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Communicating Credibility

Demystifying Your Brand Message

When you show up that's your brand Felicia SlatteryA brand is a simple thing, but because we can’t put our hands on it or hold something tangible up to show what a brand looks like, it’s a bit mysterious. And to the small or solo business owner can feel all too much like a weird waste of time. That unfortunately leads too many people to ignore their brand and go about doing the work of their business.

In fact, there are a number of famous marketing consultants and speakers who will tell you to forget about working on your brand and just figure out what you’re going to do for marketing. I’ve heard some even say something akin to “branding is stupid.”

The funny thing is the same “branding is stupid” people will turn around and have you write every single detail about your ideal customer, determine how you want to position yourself in the marketplace, and make your marketing share a cohesive message about who you are.

Newsflash: that’s branding.

Your brand includes your logo and your website, certainly, but it doesn’t stop there. Here’s how I define your brand:

BRANDING: The perception of you in the marketplace based on the experience of YOU – both personal AND your business – that you provide through all the methods of communication you use including social media, video, email, on webinars, on stage, and face to face in person. It’s what you say, what you do, and how you say it and do it.

While my Mom and Dad were recently visiting, the topic of Facebook came up. Overall, my parents disapprove highly of Facebook and they don’t like how and what I post. They think “it’s too personal.” My husband, also a small business owner, and I tried to explain to them Facebook, for anyone in any kind of business, is about building your brand one post at a time.

Here’s a snapshot of my most recent Facebook posts from yesterday:

Facebook post Collage

What can you learn about me from these posts:

  • I like food: Food is one area of commonality among all human beings. We must eat to survive. Food is the great equalizer. HOW I eat and what I eat tells a bit about me and how I live my life. That’s part of the experience of me.
  • I’m in business: Social media is about being social, yes. But don’t forget if you are in business, you need to throw in a business post or two once in a while. As you can see, neither of my two business-related posts on this day suggested you go “buy my stuff.” But the message is clear, I have a website, and I’m leading a challenge right now.
  • I have a life: I’m wishing a friend and colleague happy birthday and sharing a story about my family and our dog.

So what?

Well, from just these 5 Facebook posts on this one day you can learn a lot about me. You can see I use smiley face emoticons and more than my fair share of exclamation points, and post funny, quirky, inspirational, sweet things and often with gratitude, regularly connecting to and directly mentioning others in my posts. Looking back now at those words, that’s pretty much my personal brand summed up.

So when people contact me about working with me, or having me on their stages or podcasts, they don’t ask what it’s like to work with me. They usually only ask, “What kinds of programs do you have and how can I get started?”

I make A LOT of sales to people I am connected with on Facebook and other forms of social media. Why? Many have told me directly it’s because they enjoy the experience of me as much as what I can teach them or help them achieve.

When you are 100% clear on the experience of who you are and what you want people to feel and think and learn ABOUT as much as FROM you, making a sale becomes easy because you’ve already built a relationship with the person – sometimes only in their minds. People will feel like they have gotten to know you, without ever meeting you, or even without ever interacting with you online because you share openly and freely who you are and what you’re about via social media, video, on stage, on webinars, and through your email list.

You’re far from vanilla.

It’s impossible to fade into the background and look like everyone else.

You’re memorable.

You’re YOU and the only YOU there can ever be.

It’s as close to being magnetic as you can get. Being you is how you attract the kind of people who will love to work with you – and who you love working with.

And that is where the problem comes in because it looks almost mystical. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

When you tap into the experience that is YOU and know how to share that effectively, business (and life!) becomes a lot more fun and profitable.

When you get clear on your brand and communicate that effectively, your business will change and life gets a lot more fun in the process. It’s one of the things I help my clients do. If you are interested in learning more about how I work with my clients, you can check out a few details on my website here.

