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4 Ways to Set Your Brand up for Success: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Oct 18, 2022

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.

This is Episode #124 and we’re talking setting up your brand for success. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, 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 Episode #124: 4 Ways to Set Your Brand up for Success

Your brand is everything. How do you set your brand up for success – today AND in the future? We have you covered on both fronts. In this episode, you’ll learn why your brand is more than a logo, it has verbal and visual components, how to create tools from your brand, and expand its components over time. You’ll also find out whether you need to start over, where to begin on the verbal components, and why your executions may be falling flat. This episode covers everything from changing your logo to getting buy-in. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you set your brand up for success?
  • What’s the limit on the number of tools for your brand?
  • Are the visual or verbal components of a brand more important?
  • What should the vehicles for your brand be like?
  • How does a brand mature?
  • When is it time to start over?
  • How do you create a visual toolkit?
  • Why are your executions falling flat?

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.

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing smarts, I am Anne Candido and I am April Martini. And today we’re going to talk about how to set your brand up for success both today and then also for the future. So what do we mean by this? Well, we get this question pretty often as it relates to a brand’s visualization and then verbalization. And we know that brand overall is just a tough concept when you don’t do it every day like we do. And so how to bring it to life is really most important to its success or failure. It’s not just in the creation, it’s in the how do you then execute against it? And then it’s further complicated by all those brands we all aspire to and know like Nike and Apple and Patagonia and others. And so it’s further compounded by people looking at those brands and thinking, How in the world do I take what I have right now and get there. And then the time and the money and the investment, the complexity, all those things just seem like too much, especially when your company is nowhere near that size. So as we often do today, we’re going to help you assess where you are today. And what realistically makes sense for you in this moment. And then also what you need really specifically to be set up for success in the future.

Anne Candido 1:42
Yeah, and I think you made a really, really good point that some people have times times feel like it’s all or nothing, yes, right. You have to do the brand thing or not do the brand thing. And there’s not really anything in between. And there’s no brands that exist that are nothing but Nike and Apple and Patagonia, right. But really good point, what we’re going to talk about today is that there is lots of different places and everywhere in between, and that it’s actually a process. So we’re going to get really real about the necessities versus a nice to haves and just rest assured you don’t need to have everything right at the get go. And you don’t need to have all the stuff underneath the sun. Yeah, like right to get goes, which is what a lot of people think that all of a sudden, like he was just kind of created overnight. And you know, you had a logo and you had a tagline. And there you go, there was a brand. So we’re going to talk about how all of these things kind of get added on as a brand matures, and so that you can start someplace and someplace that feels right for you. And then you can see how the brand is going to evolve over time. Yep, really good way of saying it putting a finer point on my point, as always, hmm. So I’m here for all right. So

April Martini 2:45
with that, we’re gonna get into how to set your brand up for success today. And also for the future. Number one, a brand needs to be more than the logo, but there is a limit to the number of tools you need. And and just set this one up really nicely. She just said you don’t need everything under the sun. And it is really, really true. But then on the other side, too often we get clients that tell us they have a quote unquote, brand. And we get to sit down and meet and it’s a logo and maybe a font and a color to your and so these are the tools that do not make up a brand entirely in its entirety, you have to have first the fundamental strategic things that we talk about all the time. And this is including and starts with brand positioning and brand story, we have episodes on both of those items. So I’m not going to concentrate heavily there. And hopefully, you’ve been with us on this journey for a while and you’ve listened to those episodes, so you know what we’re talking about. So assuming that you do, we’re going to really focus this episode on the toolkit components. And so when you’re visualizing your toolkit, you do need to have some supporting elements to carry the brand. And again, it can be light, especially if you are a newer startup younger brand, etc. And these elements include things like secondary colors, in addition to your main one or two for your logo photography, direction or treatment options to build consistency of your photography, patterns and textures that just provide a richness to the experience of your brand and add additional elements that your designers can use. And then things like iconography, so being able to cue different messages with secondary visual elements that complement the logo, but live as again, support for that logo and what your brand is meant to represent overall. So and then I will just caveat by saying you don’t need every single one of these items right now today, it’s just more that that logo color font is not going to be enough, it’s going to fall off really quickly. It’s not going to be able to support the brand. So you need to have at least a handful of these other items. And then you can add on others as your brand starts to grow and mature. And finally, I would say and I would just note that more than one font is actually really important. So sometimes we do see that mistake really specifically and that’s one where I always hold and say you have to pick at least one other one That’s a mandatory, because though, especially if your font is tied really closely to your logo, you can’t do things like body copy in that font, or you start to actually dilute or just distract from the brand in total. But really, overall, the importance of these elements are to add depth and variability to the brand in a really controlled manner. And if you don’t add the elements to the toolkit from the very beginning, it’s not a scare tactic. This is what actually happens, people start taking liberties with the brand and the visuals that you have. And then you start to see things pop up, and you’re like, how did they get to that? Well, if they don’t have the tools in their toolkit, to be able to build consistently against what your intention is, then they self decide, you know, why don’t have enough to work with here. So I guess that just means I should go and create whatever I feel like. And you can imagine, as you have more than one person working on your brand more than one team more than one execution, that’s where we really start to see things start to fall apart. And this can be really hard to get back under control. Once this happens, as things are out there in the world. Pulling back is a lot harder than starting from the beginning. And I will give this example because every time I talk about this, I think about the heart palpitations I got when I went into a client. And they had done exactly what we’re talking about here. They had started, they literally had a blue, a logo mark, and a single font. And that’s it. And then they pull out the second page. And because they had no rules, no toolkit, whatever, there were 48 different sub brands created within the organization. And every one was a different color. They literally, there’s 40 Different colors you have. Well, it was like the rainbow, but then the light red and the 40 and the burnt red. And then they kind of created the colors in between. And I just looked at that. And I was like, I’m sorry, how did this happen was like, well, we never had any rules in place. So anytime anyone wanted to decide on a new product, a team, a committee, anything, they just picked a new color. And I was like, this is where it all falls apart, guys. So

