One of the most important component of starting a business, a podcast, or any venture is the brand. Unlike what most people think of it, a brand is more than the look. It is not just what you see on the streets that is recognizable. Taking us deeper into that and helping us to create a great and super tight brand is Ellen Melko Moore of SuperTight Brand. She shows her superpowers as she talks about the dimensions that goes on with it – from brand promise to understanding your target audience. Ellen gives the three things that should come together to make a super tight brand, all the while learning to evolve from your hypothesis brand.
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Creating A Super Tight Brand And Delivering A Brand Promise with Ellen Melko Moore
We have a fun guest lined up for you. Her name is Ellen Melko Moore. She is a branding expert. Her company is called Supertight Brand. I love the tightness of that. It’s great in and of itself. She was referred to me by someone we both know. I had the most fun conversation because her views on brand are somewhat aligned with ours. She lives and breathes this in such a great way. She has so many great stories and examples. She helps mission-minded entrepreneurs, those who are creating impact brands. She helps them create world-class leadership through design and articulation of a supertight brand. I like that word, articulation.
She has a quote here in one of the pieces of collateral material she provided to us in advance. It says, “The sad truth, no amount of marketing money, energy or effort will ever make up for the lack of a fundamentally compelling brand.” That goes to this concept of unique value proposition and all these things that we are talking about or remarkable brands like we were conversing about that at a mastermind. We have all of these things running through our minds that we want to create that we are getting a little brand scared. We were afraid to put our brand out. We’re afraid to make it, define it, and tighten it because we’re like, “Is this me? Is this what I want? Is this what people think of me?” It’s getting so difficult nowadays. A lot of times it’s also hard to do this for yourself, which I think is important. We are going to have Ellen define brand because I want to hear it in her words. We talked about this before that it is about perception. Keeping that in mind, you have to understand your audience. It’s one of the things we say so often when we’re helping people create podcast brands.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to live with it forever. It’s not written in stone. One of the things that I want to highlight about Ellen before we go to our conversation with her is that Ellen Melko Moore got a superpower. She’s got a superpower in generating the right language, the right word, the right copy. You can call it whatever you want. It is the right words at the end of the day. Having a superpower to generate the right words creates contagious conversation and engagement. That is a huge power nowadays because that’s what we all want our brands to do because it’s going to mean conversion.
Ellen, thanks so much for joining us. I am so excited to talk Supertight branding. I love the name of your company. Tell us how that came about for you.
As with many good names, it did come about accidentally. I was looking for the right name for what I did. First, it was Emerging Experts. My last name is Moore so then it was More and More Consulting because everyone likes more. Since I spent a lot of my work helping people create the offer and the articulation of a brand promise, what happened was I would often use that phrase “supertight” when I was excited about something or I would use that phrase to determine that something was not super tight yet in its focus and its clarity. It came about like that.
I wound up giving speeches on how to determine if a brand was supertight and supertight for your avatars. Although it’s also a term that comes up a lot in music. I’m not a musician, but I am a former dancer, so maybe I heard it there. What I like about it for me, people talk about lots of different exciting names for a brand; badass brand, fierce brand and bold brand, which are all great names. For me, I like the criteria supertight provides because if you know something about it, you can tell whether a brand is supertight or maybe still needs some work, which is normal when things are getting started.
We always tell potential podcasters, new podcasters that they need to have their brand figured out before you launch a podcast. Not that your podcast would be the same brand necessarily, but you’ve got to know what your brand is, especially if it’s in any way related to your podcast. All too often people don’t understand brand is more than the look. You mentioned the word brand promise. It would be very helpful for our audience to hear from you how you define brand promise.
Let’s start there. It’s always entertaining to me. It’s not like I always get this right either, but whenever I go speak in front of a new room, I put up a little slide that says, “What is a brand? Is it your logo? Is it your services? Is it your offer? Is it your personality?” The trick is many of those things have something to do with it. The simplest way to say it is your brand is your reputation. It’s what you are known for. It’s why you are chosen or not chosen. Since it’s your reputation, you don’t create it. Meaning you can direct people a certain way, but your brand is by definition what other people say about you. You got to be careful on that piece.
It’s what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
If you want to get technical, there’s a brand God named Al Reese who’s been in the New York marketing world forever. He says, “Brand is a concept you own in someone else’s mind,” which I always thought was a very elegant phrasing. What they say when you’re not in the room hits the heart of it. A brand promise is what is your brand going to deliver for your target person or avatar consistently? What are they going to get no matter what? As I said before, supertight brand was my brand promise because when you’re in the world of business development, brand, and marketing, it is easy to go off on a wild fantasyland of everything you and the client it’s going to happen. My brand promise is when you are done, you have a supertight brand. I don’t let you go until you do.Your brand is your reputation. It's what you are known for. Click To Tweet
It also implies that you’re not done working it either. You keep tightening it over time as things change, which it does. To think of the brand as something that’s so static that doesn’t move is not this world of branding.
