To have a successful business, you need a solid brand.
Unfortunately, branding is something that a lot of small businesses struggle with.
I’ve talked a lot about branding on the blog because I think it’s so important for businesses to get it right. After all, your brand is the foundation of your business.
To bring home this point, I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with a friend of mine, John Morgan. He’s a speaker, author and branding expert. Last week, he launched his new book, Brand Against the Machine, and I wanted to bring him by the blog so he could share some of his branding wisdom with you today.
Without further adieu, here’s our interview:
Laura: Before we dive in to the good stuff, what is branding anyway? A lot of people get this confused. Can you tell us why branding is more than just a logo?
John: Branding is all about emotion. Your brand is how people feel about you. It’s your reputation. A logo is just an identifier and part of consistent marketing.
Laura: If you’re a business owner, why should you focus on your personal brand? Shouldn’t you just focus on your business brand instead? Or, are they one and the same?
John: People do business with people they know, like, and trust. That will never change. Your business needs to have some personality behind it. Some of the greatest brands in the world were built on strong personal brands. Just look at Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson. They are a strong personal brand within a business brand.
Laura: In the book, you talk about the importance of visibility and how it often trumps a person’s ability. Why is visibility more important? And, how do you recommend a business become more visible?
John: It doesn’t matter how much ability you have if no one knows you exist. You must have a certain level of visibility. No one is going to go out of their to way to search & find you. You become more visible by getting your message or product out there consistently. Whether that’s through public speaking, blogging, social media, or whatever. The tools can be anything. The important thing is that you don’t sit back and wait for people to discover you.
Laura: I love the chapter where you talk about the importance of creation stories. What are they and why does a business need one?
John: A brand’s creation story is the story of how it came about. How did you get where you are today? That’s your creation story. We’ve heard the stories of Michael Dell selling computers out of his college dorm and the stories of Steve Jobs building computers in his garage. When we know how a product or company came to be we find them more interesting and we can see their passion. When we don’t know someone’s journey we don’t feel as connected to them.
Laura: In general, people are really hesitant to pick a fight, especially with celebrities or large companies. Why do you think people should challenge the status quo in the first place and how can people do it without becoming a total jerk?
John: People must challenge the status quo because people are begging for it. When you pick a fight people who are on your side will gravitate towards you. The press also loves someone who’s willing to challenge how things have always been done. Picking a fight doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk. It just means you take a passionate stance on something that is against how others do it.
Laura: Why do most business websites suck? And, what can a business do to unsuckify their site?
John: Most websites lack a lead generation element. If your website doesn’t generate business then it’s nothing more than a fancy brochure. There has to be a call-to-action where people can leave their information with you. All the traffic in the world won’t make your website a success if it doesn’t have the ability to generate leads.
Laura: What’s they number one piece of advice you would give businesses to stand out from the crowd?
John: Take a close look at your industry and do something different. Have a reason to exist in the marketplace. Bring something to the table that no one else does.
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I’ve checked out John’s book and it’s chock full of ideas and golden nuggets about how you can make your business, and your brand, stand out from the crowd. If you want to improve your brand, be sure to check out John’s book, Brand Against the Machine.
Do you struggle with creating a memorable brand? What questions do you have about branding? Talk to us in the comments – John and I are listening!Please note: The link to John’s book is an affiliate link.