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How to Use Brand as a Business Strategy to Drive Growth: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Mar 19, 2024

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to use brand as a business strategy to drive growth. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: How to Use Brand as a Business Strategy to Drive Growth

One of the best ways to grow your business more efficiently and productively? A strong brand. Once you have that established, the possibilities are endless: you can capture attention without having to overpay for it, generate a powerful word-of-mouth engine, better manage risk, and build trust – which generates pull. Create that strong brand so you can create a competitive advantage and fantastic relationships with your clients, customers, and consumers. This episode covers everything from brand strategy to word of mouth. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you use brand as a business strategy to drive growth?
  • What’s the best way to capture attention?
  • How do you generate word of mouth?
  • Why is it important to manage risk?
  • How do you build trust?
  • What does Morris-Jenkins do best?
  • How did ForthRight People come about?
  • What does Noom get right?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I’m Anne Candido, and I am April Martini. And today we’re gonna talk about brand as a business strategy and how this shift in mindset can help you grow your business more efficiently and productively. How you may ask? Well, when you look at a p&l, there are only so many levers where you can actually save money. And once you’ve exhausted all of those, there’s only one other way to make money. And that is top line growth. And a key driver of top line growth is marketing. And in order to make sure your marketing is as efficient and productive as possible, it needs to be rooted in brand. It’s like when you took geometry, it’s if A equals B and B equals C, then A equals c.

April Martini 1:11
I love that we’re starting with that analogy. Okay. Right. So it makes sense that the place to start is with a brand foundation. So what does that mean? Well, as you’ve heard us say, time and again, brand answers three fundamental questions. Who am I? How am I different? And why do you want me? We go into how to answer these questions and plenty of other episodes. And we talked about them at length. So I’m not going to do that here. But what comes from those answers is a focus on what matters for your client or customer or consumer. And this can really be the leverage to create a competitive advantage, and relationships with those clients, customers or consumers that only you can own. This episode focuses on how to do just that.

Anne Candido 1:50
All right, and with that, we’ll get into maybe more geometry analogies, great. hope not, the engineer in me can’t take it out. But really, in all seriousness, this is all about how to use brand as a business strategy to drive growth or for the purpose of this conversation. The contexts really you could be thinking or listening through this with is what you can do once you have a brand in order to grow your business that you may not have been able to do before. Great. All right, I like it. Okay. All right. So the first one is you could capture our attention without having to overpay for it. So when me and April start a brand development project with a business we regularly conduct a competitive audit. And the results of this audit usually reveal that a majority of the businesses, whichever industry that you are talking about, they all look sound and act the same, amen. are ugly, a really big majority. Maybe there’s like a couple outliers there. Yep. Which means language around performance, service price, all these things that a lot of times businesses really hang their hats on to capture attention just sound like white noise to your target customer or client consumer. And I’m gonna probably just use customer going forward just for simplicity. But no, it can be in any context, b2b, b2c, or service oriented businesses? So the question we always get them when we present these competitive audits, and we position their business and this opportunity bucket this opportunity area is then how do I really position myself? And how do I capture attention when everything else feels like the same? Now, a lot of agencies will try to sell you things like SEM and SEO, right. And these are investment based approaches, which can work, but they can be very expensive, because what you’re doing is you’re buying AdWords in order to rank higher in searches. And it takes a lot of money to sometimes rank high in some of these more commoditized industries where the ad words are very much the same. I want a really good plumber in Cincinnati, right. So if you’re going to try to rank for plumber, that is a very expensive one to actually try to go out there and do that. So when we had to think about the ways of being able to do this and capture our attention without having to overpay for it, we have to think of some other strategies. And when you have a brand, you can play a different game, and you could capture attention without having to pay for it. Right. So you can create a personality, that is one of the really big emphasis that brand can do and one of the big drivers that brand can do. And this personality can really disrupt what people currently think about your industry, and help them to see you in a little bit different way. And then if you actually really lean into this, it can actually start to kind of create a vibe that then people really, really gravitate towards. And this is beyond what you actually do or how you actually perform. So I think the best thing to do is maybe to give you a couple of examples, I’m sure people will have a couple of our own too. But here’s a couple that I came up with and as as I was thinking about this point. So the first is Southwest Airlines now, this is one that a lot of people talk about, but if you actually like really break Southwest Airlines down, you would discover you would think about the fact that they’re actually a discount airline. Yep, playing in a premium airline space, right. So you would think about them in the context of Delta or American. But actually, their group is closer to a legion, yep, or JetBlue. But you don’t see him in that standpoint, even though you don’t get to pick your seat, you don’t usually get a meals, you don’t even get a drink. I mean, see, all these things are very discount oriented. But it doesn’t feel like that because they have really intentionally develop an experience that makes you feel like it is a going to be a really good flight. Right. So this is a very interesting way of being able to take something that is good for the P&L and then translating into something that is top line growth through the marketing. So you can see how both sides of that work. And then actually, the experience you get from that actually supersedes the fact that you don’t get to pick your seat, and you don’t get a drink or you may not get food, right, it’s just kind of getting you from point A to point B, but in a way that you can appreciate in the way that you can accommodate. Another one that we talk about a lot is Morris-Jenkins, and air and HVAC contractor in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you haven’t looked them up, you need to look them up. Now what you’ll see there is a definite personality that totally breaks the whole paradigm of HVAC industry. And how you know that it’s successful is by looking at their ratings and reviews. So if you look at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, or a national chain, or here in Cincinnati, they’re everywhere. They have about 4300 ratings and reviews, and they average about 4.8 Morris Jenkins has 22,526 with a average ranking of 4.9. So ask yourself, do you think they get that just by being good at servicing air conditioning units? No, they do that because they are creating an experience that makes them feel relatable and familiar to the clients that they’re trying to serve, and tries to bring them in in a different way. So when you can use your brand as the filter by which you define your marketing comms and outreach, you can start to create this attention capture this attention in a way that can supersede maybe some of the other things you’re trying to do in order to make your P&L look okay. It also is a really great way to couch or to strategize or to position, I guess, any kind of promotions or a deep discount, which is another way that a lot of businesses will try to capture attention. But it’s not generally, any way that can be something that’s done sustainably, unless you want to be that quote, unquote, discount brand. Just resist the urge to do it like everyone else is doing it because you’ve actually earned the right to play differently.

