Branding is when people associate something meaningful and exciting with your name, product, or service. How exactly do you go from being a commodity to standing out from your competition? In today’s episode, premier keynote speaker and leading authority on achievement, Les Brown, talks about all things branding with host Gerry Foster. Les tackles how a positive mindset becomes a catalyst for a good brand while Gerry reinforces the theme by sharing his extensive experience in Procter & Gamble. Together, they answer the most crucial questions about branding, brand image, and personality, and how you can successfully brand yourself and your business in a way that makes your competition irrelevant.
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All Things Branding With Les Brown
You are in for a real treat. One day, I get a phone call from Les Brown. For those of you who may not be familiar with Les, he is regarded as one of the world’s topmost renowned motivational speakers. The guy speaks all over the place. I’ve known him for many years and he’s been a big fan of my big branding work. He calls me up and he says, “Gerry, I’ve got this radio show. I would love for you to come on as my special guest to talk about everything and all things branding.” I said yes to Les, “You tell me where and I am there.” I go to his show and we had so much fun. There is no one like Les Brown. He is a dynamic personality. He’s highly sought-after because he’s looked upon as not only this amazing, extraordinary, incredible, exceptional speaker. He’s this resource of wisdom that benefit people in the professional circles, in the business circles of Fortune 1000 CEOs, small business owners, the nonprofit arena, community leaders and people all over the world loves listening to this guy.
We want to warn you. It’s a different kind of experience. We don’t polarize you. We don’t scream and yell at you. This program is designed to create an experience that’s positive. It’s designed to expand your mindset. I believe my favorite book says, “Be not conformed to this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” There are so many people that are depressed. There are so many people who have such a negative outlook on life because of the fact that they are not monitoring the stuff that they are allowing them to go into their minds. When you read this, your life will be transformed. Your voice and your inner conversation with yourself will begin to change because we’re focusing on things that can help you go to the next level. Whatever you focus on the longest, becomes the strongest. It’s easy to criticize what’s going on in society, what’s going on with the government. There’s never been a statue erected to a critic. It’s easy to criticize. Anybody can point fingers.
Ultimately, what I realized in my own life when I was pointing at the circumstances that I gave the power to keep me stuck, I had three fingers pointing at myself. This program is designed to transform your mindset and to expand your skillset. There’s no shortage of opportunity. There’s a shortage of capacity that most people are suffering from that won’t allow them to go to the next level and to create communities of greatness. That is achievement-driven relationships. Many people are not moving forward because they have too many toxic negative energy-draining people in your life. Look at your relationships. There are two types of relationships, nourishing relationships and toxic relationships.
Nourishing relationships, they bring the best out of you. They challenge you. They hold you accountable. They stretch you. Toxic relationships, they drain you. There are some people that if you never saw them again in life, it will be too soon. This is what this program is about. It’s a different kind of program. We’re going to be talking about branding. It’s about how do you take yourself or your life or your business to the next level. We start thinking about branding, but what do you stand for? What do you represent? One term that is often thrown around quite a lot is that word branding. Just like Xerox, Gatorade, Tide and Q-tips. Everyone has a brand. Something that identifies you with what you do. Your reputation is your brand.
Branding is essential in small businesses. One person who has studied and help companies with their brand is Gerry Foster. He’s with us. One of the things as you look at yourself and look at your life, how are you seen as a person by your family, by your neighbors, the people you walk and work with? That’s your brand. Gerry has spent many years in branding. Most importantly, he worked at the Mecca of branding, Procter & Gamble. Gerry, you originally wanted to become a basketball player. What was the moment that you decided that branding was for you?
Thanks, Les. The very first moment, going back to the basketball, was when a player scored 35 points on me in the first half of a game. That was the first step of going, “I better find another career for myself.” I went on to USC. When I was a student at USC, one of the speakers as a guest in the class was one of the original founders of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. He talked about how their original dream was to make ice cream in 31 different ways. That totally intrigued me that they could take a commodity called ice cream and make it be something different that people could get excited about.
After you got your degree, what was your first stop in your career?
