Philosophy, brands and advertising
Branding vs Marketing and advertising. What business owner should know about philosophy?
A little while back the owner of a new start up told me that they didn’t feel that an advert would be suitable for their fledgling business. Instead they considered: “it would be much more beneficial to get the philosophy of the brand across to possible customers”.
It’s true that people increasingly prefer to buy from, deal with and work for ethical, right-minded organisations. Price is no longer king, if it ever was. Value no longer rules, if ever it did. Quality of service and product is not the deciding factor.
However, before you drop everything in order to focus on and ensure that the ethics and philosophy of your business are hunky dory let’s take a look at the ONE thing that every business owner should know about philosophy.
Philosophy doesn’t sell your product or service
Your philosophy relates to your brand.
A brand will help encourage someone to buy your product.
A brand supports whatever sales or marketing activities are in play.
The brand does not overtly say “buy me.” Rather it portrays “This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me and recommend me to your friends.”
It pulls people in.
On the other hand marketing and advertising actively promote a product or service. It pushes out a message to get sales results e.g. “Buy me because I will make you look super cool!”
Branding is strategic.
Marketing and advertising are tactical.
So, what should you do first? Branding or marketing?
It’s a chicken and egg situation.
The two are not inextricably linked but neither are they mutually exclusive.
It’s hugely important to know what your ethics are i.e. how you work, source your product, and/or how you reward your customers. However, your branding will undoubtedly evolve as your business grows and may involve discarding some of your original philosophy/beliefs.
On the other hand marketing and advertising will (should) remain a constant light in all your business activities because you need people to buy your (philosophically enhanced) product/service in order to stay in business.
Can you advertise without having a brand? Whilst it’s good to have a philosophy/brand, making the leap from a commodity that is bought indiscriminately to becoming a brand choice is MAAHOOSIVE. If you’re planning to be in business for a while and if you truly believe in your product, the chances are that your enthusiasm will rub off on others thereby increasing the chances of them buying. In the meantime, whilst working on becoming a choix du jeur, my advice is to keep advertising and marketing.
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