April Martini 8:03
This one is a point that I feel like, we fight against time. And again, when we tell people this and then they see it in action. Right? And they’re like, holy cow, you were right, which I’m like da we’re always right. But anyway. But I think it is really, really important because not only do you not have to overpay for the attention, you don’t waste your money in places where it doesn’t make sense. And so I think that once you start to get that attention that you want, and you get those ratings and those number of reviews like Morris Jenkins and such, it’s always because you’ve made that brand connection with your customer, client or consumer at a level that compels them to want to interact with you in that way. And on the other side of not knee jerking or chasing the competition or whatever. You’ll also know you’re doing it right when the competition in the category starts mimicking what you’re doing. Right, right, right. And so and said that, I would have examples of this. First, I want to go back to the southwest one because we typically fly Delta just because of Bryce’s travel and loyalty to that. And we fly for free a lot, quite frankly. But I remember the first time and I’m trying to think when exactly this was but they changed the uniforms to purple to try to be more approachable and like more, I don’t know, differentiate through that which I did ask sidenote some of the staff and they were like, we hate this color. So there’s that breeding a lot of a lot of employee engagement with that. But the other thing was they started doing these like really weird videos. And it would be like the announcement of the mask comes down. Here’s what you do all that kind of stuff. But it was just like really off brand off character and goofy and I was like, why are they doing this? And I’m like, Oh, they’re totally trying to mirror mirror what Southwest is doing, and it’s an authentic because it’s not what their brand foundation If they weren’t going to do it, it should have been more about like the premium experience. And you know that you get more with this airline. And that’s just what’s gone back to now, which is what they’ve gone back to right? Which is why I’m saying I can’t remember, I just remember sitting in my seat and being like, you gotta be kidding me. Yeah. So anyway, so just the like, when people start to mirror you, it’s just like a side note to say, you can know you’re doing it right. And one of the examples that I’ll give is, I worked for several years on the Christ hospital here in Cincinnati. And when we first started doing that work, the amount of money to my point about throwing money out the window, that the healthcare industry and hospitals specifically which we have a large concentration of in Cincinnati, Ohio, we’re spending on really just traditional media, billboards, ads, those kinds of things. But then not only were they spending an exorbitant amount of money they were talking to to themselves, right, right, right. So it’d be like, We’re number one, and blah, blah, blah, we’re number one, and blah, blah, blah. And so when we got that account, we were like, we have to humanize the experience. Now, the really good news was the brand was very different. And that the way that patients would talk about their experience at Christ versus others was much more human. Right, they were just as concerned about me being warm and comfortable, as they were about explaining the procedure in human terms as they were about taking care of me as a patient. Right. So that was there, we just had to capitalize on that. And so we started coming out with campaigns that spoke from the lens of the patient. So using that kind of language, to then be able to create the voice for them, that was already the experience. But we needed to bring that experience forward to people that hadn’t been there. And then also in that more mass way. And so it brought a ton of attention. So much so that now when you look still, that was 10 years ago, at the healthcare marketing in the city, everyone has the patient language, the patient featured on the Billboard. And so it’s become more watered down. So I mean, I am putting a plug out for us to maybe work with the hospital if you’re listening to reorient the conversation, because I think we already get to another level. Yeah, but my point being that for that point in time, it was a true true differentiator and got a ton of attention. So much so that then it was mirrored and now we are where we are. But I just think the point is so important. And back to my original point here is that we get the kind of like side I like you can tell they’re thinking about it, not believing you and then fast forward to when it works. And it’s like holy cow, not only are we pulling people toward us, but we’re also standing out so much so that the competitors are looking at us on the other side. And, you know, our behind where we are.

