The one about Branding

  • 0
  • January 28, 2013

Episode 101:

  • Joe shares his famous ” Branding = Bullshit ? ” discourse and what it can teach you about making money
  • Dean explains the difference between getting rich and getting famous (and how to turn ‘branding’ into targeted prospects who will give you money)
  • How Apple does effective education based marketing (and Joe gives his insights into why Branding is so pervasively used even though Direct Response is more effective)
  • What you need to do first and foremost before you start thinking about your brand
  • Dean shares the difference between getting your name ‘out there’ versus getting your ideal prospects name ‘in here’
  • How to turn ‘branding’ into ‘positioning’ and ‘engagement’ with the 8 Profit Activators


  • Love this topic… reason being because this is something I had to face time and time again when I first got started with direct response marketing.  Defending yourself while you’re still learning something real new is tough.  This information is powerful stuff!

  • Kevin Deal

    I would never “complain about a blessing” but I have an observation about the Itunes download.

    Observation: Whenever I pause the track it always seems to restart from an earlier point. (never happens with any other podcast I listen to) And the display time is always different from the actual length so it’s harder to find my place again.


  • Travis Tolman

    Love it love it love it!
    What would it take to get a copy of Dean Graziosi’s Infomercial breakdown you mentioned in the beginning?

    -Travis Tolman

  • Kevin, let’s see if Dean can shed some light on this since this is his department for now.  thanks for listening!

  • Travis, that’s what we do in our

  • Yes, every true Direct Response person runs into situations defending their marketing!  It’s sad, but it’s a part of the world of ignorant people that have Opinions based on no evidence as to why they think the way they do.  The best reply is “show me the test results” and then you can share your “opinion”.  Thanks for listening.

  • In case someone want to find out the actual article Joe wrote on Facebook, here it is:

    By the way, I am not sure if this is appropriate to share the link here, please delete this comment if you don’t feel right.

    Thank you.

  • Kevin! I don’t know what that could be. Is this something new? Is it specific to a particular episode? Has it always been happening? 

    We don’t have “tracks” on the podcast. It’s one recording, so there are no markers per se.

  • Bradley Johnson

    Is that ASMR at 30 1/2 minutes??

  • I agree with everything…but there is always an exception.  I am familar with hundreds of companies that build and create brands and then sell them and license them in the licensing world and some have made millions and never did any DR marketing.  Also in the entertainment world, like what I am doing with Cymphonique, and createing a brand around her, again with no DR marketing.  Thanks for teh great content.

  • I’ve already read your letter on Facebook. What else could be the goal, then at least sell stuff? Branding in the last consequence is…. to sell stuff. So what could be a better branding, than sell a product with a proper positioning and get contantly customers? For me direct response is the only true advertising method. We know the customers needs, we know conversion rates. We know how to optimize. Before we sell, we test our campaigns. Direct Response is scientific and with a mathematically accuracy. It’s a business of results.

  • Hey Joe & Dean, I appreciated this episode on branding and the ongoing banter on FB (even though you didn’t show me any love on the podcast! 😉

    You’re still coming at this from a false premise though. The purpose of branding is not to directly generate sales. There’s no such thing as direct-response branding. And pointing to people who do branding wrong as evidence that developing a brand isn’t worth it is misguided, too.

    Great branding isn’t something you do, it’s something you are. It’s the answer to the question, “What’s your purpose?” (And nobody’s purpose is to ‘make money.’ Making money is a result. Just like no one’s purpose is to breathe. Money is the oxygen that allows your business to breathe, but it’s not the purpose of it).

    There is value in things beyond what someone is willing to pay you money for. To borrow the words of the great Gary Vay-ner-chuck, “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

  • !!

  • Joe and Dean, could not agreewith you more, I came from a branding background (franchising) and with that I nearly went broke. Selling what was “different” and not the norm in a niche worked well for me. Thanks Again, love these podcasts!!

  • Daniel Welsch

    Hey guys! Another great episode… I just want to let you know about Santander, which you mention here. It’s one of the biggest banks in the world, and trust me that most people in Europe and Latin America know what it is… They sponsor the Ferrari formula 1 team and they’re all over the place. In the USA they own Sovereign, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.

    I’m learning a lot from your podcasts and I’m really looking out on a very exciting future. This last week I had what is (so far) the biggest payday of my life. Thanks a lot, if you’re ever in Madrid I owe you a dinner.


  • Seriously awesome. Thanks boys.

  • Richard Wilson

    I have listened to every episode of this series and recommended it to many people…but I have to say this is the first episode I squarely disagree with.  

    I have built my 7 figure business on building niche brands using hard work, educational thought leadership and strategies like book writing, conference speaking, blog building, audio interviews, etc.  This is guerrilla brand building, yes I do use copy best practices and try to include direct response techniques in what I do…but our brands are what bring people to me day-after-day.  Literally we try to be everywhere in our niche industries, and blitzkrieg them with thought leadership, and it works well.  Does it really have to be Direct Response vs. Branding? It seems like both area great to use…like Dan Kennedy says the worst number is one, so multiple strategies can help expand a business faster.  In my mind it is like saying direct mail, or internet marketing? Why not both? I started with nothing but an Ikea table in a studio apartment, and through hard work built some valuable brands – and did types of branding that cost nothing…that is my main point here.  Anyways, great podcast overall, just had to share my experience and insight here as being in conflict with the main message of this episode. Love you guys. Richard 

  • Joe, the purpose of the brand is not to be well known, that is called building awareness. Branding serves a whole different function…

    But before I get into that I just want to mention, Joe, that I like that you said it’s not an either/or issue. It’s not either branding or direct response marketing… it’s both, if you want to have effective marketing.

    1. The brand is the personality of the business, so if you want to be consistent in everything you do (not only in what communicate, but in what you look like, and in how you act) then you need a brand. Being consistent gives your clients positive experiences and they buy again in the future.

    2. The brand serves as a guideline to innovation in a business. So if simplicity is one of my brand traits then, we would think “how can we make this simpler?” and everybody would innovate in that direction.

    3. The brand serves as a barometer to measure your success in being consistent. If you get a piece of copy from your copywriter, or a product model from your industrial designer, you can compare it to the brand traits and conclude “yes this is really simple to use!”.

    No. 2 & 3 serve to differentiate and position the company’s products in the marketplace congruent to the brand (and the brand is designed to be what the marketplace needs and wants).

    4. The brand is the first impression to the prospect. For example if the prospect fears everything formal and rigid, then your brand could stand for human and laid back in order to counter that fear.

    Dean, Joe… I just want to say that I understand direct response marketing, mostly from following you guys for such a long time, and I love you for what you are doing, and I encourage everybody to look into brand building because it has an indirect but major effect on sales.

  • I have a question. How do you guys deal with “scam” complaints? 

    I mean we have a legit and really helpful product. We get constant flood of testimonials from the users. But recently, as we started to grow leaps-and-bounds, “scam” complaints began to pop-up on the google searches. And that’s not because we didn’t give them refund (we ALWAYS do). No, not at all…

    What’s interesting those posts are 99% of the time made by someone who even HAVEN’T TRIED the product. It’s as if they make conclusions about the product simply by reading the sales letter.

    I noticed Dean Graziosi has the same problem: tons of scam complaints, even though he’s a legit guy.

    So how do you deal with this? Or do you simply ignore it?

  • RichardJacobs

    Joe, after listening to you and Dean, I FIGURED IT OUT. Branding is what a business’ customers have decided is the experience that business gives them when they buy its product or use its service. THEREFORE, you can’t brand yourself unless you sell stuff or provide a service to a whole bunch of customers… and how do you get people to buy your glop or use your service? Through DIRECT MARKETING!!!

    Now I know why Branding = Complete and Utter B*llSh*t. You can’t “brand” yourself – only customers can do it for you, and only after they buy from you.

    Branding is like asking someone to write you a testimonial before the even buy from you.


  • Adam Bean

    As Blondie said… “I’ll keep the money, they can have the fame” The point you make about it is more important for you to know your prospects name than it is for them to know yours is huge! That alone could save most business owners thousands of dollars a year just by following that simple piece of advice.

    Cheers Beanie

  • I believe that a brand is an asset but not a selling argument in the same way a tractor can be an asset but also not a selling argument. I believe that a brand is not a big priority in a marketing plan but it is a strategy in itself that may help such as in the Facebook brand. At least a good brand is a guarantee of quality… however this is an overused argument that have lost most of its selling power. So now it is a beacon of a system of predictability in the market so you can expect the same kind of pizza in a Domino’s in Texas as in NY as in Vegas. So it’s also at least a guarantee of consistency (however keep in mind the kind of business where it’s best used).

    Again, a brand doesn’t sell by itself but it helps at least support an image argument and it’s good to be paired with a strong selling proposition. Even Dan Kennedy continues to use the Domino’s example as a very successful strategy for that kind of business. The big mistake many companies make is to haul the brand as THE selling argument. This mistake often leads sales people to trust that the brand itself does the selling job so they slack off in a well defined marketing/selling process trusting it does all the job by itself. I’ve seen that’s the cancer of the automobile industry. The sales people kind of believe that the cars sells by themselves now… they have said to me “Just look at it, it’s amazing! What color do you want yours?”

  • Planet Excellent

    I just found your podcast through Tim Conley at Foolish Adventure. I’m not even all the way through #101, and I’m hooked.

    I agree with you that too many people think that “improving their brand” means “increasing the number of people who buy from us.”  They think brand = awareness = business.

    It’s only important that customers are aware of your company AT THE MOMENT THEY NEED YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE.  If you’re a plumber, you don’t need everyone in town to know you’re a plumber in the area every day of the year; only at the moment they need a plumber. So “building a brand” for a plumber is kind of a waste I think.

    For some companies, it’s different.  They know that, at any given moment, everyone is going to need something to eat or drink in the next few hours. So spending millions to keep everyone constantly aware of your restaurant, potato chip, or soft drink is worthwhile — because they want to be in your head at the moment you need their product, which is essentially all the time. 

  • Dean & Joe,
    I’m going back in time here, but this is the first episode I heard from you guys when I started listening a few weeks ago. I’ve since gone back and started at episode #1 while also listening to your current shows as they come out. I really like what I’ve heard so far and it has got me thinking about ways to use education based marketing for my real estate business.

    As far as branding goes – I too think it’s BS. If it wasn’t, then wouldn’t I have known who you guys were before I listened to your podcast? Anyway, keep the content coming.

  • Tim Friday

    I just listened to this episode last week then heard about Dan Kennedy’s new book “No BS Guide to Brand Building.” What is your opinion on Dan’s book on this subject?

  • Glen Campbell

    Hi Joe & Dean…this is such a great topic and one that gets a great deal of attention because so few people really understand it, but know it’s important.

    I have been in the business of building brands for over 30 years now and with the biggest part of that time working in agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO and Leo Burnet across 4 continents.

    Like many I thought building a brand was all about creating expensive sexy ad campaigns and running them with massive media budgets.


    It took me about 17 years to work out that was just about awareness, and awareness is not branding, it is creating a perception or image that you are a brand. As we know there are many out there that do that very well only to create massive disappointment once the customer engages.

    Being a brand is not about doing big ad campaigns, its not about plastering your logo consistently everywhere, being consistent with your font or colour palette. Its also not about having a huge number of transactions. There are many telcos and banks out there that are doing huge turnover but are not brands. How can they be when interacting with them creates frustration, disappointment and even anger.

    So what is a brand? My view is this…


    Brands are visionary and have clarity of purpose and have leaders that are able to create cultures equipped to keep their promises.

    Brands are also clear about their values and never compromise them.

    Brands while being well differentiated are consistent yet fresh – they meaningfully innovate and provide outstanding products and services that add value to the lives of their customers.

    Brands surprise people with value that they didn’t ask for.

    Brands emotionally connect with people in a way that is genuine and evokes trust.

    Brands are all about keeping their promises consistently and treating people with respect.

    That’s why brands are rare! That’s why they are valuable, sell more at a higher margin and endure. And that’s why people seek them out, deeply emotionally connect, pay more and stay loyal.

    Being a brand is not easy. Creating outstanding products that are different, meaningful and relevant isn’t easy. Knowing and connecting, really connecting with your customer isn’t easy. Keeping promises every time isn’t easy.

    That’s why there are so many transactional commodity traders out there endlessly flogging more stuff to people who quite frankly can’t stand the experience yet put up with it because there’s nothing better.

    When was the last time you saw the No1 brand on the planet have a sale, offer discounts, or offer finance terms. Apple does not do this…that’s why the value of its brand alone is $246.9B.

    A person can be a brand, a corner store can be a brand, a small business can be a brand. Yet most are just too busy taking short cuts to make as much money as possible. That just makes them another business to be avoided or tolerated.

    Hope that helps the discussion and evokes more conversation.