Today, I’ll cover the basics of branding – why it is important and how you can be an educator by building a helpful brand.

There’s a misconception when it comes to my views on branding as a marketing tool. Those around me think that “branding is useless” is my marketing creed. Which is far from the truth.

First, let’s make this clear: branding for products sold directly to the customer is different from branding for products that are sold via retail.

Branding for retail products opens the door for more creativity since there are many other factors that influence the prospect into buying (product placement in the store, packaging, etc.).

When it comes to direct selling, branding plays a huge part. Especially now when prospects are smarter and more skeptical than ever.

Therefore, an effective branding strategy can ease the buying process for your prospects.

With that being said, I do think branding is useless when it’s used as a selling tool.

It’s Not About Building a Brand; It’s About Building an Effective Brand

The most important thing I’ve learned from copywriting master Bob Bly is that “cute and funny” doesn’t sell. Like I’ve mentioned before, it can win awards for agencies, but it rarely sells goods for businesses.

And when it comes to branding, most companies want to build theirs as “the cool” or “the hip” or “the funny”. I tell my clients those branding tactics are a big waste of time and resources.

To me, instead of building a cool brand, I’d rather build a helpful brand. It’s more effective and pays more dividends for a business to be helpful and an industry leader over a business that is known for its sense of humor. Or lack thereof.

Instead of aiming to be an entertainer, your marketing should aim to be an educator.

Think about it like this: remember that guy who used to hang around your posse when you were in college and didn’t really give anything to your life other than a sophomore joke here and there? Can you honestly tell me what he’s up to without looking at their Facebook profile? I bet you don’t.

Do you know why? Because once you heard all the jokes you needed/wanted to hear, you simply kicked them to the curve. And you seldom talk to them now.

On the other hand, I bet you anything you constantly talk to those who were helpful to you during those college years. Those you learned from and learned a lot from you – those are the ones you keep close to the chest. Because they help solve everyday problems and are leaders in some capacity.

The same way goes for branding in direct response marketing. “Cool” and “hip” brands are those who you remember until you get tired of them – because other than a product, they don’t bring any more value to your life.

“Helpful” brands are the ones that stick around because they constantly offer value to the customer.

Start Building a Helpful Brand

Building a helpful brand pays more dividends for direct marketers. Click To Tweet

Here are a few ideas you can use to build yourself (or your business) as a helpful entity:

  • How-to articles: teach your prospects how to use your goods properly. Or give them creative ideas on how to use them.
  • “Ask the expert” videos: Get industry leaders together and have them answer the questions that keep your customers awake.
  • Case studies: know of someone famous who has used what you offer and has a story to tell? Contact them right away and let them tell their story to your target audience.
  • Beginner’s guides: Go for a quick 101 course for people to know how to use your products or services correctly.

Be an Educator

Be creative with how you present your brand. Yes, you can be entertaining (no one likes boring content), but that is not the priority of your strategy. Just remember, if you bring in true value to your target audience, your branding strategies will be successful.

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