It is not. As you said, Tracy, “When is brand first, last and always.” Another Tracyism that I thought was brilliant because that is true. It is an evolving thing. We get something supertight before you go to your launch. Does it keep getting supertighter? We hope so. Since as we said before, the brand depends a great deal on what your audience thinks about it. As we get that data back, as we find out what’s landing, what’s confusing, there is brand burnishing, polishing and trimming that continues to happen. In this world, we see the personal and business brands that are doing this best. They are very consistent in their ongoing attention to what is this they’re expressing and who is it for? The key piece is why is this special?
You mentioned badass before. I wrote an article a long time ago. It was probably one of my first dozen or so articles on this company that’s out of Kentucky. Their name is Big Ass Fans. They sent me this great pitch, which is why I had to write about them. They were saying that they fired multiple marketing agencies and branding experts because they told them to change their name. They realized that they don’t know their clients. What happened was they used to have another name, it was like HVLC fans or something, which has to do like high voltage and all this other stuff, like a technical term.
Most of their clients are these companies that are putting them into big hotels and giant fans into restaurants and things like that. They are doing a service provider. There’s always I’m going to say an architect or an interior designer or somebody in that role. They would get these phone calls. They would answer the phone. They’d say, “We’re HVLC fans.” The answer back would be, “Are you the guys who have those big ass fans?” That was a constant thing. That’s why they renamed their brand. It’s worked for them for a decade. It has been so great for them. They were listening to the people on the phone.
You should always listen to the people on the phone, in my opinion, rather than brand or marketing experts. I say that as a brand expert. The point is that only you truly understand your target client, your target customer. You may not understand everything about them, to begin with. It may take you a bit of time, but as long as you care about that relationship more than you care about anyone else’s opinion of your relationship, you have a solid ground to stand on.
I don’t mean that you shouldn’t listen to other opinions of your brilliant brand and marketing team. What I see is I’ve been called upon to do a lot of what I would call nip and tuck in this new world of LinkedIn profiles and client facing selling. What happens is somebody will come to me and they’ve been with a very expensive exclusive team that’s helped them with all their articulation. Again, I’m not saying, “This happens all the time because I’m so brilliant.” It’s simply because the person’s calling me because they know I know the client that they’re talking about.
It’s not because my words are better or smarter or that I understand everything that these other experts do about the platform. It’s language. I should mention I’m a former English professor. My original passion is words. What I’ve learned more than anything else is it’s not my words. Nobody cares what Ellen Melko Moore has to say particularly. It’s about, “Can I help my clients and my audience relate to the words of their people?” Find a way to articulate it back since other people’s words can be a bit incoherent at times. Can you find those key nuggets? Can you speak back in their language? You’ll see, Tracy, we have a little diagram there about what we call the Holy Trinity of supertight brands.
Obviously, it’s the Trinity but it is cool. I’m glad you’re touching on that because that was going to be my next question for you. These three things have to come together to make a supertight brand.
They do. The thing in the center you see it says, “Get their world.” We used to put up that slide and it would say, “The secret ingredient,” in the middle to get people interested, “What’s going on here?” The next slide it would be replaced and the thing in the middle would say, “Don’t be a douche.” The final one was, “Get their world.” By don’t be a douche, what I was talking about was when we have the pressure of creating a brand that’s so personal and so important to us. It’s about personal or professional transformation or a sustainable vision, I think we can get very up in our own heads. Our language can come out as unintentionally slightly douchey because it becomes me related.
“I’ve studied my whole life. I’ve done this, I’ve done that, here’s my expertise, here are my credentials. Please look at all my college degrees. I’ve presented these important papers and this is why you should care,” instead of starting right from the beginning with, “What are Tracy and Tom interested in now? What are their readers interested in?” Let’s take a minute to listen and get your world before I come at you with the articulation. What’s tricky is that to get someone else’s world, it’s a bit more difficult than most people think. It takes a minute to get to know your people, what they care about, why they’re choosing you and all that stuff. It is very back and forth thing.You should always listen to the people on the phone, rather than brand or marketing experts. Click To Tweet
If you put that in the center of the Holy Trinity, honestly, you’re going to have something that a lot of marketing people and a lot of business people don’t have. Any marketing or business person could say, “Yes, there is an avatar or a target client or customer. Yes, there is a problem. I need a breakdown that you need to solve. Finally, yes, there’s your remarkable solution.” None of that is rocket science. This thing in the middle, getting somebody’s world, it is more time-consuming and I should say attention consuming perhaps than some people want to play. It’s a way that a person who might be a bit more beginner, a bit more intermediate, could have real strength, over some other folks who may not be focusing there.
It seems like oftentimes it may be inherently necessary to understand that your brand is going to shift, especially if you’re in a new venture, a new entity. People oftentimes get attached to the first name they come out with. “We’re out there. We have business cards. We have a website. We have all these things. We can’t change it now.” Is that a paradigm you often have to break people off?
Yes. Even worse people will be like, “I’d love to do this work, Ellen, but unfortunately I owe my copyright lawyer $7,500 or $10,000 to register these terms because their names I thought of have no proof in the marketplace, have no demonstration, and have no inherent value. What I’m going to do is run out and register them right now before I find out if I’m going to spend another $10,000 later.” It’s a perfect example of what you said. If you can be a bit more fluid, in the beginning, you come out with something obviously you make a choice. I’m seeing the top experts on LinkedIn changing profile daily. I’m going back and I’m seeing, “John Nemo’s headline used to be this, but now it isn’t.” What’s nice about the digital-social world is you get a chance to practice a bit, find out what’s happening, and maybe hold off on spending your big huge dollars on some of that other word, linguistic property, until you find out that you are landing. That’s a different model than what we would have told people to do.
I call it hypothesis brand because we have a lot of podcasters who are coming in. They’re new to establishing their authority in their niche. They don’t have enough audience yet to have the dialog. I want them to put a stake in the ground and get started with the dialogue, and then we can find out a lot more information.
I love hypothesis brand. I’m going to steal and quote from you if that’s okay.
We’ve lived this with this business that we have that the brand that we have realized and migrated to over time is Podetize. It’s the name of the brand. It’s not the company name. It’s the brand name. We have no reason to change how you’re incorporated or however you’ve established your business name necessarily. Where we started, it was so bad. We didn’t know we were going to have a business at that point. It was still a test. It started as an experiment. There are many things that played into it. I know our long-time customers have been with us from those early days are like, “You guys have a lot of different brands.” They’ve seen us evolve from number one to number two to number three that I’m very comfortable with now as a business. It fits us. It makes sense. I still remain open-minded. Certainly, you’d never tell Coca-Cola to change its name. They’re a 100-year old company. You have such equity in that brand. You would never consider that. Those of us that have a business that’s anywhere in the zero to three or even five years old, I would think it should be on the table.
What’s interesting that might make people feel a little better if they’re unsure about this, it’s unclear. Let’s say you have a personal transformation brand like Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup for the Soul, a twenty-year-old example. Does anybody know what’s the company that published Jack Canfield’s company that published that book, Chicken Soup for the Soul? I’m sure someone does, but it isn’t me. What’s interesting there is the leading brand quality there that came out of that at first was the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. That’s what people knew. Ten, fifteen years later, people started to know the brand name, Jack Canfield. Perhaps in another five years, we’ll know the actual name of his company. I don’t know what it is. My point is it doesn’t matter because there was brand equity each time those shifts happened. People who love Tracy and Tom, you could honestly name it spotted clown corn nibblets. Would it get you new clients? Probably not, but the people who love you would find a way to embrace that.
We say this all the time about cover art. The cover art of your podcast doesn’t have your picture on it unless you’re truly like Oprah level because you want to give them the impression from the get-go that it is not about you. It’s about the readers. It’s about the audience. That’s what you were saying about the brand, to begin with. When you get out of it in the middle of your Holy Trinity, it’s about them. You want to give that impression all along but by putting your picture on it, it’s all about you from the beginning.
I often feel sorry for entrepreneurs. You go to their site and there are literally eighteen different pictures of them in three different outfits as you’re scrolling through. They paid up the Wazoo to get some photographer to follow them out in the river collecting rocks in their sarong. Again, none of this was done for a douchey reason. It was done for a genuine desire to demonstrate who I am and why this is important. You want to see pictures of the entrepreneur, but let’s have some other things too. I’m an automatic no if I see 25 pictures only because I’m like, “This is going to be a problem.” It’s not because that person can’t learn or isn’t smart. I understand that there’s a fundamental distinction that they probably haven’t got yet that it won’t work out so well for me is the point.
Let’s talk about something on my mind lately because we went to a mastermind and we were talking about remarkable brands, remarkable brand promises specifics. When it absolutely has to be there overnight, FedEx. Thinking about that, it’s like, “You can do that.” It gets people to remark, that’s the word remarkable, to brag about it, to share it. To say, “This can’t be true. I got to know more.” That’s when you are onto something. That’s where we’re driving towards how to create that unbelievable brand promise, live up to it. Create that so that people are going, “I got to hear more.”As long as you're working in that paradigm, you will get there. Click To Tweet
Let’s be honest. I like your hypothesis brand because as long as you’re working in that paradigm, you will get there. It’s remarkable because you’re going to be listening to people. You’ll notice what they say back to you. I’ve had moments where I thought of the cleverest taglines and slogans. I thought they were the bees-knees and then people ignore them utterly. They fixated on Paragraph 7B, which I threw off at the last minute. People talk a lot about, “I’m going to get my message clear. I want my message clear.” Clear is a nice place to start. It’s certainly a foundational piece, but it’s not remarkable. It’s awesome that you know who your avatar client is, your customer, you know the breakdown, you know the solution. Let’s be honest. If remarkable was something we landed on every day with no effort, there would be a new standard for remarkable. Wouldn’t there?
It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be. Let’s talk about clarity and getting clear because I hear that a lot from people too. The issue is that so often we’re in this micro marketing world like creating micro ads and mini funnels, all of these things. They each have their own messaging. You get confused by that’s not the overall brand promise. We think we have too much complexity to share. If we dial it down and simplify it, then we’re going to hurt the ability to attract audiences.
