Episode 11 – Your Online Brand with Paul B. Evans

Paul dropped additional nuggets of sales and marketing goodness in the EXTENDED Interview. Be sure to click here to access all of our great extended interviews, transcripts and more within our Insider's Club.

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Expert Insights on Your Online Brand

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While most training companies focus only on the bottom line, Paul helps entrepreneurs, like yourself, create a complete lifestyle business. You should be able to measure your success by the amount of freedom and enjoyment you have, instead of just the amount of money you have made.

Podcast Transcription

Brian Basilico: All right, everybody. I'm so excited to have our guest today. His name is Paul Evans and I met him at a conference called NAMS and found out we both have something in common – we love bacon. Isn't that right, Paul?

Paul B. Evans: Absolutely. It's the king of all foods.

Brian: Yes, it is. It's meat candy. I love it.

So, tell us a little bit more about you and how you became a branding expert or a background in that stuff.

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Paul: I guess it comes from being an entrepreneur for the past 25 or so years. I actually started out offline working with a company that I started, called Pro Image Fitness Center and what we did was I actually built bodies. So that's the way that it began and the branding began. Branding to me is really about taking your business, the message that it's anchored in, allowing it to grow from there. So with every business that I've started, I've been involved with about six offline businesses and at least six online businesses. It comes down to getting that critical message out to the public.

So as far as being a “branding expert,” that's not necessarily a label that I always put on myself, but I think it's an extension that's developed over time simply because I've had to put so much time, energy and effort into my own businesses and then I've helped – I guess hundreds of people opened their own businesses and in the process of doing that, it always came back to the brand, how you're going to stand up from the crowd, how would you differentiate and how will you be different and yet memorable to your market.

Brian: From an online standpoint – because this podcast is really about internet marketing – is there any difference between a personal brand and a business brand? You meld those together, they go in different directions? How does that work?

Paul: Well, it really comes down to whatever the end goal is. If you are going to sell your business, if you got an exit strategy, often a business brand is a little bit easier to develop. A personal brand tends to rely on you and it's hard to separate yourself from that brand if you decide to sell. However, there are a lot of us who are coaches, who are teachers, who are reporters and are all on businesses, and the business is us. That's fine. It depends on who you talk to, some people are going to say, “You need to brand your business so that you can sell it in the future.” And others will say, “You need to brand yourself because you are the business.”

I tend to be the type of individual that brands myself a lot more than branding the business itself because it is my I guess talent, and effort, and focus that brings about the result in the lives of my clients, so it's always going to be connected with me somewhat. You have to decide if it's going to be personal based on you, if it's going to be business based on the business and it's able to be passed on to someone else.

Brian: So, why is branding yourself or your business so important? What does this do to help you stand out from the crowd?

Paul: For me it's really three elements. Number one is separation. You just mentioned standing out from the crowd. When you separate yourself from everybody else in the marketplace, the brand is one of the easiest ways to do that. I'm not saying that creating a brand is necessarily easy, but once you do that, you separate yourself from everybody else. Not only separation, but secondly recognition – people will see your brand or they will hear about your brand, they'll recognize that and they'll associate you or your business with it.

Then third is really just one word of mission. It's a mission, it focuses you, so that when you brand yourself or you brand your business, it's critical to have something that is going to become the filter for you so that you don't try to go so broad and serve everybody. Your brand allows people to come in and say, “Yes, that's for me” but it also allows you to filter out activities, task, directions that you don't even need to be going and don't even need to be involved in and most people miss that about their brand. They think about separation, they think about recognition, but they often don't think about mission and that's what focuses you.

Brian: In your world, in your mind and the things that you do, what defines a good brand?

Paul: Well, I think what defines a good brand is very similar to what I teach when I'm training people about their message, or training people to communicate it well. It has three elements – it needs to be memorable, it needs to be portable and it needs to be shareable. If your brand is really tight and somebody asked what it is that you do, you should be able to say it in a way that people remember. If it is something like achievement accelerator, I'm not saying that's the easiest to remember right off the bat, but after a few times, my name could be associated with that and it's memorable, it's portable, people can really take it with them and if someone says, “I'm really trying to get some great results in my life and my business and I really want to reach some good goals. Who do I need to work with?” Somebody might say, “Well, you need to work with Paul. He's the achievement accelerator.” It's memorable, it's portable and it's shareable. I think that makes a good brand.

