Sunbird Brand Bites: Episode #1

Sunbird Brand Bites is a podcast where we answer real questions from small business owners and solopreneurs around building an irresistible brand.

We are very excited to announce that the Sunbirds have launched our very first episode of our new podcast, Sunbird Brand Bites! As a strategist and graphic designer who have worked with over 100 small businesses, Bianca and Mara have decided to share their best advice for solopreneurs in these bi-weekly episodes. In this first episode, Mara and Bianca explain the difference between branding and marketing. Here are some of the highlights:

Episode #1: What is the difference between branding and marketing?

Common misconceptions about branding

Branding is only for luxury businesses.

Many small business owners can be skeptical of branding because they feel like it’s obnoxious. They tend to associate it with overcharging.

Branding is manipulative.

Bianca explains that some people assume that branding has “a dark side” to it. That it’s not genuine, and merely meant to trick consumers. “It’s almost like pulling the wool over people’s eyes.”

Branding is optional.

Mara has noticed that small business owners tend to pick and choose when to think about branding. Almost like “you can turn it on and off.”

Branding is the equivalent to marketing.

Many solopreneurs confuse branding and marketing. They think they’re the same thing, or that branding is the only type of marketing. Or that it’s just one of many marketing strategies.

Common misconceptions about marketing

Marketing is only for luxury businesses.

Entrepreneurs are so overwhelmed with all the tasks they have to perform to keep their business afloat, that they sometimes push marketing to the side. They assume that their business is too small to start thinking about their marketing strategy.

Marketing doesn’t matter.

Some solopreneurs are convinced that marketing isn’t as important as branding. They’re only concerned with creating a strong brand, and then assume that people will come to them. 

Reality of branding 

“Branding gives you the gift of clarity.”

As Mara explains, branding gives you the confidence of knowing that the actions you take directly flow from your identity. “It actually frees you from overthinking.”

Branding is what draws you in.

Is it the specific colors you associate with the company? Is it the the ingredients? Is it their sense of fun or surprise? “If you open it, will your life never be the same again?” Branding is at the root of all these characteristics. 

Reality of marketing

Marketing is “how it got on the shelf.”

Marketing is how you put your brand in front of people. Like Mara says, “how it got on the shelf,” or more specifically, “why this shelf?” 

Mara explains that marketing can also be “fighting to get your product where it needs to be placed.” She explains that one of our clients had been fighting to get their product placed in the proper section of a supermarket. Part of effectively putting your brand in front of people is making sure you’re reaching your customers in the right place. This is done through marketing.

Branding: Think of it as a person…

Mara and Bianca have found that the easiest way to explain branding to their clients who are confused about it is to think of it as a person. Mara explains, “Whether you like it or not, people are forming feelings about you.”

Bianca agrees, and mentions that you build a reputation without even trying. “No matter what you do, you’re creating an impression in people’s minds. The question is just: Do you want to control that… or leave it to chance?”

This idea of controlling that image that people have of you in their minds is what Bianca and Mara feel best explains the concept of branding. 

Branding: As a “buzzword”...

Right now everyone’s talking about branding. It’s a word that being thrown around a lot, and there’s so much content on it online. It’s not unusual to hear that large scale companies have entire branding departments.

But why is branding so popular now? Why are people talking about it so much? 

Mara argues that, “differentiating is becoming harder and harder. Branding just has to enter that conversation because otherwise the conversation will only be around who has more money…” Bianca explains that there are so many products available, people get overwhelmed. “Quality and price are not enough to help you decide what matters.” Now, companies must have a clear message that resonates with consumers. This is where branding comes in: to help you stand out amongst your competitors.

Branding and marketing work together

Bianca explains that, “branding has to do with your identity, and then marketing has to do with your actions,” but they have to work together. How you act should directly stem from your identity.

If you’re unclear about your identity, and you keep taking actions that don’t really seem to have any correlation, “you start to run into problems.” You start to confuse people or even become untrustworthy. You may even feel discouraged because you don’t have clarity on who you are. 

Approaching a marketing question with what Bianca calls “both the creative branding side and the more technical marketing side,” you will see much more successful results than if you just used one or the other.


Listen to Episode #1 of Sunbird Brand Bites now: