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Billion-Dollar Branding: Brand Your Small Business Like a Big Business and Great Things Happen

Billion-Dollar Branding: Brand Your Small Business Like a Big Business and Great Things Happen

by Honey Parker, Blaine Parker
Billion-Dollar Branding: Brand Your Small Business Like a Big Business and Great Things Happen

Billion-Dollar Branding: Brand Your Small Business Like a Big Business and Great Things Happen

by Honey Parker, Blaine Parker


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Go ahead. Ask 10 people what branding is. You’ll get 10 different answers. Mainly, those answers will be about things like logos, colors, fonts, jingles, or ads. The only apparent truth: Branding is the single most misunderstood concept in American marketing.
But for the businesses who understand brand, life becomes much easier—and much more profitable.
If you have a business and think your business has a brand, "Billion-Dollar Branding" will make you think again. "Billion-Dollar Branding" will shake the very foundations of everything you thought you knew about branding, rattle it around, and dump it down in front of you to be reassembled into the basis for pulverizing your competition.
Or, at the very least, make it easier to advertise your business, win friends, and influence prospects.
No matter the size of your business, whether there’s one employee or one hundred, "Billion-Dollar Branding" has down-to-earth, actionable advice for your marketing. Drawing from examples as wide ranging as McDonald’s and Motel 6, Andrew Dice Clay and Jeff Foxworthy, Denny’s and the Disney Concert Hall, and various small businesses you’ve never heard of, "Billion-Dollar Branding" gets down to the business of branding—and offers a few laughs along the way. (Besides being career advertising professionals, both the authors have competed in the business of stand-up comedy. It’s sometimes difficult to get them to behave.)
No matter what kind of advertising you do for your business, whether you’re a social media maniac or a hard-core, dyed-in-the-wool Direct Response fiend, or you insert a homemade flyer into your local paper once a month, "Billion-Dollar Branding" wants you to find your juicy center.
Get this book. Get branding. Get more business. Or don’t. The choice is yours.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614482727
Publisher: Morgan James Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Honey Parker has spent her career as an Art Director, Copywriter and Creative Director for just about every big advertising agency you can name. She was a Vice President at the iconic Grey Advertising in New York before becoming an in-demand gun-for-hire on both coasts. Honey has worked on such big brands as Honda, Acura, Lexus, Parker Bros., DirecTV, UNICEF, Hotwire, Yoo-Hoo and Partnership For A Drug-Free America.
Blaine Parker is a national-award-winning copywriter who has spent much of his life toiling in small business obscurity—and loving it. A former Creative Director for the Salem Communications radio network in Los Angeles, Blaine has spent much of his career bringing big-advertising sensibilities to small business marketing. He is also a voiceover performer who can be heard on radio and TV commercials for brands of all sizes from New York To California.

Read an Excerpt



What the hell IS brand, anyway?

Few know.

But everyone thinks they know.

What does everyone think they know?

Just ask around.

"Brand is a logo."

"I've branded my business with this color."

"In order to make sure my advertising is always branded, we use these five fonts and we say, "Bob's Miniature Widgets — for all your Miniature Widget needs."

"I've branded myself with this jingle. It's the music from 'Happy Birthday,' but the words are about linoleum."

"We branded this TV commercial harder by making the logo an inch and a half bigger than before."

Seriously. This is what many people think brand is all about.

And it's not like small business advertisers have a corner on this market.

Yes, the "Bob's Miniature Widget" example actually comes from things Blaine has heard small business advertisers say repeatedly.

But the notion of branding "harder" by making the logo bigger is the kind of thing Honey has heard marketing executives say when working on huge national advertising campaigns. Even when told that's not "branding harder," they say, "No, no, I know, but can you do it anyway?"

No matter the size of the business or the experience of the people involved, the definition of brand remains elusive.

It's like the blind men who are explaining what an elephant looks like — yet each of them is doing so by feeling only one part of the elephant. Everyone has some vague idea about a tiny piece of the branding puzzle, but they don't understand its integration into the whole. And brand is a whole. It's the sum of much smaller, well thought-out parts with a very specific goal.

As everyone knows, "If it's on Wikipedia, it must be true." Accordingly, Wikipedia comes a bit closer to getting the definition of brand right by saying that branding is "the identity of a specific product, service, or business."

And while that definition is a major step in the right direction, that's still not quite correct.

Clinically, it's accurate.

But customers aren't clinicians.

And your brand is aimed at your customers.

Which means that, like everything else about your marketing, a brand should be about your customers.

And if you know your Sales Philosophy 101, you know that customers do not make buying decisions intellectually. They make their buying decisions emotionally.

Once their emotions are triggered, they will use their intellect to justify the purchase. Human beings can justify almost anything if they want to. You just need to make them want to. (Within reason, of course. We're talking about keeping it all legal and ethical here.)

So, your customers need to be engaged emotionally.

Your customers need to feel something.

Therefore, if we follow the notion of brand to its logical conclusion, a brand is one thing and one thing only.

Your brand is the one way you want customers to feel about your business.

That's so significant, it bears repeating.

Your brand is the one way you want customers to feel about your business.

What do you think?

All the jingles, logos, taglines, colors, fonts, slow-motion kids with puppies playing in sprinklers, high-energy montages of tight-bodied athletes crossing the finish line, double-entendre headlines that are just a bit naughty — they all need to feed into the one way you want customers to feel about your business.

Is that tickling something back there in your marketing nether regions?

Does it make any sense to your gray matter?

Do we need to pull you out of the deep end of the pool and start again back at the splash pad?

Let's take a visit through the Land O' Brand.

Let's look at what makes a brand work, some stellar examples of brand, break down why they've been so successful, and figure out how to apply the concept of brand to your own business.

Then, at some point in our journey we'll discuss how you get to your logo, color, font, jingle, tagline, t-shirt, mug, bobble-head dolls, etcetera. Until then ...

Get ready.

Tuck away any loose clothing and long hair, strap in and hang on. It's going to be a wild ride like Mr. Toad never imagined ...


* Brand is not a color, a logo, a font or any other technical detail about a company's image.

* Branding "harder" is not about making a logo bigger, saying the name more often, or repeating some lame, meaningless phrase.

* Branding is defining your company's personality in a way that makes the customer feel something significant about the business.

* Emotions are key. People might justify a purchase intellectually — but they first decide to buy emotionally. So it is with your brand.


It's possible you already consider your business to be branded. How do you define your business's brand? Does it hold water relative to the points mentioned above?



Brand is the single most misunderstood concept in marketing.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, chances are pretty good that you have some opinion of what brand is — and it's probably wrong.

Even Blaine's mother, a retired successful business woman with an entrepreneurial streak, challenges our definition of brand because she believes her answer is right.

She believes a brand is the physical act of stamping a logo on something.

Sorry, Mom.

Now, if she meant that your brand is the act of stamping the feeling of your business into someone's psyche, she's not that far off. But you and I both know that's not what she meant.

She is also typical.

Folks, this is non-negotiable.

Brand is one thing and one thing only.

Brand is the one way you want customers to feel about your business.

And we can prove it.

How can we be so certain?

For one, we can document our assertions, which we are about to do.

For another, all kinds of people, from sole proprietors to actual, experienced marketing executives, have approached us after seeing our assertions and the supporting evidence, and said:

"I've never heard it put that succinctly."

"That's the most actionable assertion of brand I've ever come across."

"Here, have a cookie."

"Holy cow!"

Things like that.

Having the sole proprietors say this isn't too surprising. After all, they usually didn't go to school for this. They have professions like photography and massage therapy and diabetes counseling. They are specialists who know their specialty. They are not marketing professionals.

The marketing professionals, on the other hand, often find their heads spinning around. They say things like, "Wow! In the 20 years I've been doing this, nobody has ever made it so clear!"

And that's not surprising, either.

Because branding ultimately is a very simple, uncomplicated concept.

And like so many very simple, uncomplicated concepts, it takes an enormously long time to discover and master.

Possibly the only thing more difficult than defining the concept of branding is actually building a brand.

It's a bit like architecture.

It's easy to say, "Architecture is the science of designing and erecting buildings."

But actually doing it is not easy. It's incredibly complex.

It takes years of schooling and additional years of practice before one can be licensed as an architect.

And once you get there, it doesn't mean you're ever going to be a brilliant architect.

After all, look at all the truly hideous buildings out there. Or the ones that simply have no distinguishing characteristics.