Anne Candido 12:44
Yeah. And I think sometimes they give us the side, because they’re like, Well, how expensive is this going to be? That’s fair to right. And like a true client? Exactly. And I think you know, it’s one is that it doesn’t have to be that expensive. Some if you already have a brand is about the positioning and about what April said, which is, how do you bring that positioning to life in a way that sounds different. But it’s still familiar in a way that doesn’t look like everybody else so that you actually can capture attention. So some of these things are more of just repositioning versus like we’re not, you know, tight saying that you need to come in like totally demolish everything that you have. No. That’s why I wanted to give the example of Morris Jenkins, because, I mean, this is h back industry. And so for those also who tell us well, we’re just this or we’re just that which is we hear all the time to like, what can we really do? There isn’t a prime example of a company that’s been very intentional and bringing their brand to life and is winning big time in the process. Good point, right. All right. So the second way about how to use brand as a business strategy to drive growth or what you can do now that you have a brand is you can generate a powerful word of mouth engine. So word of mouth is still the most productive marketing channel. But it only works if you give people something to talk about. Sound like duh, but listen just for a second because I’m gonna go back to the first point and say that it’s table stakes to just be really good at what you do. That’s what I said. It all sounds like white noise to your customer. The memorable part? The part that actually gets people talking is the impact of what you do. Yep. This is the emotional connection. I know people always squirm and they want and they give the side eye again when you talk about the emotional connection. I’m not saying that they have to profess love for you but you’re doing something for them that’s improving their life in a way that is memorable. This is how you stay top of mind. And if you’re looking for a little bit more of a tangible way of articulating it, this is what April and I call the end and I say and and air quotes. This is they did a good job and right and so this and becomes a differentiator and that separates you from the competition. This is what you really want to hone in on and this is what you can I uniquely do when you actually have a brand. So what does this and look like? So let me give you a couple of examples of what this and kind of looks like. And then you can see how the numbness and starts to then be articulated into your brand story and the way that you live your brand to your customer through your marketing and your sash sales channels. So for example for three people, man, April, really talked about this a very, very long time to figure out what is our and what is our differentiating factor as an agency. There’s a lot of agencies out there, there’s a lot of boutique agencies out there, what is our and in our and is that we are fourth rates, right? It’s in our name, right. So a lot of our clients have been snowed by other agencies, and we know coming from big brand world and be having this experience. And we have heard and talk to a lot of these smaller, small and medium sized businesses that when they take those big brand agencies, and they try to apply them to their small, medium sized brand world, it just doesn’t work. And a lot of times they feel like they were maybe taken for a ride or that they were given the short end of the stick or whatever metaphor you want to use. And we decide we’re not going to do that, and our experience back set up. So our ad looks something like maybe from what our client might say is, they really helped us elevate our brand. And because they were forthright, we were able to see business results more quickly. So the fact that we even orient against business results versus just the work differentiates them in their heads, but then also gives another reason to believe to other people that may be talking about a nasty one that we want them to gravitate towards. A lot of our agents, other agencies do good work. But we do work that moves the business, and that’s our aunt. Another one I’ll use as my OBGYN. I mean, she actually her and is she’s an expert physician, that’s what she does. But she also prioritizes quality of life. So that is her and and I might again sound like really is that a differentiating factor for OBGYN, and it actually really, really is, because she sees her care for her patients through what’s best for her patient, which isn’t always the case for a lot of physicians. So and that might look like me talking to somebody else as she’s an expert physician. And because she prioritizes my quality of life, she really suggested a procedure to help me through an issue. Right? So that’s the kind of then word of mouth memorable content starts being generated from your word of mouth ambassadors that starts to become very memorable for others and starts to translate into a brand reputation that then you uniquely own. So I asked you guys to clearly articulate your and and make sure this is incorporated into your eternal brand, which is your mission vision values, so that everyone is operating according to your and and then this consistency of being able to operate against this is really, really important for that memorability. So it can’t be just something you do every once in a while. It needs to be all the time. Yeah, and I really

April Martini 18:05
like this approach, because I think it makes Well, our clients think harder about things, right? Because the easy things to go to are the things that we as humans will say right off the bat, like they were good, they were cheap. They were fast. They were reliable. But you could say that about anyone really not even in the context of what you’re talking about. But any business? Yes, we could hope those are table stakes.