How I Won The Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Association for Talent Development’s Thrown Down Contest

ATD Smoky Mountain Chapter Throw Down Winner Felicia Slattery Receives $100 Visa Gift Card from President Cindy Light

ATD Smoky Mountain Chapter Throw Down Winner Felicia Slattery Receives $100 Visa Gift Card from President Cindy Light.

Moving to a new town can be a challenge.

Moving to a new town after living in the same area for almost all your life can be daunting.

Moving to a new town, and trying to break into the business scene where literally NO ONE knows you could lead to professional suicide.

Sounds like fun! So we gave it a whirl!

In July 2015, my husband and I moved our family of four, plus Sadie the Speaker Dog, away from the frigid, icy, snowy, long winters and terrible taxes in the state of Illinois, to a warmer climate all around in beautiful Knoxville, east Tennessee. I spent most of the summer getting myself and the kids settled and much of the fall getting to know the school, school moms, volunteering for this and that, and focusing on my family. Admittedly, my business was rolling along well on autopilot.

But I knew it was time to get out there and meet some people. Plus, given that for me, 2016 will bring an increased focus on building the corporate training and speaking / communication consulting side of my business, I knew it was time to do what I’d been coaching my clients, webinar students, and readers to do for years: join an association where your people are hanging out.

As a trainer, for me that meant checking out the local chapter Association for Talent Development (ATD – formerly  ASTD, the American Society for Training and Development).

Happily, there is a Knoxville chapter called the Smoky Mountain Chapter, and they have a website with info about upcoming meetings. While looking over the site, I noticed an announcement for their second annual December Trainer Throw Down speech contest. The application deadline was soon approaching.

They had me at “speech contest.” I was in.

So… A Contest for The New Kid in Town

The topic was engagement. I speak regularly about audience and reader engagement, so the topic was right up my alley. Having grown up in high school as a competitive speaker and then being recruited for Bradley University’s Speech Team, THE most winning collegiate team in ANYTHING  in the country, I am no stranger to competing on stage. Well, at least I wasn’t 25 years ago… gulp. However, given the time limit for the Throw Down was 10 minutes, I took that as a sign I should go for it because that was our time limit when competing in college.

Plus, even if I lost – remember, I’d never been to even one of their meetings to know what these people were all about – they could well have been national champ team speakers, too – but I figured after getting up there everyone would at least know who I was and get a taste of what I can do on stage, and that was my whole goal. The BEST way to meet a room full of people is always to be the speaker.

Right away I knew I wanted to talk about engaging an audience using all five senses. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what I’d do, so I let the holidays, family life, and regular business stuff occupy the front of my mind while the topic of engagement percolated in the back of my brain and I waited for inspiration.

Inspiration Hits!

Suddenly I found myself at the day before the event and knew I had to get my thoughts, well-percolated now, into some

Handout Used for the Winning Presentation - Using a Speaker One Sheet Design

Handout Used for the Winning Presentation – Using a Speaker One Sheet Design

form for a presentation.

At first I was stuck staring at the cursor. Then after praying for what to do, it hit me: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!

It was perfect because I could write a stanza about each of the 5 senses. Then I created a handout, pictured here. I used one of my speaker one-sheet templates to make that job go super fast and in a couple hours I had my original poem written, my handout done and ordered from Staples, and was in bed sleeping soundly.

Here is that winning poem. One thing to keep in mind – I wrote it SPECIFICALLY for this ONE occasion and for the people in that room. If I were to deliver this again, I’d make a few alterations, but it did the job. I won!

‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through this place
The trainers were training and throwing down with great grace.
There’s a new coach in town, Felicia Slattery by name
With hopes that the prize might be hers to claim.

The theme was engagement,
The stage was all set,
To see who would win and the glory to get.

So curl up by the fire and lend me your ear
And discover how the people can learn what you want them to hear.

Now the first thing to do, to develop the staff
Is to keep their attention and make them to laugh or
To think or to learn or to change or to grow
So they can become even better, and your lessons then know.

But you compete with their email, their bosses, their lives
What’s a trainer to do not to break out in hives?

It all starts with 5 senses
Taste, touch, sound, sight, smell
It may seem quite odd, but heed this tale well

First, when thinking of sight, shake things up just a bit,
Plan to surprise, to delight. It’s not hard, if you commit.
No need to be dressed all in fur from your head to your toe,
But put on a hat, use some props, try out a fun slide, make it a show.
Multimedia’s a way – and yes even today.
Give them something unexpected to look at, creative to see
And they’ll keep watching you and your training with glee.

Next you have sound, no you don’t have to sing,
But how about a toy that makes a sound like [ka ching].
More rapid than eagles, your students will learn
To hear their own names, for that sound they do yearn:
Now Cindy, now AJ, now Allen, now Ron
Go Amanda, go Yvonne, go Beverly, go John

To the top of the mind, to the top of the brain
Let’s move on to taste while you eat this sweet cane.

Taste might seem tricky, but learning has flavor
When you provide your people something to savor
The hippocampus of the brain an experience does produce
That engages the mind which of course is quite good, or so you’d deduce.

New research last month proves there is a connection
The brain registers taste not the tongue on inspection
That means the brain is engaged when it’s eating a food
And enjoying a treat also lightens the mood.

Next onto smell: attention, learning and memory improve with a sniff
Years ago they learned oils of lemon and rosemary took just a whiff
Pre tests and post tests and t tests did show
That details learned with scent in the brain could be stowed

And touch is so easy, let them pick up and feel anything
That you teach. It makes the learning more real.
To create a connection and build some rapport
Shake a hand, pat a back, give hive fives and you’ll score.

But touch can be inside, an emotion it’s true
Engage with a story and watch memory improve.

For trainers and teachers and students galore
Remember: enlist all 5 senses for trainees to learn more

So before this tale ends, I humbly ask for your vote
I stayed up half the night to write what I wrote.

If your mind didn’t wander and your attention I did keep
You can see how anyone here could make learning so deep.

It’s not the gift card, or the glory
No, we all win with engagement and telling a great story.
Its service from the stage, Taking care of the folks
Be sincere, be real, be yourself, tell some jokes.

As I end this, I wish all contestants good luck.
You amaze me, and I feel a certain awestruck.

And now I exclaim, as I head back to the buffet
Happy training to all, and to all a good day!

speaking with props

My Winning Props

With each one of the stanzas related to a different sense, I used a different prop of some kind – all pictured here. I downloaded a video of a crackling fire and put that up on the screen in place of a slideshow to set the scene and incorporate sound and sight. I wore a Santa hat, and dragged my prop table to be next to the Christmas tree in the front of the room, which the restaurant had so graciously placed there not even knowing I’d be able to use it! And then I enlisted help from a college student to pass out candy canes when I talked about the sense of taste. Each of the props I used I pulled from a Christmas stocking. It all went great!

I won by just two points, but a win is a win! What did I win?

  • $100 Visa Gift Card
  • Bragging rights forever that I am the 2015 Throw Down Trainer Champ
  • Ability to promote that at the national ATD meeting in the spring of 2016
  • Ability to send press releases stating that I’d won
  • Invitations from people at the event who saw me present to speak to two groups (so far)
  • Confidence that I can still compete with some of the best, most experienced and well-known folks in any room

What a relief. Want to see the presentation? Video is coming soon!

**UPDATE: Here’s the video. It’s not professional so it’s rough for the first few seconds and a couple spots in the middle, but I think you’ll be able to handle it 😉

Getting in the Media 5 Times in One Week – Whew.

felicia slattery media appearancesCall it a dress rehearsal for my upcoming nationwide launch of my next book, Kill the Elevator Speech: Stop Selling, Start Connecting later this year. Except that will be carefully planned and orchestrated. You see dress rehearsals are on my mind because last weekend was also my script-writing, stage production, and directorial debut for my daughters’ elementary school production of the show I cobbled together called, “An Evening at Vaudeville.” So mixed in with the wild speaking and media appearances, were daily after school rehearsals, with late nights of getting the program finished, pulling together costumes, and getting the volunteers organized. It was definitely a busy week.

However, my appearances in the media last week were more of a confluence of getting out there spreading my message through speaking and decent marketing, mixed in with a little bit of luck, I’ll freely admit. However, there are a few factors that led to me being featured in 5 different forms of media over the course of just one week, that I think could help your business as well.

  • Local TV – I spoke at the Batavia, Illinois Chamber of Commerce Women in Business event for a paid presentation about Credibility and Cash Flow in Social Media. The day before the event, I received an email from one of the event organizers asking if it would be okay with me to have the a local film crew to videotape my presentation for replay on their local cable access TV. So some time this week my speech will appear on cable TV. I agreed on the condition that I receive a copy of the recording to use in my marketing.
  • The lesson: Whenever anyone wants to record you, ALWAYS ask for the recording. As a speaker, you need that footage to put on your website, make a demo reel from, or at the very least share on social media as continued social proof you’re out there speaking and doing it well.
  •  Local Newspapers and Magazine – In conjunction with that same speaking gig in Batavia, the Chamber group had their PR pro send press releases to all the local papers and magazines. All I had to do was approve the copy and she sent it out. I did next to nothing to get my name in the media (not to mention the Chamber’s own websites and social media).
    The lesson: Speaking for Chambers of Commerce groups, whether paid or free, you always get the benefit of the Chamber marketing on your behalf. That often means placement in local media, which gets your name out there and allows you to become the “go-to” person in your niche.
  • Blog Talk Radio – One of my clients, Brian Basilico, has his own BTR program, BLT Radio, short for Business Life Transitions. He invited me to be a guest to discuss my upcoming book, Kill the Elevator Speech, Stop Selling, Start Connecting.
    The lesson: Write a book. That’s first. When you have a book, people want to talk to you about it. Next, Blog Talk Radio is a platform that allows the hosts to store the content, so you can go back any time and use it over and over again. If you’re not sure what to say, have a look at Signature Speech(TM) for Authors for a free gift that will get you started.
  •  Podcast on iTunes – About a month or so ago, internationally-known author, trainer, and podcaster, Alicia Dunams held a contest to see who should be her next podcast guest. Alicia and I had met years ago on social media and then in person at a live event where I was one of the speakers. I was one of the finalists and because my message about speaking would resonate well with her authors, she decided to interview me about leadership and being “all in” – the name of her podcast.
    The lesson: Know the people who are influencers in your community and in your niche. Use the internet to reach out a build relationships and meet them in person at live events so they will remember you.
  •  BBC – International TV – I recently began using a new app called “Jelly” for social questions and answers, which was released earlier this year by one of the founders and creators of Twitter, Biz Stone. I tend to jump on the newest social platforms as quickly as possible to secure my username and to check it out because many of my clients often look to me to talk about the newest communication tools. Then I was emailed by a producer for a TV programme (you have to spell it that way, because, you know, it’s British!), called “Click.” They have 330 millions viewers and were conducting a story on Jelly and would I be available to answer a few questions? Um, let me think…. YES!!!! So we scheduled it and I spent more than an hour getting the camera right, hurrying up and waiting, and doing the 10-minute interview that had to be boiled down to my 20 seconds of fame. You can see it below. They found me by being on the app. They invited me through my website, I’m convinced, because I had video of me on air to show I can do okay in a televised interview situation. UPDATE – The BBC has added the video to it’s own website right here.
    The lesson: Be in the forefront in your area of expertise. Know what the newest innovations are and the newest and hottest trends. Plus do what you can to get any kind of local TV publicity. I learned from Shannon Cherry. The national and international media are far more likely to ask you to be a guest when they know you’ll be a decent guest.

