#107: Lindsay Pedersen

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This podcast is part of the shared. PODCAST network learn more at share dot. FM Hello Friend. I'm Jeff Gilbert and this is my podcast sharable I decide to call Cherbourg because the conversations I have with my guests are so good you gotta tell someone variety show of sorts where we talk about. Culture relationships leadership dating business comics marketing parts sales and more wherever the conversation station takes us. One thing is for sure this podcast. His share welcome back share bill. I'm your host Jeff. Gilbert has always in today with me I have author of the book forging and Ironclad Brand Leaders Guide Lindsay Peterson Lindsey welcome to the episode. Thanks thanks staff. It's good to be here with you. Yeah I am so totally jazz to be talking to you. Today I spent the entire morning with you as I alluded to prior tests officially jumping something on the episode Reading through your book and going through the different concepts in there and I have like within the first three chapters of it. I think I built enough notes in in front of me that we could do like we do a marathon of like ten episodes. Because you're on with that. I honestly like I say this not suggesting the people do this but I think if people just went through your book and read the headings like literally that's et like without even reading all the stuff in between it it would be a masterclass and then if they were or to do what they should do which is read all of the stuff under the headings. I think that they would get so much out of your book is so it takes theoretical of kind of ideas and makes them like ridiculously concrete. You are you are so very specific in a and I'm so glad to have you on because of that because I know that you are are really you're not against you're just sort of the antidote to squishy elusive in superficial intangible. Kind of idea of brand and I think people look for that so super stoked to have you here. Well I'm really superstock to be talking with you about it and that such a compliment that you gave me about my book I I invite people to just skim the headings and see if that alone either wet their appetite to read more or it's like oh now I'd get these things that I have been wanting to get. Yeah I I'd imagine it should like if you know again like listeners if you see forging an ironclad brand on on a shelf just pick up leaf through it a little bit because really what I got before before I start any book I'll usually like I'll read through the chapter headings I'll kind of like processed the book rather than read it. I'll start by kind of what's the format has it laid out You know headings all that source of chapters the flow that and just even through that I got like really excited lighted to start actually reading through it Because I really do think we have this problem in brand and you really describe it beautifully in. I think it's even in the first chapter after you're talking about how when you left the bay area to move to Seattle and he started you know Your Brand Strategy Agency you had these interactions. That will sound very familiar to anyone who has ever encountered anyone that does anything in brand where people would say things you like along the lines of like. Oh so you do logos. Oh I love graphic design or we don't do brand because we market SEO. And it's like. I think that's the issue. You mentioned. Something really brilliant in there that You alluded to this interview that Malcolm Glad while had where he talked about when people talk about brand he. He likens to when people say Africa at that was a really interesting analogy can. Are you able to go through that by the way I am talking really fast now but I read your book this morning. So and it's really like on the tip of my tongue and I realize you probably wrote it before this morning. Anything you're like. I don't even remember what I wrote. That happens a lot so it's really close to me but if you remember that part what did you mean by that. Yes yes so yes so Malcolm glad will. Somebody asked him this question in an interview podcast interview about brand and he said you know I. I get kind of uncomfortable when people ask me about brand and the reason is I feel the same way about the word brand is I feel about the word Africa. Like what do you mean if you're talking about Africa You could be talking about some big Old Continent with you know wildly varying problems and terrain and even climate so if one person person says Africa may mean you know the slums of Johannesburg and the listeners is picturing Morocco or the Masai Sii tribes outside of Nairobi. It's going to be a really confusing conversation and the same sorts of things happen with brands. So I I say brand and one person thinks of logo another person thinks of TV. Advertising another person thinks of kind of the personality and tonality finality of a business. Another person thinks of A tagline all of these are expressions of brands. So it's not that it's not that they're wrong that's what makes this sort of tricky. It's just that brand is a very large and important and highly consequential consequential Word just like Africa is so. It's so important when when whenever I have a conversation about brand now I know to make sure we're defining the term so that when I talk about it the way that I think of it the listener is you know hearing me the way that that I wanna be understood so so talk to me about that and kind of explain for people. Then what do you mean by brand and One of the things that I really like an and I'm sure it'll come up in his this concept of the Northstar so talk me a little bit how you would explain it in a simple turn your elevator pitch real quick and then we'll dig deeper into what is brand brand this what you stand for. It's the meaning that you own inside the brain of your target audience. So you know Oh that what that implies is you're gonNA. All businesses have a brand whether they are deliberate in defining it as as I advocate. Hey folks to be or whether they are passively just letting the market define it for them so It's it's it's what do you you mean. It's this relationship between Your Business and the audience of Your Business. What is it that? How is it that they think of your business? And that will be the sum total of all of their experiences with hearing from or interacting with your business. It's not just one thing it's not gesture messaging. It's not just certainly not just your tagline or your name or your logo. It's everything that you mean. As in their head as a result of all of the things that they experience of what you do and so when you think of it that way and if if you believe that that is ben official to be deliberate in defining what you want to stand for then you can see how it'd be kind of weird to think of brand as merely a logo because it as a consumer and you can think in your own life like are there any businesses that you really loyal to because of their logo likely not so But but if you think what are the business. What are the drivers of my loyalty to a given business? It's what they give me. It's the value that they provide for me which comes through in their product at comes through in certainly comes through in their messaging It comes through in the way that I feel having interacted with that. A business So it's it's much easier to just kind of like check the box. Yes we have a logo. We have a brand But it's not gonNA give you all that much value as a leader in making decisions on how to come to market and how to allocate resources so when you believe that it's well You're well served to do it in a deliberate way ban. You define what you do want to stand for for and you allow that meaning that you want to stand for it to be your North Star and that Northstar Informs everything that the customer experiences not just marketing not just Your copy it. It's actually actually also informs the culture that you're building it it informs your your hiring informs What who do you? Who Do you bring on? Who Do you how do you retain them? How do you make them excited? What are the new products what are the innovation roadmap ideas that you want to adhere to what are the How do you want to price it? How do you want to evolve your pricing? All of these things that are way more more like upstream than your marketing Those are the things that add up to. What what you're gonNA Amine inside the head of your audience it when you describe it that way it does feel really big and when you have people say things like Oh you do logos because I feel it? Gets people trying to simplify that because as as you go through the book as you go through really any good book on brand. There's a lot of deep questions that have to be answered to be able to create this North Star. You can't just like create more star in an afternoon unless you're super clear on like who you are who you serve. How you want your company when you grown development and all those other things that kind of are born out of brand so it's a really big and complex topic? Do you think that because it's so big that's why people try to boil it down. That brand marketing is this. It's your logo which your colors fonts. Or if I hadn't been yeah I think it's I think it's nebulous. It's it's big. It's messy it's it's it is nebulous and some people I mean it's it's interesting because there are people who don't mind that in actually especially in the creative world. I think that a creative audience is actually okay with that squish genus. Would I find with my business. I work with CEOS and I haven't medicine yet. Who Likes quirkiness? So it's really easy to see how somebody might somebody who does not like squishing us and has Only experienced the idea of brand as squishy one to dismiss it or to tidily Tuck it away into marketing or outset reverse it to an agency instead of owning it and considering their most durable competitive advantage So that was my kind of the Bee in my Bonnet Bonnet. And what motivated me to write this book West to deconstruct it for people who otherwise would find it either mystical or intimidating or both because it's It's worth understanding it's so powerful it makes your Your life as a leader her so much more successful and satisfying and fulfilling when you do have that North Star so I have a lot of heart for Bringing this this idea of brand Northstar to people who I think most benefit from understanding it in that way so I want to put a pin in that come right back to it but I need some clarifying context about you where you from this so there are people in and brand who are of that kind of creative background in the only thing they really care about the brand is all of this quickness and that's who they cater their brand conversations then there are brand marketers who come from you know the CFO type background like for them brands of function in which to deliver tangible business numerical measurable value to the bottom line. And then there's sort of every kind of space in between in in reading you. It seems like you've got a healthy balance of those two but I wanna understand where you're kind of your genesis of this came from like Before you ever got into business like how did you even decide. Gallon