How can you create a strong personal brand with a high impact that you can accomplish with grace and ease? In this episode, the Branding Evangelist Gerry Foster shares his classic, all-time favorite talk designed to guide you through the steps of knowing who you are, what you stand for, and how you’re going to take your message to the right audience. This faith-based audio training teaches you five simple branding principles that are going to give you the clarity, confidence, and drive to take your place in the market. Follow along with Gerry’s exercises and experience the power of personal branding.
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The Power Of Personal Branding
It is great to have you here because we will talk about one of my all-time favorite talks that I’ve ever given, how to create a strong personal brand. It’s not just an ordinary brand, a brand that has a high impact that you can accomplish with grace and ease. This is considered by many as a classic especially if you consider yourself a spiritual person because in this program, it is a faith-based training program. It’s where I teach you five simple spiritual, faith-based branding principles that are going to give you the clarity, the confidence, and the gusto to take your place in the market. It will make your mark in the world and build your dreams spiritually connected and solid.
I used the God word. I may use other words that may not fit your divinity. The thing about me is this, my divinity recognizes your identity regardless of whatever it is or whoever it is. There is no judgment going on here. Please receive that and allow me to bless you with this program because people from many different forms of religion or their own spiritual beliefs, their relationship with this word called faith, have loved and enjoyed this program. Sit back, receive it and let the branding evangelist sew into your life some of the very basic principles that have guided and supported me over the years as well.
What we’re going to talk about is this thing called personal branding. What it means to brand ourselves and why that is important to all of us, regardless of where we are in life. Regardless of whether or not you are a small business owner looking for new customers. If you work for a company and you want to move up the corporate ladder. If you were simply looking for ways to advance your career, or if you are a single female and looking for a man, you’ve got to brand yourself. Because when you brand yourself, it means to give people a reason to do what you want them to do. When you brand yourself, it makes things a lot easier. If I were to say to you, just do it. Who do you think of? Nike. You’re in good hands with Allstate. Winston tastes good like a cigarette.
The point is that we live in a society where we are drawn to well-known brand names. We are drawn to those individuals, those organizations, and those products and services that stand for something memorable and catchy. They stand for something that sticks to our hearts and in our minds, be it Starbucks, Ben & Gerry’s Ice Cream, or Häagen-Dazs, Kodak, Oprah Winfrey, all of these have become household names because they are brands. What’s most interesting about all of these brands is that they started out as a small business with the founder, the owner, a man or a woman, who began with a dream, a desire and a vision.
They made the vision plain. What drove them was a desire to make a difference, to help others, to have a life that revolved around contributing their unique gifts for the good works of others. It’s interesting because if you look at some of the great brand builders in this country, from Oprah Winfrey to Paul Mitchell, to Fred Smith, who started Federal Express. John Johnson, who started Ebony Magazine. Bob Johnson, who started BET and the list goes on. If you look at all these great men and women, who have amassed incredible fortunes from branding themselves. They were able to do so because of the strength of their brands.
I know that some of you may be saying to yourself, “Gerry, these are big companies with big money. I ain’t got no money.” You didn’t say, “I don’t have any money.” You said, “I ain’t got no money,” which makes it a lot tougher for you. There are some of you who say, “I don’t have deep pockets.” Some of you may be saying, “Gerry, I’m not an entrepreneur. I don’t have a business. I’m not interested in going into business for myself.” It’s okay because the bottom line is this. If you can’t make a living doing what it is that you do, you won’t be able to make a difference. In other words, if people don’t hire you, don’t promote you, don’t give you an opportunity, don’t buy your products or services and don’t do what it is that you want them to do, you won’t have the blessings that you want out of life. If you have a business and no one even knows about your business, if the only people who know about your business are Pooky and Shanaynay and people in your church and nobody knows what it is that you do for a living, then how in the world are you going to be able to bless others through the gifts that you had?
