Branding Versus Marketing: Love for Sale

I have so much to say about last week. For simplicity, I plan to present my eventful synthesis as a chronological narrative. An evolution of insight and ideas that kicked off last Monday June 10th with a press event held at Five Points Bakery to welcome the BALLE network and Executive Director Michelle Long to Buffalo.

Michelle + Sarah

I am an empath. Conferences are taxing to people like me; they require reserves of energy. You hope they’re worth it.

That’s how at least one part of me felt as I approached the BALLE conference kickoff. Then I walked in the door at FIve Points Bakery—a business that is an important and nourishing part of my community experience—and I saw Harper. Then Andrew and Todd; then Dana, and through Dana I met Alex and Marika. I arrived feeling uncertain and left buzzing with goodwill and anticipation.

I had been playing around in my head with how to introduce myself; how to answer that what-do-you-do question. I know the fundamentals of a good elevator pitch and I know myself—I have no interest in selling myself; only in being myself.

That’s what I love about Buffalo—the freedom I feel living here to BE me. Leaving Five Points, I remembered that the 600 conference attendees I’d be spending the next four days with are all here to celebrate people and place. They come bearing goodwill; they believe in love, respect and relationships.

I define branding as what I publish. My words and choices consciously aligned with my values and presented as perspective. If you want to know why I am who I am, study my story. My marketing is me being me. It’s me showing up in the moment, fully present; relaxed, alert and aware. It’s all of me meeting all of you and improvising with love.

I learned to trust that me being me is my best marketing from a networking group of Buffalo Babes in business—an organically grown group of women who come together monthly to validate one another and share goodwill. It was a small circle and I was one of the first to introduce myself. By the time the circle completed, I wanted a redo: less sales, more me. I shared again and shared a vulnerable truth; the response was overwhelming.

Thank you to the Buffalo Women in Business who held a space for me to breakdown so I could breakthrough. Thank you BALLE for mobbing Buffalo with your Love.


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