and go into brand rand How did you how did you perceive business What for you is the driving force behind why you do this? Is it so that you can bring those two things together. Is it so that you can deliver tangible monetary value. Is it so that you can make business more human and connected. What's your thing? Yes all of those. Gosh it's it's so this is welcome to my therapy session. Everybody because it's it's so when you when you think back and you try to retrace like how did I get here. It's it's not a straight line at least in my case although the squiggle then the squiggle so I spent my undergraduate career thinking I was going to become a clinical psychologist college est in so I went very deep on Working with people in you know people with psychiatric conditions. Shins and That was my plan I wanted to really loved kind of understanding the psyche But then my senior year of college I realized will that actually means being an academia for like seven or eight years. Here's and that isn't really. That's kind of a practical person. I didn't really like that Ivory Tower Element. And so I it was sort of floundering and started working in a role where I was doing. Well I went into management consulting. It's probably the shorter way of saying it. I I started doing management consulting with Deloitte where It's kind of a great thing to do if you don't know what you WANNA do. Because there is such a broad the cross section of industries and functions. So sometimes it's like optimizing call centers and sometimes it's I don't know developing processes as for a healthcare company. But it was. It was really good for me kind of like taking vitamins but it was not something that I enjoyed and so in in this program that I was in at Deloitte you have to either go to business school at the end of it or just leave the company So I went to business school and and When I was in business school almost almost the first week I think I I? I took my first marketing class. So here's me so I'm a liberal arts background person. I was a psychology major and an English minor and I I started taking marketing and I was like holy cow. This is this is just psychology applied to an economic entity and in my second favorite class was economics. Microeconomics Game Theory Behavioral Economics. So that's when when I was a little bit of Eureka That you can have a career doing that. So that was my interest in marketing I continued to I mean I I got a General Mba. But I took a lot of marketing classes. And I did my internship between between the two years at clorox where I was in brand management and then I went back to clorox after I finished business school and I spent six years there in brand management so Tell Me Jeff. If I'm going to debrief I'm like no the only thing I'll interject here. Here's that are stories are remarkably similar. So I'm loving watching us from the outside. Okay Wow I'm that's so intriguing being so similarly squiggly yet well even even the where the squiggle landed us. So we'll get to that in a moment. I WanNa hear from when you tell me kind of how you arrived here today. Yeah I'll I'll jump in and I'll give you my like sixty second. Hey while we have similar stories. Okay okay so I eyesore when I was When a brand manager at clorox so in consumer packaged goods clorox Nestle Procter and gamble? General Mills the Johnson and Johnson. The brand manager is the CEO of the business so the brand manager actually has responsibility. And and so you're really truly a leader of of a business and you're not simply trying to get marketing metrics you're trying to Grow the PNL and marketing is the primary way that you can do that. But it's a means to an end and brand is is very much considered sacred in consumer packaged goods. Like what what your brand strategy is this idea of North Star. It is very Familiar in a consumer package goods world. So I got really good at defining brand ran strategy when I was in that environment as all of my peers did So I left clorox and started a consulting business where I was working with leaders on marketing strategy I realized real quick that this was this was unique to consumer package goods leads. That brand was was like the North Star of the business. And that's when I started getting this bee in my bonnet to change that and Share with others others. That brand can be this this really this filtering mechanism for building an intentional business. Got It okay. So here's my sixty second awesome so I wanted to be a professional basketball player. That didn't work. I don't want to be a filmmaker that didn't work out. I want to be Eh photographers and I started a personal chef business. Everything was about like me doing this. Big Amazing bold thing where I was going to be you know hall of Famer and whatever it was gonna be a lot of of creativity not a lot of business. Abby decided to go back to school and that's when I got my Mba semi undergraduate was in film and Media Arts. So it was very much about communications. I always had an interest in psychology and people and relationships is around that time that I read how to win friends and influence people changed my absolute world And I became very very fascinated with the idea of persuasion wages and influence and Connection and I've always felt that like my friendships and relationships in network were always like my my strongest thing. So I go back to school I go to business school and I don't know what your experience was like in business school. 'cause I'm not sure quite how similar are pre business. School was I know you were liberal arts in in psychology. But for me when I got there I it was like jumping into an ice bath because nothing felt right. I saw you know the first half of my business school was finance and accounting and I was like what the Hell is going on. This is not interesting and it's terrifying because eight numbers I'm also not a super hardcore capitalist so like you know people are talking about like selling companies in this not. I'm like I don't care if anybody care about the people at these companies so anyway I get to my second half of the MBA and marketing classes on school nights organizational behavior savior like this is amazing and I learned basically three big lessons throughout my entire. Mba everything else. I could kind of consider as like you know just little things but the big things were our money is language of business. Economics matters in everything. Even though I wasn't great at ECON I found it to be incredibly fascinating very thought provoking why people make decisions decisions. The theories of supply and demand compared vantage all that stuff was like killer totally awesome and then the third thing is that everyone has a role because the big thing I learned was not every business person is going to be good at the same thing so I have my strengths. There was there was a point where like they had to have We had to give break up into groups and give a presentation and all the people that they've been helping me with accounting and finance all of a sudden we're like catatonic the way that I was when I had to calculate net present value and I jumped on stage and did my presentation. They were like how in the world did you do that. So everybody has a role. So that's coming out. I go to a management consulting firm. I was there for about two years doing interactive marketing digital marketing went to a PR affirm- left in my own things. Start Mayo Company. My company after seven years was at the new agency for a year and half the nine here so in a lot of ways kind of similar patterns we have an idea of why went into it kind of went back to business school. Kind of better synthesizing. All these things together and now we can work with businesses from a kind of a balanced measured perspective. I love that yes. We are kindred spirits. Yeah okay so I put the pin in it. I want to come back to it now because this is your your story makes this the question for me that much more interesting. Because I'm I struggle with something similar to me what I see one of the issues with brand and this is a similar thing with any I do a lot. You know my thing has been strategy for for the last twelve years so I work with companies to try and figure out. How do you take you know goals timeline budget and audience and then build a strategy around it so you can get what you need with with your marketing objectives and the problem that I typically see and it's probably a little bit? It's easier for me in my work with marketing than it would be. I think for brand is that I I see that a a lot of brand is not a quantifiable thing. It's not a thing that you can put on a spreadsheet pilot and to your point. CEO's don't like squishy and if you can't you can measure a brand effect after the fact you can kind of look at like certain brand metrics but a lot of the work that you have in this book. The questions that are asked you cannot put them in a spreadsheet red sheet so I guess the question is. How do you go about doing this work or even convincing the CEO's that you work with to do this work when you can't can't process the the work to get to that brand strategy in a purely quantitative and numerical way Yes yes This is something I think about. A WATT costing isn't it is and it's made exacerbated by confusing -ness of the word brand So there's two ways that that I encourage leaders to think about this number. One one is brand strategy so separate brand strategy from brand marketing tactics brand awareness building tactics. They're two different things. So the brand on strategy is the exercise of defining who you want to be in the world and that doesn't cost anything necessarily. It could cost you the the time that it takes you to do it if you engage an expert to help you with it costs that money but it's not a it's not a media. Spend a brand awareness building. Tactics are a media. Spend and like any marketing expenditure should be measured for our ally So first first of all Kinda Disconnect those two things and with the brand strategy heart of this it's closer to just business strategy. What is what's your goal is a business? And what is your unique right to exist in this in this market in this The world of your customer. Because if you are if you can't be super duper clear about what your unique value is. You can't really expect your customer too so it's like Almost more from a philosophical standpoint. Are you building a business this that you want to endure for a long time and mean a lot to a lot of people If no and by the way that's a valid response if you're building and arbitrage kind of flip company that you want to quickly exit you know sell sell to a competitor Maybe you don't need to build. Maybe you don't need need a deliberate brand strategy if you want to be around for a long time and this is in a in a way this is how I personally smelly suss out that the types of leaders that I want to work with if you want to be around for a long time and to to build something that really means something beyond beyond the PNL than your brand strategy is probably the most pragmatic tool that you have to accomplish that. So so that's brand strategy now brand marketing WH- people say I can't measure brand what they usually mean is. It's hard hard for