Brian: And the other thing I think that you touched on, too, it's tangible. It makes sense to the person that is the potential client, buyer, or whatever it is. Does that make sense?

Paul: Yes, hopefully it does and hopefully it is communicating a result that they can envision so that it becomes tangible in their life that the brand itself whether it's exhibited through a tag line, or through a logo or whatever should bring to mind the result that that particular market or that particular individual wants to achieve.

Brian: What I understand about brands is it covers everything. It covers not only your logo, look and feel, the design of your website, the look and feel of your emails, the text that you use, the audio, the video, all of those kind of things. Would you agree with all of that stuff?

Paul: I would, but you do need to be able to differentiate between your overall brand and maybe even some sub-brands that you have. Individuals who are especially coaches or teaching instructors in their area may have some sub-brands as well, so they may have some separate markets that they keep all of those elements tied in together with – the logo, the feel, the color, even the terminology so that as the person and personal development, I could easily have separate sub-brands for productivity, for fitness, for relationships, for emotional health, etc, and each one of those avenues could have a sub-brand to it. I think that can be a lot of work, but it also helps differentiate for people exactly what they're receiving, who they're receiving it from and the value that they associate with it.

Brian: So what you're doing is you're helping people identify their pain or pleasure point in branding the messages to let them know that what is available to them is going to help solve that?

Paul: Absolutely and they want to feel that this relationship with a company, or the relationship with you is exactly what they're looking for. They want to feel that connection, they want to feel that comfort, they want to feel that ease. Sometimes I talk about authority and advocacy and authenticity. Those three areas can really help your brand and strengthen it and bring a lot of connection between you and your market so that your authority actually comes through your brand. The way that we design our logo, or design our slides for presentation, or design our website can speak to authority. The authenticity is the natural way that we communicate, that we speak the language of the market, but then we're also allowing ourselves to be seen, not always just in positive light, but in a true light.

Then if we're an advocate, if we stand in the gap for our market when nobody else would defend them, when no one else will stand up for them, or we're the ones saying the things that they've always thought, but they're not hearing it in the marketplace, that establishes our brand as well. So you've got the tangible aspects of things that they see, things that they hear, things that they can touch and feel and you also have those intangible aspects that are very internal to them and make them feel very connected with your brand.

Brian: Paul, that really is awesome advice. It takes something that's ambiguous like a brand and it really gives it legs. I think that's what people want to hear.

Paul, let me ask you a couple of questions on common mistakes. What are some of the things that you have seen people do with brands, have they made it too narrow, too broad? What kind of things have you seen as common mistakes with people trying to brand theirselves, or their business, or their products?

Paul: I would say that I see several mistakes over and over again. I'm sure that you see these as well. Number one is they really try to be cute. They're wanting to be creative, they're wanting sometimes to create this very deep analogy or metaphor and they're so cute that nobody gets it. All of their stuff could really look good and could be attractive, but nobody understands exactly what it is. It's just too cute. I was working with a client this week that was rolling out a brand new product that as far as the content goes, it was phenomenal. But as far as the brand of the product itself, it made no sense. No one could actually get it. They said, “Well, it's a play on words.” I said, “You don't need to play on words. You need to make a bold statement about the result.” So sometimes we try to get cute.

Secondly, often it will be cluttered because in our mind, we're trying to make it so broad and very inclusive of as many people as possible that we'll put an element that will counteract other elements. If I was to focus on productivity and that's one of my main areas and I talk about people controlling their time and then at the same time I may say how to have all the time you could ever use. It's very broad, but if I was just to talk about control your time, or become a time ogre, or focus so much on your fixed time that it gives you freedom in your other areas of life, I could take those concepts and I could come up with a statement that was very clean and very tight.

But if I start talking about it too broad, if I try to stretch it into other areas of time that are outside of control and try to be very inclusionary of people who are entrepreneurs, let's say, who maybe have a lot of free time, at least under their own control, and then at the same time I try to include employees who have almost no control of their time – then I've tried to make it too broad and it becomes cluttered. It would be a lot better if I just focused on entrepreneurs, or I just focused on employees. But if I try to include both, it's going to clutter the message.

Then finally which ties into this is it becomes convoluted. It means that people are trying to see themselves in the brand but they can't, so they end up becoming confused and the confused mind never makes the decision, they always turn and walk away. So, being cute, getting cluttered or getting convoluted will really be some big mistakes for our branding.