What does a Frank Gehry or a Frank Lloyd Wright or an I.M. Pei have that a guy who should be designing strip malls, Trenton subdivisions and many of our great nation's slaughterhouses doesn't have?

Why do you look at a Frank Lloyd Wright home and go, "Holy Mother of Pearl!" And then, why can you look at the house next to it and say, "So what?" Or worse, "Egad."

Here's a crazy guess: the good ones, the Wrights and the Peis and the Gehrys, are different because they know something.

They know a building is not about the materials or the square footage or the piece of land it's going on.

It's not about all the individual pieces, although quality matters.

They know a building is about the people who are going to use it.

People with heart, hope, and desire.

Suddenly, that changes everything about what architecture is.

Look at Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall, possibly one of the most celebrated works of contemporary architecture. Most theaters or concert halls, no matter how ornate and gussied up they may appear, are essentially a box that houses a stage.

The Disney Concert Hall is nothing like a box.

It's a series of soaring, complex curves that immediately captures your heart much in the way a great musical performance does.

Forgive this if it sounds somewhat simplistic, but people go there to be stirred. And their emotions are stirred before they ever enter the building.

You see the structure and you are instantly engaged by it. It's intensely difficult to see it and NOT feel something. The entire building is about the people who are going to use it: the musicians and the music lovers whose fascination defies convention.

After all, you can explain the technical aspects of music all day long — but technical details are no substitute for actually experiencing the music.

Moreover, you don't need to know anything about musical technique to be affected by it. All you need to do is hear it and feel it.

The Disney Concert Hall is the architectural equivalent of a soaring and complex song. Love it or hate it, it makes you feel something — and it is designed expressly for that purpose: to make you feel something distinct.

And it was done very calculatingly by an architect.

With that in mind, no longer is architecture merely "the science of designing and erecting buildings."

Suddenly, architecture is the art of connecting a building's design with both function and emotion.

Yes, it involves a lot of science and technical design principles.

It also involves doors and windows and walls and roofs. The pieces.

But even you can go out in your yard, erect some mud walls and a thatched roof and call it a building.

That doesn't make it architecture any more than a beaver dam is architecture.

Similarly, any business owner can go out and have an internet-based graphic designer slap together a logo for 50 bucks and call it a "brand."

That's brand about as much as your mud hut is architecture.

The few businesses that dominate the marketplace, that make their owners wealthy, that are top of mind for the consumers in their target demographic, they are the ones living in the Disney Concert Hall.

The vast majority of businesses are living in mud huts.


Because they don't understand brand as anything other than parts.

To truly have a brand requires understanding what the parts, including the ones you can't see, actually do to people.

Brand is not a logo, a font, a color or a jingle.

Brand is the one way you want people to feel about your business.


Ah, yes. That old bugaboo.

The one that's perpetrated by various practitioners of direct response advertising.

The one that says, "Brand advertising is a waste of time and money. What you need to do is direct response advertising with an offer and a call to action."



So, if you have a strong brand, and that brand permeates all of your direct response efforts, that's not going to give you a leg up on a DR advertiser with no brand?

Here and now, we are going to do something that will seem unusual.

It will seem unusual because we, after all, are specialists in small business marketing.

And small business marketing specialists love to thrash big advertising agencies.

"They don't know what they're doing!"

That, my friends, is a load of crap.

Plenty of big advertising agencies know exactly what they're doing.

That's how some huge advertising agencies have helped create some high-tonnage gorillas of brand.

We'll be discussing a few of those brand gorillas later on.

For the moment, though, we need to dispel the notion that big agencies are clueless and brand advertising is irrelevant.

Many, many big agencies do brand quite well.

If you happen to see lousy brand advertising out there, there's a chance one of two things has happened.

One, the big agency really is clueless.

Or two, and more likely, the advertiser is unmanageable.

Ah, yes. The advertiser.

The party known as the agency's "client."

Blaine has spent about two decades working with small businesses and creating their advertising.

Honey has spent about two decades working with big agencies, creating advertising for big businesses.

Here now, the common denominator between those two worlds, which also happens to be a primary stumbling block to creating good advertising: the client.

There are plenty of clients who let good advertising happen.

Unfortunately, there are also clients who refuse to let good advertising happen.