me to see the effectiveness of the money that I spend on brand awareness. You know The billboards that I put up or the TV ads or the radio ADS or the sponsorships and events. It's really hard for me to see effectiveness of that okay. So now we're kind of out of the realm of brand strategy and we're into the realm of Marketing Roi. I do believe that you should be able to measure media. Spend anything that you spend money on on a regular basis you you should know how effective it is but to say that you can't measure rand awareness tactics or media media spend is I. I don't believe that you can now. Can you measure it in the next twenty four hours. No and it's much you know. You can measure lead Gen and most performance marketing tactics. You can measure almost in real time so no you can't do you. You can't do that but again. Are you building an enduring business or you building a business that you're gonNA flip in three months if you're building a business that you want to be around for a long time then you probably have time to measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness building tactics ultimately and sometimes this is where the more kind of CFO the F. O. minded CEOS perk-up ultimately brand awareness. Building is going to help your your Caq. You're you're The cost of your customer acquisition will go down if you have an integrated Thoughtful marketing mix. So you're you're touching people with awareness. You're touching people with consideration and you're doing lead Gen and performance marketing in the same way that somebody who's GonNa Propose. Marriage has a higher probability of getting a yes. If it's the tenth day than the first state the same thing happens with customers because trust is building during that process us so your caq is GonNa go down when you're doing if you're doing successful brand awareness building tactics. Your CAC is GonNa go down. Here's the here's the final thing I think this is probably the the most ultimately the most value creating customer lifetime value. If if you are super clear on who you're serving what promised you're bringing them and how they're ultimately better off because because they interacted with your business because they bought from your business or they spend time with your business When you do that you decrease price sensitivity among your customers so ultimately so what's the economic argument for brand it elevates your pricing power it makes people not care as much that's what you charge right like ultimately that is what defines how much your business thrives is your margins so if if you are by definition preferred brands will confer higher price than non preferred brands? So you're going to make more money when you are on brand and that translates to the lifetime value of your customer compounding that that is that brand also fosters loyalty so not only do they have a higher willingness to pay one time but but they will stay with you over longer periods of time. So that's where it really becomes a multiplier for a business for on from a PL standpoint. It's not just about reducing reducing Inefficiency in marketing. Which you get by cutting that you're the cost of customer acquisition? which is really a a really important and worthy thing to do? But if you're if you want to be around for a long time you WanNa have customers that are going to be with you for a long time as oh wow and customers that value way beyond the price or the cost of the goods that you're selling so much there'd unpack back. Okay so first of all GonNa State for the record that I'm a believer so I firmly believe in brand as a bigger concept then logos and brand awareness metrics and marketing and everything that you said there I think does a really good job of breath. encapsulating why brand marketing tactics are in fact measurable and part of a larger overall marketing system. I WANNA I WANNA hit the reverse button and go back to the brand strategy piece and I want to take the position of Devil's advocates. Not The right word. Because that's not actually ought not challenging out of a what I WANNA do is I wanted to say in my experience. I found certain people that will challenge for their from their own perspective right so the CEO's and and executives that I've worked sometimes there's been a little bit of a a need to convert them and turn them into believers at the very beginning and what you just described going from brand to brand marketing strategy. I see there as kind of being like two different things and I think that you did the second thing I there and I wanna go back to the first one. which is that? I think when you're going through those conversations where you say brand is what you stand for. Our brand is a relationship a brand is a promise and fulfillment of that promise so if we take that and we say we agree with that and We're believers in that. Then we can go to that next step and talk about the brand awareness marketing tactics and how you measure that etc.. What if you can't get people to buy in in that previous thing because if you can't get the brand set in the first place because they're questioning what what is the value value of finding out like so brands a relationship? What does that even mean relationship is so squishy right? The brand is what you stand for what we stand for making more money. How have you dealt with because there are the an the answer for you? Specifically as those aren't the clients I work with because that just sounds like a pain in the ass which it is but but I want to go back to that that because I think that the problem that brand has in in my viewpoint in my experience has been you have to first convert them to believers they first have to understand understand that it matters that you have a promise that you have to convert them to the idea that it matters that you're a customer will have a relationship with you. The the shorthand that they will then an occupying their brain for what your brain represents to them makes their buying decisions easier in the long run that it makes it removes the friction for them because they understand the promise that you've made and you fulfilled build it and they trust you but I have to get them to believe it. So when you're sitting there in those rooms with the executives around the room and you're saying okay. So who do you want to be in this world. Can you get blank Langston stares back at you how do you deal with that. How do you get them to believe in the first place? The brand matters. Yes yes yes yes. I mean the the very pragmatic first responses. I don't work with people who are only uh-huh who are mercenary. You know like doing this. I want to make the money. Yeah it just doesn't because actually in it's not so much a judgment as it's it's a mismatch and potentially There are there are businesses that has created massive value without out having a strong brand because they have had other competitive advantages so like Microsoft not the coolest brand wildly value-creating company right. So it's not like it's not coming from the only way that you can thrive is by having brand but you oh have like maybe so then I come at it from if it's somebody who I just really want to see it this way and this is also why I wrote this book as it's it's it's it's There's there is so much to deconstruct. Sometimes they'll Saito. Forget about the word brand. You know that like has baggage for you and you dislike are allergic allergic to that word. What's your competitive advantage? Because I think that most leaders would agree that you have to have a competitive advantage to win to be doorway Amos like a definite like definite rate like you can't win without a competitive advantage whether it's military strategy peace strategy business strategy or brand strategy we need to have a an asymmetrical advantage over the rest of the market so sometimes that helps Because has in by the way it's the same you know whether we call it competitive advantage whether we call it brand strategy sometimes people prefer to call it. The mission Russian It whatever you know. I'm not like a purist so that you have to use the word the words brand strategy But sometimes that will help. This is really a another one is business strategy What's our business strategy while business strategy always articulates? How're we going to win? How are we going to win? How are we going to accomplish this this goal that we have set out out? Well the way that you accomplish that is by having a competitive advantage and the way that you have an enduring competitive advantage is to have a brand because it's very easy to copy most things easy to copy features it's You know patents expire eventually leap. But it's very difficult to copy emotional benefits. It's it's very difficult to show up as a character that another business already shows up as so bats how it becomes this sustainable competitive advantage that otherwise you can't have sometimes that helps them But the people who are haters like that in some ways. That's why I wrote. This book is to say. Hey It's okay that you don't like squishy I don't really like squishy either. It's this actually isn't a squishy concept elevating pricing power fostering retention You know building a competitive moat. Those are all economic concepts They're not squishy at all And you can put numbers to them. Yeah and I would just re endorsed that I think your your book does a really good job specifically for skeptics and haters or non believers. Because I think you do a really good job. I again of tying that kind of squishy idea those concepts that feel more touchy feely inhuman men and translating into why that actually becomes monetary value for the company. So kind of going back to that the way that I tend to perceive brand rand and this is in part from a conversation they had with a good friend of mine. WHO starting a brand agency name queuing savior on one of four of uh charitable and? He had this really interesting model of describing brand where he described as essentially on the one side picture. That you have business on the other their side you have people humans right brand. Is that thing that sits in between that sort of translates the business to the humans and the humans to of the business that the brand is how businesses can understand the needs and wants and everything of the humans whereas the humans can use brand to better understand who is what is. What's The promise of the business business with this thing that Kinda sits in between and in my mind brand typically is if it had to choose one of those two masters it would choose humans right? The brand is for serving and understanding the needs of the humans guiding the humans towards understanding what the business is about and the people inside the business of what the businesses about so brand is very much much about humans and it seems to me. That brand is a commitment to something and business is a commitment to profitability to reducing loosing expenses to increasing revenue and ultimately driving shareholder value at least in the current state of the economy is is that do you feel that. There's there's a morality orange ethics to brand that because it involves humans it it is what gives business the warmth to better understand its role in this world