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  • Kevan Oswald

Two-Dozen Bite-sized Branding Bits



Every so often I’ll come across an article, blog post, or book that resonates my own thoughts or viewpoint on a subject almost perfectly. This was the case with “Brand Against the Machine” by John Morgan.


For me, the book simply put into words much of what I already believed about branding, and did it in a way that made perfect sense. John takes perhaps the most discussed marketing topic on the planet and delivers a refreshing perspective.


As I was reading I found myself highlighting sentence after sentence and paragraph after paragraph. Probably enough for a 365 page “Brand Against the Machine” quote of the day calendar. Below are two-dozen of my favorite “bite-sized” quotes. Some are a little out of context, but as long as you keep branding as the subject in mind, you should be okay.

  1. Your goal is to position your brand in the mind of the consumer as one of, if not the, top authority in your industry, to be seen as a valued resource rather than another service provider.

  2. At some point your competition will match you. The only element they cannot match is your brand. There are a lot of business that make shoes. There is only one Nike.

  3. Branding is what makes me drive past a Kmart while going to Target. They sell the same stuff, for the most part, but I have a different perception of each of them. My trust level is different for each of them.

  4. Keep in mind that you don’t need to be found everywhere, as traditional branding would suggest. You just want to be found everywhere within your niche, everywhere your audience is hanging out.

  5. When you’re trying to get your message in front of everyone, you end up causing your target market to feel ignored. They want to know you’re speaking directly to them.

  6. When your message is focused and directed toward a certain group of people, those people respond. They respond because they realize it’s for them. That’s the kind of attention you want.

  7. Proof is what makes you an authority. Information is like a new form of currency. The more information you share, the more you’ll be positioned and viewed as an authority. Bringing new ideas to the table and people acting on those ideas: that’s proof.

  8. Something magical happens when your audience finds your content to be genuinely helpful: They trust you. They value your message and thoughts. Now they will buy form you and be excited to do so.

  9. Your brand’s anchor belief is your brand’s philosophy or viewpoint. It’s a big idea that is the focus of all of your products, services, marketing, presentations, and any other element of your business. Its premise becomes the backbone of your brand.

  10. You must be completely focused on your anchor belief. It helps define your brand and gives prospects clarity about you. This is why it’s absolutely critical to ensure your philosophy and message is a part of all you do, whether that be a marketing campaign, video, blog post, product, webinar, or presentation.

  11. It’s easier to get someone to buy into your philosophy and anchor belief than it is to buy a product. Once they’ve bought into your philosophy, it is super easy to sell your product.

  12. What’s your story? Your target audience is asking that question. How well you tell your story matters. Your creation story of how you got to be where you are now, both in life and the creation of your business. People love to know how something came about and how it got started.

  13. If the only people who would really miss your business if it went under are either related to you or your closest friends, you may have a “boring” problem. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that you can’t be a dentist or sell shoes or do something that others do. It’s that you can’t do those things in the same way as your competitors and hope to have a brand that people feel like they need to feel complete. Identify what makes you different.

  14. Taking care of people when there isn’t a problem and when it’s not expected is a sure fire way to generate positive word of mouth. Helping people who are in a jam will do amazing things for your brand.

  15. If you want your brand to be a huge success, developing a strong relationship with your target audience is a must. Have patience. Let the relationship mature. Frequent communication with your target audience lets them know that you value the relationship. It allows you to get to know them. How can you serve and provide value to your customer if you don’t even know them?

  16. Anyone can copy what you do, but few can copy how you do it.

  17. Often a great USP (unique selling point) says what you do that others are afraid to do.

  18. Most business fail to maximize on their brand touch points. A touch point is simply any form of contact someone has with your brand. It can be an e-mail, conversation with an employee, direct mail piece, commercial, or blog post. Understand that every touch point counts, no matter if it’s big or small.

  19. When your audience sees that you share the same values as they do, you begin to build a level of trust with them.

  20. Nothing creates a stronger bond than an “us versus them” mentality. You want to create a feeling that they are part of a larger “us.” Position your brand and its fans as being against “them.”

  21. If you want someone to be a fan of yours, start by being a fan of theirs. Treat your brand advocates like rock stars—because they are.

  22. Consistency builds confidence with consumers. It shows you are a brand people can rely on. A brand that if they put their trust into, you won’t let them down.

  23. Every element of your business supports your brand or tears it apart. Employees are no exception to that. They represent your brand on and off the clock.

  24. The number one thing you don’t want is for people to be indifferent about your brand.

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