The point is that you have to put yourself in a position in order to receive the blessings that have to come down to you. Your focus should be on blessing others through you so he didn’t get a blessing to you. That starts with giving people a reason to do the things that you want them to do with you. If your business fails or if your career goes on the wrong path, if you somehow find yourself in a situation in a company where you keep bumping up against the glass ceiling and you can’t get through the glass ceiling, if all you end up doing in life is going from job to job, from paycheck to paycheck, if all it is that you do seem to exist and you never get a chance to make the impact that you want to make, you may end up feeling like Jeremiah did at one point in the Bible. He felt discouraged because of the lack of progress in his life.
There’s a story about how Jeremiah felt discouraged because he wasn’t getting what he thought he should have in his life. He was discouraged because of what had happened and what had not happened. At one point, Jeremiah came to understand that if he found the word of God, if he stood in the word of God, the fire that God had placed in him would come out. The point of all of this is that personal branding is a continuous state of mind, which allows you to have joy at all times. Notice that I said joy, not happiness. When you brand yourself, joy follows because the focus is not on the right now, but rather on the not yet. The focus is not about what’s happening in my life or what’s not happening in my life, but rather where God is trying to take me. What you could say is that if I am a brand, then I have an opportunity to do some of the things that the big companies do to generate sales. I get to do it on a smaller scale to advance my career and my business.
I get to do some of those things because I am in the position to receive the things that God wants me to receive because as I focus on the not yet, there’s a feeling of gladness. There’s a feeling of high pleasure. There is a feeling of delight that will always be there in spite of what it is that I see. Personal branding is about what’s going on inside of you more than what’s going on in the outside. That’s maybe why some of you don’t have what you want out of life, yet because you may not have the relationships you want. You may not have the business that you want because you are looking for happiness instead of joy. When you’re looking for happiness, then you are always going to be focused on your circumstances, which is what a devil wants you to be. When you focus more on your joy, then all of a sudden you can rejoice. When you can rejoice, you can brand yourself knowing that God has put you in a position to make the choice that you will make a difference with your life. You will make a difference with your business. You will make a difference with your career, not for your sake, but for the Kingdom because personal branding has a Kingdom agenda associated with it.
If you make the commitment to brand yourself, you are making a choice out of the presence of a living God in your life. He will build your business. He will advance your career. He will do so upon pillars of excellence, servanthood, humility and relationships. What I thought we would do is we’ll take a look at how to successfully brand ourselves. How to brand your business, how to brand your career, how to brand yourselves personally so that you can have the joy you deserve. That’s what we’re going to talk about. This is about joy, not happiness because joy is sustaining. When you’re branding yourself, you are always rejoicing. You’re always praising and worshiping Him because it’s not contingent upon what you can see. A lot of us spend too much time focused on what we can see. God says, “How can I take you somewhere when you can’t even handle what you can see? How in the world can you handle what you can’t see? If you can’t handle what you can’t see, then you’re not going to be in the position in order to move forward because I’m looking somewhere where you are not already.” Anytime God has to look at where you are not yet, he’s going to sit there and wait on you. It may take months or years.
Personal Branding Is Who You Are, Not What You Do
Here are some laws for effective personal branding. Law number one, when you are clear on what your purpose is, you must let the right people know who you are, not what you do. Personal branding requires you to make a promise to people. It’s a promise of unique value that is designed to make you stand out, get noticed and be remembered so that you will be rewarded for your individuality. God wants you to jump into the calling that he’s given you. He wants you to embrace the things that make you special, valuable, and distinct. It starts with you embracing a simple rule of thumb. That is, you have to know how to connect with other people.
As you are looking to connect, you don’t connect someone if you tell them what you do. You connect with someone when you can bond with that person and they see that you share the same values. Tell people who you are not what you do. For example, two chiropractors. “Chiropractor A, what do you do?” “I adjust people’s spines.” “Chiropractor B, what do you do?” “I relieve people of back pain quickly so they can enjoy life again.” “How do you do that?” “I adjust their spines.” Do you see the difference? Chiropractor B is telling people who he is. Chiropractor A was telling people what he did.
