Morning Rant

Thoughts on Branding & Marketing. What makes you unique? What sets you a part? How are you telling that story to create a positive emotional response?

 

What I Do

People often wonder what it is I do. Even my own daughter has asked me if I have a job. If I say branding, they think I just make logos. If I say marketing, they assume I make logos AND business cards. If I say designing, well, they just ask if I can make their business cards…for free.

quote_on-brand-storytelling_boxer-creative_uk-1I’m a professional storyteller. I have been since I was a kid. It’s actually part of my rich Native American heritage. I tell stories that build relationships. Stories that make an emotional impact. Stories that provoke change and movement. I tell stories that don’t always require words.

Branding is the soul, the essence, the narrative, the story of a person, product, or organization. That story is their brand. I tell their story. The process of telling the story is called marketing. Effectively telling that story through content creation, visual design, and strategy is what connects the brand with the desired audience. If the story is told well, the audience is moved emotionally and provoked to make a decision. If the audience connects with the story, they will want more.

Are You Indispensable?

It’s been 5 years since Seth Godin’s first visit to Orange County. I went with a few colleagues not knowing what to expect. Since then, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? has become one of my favorite books and I’ve bought many copies to give out to friends. He left us with a charge to think differently about branding & marketing; to think differently about what we make. He told us to make art, give gifts, do work that matters, connect, lead, ship, and make a difference.

Brian Elliot of thegoodbrain.com, former Universal Home Entertainment exec with 15+ years in brand strategy, production, DVD and original content, hosted that evening’s keynote with Seth Godin. This morning, he FINALLY received permission from Godin to post his epic full-length keynote and emailed the link to a bunch of us who were there. There were about 900 people in attendance that day, back in 2010, at the the St. Regis Hotel to hear Seth LIVE. His message about being “indispensable” is even more relevant today.

If you don’t know Godin, he’s the godfather of modern marketing, bestselling author of more than a dozen biz books and has one of the most read blogs on the planet. I hope you enjoy this rare treat!

A Brand’s Narrative

Consumers are actively seeking out brands who tell stories. They want to believe in and be a part of something bigger than the brand. Here are some stats that illustrate the difference in traditional advertising vs. storytelling – from a consumer’s point of view.

StoryTelling

Infographic from PlayNetwork

To Blog or Not to Blog

The saying “Content is King” in marketing is more true than most would like to admit. But have we considered that the content we write actually makes us better. Pausing to conceptualize and effectively communicate a thought in two or three paragraphs pushes our intellect and our depth of understanding concerning ourselves and our brand. And for the most partit’s free!

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The Humility of the Artist

I was reading Seth Godin’s blog post this morning and it profoundly hit the nail on the head. Here’s what he said,

It seems arrogant to say, “perhaps this isn’t for you.”

When the critic pans your work, or the prospect hears your offer but doesn’t buy, the artist responds, “that’s okay, it’s not for you.” She doesn’t wheedle or flip-flop or go into high pressure mode. She treats different people differently, understands that she is working to delight the weird, not please the masses, and walks away.

Isn’t that arrogant?

No. It’s arrogant to assume that you’ve made something so extraordinary that everyone everywhere should embrace it. Our best work can’t possibly appeal to the average masses, only our average work can.

Finding the humility to happily walk away from those that don’t get it unlocks our ability to do great work.

Knowing who you are and where you are going is branding. That is the brand, whether the brand is you, a product or service. Being confident in allowing your brand to be itself is not arrogantit is strategic. We must be artists, creators, innovators; we are all original.

I asked a client (singer/songwriter) the other day in a session, “Who was Michael Jackson like?” “What about Prince? Or Miles Davis?” The answer, obviously was no one. They were confident in being themselves and they created forms of music that no one before them had created. We don’t really consider musicians who followed in their footsteps to be legends. Being legendary requires being unique, different. It required these artists to be themselves, not attempting to please everyone, but pushing to have personal integrity and originality in their work.

Michael Jackson Prince Miles DavisNo one can be you. There is no competition to you. When you choose to be yourself and stay focused on a clear path, you don’t really compete with anyone. You now have something unique. Now all you have to do is market, effectively tell your story to a specific demographic. Branding and marketing…defining who you are, where you are going, and sharing that story effectively. 

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