How To Brand Your Business
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
How To Brand Your Business
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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take a deep breath sit back and think about your brand think about your product are you communicating the way you think you are communicating you may be thinking that you are doing everything a hundred percent or even if you're a startup and you're trying to figure things out take that same deep breath think about your business think about your brand and are you communicating or have you created a message that resonates if you're not sure or even if you are sure or maybe it's a refresh opportunity sit back and say how do i get that brand to resonate am i doing the right job if you kind of think along those lines then contact your great marketing person that you work with whatever that might be the case and go through a branding exercise to recheck to reformulate to rethink [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the ceo and founder of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just uh go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great get our expert episode where and we also have another great guest for the expert episode um with andy gray and we're going to be talking a little bit about uh messaging and branding and we've gone into sometimes a little bit of the weeds as to how to do whether it's seo or social media or some of the you know some content creation but we really never taken a step back and talked a little bit more about how do you actually define what your messaging should be how do you define what your brands should be how do you nurse say how should you say things what should you say when should you say them where should you say them and all those good things and a whole bunch more so we'll be having a great conversation about that and with that welcome on to the podcast andy hey thanks devin i appreciate the opportunity and i'll just tell you a really quick thought process about how i think and you kind of communicated presented my gut to everybody and that's listening and watching it's all about what you say how you say it and can you say it in a way that resonates with whoever you're saying to and that type of thought process is what i am so passionate about when it comes to marketing and branding it's kind of what i build my career on which is all about making sure that you know when you're communicating inside an organization or you're communicating to people that you want to be attracted to your products you've got to be very consistent in your thought process you've got to be quick to the point to get something communicated well enough so that people want to learn or read or see more about who you are and what you have to offer and so before we dive too deep into the expertise absolutely well why don't we give the audience just a kind of a one or two minute kind of introduction to a little bit of who you are why you're the expert why you know what you're talking about and why they solicit so give us that kind of brief introduction absolutely so i've built my career in advertising and marketing i've been doing it for obviously for several decades and i have worked in the corporate world corporate 500 fortune 500 companies on both sides of the advertising and and the the business side of marketing and advertising and i've also built in the last almost dozen years my own book of business as a entrepreneur consultant in the area of branding and marketing but what it really comes down to is there was one point in my career path where a supervisor of mine in the advertising business where i was an account supervisor working on the biscuit cookies at the time and in her evaluation of me she kind of said you know you really get along with the marketing people our clients you know all the brand people and someday you might want to consider jumping fence and you know and and work on the marketing side not the advertising side and of course i said to her are you suggesting that i kind of need to look oh no no no you're fine no you need to look but the reality is that she hit something she hit a court because i socialized more with the marketing folks than i do with the ad folks the people that i work with every day at the agency and so eventually i switched i jumped effects and i became into the world of brand marketing and worked on a number of different you know brands and in the area of vitamins and even the garbage business etc and and other products like that and and i really focused on making sure that we're communicating clearly and took the thought process and one of the things that that i've always thought important is you've got to make sure everybody's on the same page and that is a challenge as i was growing into my career to convince people of programs to pursue you needed to really be clear in your communication and what you wanted to accomplish so that's how i kind of built a career and then eventually i broke out and got into the uh the entrepreneurial side of business no and i think that's a it sounds like an exciting and fun career and a lot of twists and turns and lots of things learned so now with all of that it's kind of introduction both on what we're going to talk about and you know a little bit about yourself let's dive right into it so i you know one of the main things that we chat a little bit even before the podcast was you know kind of taking a step back in the sense that oftentimes you get you want to push out your message you want to get on facebook you want to get it on instagram you want to get it on google you want to do this you want you want to push it all but you never necessarily think as much as you probably should put in time and effort on messaging and branding and kind of what the message should be how you should say it so if you're the kind of talking to a startup or a small business it's just trying to figure out what their messaging should be what their branding should be how should they even go about starting to tackle that what is that first step to say here's what our brand should be here's what our messaging should be how would you go about doing that one of the things that i always talk to my clients is what's the first thing that happens when you leave a meeting you presented you've communicated what it is that you had to present you walk out what's the first thing that most people that you presented to are going to say they're going to talk about you and that first thing is about the business that you presented they're going to talk about the person that presented are you able to communicate clearly if you get your message across then they're going to listen to the rest of what you have to say so when i ask clients what is it that they need to hear they need to hear the person speaking or if they're reading an e-blast or if they're reading a social post they need to see what it is that you're saying quickly enough to read the rest comment that i always kind of say and uh is you know the