Anne Candido 7:04
yeah, and I think this one is something that if you are a designer by nature, you explicitly appreciate it. If you’re somebody who’s been in branding and marketing and understands the nature of how brands get adopted and attraction that they need, you implicitly appreciate right, so like, just to be totally transparent, like April sees things that I don’t even see. She calls things things. I’m like, I don’t even that’s blue. Yeah, blue is blue. I could see it, it’s blue. Right. But you know, I’m what I’ve come to appreciate is that the consistency that the visual toolkit really brings to bear in the discipline that you mentioned that it brings to bear is one of those things that you can’t necessarily like call out. But if it’s not there, your brand, it’s just impossible to get that attraction, that awareness, that consistency that that brand recognition that you so need in order to grow among the minds and the hearts and the souls of consumers, customers and clients. So even though you can’t appreciate it, even though you can’t see there and see, oh, yeah, there’s a difference between these fonts. And I understand why you have to have, you know, with feet or without feet, or do you I know I mean, you little Patreon learner here. But you know, even though you can totally appreciate those things, it doesn’t mean they’re not important. And I think that’s the big pushback that we normally get, which is like, I really need all this stuff. And I can tell you with out hesitation that in the world of branding and marketing and how all these brands have risen from this, the very basics of what they were created, they have honored these principles. So whether you want to be a Nike or whether or not you just want to be a leader in your industry, or whether you just want to grow, you’re just starting out these are the fundamentals are so critically important. And I think you could probably equate them to whatever industry you’re in and saying if you did not honor the fundamentals of your industry, there’s not even a place to play. Yep. And with that all being said, I’m just gonna say one more plug for the brand story because the brand story is such a critical element and not the visual part of the toolkit. But you mentioned it so I’m just going to hop on that bandwagon and say that again, soapbox here for a minute. Yeah, my Tide box Tide Box geez, it never gets old. Yeah, never never for me either. And I just want to say that that is the core of the way that everything gets expressed. It is something that anybody who’s creating visual elements for you will look at and use as inspiration for what these elements need to look like what colors need to come to bear, what shapes what fonts to use all those things. And because it’s important that it all hangs together now the brand story is we’re going to talk about comes the foundation of your verbal toolkit, but don’t disregard that is in think that it’s irrelevant or that you think you know it because you know what you do. You really need to spend time on the why you need to spend I’m on the expression and the human factor of what emotions that why really cultivate within your consumer, client or customer. And really make sure you get that value piece down because it will have a impact on all the visual elements as well.

April Martini 10:15
Yeah, I think well, I love soapbox. I’m not going to comment there. Because I agree with all of that. And I think even though it’s not the point, it’s a good sub point. And it does need to be the foundation of the toolkit. So highly relevant to what we’re talking about. On the other piece, I just want to go back to something that you and I chat about a lot. And you just, your answer presents this point, right, which is, just because you don’t see it at the level of someone who is a designer, or who does this every day, it really doesn’t matter. Because what you just said, which is even if you don’t consciously know it, something’s wrong, which then is the breakdown of the brand. But this is a plug for what you also always say, which is your whole rocket scientist rocket analogy, right, which is, the nuances are actually really hugely important. And to my point about the 48 colors giving me a heart attack, right? It’s because I can see where that’s going to end up and how that’s going to go badly. And why the profession of design and branding and marketing is one that’s often undervalued or underappreciated, but there are such nuances to it, that I think these tools when you do get them, right, which is a lot of the point of this episode, it’s where you rise really quickly and effectively to where you want to go. So whether you person listening, no actually what these tools are, how much rigor they take whatever believing in them, in letting those people that are serving your brand, get them right on your behalf. If that’s not your bag, will pay dividends, we can promise that I mean, I hang my name and my reputation on that, because I’ve seen it happen so many times, I also do have to give a really kind of a funny anecdote, because to the point of me seeing things I tell and all the time that a lot of my design education is a real double edged sword for me, because I end up in situations where my brains, like I see something like in the grocery store or whatever. And I freak out. And then I start to think about all the reasons it’s wrong, and I can’t pull my back out myself back out of the swirl. Well, this this weekend, we were at the soccer game. And one of the parents brought one of those sets of mini Plato’s and it’s like 24 different colors. Well, my daughter and one of the other kids started mixing them. So you can imagine how I reacted to that I was really stressing out and the other parent could care less but I was you know, trying to keep the integrity of the playdough and encouraging them not to mix the colors well then not my daughter the other little girl came over and said look, light blue and dark blue. This is going to make turquoise and out of my mouth is like no LCD that can’t possibly make turquoise because to make turquoise, you really need some green and so if you were gonna make turquoise and I was like I cannot believe and she looks at me and she goes, Miss April, this is going to make turquoise so I’m like, Okay, it’s everywhere. It’s I cannot turn it off. It’s just there in my brain. And then I yeah, I did chastise myself, chastise myself for like, next 10 minutes. I was like, what is the

Anne Candido 13:08
average? Well, you gotta learn some time. Way to go April. Awesome. An educator there. Yeah, you know,

April Martini 13:16
can’t get away from it. All right, number two. And and you you already kind of started on this plane. But the verbal components of a brand are just as important as the visual ones. But admittedly, they are harder to tackle. So start with a brand story. Yeah. So start with your brand story that and that does make this I mean, I know you’re being a little tongue in cheek, but it does make this part a whole lot better. And we talk all the time about anime being complimentary. She is the master of brand stories. I am the master of bringing character tone of voice and the things we’re going to get into here. But if I didn’t have that brand story, I wouldn’t be able to do this work that we’re talking about here. So I know you were joking about it. But it really is a very serious point.

Anne Candido 13:51
That was my joking voice but not my joking words. That’s that’s fair. Also fair. Yeah. Yeah. So I didn’t match my tone with my actual verbal words. Did

April Martini 13:59
I? Right. Okay. Well, I get failed, I get it. All right. So first, before I get into this, because I just did say is admittedly harder, we have episodes for all of this too. So brand, character tone of voice messaging strategy, we have all of those things. So don’t feel like you’re going to be left out in the cold here. But I’m also not going to get into how to build those with this episode, because that already exists. Unfortunately, because though this is a little bit harder, and even greater than some of the creative visual stuff. It’s another place where people just decide to opt out of it. And just assume and oversimplify and think that it’s not that important because they don’t understand it or know how to do it. And then it’s kind of like, well, we probably don’t need that. So we’re just gonna put that over here. At best. We sometimes have clients that have taglines, that’s a good place to start. Many don’t even have that and lots of them don’t have the fundamental components we’re talking about here. And I always make this joke because I was always a strategy person and I went to the dark side I stopped designing even though I can see all the things I certainly cannot produce to the level that our designers can. And I just opted out and decided that should be somebody else’s role, because I’m not that good at it. But what I always joke and say is I’m the words, you can’t compete with the visuals, because they’re visual. So everybody’s always super excited by that part of the presentation. And that’s because you can see, you can actually see it, right. So even if you’re not great at evaluating it, or you don’t really know what you’re looking for, you’re being presented with a thing that you look at. And you can say, Okay, I see it, or I don’t see it, actually, quite literally, with these tools, it’s a little bit harder to get into. Because what we’re talking about here is the way you’re going to make people feel and the way you’re going to connect with them in how you go about communicating to them. The best way that I’ve been able to describe this, and where people start to get it is when you think about human characteristics, right? So if you were going, I’m not going to go hugely into this, like I said, but if you were going to describe your best friend to someone, you wouldn’t say my best friend is a doctor and a mom, and she grew up in Cincinnati. Those are facts, right? It’s like, She’s outgoing, she’s personable, She’s bold, you know, she’s considerate, she’s loyal, those are the types of things we want to get to. But brains don’t naturally connect to how to go and do that. So that’s why this is a little bit tough. But what I would say here is that there are indicators that you can start from with your brand to get to this space, that personality exercise is a really good one, looking at the tools you have in place are the things that are working really well as another way to do this extremely well. Because you can look at where you’re already connecting, and where the brand feels, quote, unquote, the most comfortable. And those are usually the places that you can start to say, Okay, well, basically, we’re being told we’re a caregiver over and over and over again. So there must be something to that. But you do have to do the work of the work here. And when I think about what specifically do you need to the point of the toolkit, you want three to five of those personality traits, again, describing your best friend friendly, outgoing, authentic, etc. And three to four tone of voice principles, those build the parameters, there’s a whole episode on this a verbal communication and really the guardrails of how you say things or bring it to life. So if you’re authentic, what kind of authentic Are you? And how is that going to come to life? And then the messaging which you can actually hold off, I think on the the messaging translation a little bit as you build the toolkit, because the foundational things are often enough to go and play the messaging to me is always like a 2.0. It’s a calm strategy. Yes. Yeah, yeah. So as your brand matures, you’re going to want to be a lot more intentional about which messaging goes where how to what audience, what’s the vehicle and all of that, but that’s sometimes it’s even a 3.0, quite frankly. But really, if you can get to that three to five personality traits in three to four or five tone of voice principles, you set yourself up and the organization is set up for consistent communication, that then people can start to know what to expect from you, and the tone by which you communicate. And again, I think comparing it to human beings is a really helpful lens for doing this one. And I love the word you

Anne Candido 18:10
use, which is personality. And this is the way that I describe it to all of us who are not experts, which is your brand needs to be a living, breathing thing. In order for that to actually occur, it needs to have some sort of personality needs to have vibe, a lot of people think that’s the visual aspect of it, it’s actually the verbal aspect of it. It’s the way that the brand actually speaks and communicates in that way that is reinforced by the visuals, like you said, but that is what actually ends up getting resonance with the target consumer or customer client that you’re looking to go to, or you’re looking to reach, which is why it’s so important to really nail this down so that it is consistent across channels, or else sometimes what tends to happen is you become a slave to that channel, right? So you show up on social and you’re like, hey, this brand acts like this on social. And a lot of social agencies would do this. And this is a really bad bad thing. Because they’ll say okay, this, if you want to be good on social, you need to act like this brand. And you need to show up on this brand like this brand. You need to do those things. Really how you should be briefing your social agency is saying, This is how my brand is is my personally my brand. I understand this works well here, how do we merge the two together? So it sounds like me, it’s authentic to me, but I still am understanding in leveraging what’s working in the channel to my benefit. Same thing across all your other channels, your personality needs to be consistent across, just like we say, as are our own individual people, though, you can argue that, you know, you might have a work self and you might have like a home self. But what we’ve been talking about what forever is like how do I bring my whole self everywhere? Well, this is kind of similar. You want to bring your whole brand everywhere. That doesn’t mean you show up with the same tone of voice in the same way on everything. But there is an underlying current to your vibe that is very consistent And that’s that. And when you can start showing up consistently across the channels, you start to develop these relationships with your consumer customer client, which is where you create that brand love, which is where you create those connections that you now authentically own, and hopefully solely own so that you can start to sell in a way that feels very human feels very personable, that feels very, that those people will be receptive to on the other end. And that’s what creates brands from commodities, right. So that’s how this all starts to really evolve. So a lot of people want to fast forward to the end and be like, well, I can buy my way into it, or I can try to be like somebody else and use their popularity in order to buy my way into, which is what a lot of these other store brands and knockoff brands have been doing right. And it does some success but but only to a limited amount of success, right. So if you’re just about out there about trying to churn and burn and trying to make some money, that’s only going to work for a certain period of time, until your novelty wears out until somebody undercuts your price until somebody comes out with something better. So brands is what persevere is beyond all these things that are like commodity fights and battles. So invest a time here, it will pay dividends, like you said, because it is what creates that living breathing thing that people can identify with.

April Martini 21:29
Yeah, and I think your point about mimicking other brands, I agree, it’s a terrible practice, regardless of where and how you’re doing it. Please don’t do that take the time. It’s better to not do this than to mimic somebody else doing it was reminded me as you were talking, we have this client that started as a coaching client, and they’re kind of moving to some other work with us. And one of the reasons why is we were having a discussion just about talent, and how to like really seek out good talent and whatever. And so as a byproduct of that, I got some of the language around the job descriptions. And I was like, Is this yours? Like the blurb at the beginning? It was like, Yeah, I’m like, really, like, where did this quirky, crazy sort of talk come from? And it was like, Well, we were told that we were like, too boring and whatever. And we needed to spice it up and like, Well, how did you decide that? That was the way to do it? Like, Well, someone thought it sounded fun. Like, it’s I wasn’t gonna come here. Yeah, I was like, yeah, exactly. So then we led to all these other questions, right. But it just, I was thinking, as you were talking, it just it makes me chuckle how often it happens. And it’s not meant to put down companies and whatever. But the point of this is which tools you actually need. And that was another example where it was like a one off piece of feedback was given, that was a little bit arbitrary. And then something that was was created. And it was like how many more of these things exist that are not that tone, but they’re totally different one within this organization, so you can see how it starts to happen, when there’s no guidebook for people to follow.

Anne Candido 23:00
Well, another anecdote there, we were downtown for Oktoberfest, and we were all looking at the bagel sandwiches now has naming rights in a core right now and then just have their logo on the side all by us own and we all go like turn our head like 90 degrees I just didn’t do I’m like, hey, it’s the Nike logo on its side. Yeah. All right. I don’t think that logo stands on its own, without anything else surrounding it. So be careful to and what marks you put up and make sure your mark can carry the weight of your brand. And if not, then you need to have more stuff around it in order to go do that until the time when it can. Yep, yep. Also

April Martini 23:40
a major mistake we’ve seen. That’s a good example. All right, point number three here, the vehicles that work best for your brand should inform which tools you create, but also be flexible to change in.

Anne Candido 23:52
Yeah, and this is a good one, because it raises the biggest concern that we get a lot of times from companies, which is like, I’m already in this, yes. Now you have to go back and I have to reinvent it. Yep. And this is one of the things we could just like we see the anxiety, the anxiety that comes from people they’re like, but I have to change this and I have to change that. And in what is the customer like? It’s the reaction everybody has and what we say is like, okay, hold on just a second. We’re not going to flip the brand and 24 hours like we said to begin with, it’s a process. But what it helps to do is start to look at where something is actually working. Yeah, right. And so this is what we say is like, Okay, where’s working really hard for you right now? Let’s start there. Let’s investigate there. Let’s see what elements of brand are actually coming through busting through raising above the noise. What are people resonating with? What are they commenting on? What is getting rewarded with their purchase, whatever it is, and whatever channel that is. Let’s take a look at that. Let’s audit that. Let’s see what’s happening there. And there might be elements of that, that we lift out and are able then to translate into the toolkit, right? It may be some visual elements, it may be some colors, that might be the way that you’re seeing something, it might be a tone element, it could be any one of these elements that we’ve talked about that kind of understanding what’s working for you, and then saying, Hmm, can I live some of these? Can I pull them into my toolkit? And can I make them more of a systemic part of the way I do? My marketing and branding is a really, really smart place to start. Before you change your logo before you change your colors before you like make any kind of major change. There’s some nuances that you can investigate in order to kind of see what can be tweaked Yes, before you have to go all in on making any major major changes. So think about that first, and use that as an exercise of going in and really investigating what potentially could be ways of emphasizing my brand without having to make any major changes? Yeah, I

April Martini 25:57
think that this is a really good one and, and just mentioned the point of anxiety. And we see it, I mean, just constantly, constantly. But again, you’ve existed without some of the stuff to today. And obviously some things are working for you or you wouldn’t be here. The point of this one is yes, absolutely. What am said about you don’t have to start over you also, we’ve said multiple times already, you don’t have to do it all at once. Right? And so using what is working, but then to her point, doing the dissecting and thinking about why is this working? Or why do we guess that this is working, leads you down the right path, it also takes off some of that stress and anxiety. And I think it it gets people to orient themselves to what they know, and what they experience so that then the anxiety goes away. And they can actually think about, okay, I get what the assignment is and why we’re doing this and the point of this point. So that then we can go start to make good choices, or at least guide the work down the right path without throwing everything out. And then as your brand matures, other opportunities will open up. And when you are building the toolkit and it’s ready to meet where you are with the business, then new opportunities start to open up from there. And so that’s a point where you’ll start to see your brand mature because you have the right tools working on your behalf and then the right vehicles, and the new opportunities will just start to open up and you’ll be able to identify what those are. Because you’ve done the homework to getting there. And the last piece of this one is test and learn. I think we see that in almost every episode. Now. The world is no longer to we should I know, the world is no longer a $300,000 TV spot and the Super Bowl, there are plenty of different places to test things out a and b testing is great in the digital space to see what’s working to get you to answers faster, and also with less pressure and less investment. So this is a good point to bring that point up around how it doesn’t have to be perfect. And you can also be learning as you go.

Anne Candido 28:02
Yeah, I think this is a good opportunity to to think about if you’re not quite reaching your customer or consumer or client, and you think you should be Yep. And the channel that you’re you’re going through. Why not? Yep. Right. What is it? You know, and those are the conversations that are a lot harder to have sometimes because it tends to make us feel bad about ourselves and our businesses. But it might be Hey, um, we haven’t refreshed this this brand in a little while, you know, maybe it’s not our total logo redesign, but maybe it’s a refreshed logo. Yep. Or, you know, we don’t have the voice the right voice to really be on this channel. A lot of people are trying to jump on Tik Tok and ridiculous because they don’t have the right voice for tick tock, right? Yeah, it doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate a voice or add elements to your voice, like you said, As you mature that allow you to play there. But it’s not like, again, I’m going to turn this on today. And I’m going to go plan this channel. And I should expect success from that. Right? Yeah, well, and it goes to your meat to come up for Right. Like, I’ll

April Martini 29:00
just take somebody else’s with TikToks all the rage now. So if they’re good, I should be good there. And why do all that work to get into the right stuff? If I can just hop on the bandwagon there too.

Anne Candido 29:09
And it’s not necessarily that they’re they’re good. They’re just there. Yeah, they’re just they’re there. So then I’m gonna be there too, because they’re there. So I should be there. Right? Yeah,

April Martini 29:16
I know. I know. All right, number four, as the brand matures, the brand components need to expand and grow, but should not be reinvented each time and I’m gonna let you tackle this one. Yeah, and this is another really big disciplined part of the process, which is

Anne Candido 29:36
we’ve been talking about a lot of people who have a lot of anxiety about change. There’s also some people who are on the other side who are like, I’m going to change everything today. I mean, I don’t care let’s let’s change the logo. Let’s change the colors. Let’s, you know totally change your voice or I’m bored with it. So everyone else probably used to. There’s no reason why we can’t be like this on one channel and this on the other right. So there is that other side and that other side is hard. To, to manage as the people who are harder to come along with the changing environment. So what we’ll say here is that your brand is at the center is a living and breathing thing, it is going to mature, there are going to be elements. As your brand progresses, as you continue to scale that are going to work and not work so well. And you’re going to have to evolve those in order to be able to continue to service your, your brand and your business in the way that you need to, we can’t stay stagnant if the environment around us is changing. Yeah, and that means there’s new consumers coming into the market, and there’s consumers leaving our customers or clients and however your your frame of reference is. So you have to acknowledge that and it but it doesn’t mean that your brand needs to be reinvented every time something happens, there’s going to be pillars that are very consistent no matter what you do, right, I use Chick-fil-A, as an example, when that brand got introduced, it has very solid Christian human base principles, that no matter what has happened, or how that brand has scaled, those continue to be at the heart. Now they may show up a little bit differently. And they may manifest themselves a bit differently in marketing, in the way that the the choices and decisions that brand makes, but at its core, it’s still the same brand, right? So you’re gonna have to think about what are those elements that are going to be the threads that carry through so that you don’t lose your identity in the process doesn’t mean again, you can’t shift you can’t rethink, you can’t reinvent, if you feel like that that’s necessary, but there should be some commonalities that bring the thread across the years so that you can continue to have that legacy. And the times where you really need to be considering this is again, like we said in your environments changing, your audience might be changing, introducing new products are offering new services, you might want to continue to scale and get bigger and go across different countries. So there’s lots of reasons to rethink what that brand looks like and to make strategic decisions about what elements are going to stay consistent. And I’ll use an example and I’m going to use us as an example. For three people Oh, man. Yeah, here we go. If I can do this, so that’s in the hot seat. I know, when me in April, establish forthright people, we talked about this a lot. The whole core of our tone is to be very direct, but respectful at the same time. It’s rooted in the word fourth, right? Yep. And then the human element is rooted in the word people. When we started, we started by doing the work. That was what we were known for. That was what we got the credibility and reputation for. So we started by doing the work, our work was developed and executed in a way that was very forthright, right, where there was an engagement with the people, our clients that we worked with, or whether it was in the work itself, and the way that it was articulated and translated to the clients, the consumers, the customers that are we were the clients that we were working on behalf of right. As we’ve now expanded, what we’ve now added is other elements of our service offerings, so we have coaching and training, right. And that’s come based on what people have asked us to do, as they’ve seen us doing the work. The fourth Ray nature is still there, and the coaching and the training, the way that we interact with our coaching clients, the way that we do our training, it’s still very forthright. Yep. Now the way we show up is different. Because when you’re having one on one interactions, you’re talking about somebody’s personal brand, and these things that are very intimate, our tone, the way that we express our points of view, the way that we instill recommendations, the way that we try to empower action is very, very different. That tone is very different than the way that we’re delivering work, right? Same thing when we’re doing training, and we’re talking to a bunch of different people knowing that our audience is very diverse, the way we deliver the message there, then the tone that we use there can be still slightly altered based on who we’re talking to. But the intent that is forthright is always always there. So there’s an example. How did I do?