outside of just making money. Yeah the Love I love this frame I okay. So there's there's the EH moral okay so let let me let me Parse this. Yeah I think that you can have a really great brand and not be awoke company. Okay like I don't think I don't think that they are they that they necessarily you have to coexist But I think the larger question because without getting too like philosophical about what what right is what moral is I go back to and you said this businesses exist to serve a customer to create and keep keep a customer. That's what that's what I believe. That's the Peter Drucker That's the definition of a business. A business exists to create and retain gene customers and the side benefit of that is that it creates financial value. Okay that's how you defend. I well mystic this. I'm I'm certainly just one person saying that. You know I mean well. I'm not just one person because Peter Drucker was was no You Know He. He was not alone voice in the in the woods. Taste leader in the field so he definitely I never read that definition. I I do think that it feels a lot nicer than the way that I tend to think about it. Well so if you go to in the you can. I think you can still be a moral moral neutral here. Sure how okay so a business exist to serve a customer. How does a business customer? Well it identifies something that customer needs that nobody else else is serving at finds a way to solve that need that that's value that's value creation and when a business does that And does so with his eye toward We exists or that we can create value for this customer by solving this problem. That they have bob in a way that nobody else can solve it that is. That's a highly to me. That's a highly empathetic way of looking at Your Business. But it's also the way of running your business that will create the most economic value. So they they go hand in hand. Why because the value exchange exchange so a a business makes money because customers give money to the business? If you'RE GONNA ask your customer for their money or you know in some businesses for their time or for their their attention but let's just say money you're asking them to part with their hard earned money for something that you are giving them so make sure that that saying that you're giving them is worthy of that money you're asking for That you're you're bringing huge value to that person so that you deserve the money that they're giving to you and when you do that they will love you more which will decrease their price sensitivity and increase their loyalty which allows you to have this flywheel flywheel of value creation so. I think that you know like I think that the moral kind of layer two this is is almost more like frosting. Like you still can have you. You can still create a really thriving business if as long as you are bringing value to your customers. You're creating value for your business and if you're not doing that then you're not going to be in business. Your customers will tell you through their intra. Ah Their inaction that you don't deserve to exist as a company and you won't be a business anymore So that's kind of. That's the way I I think about it because I'm thinking about it. I have worked with businesses that are not woke businesses. I don't I don't think I've ever worked with an immoral company. But most most companies out there are not You know like Patagonia Although that is a business that I massively admire and we'd love tour with some day But a lot of businesses are like you know the Yoga studio down the street or You know the the franchise of coffee shops in. I don't know eastern Washington and they're trying to you know try and have a livelihood and in order to do that they have to create something. That's enough value. That people are going to part with their hard earned money and give it to them and so I guess I guess I'm I'm a little bit less US lofty about it now. Having said that if you are going to have a woke brand one that is really going to stand for something thing that's hugely meaningful in a large scale like Patagonia You can't you again. You can't do that without bringing value to your customer so just because you have a a woke marketing campaign like Gillette Does it meet like that. That's a that's a function of of what you're saying out there but it's much more important what you're doing. What's the experience that the customer has a buying that razor so I think that they can be really mutually reinforcing But I I think that brand is so fundamental to a healthy business that it it exists outside of morals. I totally agree with that. I think the example Gillette is like a really interesting one especially when compared with something like Patagonia because in in the in the brand of Gillette. All that stuff isn't exactly core to the function of who they are in have always been then whereas with Patagonia. It's they are who they say they are and they always have been that way. So it's like you you can't even get away with having a brand like Patagonia without having done all that work of who you are in the world because there's so much there's so much in the book giving example Volvo. How like you say Volvo an everyone thinks the exact same word safety right? Everybody thinks that was Patagonia. They have built a brand in which they are known for what they are known for for who they are. And whereas Gillette it's like they're known for their brilliant razor blades strategy of you know December the the handle from the actual razor blade. So I think that's a really good example I do want to talk about price sensitivity. Because it's a thing that came up in your book and I I I Kinda WanNa poke at Yale a little bit with saint dead cool so I wanNA put out there before even get into this little Set of questions is that whenever I consult with individuals one of the things things that I tell almost. Everyone's like to raise their prices. And I I give them all the reasons by can like all things I have to do in order to be able to raise their prices. But I'm a big fan of raising your prices because value value in our economy is a function of what people will pay. So you push the supply and demand curve until it breaks so you you should charge the maximum you can possibly also we charge by delivering the amount of value that is required to be able to charge that. I personally believe that. That said I think there's a question here about what value. Actually he means. Because in there's a lot of different ways to define value and you give an example in your book that I think is a really interesting one for us to tinker with. I'M GONNA put ended out there so in the book you talk about Clorox and you mentioned how clorox bleach is essentially the same ingredients as any other bleach but it costs more and the reason why is for all of these things that happened with the brand of clorox perceived value. It's emotional benefit that comes from it and I think it's very difficult for us to put a dollar value on a perceived benefits emotional benefits. Something that is not tangible. Related related to the value of the product in almost a Marxist sense of like value is the creation that the Labor that is put into you know like a raw utility right so if if clerks has the exact same ingredients as other bleach brand is what allows you to increase the value of that. I guess the question is One one is it ethical to use brand story in order to increase the value of a product that has kind of a set market value based on like a commodity. I guess that'd be the first first place for us to start. Yes I thought about this a lot and I I hear you and again I tell people to raise their prices all the time so like I'm not I'm not saying saying like you shouldn't charge and make as much money as you can. We all got but I guess yeah like when you look at the fundamentals of what you're delivering you know that is is real tangible actual value like. Here's the amount of wood that went into this and here's the output based on labor and here's the cost how much that actually gets passed along to the company in terms of profit versus the value that gets passed back to the customer because the company was able to reduce their cost of goods right. It's I think that the first I principal. That's relevant here is target audience to your target audience. When you're crystal clear on on the kind of the center of the bull's eye of the the person that you're serving your pricing According according to their value perception. So it's interesting whenever we have this this Discussion and I had a lot with my my peers. Ears at Clorox as well when I was working at Clark's many many many many years ago That Clark's bleach so six percent. Sodium hydrochloride right ninety four percent water and in it is the same the same contents as store label bleach and yet the price we price it much higher When somebody makes the kind of push back that you just made it's universally somebody who is not the target audience and the reason the reason I think that's relevant is To the audience for for clorox bleach. They actually Eh. They massively value the non tangible benefit of seeing a clorox label in their laundry room now That might not describe you or me or a Lotta people but I know but to the people who we are are optimizing our brand for they really care about that so they would be a little bit insulted if they heard that the perceptual benefit. NFL as opposed to the the The concrete functional rational benefit of bleach. They'd be a little bit insulted if you told them that. That's not a real benefit benefit because they actually care a lot they care a lot about kind of the feeling that they have at hearkens them to childhood. It makes them feel like a good bomb Those things are worth paying for to them now as soon as you start to like it breaks down if you're not really really high integrity about who your audiences because then people the people who are not a target audience who don't value it in that way our I. There's not going to buy it. Frankly and so. What a really disciplined leader does in the face of something like this they say? What does our target audience value? Not what does everybody value. which is our target audience value and they make pricing decisions accordingly so that's almost clerks bleaches like a stylized I example because it's so it's so extreme but most most businesses it's not it's not literally a commodity like that So let's let's talk about Volvo for a second so Volvo. They could charge more than they do. But they don't and the the reason is there optimizing their price for their target audience. It's all congruent. So they're all of the signals that the the consumer perceives about the brand are aligned to uphold the same meaning And that's an in. The customer wants to pay the. The wolves are are or more expensive than Toyotas. The customer wants it to be more expensive. So that's that's that's the way that I think about it. I I realize though it's really easy you to kind of get into a slippery slope with that because You you don't want to Gouge your customer either her That would not be a you know. Peter Drucker IRS Maximum to Get and serve customers that would and not be serving the customer either. So I think you can take this too far But I but I do think