In the digital business models of Dropshipping, Amazon FBA, or personal branding, we are establishing our presence in a couple of ways:
This is going to be a mega-article of sorts. First of all, because I find it interesting and fun to explore these two methods of brand-building, how they affect the brand-perception of the average consumer…
And secondly, I don’t have anything better to do with my free-time…
Self deprecation aside, I do sincerely believe that it is very useful to break down and learn these two components of brand-building.
Doing this for yourself will make your business, career, and even your interpersonal relationships better… which will make your life unimaginably abundant.
All in all, I hope you find value in this article. Though you may not agree with all my ideas, I sincerely hope that this gets your thinking patterns pointed towards the right direction- towards a fruitful business and a rich life.
The Overall Goal of Branding (Personal Branding)
Any successful person will tell you that you must have a goal to learn what people respond positively to, and you must double-down on your business by taking action towards actions that serve that goal.
Notably obvious when you say it…
Think about it, people are the ones that are giving you money. People, that are navigating through the world as you are…with similar struggles, and similar desires.
While It may seem like an obvious decision for salesman, marketers, and entrepreneurs to learn how to achieve this goal….
most people fail to do anything to pursue the goal of learning about other people. Complacency is the default state that most humans find themselves in…
Luckily for you, getting to this mindset for your business will set you apart from the pack. You’ll experience the elusory rewards of progression and success.
Your business will be part of the 1% that succeed.
The Truth about Success
A huge reason for any success in any domain of expertise will depend on this “skill adoption”, if you will.
In other words, your life will continue to improve as long as you continually improve your ability to serve your audience in the marketplace. This is true in your business or in your career… even in your relationships.
NOTE: This doesn’t mean you’ll be a push-over and be a people-pleaser and get taken advantage of by everyone. You’ll still have boundaries… Obviously, you’ll still have strict contractual agreements.
By serving your audience within the marketplace, I mean that you’ll have a genuine agreement to be of good-will, and honor the “deal” that you’ve made with your audience…
The deal that most business’ strike with their customer-base is: producing a high quality product that at least meets their expectations, and more often than not, exceeds it. This will be achieved only if you continually have the mindset of skill adoption.
Unfortunately, because good brands do such a good job, it is difficult to learn from them…
It is a little ironic, almost. Maybe it is human nature to not notice why things go well and only focus way too much on what is left to be desired.
As a result, we tend to embrace them because of their social proof… and attribute the reason for our undying loyalty to a high-quality product or desirable features in their product.
While there is some truth to that reasoning, we might be failing to acknowledge that a lot of brand-loyalty is built in the customer experience (culture) and marketing campaigns (sponsorship) created by these business’.
As Above, So Below
This is a popular aphorism that is rooted in Hermetism. Also, it’s’s the name of a mediocre horror movie released in 2014.
Anyway, in short, it means the microcosm reflects the macrocosm.
This idea is evident if you look into big entities or organizations like corporations… and on a bigger scale, countries.
Also, explore the ideas presented by Dr. Jordan Peterson regarding the horrific political regimes in the 20th century, Dr. Peterson posits that the toxic and dysfunctional political systems created by totalitarian ideology stem from the emergence of the shadow in each individual citizen.
Being that leadership in branded companies is comparable to political leadership, we can come to the conclusion that it is vital that there is a uniformity in successful culture in your company in order for it to thrive.
If this is your solopreneur venture, that means you are the sole determining factor in establishing a culture that equates to success and brandability…
Eventually you’ll be setting the tone your business by training new partners, and the environment you create in your business will be fruitful because of the culture you’ve created.
A successful culture may look different in an advertising firm, where creativity and openness are traits that are cherished in each individual, than in an accounting firm where diligence and precision take a higher priority.
Nonetheless, in order for all companies to be successful, there must be a core set of values…. a culture that is, in a sense, foundation to the success of the entire mission.
Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People gives a great framework of habits, day-to-day actions, that every individual, or at least the leaders in your company need to follow.
What Kind of Culture Creates Great Branding (Personal Branding)
You’ll see that your favorite brands create a level of transparency in their branding by offering massive amounts of accountability…
As a solopreneur, before you have the backing of major institutions, you’ll be building trust with your customers by displaying genuine good-will…
This means, while you may not be able to be reliable at all times, because that would be impossible, you will resolve issues and serve your audience with your best effort. Only you can be the real judge of this… and so, accountability is intimately related to individual honesty.
A good example of how to adopt individual-honesty is the implementation of value statements in you and your team that will help them overcome laziness and short-cut seeking- some major accountability-killers.
Furthermore, you will learn to be aware of resentments you might hold towards your business relationships- within your team or business-to-business. You will achieve this by learning to be better in negotiations, giving you the ability to come to better compromises, all around.
Have you set up universally known value statements in your company? Or if you’re a solopreneur, do you repeat these value statements to yourself as a form of affirmations?
Personal Branding in Big Organizations
In a company that has numerous employees, we can achieve this accountability when all, if not most, individuals perform at their best. This requires these same individuals have the same culture, and a dedication to the overall mission.
For example, leadership in a customer service department must establish a feeling of importance and diligence in customer service matters. Not only that…
At the same time, there must be a culture of self-responsbility, so that there isn’t so much in-fighting within the department so that the company doesn’t fall apart from within.
Also, at the same time, conflicts still need to be resolved hastily so that there are no unspoken resentments and weakness within the organization.
