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Marketing vs. Branding

Note: This is a chapter from my latest book, “Socially Smart: Twitter Plus Facebook, Marketing Multipliers And Brand Boosters,” a book that provides tips, techniques and what some even call my “secrets” that helped me gain over 119,000 followers on Twitter, plus that coveted Twitter, “Verified, Blue Checkmark.” This book provides examples (including screen captures) on how to get A-List celebrities, like LL Cool J, William Shatner plus big companies like Red Bull, Adobe, Walgreens, and even Motorola to broadcast your name (brand) on Twitter to their millions of followers for FREE! Available for $3.99 on (Kindle), Apple iBook Store (iPad, iPhone), Barnes & Noble (for Nook), Reader Store (for Sony) and other distributors; so if you get one A-List celebrity to tweet to millions of followers, isn’t that worth your return on investment?

Chapter 1 From, “Socially Smart: Twitter Plus Facebook, Marketing Multipliers And Brand Boosters

Before we get into the meat of social smartness, I wanted to clarify marketing vs. branding. I myself can easily confuse the two, so I hope to not confuse you in my own explanation and beliefs about the two—I’m a communication’s major, not a marketing major, but I’ve lived both worlds.

Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough, Moab, Utah

Playboy Playmate Holley Dorrough photographed in Moab, Utah.

Let’s start with a little history. Brand comes from the days where ranchers would use a hot iron to mark the hide of their cattle. I myself grew up with this, as our brand for our cattle down in my grandfather’s South Texas ranch was 76. The “76” was symbolic, it represented the fact, before my younger brother was born, my brothers, sisters and I, were born either on the sixth or seventh of the month. This symbol (brand) represented the children’s birthdays. Practically any rancher in the area new that livestock, branded 76 on the leg, belonged to our family—brand recognition.

Rangefinder Magazine Cover, Photo by Rolando Gomez

“Rangefinder,” a photography magazine, is a brand and in the publishing world, also known as the “flag,” or magazine name.

Now not all brands are as deeply symbolic. Some brands are “a name, term, or design,” the latter sometimes known as a logo. Some brands are iconic, while others are known as commodity or concept brands. Some brands originate as an advertising campaign, the most famous and longest running that originated in such a manner and is now a commodity brand, is the one started in 1993 for the California Milk Processor Board and now licensed to all milk processors and dairy farmers nationwide—Got Milk?

Playboy Studio West Entrance

The iconic Playboy bunny trademark is easily recognized as part of the Playboy brand.

Brands, or branding of something specific, can bring such notoriety that the mere sight of a symbol, sound of a jingle, or vocalization of a slogan becomes buried in our memories. This form of brand success is known as brand awareness. Brand awareness also comes from great marketing strategies.

“Where’s the beef?” Most people automatically think of Wendy’s hamburgers. “Like a rock,” and most people think of Bob Segar and Chevrolet trucks. “Just do it,” and we think of Nike and obviously the Nike check mark is another successful brand awareness campaign that started from marketing. Does it require marketing to build the brand? No, not really. We can design the brand, perhaps as a logo, slogan or design, and then proceed to market that brand. However, sometimes effective and strategic marketing leads to branding, especially in concepts. Even your own customers can create your brand or new brand for you, as did the customers of Federal Express who they themselves coined the phrase “Fedex.”

Then there are times where consumer confidence or apathy can influence it further. A great example was Kentucky Fried Chicken took the public’s coining of KFC as a plus during a time when consumers were “anti-friedanything” when it came to health. KFC hit the nail on the head, “get rid of the fried” in their company name—wonder if the colonel turned in his grave. That action by KFC also was to change the “brand identity,” which is how a brand is perceived. Usually, the brand owner controls the brand identity and the brand image is the perception of the brand by the customer.

Great marketing managers will attempt to bridge the two. Chevrolet’s “Like a Rock” marketing campaign gave the consumer the impression that Chevy trucks are built tough, like a rock, a play on Ford’s advertising campaign, “Built Ford Tough.”

Apple computers also ran an advertising campaign “Mac vs. PC.” This was smart in their part because consumers often confuse Microsoft Windows, which is an operating software system, with PC. Apple capitalized on this by indirectly attacking Microsoft Windows based on the public perception. PC is not Microsoft Windows, nor any “operating system software.” It stands for a “personal computer,” something all desktop and laptop computers are, whether they are made by Apple, Dell or any other computer, hardware manufacturer.

Microsoft is not known for manufacturing computers, but software is a different story. Apple indirectly tackled not only Microsoft, but also all personal computer manufacturers through public perception based on brand image—an amazing marketing strategy!

U.S. Air Force Twitter

U.S. Air Force uses Twitter to reinforce it’s brand.

Another public driven brand image was when the movie “Top Gun” came out, it spiked recruitment in the U.S. Air Force, though Top Gun was based on U.S. Navy pilots. The general public perception of the relationship of fighter jets and pilots to the Air Force, obviously benefited the Air Force more than it’s sister military branch. It’s bad enough for the Navy already in the fact that general public perception associates “A few good men,” with the U.S. Marines, which are not a separate branch of the military like the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Marines are actually a corps of the Navy.

