One of my favourite podcasts is the Rock Star Branding podcast put together by Brian Thompson, Michael Brandvold, and Greg Kihn. This week’s podcast focused on the difference between branding and marketing. These terms are often used interchangeably, and as a marketer myself, I find that confusion to be dangerous to entrepreneurs and business owners. Brian, Michael and Greg did a fantastic job of explaining the difference in the podcast, so what I will do is show you my current favourite example of each.
First of all, let’s start with textbook. The 3rd edition of Marketing An Introduction defines it as “…the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, partners, and society” (Armstrong, Kotler, Cunningham, & Buchwitz, 2010, pg. 7). A bit of a mouthful.
The same text goes on to define as brand as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” (Armstrong, Kotler, Cunningham, & Buchwitz, 2010, pg. 328). Less intense than the first, though not as all inclusive as I would like.
Queens Branding & Marketing
I’ve been on a Queens of the Stone Age kick for the past month. The marketing campaign for their new album, …Like Clockwork, has driven me into a fanatic, frothy-mouthed frenzy of desire to purchase the album, and while the record will be released by a new record label (QOTSA was signed to Interscope, now signed to Matador), the band’s brand has remained in tact during the course of the campaign.
When I think of Queens of the Stone Age the words I associate with the brand are “mysterious”, “blunt”, and “uncompromising”. Lead singer/guitarist Josh Homme is notorious for not divulging more information than he has to. Given that he never gets asked about his personal life in interviews, I have a hunch that he has a long list of rules for an interview (and yes, those are a real and normal thing – ALWAYS talk to the journalist before the interview and lay down the rules). Homme and the band are well-known for being uncompromisingly blunt to the point of being rude, just plain silly, or accidentally explaining his rude outburst at Norwegian Wood. Regardless of your personal opinion of Homme’s behaviour, you understand how forthright he is and that the band is an extension of how he brands himself (though his branding may just be personality over purposeful choice).
Homme is a representation of Queens of the Stone Age’s brand: an image created and maintained across every medium the band uses to communicate to and with the public. Marketing is about campaigns designed to encourage purchasing the upcoming album. As I already mentioned, the marketing campaign promoting …Like Clockwork is a brilliant example of how branding and marketing interact to enrapture fans and non-fans alike.
I picked up most of the album’s marketing campaign via Facebook, though it campaign utilized Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, the likeclockwork.tv website, and an iPhone application called Vine. By using short, assertive sentences with ambiguous or meaning, the mystery, bluntness, and uncompromising image of the brand is maintained and the marketing campaign rolls on.
Below is a gallery of the Facebook posts that are part of the marketing campaign. Read the text and take in the images. To me, each post reads as a mysterious and blunt – just like how the band has branded itself. The images are bleak and mysterious. The copy and images are branded content that are part of a marketing campaign.
Branding: How a product(s), service(s), person(s), and/or company are presented and what they stand for. Think of it as the image or words that come into your mind when you consider the product, service, person or company.
Marketing: Campaigns meant to spread awareness, encourage purchase, build brand loyalty, maintain brand image in the customer’s mind, and/or any other objective related to building at business/brand.
Does that make sense? Comment below, email me, tweet me, just make sure you tell me if this still doesn’t make sense. I am more than happy to help you understand the two concepts discussed above.
All images are copyright of their respective owners and publishers.