My first stop was at Procter & Gamble. I worked in brand management, brand strategist, building brands such as Aero liquid laundry detergent and Cascade dishwasher detergent. That’s where I carved my marketing teeth because at P&G, you learn what it takes to create super brands. Brands that are mega brands, brands that are global, brands that are impacting, building lives, helping and pleasing millions of people around the world.
There are a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs, people who have multilevel marketing organizations and individuals who are looking at themselves and saying, “I want to create my brand.” What did you learn by working with Procter & Gamble? What did you learn in branding there?
The main thing I learned is what it takes to curate, launch and build a super brand. A brand that can someday become a household name, where you learn and acquire the skillsets, the mindsets and the approaches that you can use at any level. Even the small business owner to take something that they’ve got a product, a service, a gift of talent and ability. Something that they’ve been given with and go out into the marketplace and create something that could benefit and bless millions of people. At P&G, they show you what goes into creating those types of brands. How do you stand out in a marketplace? How do you get noticed? How can you be remembered for offering something unique so that you can then, in turn, be rewarded for your individuality? That’s what P&G is about. They wrote the book on it.
This gentleman that we’re talking to is Gerry Foster. He is known as a guru and helping small businesses to brand themselves. What are some of the stories around the products that you were part of in branding there?
One of my favorites is Tide detergent. Even I didn’t work on Tide. They worked around the corner from me in the same department. The thing about the Tide brand, because it’s such a great example of what branding means, is simply this. The Tide branding guys knew better than to take the name Tide and put it on the sign of a box of detergent. Instead, they understood that what the consumer is buying is what the brand name stands for. In the case of Tide, it has been known for decades as being tougher than dirt because moms know that if they have Tide by their side, they can get out the ground in dirt. When we go to the supermarket, as a consumer, we grab our shopping cart and we’re looking for a brand of this and a brand of that. We’ll buy Tide because we know it’s going to get out ground-in dirt. We’ll buy Cheer detergent, which is another P&G brand because that’s good for bright looking clothes. If we’re washing dishes by hand and we want young looking hands, we’ll pick up Palmolive or Ivory liquid. If you don’t want grease on our dishes, we’ll use Dawn. My point here is that the key is to have people associate something meaningful, exciting and different with your brand name as opposed to simply saying, “I got a great product, I got great service, now buy me.” It’s never that simple.
What you’re saying is there has to be an emotional connection between your brand and the customers that you’re going to reach.
That emotional connection has to speak to the heart of the buyer. That gets into what’s called the languaging, the messaging and the words that we use as we try to connect with our target audience. In this market, you’ve got to stand out. If you’re not distinct, you’re extinct. You were born to stand out and not blend in. The point of it though is that you have got to take what you have and sell the sizzle, not the steak. You got to sell the bubbles, not the champagne. You got to sell the whip of the coffee, not the coffee.
We’re talking about branding. If you’re in business, you know the value of being branded and having a distinct way in which you stand out in the minds of your customers. If you want to make it to the top, your brand makes a tremendous difference. We got a question here. She’s in real estate and in the area where she is. First of all, what is branding and how will it be helpful to her business and getting clients?
The first thing to understand is that branding is a very misunderstood term because a lot of people throw that word out. They think that branding has to have a logo, pretty color and a nifty name. That’s not branding. That’s a brand image. That’s design type stuff. A brand is a promise and branding is a transmission of that promise. As a real estate broker or an agent, you’ve got to do everything you can to stand out, get noticed and be attracted. What you want to do is ask yourself, “What’s the biggest complaint that people have when it comes to working with real estate brokers? What do they sick and tired of putting up with? What are they trying to change that is not working? What is it that they want from me that they cannot get anywhere else?”
What I would like you to do is to stay with that question and zero in on that particular part of the market where you can say to someone, you’re going to get something from me as an agent that you can’t get anywhere else in terms of how you serve them. If you look at super brands and that’s why I share the super branding techniques and approaches with the entrepreneur. Jiffy Lube, for example, said it’s crazy that people should have to wait more than 30 minutes for an oil change. They target people who want a quick oil change, 30 minutes or less. You want to ask yourself, “What is it that people are looking for that they cannot get except for me? Any thoughts on that?”
Branding: When consumers buy a product, they don’t buy the name on the box. They buy what the brand stands for.
