13 Aug August 14, 2019 – SWAG Branding Rachel Wilson Thibodeaux, Mgmt Mess Scott Miller and Thriller David Bruns
Your brand is how others see you and what they think about, so I absolutely believe you can be a one person, two person, or three person business, and you absolutely have a brand.
Rachel Wilson Thibodeaux spent 17 years working in sales, consulting, and relationship and asset management for corporate America before jumping off the entrepreneurial cliff. Now she is an award-winning speaker who uses her ‘Brand. Sell. Profit.’ technique to help business owners clarify their brand and market their content effectively. As a Strategic Women Achieve Growth (SWAG) strategist, she works as a coach and consultant to help brands crystallize their identity and maximize each opportunity to increase profits. She is the author of two books, Destination Greatness: A Guide to Stepping Out of Your Uncomfortable Comfort Zone, and Brand Sell Profit: Slay Your Brand, Sell Like a Champ, and Profit Like a Boss!
Scott Miller – EVP of Thought Leadership at FranklinCovey, Podcast Host, Writer for Inc. magazine and Author of Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow
Great leaders, leaders that are moving from mess to success, don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. Instead of being the genius, they are the genius maker. They are humble enough to know that their job is to draw out the talent in other people.
Scott Miller has been with FranklinCovey for more than twenty years. After many years as their Chief Marketing Officer, he now serves as their Executive Vice President of Thought Leadership, where he expands the reach of FranklinCovey’s renowned speakers and authors, and is responsible for the company’s speakers bureau, book and media publishing, public relations, and more. He hosts two radio shows. One is Great Life, Great Career with Scott Miller on iHeart Media’s KNRS 105.9, a weekly program. He also hosts On Leadership with Scott Miller, a weekly webcast, podcast, and newsletter on leadership featuring interviews with some of the biggest names is business. He is a leadership columnist for Inc. magazine, and the author of Author of Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, an entertaining and enlightening book featuring thirty actionable tips, along with stories to drive the points home.
David Bruns began his career as a commissioned officer in the US Navy, battling Russians from a nuclear-powered submarine in the Atlantic Ocean. He saw the conflict through, only leaving the Navy when the USSR collapsed. He then spent two decades as an itinerant executive in the high-tech sector of the corporate world, including one stint with a Silicon Valley startup. After experiencing the violence of war and the cutthroat world of cutting edge business, David transitioned to writing fiction. He wrote the Dream Guild Chronicles and INVINCIBLE independently, and co-authored many others. He also writes short fiction that’s been featured in Compelling Science Fiction, Beyond the Stars, and Future Chronicles. Being a writer sounds like a radically different path, but David has been astounded by the similarities to his previous career. He continues to have a production schedule, worries about cash flow, and invests plenty of time marketing his product to current and future readers.
Highlights from Rachel’s Interview
SWAG is an acronym. I like to say I occasionally give a few free things, but not that often. SWAG is also an acronym that stands for Strategic Women Achieve Growth.
A strategic woman is me. I’m an example of that. I’m very big on strategy. That’s why it’s infused throughout my business. Because I think it’s really important, especially as an entrepreneur, to have some kind of plan. It doesn’t have to be… you don’t have to have all the I’s dotted, the T’s crossed, but you need to have an idea. You need to have a blueprint of where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there.
I’m kind of a rebel when it comes to business plans, and it’s not to discount them. I think there is a time for business plans. For example, if you are seeking investors, if you’re seeking outside funding, you should be prepared to have a business plan. I have never had a ‘formal’ ‘traditional’ business plan, but I do think it’s critical. I’m big on marketing plans, because I think you need to be able to market your business. Before you can talk about SWOT analysis and some of the other stuff that tends to go into business plans that in my opinion are not always as helpful.
Your marketing plan should have a few key things. And I say a few, if you were to Google marketing plan, you come up with all this stuff. And some of the plans would be a bit complex, but I think they’re a few key things that a marketing plan needs. For one, you need to know, what are you selling? What is your product or service? To some, that may seem overly simple, but you’d be surprised, sometimes people don’t really get clear about what it is they’re offering, so that needs to be specified. Then the audience is very important, your target audience, your dream or ideal client. An ideal client is kind of overused, but for lack of a better term, you do need to get to know your person, the group. I really like to look at it as one person who you really want to work with. You need to identify what that looks like, who that looks like. Then how you’re going to go about marketing, there’s a ton of ways to market. All of those ways are not always effective. So in knowing your product, knowing your product or service, knowing your audience, that helps determine the best ways to go about marketing.
It depends on where the business is. For a lot of business owners, especially as we’re talking solo printers, boots, trappers, they don’t always have the larger budget for marketing. I will say you should have a budget, it helps to have some money allocated toward marketing. But in the event that you have little, there are certainly ways to market that are low cost to no cost. Social media is one. An online strategy in general, I think that needs to be a part of your plan. There are ways to market without paid advertising, but do I think paid advertising shouldn’t be a part of your marketing plan? Certainly not, if you can afford it, it certainly helps.