Anne Candido 18:30
I hope that everybody is to that as some extent. Yes,

April Martini 18:33
exactly. But so when this works really well is when you have to think through what would that and be for you. And so it is a really good tool and exercise. So I would just encourage people, if you haven’t thought about this in a while, start there and see kind of what you get back and socialize it and see what comes out because I think you could get some interesting things that way. And I just want an add an example of my own because I found myself doing this naturally. Now we do this as a practice. So I guess it’s a little bit unfair. But so I have been working with activate brain and body which is a mutual contact of an and mine and a facility where they focus on cognition as well as physical activity. And as someone who’s been a runner for many, many years, I mean, I was talking to my brother about this the other day running stuck, right? I’ve been a runner for 23 years now, running a stuck. I’m gonna always be a runner. However, I can’t tell you how many chances are shots, I’ve taken more of the like strength training, cross training, hit workouts, all that kind of stuff, right? I just don’t stick to it. It’s just not my favorite thing. So they invited me to come because we were working with them on some other stuff and do a 30 day trial. And so interestingly, when I sat down with my koozie owner, and he was explaining to me this trial period, and he said, You know while we were I’d love to have you come on as a member, we also know that 80% of our business comes from word of mouth referrals. And then actually, we find that even people that come through this test portion and don’t become members still refer other members, right. And so this makes a ton of sense. So just to prove out the value of word of mouth and all the things that Ann said, Now, my concern going in is that their clientele right now they’re trying to broaden this, but is an older demographic, and typically, they’re 15 to 20 years older than me. So my question was, what the workout was going to be for someone like me, so what I found myself saying, and I have talked about them now. So he’s right, I am word of mouth thing all over the place. But the thing that I find myself saying is, they have the best customer experience I’ve seen in this space, hands down, which I would say is a differentiator anyway, but to the point, and they’re able to customize my workout for my goals within a class of six other people. That is a different demographic, right? So my first moment of delight, if I’m going to use our terms was interacting with the staff all of that. But that should be a baseline thing, right? Unfortunately, in the fitness space, it’s a hit or miss. Yeah, we can go either way. So the it is a differentiator for them. But it should be table stakes for everybody. The end is that very quickly, I’ve only been going for two weeks now, even today, when I was there, already changing my workout. So the end is being able to look at me and customize it for what I need from that workout so that I can achieve things while managing the rest of the class. Yeah,

Anne Candido 21:41
I think that’s a great example. And I think it works no matter what the business is. Yep. So again, find your end. Yep, make sure that that is clearly articulated, make sure it’s incorporated into all of your communication and your marketing materials, make sure it’s centered to how people are going to perform when they are speaking on behalf or acting on behalf of your business. So that it all holds together. Because as we said in I know April will test too. If she comes out in one day, and it’s not customized for her, then that breaks down. So you need to make sure, right. I mean, in April, we’ll tell them for sure. And I’m sure that that will be something that I’d like to be a fly on the wall for. But I’m on topic, different, different topic different day. But the consistency part is key. And we’re going to talk more about consistency a little bit later. All right, so the third point of how to use brand as a business strategy to drive growth. Or what you can do now that you have a brand is you can better manage risk. So this is a really deep on guy. So hold with me, because it’s a little bit of a different context or lens by which to think through this. So one of the biggest challenges many of our coaching clients face, especially as they get higher in the ranks is in taking the responsibility for making decisions. And this can be very overwhelming and very daunting when you feel the decisions relies solely on you. And it’s your fate. The company, the business of people, it’s all on your shoulders. And this can be really paralyzing, which can force them to make what they deem as safe decisions. Like they don’t want to lean in and put themselves at risk. Or worse, they make no decisions at all. And we have been all in this in this situations with these waffles, right. So what your brain can do is it can operate as your third party proxy by which you filter some of these decisions. So you can use it as the basis for making this decisions. So you can again all about these questions today. But you can ask yourself, would this build our brand or erode our brand when you’re thinking about the decision that you need to make and you’re thinking about the choices about how to actually solve or which direction to go based on this decision. And now this may seem like subjective to people’s opinions is actually objective, when the brand is well defined, because you have specific criteria that defines your brand and specific criteria that actually embodies your brand. It’s that an PII so even if you just use the the second part of your NPS as the filter by which you would make this decision that actually helps to start focusing the decision making criteria and helping you to have very objective conversations about what this is going to do versus somebody’s subjective opinion about what this decision is going to lead to. Now, when you have strong brand decisions around investments in marketing, adding products and services, expansion into revenue streams, or even geographies are informed by well be the best for the brand, not just the business. Alright, so I’m gonna say that again, best for the brand, not just a business you’re like, What the hell do you guys mean by that? So I’m gonna live is I’m gonna I’m gonna give you guys like a peek into what we hear from a lot of our coaching clients and what we see happen a lot and actually from our own personal experiences, too, is that when we get into some of these short term decisions, right, we tend to make knee jerk reactions. And so these usually come when there’s some sort of challenge or eight. So there’s either a competitive challenge, or there’s a challenge to the bottom line, or there’s something that’s going on, that’s kind of forcing a short term decision. And because of the risk associated with those, or perceived risk of those, we tend to be very reactionary. When we are operating in this mindset, these are the riskiest decisions we can make. Because we’re not considering the long term ramifications of the short term decisions that we’re making. Alright, so now, we understand that sometimes you just gotta do what you got to do. If the company’s in crisis and you just need to make a decision to get to tomorrow, we get that you won’t want to be delusional, you don’t want to put your head in the sand. But she thinks short term wins is hardly ever sustainable. And but people get stuck in this cycle where they’re just fighting fires every day. So when they tend to make some of these decisions, they can look like in the short term skew or service chasing. So it’s like a, the customer wants this, we need more revenue, let’s just go do this. And everybody else is doing this. So we’re gonna go do this, right? That’s not acting in the context of brand at all. Or you do dramatic or unsubstantiated price drops. So you’re just going to drop your price in order to be able to show up again in a differentiated way, or what you perceive as differentiated way. But what it actually does is it defies or dilutes your brand and starts to drive your brand into a commoditized space. And hear me when I say when you’re doing promotions, I’m not saying you don’t do promotions, but they are based on strategy, they have to be contextualized. A lot of times this happens a ton at p&g, especially if you’re the leader in your industry, is that you change your goals based on something that is happening right now. And it’s usually something around competitive sparring, right, this is what I call this. And you’re you’d force your team to go and be reactionary towards something that’s happening in the environment that distracts them from higher priority goals. So this happened a ton when I’ve been working on some of the biggest brands and some of these TPG industries like tide, where a competitor would come out with some sort of new claim or some sort of new product work would stop. And we would have to address that. And that could be a week, it could be several weeks, it could be a month, you just never knew how long it was going to take to address that. Meanwhile, the long term business strategy suffered. There’s also this is a big one too, which is internal cost cutting. And this happens a lot when we start to feel very lean in our budgets, we start to cut our marketing budget, we start to cutter, a talent project, our growth budget, our research budget, with all those budgets that are really needed in order to think long term, you have to keep the engine stoked, you can’t just cut these budgets. So skewed service chasing dramatic or unsubstantiated price drops, distracting your team from higher priority goals, internal cost cutting, these are all tend to be knee jerk design choices that we make when we are feeling at risk. And we think that this is going to eliminate the risk or what it does is perpetuate the risk. Now instead, if you evaluate these decisions based on what is best for the brand, you will likely see that these short term decisions are actually going to put the brand at risk. And when you put the brand at risk, you compromise your competitive advantage. And that is the long term ramifications. A lot of times we don’t see in the short term. Okay. Got that. Now, that was a lot. That was a lot. Now, one more final point. And I’m going to turn this over to April for her perspective on this. And this is another thing that we hear all the time, which is people say I can’t change my brand, because that’s going to put my brand at risk. Right. So they say all these things I get you want me to go do and I need to be thinking about brand, but my brand is stuck in this time and place that is sometime you know before years before and if you asked me to change my brand, I’m actually putting my brand at risk. And this is like a really big like, catch 22 So I’m gonna see if I can like just like slice it down the middle. And say that if you are going to refuse to modernize your brand as a time changes, it’s like telling your kids that they can’t grow up. Right your brand is a living and breathing thing. And if you’re not going to let it live and breathe, you’re not going to modernize and if you’re not going to bring it up into what’s relevant in the environment that is also putting your brand at risk. It’s not the opposite. You’re not putting your brand at risk by changing something that you feel is iconic. It’s not you’re not putting your brand at risk by changing what you feel is like the way that we always did it like this usually comes to bear when we start talking to clients about alright, we see you guys that have done a lot of one to one sales and can indications, it might be time to start to scale those communications on Oh, we can’t do that we’ve always been one on one, we’ve always been very service oriented in that way, okay? Service Oriented is table stakes, you could still be very service oriented in a scale format, you just have to be intentional, according to your brand with her how you want to go do that. Okay, that’s a lot. That was a lot, I told you, it was gonna be a big one.

