Last month I presented the keynote speech on building brands at the NSA Annual Convention in Philadelphia. Before you glance over your shoulder or check if your phone is tapped, this NSA stands for the National Speakers Association NOT the National Security Agency. Or as someone at the conference pointed out, “We’re the ones who talk, not the ones who listen.” Something I noticed was that when you meet people there, the first thing they ask you is “what do you speak on?” Not who are you, what do you care about, or what’s important to you, but what do you speak on. So when I did my concurrent workshop after the keynote, I asked everyone to raise their right hands and solemnly swear never to ask that question again. Because what they were doing was exactly opposite of my assertion and recommendation that successful brands don’t sell the function of what they do but the results they achieve for their clients.
If speakers are only selling what they speak on, then they each compete with one another for a limited number of speaking opportunities — just like any run-of-the-mill product. Selling what they speak on suggests that speaking is a generic activity and any one of them would be equally suited to fill the 55 minutes that a meeting planner has open on the agenda. By leading with their subject, speakers suggest that their specific advantage is that subject – that is, whether they speak on diversity, leadership, motivation, woman’s empowerment issues, technology or whatever — that’s what matters.
But as we’ve discussed so many times before in this blog, the real opportunity — and the real profits — comes not from selling generic functions but the individual talents and advantages that each speaker can bring to the platform to solve their audiences problems.
It’s the same with most other products these days. Because all new cars sold are equally proficient at getting us from Point A to Point B, you never see an auto company advertising the functional benefits of their products. Instead, they sell the brand. Mercedes sells quality. Volvo sells safety. BMW sells performance. Audi sells design. Kia sells affordable style. Toyota sells dependability. Ferrari sells picking up girls at nightclubs.
The big problem occurs when businesses large and small try to reduce their core brand to simple attributes like the ones above. Egos, expanded product offerings, insecurity, and indecision all get in the way and make the practice nearly impossible. And so most of the people and products that brand themselves do so with complicated, hard-to-digest, and even harder to remember messages.
Feeling this first hand at NSA was almost painful. I had spent my time on stage and in the workshop showing people exactly how to position themselves and so many people stopped me in the hallway to ask for help and or show me their admittedly confusing brand images. Ouch.
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” but I’m sure the same can be said for opportunities.
Our advertising agency is committed to helping our clients build powerful and profitable brands. Witness the work we’ve done for Miami, Kissimmee, MetCare, Discovery Networks, and so many more. And part of the way we’ve been successful is by showing our clients how to build their own compelling brands and how to exploit those brands to exceed their marketing goals.
Our mission is to build our business by helping people build their own brands. And so we are hosting our first ever branding master class. You are invited to Miami where I’m going to show you exactly how to craft a successful brand. We’re putting the event smack-dab in the middle of our buzzing advertising agency where you’ll learn exactly what you need to know to profit from a powerful brand. No fluff, no gimmicks, no hogwash. Just proven techniques that the best companies hire us for.
If you’re interested, click HERE for more information and pricing. The program includes everything you need to create and build your brand, including all materials, meals, special guests, and lodging, and is priced at a fraction of what we charge to build brands for our corporate clients.
But act quickly. I want everyone to get hands-on attention so I’ve limited attendance and have already signed up a number of NSA members. Because we’re sticking to that limited attendance, we’re offering seats on a first-come, first-served basis. In other words, when they’re gone, they’re gone.
To find out more, click HERE. If you’d rather talk to a real live person, please call Toma Rusk at (831) 402-5574. And learn how to put your brand to work for you.
Weather permitting, the outdoors becomes our favorite conference room.