What comes first: Branding or Marketing?

Does it really matter if you know you need both?


‘Branding first’ used to be my firm opinion. After all, you need to know what you want to communicate before setting up your marketing, right? 

Then again, after building a few brands, I understood that without immediate marketing, all brand efforts are done in vain. And setting up your marketing while working on your brand will help you narrow down your choice of what you want to be known for. It will help you find your niche and better understand how your solution solves your client's problem.

So, I would advise you to tackle them both simultaneously. If you want to be a great cook and you want people to recognize you as such, ask yourself what it takes on your side to get there? Cook seriously delicious food that people love and brag about, right? What type of food? Where are you selling it? How are you promoting it? I can go on, but I am sure you can come up with a whole bunch of questions that are all related to marketing efforts. And it’s those efforts that result in a clear image of the type of chef you want to be. Which in turn helps you influence how people think and feel about you. 

Say you decided you want to be a home chef, take a look at these 2 min video to see how changing just one sentence makes a huge difference between good and bad marketing.  

Branding and Marketing are working in an infinite loop. It doesn't even matter what definition you choose for each. No need to get lost in semantics. It doesn’t matter in which order you tackle them either, as long as you put serious effort into both. Oh yeah, and they are never done! Building a brand and activating a marketing funnel could be a project you choose to outsource at the start, but unless you have someone in your team devoted to it on a full-time basis, it’s not reasonable to expect that your product will magically turn into a brand people love. 

There are millions of books and online courses out there on Branding and Marketing. It’s a highly oversaturated market with theory. We all look for some level of curation or advice on where to start from people we know. So, if my advice matters to you, I would suggest starting with these two books: