Survey your customers — ask them what they like most about your product / service, and what they like least. STORY: Over the last 4 years we were spending well over $250,000 per year to provide a specific service that less than 5% of our paying members were actually using. Needless to say we cut that project and no longer included it in our branding / marketing because while we thought it was cool, our customers didn’t really care (and it actually ended up confusing them to even have this specific service in the first place!!!)
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Brian Fanale. Fanale is the CEO of ‘MyLeadSystemPRO,’ an online marketing education platform and training community that helps home business owners get more leads, sales, and clients for their businesses. MLSP helps entrepreneurs get clear on their unique brand promise, and then uses a proprietary proven framework that brings their brand to the marketplace in a way that drives revenues and sales. Since 2008, MLSP has created tens of thousands of success stories across the globe who have collectively generated 3,895,921 targeted leads online.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Sure! It was 2005, I was one year out of college playing in a rock ‘n roll band up and down the east coast, I was flat broke, and I was tired of not being able to take my girlfriend at the time to the movies because I couldn’t afford it. One afternoon when I had a day off from my bartending gig, and we weren’t out playing music, I went to google and typed in ‘make money from home.’ A little google ad popped up on the right hand side, which was funny because I had never noticed them before. That little ad drew me into a world I didn’t even know existed where you could actually take control of your income by building a business from the comfort of your home. I was hooked immediately, and I’ve been a passionate student of marketing (and self-help junkie) ever since.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest branding mistake I made when I was first starting out was that I was trying to sell my products & services to anybody & everybody. I didn’t have a ‘brand’ because I didn’t learn about branding until 3 years into my journey. I thought everybody needed my products & services, and that everybody was a potential prospect! This lack of clearly defining my ideal customer based on the benefits of what my business can do for others cost me a lot struggle and pain, and I wound up $30,000 in debt after my first 3 years.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
YES, absolutely! The ‘tipping point’ was when I learned real marketing, and started branding myself as the guy who could solve my perfect customer’s problems. I started building an audience of ‘perfect customers’ by creating content that spoke to THEIR problems. Through this new ‘value-based’ approach I started getting more interested leads than I could handle, and building relationships with targeted buyers who actually wanted to buy. This simple distinction and marketing shift changed everything.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, always. One of the things we do well is constantly innovate for our members. We are working on smarter and easier ways for brands to get their message out to the world. We believe business owners need to start getting paid what they’re worth for their knowledge and expertise. And we’re helping them achieve this through innovative online membership and course development software so that even the most ‘non-techie’ business owner can affordably reach the masses, build a tribe, boost sales & revenue, and make an impact by leveraging the power of the internet.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Apologies for the cliché, but here’s my answer: Find something you love to do. If it doesn’t feel like a privilege to be able to get up and serve your people every single day, and you’re not excited about what you’re doing, you will not last long. You will no doubt face ongoing challenges, burn-outs, tech will break, offers won’t work, ads won’t convert, trolls will hate on you, and so much more. If you’re not passionate and obsessed with what you do and who you help, stop what you’re doing and go find that. Only then will you truly be able to thrive and avoid burnout.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
Brand marketing isn’t really a specific thing, it’s not a specific color or font on your blog, and it’s not a tagline on your Facebook cover photo. To me ‘Brand Marketing’ is really how you consistently show up to the marketplace, and to your clients & customers. The quality of information you share on social media, through podcasting, on linkedin, youtube, wherever. This content collectively creates a ‘brand’ that either attracts or repels your ideal customer. The #1 thing you want people to think of and associate to your brand is VALUE. Whether that’s solving a problem, entertaining your audience and making them laugh, whatever business you’re in. ‘Product Marketing’ is more direct response marketing through specific campaigns and journeys targeting your ideal customer with the intent of getting them to buy your products & services.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
If you’re not building a brand that potential customers and current customers can communicate and interact with, you’re going to have a hard time succeeding in today’s social ecosystem. And it is CRITICAL that your brand have a STORY that they want to be a part of. If you don’t have a captivating and compelling story, a competitor with better pricing or a better product will soon come swipe your not-so-loyal customers away. Some questions to help craft your story: Why did you start your business? What was the epiphany that made you want to get into your business? What’s the story behind WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s vitally important for you to get clear on this, and invest resources and energy to build community around the vision, the mission, and ‘brand.’
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
It’s 100% all about the customer. One reason to rebrand would be as you gather customer feedback on their experience with your brand, and what’s important to them. If your company keeps getting the same feedback over and over, you may want to consider rebranding ASAP to meet their (your customer’s) needs to the best of your ability. Another reason builds off of the previous reason… If you launch a new ‘test’ product based on customer feedback that’s slightly out of alignment from your original ‘brand promise,’ and that product takes off like wildfire dwarfing your previous product’s numbers, you may want to consider slightly rebranding to serve even more people. The only opinion that matters is your customer’s, and they vote with their wallets!