That was my big week in media and speaking. I was so wiped out it took me three days to complete this post!!!
So here it is, my big moment in the international press. The story begins at 12:07 and I come in, literally for 20 seconds, at 14:26. Don’t blink!



Iced Tea and Hot Marketing Tips from Bob The Teacher and Felicia Slattery

Earlier this week I mentioned that my friend, Bob The Teacher Jenkins was in town staying at my home for what turned out to be a 3-day VIP mutual intensive work session with some fun and family games thrown in the middle. Bob even taught my 5th grader, Gracie, all about binary and hexidecimal numbers. Yep, it’s what we do for fun 🙂

In my previous post, I asked for questions for Bob & I and today I’m sharing with you the answers to those questions. We made a video that turned out to be almost an hour long with some in-depth tips that answered questions like:

  • What are the dos and don’ts of using props in a speech?
  • What are some effective ways to use humor in a speech?
  • How do I promote my book when I’m just starting out and don’t have any following yet?
  • How can I get my first joint venture partner?
  • What was the turning point when your business began to soar?

Have a look and I’d love to see your answers to some of the questions or your thoughts on our answers in the comments below! Oh- and be sure to watch the outtakes at the end – we had A LOT of fun and laughs doing this!!


While we were making this video, more questions came streaming in, so Bob and I talked about it and we’ve decided we have to figure out a way to do this again. Stay tuned for more details as they become available. Got a question of your own? Go ahead and share it in the comments below.

Public Speaking on Video: NOT Talking Heads

No talking head videos

1980s Icon Max Headroom

When you create an online course, your purpose is to get people interested enough to sign up, right? Well… here’s a lesson I learned about that just last week that I thought I’d share with you.

It seems the language I was using for my upcoming Speaking on Video Boot Camp 2.0 program was actually turning prospective buyers off!! Who knew?

Here’s what happened: because I have always used the term “talking head videos” to describe the kinds of videos where you as the expert talk directly to the camera, and by extension, your audience, I figured because the phrase was descriptive and everybody knew what I was talking about, it’d make sense to use that term in my class description.

Boy was I ever wrong about that! LOL

My mastermind group was the first to point it out to me that they didn’t like the term “talking head” videos. So I went to the marketplace and asked there. And they told me in no uncertain terms it reminded them of the 1980s TV character “Max Headroom” or had other generally negative impressions.

When your market talks, you listen!
So… I changed the headline and text on my registration page for the program, which incidentally begins next week in case you want to make and profit from those videos yourself!
Want to see what I’m calling them instead? Go see here. I asked an industry insider and she gave me the perfect term! I’ll have to let you know my results and see how long it takes for the class to sell out this time.
Last time I offered it, even with using the not-so-fabulous language, it sold out in about a week. This time I opened up a few more seats, so we’ll see what happens.
Lesson learned: when your market speaks, respond. It shows them you’re listening!

Oh and no matter what you call them, videos where you speak directly to the camera build trust, create intimacy, and can transform your business in a way no other form of  marketing other than face-to-face marketing can. See how to get started adding these videos to your business now and feel confident doing it!

Ok– so go see what I’m calling the “not talking head videos” now and let me know in the comments if you like the new term or if you have a better suggestion I’d love to hear it!!

Finally! He Dressed the Part!

In July 2008, I attended my first Internet marketing conference. That was my introduction to a whole new world, live and in person.

Because of events that happened at that 3-day conference in Chicago, within a couple weeks I was quickly propelled to success in the Internet marketing crowd, being interviewed on radio shows by some of the biggest name “gurus,” being promoted by others, and began speaking on stages across the country about communication and public speaking. Effective communication is a skill you need in any business and Internet marketing is certainly no different.

 It was a very exciting time. Except over and over again, I kept hitting a brick wall in that marketplace. His name is Frank Kern.