What it is that the media makes people not to buy. It keeps showing all the good prices, all the good houses, but they didn’t want to just rush. This is not the way we do business. I’ve been doing it for 24 years. It’s so hard to put people in the house. Even they have the money. Even they have cash. They just keep looking. I don’t know what they’re looking for.
First of all, what’s going to have to change for you is your mindset, which will change your conversation. As you’re saying that right now, somebody is making a deal. Somebody has closed a major contract. It’s not happening to everyone. It’s just happening to you. What you’ve got to begin to understand and say to yourself, “There are some deals out here with my name on them. There are some customers who can use my service and expertise. Somebody is buying and they might as well buy from me because I’m a trustworthy person. I’m going to give them good service. I’m going to make something happen for them of a positive nature.” You’ve got to change your mindset and stop making all the same statements that are being said in the media because your words will create that reality. Give yourself a competitive edge because if you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete. To what Les is saying, along with that is you’ve got to find your niche. You’ve got a piece of the pie out there that’s just waiting for you to claim because people are doing deals. The bottom line is if you want to get rich, find your niche because the riches are in the niches.
Let me just say and piggyback on that first question. Yes, most certainly, there are people who are buying into what’s happening in the media. We don’t want to be a channel for regurgitating what everybody else is saying, particularly if it’s negative. As you look at your situation, begin to say to yourself, “I am the exception.” That’s what you have to say to yourself. A guy told me several years ago, my chances of survival were slim to none. I said, “I’ll take slim.” You’ve got to claim what you want and you want the positive. You want to visualize the outcome that you want to produce and manifest in your life. You’ve got to decide and have a positive expectation that there are some customers out there with your name on them.
Thank you so much for taking my question.
I have an internet-based repair company. The name of the company is RepairZoom and we do national repairs for iPhones, iPads and iPods. The challenge we have with the company is we’re constantly fighting for ranking on Google. When Google puts us in a great position, we’re doing great. We’ve got lots of volume of business that’s both locally in our stores and over the internet. We repair iPhones, iPods and iPads over the internet or in person. The challenge is we’re constantly fighting Google. I know that what we need to do is establish more of a brand name for RepairZoom. We’re doing the social media thing, we’re doing the Google thing. It’s tough to establish a brand in the marketplace. I’d appreciate your thoughts on that.
The key here is to have your brand name stand for something. You’ve got to ask yourself what do you want people to think of when they say your brand name? If you say DieHard, you think longer lasting automotive batteries. If you say Gatorade, you think it helps athletes perform better. If you say Visine, you think relief for dry, itchy, red, irritated eyes. The question is what do you want people to associate with your brand name? No different than if I say Volvo, you think safety. If I say, Disney, you think magical entertainment. Let me ask you this question, Dan. If I said Maytag, what do you think? What’s your first reaction?
A good brand, but it’s gone.
Maytag is known for its appliances. What was it about their appliances? They were reliable appliances.
It’s definitely a quality brand.
In other words, they gave themselves a competitive advantage by not being viewed as just another appliance company. In your business, you’ve got to ask yourself, “What can set you apart from everybody else?” Through your delivery system, through the end results that you do? What’s the one thing that your customers love most about you in terms of solving a problem, improving an outcome, giving them some kind of miraculous result in an emotional payoff. Tie a ribbon around it, name it, frame it, blabbering it and grab it in. This spells benefit to your buyer and that’s the key thing for you.
What’s that major benefit going to be so that customer feels that they can get something from you that they cannot get anywhere else? That puts you in what’s called blue ocean territory, which is the uncontested market space where competition becomes irrelevant. For search engine optimization, unless you do that, you’re going to be viewed as a commodity, which means you’re in a red ocean, bloody competition and bloody waters. In a moment you’re viewed like everybody else, they’re going to price shop you and they’re going to put you into a category that does not reflect your distinctiveness.
I hope, that’s helpful to you, Dan. Here’s something we want you to know, that you have something special, you have greatness within you. You have the ability to do more than you can even begin to imagine. Because we live in a world where we do more about our limitations rather than our potential, we have to remind ourselves, we have to use our tools, our positive relationships and we have to talk to ourselves to encourage ourselves. Many times, life can overwhelm you, slap you upside the head, and you won’t even know your name. We’re talking to entrepreneurs, small business individuals and medium-size businesses and anybody that you have something that you want to do and you understand the value of branding. I want to ask you a question. Something that you said earlier, the difference between brand and branding. What’s the difference?