maybe like the the main thing thing that I hope people understand when when listening to this is that price is another way that customer experiences your business so allow your price is to be an expression of your brand just like everything else and don't assume that Having a low price is is better for your customer. That might sound kind of weird to say. But if Mercedes customer walked into a Mercedes dealership and found that Mercedes or suddenly ten thousand dollars instead of seventy thousand dollars. I think they'd be really annoyed and would find that they don't like the brand is much anymore so baked pricing basing decisions just like all decisions according to who your target audiences not to who you are because if you're not the target audience you have to like step into the shoes of your customer customer and then make that call according to how they perceive it and so much of this I'd imagine is a function of the culture like the the big C culture not like company culture but more like the culture of the society. We live in the more that we see celebrities carrying around Louis Vuitton bags more people want those and if Louis Vitton were to take their bags and reduce the price of them. That's no longer the signal of wealth and opulence that it once was to your example I guess I just always Kinda get concerned with it at to your point about kind of the the slippery slope of it One thing I do want to dig into on that was you talked. Talked about target audience. And it's a thing that I wanted to get really deep into with you because a lot of the questions that I tend to get about brand are things that undoubtedly people listening right now think and undoubtedly all of the people that you've probably ever worked with and it is the question of how do you choose because so often we think a well all you know. A great example is like clerks bleach again were or Volvo or any of these is like well. Everybody needs bleach in their house or everybody needs a car. Well how do we choose. Who and you give them? Really good frameworks for picking your target audience. And there are a lot of other questions that I want to get into with you at some point about Kinda the WHO decides and how do you. How do you pick sort of thing? But let's talk about target audiences when you sit down with a brand and you wanna be able to have this conversation with them because we've gone through a lot auditory here you want them to. They now understand. They need a brand strategy. Brand strategy is going to inform their culture. It's going to inform their sales team. They're brand marketing tactics. They're all of this is going to come together and they say okay now. We need to get started. Let's pick our target audience and you say who's your target audience and they go everybody. So how do you start walking through this. That happens all the time everybody we wyoming my brand and I'm like I don't have any idea how to say no because is it just want everyone to have this. Like how do you okay so first of all like sometimes sometimes When you ask yourself or a leader the question who's who's the target customer it? It kind of sparks. This fear that that were not going to be able to sell to people who don't fall into this group into the target audience so the first thing that I That I tend to to say which alleviates some anxiety is target. Audience is not the same as total addressable market. So you know on the dartboard that the total addressable market is everybody. That could possibly buy what you're selling That's a big big circle and then the target audience is simply the center of the Bullseye. So just because we're saying that we're targeting moms with kids at home like like clorox doesn't mean that it you know if you're a dad that you're not allowed to buy a clorox bleach right like we're just saying that we're going to optimize is for the center. So that's the first thing Brianna example it so this conversation of target audience. There's actually two things I WANNA to make sure that We talk through and the one is I think you did nicely. which was the dartboard example? I thought that was really really good. Visual example of it but you're Rei story area. I think crystallizes that so if you could share that with the audience that'd be awesome Sir so. Rei I the Outdoor Gear Company their Their target customer is the outdoor enthusiast. This is the a person who brings the most value to Rei because they spend the most money on outdoor equipment and they also are the they they also are the person that receives the most value from Rei. So it's it's this this reciprocity Between between the customer and brand so the outdoor enthusiasts. That's the target audience. So if I were to say so. I- Lindsey Walk into an Rei. And I okay so I can't a maximum of three times a year at least two of those three times are in in my backyard with my kids if Rei were to start optimizing for me as their target audience. Lindsey who is like not. I'm not much of an outdoor enthusiast. They would start losing the outdoor enthusiasts and and this is where it gets really interesting They would also also start losing me because the reason that I'm going to. Rei is at the outdoor enthusiasts shop at Rei. They know what they're doing. So Oh I'm going to. I'm going to trust them so as soon is Rei Waters down their target audience to get. There's probably more people that camping their backyard than that. Like hike in the cascade mountains or a Nepal as soon as they water that down own they lose both So instead and this is sort of the marriage of the dartboard analogy and Rei instead think of it. As the the outdoor enthusiasts are at the Bullseye on the Dartboard I Lindsay and one of the outer circles of the dartboard but when you shoot suited a dartboard and you shoot for the center. You're more likely to get on the Dartboard at all and your by by over serving the outdoor enthusiasts. You're more likely to bring in somebody like me as a customer as well. So you're best serving everybody on that dartboard by Over serving the middle of that Dr Board Love It love it so that was the first thing I wanted to make sure we covered the second thing and this is. I don't know if you're willing to do this but like I said I'm dealing with this with my brand right now as I'm I left my agency Back in July and I'm starting a new thing and I keep trying to figure this part of it out and so when I read your book you You have this thing about picking your target audience in candidly. Like I've been through the pick your target audience conversation with clients for the last ten years and I gotTa say you framed it in a way that I hadn't really considered I think I've probably brought it up time time to time but like I don't think I've ever considered it in the same way that I have when I think about target audience when I talk about clients I'm typically Lee sang like okay so you serve You know women between the ages because I'm thinking of it almost like a facebook. Advertising actually used serve like a between thirty five and forty-five who live in a major metropolitan city have one kid and who watch So like it's very demographic heavy but then there's there's also the techniques that I'm thinking how do they use tools. How to use technology all that and then you think about site graphics? What are they interested in whether their behaviors and different and things like that? But there's something that you brought into the mix that I thought was a really interesting piece of its. I'd like you to set that up. which is this kind of? What's a shared value? Well you or theme that you as the brand have with the customer and that really resonated with me because they Type of work. I'm trying to do but talk about that. A little bit about this the several different different ways that you can define a target audience. Yes yes yes okay is the most the most basic way that I asked this. This is. Who's the person you want? More of. Tell me about that person who is what are they. Like what matters to them. MM-HMM What are their behaviors? What's their level of involvement with your category? How often do they shocked with you? How much do they spend with you? Tell me about this person. what we we know about them. What is their Why do they buy us? Why Why are they involved in this category That becomes your your target. Audience is who do you want more of the reason that you want more of them as they bring the most value to you know you as a company can indepenedtly decide what you mean by value. Oh you because some companies might be like. WHO's the highest price? The person who spends the most with us that might be that might be the the marker for desirable Customer with one company whereas maybe somebody who has very low churn high retention might might be for somebody else and then you know if in a nonprofit environment it might have nothing to do with money it might have something to do with how much they overlap back with your mission This is the type of person that I want to work with. So that's the all it really is this question of who are the customers that you boast Bost- want and how can we Serve them best so that we can attract more people like that. That's the doc that's the fundamental question here so if you do have a kind of a mission driven Lens Jeff it sounds like you would be in this camp then who are Patagonia would be another company like this actually. Rei as as well Ah Many nonprofits would be so. If you're a company that you really like your goal that the customer that I want more of is the customer who's going to enable me to attain this mission more effectively And the in a in a lot of cases is the way that you achieve that overlap is by looking at what they what their values are. So what they care about Now sometimes that. The value is very behavioral so actually the. Rei example would be that somebody who spends a lot of their our weekends in the outdoors as a behavioral overlap of values. Rei has a dual mission. Actually they're trying to get more for people to enjoy the outdoors or into take care of the earth so that person is actually not only bringing them more financial value. They're also bring them more mission value you now. Above the functional level or the behavioral level of spends a lot of time outdoors at might be. This is a person who who cares very deeply about what we as a company. Care deeply about This is so Ever Lane is a fashion brand. That is very much about transparency of the supply chain. Like how did you get this Silk Blouse What factory made aided and what? What were the workers paid? Who made this Blouse I? This is a brand that I personally am very loyal to because I care a lot about that and they ah so. They're serving somebody who has an overlapping value because that's what they care about is a company that's why they started the company That's another wait in another lens to help you get at this idea of target audience One thing that you brought up jeff is is demographic markers so this is a really common thing for people to can flake when you're defining in your brand and your brand positioning. What do you want to own inside the mind of your audience You're you're looking at the psychographic the The most most like who is this person. What motivates