So when I started my career, I was aiming for Journalism, got shanghaied into PR, eventually moved on to marketing, and now branding is probably my favorite aspect of any project I get involved in. About the only thing I haven’t dabbled in is advertising — which is a total lie because I help develop properties and products that advertisers can use to disseminate their message.

Nonetheless, I still have trouble drawing lines to distinguish each of the four. It seems to me that anyone who specialize in one, knows a considerable amount about the other, and has probably even specialized in at least one of those others at some point in their career. In fact, when I attended Geek Dinner Montreal, I thought the question would be a great ice-breaker. All I learned, however, is that:

  1. which ever of the four someone specializes in is the one that they are most likely to say is the most important (usually on some technicality or for some specious reason).
  2. and asking a question like that encourages people to take you for an idiot, so that there’s then no way that they’ll listen to your own input as to how you might think the hierarchy or relationship between the four might differ from how they see it.

In any case, I came across these great images via Pronet Advertising. They were on Ads of the World, and probably elucidate some of the key differences between the four better than any know-it-all-industry-insider has ever been able to.

In fact, I think the only one that falls short of the truth is the branding one. Whereas the other three exemplify how it’s accomplished, the branding slide simply shows the result. Mind you, I believe that the only way that branding could be better depicted in this specific context would probably not be appropriate for the audience. After all, it would probably have to entail the girl watching footage of the man being a great lover, or at least a friend saying to her “Didn’t Sheryl say that he’s a great lover?”

One way or another, I think whoever it was that was behind this one knew what they were talking about. It’s funny to think, though, that as one of the most powerful marketing tools, sex is also particularly useful in delineating the difference between marekting, PR, advertising, and branding.

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