The Latest from the ABM Experts
March 11, 2019
How to Understand Branding
Written by Sangram Vajre
This post is based on a podcast with David Brier. If you’d like to listen to more #FlipMyFunnel Podcast episodes, you can check them out here and listen to this episode below!
Welcome to another episode of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast. Today, we sit down with author and speaker David Brier.
David is an expert on branding, and he wrote a best-selling book entitled Brand Intervention, which talks about 33 steps to transform the brand you have into the brand you need.
As marketers, we all have these thoughts around branding, such as “Why is this brand trying that method? Is it working?” Or, “Why exactly is that brand better?” But most of us don’t take the time to really understand it.
David takes the time.
Besides branding, we’re also going to jump into Alexa, because David’s one of the very few people who’s been putting a lot of content on Alexa.
Topics we’re unpacking today:
- Why you need to differentiate your brand and tell a story worth hearing
- Cliches kill brands, and what you can do to stop them
- How to translate your internal passion to the market
- The power of sampling snippets of your content
- How David is leveraging Alexa for content
Why these 4 words matter more than anything: the art of differentiation:
The only way to export your blood sweat, and tears to the world comes down to a four-word definition. The art of differentiation. Differentiation is our job when we’re telling a story.
Before the iPhone and the iPad, Apple came out with the iPod. It was basically an MP3 player. They didn’t ask themselves, “How are we different?” They didn’t actually show the device or say, “Hey, look at our little click wheel.” They didn’t even talk about technology. It was after the fact. They instead showed people immersed in the experience: loud music, color, all the different singers. You saw the little white silhouette of the earbuds and the wire going down to this little rectangle around their belt or around their midsection. That’s what you saw. And they closed it with 1000 songs in your pocket. That was because they defined their point of difference in terms of this is about people.
How cliches can kill your brand’s story:
David Brier: Cliches suck the life out of your brand. Ever heard this: “We’re the next Uber of …” We all can’t stand it.That may have been good for the first company that said it, fut not for the 20th, the 30th, the 50th, or the 100th company that says it.
You could be passionate, intoxicated on your own Kool-aid of how amazing your product or service is. But if you use cliches, it sucks the life out of all of the innovation, energy, and investment. “If someone invests into your project, there should be a clause, that says ‘if you use cliches, you will refund our investments to us.’”
How are you leveraging Alexa for content?
David Brier: A couple years ago Gary Vee said, “Voice is the next frontier.” I thought: “Wait a second. What was the only form of entertainment 50 years ago is now the next revolution.” I found that to be rather amusing and entertaining. But he framed it and said, “It’s going to be with all these devices: Bluetooth, Siri, Alexa, etc.”So I thought, “You know, the barrier to entry is low. Let me give this a shot” People have given me good feedback on the sound of my voice and my ability to frame and provide content and context.
So now we published episode 107, and people are digging it. It’s not as populated as the podcast space. It’s really early on in the curve.
My Alexa show is “What’s Next in Branding.” What I do is I give a very short, insightful, but actionable way to approach business. It’s about the mindset you and I need to have if we’re going to crush it. If you’re showing up at a party — what I’m calling a party is whether it’s a meeting, whether it’s an industry, whatever — you need to be on your game. You can’t show up and do the usual. You can’t just show up and shake someone’s hand and smile at them. It’s about relevance. It’s about meaning. It’s about knowing your role in the game of things.
The power of sampling snippets:
David Brier: Consider movie production: Hollywood spends $40MM to $200MM to make a movie. Then they spend another 70-100 million to promote it with a killer trailer. They’re going to whet your appetite, and they’re going to allow people to sample stuff.” Blogging is a form of sampling. Whole Foods samples food items. Mattress companies say, “Have our mattress for 100 nights. If you don’t like it, return it.” Or take software: They’ll give you 7 days or 30 days for free. It’s all sampling.
So I told my friend Jeremy to try it. I explained my concept and gave him the tool I found online. His engagement went (I believe) 20x after he implemented this. Consider that — 20x his number of downloads and engagements with regards to his podcast.
So going to the Alexa: “Is there a snippet, audio, visual, or otherwise, that I could use to wet the appetite of my audience?”
<“You are the outcome you make possible. You’re the transformation you make possible.” — David Brier>
Ok, so here are my takeaways: One is the art of differentiation. How are you different, what makes you different, why is somebody going to buy from you or your competitor? Cliches suck the life out of brands. They take you away from who you are originally, who you are authentically, and what is the depth of your brand. None of us wants that to happen.The second big idea: figure out a way of how you’re making the world smaller. Figure out a way your brand is making the world smaller because that’s what your customers want. They want a faster, convenient, easier process or life to have.
I also loved what David said about sampling the snippets. Lastly, you may not do Alexa, but try and find something for your own space that is unique to you, that might be interesting, that few or none of your competitors are crowding around. Don’t just try the norm. Try to do something nobody else is doing in your space, and a lot of times, that comes from a different industry altogether. If you’re in B2B, look at what B2C companies are trying, or if you are in packaged goods, look at a software company. Find something that is interesting that you would do and then get others to follow.
Write down how and why your product or service is different. Now look at your top 2 to 6 competing companies. Look at their messaging. If it sounds the same as yours, you need to dig a little deeper. I challenge you to look deep enough and then cross-check it, and if your promises, if your assertions, if your declarations, if the reason why you should be chosen sounds similar or identical to these other companies, you haven’t found your point of difference yet
Restart. Consider the truly great things about your product, the deep differences that would make someone outside of your company say “Wow. That’s really different.” It maybe the way that you service, it maybe the speed of your service, it maybe a more personal approach. It maybe less layers to get to the final outcome. It maybe a more seamless distribution channel. Whatever it is. Go find your difference.