FYB 038 | Sensory Branding

The brand of a product, service or content delivers a promise to the consumer. It needs to be there from the very beginning so that people know that you are different and relevant and they will choose you over your competition. Expert in sensory branding Gerry Foster believes that once you pinpoint your uniqueness and elevate it, clients will go to you and think that you are the better choice. Business owners as well as podcasters need to see a clear vision of what their brand is so that they can take their clients and listeners from where they are to where they want to go to. Learn why people have preferences for their favorite brands and how the three levels of branding can separate you from the competition.

Our guest is someone who is just infectiously enthusiastic. He is Gerry Foster. He is the creator of Big Brand Formula and he is known as the branding evangelist, which you’ll know as you talk to him. The depth of his knowledge about branding is one thing, but he has an ability to express it, which is why he’s such an amazing brander himself. That ability to express it, it’s infectious. He is a very dynamic speaker. We speak at some of the same business events from the stage and these conferences we go to, one of them is called CEO Space that we are technically faculty at and speak at a couple of times a year. We’ve been there with Gerry at the same event, a couple of times speaking and I always hate it when I speak opposite him. They have sometimes several different speeches going on at the same time in different big rooms at this event. When I go against Gerry, I’m always like, “Oh no,” because I know Gerry completely fills the room. Not only does he fill the room but when he speaks, the audience midway through is on their feet and cheering and excited and making so much noise. Everybody is sitting in your speech and it’s like, “What’s going on?”

The reason I don’t like speaking opposite Gerry is because I want to send people out of my room and send them to him. We’ve always believed in a ‘brand first’ model of doing business. You have to get into that. That’s why I invited him on the show because I wanted to get across to our podcasters and aspiring podcasters, how important it is to understand who you are, who you’re speaking to and what you’re about. Getting that deep down, as Gerry will put it, foundation going for you is so strategically important to getting the most out of all the efforts of things that you do, marketing and advertising and selling and doing all these things that you’ll do later, developing product even. That’s why I like to have a brand for strategy for all of my clients. When they don’t have that in place, I don’t feel like we can be successful. It’s one of the reasons why we push people away and say, “You’re not ready for us yet,” and we do that very frequently both in the podcast side and in the product side. “You’re not ready for us yet.” It is normally because they don’t have their branding together. They don’t get it.

The other thing about Gerry that’s a fundamental that I want everyone to understand is he has vast experience, practical experience. This is not someone who just got it in the last five minutes. This is someone who has a lifetime of experience doing this. The fundamentals of branding have not changed even though a lot of the vehicles for branding issues and marketing have changed over the years in his career with the internet and social media and all the different things that have happened. Definitely the playing field has changed but the fundamentals about what it means to be a big brand, even if you’re a little company, is so critical to have right in your business.

Listen to the podcast here:

Sensory Branding: How To Be Noticed, Remembered, and Desired With Gerry Foster

Gerry, I’m so glad to talk to you. It’s been way too long.

I’m excited to be here, Tracy. Thank you for having me.

It is just one of those favorite subjects that we are such brand advocates all around for being unique, original and special. This is my favorite subject to talk about no matter what audience I’m talking about it. I know you are an advocate about this too. Tell us a little bit about your background though so that everyone can get some context on how you became such an advocate for original brands.

I always love to share a story around that. I was at an event about twenty years ago or something and there were 300 people in the room. They asked us all to stand up if we were in the same field that we majored in, in college. I stood up with two other people. My background is that I went to USC, University of Southern California, I did my undergrad and graduate work at USC. I majored in marketing with deep study in branding. I got my degree with honors and all of that good stuff and then I went to work for Procter & Gamble, P&G. They pretty much wrote the book on this thing called branding. When I was at P&G, I worked in brand strategy, in the field of brand management. I was there helping to grow some of their laundry brands and then I worked in the citrus juice and drink industry and then I started my business full time, a brand development and training company over 30 years ago. I share that story only because branding is all I’ve done my entire life. I live and breathe branding. It’s the thing that I love the most and I appreciate the kinship that you and I have around this topic. This is the thing that literally is the purpose of the work that I do. That’s all I’ve done.

In my column and on our show, we do this all the time is we are always advocating for brand identity and brand being important even though we’re product people which is actually unusual. Usually, product people are all about the ‘thing’. We’re the opposite of that. Over the years, what I learned is that brand is so important in setting up a great product, and in terms of the product, delivering what the brand promises. I can’t design and make a great product if I don’t understand the brand itself or they don’t understand who they are. We are a brand first. We send people off to do their branding work first.