guy back in the ad business david ogilvy back in the madman days of advertising before my time he said that on average 80 cents out of every dollar you spent is on the headline you can't get that correct you can't get people to read the rest of what you're saying or writing or showing so that's just that's the starting point i get asked a lot hey can you put me on facebook well yeah but what's your message what are you going to say and how do you know it's the right message that's where i start so let me follow up on that because there's a couple different things that you touched on one is kind of and i like the idea you know if you're in a meeting one what's the first thing well you know usually you walk out and say oh that was a boring meeting or that was a good meeting that was interesting but i i agree with you that a lot of that is as much to do with how you present what you present as far as you have to get almost past that first hurdle before they even listen to the message because if they if you're in a monotone voice and you're slow and drawn out they're not even going to listen to the message right but how do you so let's let's say just for for you know for an example that i'm the world's best presenter that i you know i i i'm just everybody is on the edge of their seat because i just have such a way about me then how do i start to figure out what my message should be you know in other words if just for an example i get i get to where i can pretend well how do i figure out what that message should be or how i start to convey that message it's all within the same thought process it's you know uh i'm not what i'm not preaching necessarily is how to be a great presenter what i'm preaching is how to get a good message across and so if you are communicating clearly what you who you are so the first thing that i always work with my clients are is tell me about you what makes you you what are your passions what's your motivations what makes you go going in the day what are some of the things that you get so excited about what are some of the things you don't like to do not everybody has i've worked with a couple of clients one who's you know speaking manners you know i have to lower the volume of my computer to listen to him because he speaks so loudly and so aggressively and then i was working with somebody else most recently who's very quiet so it's not a matter of style it's a matter of getting to know who you are and if you get to know who you are then that's the first part of your message you might have the great product you can now talk about it but if you are passionate about it if you're excited about it if you're motivated about it no matter if it's a soft tone large tone what type whatever the tone doesn't make a difference what really makes a difference is are you communicating who you are that's the first part of branding now you know another example that i always use is okay well you go to a starbucks they're you know starbucks is the message you're going to starbucks because you want a relaxing coffee environment you want that the the taste of the starbucks coffee but people are behind that message people have created that message so that people at the store are now communicating that message through the the work that they do the product they serve the environment they present it's all part of that messaging that starts at the beginning so it doesn't have to be you or i talking to somebody it could be a brand talking to you no i think that that that definitely makes sense so so now you know kind of diving into a bit of the you know kind of how what when why and those type of things it's one takeaway it sounds like and correct me definitely where where i'm wrong is that first of all you kind of need to figure out what you're passionate about what or what you what excites you and then how to convey that in a message now so let's say you kind of figure out how to say that then you know what what are the words or how do you figure out so you figure out what you're passionate about now how do you find the words to say it or the imagery to say it and where to say it and when to say it who's your customer what is it about your customer why would they become interested why are they interested in your products why could they be interested in what you have to say really understanding the customer's buying journey when you and i go buy a laptop at a electronics store we go in what have we done already we have done our own research we've googled it to no end we read reviews on one laptop versus another top then we go into the store and maybe we talk to a salesperson or maybe we're on our phone looking for more research information so understanding that journey i'm coming in i think well prepared to make a decision but you know but maybe i need a sales person to kind of egg me on same thing with you know a brand whether it's starbucks or coca-cola or whatever it might be it's what helps me to understand the consumer side of things why do i make a decision how do i make a decision understanding how that happens making sure you choose the words that they need to hear think of the example you and i talked about before getting together now was okay i need to make it i need to drill something i need a three-quarter inch drill i'm not looking for the brand i'm looking for the benefit of the brand oh that brand will allow me that drill is going to make a perfect three-quarter inch drill that's what i'm looking for understanding those words understanding the consumer the customer how that decision process goes helps you to then know what it is that you need to say no i think that definitely makes sense i think that too often we almost focus on the what hey we sell drill bits and i like that example because you're saying okay we sell drill bits everybody sells drill bits and if all you do is say we sell drill bits you're gonna you're gonna be the exact same as everybody else you're gonna become a commodity and your message isn't gonna stand out but if you can convey hey no this helps you to really or drill the hole that you wanna drill and it helps you to get through the material you want to get through and it doesn't it works well with your products or your drill bits such that it's going to be a good experience and start to convey kind of more of what they need or what they're looking for as opposed to just the product i think that definitely resonates better with customers yep so now one one question i often get is you know as especially as a startup or a small business sometimes i they don't know or at least they don't they don't think they know right in the sense that they're saying i don't you know i i know what my product is i know why i'm passionate and no i'm excited but i don't know if i exactly know my customer i know my client i don't know exactly what that experience will be i don't know how how do you go about kind of figuring that out so that you can better craft your message to the customer if you're not exactly if you're early enough stage that you don't exactly know what that