A brand is a promise. It’s a mark of trust. It’s letting people know who you are, what you stand for and what you can be counted on to deliver. Branding is getting the word out. It’s transmitting that promise. When you’re in the process of branding, now you’re doing social media, internet marketing, your website, your video marketing, all the things that are designed to do one thing and that drives your brand promise to the audience that it’s intended to reach.
Is there a difference between branding a product and a service versus branding an individual?
The only difference is that with a product you have the advantage of the consumer being able to sample the product in advance before they pay for it. However, the overlap is that branding is differentiating yourself. Marketing is getting people to notice the difference and selling is getting people to pay for the difference. What do I mean? Branding is letting people know that you offer something that people cannot get anywhere else that’s valuable, that’s distinctive, that gives you credibility in the marketplace. Marketing is getting people to notice that difference. They’ve got to see, taste, touch, smell or hear the difference. Selling is getting people to pay for it. Unless people get in trouble when they want to jump to the third step called selling and they want to get in front of people. They want more sales opportunities, they want more appointments, but they haven’t laid down the foundation called brand strategy so that that transmission and that transference can occur. If you have a product or a service, it doesn’t matter. You have got to get that buyer to see that you offer a unique differentiator.
Branding: In your business, ask yourself what can set you apart from everybody else.
There’s a sequence in order for this to be successful.
It’s all about sequence. The essence of it is knowing what to say, who to say it to and how best to say it. In my work with my students and my clients, I have a seven-step super brand building system where I take people through all the key aspects from identifying the soul of your brand to how do you stand out in a sea of look-alikes. How do you identify and find people who will be most attracted to your brand? How to create a logo and a brand name that can be recognized by millions? How to promise something that will make your customers say, “Les, I’d be up of my natural mind not to do business with you because you’re the brand of choice” and then you’ve got to have a tagline that half the world can be humming one day, which is possible if you create, launch and establish a brand that command.
We have Gerry Foster. He has a mouth full. He has a lot to share. He can help you go to that next level. I think we’ve got a challenging one for him. What is your name, please?
You are an identical twin. What is your question, Malika?
I’m in a unique position because both of us were diagnosed with a condition called SLE, systemic lupus. We want to become known or we want to brand ourselves as the resource on how to overcome lupus. How to find out if you have lupus and then products and things that will help you be better fighting this lupus condition. My question is, I was thinking of things like twinergistic or twinistity. I was making up a word. I was wondering is that a good idea or should I just go with the bread and butter basics like “Twins with Lupus?”
You’re trying to get a handle on it. Something that you can hang your name, your reputation and the resources that you bring to people with lupus. What is it that they can do to make themselves stand out in the marketplace? Identical twins who’ve been diagnosed with lupus.
What you can do is first, get clear on what is the problem you’re going to solve. This aggravating and unknowing provenance plaguing people and causing them to have sleepless nights. People will pay for the solution to that. You can improve the outcome of people who are suffering from this disease. Before you put the cart before the horse and start wondering what your name should be, what I would ask you to do is to ask yourself, “What are we going to be a stand for?” Microsoft sells software, but they stand for hassle-free computer operations. Apple sells computers, but they stand for thinking differently. Starbucks sells coffee, but they stand for having a unique coffee experience. My question to you is, “What is your stand for the people that you wish to serve and help restore and rejuvenate their lives? What is the promise as a result of that?” Because people respond to the promise more than the brand name. Does that make sense?
I was thinking of the quality of life with lupus, that there is life after that diagnosis. Years ago, they thought you would be dead in five years. That’s not true. I’m trying to see if there’s a way to say that life happens after lupus.
Let me share this with you from one twin to the other. I am a two-time cancer conqueror. One of the things that I’ve been speaking on for many years is you are more powerful than cancer. The two of you can talk about, you are more powerful than lupus. Strategies on how to optimize your health and things that you need to know that will allow you to live the life that you want to live.