The issue of choosing the best possible avatar or target is not intellectual. It’s psychological. You can do a pro and con of your different possible avatar and come up with a pretty good evaluation of who’s got the money? Who’s looking for you already? Who do you like being around? I’m not making fun of any of these things. I’m saying, “You can do all that.” Let’s say you’re lucky enough to find you can beat me out here sweet ass target client, who’s got the money. They’re excited. They’re ready. You’ve got something that to them occurs as remarkable. Meanwhile, if you showed it to someone else, they’d be like, “Eh.” The reason we have trouble going for that is going, “What about this person? What about this client? Who’s it for?”
I would always advise people if you’re newer or smaller, start tighter. Take your time. You can try some things out, but before you start investing in all that property, do your work and find the person who’s going to be the fastest route for you. Add things onto it later, as so many of our favorite iconic brands have done. I think that for instance, Brené Brown had a very specific avatar in mind when she wrote her first books and TED Talks and now she’s working with vets. She’s Brené Brown now so who cares? We always say to people, “J Lo it up,” like Jennifer Lopez didn’t try to be a dancer, actress and a singer all at once. She picked a specific type of dance for a specific type of audience. She used that to get up a level. She spread out a little bit more and used that to get up a level. My point is, I would say, “If you’re not sure, take your time to seek out that wonderful person who’s going to get you there faster.” If you have to choose between the micro-branding and the big giant backdrop of what’s happening, the most important thing is that you make money quickly.
You’ve got to be sustainable, get an audience, whatever that might be that defines that success metric.
For you all, that’s what you did. You did a podcast to explore, to hypothesize a brand, to hypothesize an offer. You happen to be brilliant. You chose a very specific audience. I’m not saying they’re the only people responsible for your success but that went pretty well.
This is something that occurred to me. I used this example. When we started our very first podcast, it was called WTFFF?! which stands for Fused Filament Fabrication, which is the geeky term for 3D printing. When we put that name in there, there would be certain people would see that and go, “I want to know what that means.” They’d look at it. For the most part, we wanted people who had enough knowledge to know what it was because that was the ideal target audience that we want. They had a little thing. I had someone send me a message. They’re starting a fishing podcast and they said anglers was the second part. I forgot what the first part is, but it was cool. I was like, “It’s perfect because it’s not just about the Zen of fishing or like all of these things because you could detract anyone.” You’re attracting someone who understands what that term means. They’re getting avid. I was like, “That’s great because they’re dialing themselves in and doing that tighter niche.”
It is psychologically challenging because then they’re like, “What if there’s a giant mass of the fishing population that would love what we’re doing?” I would say it’s the best bet. The audience isn’t thinking about it. When you do something like Anglers or WTFFF?!, it’s like a dog whistle for a certain kind of dog and only that dog can hear it. That’s good because then you can build up a great audience of that kind of dog. I think we’re all like this a bit.
If I’m going to give my valuable attention somewhere, I would prefer that you thought a bit about me. Not me, Ellen, but for me, some things you could say about Ellen like overeducated impasse with narcissistic adult parents or something. My point is you put some thought into my world and you prepare a world that’s special for me. It’s not for everyone, it’s for me and people like me who share whatever that interest might be. In our culture, we suffer so much from loneliness. We suffer so much from alienation because we’re constantly connecting everywhere. When you get the chance to be with people who care about the same things, that’s something special. Whereas if you create a world that’s for me and the 3D printing people. It’s not so special for the 3D printing people if the overeducated impasse is popping in and vice versa.
It’s interesting that we’re talking about 3D printing because I was told that we’d been getting some comments that I’m not on the show enough on our WTFFF?! show. They missed me. I was like, “My audience misses me. That’s amazing.” I didn’t realize that I was creating part of the environment as well. I think that that’s an interesting model that you’re talking about. How did you get at understanding that you need to provide these environments that are become about them?We suffer so much from alienation because we're constantly connecting everywhere. Click To Tweet
It was pure desperation. I had three college degrees and an enormous student loan debt. I had discovered that I didn’t want to be a college professor. My degrees are in English and Cultural Studies. Everyone wants those people. They’re so popular outside of academia. I started with the premise, “Is there anyone else in the entire world who would pay for this knowledge besides students in school?” I did that by accident because I was so desperate. I knew it was going to take me a long time to pay back this loan if I decided not to become a professor. I didn’t say what’s so special about Ellen that it’s this unique thing in the world. Not that you shouldn’t ask that question, but I was in a bit of a hurry because that is a lot of student loan money.
I had to start with who would pay. The people who would pay it turned out were people in book clubs, in book groups. At the time, there were about five million or ten million people in the English-speaking world. The Oprah Winfrey Book Club was getting started. At the time, publishers were starting to pay attention to book clubs and create things for them. My business partner and I worked on creating resources for people in book clubs because we found out that a pain point they had, we like to call it the MOTNA, the middle of the night angst. We found out that a pain point they had was very important to them that when they were hosting their book group that the book club discussion goes well. It’s a big deal. If you host at your house and you do all this work to put everything together and the discussion isn’t any good. A person who’s not in a book club wouldn’t think like that. A person who is would think like that. We designed everything around that person, for that person, the host or hostess.