experience should be or what the customer is it's a competitive analysis you know some of the basic principles of marketing is knowing the marketplace that you're in the gaps that exist in the marketplace and whether or not or how your product or idea or service fits into that gap or solves a problem in that particular marketplace part of that process is knowing what's out there knowing the different brands that are out there the different company you know that your competitive frame your yours you know the different competitors that are out there understanding how they communicate what their products and services are how do they present themselves understanding all of their pluses or minuses based on how you're evaluating them helps you understand potentially where you fit i've also asked okay well what if there is no competition well there's always competition the number one competitor is the consumer because if there's nothing out there specifically for what you have to offer you still have to convince the customer the consumer to buy your product so there's competition because that person's frame of mind is somewhere else so understanding that thought process and you can conduct that through you know online research you conduct that through primary research focus groups or quantitative research or sometimes what i suggest to clients is okay here are you know give me a list of five customers who you like who do business with you give me a list of five customers who don't do business with you turned you turned you away and let's talk to them or let let somebody talk to them because you can't talk to them as the owner of the business because they're not going to tell you exactly 100 of everything because they don't want to hurt your feelings that's usually what happens in research but if you get a third person to contact these customers you're going to find out information about why they like you or they like you but not they don't like you a lot they love you you didn't realize they loved you or here's why three or four people didn't choose you maybe it's price maybe it's value or i like what the other company that i chose better well why do you like them so you if you kind of do that type of customer research understanding that decision process and how they went about it all that information bakes you know it's sort of like that puzzle you start to put the pieces together no i like that not you know i kind of would clump in if you have a business owner first of all most business owners tend to get defensive if they get bad feedback they want to argue with them rather than hearing the feedback so it's always better to get a third party and also talk to customers because if you ever talk to family or friends or anybody else they're going to be too nice to tell you or they're going to be way too critical and either way it's not that helpful one question i and didn't necessarily intend to ask but it raised as you're talking through is you know what i would have thought about if i was a startup or small business i don't know if i have money to go hire a formal you know study i don't have you know a whole bunch of you know resources to go hire a third party fly people in do lots of surveys do market testing you know i would love to but i don't have the money so kind of if you're looking for i guess for lack better word a budget friendly or a way to approach that and say okay i can't do it myself should you have an employee do it should you ask a friend to do it or how do you go about on you know maybe on a bit more of a shoestring budget or if you can't have a formalistic third party that does the surveying how do you start to at least get an idea well a lot of it can be done and i obviously we both deal with a lot of startups and and a lot of small businesses that obviously don't have the same type of budgets and and any of the things that i've talked about can be managed relatively efficiently but under those type of conditions what i have done with clients is i've been the one who's called a couple customers to kind of talk as part of the service that uh that i offer or you spend time really analyzing what people are doing on facebook what people are doing on on twitter what people are doing on instagram what people are doing in their website what are their website what are they talking about you can discern a lot of information you can identify the keywords that other customers other competitors are using and adopt those types of thought processes to the work that you're doing without having to spend a lot of dollars on the consumer or market research side and still feel comfortable enough that you have something to start to work with the other part and you probably heard this from many other people a b testing you should always be testing and a b testing is testing one idea against the other making sure that it's it's a singular idea that you're testing it could be the body copy versus another body or another art design or it could be the headline testing etc doing that type of testing can also give you information to help you efficiently manage how you go about the whole process of marketing without having to spend a lot of dollars no i i love the idea of a b testing i think that sometimes you just you know temptation is you find what works and then you stop testing or you find something that kind of works but you never really know if it's working well if it's resonating or it's just working well enough that it convinces some people to do sales so i always love the idea of continuing to a b test figuring out how to optimize it how to make it better and how to adjust it because that can have a bigger impact and as soon as you stop testing you don't know if they're if it can resonate or if it would be better because you've stopped and that type of a thing i remember one time not to interrupt you but i mean it's just a story i like to tell people in terms of how to kind of understand to do it efficiently i was working you know years ago trying to convince an organization uh you know looking at email marketing as an example and they weren't you know the cio of that company wasn't really supporting it so i sat down with him and in the course of it i said open up your email of course he had it open i said well is there any of those types of what you call spam emails that you open oh i opened this one oh okay why'd you open i like the headline oh okay any of those blue things you know you call them hyperlinks of course he laughed because i know what hyperlinks are but yeah i didn't you know i clicked that oh okay did a sales guy call did anybody call from that company no but you know what now that you've asked me i opened up this other email and five minutes after i clicked the link i got a call and he stopped and he realized a b testing what companies do to get you to understand what they have to offer there's a headline that the guy liked there was a link that was he was interested in and that's how you learn now i became a supporter of my program too no and i think that's great because i