I appreciate that because we live in a brand-conscious world. It’s all about the brand and nothing but the brand. It’s one of the biggest hurdles for so many small business owners. When I say, small business owners, I’m including the solopreneur, the entrepreneur, the independent professional and on and on, is that they think that a brand is a logo. They think that the brand is simply the look and feel of what you offer or that a brand is a product. They fail to understand that people are brands too. In this brand-conscious world that we live in, there is a strong preference for people to buy their favorite brand of whoever or whatever because they know what they’re going to get at that point. They know what they can count on to have delivered. That’s the whole essence of having a strong brand.

We also tell all of our podcasting clients and colleagues, people we meet anywhere in our network of business people that if you’re going to start a podcast, it’s also essential you understand your brand as a company but also what we refer to as the ingredient brand of your show. In order to go forward and execute your vision for that show and bring your message to the world through that show, you’ve got to understand who you are, whether it’s a personal brand or a corporate brand. Gerry’s talks or speeches, the audience is usually by the end standing on their feet and cheering. Even if I’ve heard it before, I’m like, “I’m going. I want to hear it again,” because it doesn’t hurt to reinforce this. When you talk about brand, it’s not just who you are but it’s also who you want to talk to or who you’re targeting or attracting as a brand. Talk a little bit about that.

There are two aspects to that. First off, as a brand you have to get real clear on how you are different and why you’re better than whoever or whatever you’re going to be competing against. Let’s focus on individuals. Let’s focus on folks that are out there, perhaps they are thought leaders, speakers, coaches, trainers, authors, people who have a real gift to give to the world. The reality is that they are competing with thousands of millions of other “thought leaders” around the world. What comes along with that are false perceptions that occur where people think that, “You’re a life coach or you’re this or you’re that,” and you’re no different than someone else. It’s getting harder and harder for individuals to stand out. It’s as if they’re invisible.

There’s so much noise in, in a sense, a level playing field for noise.

You have to do all that you can to position yourself as being preeminent in your field. The better you can set yourself apart from the competition, the easier it’s going to be to get noticed and remembered and desired, which is the job of every brand. You have to not only think about how you’re different and why you’re better, then you’ll answer the question of, “Who is your target audience, your avatar? Who is going to appreciate your gift, your skill sets, the talents that you have to offer?” The work that I do is showing people how to make that happen.

You have three types of brands that you talk about. My least favorite is me-too. I don’t even see the point. That’s not why I went into business. Tell us about the three levels of brands.

There are three levels that thought leaders and others who have expertise to give to the world. One level that you can play out is called me-too, the second level is me-special and the third level is me-only. When you are playing at the me-too level, you basically are allowing people to label you, pigeonhole you, put you onto a slot, basically label you as being generic. This happens to so many folks who have expertise, particularly. Let’s focus on those people. If they’re not distinguishing themselves, if they’re not positioning themselves as being highly distinctive, then the consumer has every right to go ahead and put them in the me-too market space. They’re allowing someone to basically come to the conclusion, “You’re not really any different than this other person or you’re not saying anything that’s different than this other website I was on.” When you are in the me-too space, you have now become a commodity. The only way that you can compete is on price because you’re not giving people a reason to think differently of you.

I always say that they can only throw more money at it. You can throw more money at marketing, you can one-up people that way or down your price so low. It’s always a money play at that point.

It really is because they’re missing the opportunity to embrace that you have to provide something that is unique and believable and highly regarded. The primary objective is to generate love for your brand by making yourself unforgettable and giving people a reason to favor you over the competition. If you can own a place in someone’s mindset and in their heart, around a specific area of appealing expertise that highly distinguishes you from other “similar brands” in the market, then you can go to the next level. The next level is me-special. You’ve got to be careful there because this is a person who feels that he or she is different. This is the person who feels that, “Gerry, I don’t think I’m saying the same thing or offering the same thing as other people.” However though, is it relevant? Are you saying something that people care about? The level that people should be playing at is called me-only. In the me-only space, you’re looked upon as an innovator as opposed to an imitator that you’ll see in the me-too space.

FYB 038 | Sensory Branding

Sensory Branding: As a brand, you have to get real clear on how you are different and why you’re better.

