What is one piece of advice you find yourself giving to practically every client you work with, no matter what industry, role, etc?
"To stop speaking with the same terms, language and offers as their competition. That way, brands blend in. It’s times like these when 'different is better than better' because, by being different, you don’t put yourself in the same category and try to 'out-feature' other companies or products."
Where do you see many branding campaigns go off the rails/go awry?
"Companies are too close to their own brands and their knowledge is a double-edged sword. Their knowledge is insightful, but then it ends up sliding them to the 'impartiality' needed to truly ask the tough questions that result in a brand story and position that cuts through the incredible noise out there."
What are the best metrics by which to measure a branding campaign—and which are the worst? What shouldn’t people focus on?
"Social media has entered the idea of 'followers' and 'likes' to the point that overshadows the true measure of a great brand. How do you know if you have a great brand? I use this metric: How much do customers think of the companies I brand as 'their brand'?"
What would you be doing if you weren’t working in this field?
"I might be involved in music as a drummer or a videographer telling stories and capturing moments that immerse viewers in the experience."
How can a client with a bare-bones budget best create an impactful campaign?
"Be bold. Be very different. Refuse to blend in. Do things that others might consider mad. Really push the envelope on 'what is possible.' And ABOVE ALL, make sure to ALWAYS be providing an absurd amount of value, well before you ever ask for the sale."
What was the inspiration for your book?
"I discovered there were over 9,000 books on Amazon on the subject of BRANDING. 9,000? That would take you over 24 years of reading reading one book per day! And none of them had practical advice that ANY company could use. And none that I came across showed how to do it, with actual examples. So my goal was to write 'the first branding book for those CEOs, startups and entrepreneurs that don’t have the time to read another book on branding.'"
What’s the worst bad habit you see among your clients?
"The worst bad habit is looking at the competition to see 'what to copy.' That is the antithesis of branding, since branding is differentiation, my emulation."
Which client was your biggest underdog success story?
"I took a boutique chocolatier (that made some of the most intoxicating truffles) whose business was plateauing. He was small, a boutique, a small budget. His solution to growth was to 'reduce price' which I told him was dumb. So after 10 months of discussion, I finally rebranded their chocolates, transforming how people viewed their chocolates and defying 'the norm' of the time. The result was a 300 percent increase in sales in 30 days, and sales only exploded higher after that first wave."
What is your biggest, most audacious personal goal at the moment?
"A TED talk and being on Gary Vaynerchuk’s video podcast talking about branding."
Summarize your book for us in fewer than 20 words.
"The first branding book written for those who don’t have the time to read another book on branding."