purpose is something that the consumer also relates to and finds its beneficial. Their products are so well made that just a PR leak of they are coming up with a new variant is enough to generate tremendous buzz in the market.

So I guess for me the learning is that if you wanna create a brand / product line which yields revenue over a longer run invest in the product do not leave behind anything to ensure that its the best in class product. Yes there are pressures on budget and this may sound idealistic but ultimately in the market the brand / product pays the price for not being the best. All the other elements like the distribution, marketing mix, etc can be played around but once a product fails its really difficult to make it a success.Often hear from people that these bigger organizations have lots of money to waste on R&D; and MR but ultimately that same research helps to narrow down the likely list of successful products rather than launching products and failing in market.

Differentiate your brand

The most common word used across the marketing and branding forums and people is that “is your brand/activity differentiated enough to grab the consumers attention?”

And most managers would answer yes it definitely is different from what competition is doing, but is it really different? The answer is most probably no. The differentiating factor  is  most probably that none of the competition has tried it but today differentiation is more than just about your category it’s across brands.

Imagine a testimonial ad started by a FMCG category which worked well and this same idea was then taken by the agency to another category like an automobile or pharma and pitched as first in the category. Everyone in the room is happy since they achieved one thing in the meeting which is we are different from competition, but are they really different? From a consumers lens he would feel I have seen this many a times and all of them including other categories are giving the same message.

Creating a differentiation for me is doing exactly opposite of what conventionally marketeers are doing for e.g. when a service provider blocks the sale of the product or limits the consumption of their product or service immediately it becomes a big thing. Consumers start getting impatient as to what is this product all about or why can’t I get it. This ultimately results in massive awareness which is consumer-led rather than manufacturer led.


The above e.g. is a marketing strategy that is different but apart from strategy there are there ways of differentiating as well which could be via creative communication (e.g.Got Milk campaign), using different media (e.g. Ford for the launch of Fiesta in India during cricket matches), operational differentiation (e.g. Walmart’s procurement and supply chain management), different business model (e.g. Amway, etc).

The above are just e.g. and current trend could be different but the idea is to ensure that differentiation should happen across categories and not just within a particular subset.

Marketing has a different meaning across different companies

Ever wondered what marketing truly means?

As per the marketing guru Philip Kotler marketing means “Marketing is the set of human activities directed at facilitating and consummating exchanges.” But the meaning of the same term when you see or experience in real life becomes extremely different and unheard of.

Each organisation across continents has made their own definition of this term. This term also changes with change in leadership of the organisation or it may also change with change in business strategy.

I have had experience in working in a global MNC FMCG company, an owner driven company and a public limited company and all these 3 companies have taught me different meanings of the same term marketing.

A truly global MNC FMCG will make you feel that marketing is a science that is cold and calculative where everything is measured. Marketing in this kind of an organisation is the driving force behind the organisation and takes lead in all activities.

In contrast an owner driven organisation the meaning of this term changes dramatically as the owner believes that he knows his customer and he knows what they want and thus only he would know what is marketing. Here basically the marketing team is just extra pair of hands to get the job done.

Similar to the above organisation a small sized limited company would see marketing as a sales support team and any work that any of the other teams don’t want to do, fall under the ambit of marketing.

What we learn during our masters and what we actually see are 2 different things. For me what i gather from my experience and what i have learnt I just feel marketing means understanding the consumer, generating brilliant ideas to create innovative products to fulfill the consumer need, test the product and finally making impactful communication to maximise returns for the company.

The organisation that is the closest to what I think is marketing is definitely the global MNC but at the same time there are so many processes there which may curb your brilliant ideas, but then nothing in this world is perfect so how could an organisation be…….