Sometimes there’s a place for the me-special, especially when you’re not sure of who your audience is. It’s a lot easier when you’re Procter & Gamble and you know where your shelf is, you know who your shopper is, you’ve been servicing them for decades and you’d like to grow that audience. Sometimes you need to go in and you aren’t sure who your core audience is, who’s going to be most attracted to you. We find podcasters sometimes fall into that realm. They’re market testing in a way and you don’t want to spend the money, share all the innovative details but you want to go in and test that special bond and then find those right people to explore and test out. That’s always a good place. What do you think of that strategy?

I totally agree with that because it always comes down to finding your perfect audience, your ideal audience, the avatar that becomes your tribe. The reason why that’s so essential, and I love what you just said, is that great brands are built by a community. That community are comprised of people who are most likely to love, appreciate and “buy” what it is that you offer. You want to appeal to those individuals, those members of your audience who really are connected to what it is that you have to say. Remember though, that in order to grow that audience, you’ve got to deliver something that is considered special and memorable. If you are not looked upon as what I call a standalone brand, that basically allows you as a podcaster to say that, “Through my podcast, I’m going to provide you something that you are not going to hear anywhere else, that you are going to receive value that is unrivaled compared to anyone else,” if you don’t do that, then you’re going to be put into that me-too, red ocean market space filled with bloody competition and you’re just a commodity. This requires crushing conventional ways. This requires redefining the expectations that customers have and go beyond the predictable in terms of what people are expecting from a podcast such as yours.

You want to surprise and delight that listener so that they believe. There are other podcasts maybe that talk on similar subjects but they’re not going to get the same thing elsewhere.

You’ve got to be able to demonstrate that you are in a class by yourself. That you are able to deliver value in a way that no one else can through your podcast because then, you can build up subscribers and followers and all that good stuff. You have to innovate and not imitate. You have to be me-only, not me-too. That’s the difference between speakers and Tony Robbins. That’s the difference between Gillette and razorblades or Nike and other sneakers. Great brands occupy what I call that me-only, blue ocean market space where you can say to your audience, “I’m the only one who does what it is that I do and no one can deliver this value like I can.”

Gerry, you’ve worked for some very big brands. Procter & Gamble has some of the biggest brands in the world. I just read an article that they’re still on a huge growth trajectory, that they have not slowed down. My question about that is, in this day and age especially for all those people you’re talking about, the solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, speakers, author types of people, do you think that today with the internet and social media, is it easier to be seen and be heard as a small emerging brand or is it harder now? Is there too much noise? Do you have some thoughts on that?

It is a lot of noise. However, you can cut down and slice through all of that noise. You can make your way through all of those jungles of chatter, as we call it, if you can find the right words, if you can say the right words the right way. You can literally get people to stop, listen, hug and embrace your unrivaled value if you are brand-driven and have a value-driven message. People will always gravitate to someone who they feel makes a heart connection with them as opposed to simply a head connection. What I mean by that is a podcaster is able to say something that no one has ever heard or seen before. That’s the great thing about podcasting. The great thing about being in business for yourself is knowing that if you’ve got something fresh or rare or radically different, then whoever or whatever, someone’s always going to be on the lookout for you. You’ve got to do the right kind of marketing to cut through that clutter. You have to create your brand and market your brand and then sell your brand. As you’ve heard me say on stages, I believe in what I call the Golden Triangle, which is branding, marketing and selling. The three have to be integrated the proper way. The job of branding is to differentiate yourself, the job of marketing is to get people to notice that difference and the job of selling is to get people to pay for that difference. As I always put it, branding will get you known, marketing will get you found and selling will get you paid. However, all three have to work together.

That’s important for people to understand. Maybe many business people already understand that, but it’s very important to spell that out and make sure everybody’s completely conscious of it even if they had a general idea that that’s the case. You just laid out the formula to success right there. It hasn’t changed even though some of the way that we deliver it has changed. This is the same you’ve been working on since the beginning of your career. That’s the thing that I find about what we do here as well with products is what we do doesn’t change. How we deliver it might change a little bit or the vehicles we use to get products to market has changed, but the actual essence of what makes a good product or what makes a great brand hasn’t changed at all.

