There’s nothing more frustrating to me than a marketing manager who quotes the Jeff Bezos definition of “brand”.
A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
I’ve got news for you mate, no one is talking about your brand. I don’t care how big you are, how many tracker indexes you’re listed on, how big your board is or how much money you’ve raised. People aren’t talking about your brand.
To quote another celebrity. You’re not as famous as you think you are (Chris Rock – and Gary Vee said something similar).
A large number of big businesses (anyone with over 250 employees) seem to have a massively inflated ego when it comes to their brand. First, they think that everyone knows who they are. Even Elvis has people who don’t know who he is.
Second, they believe that people are sat at home, in their free time, talking about their business. Families who use their microwave every single day, don’t talk about that microwave brand. You’re not nearly as famous as you think you are.
The arrogance to believe that a family sat around at home is talking about your brand is staggering. Everyone is apathetic about you and your brand, unless you can help them at that very specific point.
Do people have favourite brands? Of course! And yes, in some situations they’ll talk about you non-stop. But the point isn’t “have you found an evangelical fan who raves about you?” The point is that even people that use large brands like Samsung, Apple, Coca-Cola and Google aren’t talking about how great or bad you are to their family. They’re talking about stuff that matters.
The reason it’s frustrating to me that large corporate businesses don’t understand the concept of a brand or their brand, is that smaller businesses try to follow their lead.
As small businesses, we believe that big businesses know what they’re doing. We think that we can’t compete with bigger companies, because surely they have teams of people that know what they’re doing?
Akira: We learn karate, so that we need never use it.
Bart: Um, excuse me, sir. I already know how not to hit a guy.
What I’m saying, is that if you want to compete with the big guys, you know how to do that already. You don’t need to spend millions on advertising. You don’t need huge press conferences or global events.
You just need to deliver on your customers expectations again and again. Seriously, it’s that simple. Just do good work, be a reliable supplier and deliver on their expectations again and again.
“OVER deliver Mike. You have to OVER deliver on expectations.” That sounds like typical corporate marketing bullshit to me. Over-delivering on expectation is a wonderful idea. If you can do it again and again and again, then of course, do that. But I can assure you that the strongest relationship you can build with a customer, is one of consistency.
Most people can’t over-deliver time after time. Most businesses love to wax lyrical about exceeding customer expectations. It’s easy to be romantic with flowers and charm when you start dating someone. True romance is keeping fuel in the car and being dependable when someone needs you after 10 years.
Neo: What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge bullets?
Morpheus: No, Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.
Don’t build brand that some jumped up marketing manager who’s paid 6 figures, who hires a team of wanky branding specialists for 10x that amount, could come up with.
Don’t worry about your logo, your font, your image. None of that shit matters. Brand matters, I really do believe that. I believe that people who see Mike Killen written on something, who already know me, know it’s going to have energy in it. But a brand isn’t built on what other’s say about me or you. It’s about what you want to be known for.
If you want to be known for anything, you better be happy to do it 1000 times for free before you’re recognised as “that person who does the thing”.
In this YouTube video, I’ve talked about seven other massive marketing mistakes that corporate businesses commit. Recognise any of them?
7 marketing mistakes big corporate businesses make.