April Martini 30:21
So I guess the place that I’ll start here is to say that we get it, it can be so hard to stay the course with your brand. And especially in today’s world, where there’s so much change going on, because the business changes, the category changes, the landscape changes, the competition changes, something in the digital space changes, like there’s all these things that are going to happen all the time, the only thing that is constant is the change. And so you need to flip the perspective in your mind, and not react out of fear of what could happen. And instead, think about it the way that this point is phrased, which is if you lean into your brand, you can better manage risk, but also change and things that are going to just happen, if you look at it, like it’s gonna happen regardless. And then you come back every time to that strategic foundation as the filter by which you make all decisions. And I think the other point that I want to make sure to tackle is the argument back of the legacy of the brand, or the brand has been this way for so long are all of those types of things. I realize it can be hard to think about a brand as a living breathing thing, but who’s reacting with a brand people are right, people are living, breathing things. And the other thing that changes all the time is our behaviors as human beings, right. And this is why I think the analogy of the child holds up really well. But also just like us as people, right, like who I am right now and who I was last year, let alone five years ago, let alone 10 is completely different. So what has changed the products I interact with the brands that I love. Now, I will say the ones that have stayed the course are the ones that have changed with me over time. And so I think that evolution piece just is so important. And I think back to my fear comment, it’s a scary thing for people. Because if you have a brand, and you’ve done it this way for so long changes hard in general, but the brand feels like this ginormous thing, right? And so you get scared, and I understand it, of evolving it or changing it or whatever. But I think the bigger part of what we emphasize to people all of the time is that in most cases, we would never suggest a wholesale change. The only time that that actually happens is when you’ve let so much time passed that your brand is so irrelevant that even to survive, you’re gonna have to host like, we’re gonna have to reinvent it anyway. And the brand is going to be part of that. But if you keep up with this over time, and you think about it as a living breathing thing, you can think about it through the lens of the fact that as human beings, we don’t wholesale change, right, like our personalities don’t just fundamentally flip unless you’re bipolar, different discussion. But I mean, on the whole, we don’t become new people overnight. And I think you should think about the brand the same way. So summarize this whole thing. And while why I think it’s so important outside, the fact that I just love brand is I think, when people look at it, and they let it become overwhelming, and they get nervous and scared about changing things versus proactively keeping up with their brand and continuing to use it as that strategic filter. That’s when you get in your head, you don’t make the change, bad things start to happen. Your Brand doesn’t work for you anymore. The competition overtakes you all of that. But if you have the discipline to do it, and really continue to just keep track, you won’t notice the changes, but there’ll be the right changes. So even at forthright people, I mean, you know, we’ve been forthright people since the very beginning, you heard him say it took us a long time to get to that name. It was really important for us to encapsulate who we are, how we’re different and why people would want us versus others. We answered those three brand questions just like we tell you to. But we are constantly nuancing and changing our messaging. Yep. We just changed our tagline recently. Yep. The way that we figure out our ins with clients changes the way we position ourselves, the way we bring people on to help us the way we partner our bench changes based on the needs that come up. All of that is part of the brand experience of working with April Anana for three people. But on the whole the essence of our brand has not nor will not ever change because it’s fundamental to who and and I are as people, and the belief of what we provide to our customers and our clients. However, the way it looks will always continue to morph and change and be different.