April Martini 34:05
No, I think that that was great. And we didn’t even talk about that before. So I was like, oh, man, surprise. No, but I think that that’s a really good one. And you know, the one I was going to use as the contrary point, I’m not going to call this brand now, because it would just be not super nice. But there’s a local Italian place here in Cincinnati, and they have rebranded I would say they’ve been in existence for, I don’t know, call it 15 years or so. And they have rebranded at least half a dozen times that I’m aware of in that 15 years. And every single time it happens, I feel like I’m thrown when I go in based on the experience because I’m so confused why we keep doing this. So

Anne Candido 34:50
what to expect or what yeah, what

April Martini 34:52
am I Yeah, am I going to get what I expected my not. And now to your point about expansion and where things can go This restaurant has become a chain. And now there’s three of them. And so then not only was it rebranded and when I say rebrand it was the the visual, like the menus and the look, look, tone and feel and it didn’t rename, but the and then the menu of the food would shift. And sometimes it would be more traditional. And sometimes it would be more contemporary. And so it just was kind of a hodgepodge, right. And so now I’m watching and one of the locations has been, was basically gutted front of house and redone. And it now doesn’t connect to the brand experience with the visualization of the menus and things. And then the other two locations have just kind of been arbitrarily named as the quote unquote lead places, ones, pasta ones, pizza ones, I can’t even remember the third one. And so I bring this up the point of this point, right is we don’t we hardly ever recommend throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And it’s usually when there’s a reputation issue, or you’re truly trying to move into a totally different business, those types of things. But what I have, you know, watched happen with this is the exact reason you do what we’re talking about in this episode, because there’s absolutely no point of reference at any time. It’s like whatever which way the winds blowing, a new decision is made, somehow the places still manage to fill. But I continue to watch and anticipate that there’s going to be a moment in time where it’s like, wait a minute, we’ve all kind of given up because we haven’t come along on the journey in the way that’s appropriate. So it just it just feels so broken to me that I’m an as a branding person, I constantly am trying to find what the impetus for it is, or the reasoning or the whatever, and there just doesn’t seem to be any other than this person wants to keep to keep reinventing the wheel. That to me sounds like business suicide.

Anne Candido 36:52
Oh, I know. That’s why I’m saying. And I mean, I Okay, so the place is fill up. But I also feel like it’s not as much in demand. So I should have offered that caveat too. But yes, that’s where I think we’re going with this. Yeah. And because it did get really tactical for a second, what happens when you start doing that? Is that you lose your efficiencies? Yeah. On the back end? Yes. Very specifically for restaurants that food ordering. That’s training that’s being able to take you know your staff and be able to, if you need to take one staff here and put them over there and have it that people predictable environment, and know what they’re getting it has. So many inefficiencies in doing that, that if you’re choosing to do that, at best be a very strategic decision to go and basically silo, each one of your different executions. Because even though they might be filling it I question, are they getting the same margins? Are they making the same amount of money and we see a lot of restaurants and other businesses, frankly, go under, were on the outside, they look fine. But then when you actually dig a little deeper, you realize that some of the choices that they made, have these repercussions. And it’s because of the brand consistency, because when you have three out there, the whole point is like one recommend somebody recommends the restaurant or the business. And they’re like, Oh, well, I don’t have I’m not gonna go all the way. 20 minutes to go to that one. But we have one buyer. Yep. Right. And so the scale that might have to scale is totally lost to because now you’re like, Well, I can’t even use my recommendation engine, I have to be very, very localized within a certain radius in order for this to work or I have to count on people going to come in go out of their way in order to be a participant in my business. So that’s a really big discipline in focusing. And that to me, is indicate that somebody is not quite sure what’s working. Yep. And they’re going to just test and learn in a very bad way. Yes, that’s a very expensive, inefficient and efficient way to test and learn to see what might be working, or they are very much flashy object, latest thing, kind of thing I want to integrate it in, I’m going to invest a lot of money to do so which generally happens to have a very longer life to profitability. Yes. And that can tend to destroy your business. So that’s really kind of sad.

April Martini 39:18
Yeah, well, I mean, to the point you just made, so we’re not regulars there anymore. And we do have one up here where we live now versus we were a few minutes before. And I don’t even know how to recommend it to like when people ask my opinion, I fumble all over the place. And you know, we are huge foodies, and we know a lot about the restaurants in Cincinnati. And so I can’t even give like any sort of articulate position. And what I say is what I’ve said here, which is I don’t really know, they just keep changing, and it seems like for no reason at all. Yeah. So there you go. Amen. All right, so just to recap how to set your brand up for success today and for the future. Number one, a brand needs to be more than the logo but there’s a limit The number of tools you actually need, you don’t need every tool under the sun, you just need enough for your consumers or customers to have a rich experience with your brand at whatever phase of maturity you’re in. Number two, the verbal components of a brand are just as important as the visual ones. But admittedly, they’re harder to tackle these often get left out for that reason, because they are harder to create. But when you have both working on your behalf, the visuals and the verbal, your brand is so much more of an authentic, consistent experience. Number three, the vehicles that work best for your brand should inform which tools you create, but also be flexible to change. Usually, a brand’s having success in certain areas or it wouldn’t exist. So use the vehicles that are working to assess which tools will work hardest for you, and then prioritize the development of those. And finally, number four, as the brand matures, the brand components need to expand and grow, but should not be reinvented each time brand reinvention is rarely needed if you take a disciplined approach and keep up with your brand as it grows. And in our next segment, which is in the trenches where we give real world examples specific to industries and situations but with broad application, so any of you listening can digest them and put them into action. Our first in the trenches question is we have the logo, font and colors you described. Do we completely start over now to get it right. And we’ve spoken to the fact that we don’t recommend throwing the baby out with the bathwater. So you should assume that would be the answer here. Not talking or not completely starting over and reinventing yourself. But what I will say and you know, and already made the point about bad behavior and social, I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior on the agency side where for selfish reasons, the agency does recommend starting over with a clean slate Oh, yeah, it’s not done in a way of like money grab or anything like that, I think it’s more, this is going to be super exciting and fun. And we want to put our stamp on this. And we want to rebrand this company. And it’s so much wider territory when we do this. But one of the that was kind of one of the reasons or one of the things that I wanted to solve better for when I left the last agency. And what we focused on at fourth rate people is taking in what exists, we’ve talked about finding the things that are working, or honestly, what’s really important to the history or the business or the experience. And we work really hard to keep those elements and there are times really transparently, we had this happen one time last summer where we might tweak a logo, but to the early points of this conversation, the typical viewer would not even notice. And a lot of times we’re doing it as a cleanup exercise, like the logo files weren’t built, right. So printing is going to be a nightmare, those types of things, or we can just make it so much cleaner. So then when we build the system, it will match a lot better. But a full rebrand if there are actually elements that have been around a long time that people really attached to that no you for getting rid of all of that and starting over. It’s hard to rebuild that from the ground up for folks. So we really tried not to do that. But we really are, as we’ve said throughout the episode, huge fans and building a toolkit to support what exists. Because what we often find we’ve given you examples throughout this episode is a logo, a font and a couple colors, or some combination of those things could never work hard enough for you, especially in the landscape we’re in today, how crowded things are, how many channels there are, etc. You have to have a supplementary toolkit that’s really ownable to you. So that you can build that energy and excitement around the tools and then use them in ways that build that for the people that are experiencing your brand. But I want to reiterate, and I’m kind of putting a bow on all the things we’ve talked about here, you don’t have to have all the tools literally for a few $1,000. In most cases, you can have a toolkit that makes your brand really seeing gives it new swagger and also provides what you need to actually have a real shot at building your brand out there in the wild. Yeah,

Anne Candido 43:59
I think that’s a really, really good point. And you talk a lot about an evolution versus a revolution, right? Yep. And just to reiterate the point that you made, there’s there’s three big questions that you should ask yourself, when you’re trying to think about where you want to go, if you feel like you need more of a revolution and evolution is how much time do you have? Right? Because these things don’t happen overnight. How much budget do you have because then as to your point is a you need to start marketing your new brands so that you don’t fall your existing consumers off. Yep. And one of the big reasons for actually doing a rebrand is to get new consumers so you have to do kind of double duty to make sure that you don’t burn any bridges with your current consumers and you can then have something that actually means something to a future consumer or the one that you want to actually target now and then to get the point you made to is like what’s the adaptability of your current clientele or your customers or your consumers? Are they ain’t going to be able to go on this journey with you Yep, or not. And sometimes it’s okay, if they’re not. But you have to then really plan your business around that and know that this is going to be more of a hard transition and a soft transition. And you’re going to have to be prepared with that with all other kinds of things like budget marketing, and all of those other advertising based ways of being able to get that message out at mass, so that you don’t start to kind of trickle down and just kind of go underneath all the noise, right? So it’s a strategic decision to be made. And it’s a very intentional one that you need to make in order to figure out if you need to do all these things or not. Yep, I think that’s a really good point. And I’m going to offer a pet peeve here, too.

April Martini 45:48
There are a lot of brands out in the world today that are doing more of this reinvention that and just talked about. And they are streamlining to the super simple sans serif, which means no feat fonts. And they’re all starting to look the same, which means they’re stripping away their equity. Yes, their personality. Yep. And now they’re commoditizing themselves in the experience of their brand, not just within their industry, but in an across industry fashion. And it’s super dangerous. And I keep seeing evidence of it all the time.

Anne Candido 46:25
I totally agree. I totally agree that’s happening a lot in effort to quote unquote, modernize. Yes. Right. So we see a lot of that happening, and not that you shouldn’t be updating, yes. But be careful about what is guiding your inspiration for sure. And then I also want to say one more thing that I forgot to mention with regards to the importance of having a toolkit, and you had mentioned the fact that it gives the whoever’s working on your brand, that guideline for how to behave. Yes. For your brand. Yes. That drives efficiency, everybody. I mean, I think people don’t appreciate the fact that when everybody has those guidelines, one, it does not limit creativity, which a lot of people think it does. Yep. But to make sure that the work that you’re getting is more consistent. Yes. With the work that you want to get. Yes. Right. Otherwise, as you said, people just kind of make it up. Well, if I don’t have it, I’m going to make it up. Yep. Right. And they may not be as in tune to your brand as it should be, especially if they’re a new vendor or a new talent that you have coming on board in order to help develop those things. So the toolkit, though, it takes some time and money invested upfront, pays huge dividends down the road when you want other people to work on behalf of your brand. And you want good work and you want good work more quickly. And you don’t want to over paying over invest with five to 10 rounds of iterations.

April Martini 47:46
Amen to all of that. I feel like you just picked up the April soapbox there a little bit, but I love it.

Anne Candido 47:52
You taught me well.

April Martini 47:55
All right, number two in the trenches. We have a visual toolkit but have not tackled anything verbal. Where should we start? So I mentioned we have story. Okay, yes, brand story. So if you don’t, and yes, we of course, we keep saying that a little tongue in cheek. But that’s the starting point for everything. So we will reiterate that here. We’ve also mentioned we have episodes for all of it positioning story, brand, character and tone of voice, I outlined those before, those are the starting place, you need to at the very least have those things in your toolkit in order to build the consistency, the experience, all the things that Anne just talked about, and eliminate the overspend over time investment, many rounds of revisions, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But I will offer some specific things that you can go and do to the point of this episode of alleviating the stress and getting you over the hump and starting. And those things are number one, I’ve mentioned this before, but let’s just again, say it and give you a format. So survey employees and ask them if they had to describe the brand as a person, what personality traits would they use, again, lens of a best friend, what are the three to five, that you feel like this is the way you talk about the company, why you work there, the culture that exists? Those are the types of things you’re thinking about, ask people to do that exercise and then analyze what comes back. You may not hear the exact same words over and over and over again, but you will start to see themes. Yes. And then you don’t have to take that as where you want to go. You have to take some of it. We’ve talked about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But you can be really pragmatic and discipline and strategic about which ones you want to represent you in the future and how things are going to morph. So that’s one tool. Evaluate the materials you have out there today. We’ve talked about that throughout this episode. What is working and that looks like what’s getting the most engagement? What’s getting the most excitement? Where are you getting the most sales? Were people picking up the phone? Were people answering your solicitations for their business, those types of things. What communications are out there and then don’t just analyze them from Oh, this one looks good or this This is our newer one, or this offer was really time relevant? No, we’re doing it through the lens of the character and tone of voice, which is your overall personality? What do you think pulled those people in on that emotional level? And how can you capture that moving forward? And then spend time thinking about why you are fit for this company? Likely some of your personality traits match up or mirror, why you chose to work at this company and within this culture, right? So what are those things? And where do they exist again, and other people throughout the organization, so think about yourself, and then think about the rest of who you work with and think about what things are consistent and similar. Again, you can often say, Well, that’s a me treat, I don’t think that’s what I want this company to represent. But at least you’re start to doing to do some homework to putting it into more of a process and a system instead of a lot of the one off stuff we’ve been talking about throughout this episode. But overall, I would say don’t get overwhelmed, don’t let the swirl start happening. We see this a lot. We talked about people’s faces, we say that they have to create these things. And you can see them thinking I have no idea what those even are, I don’t know what those words mean. So I definitely don’t know where to start. We’re trying to give you things here to get you started to start internalizing. Like I said, we have episodes and worksheets for all of these things. Yes. So if the very least those are a great place to start. And then we would say just do something to get started. Because I promise once we get our clients over the hump, and we start to actually do the doing, it becomes a lot more objective. And it’s a lot easier to tick off one thing at a time, versus saying, overall, we’re going to create your brand character that does not resonate. And we know that. So those are my tips. Now, I