Brian: I love that. That is awesome. Let me give you a clear cut example. I've got a course that I developed which is Social Media Training and one of the things that I've tried to do is use that same course, but talk to different niches differently. Realtor is one way, professor is one way and so on and so forth. Is that something that you suggest?

Paul: Yes, absolutely because it can be very similar content, almost identical content, but being able to speak directly to that market is going to help you so much. Dave Ramsey does this all the time so he's got his basic core training that he does on money. I was talking to someone a couple of weeks ago who's in the military and had already taken his financial peace course, but then he saw some training on money for military families. Well, he took that training, too. He said, “It was the same training. It was identical but because it said military, I thought that it would be something unique. It did use some different terms, but I was attracted to it because of that terminology and I thought that was pretty interesting.” So if we can use terms from within the market, we're going to be a lot more tractional.

Brian: Let's dig in a little bit about how we can make the most of our branding in sales and marketing to people. What are some of the things that we should be doing with our brand that's going to help us get found, get noticed and get sales?

Paul: Okay, let me use this first word that is acute word after I just said it's a common mistake – “perfectshun.” Instead of perfection, perfectshun. Stay away from trying to be perfect. We spend so much time on our brand and trying to massage it so that it is ideal when instead we need to be thinking about, “It could be a little bit of an evolution. We can shape it and we can tweak it. We don't have to come up with the answer right out of the gate.” If we're going to get away from perfection, basically I ask myself these questions at the beginning to begin to leverage and make the most of my brand.

I think about who is the audience? I answer the question, “I love to help _____.” And I fill in the blank. These are my people I love to help. “I love to help elite entrepreneurs maximize their time.” That would be pretty simple. What is your cause? And I think about this statement, “I am sick of seeing _____.” And they fill in the blank or I'll fill in that blank. “I love to help _____” fill in the blank, “I'm sick of seeing _____” fill in the blank and then I think about my role, and my coach, and my teacher, and my leader, “How am I going to deliver this?” Those element allow me to very quickly decide at least on my overall concept I love to help elite entrepreneurs maximize their time because I'm sick of seeing them waste their time on activities that are not essential and secondary. I will coach them to specifically design and create the perfect day for their life. That would be a simple overall statement that allow me to say, “All right, I'm an achievement accelerator.” It would come out of those statements. You're making the most for your brand by getting clear on it.

Secondly, you want to publish it. You want to become known for it so that if you're publishing a course, or if you're writing for Entrepreneur, or Inc Magazine, or if you're doing a podcast, obviously that's going to be a big place to publish your brand. Over and over again people need to hear and they need to see and they need to read your brand, so that it becomes second nature to them in that particular industry that you've become known in that industry. Certainly we got to broadcast our brand as much as possible.

And then we want to make sure as well that we are providing evidence of the impact of our brand. We're using yes testimonials, but even better if we're using case studies to show how our direction, our action, our brand is helping people achieve a very specific result that is promised within our brand itself. The more that we can do that, the more we're going to be able to make the most out of our brand.

Brian: The stuff that you said, it's like a litmus test. It validates that it is your brand going to speak to that audience. I love that. That's fabulous, fabulous stuff. Thanks, Paul.

Okay, another question is this, can you give me some examples of how you or some of your clients have used branding and examples of success?

Paul: Let me give you three. First is and I think you're familiar with her, she is also my best friend, Carrie Wilkerson. I met Carrie about six and-a-half years ago and we were both in a mastermind group together. Never heard of her, she's actually just getting started online and when we were introducing each other, everybody was just mentioning their name and what they did. So, I might say, “I'm Paul Evans, I help people create their online business.” Or, “I'm Paul Evans, I help people become more productive.”

Well, everybody in the room said that. When we got to Carrie, she said, “I'm Carrie Wilkerson, the barefoot executive.” Suddenly it stood out that everybody else had stated what they did and she stated who she was. It's about your business, your life, your way. She works with those who want to work from home, barefoot executive. That instantly impacted the room because it was a stand out statement. Yes, it might have still need a little bit of explanation, but it didn't take long for it to be anchored and it certainly is memorable, portable and sharable. She has done that very well and obviously being barefoot is part of her brand.

A kind of a funny story. She was on an event a few weeks ago and the organizer knew her brand, but the producer didn't know her brand. She have kicked off her shoes before she went on stage and the producer kept following her around with her shoes and just kept saying, “It's almost time to go on stage. It's almost time to go on stage.” Carrie didn't realize what they were talking about and then finally, she said, “Okay, you're about to go on. Here are your shoes.” She said, “Oh, you obviously don't know my brand. I'm the barefoot executive.” She went, “Oh, okay and suddenly it clicked.” In that case, the brand is not only a name, it's actually a persona.