Making matters worse for the Navy, which my brother served as a Seabee, most people today know the old marketing slogans, “Be All You Can Be,” belonged to the U.S. Army; “Aim High,” belonged to the U.S. Air Force, and as mentioned earlier, “A Few Good Men,” belonged to the U.S. Marines.

What was the Navy brand identity during that time? I honestly don’t know without doing further research. I might add, “a few good men” began in March of 1779, over two hundred years ago, when then, Capt. William Jones, a Marine, had advertised he needed “a few good men” to enlist for duty in the Navy. The point is, people remember and associate brand identity to the image of that brand.

Hollywood movie makers, or perhaps the actual scriptwriters, look for those iconic lines that the public will grab. When someone hears, “Show me the money,” we automatically associate that to the movie Jerry McGuire with Tom Cruise. But Cruise didn’t make the initial statement in the movie. It was actually said first by Cuba Gooding Jr., who played Rod Tidwell, to Cruise who played McGuire.

Other great quotes that lead to branding images for movies and not just the celebrities themselves, are, “Make my day,” by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry and “Say hello to my little friend,” by Al Pacino in the movie Scarface.

Couple Kissing, Bellagio

The water show in the background of this photo is often associated with the Las Vegas Bellagio hotel and casino.

So some people will interpret the latter quotes to the actual movie, some to the actual actor, and some to both, another example of how the public controls brand image and not brand identity. But the public can confuse things too, even though the end result might become a positive brand image. In the movie Casablanca, it is never said in the movie, “Play it again Sam,” the closest line is “You played it for her, you can play it for me … If she can stand it, I can. Play it!” Still another, more famous, crowd created quote that provided a brand image was for the television show Star Trek, “Beam me up Scotty.” The actual quote in the show was, “Beam us up Scotty.”

Though no one can say Hollywood doesn’t listen to it’s fans, and this is a great point I want to illustrate. Listening to your fans is socially smart. In the case of Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi never said, “May the force be with you.” He actually said, “Remember, the Force will be with you….”

The screenwriters obviously jumped on it for future Star Wars movies. “May the force be with you,” was later first said by General Dodonna in A New Hope and in the next scene by Hans Solo. Eventually Obi-Wan Kenobi says it in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Again, the point here applies to today’s social-media channels, or your social network, listen to your followers (fans). They themselves can come up with some great branding images that you might want to incorporate in your marketing strategy for a greater brand identity.

So let’s talk marketing. There is marketing campaigns, strategy, research and more, but according to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

More specific to this book’s social smartness, marketing through socialmedia channels is how we connect our audience to our brand. That is the beauty of using marketing in our own social networks. We can engage our audience with questions that provide marketing research. Social networks are great focus groups we can build for free on social-media channels like Facebook and Twitter. No need to compensate a hired focus group.

Even trending topics, especially if they mention your brand, can give you a sense of customer loyalty, satisfaction or dissatisfaction instantly by observing tweets, retweets, favorites, and mentions on Twitter, plus comments, likes or lack of likes on Facebook. This is instant marketing research, feedback that allows you to adjust immediately and accordingly to consumer confidence.

Part of any marketing strategy today should include social-media channels, especially Facebook and Twitter as these two proven social-media channels have the greatest available “eyeballs” out there, almost two billion combined. If your marketing plan incorporates a great slogan, sweepstakes, contest, photo, video, etc., the chances of your marketing going “viral” increase and virility brings recognition, or brand awareness.

Dog Digs For Crabs on Beach

Sometimes people blunder and like a dog searching for crabs, we feel like burying our heads in the sand.

However, as some major corporations have learned, social-media channels can react the opposite. This happened to Nikon when they were promoting one of their new DSLR cameras that featured video capability. As soon as word leaked that parts of the actual video promoting their new product was shot by Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd with a competing Canon DSLR, heads began to roll and Nikon was forced into damage control. Sorgjerd posted a day later on his Facebook that Nikon had apologized and corrected the situation to his satisfaction.

It’s not just big companies making mistakes that are amplified via socialmedia channels. Individuals do, but most go unnoticed because most aren’t public figures like politicians and celebrities. Though the latter group is notorious for making blunders. Perhaps this is a great indicator that they themselves are actually maintaining their social-media accounts and not necessarily their publicist or a staff member.

The biggest blunder was when actor Charlie Sheen tweeted out his personal cell phone number to Justin Bieber. Sheen assumed he had sent it via a private, direct message but instead posted it publicly. Obviously Sheen was forced to change his number, but let this lesson learned make you aware that sensitive information is better communicated by other means than social-media channels.

One thing is for certain, Sheen tweeted this out himself and while it was his personal Twitter account, many corporations entrust their employees and this can haunt your company if there are no strict guidelines or policies as KitchenAid found out the hard way during the presidential debates.

One of their employees that monitored the corporate Twitter account mistakenly tweeted out, “Obamas gms even knew it was going 2 b bad! She died 3 days b4 he became president.” The message was quickly removed, but not before it was retweeted and seen by many. The employee was reprimanded but the damage was done, KitchenAid’s corporate name was blemished with 140 characters in less than a few seconds.