them? That's what that's how you define your target audience when you're in a moment where you're about to buy media so you're Tabei facebook ads. You're about to buy Busts outdoor ads. Then you're starting to you by necessity need to identify. I some demographic markers in order to reach those people but don't confuse those two things Start with when you're defining your brand start with. Who is it that you you wanna serve really disproportionately and then when it comes to a media by Then you can turn to Oh it it turns out that outdoor enthusiasts if you're rei tend to live in You know Urban areas and they tend to consume a lot of NPR and they tend to be upper middle class and they tend to be sixty percent male. Forty percent female. Something like that Those are interesting pragmatic ways that you can reach them. But don't confuse don't confuse the tail of the dog with the head of the dog the they're not going camping because they're male and live in an urban area. They're going camping because they they care about camping. And it just so happens they also live in an urban area and our mail. Yes don't define the center of that Dartboard by the demographics defined by the the values and like the underlying unifying who these people are based upon the thing that they share across any possible demographic doc yes at least when doing the brand strategy I think when you're doing a marketing campaign if you're doing a specific if you have a specific tactic in mind so let's say it's Say It's Volvo and they're doing a since I live in Seattle. They're doing a Pacific northwest promotion promotion than they are going to start layering in demographic regional markers in order to reach me but that's different from saying saying Oh we're going to redefine the Volvo brand optimized for people who live in Seattle. No that's like so you can start to bring in demographic markers but don't do that until you're at the tactical media by level love. It love it so when I think about my own thing. There's there's a number of issues that they come together someone and kind of like a couple of things out here but when it's a brand of one it's a lot easier to answer the question of who decides because it's me but in a lot of brands will have the trouble with that. There's a lot of different cooks in the kitchen. So let's say you have multiple owners or partners. They're going to have different ideas of what that brand is so before you can even do brand strategy you have to get you know alignment internally Or maybe you know there's the issue of well. Is it just the partners. They get to decide decide or is it also the team that gets to decide what about the customers the customers decide. What your brand new? So I guess the question is who is your like who defines what the brand is is that you know more than once when you're entering into that brand strategy phase is that you know is a collaborative process or something where there there needs to be somebody where the buck stops ops with them so I guess that's kind of a starting when I guess when I think about my own stuff I have trouble choosing but that's just me problem. A more difficult problem is when when you when you start adding multiple constituents into the process and I know I need to consider who my customer is going to be in all that and who are with values are. I need to do all that too. But it's got got to be a lot more difficult when you have multiple competing points of view so I guess the question is who decides what the brand is. Yeah yeah this is and this is probably W I'm probably Different from other brand strategists. In this way I require the CEO to be the project with me and to to be the client client and the reason is I think it's disingenuous to build a brand strategy without the CEO. Being the one to make the call on the tough trade offs so so In the subtitle of my book is a leader Guide so it's forging an ironclad brand a leader Guide and the reason is that it is so common I'M FOR LEADERS TO DELEGATE RANDOM MARKETING But actually in order to give air cover to marketing as well as to the rest of your teams teams you have to be the one who can model it so ultimately just like with any strategy. It's IT'S A. It's a decision about what you're when you just decide on what you're going to focus on you are inherently also deciding what you're not going to focus on and you're taking do things off the table so that you can focus on this singular thing and the person who the bucks whoever owns the PIA now so if it's the CEO so sometimes it's a PNL owner general manager Whoever owns the PNL needs to be the one making these decisions or they will not be adhered to you? Once you're implementing the brand When push comes to shove and you have to make a hard decision one is on brand and one is off brand but the off brand one is the one one that will will yield the most fruit in the next couple of weeks? if the CEO wasn't making CEO or the piano owner wasn't wasn't making the tough decisions while building the Baronne strategy. I guarantee there are going to go for the what's off brand but is going to generate utility utility really quickly so it's it's it's ultimately a very courageous act to make these choices and it takes a lot of humility ready to answer with with honesty and curiosity and empathy for the people who we most serve and what is is it that we best bring them that nobody else brings them that takes it takes courage to define that Into not hedge and therefore therefore it takes not only takes the leader to be doing. It takes a leader. Who's got who's got the courage to do this? And and without that carriage edge you might build a good brand but you're not going to build a great brand. Yeah I completely agree with all of that so now. The next question becomes clarity. which isn't a question? It's a statement so I'll clarify what I mean by the way great branding on adding a leader's guide because that really does position who your four. So look some people have branding superpowers. Clearly you do it works for you and you're able to clearly communicate other. People all are going to find it much. More difficult to articulate the answers to the questions that you're posing here so so yeah you put together forging an ironclad brand a leader guide. You we know who you're for and that's a very short form to the point you know it's just beautiful to it's four right. It's exactly what you do. And who it's four but a a lot of people have trouble in articulating what it is that they do. Who therefore CETERA? Is there a secret sauce to simplifying. What your brand is about or framework? There's a lot the things that I do with clients where like if I'm teaching them how to pitch. I have a couple of different frameworks as one I use called. ABC Awful better. Connector you describe the awful world that exists before your product on the better world exists in the near the CONNEC back right. So it's an easy way to put your product like in a pit in a pinch. You need to figure out had differentiate yourself this is how you do it right. So that's a framework that I use. I use frameworks for customer service for all these different things short hands. I have frameworks and you know kind of template. It'd kind of ideas in my head of how to do these things. And as I'm going through my process process of trying to I know instinctually who I want to serve and what I want to do a lot of different things but putting it into a clear ear and simple way of doing it proves very difficult. And I've been going through Donald Miller's story brand and I'm reading books like yours trying to figure out how to do all of this and I've yet to uncover any sort of for lack of a better and more cringe-worthy phrase silver bullet. So how do you go about about doing it and working because without you. How or someone like you? How do brands do this where they answer all these questions than there still left holding paragraphs text that no one's ever going to get through to understand what the rand promises how this totally? So when I you decided to write this book what I realized fairly early on is I want to demystify brand but I also want to you. Show a sequential method for building it for people who are not comfortable with squishy so the you haven't gotten to it yet in my book but the probably the Like the second half of the book is an eight step method. That I I use when I'm when I'm building a brand strategy for clients the way that I I just my my own style. I like I like to follow a process and I think partly it is because when this is already an amorphous topic round It lends it. It's so it's so such a relief to have have some to be able to put some structure to it So the step by step process that I use that my business uses when working with companies. That's what I kind of unveil in in my book and the first we've already talked about the first stock which is defining your target audience defining your competitive frame of reference like who you compete with And then the second step is to listen but let me talk about the third step where I have because I like you Jeff I love. I love frameworks because especially actually with something that does it's. It's hard to get to clarity when you have this like visible structure container that you can put it in. It's so helpful so the there's a diagram that I use. I call it the uncommon denominator. And so there's three circles. There's your customer. What is your customer? Watch so you like list the things that your customer wants and there's another circle in the diagram is your competitive additive strength. So what is your competitor. Good at in by the way by competitor I don't just mean direct competitors I also mean substitutes and what are the work around on solutions. What is the behavior that you're competing with? I'm glad you added that by the way a very editor really worked clarify that really important. It's what what is the consumer view as your competitor is what we're really asking not to add nothing. So like they're all the option of doing nothing and and when I say that to people that are like yes they don't have to buy from Mir my competitor like no. Sometimes they can literally just not do anything. That's that's probably the the majority short of the volume that most businesses source is from nothing. It's from non-consumption. So like when I when I was running clorox bleach pen which is like this controlled. trolled form of Bleach Bleach Gel the the The competitor was living with stained sheet. stained shirts. Because you couldn't neither throwing away giving him to the goodwill just living with stains on your shirts that was our main competitor is a powerful thing is somebody who spills a lot of stuff on my shirt. I now have like the the desire to pause and go to Amazon to order myself clorox. I would love it if you did that so okay so I go. What does the customer want second circle what is competitor? Good at what's good about that competitive behavior from the customers vantage point and then third. What are your strengths as a company? What are you really good at that? The customer customer cares about What are your what are your? You know. Maybe it's intellectual property. Maybe it's your product maybe it's your culture What are the things where he