It hasn’t because at the end of the day, you have to make sure that you give consumers, however you define consumers for your type of business, you have to give them reasons to choose you. Especially when they must choose between close alternatives. The idea here is to big brand yourself, to come up with something that allows you to pinpoint and elevate your uniqueness so that people think of you first. That requires knowing, “What is your wow? What is it about you that is going to set you apart from everyone else?” Where so many people fall short is that they’re not achieving what I call lucrative competitive separation, which means that you are really distancing yourself from all the others because you’re providing something that is vastly superior to the competition.

I hear it all the time from innovators because I interview so many of them and they always think that they’ve got the most innovative things. Some of them even say, “We have no competitors,” which I hate to hear. That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life. It’s probably the most overused naïve term in business. You’ve probably heard that too, Gerry.

You’re always being compared to whoever and whatever.

Your dollar is being competed for with something. It may not be a direct competitor by that definition, but that dollar is always going somewhere else. You do have competition.

You do have competition because people are always looking for solutions. They’re always looking for some miracle to be performed or they’re looking for some emotional payoff where they get to stop experiencing a negative emotion or they want to experience some very positive emotions or perhaps they’re looking for a better outcome. They’re looking for a brand, be it a product or a service that’s going to take them from where they are to where they want to go. When people are in that mindset and they are searching for any of those four items, they prefer a brand because with a brand, you know what you can expect to receive. A brand is a promise. You’re telling people that there is a certain experience that they’re going to receive through your brand. If people connect with that at both the heart level and the head level, then you’re doing okay. To think that, “I don’t have competition or all I have to do is tell people how brilliant I am or smart I am or what my achievements have been,” I tell thought leaders, “Tell that to your parents. They’ll be impressed.” In the world today like, “You hit the nail on the head.” When you’ve got zillions of websites and all of the blogs and social networks and all the things that we’re all competing with, you have got to do everything you can to stand out, get noticed and be remembered for your uniqueness so that you can then be rewarded for your individuality.

Maybe everyone can start to understand now why Gerry’s talks get amped up and everybody gets excited and starts cheering. Not only are you just a dynamic person, Gerry, and your talks are fun because of how you deliver it, but you speak the truth and it’s enlightening. Even hearing it again, it’s reinvigorating me with some of the brands that we own and are building and reminding me of some of the things that we need to be doing. You’ve got to get back to the basics. You’ve got to get back to that core value you’re delivering. As you put it, you’ve got to get to that lucrative competitive separation but it all surrounds getting noticed and recognized and valued. All of those things, desired and valued, are the same thing to me but it’s defined differently by how you’re marketing, right?

Yes. Let me add to that. The other key fundamental truth here is that so many folks out there don’t even understand what branding means. They think that a brand is the visual face that you put out there, your look and feel. There are many layers of a brand. The fact of the matter is that great brands are strategically built. They’re not built through image. Now, is it important to have a great logo and a great website, “I’ve got my book,” and all of that? Sure. That doesn’t mean you have a brand. That simply means that you have what’s called a brand identity in terms of your image. The key thing is to make sure that you are strategically crafting a brand that is built upon a very solid multi-layer strategic foundation that allows people to have a clear understanding of what makes you different and better than every other option or competitor out there so that you can increase the likelihood that they will think about and consider you when they are in the market for what it is that you’re providing through your podcasts. That’s where people fall short. They don’t have the foundation in place. They’re so excited about the bells and the whistles and, “Let’s get the website up,” and, “Let’s do some videos” and all of that.

That is probably one of the most misunderstood issues and maybe a common rookie error is that people often confuse their mark, their logo with their brand. You articulated that very well for everyone. I want to dive a little bit deeper into that multi-leveled approach because we hear so much about brands having a significant content strategy. I was talking to someone for an article that I’m writing about, the YETI cooler, and they have a brilliant content strategy. There’s product positioning in there but it is all about who is a YETI advocate, who’s the right type of person. Having that multi-layered brand, you understand that beyond just identity. It means you don’t just slap a logo on everything. You understand that deep in the strategy of how you craft your video or your podcast or your guests that you invite on the show, right?

Exactly. If the job of the brand is to help you stand out, get noticed and be remembered, then you have to make sure that foundation is firmly in place. From there, you can think about what kind of marketing you’re going to do to promote your brand, develop some thoughtful design, all the image stuff, to creatively express your brand’s uniqueness. Then you can think about how you can realistically make money selling your brand online or offline to get from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. It’s the whole thing that brand markets sell. To your point, if you’re hung up and think that, “I’m already branded because I’ve got my look,” if it were that simple, we’d all be rich. One time, I was speaking somewhere and this guy goes, “Gerry, I appreciate what you were saying about strategically crafting your brand because I can get someone to do a logo for $50.” This other guy goes, “I can go on Fiverr.com and get one done for $5.” I’m like, “Do you think that branding is as simple as having a look and that’s it? There’s a lot more to it than that.”