Anne Candido 35:10
And I think that’s a really important point. Because I think, hopefully people are hearing this in a in a slightly different way than what they might traditionally hear when we talk about brand and marketing and business. And I think it’s really important to disassociate a little bit your brand from the business of doing the business. Exactly. Because when we get stuck in a business of doing the business, whatever we’re selling, whatever we’re offering, we start to get stuck and identify ourselves with those things. Yes, right. I so this is what we have this conversation all the time about who you are, right? I so this gadget, or I sell a car, or I sell cars, or I, I provide SAS services or whatever that is, it’s like that starts becoming your identity. But if you can make the brand, the your your identity, that and your identity, you can have a ton of flexibility about what you sell. Yep. And this is the whole mindset shift. So as an another example, here, I’ll take Netflix, for example, Netflix started in the business of actually mailing DVDs. God, I loved that, right. Sorry,

April Martini 36:19
for wine back, that was such a happy moment, when that DVD showed up at my house. I know it was kind of fun. Sorry, I’m distracting.

Anne Candido 36:25
That was the brand though, is to happiness with the entertainment that like immediate credit. Like just if you wanted to watch that, you could get that right away, and you were happy about it. That’s the end. Day you leverage that in order to create an online streaming service, right, where you can actually get that to different business, if you’re selling something totally different. You’re starting a subscription model versus a one off DVD model, though I think eventually what this subscription, but like a one off DVD versus a subscription while you’re selling something totally different. But the brand, the end has remained the same, which has given them that flexibility. So this is why we say it’s a business strategy abandoned brand as a business strategy. Because when you can align on that, you can sell different things, you can create different revenue streams, and they still all hold together and they get the fuel of the brand behind them. But if you’re gonna compartmentalized based on what you do, that becomes your identity. And that’s where you’re putting yourself at risk, especially when you’re making short term knee jerk reactions to things that are happening. You’d be put yourself at a whole lot more risk. Agree.

April Martini 37:30
Yeah. All right, that’s a big one. Oh, we’re bringing it home. No.

Anne Candido 37:33
Rounding third heading home, guys. Okay. So our fourth point about how to use brand as a business strategy to drive growth, what you can do now that you have a brand, if you can build trust, which generates pool. So I said I was gonna go back to this consistent behavior. So trust is built through consistent behavior, both good or bad. So for example, if someone always breaks their promises you can trust they’re going to continue to do so. On the other hand, if somebody is always consistently showing up on time, and is always performing well, you can start to trust that they’re going to do that as well, right? So the brand becomes your playbook for consistency. And when you embrace a playbook from the inside out, you show up as consistent, which then leads to trust is that integrity, people start to believe that you are who you say you are. And then trust then once you generate that trust is the key to getting and retaining customers ambassadorship and loyalty. This is the relationships that we all crave, that we need in order to continue to generate business viability and revenues. Now, when you have trust, that starts to generate pools when I’m talking about the brand identity, I’m talking about that brand personality that starts pulling people in Morris GenCon, didn’t get to 25,000 reviews, just by going one off, right. And by pushing their messages out by going on telling everybody just how good they are. They’re getting nose because they have the pool. They have the ambassadors out there. This is the word of mouth again, that is bringing people in that is generating this marketing brand. And Ben delicate, invent evangelical evangelical Thank you. It’s creating this word of mouth marketing as a van. That

