Marketing vs. Brand Management

Thinking more and more about the kinds of employment that I’ve focused on I’m seeing some true distinctions for both a marketing and brand manager roles.  There are benefits to both of course but I’m also coming to the realization that in some of my past roles I’ve either had to teeter on the edge of being both or been pigeonholed into being one without anyone focusing on the other.  But that’s a whole lot of gobbledygook.

As this article by the Tronvig Group eloquently writes, “…marketing is actively promoting a product or service…Branding should both precede and underlie any marketing effort…”

And even more precisely, “Marketing unearths and activates buyers. Branding makes loyal customers, advocates, even evangelists, out of those who buy.”

So true!  I think the reason why some of my past efforts may not have worked out to their true potential was due to there not being a focus on the brand and building that, or at least making everyone 100% aware of what it stands for.  Instead, we did everything we could to create a marketing strategy that would fit the appropriate markets that the brand sold into, but there wasn’t a central tie back to all of those efforts.  At the end of the day, we were still all over the place.

But going back to my original thought…the key differences I have noticed, and realized, in these two roles are that with marketing, you are doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the brand.  Of course the initial heavy lifting comes from clear messaging of what the brand is and will be.  Its look, voice, etc.  From there, marketing takes over to ensure that all efforts keep that branding in mind.  They do so while keeping track of metrics that tie back to business goals, hopefully, through lead gen, product promotion & launches, market research, SEO, PPC, social…the list could go on.

Whereas the branding department needs to ensure that what they did initially is being kept in mind.  Those folks are essentially the brand police.  And without them, and without the buy in of senior management, nothing will move forward in the way that it was intended.

These two are very interwoven and must be at an equilibrium, which I think is also why some marketing and or brand manager roles speak to a lot of mixed responsibilities.  At the end of the day, without one, you can’t successfully have the other.  And it’s our job, as marketers, to convey that to senior management.

There are of course pros and cons for both of these roles but as I alluded to in the beginning, there have been times when I’ve have to make sure that both sides of the seesaw were equal and there were times when the seesaw was very heavy on one end without anyone sitting on the brand end, which ultimately led to a lot of internal and external confusion.

What do you think?  What are your thoughts on branding and marketing?

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