Advertising and Branding – Two Sides of the Same Coin

This article was originally published in The Growth Masters Daily ( on April 9, 2011

Advertising and Branding –Two Sides of the Same Coin


David J Dunworth O.C.E.

Heads I win; tails I still win, but what’s the advantage of choosing one over the other?

Mother hen and her chicks       Which comes first-the chicken or the egg?  It’s much the same in business. Trying to balance the activities, especially if you are re-branding your entity, is a juggler’s nightmare.Entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises have very small staffs, and most start up ventures have the entrepreneur and maybe a spouse or partner.  The day-to-day activities of the business make the process of developing the brand and handling the creative processes difficult to say the least.  Both of these creative activities deserve all of the concentration and focus the stakeholders can invest into them, but which one is more important?

Everything from logos, market research, web site development, tag lines, the print process, graphics and copyrighting and trade marking leave little time for anything else, and trying to prioritize these tasks while running a business can be a challenge.

Take a moment to put yourself (if you aren’t already) in the shoes of a budding entrepreneur.  What’s more important; getting all of the facets completed, or rolling out the new logo on stationary and business cards, or waiting until the new web site is completed? Should you handle one task at a time, or bundle everything for a high impact debut?

Tails – It’s Branding

The Branding camp states that the creative process begins with the brand, and the advertising is crafted from the graphic impact of the logo, what the brand stands for, the value proposition and it’s overall appeal.

By a reflective look at your existing brand (if re-branding), what stays and what needs to be redefined.  This process is not a quick one, and takes multiple attempts at the creative process to develop a clear and succinct message through the whole brand’s impact.  In that way advertising messages can be crafted to mirror the mission and vision of the brand itself.

Heads – It’s Advertising

Heads on a coin

Sometimes a brand’s audience can only be reached through a very narrow media channel. If so, it pays to keep that in mind from the beginning. If the message can only reach people through a round hole, it makes little sense to spend creative energy and marketing dollars exploring variations on square pegs. If you need to advertise exclusively in regional print media to reach your customers, do that! In many cases, it’s true that the medium is the message.

The Toss for Both

There will be a long list of ideas, strategies, concepts and statements that come from the process, and need to be documented for possible later use.  Who knows, you may identify a product life extension idea that can be used down the road.

For more information, text “texticon” to 90210  David J Dunworth, CEO of TeXT-Icon Mobile Marketing Communications and also writes a blog for entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises. You can find him at:


About davidjdunworth

Dunworth’s success comes from a simple belief; “I can sleep when I am dead; then there will be plenty of time for that!” Since the door to door days of his youth, Dunworth has opened, managed and sold more than 25 businesses, and works as a consultant to entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises. His advice for entrepreneurs desiring to grow quickly: “Find the busiest man or woman you can find and enlist their support. You’d be amazed at the results.”
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7 Responses to Advertising and Branding – Two Sides of the Same Coin

  1. Ron Strauss says:

    A brand needs two things to be successful: availability* (so it’s easy for purchasers to find and buy it) and salience (memory ‘hooks’ that help people think of your brand when they think of the product/service category).
    So availability and salience are two sides of the same coin, the coin being the brand or the company/product/service that is represented by the brand.
    While branding is readily associated with advertising and other communications, it should be equally associated with availability. Salience without availability (and vice-versa) will sub-optimize value creation; salience + availability will accelerate value creation.
    *Other terms for availability are ACV (all commodity volume), penetration, distribution, etc.

    Ron Strauss
    Brand Guide @ Brandzone
    Co-author: ‘Value Creation: The Power of Brand Equity’
    ‘Your brand works as smart as you do.’ (SM)

    • Great comments Ron, Thank you for taking the time to do so. I appreciate the feedback and am pleased to see it. Thanks for reading; please subscribe.

    • marc romano says:

      Marc Romano • Ron Strauss: Can we possibly add a third component which would be relevancy?

      As usuaI, I agree with your points and simply wanted to put that third component on the table for your opinion. Working with the Legal profession, primarily with corporate and business law firms, I see a great deal of messaging that represents a complete disconnect from the realities of the market. This is not a finger pointing at lawyers. The concept of positioning and branding is very new to the profession and that breeds resistance from many firms for many reasons. As the needs of the market change and disruptive innovation introduces better and more efficient ways to solve problems, doing things the old way, communicating the old message, creates a reality disconnect from what now represents new high value need .

      I hope you’re well. Always good to hear from you.

      marc romano
      Get ahead. Stay ahead.

  2. Vishvas Srigoutham says:

    I agree with Ron. Infact, Branding and Advertising are like the gun and the bullet ! Branding defines the brand interms of strategy, positioning and messaging. Advertising is the way in which the message reaches the audience. It could be a hole, or a path in the jungle or a freeway. The goal of advertising is the create attention and trigger action by playing around with memory and curiosity leading to indulgence and loyalty. ALWAYS advertising ensues branding and never the other way round. Only the advertising channels as mentioned above could change

  3. Andy Holeman says:

    The title of the blog posting is a false or mistaken premise. “Branding” (which is also misused here – branding is something you do to livestock) and “Advertising are not two sides of the same coin. A Brand is comprised of and defined by a core set of values that are then reflected by a broad set of communications, of which advertising is one possibility.

    Consistency in the means and method of the Brand aesthetics and values is key to success. Be it business collateral and staff composition to national television commercials or sweepstakes promotions, EVERY communication from a Brand and touchpoint represents a “Branding” opportunity. Decisions about the communication tactics employed to accomplish defined Brand goals are based on evaluation of a potentially complex matrix of factors that determine effective use of resources.

    It’s not an “either/or” situation.

  4. Branding has to be the precursor of all marketing communications – from your website, your marketing literature, your advertising, through to your logo (the single element that most lay people think of as the ‘brand’). Without a clear iteration of what your brand stands for, communications agencies are operating in a vacuum, and potentially giving conflicting messages.
    Successful branding means harmonising the impression given by every touchpoint any stakeholder (customer, supplier, shareholder, current & future employee, etc, etc) has with your business.
    To achieve sustainable competitive advantage you need to take positive steps to optimise your branding across all aspects of your business. Investing in your brand is therefore a fundamental part of long-term, effective business building.
    Without question, you have to start with the brand…

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