mean i like the idea of you know almost alice why did you open this one why did you not open this one why did you click this why did you not click this why did you accept the call from the one and not even get a call from the other guy and if you never tested you would never know so i think that's a great great message now i think that goes along with my next question is one of the things i think we chatted a bit before is you know making sure your message is clear and i think that that's oftentimes easier said than done because a lot of times you know at least when i've worked with a lot of startups and small businesses you have a lot of things that you're excited about to tell your message you have you know all these features all of these different things that differentiate you that make you better that you excited about that you do internally a lot of which your audience or your customers don't necessarily if they care in the sense that they get a good experience but they don't necessarily don't need to tell them everything behind the scenes so how do you make it kind of a clear and concise message such that it conveys the information that you do need while leaving out the information they do and i get some of that's a b testing but how do you even decide you know how do you start to figure out what information to clearly convey and how do you make that consistent so that it it comes across as this is why you should come or work with us and that's a great question and it's uh one of the many uh challenges that you wouldn't that you kind of deal with on a day in and day out basis and you know if you go through a branding program and you know what it is that you uh you know communicate or what your products and features are all about you've created keywords and key messages you have what's called the value proposition which is marketing 101 what is it about your product or service that that makes a difference in the marketplace you know etc but you also have underneath all of that keywords and key messages that can be used to communicate your story as long as that story that you're communicating is what the customer needs to hear so depending upon your product or service you may have a customer group let's say customer group a over here and a customer group b over here and what they're looking for on this side may be slightly different than this side but your key messages are consistent who you are as a brand is consistent you may go to starbucks because you like their coffee i may go to starbucks because well pre-covet i'd like to sit sitting in this store where i could do or i could work remotely type of thing depending upon what's important to me is the met that is the message that i end up hearing and either case i'm hearing that message so it's knowing who that target audience is knowing that you've got an overall brand message that you're communicating and any of the words that you have identified or any of the phrases you've identified as key thoughts or key messages become how becomes how you end up communicating and how you end up choreographing how you're talking to whomever you're talking to i i like that i think that definitely has a lot of insight to it we're starting to wrap up towards the end the podcast and there's always so many more things i want to talk about than we ever have time to talk but one thing i always like to do is that or end the podcast with the expert episode with one question which is you know there's a lot of things that we chatted through a lot of things that businesses could be doing should be doing and you know it can sometimes be overwhelming they say man there's just so many things and i should get going on 20 different areas and they can't because they don't have enough time so if they were to only take away one thing meaning if they could only get started on one thing that was an actionable item say they could get started two-day doing something to improve their branding improve their messaging and make it a better what would that one takeaway be what's the one thing if nothing else that they should start doing take a deep breath sit back and think about your brand think about your product are you communicating the way you think you are communicating you may be thinking that you are doing everything a hundred percent or even if you're a startup and you're trying to figure things out take that same deep breath think about your business think about your brand and are you communicating or have you created a message that resonates if you're not sure or even if you are sure or maybe it's a refresh opportunity sit back and say how do i get that brand to resonate am i doing the right job if you kind of think along those lines then contact your great marketing person that you work with uh whatever that might be the case and go through a branding exercise to recheck to reformulate to resync no i think that's great and i like the the simpleness if i were to take away nothing is take a breath and then think about your brand and think about your messaging because too often you just want to get it in the or we've already got it we're just going to keep going in the go go go and you never really take that time to actually think about the process think about the messaging think about how the customers receive it and if you take a step back and think about it you're probably going to find things that need to be done clear need to be done better you'd like to say differently and that would be worded that so i think that's that's a great message well as we wrap up if people want to reach out to you they want to hi they want to be a customer a client they want to hire you they want to be an employee of yours they want to invest in your business they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out find out more okay i'm going to give you my email address and i'll give you my phone number my email address is andy in unitysm.com that's i n u n i t y s m dot com in unity and i kind of created that name because of the thought process of getting everybody on the same page getting everybody in unity together that's how i came up with that name at two and two o'clock in the morning one night uh so andy ad in unitysm.com or my phone number 954-684-7798 awesome well i appreciate all the expertise you've shared all the in their knowledge and information definitely been a wealth of learning on my end now for all of you that are listeners if you'd like if you have your either your own expertise to share or you have your own journey to share feel free to apply to be on the podcast and just go to inventiveguest.com we'd love to hear your story or share your expertise two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out to if you can leave us a review so everybody else can find out about all the awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chad thank you again andy it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last i appreciate it devin this was really fun i appreciate you inviting me on this is really good i thank you for the time [Music] absolutely