My book is really about starting with your mindset. Again, I know some of these terms are almost cliché, but there really is something to that. You need to know, a lot of times we need to get out of our own way. That is a strategy, or that can be a strategy within itself, because you have to recognize when that’s happening. Destination Greatness is about realizing, to really get to where you want to go, particularly in business, it requires you to get out of your comfort zone, which is really not as comfortable as many people think.
I work with men as well, women just make up the bulk of my audience, but I absolutely work with men. I enjoy working with men. But I think everyone, especially in terms of business, needs some strategy in their life.
I am very big on the brand being the foundation of a successful business. When you think of major brands out there, and brands that are beloved—and I know everyone may not love them—but whether we’re talking Apple, whether we’re talking Facebook, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Coca Cola, the tried and true brand businesses, it tends to start with the brand. And the brand is more about what people think about. The famous quote from Jeff Bezos, this is one of my favorite quotes, is, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” I think that’s very accurate. It’s not all about your website, your logos, your business cards. I think that’s the external aspect of a brand. That’s how I think of it. The brand is more internal, the brand is about expectation, it’s about a promise, it’s about what really resonates with people when they think about your brand and experience it. I think that’s very key. And when I think when that is solid, when that’s clear, and compelling, that makes the other stuff easier. It makes your marketing easier, it makes your selling easier, because you’re resonating more with your target market. It’s more likely that they’re going to be like, they can’t get enough of your brand. You don’t typically have to work as hard on the other stuff.
You can be a one person brand, because it’s really about how others see you, it’s not all about you, it’s how others see you, and what they think about you. So I absolutely believe you can be one person, you can be two people, you can be a three person business, and you absolutely have a brand. Either you’re going to build that brand, either you’re going to be proactive about that brand, or the marketplace will assign a brand to you.
All right, first step of the process, other people knowing your brand, or believing that there is a brand, that’s powerful, because you need the customers, the clients, you need an audience to drive your business. I think it starts with you as the business owner. I’m kind of old school in that regard. I really liked the idea of writing things down, get a notebook, get a journal; you can be more high tech if you prefer. But write down what you think your brand is, write down the best attributes of your brand, but also absolutely talk to your audience. Talk to your existing clients, talk to former clients, talk to anyone who’s really interacted with you or with your brand or nonbrand, if you will. That includes social media followers, but absolutely get feedback from them and ask them what they think your brand is about. That’s very important.
I think there’s a connection, and that’s why I titled my book that. Between your brand, your marketing, the sales, and profit, because at the end of the day, profit does matter. We’ve heard stories of companies that have been in existence for a number of years without profit, and then we see—at least in most cases, there’s exceptions—but usually what happens with those companies, they’re not around long term. I think your brand, your marketing, we can even get into operations and other aspects of a business, but it should be driving profit. I think after a while, it gets very difficult to run a business and sustain a business without profit. I think with entrepreneurs, that always needs to be in your mind, and probably in the forefront of your mind, but certainly in your mind. I say that because I’ve come across business owners where that’s not always the case. ‘Specially with some, and I don’t want to beat up or offend any creatives because for one, I am a creative, but I also spent a number of years in financial services. So I come from both angles. But I have come across some creatives that are just like, “I just love what I do. I’m passionate.” Passion, we may feel the same way about that. I think it’s overrated. But there’s this whole thing about, “I just love it. And I feel it, and I just want to make people happy.” But, I mean, you’re in business. Those are byproducts. If you can achieve those things, that’s great. But your business needs revenue, there is a bottom line. That bottom line, it is a real thing.
I don’t even think it’s selfish to take care of yourself first. I suppose at one time I did. But I also think it depends on how you’re looking at it. It goes back to the whole example with… when you’re flying, and if something happens, you need to put on your air mask before you attempt to help someone else or even your children. Because you need to be healthy and whole before you can really give your best to anyone else. I think that applies in in business as well. So it depends on how you look at it. I don’t think it’s selfish. I think it’s smart.
At the risk of sounding cliche, but it’s probably true. My dream client is probably Oprah. And I’ve thought about this, what I would like to do with Oprah is to create a curriculum based on my book for her girl school in in Africa.
I don’t think entrepreneurship is the only way. I think it is a great way, and I also think you can be entrepreneurial without actually being an entrepreneur, and that can still benefit you. You can take an entrepreneurial approach while working within an organization or working for someone else. And I think that can that can still benefit you greatly, so I would love to teach those skills or that skill in particular, being entrepreneurial. And what that looks like to that group of girls or to a number of girls.
You can find out more about me at my website, which is SwagStrategy.com. I also hang out a lot on my two favorite social media platforms which are Instagram and LinkedIn. On Instagram you can find me at Rachel.TheSwagStrategist. And I’m on LinkedIn, Rachel Wilson Thibodeaux, which I know was a mouthful. But yeah.