Then add in a strong promise statement. I’ll give you a great example, NyQuil. NyQuil promises to be the nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever so you can rest better medicine. That’s what you’re buying. One time I was looking for a bathroom cleaner. I went down to the store and I came across one called Scrubbing Bubbles and right on the package it said, “We promised to work so hard you won’t have to.” I said, “That’s the brand for me.” I can lean back and clean the thing. Do you feel me on this? I love what Les just said. You take what he said in terms of this is what you’re standing for and this is what you can provide. Then ask yourself, “What am I willing to promise?” A value-driven, a benefit-driven message that’s going to connect with people’s hearts and souls and make them go, “Where have you been all my life? I’d need it right now.”
Has this been helpful to you?
Yes, it has. Thank you so much, both of you. I appreciate it.
Armani, how are you? What is your question, please?
I’m doing fabulous, thank you. I would like to know how do I brand and do branding in direct sell.
The way you do that is by creating what’s called a personal brand. In the world of branding, there are personal brands and business brands. When we talk about a personal brand. What I’m saying is I don’t know the name of your company, but let’s say your company has its brand name. You’ve got to brand yourself so that you’re not just looked upon as another sales rep, distributor, whatever word you want to use. Ask yourself this, and this is a key question and that is, “What is the biggest problem that you can solve for the people that you wished to be a customer?” Ask yourself, is there something in the area of how you service them? Perhaps there’s something in terms of how you can pull something off on their behalf unlike no other, perhaps it’s your delivery system. I want you to get in touch with what it is in terms of the qualities that you bring to the marketplace that enables you to separate yourself from everybody else who does what you do. Create a movement around it. Speak about the goodness and the difference you make and you’ll have people come in to you like bees flock the honey.
Branding: People don’t care about your product or service. They care about what your product or service will do for them.
We provided hope and methods on how you can begin to live your dreams. Get out of your head and get into your greatness. If you like positive messages, we encourage you to go to our website, LesBrown.com. We have a message that people have been watching that has transformed their lives, inspire them to increase their sales, to pursue their dreams, to conquer their fears. They have shared this with their children that began to help them to improve their academic performance and stand up inside themselves. It is called It’s Possible. Go to LesBrown.com view it and share it with as many people as you possibly can. We’ve been talking with a gentleman that has been called by many of the world’s leading small business branding guru. Gerry Foster worked at Procter & Gamble for many years, learned a lot of things, shopping for his skills and been helping businesses to grow and to develop a brand. His website is Dare2bDifferent.net. If you had to crystallize your thoughts about one of the most important things they can do as an individual or as a small business operator. Somebody operating out of their home to make themselves stand out in the marketplace to their customers, what would that be?
It would have to be to make a bold, knock your socks off the promise. Something that your competition cannot, will not or is not offering because that gives you value proposition. It all comes down to the people responding to the promise more so than your product or service. People don’t care about your product or service. What they care about is what your product or service will do for them. What they want to hear from you is what can you be counted on to deliver? There was a young lady named Julie who had a weight loss clinic. She ended up tripling her sales in eight weeks by her saying to someone, “I promise that you will lose the amount of weight you want to lose when you want to lose it.”
I got a carpet cleaner who basically was saying to people, “I’ll come to clean your carpets.” There’s nothing distinctive about that. He sounded like every other carpet cleaner. I got him to say, “I promise that I will give you a spotless carpet and at the spots reappear so am I.” I got a woman who was a personal trainer and she was always saying the same old stuff as everybody else, lose weight, bulk up, tone up, add muscle or whatever. She ended up making a promise and this was many years ago. I created it with her and that promise was, “I will make you look good naked.” That caught fire and ended up being a catchphrase in that industry. It all got credited through the work she did with me. I could go on and on, but the key is to have a promise that tells people how you’re different and why you are better.
Gerry Foster, check him out and he will be our resource to help you to begin to select a brand that will work for you. One of the things I would suggest, don’t try and do it by yourself. Stay in your lane. There are some people who have a gift for this. I listened to all the things that he’s been stringing together. This is obviously something he has marinated himself into. This is who he is. This is what he does. He masters this and he will do it for you as he’s done for so many others. I’ve known him for many years. It’s his magnificent obsession to help people to take their name, their brand, their services out into the marketplace and to be able to achieve their success.
