I was introduced to this guy Mark through someone I truly respect in the entrepreneur community. Mark is this no-nonsense, unapologetic guy. I like his straightforward attitude. It’s refreshing.
Mark has involvement in a few cool ventures, and is a decision-maker because of his investment. He wants to make a few changes, which was part of our introduction and meeting. We were meeting because he was frustrated with his marketing department and was looking for an outside view. I’m happy to help, and love talking with entrepreneurs.
One of questions that came up was “Should I hire a Marketing VP, or a Branding person?” It’s an interesting question, and at the time, I gave an immediate answer that he was satisfied with. Once I left our meeting and had time to think about it, I’m not sure if I would answer the same way.
Hiring a marketing person is not the same as a branding person.
That may cause some backlash, but I see them as two different roles. They should have insight into some of the same industry best practices, but their function is different.
In my previous post, the terms marketing and branding were defined. In that post, I categorized the concept/term of brand being the umbrella, and all other terms (marketing, design, advertising) falling under that umbrella. Defining your company’s brand will create a domino effect of how you approach your business.
So if you don’t have a brand or need to redefine your brand, then you really should hire a branding person first and foremost. This person will help to define your purpose, value and differentiation, and therefore how you are addressing your customer or clients pain points.
If you don’t have customer pain points, or even worse you don’t know your customers, there is no way that you’ll be able to market to them.
If you have a brand that is a true reflection of your company, then you want a branding and marketing person to work in parallel. A branding person will ensure the integrity of your brand while your marketing role ensures that you’re reaching the right audiences through the appropriate marketing channels.
If you win the hiring lottery, then you may get lucky enough to hire a branding person with awesome marketing skills or vise versa.
Of course, this is in an ideal world. Not all companies have the budget or resources to hire both. That’s where the answer to the question is tough to answer. Who do you hire first when you only have the resources to hire one role?
Here are two realistic options when you need a brand AND marketing role (on a budget):
- Hire a full-time Brand Strategist. Then hire out contract for your content marketing, design, etc. The branding role will have your brand as top priority. If you hire the right contractors, they will set you up with the best methods to market.
- Hire a full-time Marketing VP. Then hire experienced content marketing, designers, etc. to fulfill the rest. If you go this route, be sure that you create a team that communicates with one another, so that they have your branding in mind when you market. Experienced contractors should keep your branding top of mind.
Keeping your brand integrity is important and should be top priority. If you hire professional and seasoned people, then your brand will be a natural consideration for them when they are fulfilling their role for your company.
Have an opinion or question? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.