April Martini 39:29
evangelizes the brand. What April said,

Anne Candido 39:34
having trouble with that word, I know what the word is in my head. It’s just not coming out my mouth. So what April said. So that becomes a really, really powerful engine. And then when you can do that, everything becomes easier. And it becomes more productive because your brand is greasing the skids. So, your marketing, your communication, your sales. Remember people need to hear things five to six times, generally in order for them to convert, but if everything is consistent, you convert them more quickly. This is what the whole objective a pool is versus push. Now trust is also critical in talent acquisition and retention. So when you recruit through your brand, it attracts the right people for your culture. And then when they get there, they see that you are as advertised. And then that trust is reinforced. And this creates a more productive and content workforce. This has been proven, we have proven this with our clients, this is something that we could put in an engine and it works really, really well. It also means when you do something wrong, people are more willing to forgive you as this is seen as more of a one time thing than something that’s systematic, that’s something that’s always happens. Now, if it happens, start happening multiple times and starts becoming systemic, then you risk eroding your brand. But you can always use the principles of your brand to get back on track and restore relationships. So it’s just so fundamentally important to generate that pool in and generate that trust. Yeah,

April Martini 40:56
going back to the previous point, and the whole idea of making sure that your brand continues to evolve and stay strategically sound, this is a big reason for that, too. Because over time, it’s just like building any other sort of relationship, right. So I’m just going to continue the parallel with being a human being. If you think about your relationships in life, the ones that are strong and have stood the test of time, and the people that have been there for you time. And again, you can argue with from time to time you can disagree with something can happen where they mess up and make a mistake, or they show up late for something, but that’s not their MO That relationship continues intact. And actually, I would argue that it strengthens by those moments of grace, because it shows that the strength of the relationship can overcome those individual moments, right. And it continues to elevate and strengthen it. So and then I think the other part of this about pulling people to you, or customers or clients or your target whatever to you. It is hard enough, these days to stand out. And you know, to build on Ian’s point about the five to six touch points that is in your specific category, but think about how many touch points people receive every day. Right, right. So like, if I’m scrolling through my phone for 15 minutes, I might get 40 messages or 40 different pieces of information right or more depending on how fast or slow I read, right. But the whole idea is that I should be able to stand out if I am one of the brands that has built trust with these people. And so that’s where the pool comes in is like they have a relationship with you. And so there’s all this noise, but you stand out among that noise. And then the ambassadorship that Dan mentioned is the other thing that’s really key. And it goes hand in hand with the point about word of mouth, but I look at this one is much deeper than that, right? So if I go back to my activate brand and body example, although I do really appreciate and love them and think they’re doing many things, right, I’m still new in the experience of them. So I’m providing word of mouth already, because I feel that way about them. But if I continue and the experience continues, and the longevity goes and like and I have not just you know, half a dozen experiences with them, but a year’s worth, right or whatever. That’s when I’m more in this ambassadorship piece because the trust is so deep, that I am evangelizing them, I’ll use the word again, since I’m so good at saying it on their behalf on a much deeper level, because the things I’m saying are going to get deeper, right? It’s not just going to become about customization for April’s goals, it’s going to be I have been with them for this long. And now I see these results, right? Or think about the type of you know, because because of the word of mouth piece by just continue that when you ask people you trust for recommendations on stuff, the relationship with that person, plus the amount of time they’ve been a fan of that brand is working together in tandem to create that pool, right. So like, my sister in law is an example of someone who comes to me all the time for brand recommendations. And part of what she wants to know is how long I’ve had that relationship with that brand. Right. And right now, a lot of times we talked about kids, because her kids are a couple years behind mine. So if I’m using something with Sam, who’s eight, and I still love it, and I’ve used it since he was born. And you know, we have that trusted relationship. She’s like, Oh, well, of course, I’m gonna buy that brand, no argument there. And so I think that’s really what you ultimately want to get to, but to some of the other pieces we’ve talked about here and some of the resistance and the reasons why we see customers and clients or non customers and clients just people in general, not being able to use their brand as a business strategy. It’s because the brand isn’t a focus so it’s not allowed to mature and Therefore, it never reaches what I would consider to be the culminating point of this conversation, which is that pool because the trust is so deep, that it’s literally like, I think about it like a magnetic field, like pulling people to it.