Anne Candido 51:46
think those are really important. And I’ll emphasize one and that is that it’s really, really important that everybody is talking about your brand in the same way. Yep, I know that feels like a tad bit robotic. But it’s not because you still want them to actually bring it to life through their own lens through their own personalities. But they all have to be very consistent with how they are talking about what words they’re using, what is the expressions that they’re using? What is the way that you’re articulating what you do, and then the impact that you’re having. That’s why the verbal toolkit is so critically important. Like I said, even though the visual thing seems to be the most exciting to see that actually creates the resonance. And that’s where things like message tracks come from, again, a tool that’s very underutilized, but it’s so critically important. Because if your salesperson needs to be able to communicate what your service or your product, or whatever you’re selling does, you better hope that the people over here that are marketing it, or talking about it in the same way, otherwise, they don’t match up. And so somebody’s like trying to sell something to somebody, but they see the marketing, and they’re inconsistent. And they’re talking about different things. It’s like what am I getting? What am I getting kind of similar to your restaurant examples like, yeah, people don’t know what they’re getting. So therefore, when they don’t know what they’re getting, you start to make them think too hard to get start getting very skeptical about what you’re actually selling. And they’re going to be much more hesitant to actually take a chance and trial you because they’re it’s just not holding together for them. Yeah. And so where’s some of these tools go to or the more refined communications tools, which is like message tracking communication strategy, and those start to translate into the actual content you’re creating. So just to kind of give you a roadmap about where this is all going. But the underlying thing here is is extremely important that everybody is talking about your brand in the same way, even if they have different ways and different lenses for which they’re

April Martini 53:42
bringing it to life. Yeah. And there. I mean, there are so many choices out there today, you guys and our attention spans are so short, and we get so many messages that if you make it too hard for people often they just move on. Yep, yep. All right. Our third and final in the trenches question, our executions feel like they’re falling flat, what gives in?

Anne Candido 54:01
Yes, so this is definitely probably an indicator that something needs to be re looked at and investigated further. And I would look at it in two different contexts. One, of course, is the toolkit. Yes, should have been a gimme. But the second is in the execution, and they probably are related. Yep. Right. So when we’ve seen things break down, it’s generally because either a the toolkit isn’t as complete or as comprehensive as it needs to be or is not lining up with what the brand actually needs to be in order to be able to convert sales, whatever that filter is for you for your business. Or what is the person who is actually working on behalf of your business is not internalizing and interpreting and translating the toolkit in the right way. Or maybe they’re not creative enough, or maybe they’re not understanding the channel enough. So there’s two different aspects you need to look at that in you need to kind of see if there’s still Do you need to do to evolve it if you have something that you need to do in order to bring different talent on board in order to bake it the way that it needs to be. But take a look at some of the things that might have also happened with your brand, from point A to point B, if especially if it was working is no longer working. So you maybe again, your brand has matured. And you just simply need more tools in order to be able to bring it to life more and be able to maybe scale it to the point that you need more of a brand architectures. And a focus to it, which I know you guys are probably like what the heck is and it’s just a way of being able to organize your your products and services so that people see that all adds up to the same brand. Okay, that’s what happens when you scale when you have multiple things that you’re delivering, or you’re trying to sell. Also, what might be happening as maybe your brand has stagnated a bit maybe there’s new competitors have come in that are starting to take attention away from you and what was working before or it’s just not working as well as it could have or it should have been. So maybe you need some more interest or depth in this goes to the creative and the execution piece. So yep, it also translates back to when maybe we need some other assets in order to be able to make our token a little bit more robust. But it’s more of an executional thing at that point in time. Yep. Or maybe it means that you maybe you’ve got a little lazy and you took your eye off it a little bit which happens. I mean, when something is working, well, you guys, it happens to all of us, we’re kind of like, Alright, I’m gonna put my attention to something else. And sometimes that takes all of our attention, and we forget to come back. So it’s totally fine when there’s no judgement here. But go and take the time to diagnose actually what happened, like not just the fact that is quote unquote, not working. Yeah. But what actually happened, did engagement drop opted? Are people not responding as well to this new message or this old message that you have? Or people not coming in anymore? What is going on and try to see what’s happening around it as well, not just what you’re doing. But what’s happening around it that something change again, in the environment? Are there new competitors you weren’t thinking about today introduce something that maybe is having more of an impact that you thought, it’s going to be very, very important that you set aside the ego for a little bit and not take this personally and this recognize, okay, fine. Let’s see what’s going on. Let’s take a really honest look at what’s going on. And let’s see if we can diagnose it so that we can have the right feedback. And we can provide the right next steps in order to go do the right thing for the business.

April Martini 57:34
Yeah, I think all of those things are so so important. And the letting go of ego thing. I feel like it is really important. I think people get down on themselves and put a lot of pressure on themselves. But this is not your day job. You know, this, this is not what you do for a living. So I feel like yes, of course, this is the plug to call in the experts when you need to which we’re happy to help with that. But more than that, I think just admitting to yourself that you shouldn’t really know how to do this. And this is where we really have the very best clients is one they can bring their expertise of their business to the process. And we bring the expertise from the marketing branding and communication side. That’s where the magic happens. So I think your points really right on of we’re not we’re never judging in those situations. And we see them happen all the time. And it’s not an industry or business specific situation. It’s just you reached different points where you need the assistance and help and the quicker that you can actually admit that and put yourself more into the what are we going to do about it, the better for your business and your brand overall.

Anne Candido 58:39

April Martini 58:41
All right. And our third and 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 this episode. So this sort of has to do with this episode, but it is a very big brand. So so get on. Yeah. So I think they’re just a fantastic example of when a brand really does it. Right, but also continues to very strategically and in a disciplined manner, build their brand and and brought up brand architecture. And that’s going to be a big component of what I talk about. So without further ado, I’m going to talk about Legos and the Lego store. Oh, specifically Interesting. Okay. So this is a big brand, like I said, and one though that a lot of people I think look at and think how in the world do they keep going right? How does the popularity continue? And when I was in retail design for a portion of my career, this was one we always held up from an experiential perspective. They just do an amazing job. I’m sure many of you have been to them, especially if you have children, you’ve definitely been to them. And in larger footprint locations like Chicago, they would do these massive installations of Lego made heroes right or characters or whatever, just larger than life figures. Well, this is my first time at the Lego store in Kenwood Mall. And it’s actually a really Yes, I got to this point. Many years ago, I didn’t until now, but this was Sam’s asked for his birthday. He wanted to pick out his own Legos and he wanted to go experience the store here. He doesn’t remember he’s gone to the Chicago one before. But in any case, I was like, okay, so we go in and um, at first I was kind of like, we’re walking up and I’m like, This is it, because I’m used to the bigger footprint stores right, small. But I will say my opinion was very quickly changed. We went to walk in there was a greeter right there. And she immediately was like, hi, guys. Welcome. And he’s talking to kids. He’s not talking to us. kind of gets down. You know, I said, all we have big birthday boy here. He’s like a birthday boy, okay. And I see him like, he’s like, well go look around, I