They will stand in the way of everything that comes down the pike.

They become a de facto Advertising Prevention Department.

At some point, the agency has no choice but to do exactly what that client wants, regardless of how wrong it might be.

That is where so much lousy advertising grows from.

The problem is not big agencies.

The problem is the same as it has always been since the beginning of time.

The problem is people.

People come pre-packaged with fear & ego. Fear & ego are the two biggest killers of quality, clarity and effectiveness.

In fact, most writers and art directors in big ad agencies have a file somewhere in their office filled with great ads that were never produced. Solid, quality work that never got to see the light of day — usually because the client was (a) afraid or (b) had "a better idea." There are even award competitions for these ads. (In fact, Blaine has a radio commercial for women's underwear that won a Silver Microphone Award for "Best Spot That Never Made It To Air." It scared a lot of people around the radio station. The client said, "It's not edgy enough." Fear, meet ego.)

When a Hollywood star burns through ten personal assistants in five years, it's safe to assume the celebrity is an unmanageable ass who makes life a living hell for these people. We are much less likely to blame the employee than we are to blame the employer.

But there's a noted brand of imported beer that's had six different ad agencies in the last five years. And a lot of folks we know are happy to heap the blame on those six ad agencies.

"They don't know what they're doing!"

"They're full of people with no appreciation for what it takes to create effective advertising!"


Seems unlikely.

It seems there's a problem, and it isn't necessarily with the six agencies that got fired. It's more likely with a demanding, unmanageable employer who can't get out of his own way and let the magic happen.

So, when you see lousy brand advertising and you can't figure out who the hell thought of that and why they ever thought it would work, blaming the advertising agency is easy.

And it may even be an accurate assessment.

But the blame may really lie with the client.

So, don't always shoot the messenger.

Next question: Can the good stuff, the branding that works, be pulled into your direct response advertising? Answer: Of course it can — and should.

Moreover, when you see direct response advertising for a really, really big brand, here's a virtual guarantee: the client is really smart — which means he gets out of the agency's way — and the agency really knows what they're doing.

Integrating potent brand with evocative DR is a priceless skill. It means the difference between just asking for a response and actually giving people an emotional reason to respond.

One of the simplest, most high-profile examples of this was the Denny's free Grand Slam breakfast. For a couple of years, it was advertised in the Super Bowl for the following Tuesday. Show up at Denny's between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., and your breakfast is on the house.

This is a solid brand (America's diner), an exciting offer (a free meal), and a simple call to action (be there between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.).

In a million years, would you ever actually think of that as DR advertising?

Probably not.

The notion of DR as so many of us understand it is practically invisible in this promotion.

But that's exactly what it is: DR.

And it may be one of the most wildly successful direct response advertisements of all time.

Moreover, the branding is a key component of this effort.

This is "America's Diner" feeding its people. Americans all over America. If Denny's didn't have a solid brand, this wouldn't work.

Since people know who Denny's is, since Denny's has spent years and untold amounts of money promoting the Grand Slam Breakfast, giving it away is a no brainer.

And the effort is also highly profitable.

Forgetting the fact that anyone who gets that free breakfast is probably also going to want a beverage (probably the most profitable section of the menu), the millions of dollars in free advertising (TV news coverage and word of mouth) is going to pay off in a big way. And, of course, they're counting on a certain percentage of repeat business from those freebie customers. Ultimately, this is all an effort to help Denny's be top-of-mind for hungry diners.


Excerpted from "Billion-Dollar Branding"
by .
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Really Important Note,
Chapter 1 The Problem With Brand,
Chapter 2 What Is Brand Really?,
Chapter 3 The Shining Brand On The Hill,
Chapter 4 The Sound Of A One-Man Brand Laughing All The Way To The Bank,
Chapter 5 The Power Of One,
Chapter 6 Brand, Rinse, Repeat,
Chapter 7 Putting A Fire In The Small Business Brand,
Chapter 8 Brand: Hard Work, Fear & Loathing,
Chapter 9 Brand: To Thine Own Self Be True,
Chapter 10 Who's Buying You?,
Chapter 11 Fear And Joy At The Intersection Of Your Brand,
Chapter 12 Once Upon A Brand,
Chapter 13 From Defining To Refining,
Free Stuff,

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