We created resources to help people talk about books in a more interesting way beyond, “I liked it. I hated it. Let’s drink more wine,” although we certainly always encouraged them to drink as much wine as possible. The point is being that bridge between a more academic discussion and something that an ordinary educated person could enjoy and talking about a book. As a result, the business went very fast. Local TV, national TV, national media, getting to do consulting for the OWC, that’s the Oprah Winfrey Book Club. It’s getting a New York agent. It’s getting a New York publisher. I’m 29 years old. This is what must happen to everyone when they start businesses. This is the natural flow of things.
I soon realized it wasn’t. I thought, “Could I teach somebody else to do that?” I thought, “I don’t know what worked. I have no idea. Be like me and flunk out of grad school?” That didn’t seem like good business advice. The point is that I had to go back and pick up this concept of specialization. I studied and I found again examples of when startups or smaller businesses are willing to create a special world for someone, there is a ton of access. It goes so much faster. Whenever people say to me, “Could I do it this way or could I do it this other way?” You could. It’s my job to get you there faster and have it be less of a lift. I’m going to argue that this is a good idea for you because you don’t have a team of 50 people and $5 million behind this. Let’s make it easy.
I think though that what you hit on was not only specializing but that MOTNA, middle of the night angst, is exactly what we talk about here all the time. What are people googling at 2:00 AM is my common phrase that I say all the time to people. That’s your name, that’s your terms. Those are the things you need to work into your topics for your podcast. You’re making a faster path to success by coming from dialed in audience who actively has a problem.
I always want to tell people I’m a brand specialization expert, but nobody cares because nobody Google’s brand specialization expert at 2:00 AM. They Google, “How do I make more money next year?” As experts sometimes we get a little loving towards our own terminology that we know is meat. Coming back to get their world. What you are googling at 2:00 AM is a really good measure of what that looks like. People talk about pain points, but the distinction you made, Tracy, of googling at 2:00 AM, that’s something deeper than a pain point. A pain point is something I might chat about at my networking group or my mastermind. A 2:00 Google is the truth of my soul.
That’s what I don’t tell anyone. It’s what I don’t say to other people. It’s the one especially for solopreneurs and business owners. I always say, “I’m in business with my husband. If we talked about all this stuff all the time that’s keeping me awake, we both go crazy.” I’m alone in that. I’m going to google that. I’m going to figure that out because if I did that, we would be nonfunctioning.
It’s very wise. It’s a good way to keep a marriage and a business together.
It all goes to the social proofs issue again. It doesn’t matter what we think about our own business. We’ve maybe each said that at some point here. It doesn’t matter what we think, it matters what the rest of the world thinks. I do think at 2:00 AM you’re getting at the essence of what a lot of people think and need. What we’re also getting at too is that what we have to be here. A little bit of what we’re dialing in and why things have to be super tight and right on is because it doesn’t also matter what we think and what we say. It matters what Google thinks. There’s an artificial intelligence a lot in our process of what gets served up to people. It’s not just humans.
There’s an overlord involved.The issue of choosing the best possible avatar or target is not intellectual; it's psychological. Click To Tweet
There’s an artificial intelligence view of things. The way that they see things is algorithmically-driven. We also have to keep that in mind as we’re creating our brands. What Google cares about and is paying attention to what real people are typing in, what they are interested in or have questions about or what their pain points may be. They’re not making this stuff up. I love this stat about Google. 23% or so of everything entered into Google search bar every day, Google has never seen before. That’s mind-blowing. It helps you realize that the way people are typing things in, the phrases they’re using. Some of them, I’m sure, misspelled that is a component of it, but there are new ways to talk about things. The way people are asking questions, Google hasn’t seen before, but Google still gives a result. They give the most relevant things that they have or that they know of. To me, that’s also the excitement and the opportunity because the little guy with your message from your podcast, your brand, your blog, you can compete with the big guys because it’s not all written in stone.
I had a hypothesis that as much as people love TED Talks that perhaps it would be fun to have something a little bit less PBS NPC. With a group of friends, we organized something called the Bitch Slap of Truth. That was like TED, but with more swearing and more comedy. My hypothesis was if we find a name with some heavy lifting like that. We match it to some search terms that people might be saying since they’re not going to be saying, “I want to be bitch slapped by the truth.” There are other things they’re looking for.
It was a hypothesis that if we match a fun, remarkable name with the search terms that are a bit more ordinary, everyday and what are people looking for, that we could sell 400 tickets at $75 a pop for people to come to something where they didn’t know any of the principles. I had a lot of people bet against me because they were like, “Nobody is going to pay $80 to go hear five random chicks they’ve never heard of before who don’t have a big digital presence, all that stuff.” I didn’t know if I’d win the bet, but I know that if you can have a heavy lifting name combined with some of that more ordinary language, you got a chance is all I’m saying as the little guy is my point.
Were you right? Did you sell tickets?
We did. TED was here in town at the time and they invited us to come to do a free booth at TED. I thought they might be a bit cross with us because we were saying in the marketing, “Like TED Talks, but with more bad language, comedy,” and they loved it. They were like, “Come, put up a booth.” We had literally the power how many thousands of women. It was a women’s TEDx. How many thousands of people streaming by our table? They saw the name and they were like, “I want the Bitch Slap of Truth.” That was it. We did win the bet.