The questions you want to ask yourself are, what are my values? What drives me in life? Am I driven by purpose or am I chasing the mighty buck? Am I driven by a desire to do good works for the benefit of others or simply thinking about how to pay my bills? Am I driven by a desire to want to help others or am I thinking more about how can I get ahead for my agenda? Look at some of the brands in the country, Quaker Oats. They want you to know what they stand for is old fashion good, all-American homespun goodness. The logo of the Quaker personifies that. When Nike says, “Just do it.”
What they are saying is that they’re looking to connect with someone that has an active lifestyle. When Volvo says, “We value safety in our automobiles,” all of their advertising reflects that. When you are introducing yourself to others, when you are networking, when you are at church or outside of the church, when you are out making connections with other people, don’t just tell people what your job title is. Don’t just help people what you do for a living. Don’t just tell people about your background, your award, your credentials, and all the things that make you great. Instead, tell people who you are as to speak to your purpose in life.
We live in the city of Hollywood and bling-bling. You’d be brothers all the time, “What do you do?” “I’m an actor, writer and director.” What is that? How about instead you let somebody feel your spirit. How about instead you let someone know who you are so that they get the essence of you and that they can tap into the poetry inside of you. We’re going to do a little exercise. I want you to write down who are you? If you had to introduce yourself to other people, what would you say in seven seconds or less? Nobody got time to listen to you. People introducing themselves and they start telling their whole life story.
Nobody wants to hear all that. In seven seconds or less, twenty words or less, who are you? Write it down. What’s the essence of you? What’s the spirit of you? I once read about a newspaper writer instead of him, saying, “I’m a writer, reporter and editor.” He says, “I’m a narrative journalist. My purpose is to tell stories and to transmit information that ultimately will reveal the surprise to my readers.” The book person stead said, “I’m not just a writer, I’m a book doctor.” The financial planner says, “I’m a financial weightlifter. I take the financial burdens off of your shoulders and put them on mine and show you how to raise it up and move forward.”
Personal Branding: What’s most interesting about many household brands is that they started out as a small business with the founder or the owner who began with a dream, a desire, and a vision.
The wedding consultant instead of saying, “I’m a wedding consultant.” She says, “What I do is I create dream weddings that glow for a lifetime and serve as an anchor for the future. That’s who I am.” Who are you? The point is this, people buy you first before they ever buy your product, your service or your skill. If you’re in business, you quickly learned that people do business with people. They don’t do business with businesses. Think about your values, passions and your talents. Think about how you can introduce yourselves to differentiate you from everybody else.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about introducing yourselves. Keep in mind that people are busy. They’re distracted. They’re informed. Everybody that you’re talking to have their own agenda. One agenda that everybody always seems to have is what’s in it for me? Make sure that whenever you introduce yourself that your introduction reflects your desire to want to serve others. Lastly, make sure that as you are meeting people and you follow up with them, your goal is to find out what their desires are. What issues are they dealing with? What problems are they bumping up against? What you’re looking for are shared values. People will remember those of you that they feel have their needs and wants in mind, not your own. You’re going to learn how to ask certain questions that are designed for someone to reveal what those are. You’ve got to put your ego aside, your pride aside. Give people what they want. Give people what they need and when you do. The money and the promotions and the relationships will follow.
Appeal To Pain Avoiders And Pleasure Seekers
Effective personal branding law number two, you must appeal to two types of people. Those two people are pain avoiders and pleasure seekers. Another way to think of this is that there are an infinite number of reasons why people buy products and services, do what they do, advance people and whatnot. It always seems to come down to one or two things. That individual will either help me get out of pain, avoid pain, or achieve my goals and aspirations of my dreams. In other words, bring me tremendous pleasure. You are to solve a painful pressing, annoying problem for someone that’s aggravating them, keeping them up at night or you dangle a carrot and offer an opportunity.
I have found that when you are letting someone know that you would get rid of their pain, that’s a great way to stand out and get noticed and be remembered. Nobody likes to be in pain. There’s an old adage that I’m sure you’ve heard. Find a niche and fill it. Find a need and fill it. Find an unmet want. Find that gap in the marketplace. Find that gap in your organization between what people want versus what they’re settling for. That’s where advancements and opportunities lie. When you focus on meeting the gap, there are certain wants that are not being met or they’re being met poorly. People will pay attention to you.