see. meetly go out, the manager comes over, and says that since it’s Sam’s birthday, they have this builder and figure like the minifigures. And there’s just this display with all these like, slides, basically a little materials, right. So I think he got like a mini doll. And he built his figure had a little hat, you know, whatever, it’s free. And they have these cute little boxes where you can put the components in, so they can count that you’re not taking the whole store, right. But it’s a 999 retail thing, which is highway robbery on one side, but also, I mean, they’re gifting that to him for his birthday. So okay. So then I noticed, okay, they have the big Darth Vader in the window. And they have a monkey that’s, that’s made out of Legos on the counter. But that’s it from that standpoint. They’ve also integrated screens now and some experiences of building your characters through that, and they have the wall of pick your own. But it’s not as massive and impactful as you would think. But the thing that really got me is the organization of the product. So I told you, I was going to talk about brand architecture, right. And I’m also Yes, I have a lot of OCD in me. But we did one lap around the store. And Sam was really overwhelmed. And I was kind of just managing him. And then I clued in on just the very tight portfolio and the way it is organized and displayed in the store and the amount of different sub brands they have, and just how well they’re all done. Yeah. And there’s something for everyone in that store. Yeah, even someone who was never a LEGO fan. I mean, I just I mean, I fell into the experience, I was super fascinated. They had like, the Duplo with the little kids. And then they have dots, which I’ve never seen before, which if you don’t know are like these, basically, they’re more pattern based, they’re flatter Legos, and you clip them into the board, but you’re creating almost like artwork with the dots, okay, which are super cool. And then they have your traditional like the city. And then they have the Africa with the superhero ones called Of course, if Star Wars. But then they also had a wall, of course, the traditional movies like little mermaid in that, but they had and they were side by side. So this is where I really got excited. Friends, the TV show and then the Home Alone house, I literally almost bought that damn house from which, for any of you that don’t know, Home Alone is my very favorite movie of all time. But again, with the tiny footprint. One, the organization, the store, and how easy it was to get. And it was chaos, there were probably 35 ish people in there. And like I said, it’s small, it was packed, to be able to navigate through and get the lay of the land really, really fast. But then also talk about brand maturity, but then also the ability to keep going Legos when I was growing up was just the bend of the Legos and you kind of made whatever, right and then it morphed into these things that you these experiences and environments that you created that then you didn’t break back down. But now fast forward, I don’t know, however many years and we have all of these just different experiences within the Lego brand that keep people coming back and provide something different for everybody. But even when we’re talking about these endorsement strategies, or these partnerships with other brands, right, and movies and all that kind of stuff, it’s still the Lego experience first. And I am just like, I mean, I was just fascinated by the whole thing. And then the customer service around it. You know, they have they’re probably all college age boys enthusiastic about the experience, super helpful. Like I said, we got our free toy. And then when we checked out, he’s looking at the amount of stuff we’re buying, right and and he’s like, You should be part of our VIP club. This is not a sales thing. You accrue points, you get money back, it’s really easy. It takes two seconds. So I’m signed up. And then he gave me his name and asked me to do a survey on his performance, which I’m absolutely going to do it sitting on top of my to do pile. But overall, I mean, it’s just you know, it’s a brand I’ve always really respected as a brand that’s always been upheld in our industry. But I just think there were so many things that hit home for me about branding and where if you build discipline and consistency, but then also are always reaching to do better, be more and stay on top of being a leader, what you can actually achieve and of course they are a money making machine. Yeah, without a doubt without a doubt and I think the point you brought up as a really good one and that they probably do have a pretty robust visual and verbal toolkit.

Anne Candido 1:04:48
That started with something very simple but now you can see how the brand has matured and how now because of the multiple different partnerships they have with other licensed between Star Wars bars and Disney Princesses and stuff like that and always wanting to make sure that they are balanced between Yep, genders and having something for everybody, as you mentioned, they’ve had to really thoughtfully create that experience. So that it is feeling like somebody suddenly that’s for a more mature person. Something that’s for a kid because Legos for mature people is new. Yes, exactly. Right. Exactly. Exactly. You aged out of a those when you were like six or seven. Yeah. When we was when we were younger, right? Yeah. And now you have like land which is enjoyed by adults to kids of all ages. Yeah. And so that experience needs to translate that. But it sounds kind of like no, people are probably like rolling their eyes. But I’m like, it really does start with something that’s so fundamental, like developing a toolkit with intention, because it makes you go through the thinking process and makes you make choices, and makes you be disciplined that these are things that are important to my brand, because you can’t be everything to everybody. And if you try to be you’re going to be nothing to nobody, we say that all the time, but also realizing that these things are choices, right? And then in when they are done together and are cultivated together, do you do create potential for skill? Yep. Regardless of what skill you’re looking at. So we’re not saying that everybody used to be like Lego, but you can learn from what Lego has been able to do apply it to whatever size business you have, and be able to create opportunity, create potential, open up new avenues of revenue generation, be able to connect with your clients, consumers, or customers in a more intimate way to hold retention more develop more loyalty, all these wonderful things everybody says they want to go do. That’s how you do it and charge a premium price and charge a premium price, which you can only do if you have a brand. Yeah, exactly. And charge a premium price if you don’t have a brand. That’s

April Martini 1:06:41
exactly right. So yeah, I mean, obviously, there was more tie in with where we went on this one to the subject, but really, I mean, they’re just they’re one that I think we talk about, like Apple and Nike and all of those. But you know, it’s just the point of being able to maintain and deliver and those brands that are out there, working really hard to reinvent themselves when arguably they don’t even have to, right. Alright, so just to recap how to set your brand up for success today. And for the future. Number one, a brand needs to be more than the logo, but there’s a limit to the number of tools you need, you don’t need every tool under the sun, especially if you are a younger brand. You just need enough for your consumers to have a rich experience with your brand at whatever phase of maturity you’re in. Number two, the verbal components of a brand are just as important as the visual ones, but admittedly, they’re harder to tackle, which is why they often get left out, they’re just harder to create. But when you have both the visual and the verbal, your brand is so much more of an authentic, consistent experience. Number three, the vehicles that work best for your brand should inform which tools you create, but also be flexible to change. Usually a brand is having some success in certain areas or it wouldn’t exist at all. Use the vehicles that are working to assess which tools will work hardest for you and prioritize starting there. And finally number four, as the brand matures, the brand components need to expand and grow but should not be reinvented each time at least not normally. Brand reinvention is rarely needed if you take a disciplined approach and keep up with your brand as it grows. And with that we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website: We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person now go show off your Marketing Smarts!