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
I think ‘rebranding’ just to ‘rebrand’ is silly, and it confuses your customers. If there’s a real reason to rebrand because of what your customers and the marketplace is telling you, great. But I would advise against doing a ‘rebrand’ just because you’re tired of doing ‘x’ in your company when ‘x’ is working well. If your customers are rabid fans and you still want to ‘rebrand,’ you may want to consider looking at a profitable exit strategy now while the company is doing well so you can pursue building your next brand.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
- Survey your customers — ask them what they like most about your product / service, and what they like least. STORY: Over the last 4 years we were spending well over $250,000 per year to provide a specific service that less than 5% of our paying members were actually using. Needless to say we cut that project and no longer included it in our branding / marketing because while we thought it was cool, our customers didn’t really care (and it actually ended up confusing them to even have this specific service in the first place!!!)
- Survey your leads and let them know you want to give them EXACTLY what THEY want — ask them why they haven’t bought yet. Is it price? Were they looking for your product or service to do something different? What would you (the brand) need to do in order for them (the customer) to feel comfortable with buying? STORY: we hold events all throughout the year. Last year we put on about 15 workshops. We thought the #1 reason people weren’t able to make it to these events was because of price, which it wasn’t! Thanks to this survey result we started exploring dates that would work better for our buyers, and testing out different cities as well. This distinction helped our company & brand connect with clients and potential clients all year. You can’t put a price on connecting with your customers in a LIVE environment, and letting them experience your ‘brand’ first-hand.
- Brand Congruency — once you dial in your brand colors, your brand’s vibe, the tagline, who you help, how you help them, what they can expect from your brand (your brand promise), etc… then ALL of your websites and social media properties should be visually congruent in design, story, promise, etc. STORY: I’ve seen countless businesses get this wrong and they have different branding across all their different properties. It’s confusing to your tribe, and it’s bad marketing. Once you nail it, scale it, and make sure your brand presence is congruent across all channels.
- Engagement With Your Brand — be accessible. If you’re not regularly interacting with your audience, prospects, and customers, somebody else is. Carve out the time to SHOW UP for your tribe even if it’s just to answer questions once a week. You don’t need to be Kevin Hart or The Rock, just show up regularly to answer questions, be authentic, provide value, and engage with your audience. STORY: we have been hosting a LIVE Wednesday webinar for our audience every single Wednesday since 2008 (we only missed on Christmas and New Years, and that happened only one year). Not only does this help position YOU as the expert, the community and culture this builds will explode your brand to the next level.
- Contests — Giveaways — Fun — Experiences — could you create an environment that allows your buyers to FEEL something? Could you create contests or giveaways that don’t cost your company a ton of money that get your buyers to want to share your message (and products & services) with their friends & family? Whether it’s an Instagram contest where you’re giving away gifts & prizes, a Facebook LIVE where if they tag or share they enter a raffle, or a LIVE webinar where you’re giving away product in exchange for ‘x’… Start thinking outside the box to get your customers to FEEL and EXPERIENCE something, and to associate that good feeling to your brand. STORY: whenever we hold affiliate contests for our members, everyone has a great time, we share the experience together, a tighter bond is created between our customers and our brand, our message gets out to way more people in a very compressed time period, and we get a flood of new buyers for our software every single time. And you can do this too with whatever business you are in!
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
Tesla. They started out with cars that even the normal luxury car buyer not only couldn’t afford, but they had to wait literally a few years on a waiting list during production! Tesla pivoted and is now creating some affordable Tesla models of luxury vehicles that are very accessible price-wise to your average luxury car buyer. And as I write this just last week Tesla was up 400% and is destroying it’s competition. In a very competitive market, Tesla’s ‘Brand Makeover’ over the last few years has been very impressive. As far as what one can do to replicate Tesla’s success: Actually listen to the requests, desires, and needs of your customer!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Higher-level consciousness and a movement where for just ONE day the world (and all her 6 billion people) collectively agrees to focus on love, health, giving, peace, joy, connection, feeling good, and everything we DO want… vs. putting our attention on everything we DON’T want like disease, depression, hate, fear, anxiety, shame, unworthiness, etc. I’d love to see the impact of just ONE day of living like this if we could convince the whole world to give it a test run for 24 hours… and then sit back and watch the miracles happen ☺
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You Are The One.” — Neo from the movie ‘The Matrix’
‘The Matrix’ changed my life. The entire movie is about a guy who doesn’t yet believe in his greatness. Over the course of the movie Neo wakes up to the fact that he is powerful beyond measure, that everything he needs is already inside of him, and that he is ‘The One.’ I believe this pursuit and journey is what life (and business) is all about. Once you truly believe in your abilities to do what you were put on this planet to do, you continue to stretch, grow, and evolve, and you mix in a little faith in something greater than yourself, anything is possible. This quote (and movie) transformed my life.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can visit www.MLSP.com, and you can also find me on Instagram (@brianfanale) and Facebook (www.fb.com/brian.fanale)
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.