That’s important because we live in a society of clutter. The average American consumer is exposed to 3,000 advertisements a day. One of the biggest challenges we all face is someone just listening to us, “Listen to me. Hear what I’m saying. After you hear me, understand me.” That’s a challenge because of all the clutter. Most people will do anything to get out or avoid pain. Here’s an exercise I want you to do. Those of you who are entrepreneurs, I want you to think about your businesses, the industries that you compete in. My assignment to you is to think about this question. What’s the biggest complaint that people have when it comes to the kind of business that I’m in? Those of you who work for somebody, what’s the biggest complaint that people have as pertains to the kind of work that you do with your company? Those of you who are here because you are single and you are looking for a mate. What is the biggest complaint that the person or the opposite sex might have?
Entrepreneurs, some of the biggest complaints that people often have are long waiting lines. Works are not completed fast enough, products that don’t work properly, nothing special is being offered, everybody’s offering the same old stuff, people don’t do what they say they’re going to do. Those are all types of complaints. Those of you who work for companies, the typical types of complaints that occur in companies are slow sales. Our profits are declining, morale is down, cashflow is poor. Costs are rising, inner department conflict is all types of things that go on in an organization and they’re looking for a remedy.
God says, “You are the remedy because you are the ball.” Those of you who are single, ask yourself, what’s the biggest complaint that women have when it comes to trying to find a good man? Maybe the biggest complaint that the woman has is that she can’t find a man who’s got a job. Maybe the biggest complaint she has is that she can’t find a man that doesn’t lie or cheat. She can’t find a man that doesn’t know where he’s going with his life. Maybe her complaint is that she’s looking for her man but can’t seem to find him because she wants a man of substance that will treat her like the queen that she is.
How are you going to brand yourself if you can’t step into her reality? If you’re a single woman looking for a man, you got to ask yourself, what was the biggest complaint that the brothers have? Their complaint is that they can’t find a woman that respects his vision. They can’t find a woman that honors his calling. They can’t find a woman that will quit nagging him, judging him, dishing him, correcting him all the time, snapping at him, and being so bossy. What are the brothers’ complaints? The point is to find the problem, get rid of it and make the correction obvious. What’s the biggest complaint that you feel you can get rid of?
If you’re working in a company, you want to advance your career, what’s the opportunity in the company? What complaint can you get rid of? What talent? What skill? What ability can you put to use to help that complaint go away? If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re looking to have a dramatic increase in sales, if you want to have a breakthrough in profitability, what are the complaints as it pertains to the type of work that you do that you can get rid of? If you’re single and looking for somebody, what is it that you want that person to know about you that differentiates you so that they are drawn to you like bees to honey?
That’s what I do and that’s what I see. The biggest problem is overcoming past people who did not come through for them.
He’s telling people who he is, not what he does.
I’m not an entrepreneur. I am an employee and I’m a single man looking for a wife. I want to deal with that issue. I’ve heard some of the complaints that the ladies have in this ministry and they’re not, “I can’t find a guy.” It’s more like things that don’t approach us. I want to talk about a guy treating a woman like a queen with the two substances that I am. I have a heart. I want to be a blessing to my wife. We got to work it and you build together. Fred and Betty Price are an example. He’s living such a life. It’s a very high goal to attain. He’s raised my sites and my standards. God has answered part of that. I was blessed with an inheritance where I received $75,000.
If you’re looking for a wife, you may be engaged before the night is over.
That’s beyond where I had my sight set to start. God has accomplished in me. That’s part of it and he’s working on the inside.
Personal Branding: People buy you first before they ever buy your product, your service, or your skill.
Anybody else wants to share?
I’m an employee. Where I work, I see the continuity of communication for our patients as well as telling the patients you’re going to do something and having your word and doing it, seeing that it’s done. That’s what I try and do with all my patients.
Who you are as a brand is you want people to know that you will fix their problem. You will have the communication flow.
I have a word and I keep it.