really really shine? And when you when you view it through the Lens of the spend diagramme you notice like within neither diagram the center of the three three circles. What something that? The customer wants that a competitor is good at giving and that is also your strength. So you're good at it. A competitor is good and And the customer wants it great. But here's the thing most people when defining their brand stop at that and the problem is that that is not a an owner will benefit because it falls into the circle of something that your competitor is good at two so pancakes. I'll use use example of pancakes. So what is the. What does the customer want? They want like a lovely Saturday morning with their kids. They want something that's easy to cook. They want something that's delicious. They they want something. That's a little bit out of the ordinary What is the competitor? Good at while Dunkin hines really good at distribution. They're available everywhere everywhere. They have a very quick recipe They have a lot of heritage and brand loyalty and then what is my company. Good at so. I've got the Swedish pancake brand. And we're we have this this proprietary recipe that my Swedish grandmother brought from Sweden we have bought the thin crispy texture to our pancakes We use organic ingredients list. All these things while okay so in the very middle of the ven diagram is delicious right because your customer wants something delicious. Your competitors bring something that's delicious and your product is delicious That's great but you're a pancake. You should be delicious. That is table stakes preach on right right like that that that is. That's what most brands do. Is they say. Oh we're the delicious one It's great that you're delicious. But that's the beginning not the end. That's where you have to go okay. Great what's what's the way that we show up that nobody else shows up and yes we're delicious delicious plus something else. So in my example of the Swedish pancakes that something out of the ordinary the customer wants that and I can bring that because I have this really unusual all Swedish recipe so that becomes the uncommon denominator SOCI- overlap of what your customer wants. What you're good at bringing at what your competitor headed is not good at bringing So the Swedish extraordinary experience that becomes your positioning And of course your delicious. But YOU'RE GONNA stop talking about delicious because that's a category benefit. And if all you talk about as being delicious you're generating demand for the category agree but not for Your Business in particular. So that's I think that's the main thing I would share it from framework standpoint. Is this Dan Diagram and you can you also by the way. Look on my website. If you don't have my book I share this Ven Diagram I've seen people printed out and show it to their CEO just to get the CEO to see. That brand is not just a logo It's it's what is the differentiated value that you bring to your market and you concede at By three the shark lines that surround these these circle as you can see it. God had uncommon denominator. Yes does it. So you know I think about this because I remember walking by was in New York Ark and I was on my way back to the bus and I walk past like it was like best dry cleaner I was like. What is that what it is at best strike like seriously like? That's what you've got you've got best dry cleaner like you're the absolute best dry cleaner and when you said delicious pancakes that's all I can think of is like that is literally how almost all marketing now all sounds to me and part of it is volume brand like I feel like we're in a space now where there's so much content and they're so many repeaters out there there's so many people that are just basically clipboards they copy somebody's inspirational posts in and make it into an instagram post in a tweet whatever as it were were diluting the meaning of words and we're pretty out there that it feels like it's really difficult to carve out something that feels unique and different And I think that's one of the big challenges in even if you were to go through this sort of an exercise. One of the things that I'm struggling with at the moment is trying to figure out how to phrase in such a such a way where it's You're very intentional. In the book about talking about being specific and not being like general and vague which makes perfect sense by the way. But it's so the difficult sometimes to take a big idea and make it specific when it feels like. It's this big vague general nebulous concept and that by narrowing it to something specific. It it can be very It can almost feel limiting and then on top of that when you have the vocabulary that you have access to words like delicious it feels so common so it short of sitting down with a Fist Sorus and a brand strategist. It feels like it would be so difficult to do it. I I'M I. I have just a a notepad full of different like Oh maybe this is what I do or maybe. This is the tagline put on the website. But it's just it's such a difficult thing to do. Okay so I I. I have a couple of thoughts on this one as an expert. So come back to specificity in a second. But you're bringing up a common a a common pitfalls that I see is conflicting the exercise of defining your brand with creating the copy to express your brand as her sizes different grant. If you're otherwise you just get so overwhelmed or you pick a piece of copy. That's cute that doesn't express your differentiated competitive advantage. So this though about that real quick sorry to cut you off. But so I feel very confident in like the overarching brand who we who might company is what them out to accomplish. All of that and I've got this big thing right like it's massive so then onto that next step of like okay. Well what's the first thing that people see on my website. The site was that two to three cents. So at some point when you wrote this book like you had the book and in it in his like jam packed full of awesome. But you still all had to put a cover on that book and I think that's where an agree with you because I've been in those exercises where it's like. Okay let's let's talk about our mission vision values values and goals. Let's talk about what our purposes like literally like our purpose. If we were to die tomorrow what is the what is the legacy we've left behind. Who are we what do we matter? Therefore right. And it's like okay on the website. Our tagline will be no no no no. Let's back up. Let's go to the bigger thing and talk about the bigger thing. So I'm I'm with you on that. I guess we're I'm getting to is that I think great brands. Great Book covers do that. Thing where the few words words the few sentences elude to the whole thing right they they talk about that whole big brand the book that you have the cover talks talks about what's inside of it right the tagline. You have on your website. That that illustrates what your brand is about. That's like the art form that like. This is where the rubber meets the road right. Like all of the exercises of. WHO's your target customer the interviews the writing down ideas all of that different stuff leaves you with notes notes pages and pages of stuff and at some point you have to turn it into a thing and it seems to me like the hard work happens in doing all that research in work that leads up to it but then the very tiny task that feels insurmountable larger is is coming up with how to distill that down into a sentence? Yeah or even a word right like Volvos is just one word. God Hey okay let me offer one another framework that that I I think we'll be helpful for this and then maybe we can even go through what yours looks like okay. So the the benefit ladder after doing the uncommon common denominator. I need okay. This territory where we are both meaningful to the customer and unique the benefit ladder. And you can kind of like play around with this idea if you draw a ladder on a piece of paper and you've got like the bottom of the ladder is your functional benefits and the top of the ladder is your emotional benefits. It's And you write down all the things that you bring. That are good like all the things that you bring this target audience that They will value. Are you from the very rational product attributes at the bottom of the ladder to the more kind of grounded benefits in the middle of the ladder to to the emotional rewards at the top of the ladder. And when you do that you start to like see okay so I have this like functional benefit so so say it's Say It's Nike. So the functional benefit is that their shoes are lightweight. Okay like that's kind of a very rational national rational statement. Our shoes are our souls way for So who cares about that functional benefit if it Like why why does that matter. Well because then our shoes will be faster will perform better in the race. Okay we'll why is it good to perform well the race and to be fast. Well then you can win. So that's the top of the ladder So Nike's positioning statement would be something like to the athletes in all of us. Nike is the one shoe that will enable you to win. That's because Nike's Shoes were created by the Oregon State track coach with around Seoul's So that So that you will have the best performance and will achieve victory making that up but something like that. Okay so now you have your positioning statement. That's not a sexy piece of copy like you would never ever. You would never make that consumer facing language But any any copy that you ate should lean into a portion of that statement so in Nike's case like up until nineteen eighty nine. When just do it became their tagline? It was mostly about speed Because that was sort of the middle of their benefit ladder it was mostly about. You can run faster. And then they became just do it. which is sort of this you know the the Moxie and swagger of winning the top of the ladder So what you say. Say Your Tagline the headline on your website There's no universe universal answer to it you it might. It depends on where you are in your awareness. awareness-building journey as a business because Nike You know if they started out super emotional with just do it before anybody even knew what Nike was They wouldn't be educating people that Nike Shoes and they would lose people see how they they they start with more functional element and then build up up so I identify what your ladder is. What are your functional An emotional benefits. And how do they support each other and then decide where do i. I want to focus on this ladder based on where I am in my business building journey So in my business it's called ironclad brand strategy. A friend strategy is the distributor of the company because when a company is looking when a leader is looking for a brand strategy. They're going to type those key words into Google most likely so whereas Ideo design firm is has such high awareness or Mackenzie Enzi has such high awareness that they don't even have to say anything about like what they do They can lean into the more kind of Transcendent transcendent benefits. So that's another way of like getting a little bit less amorphous about it is to build a hierarchy of love. What all we're all of these things fit and then decide where