Anne Candido 45:12
Yeah. And if I was going to flip this on its head a second, because I know that there’s a lot of people out there concerned with Kancil culture, right, that they’re gonna do something wrong, then all of a sudden, everybody’s gonna hate them. I will say based on there’s, there’s generally two situations that happen by which that cancel culture really gets activated. One is you are only app operating in that product service business mentality if you haven’t elevated to the brand. So therefore, if you’re going to try to test and learn, they are not going to be kind to you, if you don’t get it right, right. Like I said, when you can elevate to the brand in your consistent your behavior, it does give you a little bit of permission to test and learn. Because people get that you’re just trying to see what might happen. And they are willing to give you the feedback of you know, us loyal brand, people, we don’t like what you’re doing, right. And that’s just feedback. And you can take that feedback, or you can leave that feedback. But it is feedback. And they may be willing to forgive you if you are able to do right by them. Yep. Once you kind of get through your test and learn. But we need tests and learns in order to be able to continue to evolve and grow. And so if you’re so concerned about ruining whatever that stake you have with your consumer base, you’re going to be paralyzed forever in that space. Yep. And things like then when you want to take skews away, or you want to take services away, all of a sudden, now your business is at risk. Or if you want to increase your prices a little bit, all of a sudden your businesses are at risk, because you don’t have a justification for increasing your prices. Right. So that’s really important. Now, the other side of this, and this was really exemplified by the Bud Light crisis, and we’ll call it the Bud Light crisis is when you ignore your brand, yes. Again, for a short term game. Yep. And that’s the only way you can explain what happened in that mentality. And that’s what they basically said happen is now in that case, they’re trying to be more inclusive, but it did. So doing, they ignored their whole brand. Contingency. Yes. So we don’t have to go into the whole Bud Light thing. But just as an example, those are usually very ways that Kancil culture starts to really manifest itself. So hopefully, that kind of gives both sides of that story. Yeah, timely,

April Martini 47:35
and everyone should know about that example, everybody. On the marketing smarts, yeah,

Anne Candido 47:40
for sure, for sure. In our final segment is where we highlight companies or brands that may or may not be using their marketing smarts, and may or may not have anything to do with today’s episode. But you know, how I usually feel about that. And so the one I’m going to talk about today is new. Okay. So Noom is, you can call it a weight loss app. I mean, it’s probably the category that it fits in. And I’ve been doing this for almost a year. And I have found it a very fascinating experience. And I’ve done others before I’ve done, Jenny Craig, before, I’ve kind of had like an answer relationship with WeightWatchers, I’ve done other tracking apps. So this isn’t the only thing that I’ve done in order to try to manage my weight. And for me, I’m already a very active person and I already eat well, the whole calories in calories out thing, it just never manifested itself with me, I’m always like, there’s got to be something that’s causing or triggering my body to behave in very erratic ways. So the thing that I appreciate about neum. And the reason I think that they totally have created a brand around this is that they take those considerations in to their whole design and development process that allows them then to relate in a more customized way that isn’t just calories in calories out, which is like a what a lot of weight watchers is now without going through a whole a lot of the details related to the app, they do us. And they have a really embodied a personality for their brand. It’s a very quirky personality, it actually has some element of fun about it. They do try to bring in the science, but they bring in the science in a very approachable way. So it all kind of comes off as being a little bit like I’m going to advise you but I’m not going to take myself too seriously kind of thing. And that works for them in a way that allows it not to feel judgy which a lot of times these things can feel very judgy not feel super restrictive, and actually work in ways that are fundamental to weight loss and it has been very, very effective for me. So I bring forth this example because in an industry like weight loss, which is huge if you consider things like act The brain and body which can be, it doesn’t mean more than weight loss. But if you can put it in that industry, all the way to weight loss services, to surgeries to magic pills, all of those things, to find somebody that actually works and is actually intentional about creating a brand around it, I find to be super smart. And then obviously, very well researched, tested in order to make sure that it works for a range of people. And not just using that fundamental one way in, which is then right now I feel just totally desensitized throughout the industry, which is the whole calories in calories out mentality.

April Martini 50:41
Yeah, I mean, I think it is a good example. And you know, I love a good tone of voice example, too. But I think that it goes back to knowing who your target audience is and how you’re different than others out there. And I think, to my comment earlier about rising above the noise, this is a prime example of a case study of exactly how you go and do that, because you are clear on how you’re different from the others. And then you know, you’re not for everyone. And I mean, I haven’t used them. I don’t, you know, know all the ins and outs. But based on what we’ve talked about, and what you just said, I think that they’re a great example of a brand who is being consistent and strategic, and staying on brand, so that the experience is consistent with what someone like you who was a loyal customer is used to from them.

Anne Candido 51:30
Yeah. And then it works. And they employ all the different pieces in order to make it work. And then everything that they build upon it is based on that strategy. And it continues then to have relevancy. Even after you’re you’re done. Like it actually starts talking to you about how to not to use the app, it talks itself out of the need for you to have it in your life. So it’s all a very interesting strategy, but it feels in that way. It’s when we talk about partnerships, like it feels like a partner, even though it’s an app. So it’s a very progressive way and a very smart way I think of really disrupting that industry. All right, so just to bring this home, how do you use brand as a business strategy to drive growth? Or what can you do once you have a brand in order to grow your business that you couldn’t before? First, you can capture attention without having to overpay for it. A brand fosters a personality that gives you liberties to play outside of as normal or expected this can disrupt the monotony and make you stand out. You can generate a powerful word of mouth engine, a brand helps you to find your end so you can fuel the word of mouth engine with something memorable to talk about. You can better manage risk a brand helps you avoid making short term business decisions and may feel right at the time but can have disastrous effects down the road. And finally, you can build trust which generates pool a brand is your playbook for consistency. And when you embrace the playbook from the inside out, you show up as consistent which then leads to trust and what that will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts!

April Martini 53:08
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