Know Your Market
Can you see the point of this? What you want to do is go back and tighten this up and take that out and tag it as your personal brand, which leads to my next law. Number three, know who your market is. Personal branding requires the devotion of others. It requires that everybody understands who you are, what you’re about. They embrace your message and support you in achieving your goals along with perhaps their own. The reality is that not everybody is going to like what you have to say. Not every buyer is going to like what you have to offer, but that’s okay. When you are standing above the crowd, letting them know that you are not a follower, but that you are a leader and that’s naturally going to occur. One of the golden rules of personal branding is to know your target audience inside and out.
Ask yourselves these three questions. Number one, who is my target audience? If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re looking for new customers, how would you define your target audience? In other words, people most likely to buy from you. If you’re working in a company, who is your target audience? Is it your boss? Is it your boss’s boss? Is it your colleagues? Is it your co-workers? Who are the people within that organization that you’ve got to market your brand to? If you’re single and you’re looking for a Holy hookup, then ask yourselves, who is that person that I wished to get connected to? What personal characteristics do they possess? Not just the outer qualities, but the inner qualities, because that’s what sustains a relationship. All that glitters is not gold. What may look good to you may not be good for you. Everything that feels good may not be the best thing for you.
Who are your target audience? Where are your target audience? What will motivate them to buy your brand? My background in marketing is that I was a marketing executive with Procter & Gamble. When I used to work at P&G, I used to work in the package soap and detergent division. Part of my job was to help create advertising to sell our soap detergent brands. P&G understands that people buy brands for specific reasons and the customer’s reasons, not your own. We also understood that you cannot shut gun your marketing and be all things to all people and try to please everybody. You instead have to put out a message to those people who can connect with you because they share certain things in common. For example, through our TV commercials we would say, “America, if you want to wash your clothes and you want to get out ground in the dark, there’s only one brand to buy. What brand is that?” Tide, “If you want bright-looking clothes, what do you buy?” Sheer, “If you’re washing dishes by hand and you want younger-looking hands, what do you use?” Palmolive. “If you don’t want grease on your dishes, what do you use?” Dawn.
Have you seen what they’ve done in a headache pain relief market would Bayer Aspirin? Bayer Aspirin used to be a shotgun marketed product. They would tell people if you have any kind of ailment, you take a Bayer Aspirin, but not anymore. They have five different types of Bayer Aspirin for five different types of pain. There’s one for headache pain relief. There’s one for menstrual pain relief. There’s one for sinus pain relief. There’s one for nighttime pain relief. There’s even one for pain relief. It makes me wonder what would happen if we took the wrong aspirin for the wrong symptom. We might all be killed and die. The point is that as consumers, as people, we are drawn to brands that make a personal connection with us where someone tells us, “This is what you can count on me to deliver.” When we go to the supermarket and we grabbed that shopping cart, we go down the aisles, what do we do? We’re grabbing brands. Unconsciously, we are buying brands that we have used before because we have been satisfied with their performance. We like the way it tastes. We like the way it feels. We like the way it smells. Whatever the reason might be, we like its performance, but when do we switch brands? When you are not satisfied.
Define The Impression You Want To Make With Your Brand
The second reason why we switch is when we hear of a better and different alternative. Make sure that you zero in on what are the motivations that will cause someone to buy into you as a brand that will follow you as a leader, which leads to law number four. That is to define the impression you want to make with your brand. When you commit to branding yourself, in essence, you are committing to developing what’s called an unforgettable personality. When you gain clarity on what it is that you do better than else or what you have to offer that no one else can offer, the things that make you distinct. When you get clear on how God is using you as an instrument to pull something off on someone else’s behalf that is more for their benefit than your own. Not only will you be noticed, remembered and rewarded, but you will also have a loyalty and you will have prosperity beyond your imagination. The marketplace is filled with examples of that. The key is to offer something fresh. In other words, a fresh perspective, a unique point of view, a different product, service and skill.