you wanna live on that hierarchy? I like that a lot. Because as you're using your on the spot example of Nike my thought was like Oh then I would probably put on the front page of the website for that like lightness. Wins right like you boiled it all down you all different things. It's light it helps you win. All this and I like this about at the emotional on functional benefits in the futures attributes Kinda you know listing them all out and then kind of jumbling them together until you find something that works. I think that that is an excellent way of doing such also. I mean the thing is to like okay. So that's helpful for copyrighting because you I love that what you you just did just in the moment just now like when it gets framed It's you can create on strategy copy more easily when you've gotten it still like that. The other reason that these can be so powerful is way beyond marketing. If Nike knows that it's about speed it's going to become a filter for for their innovation pipeline. Right If they're they could be evaluating. I don't know like If it's the nineteen eighties eighties. Before before. They had climbed the ladder to just do it in they were evaluating lake. Golf shoes. Are Golf shoes fast. No okay then. We're not gonNA do golf shoes. You know it becomes a filter for things way beyond copy because it's like a pillar that upholds the the bigger eager meaning the bigger. Promise that you that you bring and fulfill I like that but it actually leads to where I was GonNa kind of take you next and ask you about. Is that what happens when you know so. He gave really good example. Stay with that. So Nike makes golf shoes. Great Golf Products. Now sit under speed. Yeah Ah let's. Let's pretend that we're back in the eighties. And they made basketball shoes and they made running sneakers and they made golf and tennis equipment and they've got shorts and they've got sneakers so now they do all of these different things and even when you you know I feel like with Nike. It's pretty because of the exercise we just did. It's Kinda easy to see like who their target audiences but when describing who they are as a company I guess as an even saying it out loud. I guess I'm seeing how like you. You can actually tie things together once you actually have who you are as a brand. Yeah I mean I think you're you're you're bringing up a really interesting dynamic that happens when companies grow beyond their original category. So you know Nike's used to be in the shoe business so it was fast compared to other shoes when they decided decided to expand beyond shoes and then they even expanded beyond running shoes to other types of Susan's for its n even you know a payroll for other sports Well first of all part of the reason that they were able to do that so like going back to the benefit ladder. The top of the ladder is victory. Winning the Nike is the goddess of of victory. That that's their emotional and reward by making speed and performance. It's a an enabler of victory. And then they start to stand for victory that enables them to cross categories. That's another reason to have a benefit ladder better because you can see. Victory doesn't only exist in running victory existence sports period and oh we can go if we're about victory we don't have to remain at running shoes. We can expand to other categories alongside so So part of it is that like not is the groundwork but then at the same time when they're going to start to go into golf and basketball and lots of other sports and now they're in wearables and when apparel their way beyond shoes they have to add other pillars at the bottom of the ladder. They can only be about fast They have to add other other reasons to believe other Proof points that uphold this bigger. Promise so we're gonNA bring a bigger promise to the world. We have to have more proof. Points wants to enable that so then they add I Dunno lightweight fabrics and you know high tech swept proof. I I'm making this up I. I don't even know what they would put at the bottom of the ladder. But it's something about The the the sensory experience And and the friction looseness quality that enables you to perform really well in a sport So you can't just claim Bingham a bigger space on the ladder until you earned it and you've earned it by delivering your original promise really well but you've also been innovating to make that a more and more expansive idea that that can live and other categories as well so otherwise it's like You know you're you're making making a big promise without backing it up with reasons to believe and in that erodes trust got wow okay so I would consider what we've done here today. Something of a brand masterclass. Okay all right well. Is there anything anything that I didn't ask you about brand because your book has a lot in you know like I said I haven't gotten through all but what I did get through. Gave me enough to go this full hour and forty minutes talking about brand but is there anything else. You think people really need to know something that I didn't ask about related to brand. That's going to help people walk away from this episode and go and do something thing remarkable tomorrow aside from going on Amazon Dot Com and purchasing your book directly their kindle or coming in paperback or hardcover from. Thanks for about Jeff. I think that you know the the The thing about brand that is now getting being a lot more conversation than it than it used to have is the idea of using brand as a way to create meaning for employees and galvanizing galvanizing employees as well as Attracting the right customer so In a world world where Employees are more and more looking for that sense of purpose and for like. Why do we exist outside of the piano that were hopefully growing growing again like that can be sort of this. Mystical squishy thing. To define that and brand can be your friend when it comes to the North Star for the internal Brand builders as well as for the customer so that's in fact that's when brand really really starts to become this This flywheel of value creation as because then your customer employees are also attracted to your company so because they resonate with the company's purpose and then those employees in turn create more value for the customers who also create who are also craving that. So think of it as just this this overarching Crystallization of purpose Chris that can motivate and manifest all the reasons that your company exists to begin with love it. I'm glad you added that because I think so often in the conversation for business and this isn't just you know when we're talking about brands really when we're talking about anything we get very obsessed with the customer and I WANNA podcast with good friend of mine. He's another podcast. Are Dug Sandler is a podcast called Nice guys on business. Great podcast but he asks asks this question. Ray says you know rank the following and he says Products Services Employees customers. I think that's what he I think. That's what the forward forward I might be messing up products and services might be one in the same. There's another one but any who It's very rare for us to talk about employees and I think that's such a mistake because this overwhelming focus on the customer I think too many businesses. Forget that the way you treat your your employees is going to be the way that they treat. Treat your their customers. And they're such a vital part of that and beyond that the employees are in their own right now in in twenty nine thousand nine and beyond they are their own marketing channels for the business. What they write on glass door matters what they write on their twitter? facebook linked in about their work matters and without a cohesive message that helps to drive. Drive them moving on the same direction. You're not gonNA attract more of the people who resonate with vision. You're not going to be able to keep those people because there's somebody else who's GonNa come belong willing to pay them more money or maybe give them something to believe in so. I'm really glad that you brought that up. And I think that it's a conversation that needs to happen more especially as as it relates to Brandon. How that is a way of galvanising those employees and keeping them moving in the same direction? Yes a thousand percent boom. You said it perfectly perfectly man. This was a blessed. I'm so glad that you came on in that You know we were able to connect and I got a chance to look at your book and everything I think you're doing really great work out there and and I think hopefully people have listened to this episode. Get a lot out of it and earn spire to really think about their own brand And act. I have one final question before we go. Can you build a brand after the brand's already been built or do you have to do this starting from scratch you can build it after it's already been built. It's it's definitely. It's nice when you don't have a lot of baggage. It's it's nice to be able to have kind of a blank slate but the vast majority of businesses that I work with already. Have you have a brand name. They already have customers. They just haven't meant like sharpen their pencil to get it super dialed in. So yeah absolutely you can do this in you can take an old and sick business Sick brand and you can improve drastically just by getting really deliberate about why you existed. who serve so it's not squishy elusive or superficial official superficial or intangible but it is malleable? Exactly it it absolutely is like like platinum. Got It all right. Well This is the chance on your show. I want you to tell people where they can go and be social with you or they can learn about your where they can pick up your book where they can hire you where they can just send you postcards that tell you how great you are or whatever it is that you wanNA share. This is the point in the show where it's completely turned over to you and you can promote yourself unabashedly. Thank you so much Jeff. This has been such a pleasure to talk to you about brand for this luxuriously long space so thank you thank you And to Listeners Yes oh my book is forging and ironclad. Odd Brand is available on Amazon india-bound all those sorts of places and if listeners are interested I do have a A free giveaway that sort of a supplement to the book it's a workbook of the step-by-step method. We talked about in this podcast. That can kind kind of a company you as you're reading the book and you're going through the steps so you can find not at ironclad brand strategy dot Com I'm pretty active on linked link Dan and would love to know folks who are listening to this so reach out to me on linked in and twitter as well and And Yeah I just encourage you to think about brandon in his big of a way as you can so that it can create the most sense of purpose for Your Business Rock N and while take it from me. The book is fantastic. Book is ironclad and this podcast sharable. Wait don't leave. If you've never listened to my fancy altro do it just once for me please. Okay if you enjoy sharable and you find it valuable able. There's a few ways that you can support the show one. You can share it on social media which I strongly encourage. 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