Secondly, many people will be familiar with it even though he's passed away now is Zig Ziglar. He was known as America's motivator. He was definitely in the golden age of motivational speaking and motivational training. So Zig became known for that and even when we started to enter the time when people said, “Listen, motivation is just temporary.” Well, Zig even combated that by saying, “But so we're [bads]. You still need them.” So his tag line, “America's Motivator” is able to be answered and anchored with their lives.

And then another friend of mine, who's Leanne Ely and she runs an incredibly successful business called Saving Dinner and her brand is the Dinner Diva. That she has her own web TV show, she's about to go on tour, she's got several New York Times Bestsellers. She may not be known worldwide or even continent-wide, but she is known within her industry. So all three of those, Carrie, Zig and Leanne have created some incredible brand success in their industry. They're known for what they do and they have a persona that goes along with it.

Brian: Awesome. You just brought up memories of the old days when I used to buy NightingaleConant tapes of Zig Ziglar.

Paul: I still got them myself. I'll tell you what, they are still motivating.

Brian: So, I'd like to get into a little bit more about you and you have a system that helps people define themselves and their business a little better. Can you tell me a bit about that?

Paul: I do. I have a system called Find Your Voice. Because really when it comes down to brand, most people are trying to separate themselves from it or they're coming up again with something that's cute, but if they could really find their voice, if they could find their message, what it is that they want to communicate, what it is that they want to stand for, what it is that they're going to stand on the land of the line that they're going to draw in the sand and dare people to join them, or dare people not to, that can often become a big part of our brand when we're talking about online business specifically.

Because the landscape is loud, we live in a super noisy time. Social media is extremely loud and it's constant, so we've got to find a way to breakthrough and I've been able to help clients most successfully by helping them find their voice to not imitate everybody else, to not look at somebody else's idea or concept and then massage a little bit and make it my own. But instead to say, “If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it big. I'm going to do it right. I'm going to do it bold and I'm going to become known for X.” Being able to discover that and then put it out in the marketplace effectively is really going to help people go farther faster and I do that by helping people find their voice. That's really the name of my system.

Brian: I love that. I've read an article the other day, they were talking about how noisy it is just like you said and they are predicting that within five years, the noise level is going to go up 600%. So now is the time to really get your arms around it, don't you think?

Paul: Well, I think so because what people are going to be looking for is quiet and security. The way that they're going to find that is by connecting with those that they trust the most and say, “I'm going to reward these individuals with my attention.” The great thing about it being so noisy right now is that there are so much fluff. There are so much noise that doesn't count and doesn't make a difference, that if you can step in and make a difference and have a voice and share your brand, you're going to stand out now. People will be committed to you in the middle of the noise and then try to – I can't think of a better way to put it, but really try to get alone with you, to allow your voice, your direction, your products, your emails, everything that you produce, that is going to be the area that they go to to get away from it all. So if you can establish that now, you got a great advantage.

Brian: I love that because my moniker is relationship marketing in the social media world and that's exactly what you're talking about, is not just having a brand out there, but creating relationship with people that grows over time and does all the things you were talking about.

Paul: That's going to make a big difference because the relationship especially with online marketing, it makes the difference right now because so many people have bulk products or bulk systems, or going through training that didn't deliver as promised. They don't simply think about the product not delivering, they think about the person not delivering. When we establish ourselves as dependable with that authority, and that advocacy, and that authenticity, then people will come to rely on us and depend on us, and there's really not a better brand that can be built than one of integrity.

Brian: Hey, Paul, this is all awesome stuff. Man, thank you so much for joining us today. I'd like my listeners to be able to contact you. What's the best way for them to do that?

Paul: The easiest way to contact me is to just follow me online or to come to my website, Paulbevans.com and that's where I basically share all that I do, and train on and then we'll see what fit best and we'll branch out from there.

Brian: Paul, oh my god, I'm so appreciative for everything you've said today. You taught me a lot. Hopefully my audience got a lot from it. Man, thank you so much for joining us and your insights today.

Paul: Absolutely, brother.

Brian: Was that some great stuff or what? Paul really laid out a plan for you to create your brand or brands online. So make sure you join us next time at Mymarketingmagnet.com for some more great expert interviews.

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