The key from a branding standpoint is to create the perception that you are not ordinary. That you are extraordinary because you are men and women that serve an almighty God. Ask yourself, “How can I make a difference? What would be my legacy?” You can’t go over that quickly because that requires you to think outside the box. That requires that you look at something from a different perspective. Someone said, “Let’s put a bank inside of a grocery store.” You may not think about things like that, but I walk into Albertsons or Ralphs and I see the bank in there. Someone thought about that. Someone said, “Let’s put a Subway inside a gas station.” Someone said, “Let’s offer personal computers, even though everybody uses typewriters.”
Let People Know What’s Unique About You
Somebody said like Dean, the guy I used to work with Procter & Gamble said, “Let’s have your eyeglasses in an hour.” My favorite example of doing something in a unique way is when someone said, “Let’s take a scoop of ice cream, spread it out on a marble slab, put some toppings and stuffing it in, serve up and call it Cold Stone Creamery.” It’s simple but it’s significant. The story of Howard Schultz is that he went to Italy. He looked at how the coffee bars were in Milan. He said, “Somebody ought to set up a coffee shop in America that’s modeled off of the espresso bars in Milan.” He brought it to America and called it a Starbucks. Your brand exists solely in the minds of the buyer. Your brand resonates within the heart of your target audience, but your brand must set you apart. Let others know what’s unique about you. Convey to others what you bring to the table that no one else is bringing and that what you are bringing to the table are reasons, compelling, valid and stimulating.
The powerful reasons that cause somebody to buy from you, that cause somebody to hire you, that cause somebody to promote you that causes somebody to give you more money. That causes somebody to want to go out on a date with you. Not just because the man inherited $75,000, leave that man alone. Those reasons must reflect your character. Those reasons must reflect your inner qualities make people associate something positive, useful, and memorable with you as a brand. When that connection occurs, they will do what you want them to do. It’s called giving yourself and your product or your service meaning. It’s establishing a relationship of meaning because the focus is more on who you should be, not what you should do. One of the problems that I found, especially in the small business arena, but also people who have jobs, is that a lot of us have bought into this American dream called the success in life is to do the right thing.
Do-Be-Have Versus Be-Do-Have
Somewhere in our history, our parents, our grandparents said that in order to have what it is that you want out of life, you’ve got to do the right thing. Go to school. Get your lessons. Don’t act a fool. Do your homework. Go to high school. Go to college. Get a degree and then you can be who you want to be, a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher. You will have success in your life. It’s the Do-Be-Have Mentality. The focus here is to think that I must do something in order to be somebody so I can have success in my life. The problem with that mindset is that society is littered with people who have done the right thing, but they got laid off. They got fired.
They didn’t get the promotion, the recognition, the opportunities that they thought they deserved, but they did the right thing. They did what mama told them to do. I take the bulls by the horn. I played by the rules. It didn’t turn up for me. Look at me at this point in my life, I don’t have anything to show for it. I did the right thing because that’s what America says. The problem with that mindset is that you are standing in lack because when you think that you have to do the right thing, you are subconsciously buying into the belief that you need to get things together first. That you need to have certain things in order first, in order to get where you want to go.
Personal Branding: People are drawn to brands that make a personal connection with them.
If only I had the right degree, if only I have the right resume, if only I have the right connections, if only I have the right education, if I have the right skin color, if only my body works a certain way, we stand in a light of way and proof of the pudding is that this crosses cultural lines. A white psychologist several years ago has a PhD and two Master’s degrees. He has more degrees on his wall than the thermometer. One thing he didn’t have were any clients, but he did the right thing. It was grounded in lack because he bought into believing that success was a function of your knowledge, your skills and your ability, but it’s not. Instead, success is a function of Be-Do-Have. You first declare who you are. Speak about the things that differentiate you, that make you special, that sets you apart from others. You declare and you stand that I am already in God’s image. You have a vision and a mission for yourself. You have a purpose for yourself and you walk in it. You do the things that will naturally fulfill that purpose. It allows you to go towards your destiny and then you will have the blessings that God is leaving for you.