This is the negative power of social-media channels and it’s also why you must have a master plan, and if you’re a company, then you must keep corporate social-media policies in place, enforced and revisited with refresher training.

Socially Smart, Available From And Others
Socially Smart is available from (Kindle), Apple iBook Store (iPad, iPhone), Barnes & Noble (for Nook), Reader Store (for Sony), Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie, eSentral, and Scribd. Get your Kindle copy here: (click this link, opens new window on

Please don’t forget to add your honest five-star review and Rolando will acknowledge it on his verified Twitter account! (Just tweet him at his Twitter verified account, @rolandogomez, once it’s done.)

Twitter is a major marketing tool, but even though good marketing can exist, bad marketing exists too, especially with how easy and quickly anyone can post through a number of social-media channels. It’s important that any social-media channel user think before they post.

Once posted, even after quickly deleted, the content is still viewable the instant it’s published. All it takes is one screen capture or one retweet. Always do your research first, before you open thy mouth or you could wind up like Ashton Kutcher when he tweeted, “How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult, #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find poor taste.”

Good marketing management dictates, “When in doubt, have someone else proofread it!” Perhaps if Kutcher had asked his followers (engagement) “What do you think about Joe Paterno, Penn State coach under investigation? Would love to know your thoughts.” Kutcher could have then developed a more informed decision about his follow-up tweet (engagement) to his fans.

It’s this engagement and other forms of engagement, with your followers, that is a mandatory ingredient for any brand’s marketing strategy. This is a form of building relationships with your audience. Market relationship building is a part of the social networking goal that not only helps to gain followers, but to keep them too. Long-term, loyal fans are extremely important to any social network. These fans, or loyal followers, will help you maintain a non-chaotic social environment within your own network. Loyalty breeds brand identity. Celebrities know this and they know the power of “social engagement,” way before there was any World Wide Web.

Twitter, Facebook and other social-media channels added to the already existing celebrity marketing strategies of television talk show appearances, radio interviews, press releases, entertainment news shows, etc., and print media. Celebrities know first-hand the power of the public and that power has exponentially multiplied thanks to digital technology.

So my advice to any marketing manager, monitor celebrities, though choose them carefully, study how they advance their brand, their marketing strategies for new movie releases, new television shows, appearances, music releases, etc. Most have publicists who are experts at keeping them in front of the public, usually squeaky clean. In fact, I look at celebrity publicist as not only public relations experts, but also brand managers that understand the power of marketing in various venues.

Lines, Social Media, Marketing, Networking

Just as lines are important in photography, communication lines are important in social media, marketing and networking.

Where many marketing managers fail is associating social-media channels as Internet marketing. While it’s true that social-media channels reside on the World Wide Web, which further relies on the Internet for connectivity, think of Internet marketing as emails, website advertising, search engine optimization, landing pages, etc. This type of marketing is broad in scope whereas marketing through social-media channels requires a more focused approach because it targets the people, not at the people.

However, don’t confuse social marketing with societal marketing. Marketing socially, to society, is about being a good corporate citizen like assisting with society’s concerns. Delta Airlines proved this with an amazing breast cancer awareness campaign not only for it’s customers, but for its employees. Societal marketing will often consider the impact on society while still trying to meet the company’s goals and the consumers’ wants or needs.

Now I’ve just barely touched on marketing and obviously more on branding because this book is targeted more at helping you build your name, or if you’re the social-media representative for your company, your company’s name utilizing free social-media channels.

I only introduce this chapter to help give you an overview about some marketing and branding principles that might help you when you’re trying to figure out what to tweet or say in your status updates.

So whether your brand is 76, a check mark or you’ve got milk, please know it’s important to listen and engage within your own social network. We can learn from that network as long as we understand, it’s not just a marketing vehicle, it’s a tool that brings us closer to our followers—and without the people, without those fans, we have nothing, just ask any celebrity.

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  1. Hey Dude! Good stuff. Is it only available for Kindles? No PDF downloads?

    • Jimmy, Socially Smart is available from (Kindle), Apple iBook Store (iPad, iPhone), Barnes & Noble (for Nook), Reader Store (for Sony), Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie, eSentral, and Scribd. I’m sure one of those might have a PDF of it. I’m considering making it available as a print version, though it would be priced higher, obviously because of printing costs. If you do a “Google,” there are free programs you can download that allow you to view it on any computer, as a Kindle format. I’ve done that to test it and it works!


  1. Anonymous - [...] of followers--not to mention, get their attention of your photography talent. Here's the link: Enjoy and please share,…

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Welcome to (Lens Diaries™), a hybrid photography blog with social flair. The photoblog provides photo tips, photo tutorials and photo diaries by professional photographer, author, writer, speaker and social media consultant, Rolando Gomez.

Lens Diaries™ is open to all levels of photographers, beginners to advanced, including fine art photography, fashion photography, wedding photography, portrait photography, people photography, baby photography, sports photography, nature photography, iphoneography, landscape photography, studio photography, underwater photography, etc.

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