The very first article I ever wrote for Inc. was why Million Dollar Brands Don’t Buy $5 Logos and it had nothing to do with the graphic work.

The thing about that is that doing creative and imagery and marketing and selling stuff, that all sounds good but you don’t do that before you lay down a strong, strategic branding foundation for growth. In the absence of that, you’re going to hurt your sales. You’re jeopardizing your success if you put the cart before the horse.

FYB 038 | Sensory Branding

Sensory Branding: Branding will get you known, marketing will get you found and selling will get you paid. All three have to work together.

Gerry, I’m interested in your specific thoughts on this. Podcasting as a vehicle to help communicate your brand, whether it’s very upfront and literal or it’s just very subtle, because maybe your podcast is an ingredient of your brand and not necessarily the entire brand, but in terms of branding, you as an individual for these thought leaders, speakers, authors, you’re speaking in people’s ears and you’re connecting with people on a different level. Our experience tells us that it does help you communicate your mission, your brand promise, your message more effectively because you are communicating on a different level than a lot of other businesses do.

As long as the podcaster has found his or her uniqueness. Uniqueness means the only blue ocean, “I’m the only one who’s doing this.” This is a very profound definition I’m giving here. Once you have nailed that, then you can translate your uniqueness into whatever vehicle you’re going to use, let’s say a podcast, because I do believe in podcasting, so that you cannot only help bring your brand to life, you can generate buzz. Generating buzz in the marketplace to help grow your brand by having awareness and recognition and excitement, that’s important. If that podcaster is simply putting something out into the market that is looked upon as more of the same, boring or not very interesting, then he or she is going to have a hard time generating buzz.

We often play this video clip of Malcolm Gladwell on Colbert’s The Late Show. Malcolm Gladwell, for those who don’t know him, is the best-selling author of at least two dozen books. He was asked by Stephen Colbert, “Why did you start a podcast?” because he started a podcast called Revisionist History. It’s a series. It’s not a constant ongoing podcast. The way Stephen Colbert said it is like, “Why would you podcast? Isn’t that smalltime for you?” That was Stephen’s impression. His answer was just so right on. His answer was, “Because you think with your eyes but you feel with your ears. A podcast is an opportunity for me to make a deeper connection, make people laugh and make people cry. Do things that you can’t do in a book.” It gave him a vehicle to be more him. I read every one of his books and his personality comes across. Then when you hear that show, it’s his personality. It’s his viewpoint. It gets his personal brand across in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever heard before.

I love that because what that just opened up for me is it supports one of the principles I have which is you have to have what I call brand power. I define brand power as the massive power of your brand to not only successively compete in a market but also drive the desired results that you’re looking for, become well-known and more importantly, help people, love and respect and admire and trust your brand. That’s the key. Anything that you can do to give yourself brand power and move people, podcasting totally makes sense.

Thank you so much for that. I’m even more excited that we’re doing three podcasts for facets of our business than I was before. What Gerry said is absolutely true and what Malcolm Gladwell said and experienced, it’s a different level. It is a different level to be speaking to people and have them understand your personality. Certain things come across when they listen to you that don’t come across when they read what you wrote.

You have to appeal to the senses. That’s one thing about branding. There’s a concept in branding called sensory branding where the basic idea is to understand that the consumer, the way they measure a brand is through what they can see, taste, touch, smell or hear. As the brander, your job is to decide which of those five human senses or a combination thereof you are going to appeal to. The more of a multi-sensory branding experience you can give someone, the more love you’re going to generate for your brand because then, you’re helping to make your brand unforgettable and favored by your target audience.

Gerry, we can’t thank you enough for coming on the show and talking about all these great concepts. I hit on all kinds of little notes to myself about, “I’ve got to read up on sensory branding,” things that I didn’t even know I didn’t know about branding. You’re amazing, Gerry. Thank you so much.

You’re welcome. Thank you. I appreciate it. It was great.