It’s more about who you be and not what you do. Be it, not just do it. The question that you want to ask yourself, who am I being? For the single men, have any of you, but I learn maybe the hard, painful way that you can’t talk a woman into being attracted to you? Most of us won’t admit it. You can buy her flowers. You can buy her jewelry. You can pay her bills. You can pay her rent, but I don’t mean that she’s going to be attracted to you. Ladies, what qualities are you looking for in a man that would make them attractive to you? Character, integrity, vision, intelligence, well-groomed, faithful, understanding and working. Here’s my point. Growing a business or advancing your career is the same thing. You can’t make somebody want to promote you.
You can’t make somebody want to become a customer of yours. All you can do is be the kind of person. All you can do is be the man or woman of God. All you can be is the person whose light shines at every moment so that person will want to get into a relationship with you, then you will have what it is that you’re looking for. Focus more on who you are being and not what you do. That’s why I had you do that first exercise, how do you introduce yourself? When you go out and tell people what is it you do and all the things that you’ve accomplished, all your rewards, all your prizes, and all these things, don’t tell them about it. Tell that to your parents. They are only the ones who care.
Women don’t care about that. People buy Crest toothpaste because it will help prevent cavities. I’m going to buy this particular brand of Colgate because it will fight gum disease. People will buy Head and Shoulders shampoo because it will get rid of dandruff. They tell us through advertising. They tell us who all forms of promotions that these are the reasons why you should buy these brands. The point is that before we even walk into the store, before we even walk into the drugstore, we’re already pre-sold on the brand. They don’t need to sell us anything. They don’t need to offer us any coupons or nothing.
We grabbed these brands because we believe that they will do what we want them to do. I don’t know how much of a difference there is between certain brands. Is there a big difference between Jif and Skippy’s peanut butter? Is there a big difference between Bounty paper towels and the rest of them? Is there a big difference between Minute Maid orange juice and Tropicana? We choose the brands because we perceive a difference. Success in branding has to do with the perceptions that you create and the value that your target audience places on those perceptions. It’s not what you say, it’s what to imply.
The Power Of A Seed
It’s not that you are the best at what you do, it’s that you are looked upon as being the best at what you do. It’s not necessarily what’s true, but what’s believable. I’m not saying to deceive people. Of course not. I’m not saying that you should misrepresent yourself. What I’m saying is that it’s all in your walk and you must never underestimate the power of a seed. If our job is to plant seeds in others, if part of our calling is to sow into other people’s lives, as we are in our company, as we are in our businesses, as we are out socializing as single people, we must speak faith to others. We must be willing to make bold promises of what our brands will deliver.
It’s what they can be counted on to deliver with the revelation that what’s been taken from me if nothing compared to what will happen through me. It’s with the revelation that God has always more concerned about where I’m going to where I’ve been. You must always know that his focus is on where he’s taken me, not what happened because my future is more important to him than what happened before. Don’t look in the rearview mirror. Don’t worry about the disappointments, setbacks, bad breaks, mistakes, and all the things, and all the complaints. That’s trickery of the devil to keep us tripped up.
God says, “Focus on where I’m taking you, charter guy. You will have the blessings that I want you to have.” Ask yourselves these questions. What does my target audience think of me? What do people think of me? Take that question very seriously. Your co-workers, your boss, your managers, your supervisors, your customers, your employees, the people in the dating world. How do people see you? What do I associate with you? What do you want them to think about you? What do you want to be known for? FedEx does better than they say, “We’ll deliver your packages.” They came out and said, “No. When it absolutely, positively has to be done the next day.” Domino’s knew better than to say, “We’ll deliver a pizza to you. When you order a pizza from us, it will be there in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.” Starbucks knew better than to say, “We offer a great coffee.” They say, “We give you a unique coffee experience,” which leads to my last law.
Make it easy for people to set you apart. Me too businesses rarely survive, let alone thrive. Me too employees rarely climb the corporate ladder or have thriving careers. Me too single people have the hardest time attracting the quality and the type of man or woman that they seek. The moment someone perceives you is another huma-huma or another kid on the block. The moment that someone sees in their perception of you is, “Ain’t got nothing special. Ain’t nothing different. He’s another typical LA talking trash brother.” The moment people see you like that, you are a commodity.
