In today’s saturated digital landscape, branding serves as a defining element for a business. Like the rhythms of rock and roll, your company’s branding should have its own distinct essence. 


Think of McDonald’s Golden Arches, or Disney’s Mickey Mouse. Now consider your favorite bands. When rock musicians perform, they’re not just sharing music; they’re presenting a distinct identity. Similarly, CEOs can benefit from adopting this strategy: Effective branding and marketing can enhance sales efforts in meaningful ways.

This intersection of branding, marketing and sales is highlighted in the kickoff episode of Publio’s latest podcast offering, SMarketPlace.™ Following a brief hiatus from our initial podcast to revamp our format and production team, we’re pleased to reenter the podcast scene. 


SMarketPlace features co-host, sales leader and expert Tom Dempsey, and is set in Tom’s rock and roll themed bourbon lounge (You have to dial a code in to enter. Seriously! More to come on that.

We’ve been working on this podcast reboot with a talented young creative director for several months, and are excited to see it take shape. Co-host Tom Dempsey and I use our love for rock and roll to frame the discussion, including asking guests and listeners to share their favorite bands and related SMarketing insights. We have our first episode and several more in the works. Here are some of the topics we have lined up:

  • Branding
  • Ideal Customer Targeting
  • Marketing to ICPs (Ideal Customer Personas)
  • ICP Qualification
  • Sales Infrastructure and Process
  • Marketing Infrastructure and Process

Following are some highlights from our first episode on branding:

Branding should elicit a strong emotional response, even in B2B marketing. It’s not just about facts and figures but about crafting compelling stories and making meaningful connections with your customer audience. 

Why? Eventually, they’re going to buy something. 


Effective Brands Invoke More than a Feeling


Beginning with a shared memory of both of our first concerts, the Boston concert tour in 1978, and the emotional connection it still triggers today, our conversation sets the stage for the SMarketPlace series. We reflect on how rock and roll is a great metaphor for marketing and sales, and explore how great music – like an impactful brand – can resonate for people across time, distance and cultures to drive sales outcomes.

We discussed the significance of branding in connecting with ideal customers. We stress the need for a recognizable brand that distinguishes a company from its competitors, drawing parallels with lessons from the music business. Through our exchange, we explore how aspects like differentiation, design, clear messaging, and tapping into the essence of your target audience can apply to all aspects of marketing and sales, offering our insights for businesses aiming to create a strong and lasting connection with their customers. 

A strong, recognizable brand in marketing and branding, delivered by a single, consistent element can create a lasting connection with customers.

Tom highlighted the iconic artwork featured on Boston’s debut and second albums. He spoke of the potency of branding, noting that Boston’s consistent logo between their first and second albums spoke volumes to fans, illustrating how effective branding doesn’t always necessitate intricate details; a simple, enduring logo can convey a brand’s identity and resonate with your customer audience.


“People have a predisposition to think that B2B marketing has to be speeds and feeds and facts. In fact, a ton of companies differentiate themselves by the people that they hire and the stories that they tell. It doesn’t have to be just rows and columns, even if you’re selling to a CFO.”

The creative potential of branding is limited only by one’s imagination. In another exchange from the podcast, we delve into the pivotal role of branding in connecting with ideal customers. 

I share a personal story from early in my career at IBM, emphasizing the power of differentiation in branding. He recounts how IBM strategically positioned itself in college bookstores against Apple’s stylish college representatives with a Joe College look, underscoring that branding extends beyond logos to encompass clothing choices, content, as well as the people you hire and the stories they tell. 

Tom stressed that branding applies not only to companies but also to products. In a competitive landscape, he advises against competing on price, as the smallest difference can sway customers. Instead, he advocates competing on quality, aligning with my emphasis on differentiation and brand identity. 

“You can either compete on quality or you can compete on price. You don’t want to compete on price because if somebody comes in a penny lower, that’s who they’re going to buy from. You do it with quality, whatever that happens to mean in your industry.”

We also highlight the significance of branding and the enduring impact of emotions on business relationships with their customers. We draw a second set of parallels with the music industry, highlighting the Eagles’ ability to adapt and evolve over the years as a lesson in effective branding. 

The Eagles’ transition from acoustic albums like One of These Nights to the iconic electric rock Hotel California while maintaining their core identity resonates with the idea that successful branding can adapt and grow while staying true to the values of your ideal customers.


Just as the Eagles successfully brought their audience along on their musical journey, businesses can thrive by understanding their ICP and adjusting their brand strategy accordingly. A flexible brand can evolve without losing its essence, remaining relevant and emotionally connected to changing customer preferences. It’s a valuable lesson in branding: know your audience, adapt, and grow while staying true to your core identity.


This first episode of SMarketPlace not only underscores the essence of branding, it also offers a valuable lesson in leveraging a unique identity and effective communication to support and impact sales, drawing parallels with the music business to inspire marketing strategies that resonate with target audiences.

As we raise a toast to rock and roll, sales, and marketing, it’s a simple yet powerful reminder of the role of branding, storytelling for today’s marketers, and the lasting influence of music in our lives. Cheers to the enduring power of emotion in marketing to drive sales and the timeless appeal of rock and roll. 

Now, that’s Sales and Marketing alignment.

This post is part of a podcast ecosystem that includes Spotify, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, as well as email marketing, to fully activate your SMarketing network and amplify your SEO. Find out how you can achieve maximum impact with your media with our free competitive assessment.