What you’re talking about is it’s part of the branding problem. We try to get our names or are our key phrase, our remarkable unique value proposition or selling proposition, however you want to look at it. We try to get it to do too much sometimes that’s what we need the rest of the copy do for you.
I know I had ten different taglines for Bitch Slap of Truth. I don’t remember any of them now because nobody ever remembered them. They just remembered Bitch Slap. When I go out in Denver, people stop me and say, “You’re that bitch slap girl.” That may be a thing. It is good to know. When we go back to our Jack Canfield Chicken Soup for the Soul metaphor, it’s okay to spread the love a little bit, find something that does some heavy lifting. People torture themselves about taglines and slogans. That’s a waste of time. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, but don’t torture yourself. If it’s a good line, it will come up anyway is my experience because it will be something you say again that someone will repeat back to you.
In my mind, I was agreeing with you. The key word there is experience. You can’t expect to create that type of brand out of thin air just with the idea of what you do. You have to have some experience. I’m not talking about, “I’ve been doing this for twenty years and I’ve experienced it.” No, I’m talking about experience in that business with your customer, with the community. It will come naturally out of that. You have to start somewhere. I do think when you’re launching a business or like when you’re launching a podcast, you’ve got to have at least an idea of what your brand is, what you’re about. You have to be understanding that better ways to express that are going to present themselves as you do whatever it is that you’re doing. You have to be willing to pivot. That’s inherently hard for people a lot of the time. Change isn’t easy.
Especially when it involves your money and your identity. These are huge things psychologically. I get paid to help people come up with clever phrasing. I get to say, “This might work for a couple of years, but then when you go up to the next level of leadership, we’re going to come back in.” “What? You’re not guaranteeing that this is going to work forever?” “No, I can’t. I can’t do it for myself, so I’m unlikely to be able to do it for you.” It’s like you said, Tom, you come out with your best shot. You do the best you can. Obviously, you nail something down. You got a name. You got a person. You got a slogan. You got communication. You’ve got some pictures. You got some logo and stuff and have fun with it.
I know that so easy to say and so hard to do because like we talked about, so many things depend on it, but people can feel that. People are more psychic than you believe. People can pick up on a lot of the underlying energy, even if all your wording isn’t perfect. They will help you. They may not even know they’re helping you. They’re like, “I love what you said about this. This one phrase stood out for me.” If you can get that, you keep your sanity and you have a real chance of a supertight brand or a super popular brand. I love the word contagious. I’m striving to be sick of that word in six months, but right now I love that like a contagious brand.In social proof, what you think doesn't matter; it’s what the rest of the world thinks. Click To Tweet
Everyone wants a contagious podcast. It’s too bad if you’re not having fun with it because you’re going to be doing this. You’re going to be living and breathing it 24/7. Anybody who’s started their own business or their own podcast, it’s not a 9 to 5 endeavor. You’re always thinking about it. You’re always working on it.
If you’re certifiably unemployable, like many of us here are, we can’t help ourselves. We might as well find a way to enjoy as much as we can. I do feel that the customer or client, I feel that gets communicated. A lot of communication doesn’t happen in words as much as I’m a “word expert.” That’s part of what goes on. There is an energy, a clarity to an idea that people will help you create. I say put your best foot forward, be open to the pivots, and enjoy them as much as you can, and try not to let it drive you crazy. Apparently I’m going to talk about LinkedIn, but I see some of the top people in the world playing every day. They’re playing a game there. They know what they’re doing. They’re probably learning more about what they’re doing all the time.
If you knew that one of the joys of social media is that you get to experiment a bit. It’s not a website URL, so sure it’s annoying when you then have to go back and change this and change this. I wrote a post about doing this stuff is a bit like going to the Olympics. People tell you it’s a local 5K fun run, but if you actually want to become one of the people who are making some pretty sick money and great impact as a thought leader. It doesn’t mean you have to be gold in the Olympics or a medal winner in the Olympics, but it’s comparable. People who tell you, “I’ve got this one, two, three easy steps to your seven-figure income.” They’re selling it like it’s a fun run, but it isn’t a fun run.
When you know that it’s a bit like that, you can be more forgiving of yourself. You can have a better sense of humor. You can acknowledge that if it were that easy, everyone would do it since it is quite a bit of fun. If you play and it’s the game you like to play, you want to go. You don’t care if you medal at the Olympics, you want to be there. That sets people up. When people say, “It’s hard. I don’t want to change this. I don’t want to change this either.” I’m sure Olympic athletes don’t want to change key things in their routines, but they probably have to get to the next level. There it is. Have a nice day and I feel for you. I get it and I’m in the same boat so we can go complain and cry together, which I’m always happy to do, by the way. I think having good constructive complaint partners in this business is very important.
Here’s the thing, here’s my fun for the day. This is my fun in the podcast, the interviewer’s part because it’s my chance to communicate and have fun with someone like you on our show. I introduce you to my group of people and say, “This is why I brought this woman on because she’s so funny. She’s having a good time in. She’s got something to give.” That’s what you’ve had for us. I am so glad you came to our show.
Thank you. I love being here. It’s an honor and a privilege.
I think there are going to be a lot of people who should be reaching out to you. Thanks for joining us, Ellen. We appreciate it. I know we’re going to have you back again.
