In the latest episode of the ‘Coffee with Cush’ podcast, hosts Aziz and Wahj take us on a journey through the intricate landscape of branding and marketing. The episode is a treasure trove of insights, not just for startups but also for established brands. Whether you’re trying to build a brand from scratch or looking to defend an established one, this episode has something for everyone.

The Startup Dilemma: Branding vs. Marketing

One of the most compelling discussions in the episode revolves around the challenges startups face when it comes to branding. Aziz points out that many startups spend an inordinate amount of time and money on branding, often without a clear understanding of their market position. The hosts argue that startups should focus more on building their business and understanding their target audience before investing heavily in branding.

The Chicken and Egg Question

Aziz calls the startup branding dilemma a “chicken and egg question.” A startup can’t truly establish a brand until it has customers and is generating revenue. He emphasizes that your brand should reflect your company, not the other way around. This is why it’s crucial for startups to be flexible and adaptive, especially in the early stages.

The Defensive Strategy: Protecting Your Brand

The episode also delves into the challenges that come with being a big, established brand. Using the example of Barbie, Aziz explains that when a brand reaches a certain size, the focus shifts from building the brand to protecting it. The Barbie movie serves as a case study in how a well-known brand can use a massive marketing campaign to both defend and extend its brand identity.

The Birdseye Debacle: When Branding Goes Wrong

To illustrate the pitfalls of branding, the episode discusses the Birdseye horse meat scandal. This example serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of brand integrity and the potential repercussions when that integrity is compromised.

Cultural Nuances in Branding

Wahj brings up an interesting point about the influence of culture on branding. He suggests that a future episode could delve into how shapes and colors affect brand perception across different cultures. Aziz agrees, mentioning that he has some interesting stories about brand names that have different meanings in other countries.


From the challenges facing startups to the defensive strategies employed by established brands, this episode of ‘Coffee with Cush’ offers a comprehensive look at the highs and lows of branding. It serves as a reminder that branding is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that requires continuous adaptation and vigilance.

Don’t miss out on this insightful episode. Tune in to ‘Coffee with Cush’ for more deep dives into the world of branding, marketing, and much more.