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Ben Leonard

I will teach you branding. In one email.

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Hey Reader,

Brand. Branding. Marketing.

We hear about it everywhere. We’re constantly told (by people like me) that we need to build a “real brand”.

But what does that mean?

Peeling the Layers: Brand, Branding, and Marketing

  • Brand: a set of products that solve related problems for a particular group of people: boxers, knitters, software developers, photographers, or dentists, for example.
    • If you own a brand of knitting products, then you sell needles, wool, carry cases, pattern holders, patterns, and so on.
  • Branding: how you make people feel about your brand. Branding is sometimes used interchangeably with marketing, though they’re not the same thing.
  • Marketing: how you tell people about your brand. And as you’ll find out in a moment, it’s actually a subdivision of branding

How To Develop Branding 🏗️

Branding = Brand DNA + Value Delivery Vehicle (aka Marketing)

If branding is about influencing feelings, then we need to pin down what exactly stirs these emotions. That's where Brand DNA and its delivery method (marketing) come into play.

There are a lot of guides out there that will walk you through developing strong branding. Where many of them go wrong is focusing too much on the business that the branding represents and not enough on the people the branding is for. They are obsessed with brand names, logos, colors, and fonts. They forget the crucial ingredient – Brand DNA

Brand DNA 🧬

There are several key elements that make people feel a certain way towards your brand. It’s essential to grasp these, let’s call it your Brand DNA; a double helix of intertwined beliefs, values, and ambitions, encoding the very essence of its existence.

Our Brand DNA needs to be a reflection of both who our customer IS and who they aspire to be. This is why doing the work to build an accurate customer avatar is so important.

Brand DNA is (chiefly) made up of:

  • Brand PurposeWhy your brand exists
  • Brand Vision Where your brand is going…what does a world look like in which your brand is successful?
  • Brand Mission HOW You’re going to deliver your purpose. The Purpose and Vision are grand ‘big picture’ notions. The mission is the nuts and bolts of what you actually do.

It can help to state the purpose and vision first, then state the mission. Why our brand exists (purpose), where we’re going (vision), how we’ll do it (mission).

For example, my first brand, Beast Gear, was born out of a desire to disrupt the fitness industry and empower people at all fitness levels to "Be More Beast" (Purpose). Our Vision was to become the top choice for fitness enthusiasts, achieved through providing superior training gear, excellent service, and a supportive community (Mission).

In practical terms, we achieved this through selling high-quality products online, coupled with valuable fitness content across various platforms.

Brand DNA goes even deeper…Brand Values, Brand Identity (the tangibles), Brand Promise – I dig into this in my book - here

Think about your favourite brands. What is their Purpose? Where Are They Going? How are they doing it?

Marketing: The Delivery Mechanism 📢

Remember, branding is about creating an emotional connection. But marketing is the vehicle for delivering this connection. It involves every interaction, from product design to social media engagement. Marketing is every touch point your brand has with your audience. It is product, content, social media, customer service, advertising... Anything that delivers feelings.

Ultimately, the marketing component is more important than the Brand DNA component. You could have the best Brand DNA in the world…but if your marketing sucks then it might as well not exist.

Marketing genius Seth Godin says, “You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make a choice.” If marketing is how you tell people about your brand, then it’s also like that old adage: If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?

How do you market effectively?

It depends on your audience. What are their issues? Where do they spend their time online? What content format resonates with them? Can you afford paid marketing, and does it need to yield immediate ROI, or are you aiming for broader brand awareness?

Whatever types of marketing makes sense for your brand, it must be effective at delivering feelings.

Wrap Up

So - let's ensure our brands are not just trees falling silently. They should be landmarks, seen and heard by all.

Quit Stalling, and Build Your Brand

Ben

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Ben Leonard

Build Your Brand

I start, grow and sell brands. I am here to teach you how. No snake oil, no black hat. Just solid 'been there, done that' advice.

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