Thank you so much. It’s such a pleasure.
Creating A Super Tight Brand And Delivering A Brand Promise – Final Thoughts
That was a lot of fun. I enjoyed that conversation. Our thoughts on brand are very much aligned. Even though we don’t have the branding expertise that Ellen does, we have a lot of experience with it. We have our own brands. We go through this all the time. Brands are a lot of times, like many things, is that when you too close to your own, regardless of whether you’re a branding expert or not or have a lot of experience in it, you need perspective. She mentioned LinkedIn a few times. I didn’t have a problem with that, but we were talking to each other about how my LinkedIn profile needs a serious update. I’m going to have to get it done or else everyone’s going to go to my LinkedIn profile. One of the things we were talking about is I forgot my LinkedIn profile is created so long ago that my email address associated with it is from a previous business that we still have, although maybe not for long. That’s not Brand Synergy and some of the messaging is confusing because we have had two companies for a long time and focus is shifting around one. This is a living, breathing representation of my personal brand. It needs a refresh.
Ellen does something cool that we didn’t talk about on the show with her, but she does something cool and she’s done it on LinkedIn in video form before. She calls it Ten Minutes to Tight. I’m going to call it like a hot seat kind of situation. I’ve told you that this is a brilliant strategy for you to interview and have on or show your process in actuality like how you do it. That’s what she’s doing here because branding is this kind of like, “Do I have a good branding expert? Is it all about them? Is she great at this?” You have this unknown in your mind, “Do I need it?” Sometimes when you watch someone go through this and you’re watching that live, you go, “That is exactly what I need.” It’s brilliant in terms of her business and revealing what she does without having to explain it, which can be difficult because it is also customized for each different brand in each different person. That makes it even harder to describe. Showing them is brilliant, but it’s also helpful for those of us going, “I can see the value. I know this is going to help me.” That’s one of the things she offers. She also has classes and coaching and other things that I want you to be aware of because she’s accessible.
She’s very accessible. Obviously, she’s in business to do it. There is a price to it. It seems very reasonable to me. It’s such a critical part of it. I sometimes think that maybe we go in and we think we have to spend all this upfront. It may be time for you when you get your podcast to a certain stage that getting something tightened like she’s offering here is the perfect thing for you because you have engagement, you have a conversation, you have people you can ask. We did this in our business. I want to point it out as a business lesson for people that sometimes you have to ask your customers what they think. You can’t rely on the messages that they’re sending you on Facebook or the emails that they send you because either they’re a complaint or they’re a rave that they quickly are drifting off.
It’s great that you’re getting raves and that’s wonderful, but it’s not necessarily a full sense of why they bought from you, why they value you and what you’ve added to their life. We’ve been doing a concerted survey that’s qualitative. We’ve been utilizing our wonderful sister-in-law, Laura Hazzard, to do it for us because she’s an expert in this. That’s what her business is and what she’s always done. She asked the right question. She asked them in the right way. She’s been giving us amazing insights into what our business means to people. That is going to help us tighten our brand because we’ve now asked the questions that we hear in their words.
I’m a big fan of the hot seat that Ellen does with her Ten Minutes to Tight. We’ve been doing that a lot in our Podcast Peeps Mastermind where if you’re live on the webinar, we invite you to be on the hot seat and tell us what the biggest challenges in your podcasts are. You’re also getting good info there too. The hot seat is a great method. Whether it’s in a formal mastermind or an in-person event, we see that happen a lot at some of those or in a webinar, it doesn’t matter. You can get a lot of value out of it. You have to be willing to put yourself out there.
Another thing I want to go back to, as mentioned in the interview with Ellen where she talks about people that you know are saying that they don’t want to revisit their brand name or promise because they’ve spent so much money on copyright filings or trademark filings. I was like, “Oh my goodness.” That’s from our other world. I lecture people all the time about not filing patents. That’s like not too early because you file these things too early and you don’t know if they have an eCommerce value. The same thing is true of a trademark. It costs you nothing to say, “Here’s my name, at least for now.” Hopefully, everybody’s realizing that for now is fine. It doesn’t have to be forever. You have the right to put TM on the end of it. You’re telling the world, “I intend to file or register this trademark at some point in the future. I’m putting everybody on notice that I’m intending to do it. If you have a problem with it, let me know.” That’s what that TM means. Maybe not everybody realizes that. You don’t have to have filed anything to put that out there. Wait to file your trademark until you know, “This is going to be our name. We’re going to put a lot of resources behind it over a period of years.”
You’ve gotten some feedback on it and you’ve decided that it’s working for you. Maybe you now need to work on your tagline. You’d go and you do that one as your second thing. Doing it in phases is important. That’s part of Ellen’s mission here. She talked about tightening, which thinking about that, like a screwdriver. You’re constantly tightening it. Something happens, it loosens up. You got to tighten it again. It’s a process. It evolves. It needs to evolve. If you limit your company’s growth or the perception of your company in the marketplace because you invested too much money in trademarks. You can’t justify changing it. I think that your business may not succeed much longer, quite honestly. You’re not making decisions based on what the best interest of your company is and there’s going to be a natural selection that ends your business.
