I am often asked to explain the difference between brand and marketing, and strategy versus tactics to audiences and clients. But today guest columnist Boyan Blocka, a writer, marketer and business consultant based in Vancouver, Canada, gives us a musical jam version of these definitions that are way more fun. His company, Kyosei Consulting works with clients worldwide.
When meeting with first-time small business owners, it’s not unusual that their marketing-speak is a little bit blurred. To help everyone get on the same page, I sometimes introduce a music analogy as a sort of quick ‘Marketing 101.’
So, without further adieu, ‘Marketing 101: The Music Analogy.’
Brand = Musical Style
I liken brand to your unique musical style. It determines ‘what and how’ you play (ie. market yourself) and is heavily influenced by your intended audience. Just like a unique musical style, your brand sets expectations in the customer’s mind, well before you even play your marketing piece.
If you think of Apple, you know their style well before they even touch their first keynote (pun intended). Hence, just like you know what Jazz sounds like without needing to know the name of the song, it’s easy to pinpoint Apple’s brand with only a few clues or even spot a brand copycat!
Of course at this point, if my clients and I stay stuck in brand minutiae – I quickly plug my peer Maria Ross and her book ‘Branding Basics for Small Business’ (second edition now in print!) – but I digress… (Editor’s Note: Aw, thanks Boyan!)
Campaign = The Concert
A campaign is to a marketer what a concert is to a musician. Campaigns (just like good concerts) piggyback on and speak to current trends and audience preferences – all with designs to move an audience emotionally. So when companies measure and tweak their marketing based on user metrics – in rough musical terms, really what they’re doing is practicing their set and honing it to better get a rise out of you.
Marketing Piece = The Song
The actual marketing piece is the song that’s played. Carefully scored and crafted, drafted and re-drafted, a marketing piece must live and breathe the spirit of the brand and be consistent with the goals of the campaign it serves.
Strategy = The Hook of the Song
Next is strategy. Psychologically, strategies are like hooks (or catchy riffs in music parlance) used to capture the ear of the listener. The key differentiator of a strategy (versus, say, a tactic) is that strategies are as powerful today as they will be a hundred years from now. They’re timeless. A common example of a strategy is the use of ‘a free offer’ to tempt a prospect to try something new.
Strategies stem from an understanding of human behavior, memory, cognitive bias and effect. And, just like a good hook in music, they work reliably regardless of the instrument of delivery – be it ebook, web, television or lemonade stand. Have a listen to these unconventionally played pieces here and here and see if you’re still moved by their memorable hooks.
Tactics = The playable parts of an instrument
Finally, that lands us on the most contentious of all areas for me – tactics. Tactics are like the keys of the piano. They’re the trending ‘bright shiny objects’ of the moment. They’re social media sites. Neato metrics. Cool ways to link, friend, like, post, photograph, etc. … but they’re not everything – and they don’t work forever.
Use tactics in the right order with the right timing (informed by your strategy, campaign and brand) – and you have marketing music. Hit tactics too hard, randomly, repeatedly, or all at once – and all you get is noise. (Tweet this!)
A good thing to remember next time your Social Media person is emphatic about playing ‘Twitter, Twitter, Little Star’ one more time!
Photo credit: Jason Eppink on Flickr