As you think about the goals and dreams that you want to achieve, you’ve got to look for a way to make yourself stand out. When I decided to become involved in the training business and the speaking business, I had to find a way to make myself stand out. They call me the motivator. You’ve got to be hungry. You’ve got to have a story around who you are, what do you do, and how you can begin to motivate and inspire people to pursue their dreams. One lady called up and said, “I’m a speaker. How do I make myself stand out?” Whenever you’re presenting to anybody that three questions that they’re asking themselves. Who are you? What do you have? Why should I care? When you can address those three things, you’re on the track to beginning to create the kind of brand that will allow people to come to you as a go-to person, as a resource to allow them to live their dreams and to transform lives. We’ll see you in the next episode. Always strive to get on top in life because it’s the bottom that’s overcrowded.
About Les Brown
As one of the world’s most renowned motivational speakers, Les Brown is a dynamic personality and highly-sought-after resource in business and professional circles for Fortune 500 CEOs, small business owners, non-profit and community leaders from all sectors of society looking to expand opportunity. For three decades he has not only studied the science of achievement, he’s mastered it by interviewing hundreds of successful business leaders and collaborating with them in the boardroom translating theory into bottom-line results for his clients.
As a premier Keynote Speaker and leading authority on achievement for audiences as large as 80,000—Les Brown energizes people to meet the challenges of the world around them. He skillfully weaves his compelling life story into the fabric of our daily lives. The thread is forever strengthened, touting why you can’t afford to be complacent and to aim high, achieve and actively make an impact on the world.
Les Brown never tires of using his energies to transform the world, well-beyond the podium and public appearances, meshing traditional and social media to empower his audiences. Hundreds of thousands are watching him on YouTube and tens of thousands interact with him regularly on Facebook. He has a keen way of turning what he touches into gold. Over 20 years ago, he won a Chicago-area Emmy® for his unsurpassed fundraising pledge drive for the Public Broadcasting System. Followed by several bestselling books and hosting popular national talk shows on television and radio.
Addressing audiences from Denmark to Dubai, Canada to the Caribbean, Les Brown is invited back again and again for his powerful message and the ability to connect deeply with people from all walks of life. It isn’t just his great smile and his way with words that motivates people to take action like never before; when people face roadblocks or adversity it is the depth of his knowledge on achievement that creates lasting results.
Les Brown’s straight-from-the-heart, passion and high-energy, motivates audiences to step beyond their limitations and into their greatness in many ways. Over the past decade, Les has expanded his role from keynote speaker to Master Trainer, creating the kind of workshop learning experience that got him committed to personal-and-professional development many years earlier. His charisma, warmth and humor have transformed ordinary people into extraordinary achievers by using his own life, and his in-depth study of others’ challenges, to build an understanding of what works, what doesn’t work, and why.
Revered as an icon by his colleagues, Brown received the National Speakers Association coveted Council of Peers Award of Excellence (CPAE), and ultimately, its most prestigious Golden Gavel Award for achievement and leadership in communication. Toastmasters International also voted him one of the Top Five Outstanding Speakers. Worldwide. Legions of followers flock to stadiums and arenas to hear a man who never stops believing that with proper guidance and training you can achieve anything you desire in life.
A stumbling block in elementary school was when he was mistakenly declared, “Educable mentally retarded,” teachers did not recognize the true potential of little Les Brown. However, he used determination, persistence and belief in his ability to go beyond being a sanitation worker to unleash a course of amazing achievements including broadcast station manager, political commentator and multi-term state representative in Ohio.
Les Brown is committed to motivating and training today’s generation to be achievers and leaders as he introduces new audiences every day to It’s Not Over Until You Win, Up Thoughts for Down Times and Fight For Your Dream. Les Brown’s audio series,“Choosing Your Future,” remains his all-time bestseller for its acclaimed impact worldwide.
In business as in real life there are always going to be ups and downs. However, where there is a will, there is always a way to achieve amazing results for your organization when Les Brown fills the room with his high-impact, customized message and standing ovation performance!
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