We’re in an overall consumer market. Contagious brands are working because more people are consuming, more things are happening. We have bingeable podcasts going on. The more bingeable you are, the more opportunity you have to sell things or to get them to connect with you, converse with you, and then hire you. We’re looking at all of those things nowadays and that is the highest value. We created products. Hard goods cost a lot of money. You have to buy lots of inventory. You have to spend money on tooling.
The number one reason we were more successful is we advised our clients and we worked with them to make sure that they understood what their clients wanted, what their consumers wanted first. We designed to it. It’s way easier because we didn’t have to reinvent their avatar. We didn’t have to reinvent how it goes to market. We didn’t have to reinvent any of those things. It’s way easier to be successful. As we were talking with Ellen, it’s like finding that middle of the night angst, that specialization audience. It is the faster path you can broaden later.
I was noting in my mind specialization. When Ellen mentioned that, to me, if that didn’t resonate with all of you podcasters and maybe there are some potential podcasters reading this episode. Take note of that word. Identifying what is special about your podcast, what the specialization is of your niche, what you talk about, and the people that you want to serve, that’s key to a podcast. It’s why podcasts are working and so popular. The other thing she was talking about the words that resonate with people. The fact that you’re speaking to people in their ear every week or maybe a couple times a week on your podcast, it is so powerful. This is where even in your podcast brand, you may need to pivot the name of your podcast, the format of your show. You’re going to hear from your audience what they like and what they don’t like.The more bingeable you are, the more opportunity you have to sell things. Click To Tweet
A perfect example of that is that we’re in this process right now. We’re looking at doing a spin-off show because we don’t want to have all of this, how to DIY, help yourself learn how to podcast thing going on in our show here because we want to keep advancing podcasters. We want to give you more tools, more opportunities, more growth, more podetization, and more monetization. We want to give you all of these things that are going to tighten things up for you and make sure that your show is adding value to your business. We don’t want to leave behind the audience who needs to learn some things. They need a 101. They need the primer series on podcasting. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to talk about beginner subjects and DIY subjects for those that are doing their podcast on their own without a big production company or whatever it may be because things change. Software changes, technology changes, iTunes changes. Spotify comes on the scene. Google Podcasts comes about. There is an endless amount of subjects to talk about that are more relevant to a different niche audience and trying to put it all in one podcast may not make sense.
It’s not serving value. We’re going to keep Feed Your Brand. This is what we decided this show itself. Specialization is helping you grow your business through podcasting or video casting. It’s about the business growth side of things and what can we do to make that happen and how you can get your show dialed in and better. You do all of these things. What kind of people and what kind of tools like Ellen Melko Moore we can introduce you to so you can tighten that up and make it better for you and make it work harder for you? How can we do that? That’s what this show is about. There will be another show that’ll be all about those other tech things because we want to make sure that we’re serving our audience in the best way and find it in the best place. That’s something you can do. You can spin off. You can pivot. You can change the focus. You can change the format. You can tighten up.
It’s a process. It’s a journey. You might call it an evolution. It needs to continue serving you and serving your audience. Be open to that, embrace that. We invite you guys to talk to us about it because that’s the number one thing is we want to have a conversation. We want to have engagement with you, so please converse with us. There’s one other thing I want to add to this from another person we were with that are the mastermind. We were in Austin, Texas with a group, a small mastermind of about twelve people. One of those people was Michelle Young. We got to spend more time together than I probably ever spent with her in any one sitting. Lucky for me, it was a wonderful thing. In the spirit of being open to change and mindset shifts, we were talking about something in our business that I need to embrace. I was saying it in a different way and Michelle said to me, I want you all to think about this when it comes to whatever it is you may be apprehensive about changing in your show or your business. I was saying, “I need to do this. I need to come to terms with it. I need to accept that.” Michelle said, “Tom, can I reframe you a little bit there?” Keep in mind she’s a life coach. She is my personal life coach.
In my language and the way I was saying it, it opened my eyes. She said, “Tom, try saying you get to do this. It’s not something you have to do. You get the opportunity to do it.” Isn’t that a wonderful way to look at?” I know Michelle wasn’t interviewed here. We’ll need to fix that at some point in the future. We don’t have to fix our brand. We get to fix it. Get the opportunity. Thank you, Michelle, for opening my mind up to that. Thank you to Ellen for being on the show. You can communicate with her and with us over social media at Feed Your Brand on the Feed Your Brand Facebook page specifically. We look forward to those conversations, so please let us know what you think. Please let us know what you’d like to hear more about. We are working on our plan. We’re very excited about what we have lined up, but we’re going to be flexible. We’re happy to bring in more of the things that you would like to hear about, so please reach out. Thanks so much, everybody.
- Ellen Melko Moore
- Supertight Brand
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
- Bitch Slap of Truth
- Podcast Peeps Mastermind
- Feed Your Brand – Facebook page
About Ellen Melko Moore
Ellen Melko Moore helps mission minded entrepreneurs create world-class thought leadership through the design and articulation of a “supertight brand” – a UVP concept that speaks to a highly specialized avatar. An escaped academic, her superpower is helping clients generate narratives that lead to ever more contagious conversation and conversion.
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