Sensory Branding: How To Be Noticed, Remembered, and Desired – Final Thoughts

My mind is blown as usual. I always love listening to Gerry and talking with Gerry. He’s one of our favorite people that we’ve come to know in our business networking journey and speaking from the stage at events. It’s not that I don’t know a lot of these fundamentals and we haven’t heard Gerry talk about them but when he talks about them, it reemphasizes some incredibly important points for us in business and for our clients and colleagues in business. Gerry has a way of bringing it to the forefront of your consciousness that helps you sharpen your own brand.

I want to tell a story about this. We have rebranded recently one aspect of our business which is our podcast hosting and especially our dynamic ad insertion platform, which we now have rebranded and the name is Podetize. We’ve talked about that on a couple of episodes ago to let people know about that. We went through a rebranding. We did and we currently are. Our web platform where our customers log in to upload their episodes is Podetize.com. We’ve been dealing with the brand. We have taken the similar approach. We needed a logo, we needed a mark and that was one aspect but lately, Alexandra, who’s our COO for this business, has been talking with me. We are always so busy doing everything we’re doing and I needed to drive in the car somewhere and she was like, “I’m going to come in the car with you and I’m going to record the conversation and I’m bringing my papers. We need to talk about what our mission statement is for this business, what our vision is for this business.” We were discussing a lot of these issues that get at the heart of what our brand promise is, what that part of our business is all about.

It’s that strategy foundation that is what Gerry was talking about. When you get that foundation in place and you have a strategy, what we’ve found over the years is when you get that right, it makes it easy to determine what you should and shouldn’t do. It gives you a criteria by which you get to screen things against. Does this fit my brand? Is this in keeping with where my brand attractors might be, where people I want to attract are? Where is that? Choosing to advertise on this platform or choosing to market on this platform, does it make sense? It gives you a criteria by which to judge all of those things and that’s where we dial back in to our product business. We had always discovered that those who didn’t know who their brand was, didn’t have the strategic foundation in place, made it difficult for us to be successful in the design. When we said, “If you don’t have this in place, we won’t take on your projects.” Then we turned our numbers around in terms of success metrics as well.

It’s super critical. I don’t believe in business, that cliché, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” That’s a huge mistake. You absolutely have to define and know where you’re going, what you want to achieve. This brand is fundamental. It’s foundational. When you understand that, so much becomes clear. It keeps you on course. It’s not that you can’t pivot. It’s not inflexible. We just did it. We had one name for that business and for a number of reasons, we felt, “We need to pivot.” We’ve created a different name that has the same mission and vision but that mission and vision is now more aligned with this new name.

That might go to the thing where we talked about with Gerry in the middle of the conversation. Sometimes you have to market test something and see where the value is. You’re justifying or proving the value of something. You think it has value but does it have value with the people who will buy or does it have value with the core audience that you have access to? We test lots of things and where we started from was just that. It was a beta test. It was a test area. As we got more podcasters on the platform, we realized, “Here’s what the message is coming across. Here’s the value that they’re seeing in it and we need to now build a brand that exemplifies that uniqueness that we have.” It’s our competitive differentiator but it is also our core value that we’re providing as a brand and a brand promise delivery. It needed to change because we figured that out. Sometimes it’s not a quick thing. You can put great brains in a room and figure it out, it would be nice, but sometimes you have to figure it out by trying something, by working with and finding those core clients who can give you answers. Experiencing it in reality.

FYB 038 | Sensory Branding

Sensory Branding: When you get things right, it makes it easy to determine what you should and shouldn’t do.

It’s critical to get it right. I always enjoy experiencing when a business or a brand realizes they need to make a pivot in that because that shows, “They’re thinking about it and they’re not married to that name. They’re not holding it on a pedestal.” Just because you started that way, it doesn’t mean you need to finish that way. Regardless, getting it defined, understanding who you are, where you’re going, what your mission is, and like Gerry said, the differentiators, “Why is someone going to use your company or buy from you as opposed to the next guy?” The way he defined it, the lucrative competitive separation, the lucrative is the keyword. It’s great to be the best but if nobody is buying it, how can you sustain that? If you’ve got the coolest, most amazingly edited podcasts and I’ve listened to some cool ones, but if they weren’t subsidized by a corporate brand, they would never make money. They would never be able to support themselves. When you look at that, people will pop in and listen and go, “That’s really cool,” but they are picking and choosing. They’re not attracting a bigger audience.