When people see you with a commodity, when they see you as nobody different then they ignore you, they will discard you or they will stall you with excuses. Telling people what you do is no longer good enough. You must position yourself as being a brand conqueror. You must position yourself as being a contender and not just a commodity. Speak about your individuality. Create a sense of separateness in the marketplace, so people could differentiate you from others. Let everybody know that you are not like anybody else. You can have what’s called brand preference. You’re not a commodity.
Be A Brand Conqueror, Not A Commodity
One banana pretty much tastes like any other banana. What if the banana is a Chiquita banana? Bananas come from the same tree but because Chiquita banana is a well-known, heavily marketed brand name, most people choose to Chiquita banana because they think it tastes better than any other banana off the same tree. It’s a proven fact that people don’t buy products and services. What people buy is what your products or services will do for them. The question you must ask yourself if you are to be a brand conqueror and not just a commodity, “Lord, what do you want me to do? Lord, what do you want me to be? Lord, what role do you want me to play in your divine assignment that you have given to my life? Lord, how do I function in your Kingdom? Lord, what is my position on your team?”
What people want to hear from you, are the problems you solve, the end results or outcomes you deliver, the contributions you make, the emotional feelings of relief that people will experience after they do business with you when you tie a ribbon around it, name it, frame it, blab it and grab it. It spells benefit to another person. Some of you might be saying, “Gerry, I loved you. You’re motivating. I love your sense of humor and all that good stuff, but this stuff is uncomfortable for me. All this branding stuff sounds good, but I don’t know if this is for me. I’ve never had to do anything with this before. I don’t know if it will work.”
There’s a story in the Bible about four fishermen. In Luke chapter five, this boat that these four fishermen went out in was Simon’s business. You could say that Simon’s bolt was his business. He’s calling on his life. When Jesus looked at that boat, as we all know the story, he saw an empty vessel. When he saw this empty business, he realized that Simon had an empty life. He asked Simon if he could step into his livelihood, if he could step into his boat. When he got into one of the boats, he said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” We all know the story. We all know what happened.
Jesus told them to fish during the day, don’t catch at night. When Simon did what he was told to do, they had caught so many fish that their net started breaking. What a lot of us don’t pay attention to when we read the scripture is that the fishermen went out into the night with an attitude of doubt. They didn’t believe that they would catch any fish. Their belief is that they should remain in shallow waters and not deep waters. What we must come to know was that shallow waters are about having doubts. Deep waters are about believing and receiving.
Personal Branding: Success in branding has to do with the perceptions that you create and the value that your target audience places on those perceptions.
God puts us in places he wants us and with that assignment comes the responsibility to focus on the blessing so you can be everything he has called you to be. In essence, what Jesus was saying to the four fishermen was, “Get out of your attitude of fear and doubt. Go out and cast your net in the deep, a place you haven’t been before.” To me, this story is about crossing over. It’s about stepping into a season of limitless potential and possibility. It’s declaring in your own mind that you are ready to go to the place she’s been called to move into a new dimension you’d never been to before. If truth be told at this juncture, some of you need to make a choice.
Do you want to remain in shallow familiar waters where you get to feel comfortable or are you ready to receive what God has waiting for you? Are you ready to stand up, stretch and move your way to greatness or are you content to stay on a path of mediocrity? I’ll never forget the day when I finally have clarity, “Lord, I’m not going back to Egypt. There are some places, some things, and some drama that I will never go back to again.” Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs may be, know that the God you serve wants you to succeed. He wants you to prosper. You must believe in your heart that what’s in front of you is better than what is behind you.
Don’t look at where you used to be or where you are. Look at where he’s trying to take you. There was a season and a time for everything. God is just waiting on you to move, to reposition yourself for greatness. If you have a vision or a dream for your life, your business or career, your next step is to walk towards that dream by faith, knowing that God will bring it to pass. It’s time to jump into the calling he has given you and be a champion. Brand yourself. Brand your business. Stand out and be recognized for having a servant’s heart and let others know that what you will always give is your best. Thank you for reading.
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