Do a good enough job at nipping in the bud anything that will turn the culture toxic and away from accountability, and things will run smoothly.
You’ll experience progression as a culture, which in turn, will raise your brand to a level that has a sustainable business generating a lot of revenue.
As you can probably see by now, establishing a great culture is quite a challenging endeavor…
The great news is that it starts with you as, being the owner, you are the one that establishes your brand of leadership within your company.
Depending on your management strengths you may need to delegate enforcement of your culture to the appropriate leadership. This will need to be considered when you are recruiting your team, and just another thing that makes establishing a great culture very challenging.
Once you’ve built a decent baseline of branding with your culture, you can reinvest in sponsorship– our next topic of discussion…
Put in the most basic way, a sponsorship is paying another business entity to back your brand.
This business entity could be an individual like an athlete- a good example being Tiger Woods being sponsored by Nike. Or it could be a pharmaceutical company buying an entire sports arena.
Many large companies invest in sponsorship and are open to sponsorship deals themselves.
Another good example of sponsorship is in media…
Traditionally, media companies will take sponsorship as their main form of monetization. Though, with the advent of digital media, monetization is made easier by memberships and merchandise sales, thus freeing them from the audience’s perception of being “sold out”.
At the very least, digital media companies can now take on sponsorship from brands that precisely fit their own brand and culture.
A great example of this is the Joe Rogan Experience– a huge media entity in the digital space that takes on a good deal of sponsorship, most of which fit into the mental/physical health theme of the show. Rogan has adamantly stated that he will not back any company that does not fit into his value system.
Sponsorship Is a Type of Social Proof
Social Proof is one of the first concepts you’ll explore in marketing…
Social proof is a cognitive bias’ we apes- I mean, humans, have towards people or business’ that other people and business’ find desirable.
Because this happens on a subconscious level, it takes some deeper self exploration to notice that the things we feel attraction towards are also the things that other people find attractive.
While there are many factors that play into the reasoning behind our attraction, social proof is a huge factor in this. Think about the time that you noticed someone acknowledging talking to everyone in the room in a social setting and how you instinctively felt like you had to get to know him too.
Depending on your personality, notably how neurotic you are, you will either act out on this desire to get to know this person, or you will have avoidance, which can lead to envy or bitterness. That’s a whole different topic though.
Either way, you have this attraction towards this person before you know anything about them. Your mind doesn’t logically sort out why you feel positively towards this person, it just does because of what it subconsciously interprets.
Obviously, like any other marketing “technique”, this cognitive bias has been exploited to hard-sell a lot of crappy products to unsuspecting consumers. Think about all the social proof ads or pop-ups on all those scammy e-commerce stores.
It is sad to say that the digital space is full of unscrupulous actors that are only in it for short term rewards. Thankfully, with this knowledge, you can choose to use this type of influence to help people make the correct decisions in their purchasing.
Before you spend any money sponsoring a business entity, my recommendation for you is to ensure that you have a sustainable customer service back-end and a product that you know will exceed the needs and expectations of your audience.
Not doing so will not only waste your marketing budget, but also tarnish the reputation of both you and the sponsored party.
Now that you have all your quality assessment under control, you can use the power of sponsorship to gain massive social proof…
This is because you’ll be financially backing another business entity that embodies social proof in their established industry, which, if you vetted them correctly, will be also your industry.
The fact that they are enthusiastic about your brand will create an instant attraction towards it from their own audience and also a stronger brand presence for the cold market (people that don’t know about your brand already).
You are in a sense, latching on to the culture that they have built through their own accountability, hard-work, and dedication (you know, that stuff we talked about earlier).
Before you think you’re becoming like a parasite… tagging’ onto the established success of other’s…
Done correctly, sponsorship are mutually beneficial to both the sponsor and the sponsored party: Another revenue stream for them- exposure and social proof for you.
Take some time and think of some notable business figures or companies that hold the same values and culture as your company.
Maybe there are some up-and-coming athletes or social media influencers that you want to support.
It is not uncommon to see a company sponsor and “bring up” a business figure, thus making a huge difference in her life, making these business-y interactions resemble a close partnership and flowering into lifelong meaningful friendships.
It’s All About Relationships
To get away from the cold nature of these “marketing strategies”, think of sponsorship as a deeper level of relationship building and networking within your industry.
Also, in attempting to find business’ to sponsor, you will be making connections with like-minded people that you want to build a long-term relationship with. It is very fulfilling to socialize with this level of intent, and something that everyone should learn, even outside of the business space.
Another benefit of building relationships with intent is that you will feel very confident in your interactions because you know that you have massive amounts of value to add, both in a monetary value and the potential of a long-term business relationship.
Putting it All Together
In your marketing campaigns you will be using all the content that you’ve built through establishing a great culture and taking part in useful sponsorship, and effectively communicating it to your audience.
Generally, testimonials and reviews are the most common way to market the great culture that you’ve built in your company.
It goes without saying that sponsorship are extremely easy to market because of digital platforms like social media. Think about how much reach 1 post by Kylie Jenner has and the apparent $2 million she commands
As a plan of action, create an assessment of the culture of your business. Do you have sustainable relationships inside out? Are you leading with a concise set of values?
Also, compile a list of business’ that inspire you. What would it be like to partner up with these business’?
Do you uphold the standards that they have set both in culture and product quality? If so, maybe a successful sponsorship is around the corner.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to effectively grow a sustainable business. Please comment and share, I’d love to hear from you!