I question the goals. Is it sustainable? Is it a way to define lucrative as well? At the end of the day, that’s what we are building here, lucrative podcast brands that stand apart, that have original messages. I hope that that is where you want to be as a listener or as a podcast host yourself is that you’re looking for that thing, that way in which to develop that for yourselves. It doesn’t have to happen immediately. It can happen over the course of your show. These are things that we’ve discovered in our very first show. Our biggest failure in our first show is not that we didn’t create a great brand, we didn’t create a great attractor, we didn’t know who we were and who we wanted to talk to, we did all of those things. We just never developed a follow-up product to make enough money from it. That’s because it became less important to us as a strategy, as a business. It took secondary to the core business that we were building elsewhere. Shame on us actually, we could have created brand value to recoup the investment we had made in it but we didn’t. It’s just the way it is.

We also had other areas of business that we decided to focus on. The podcast still exists and it is very successful as a podcast for sure, but in some different business decisions happened there. Whereas with this podcast, which is to support our clients in the podcasting business, the business of marketing and growing your company using podcasting as a tool, we’re doing the same thing here but it’s also providing value for anybody out there who wants to listen. You can fall short of creating a lucrative opportunity for yourself because you’re not mining the listenership you have. You’re not mining the sponsorship opportunities you might have. You’re not mining those things. You’ve built them, now deliver them and so now go further. That’s one of the things we hope to keep bringing you in the show as well.

Back to branding because Gerry touched on so many things about personal brand that is critically important. It’s not just about your name. That gets confusing to a lot of people who are podcast hosts who think, “It’s just all about me.” If you’re not going to be the next Tony Robbins, it’s pretty unlikely. If you’re not already at that level as a podcaster, it’s going to be hard to take that space. That doesn’t mean that your personal brand doesn’t have its own specialness. It just may not be tied to your name recognition. Here’s where I see a lot of speaker, authors and personal brands go wrong is they think it is all about them. It’s always their face, it’s always those things. While those are important, it’s not necessarily the differentiator. It’s not necessarily the unique value. It’s what do you provide. That you part is only one aspect of that formula. Look deeper to that when you’re building that personal brand. Gerry has offered up something that’s just so amazing. I’ve done it before and this is really cool.

This is a great offer that everyone should take up. He’s got a quiz. It’s an online assessment and it pops out a result of where you are in your branding process. It gets you diving into the questions and figuring out how to answer them. We went through it early on when we first met Gerry. He calls it his Big Brand Assessment. The idea is looking at it, are you a big brand, number one, that you’re building? It gets you to think that way. It dives deep into thinking about the questions that are like, “Have I considered all aspects of my brand? Have I considered all aspects of branding? Am I as far along as I think I am?

You can be a big little brand too. Gerry talked about a lot of the people that he’s working with and trying to help are solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, authors and brand builders. This Big Brand Assessment is a tool that you can use to help gauge where you’re at and then also decide if you need to think about your brand differently, you need to do some work on it or you might need some help with it. This is a free thing Gerry has offered and the way you get it is to text him to his cell phone which he’s offered up. Text the word quiz and your name and I’m going to ask you to put FYB for Feed Your Brand at the end of it so Gerry knows that’s where you heard him. This is free. We’re not getting any money from it. We would like to know how many of you went as a result of this podcast. Gerry is not putting you on a list. He’s simply going to provide you the assessment and where you want to go with that. What you do after that is up to you.

We encourage you to do it because I’ve been working in and around branding for a long time and it was still eye-opening to me. Sit back and reflect on that as you answer those questions. It doesn’t take very long. It’s a five-minute quiz. As you think about those questions, it’s as valuable as the results that it will push up for you and provide you. We hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we did. Share with us what you thought at FeedYourBrand.co and on Facebook @FeedYourBand. We’ll be back next time. This has been Tom and Tracy on Feed Your Brand.

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About Gerry Foster

FYB 38 | Sensory BrandingGerry Foster The Branding Evangelist
Gerry Foster is a highly accomplished Brand Strategist with more than 30 years of successful experience showing small business owners how to brand as the big companies do – combining the best in entrepreneurial branding with the best thinking, methods, and approaches from the world of big branders.
As a speaker, trainer, and coach, he is driven by a passion to give life to and nurture products and services that will flourish and grow beyond what is typically offered by a competitor. Drenched in promises of coveted customer experiences, the brands he creates have tremendous emotional appeal.