Frank Kern has created a persona of himself as “laid back surfer dude done good.” He’s built a wildly successful Internet empire based on his solid concepts and content, which honestly is always good, but isn’t exactly rocket science or anything new. However, because he packages it well and is a master at selling himself, his persona, and his products, Mr. Frank Kern has become a very wealthy and successful man. Good for him.

Along with that success, over the years Kern has accepted many invitations to speak on stage to his marketplace, and has recorded dozens of talking head videos. As he should, he maintained his “surfer dude” persona while onstage or on video, typically wearing shorts, t-shirt, ruffled hair and an unkempt beard. And, even though I’ve never met the man personally, he caused all kind of headaches for ME.

As a public speaking consultant, I talk to my clients and audiences all the time about the importance of looking the part of a successful business owner and dressing to that image of success. Then here comes Frank Kern, who, dressed in whatever he wore to bed the night before and cursing at his audiences, is hugely successful with a large following.

The most savvy of business owners in his market realized all along he was dressed that way and speaking in that manner because it worked for his persona. Keeping up that image was a large part of his success, with the implicit message to others just beginning their Internet businesses, “You can do this too.” That led to an interesting phenomenon.

Thousands of 20-something young men believed they could curse and dress like slobs all the way to millionaire status success, because Frank Kern did it. Never mind that persona was completely orchestrated.  Like a theme for a party or special event, Frank Kern stayed true to character and his fans ate it up.

Until last week.

Last week, Frank Kern released what he calls his State of the Internet Address.  As you can see from the screen capture of the video, Frank Kern has cleaned up a lot. He’s wearing a custom-made suit. He’s trimmed his beard, cut his hair, and is sitting behind a desk in a large office. As of this writing more than 1,900 people have clicked “Like” on Facebook for the video.

In a subsequent post to his Facebook fan page, he talked about how a few people gave him some flack about the new look, but the overwhelming majority of comments were all about how pleased his audience members are to see him cleaned up and dressing the part of a wealthy and successful business owner.

Even in our “occupy movement” world, business owners want to look up to someone who is successful. And that means looking the part.

So this is a public thank you to Mr. Frank Kern. You just made my job a whole lot easier. Here’s what Frank Kern did with this video that made me smile and that you can emulate for your business communication while speaking on video:

  1. He dressed the part. Finally a guy who’s making millions looks like more than a surfer dude, even if only for one video.
  2. He used a “Talking Head” video. With all the resources at his disposal, Kern could have chosen to produce ANY kind of video and had it look and sound like Hollywood quality. In fact, he actually employed the services of an Emmy-award winning editor, but at its essence, this is a basic talking head video in a location that screams, “Professional who knows what he’s talking about. Take notice and listen.”
  3. He was deliberate in his communication decisions and it showed. Here’s the thing: I may not have ever met him, but I’m personal friends with one of Frank Kern’s business partners, and I can assure you, Kern’s decisions about his persona and communication have always been deliberate. But now, with the release of this video, those deliberate decisions are obvious. 

So what do you think? How do you “look the part” when you speak? Do you think your appearance matters when communicating credibility?

Living and Breathing Your Message Is the Best Way to Communicate

Walk Your Talk
Here’s a tale of two very different entrepreneurs. See if you can spot the major difference.

Recently,  I learned from Bill Glazer, who before becoming a highly paid marketing teacher and consultant, ran his own successful menswear retail store for 30+ years. This guy has sales and marketing in his blood.

The purpose of the event was to show new members of the Glazer Kennedy Inner Circle how to move forward with their new membership and learn some basic marketing skills and beyond. The focus of the event was clearly on teaching and training.

However, because Bill is an awesome marketer, when he had the opportunity to talk about his company’s products, he did so, unapologetically. He didn’t come across as pushy or “salesy” – simply suggesting that if audience members were interested in learning more, there was more training to do so, gave them a reason to pick it up today, and casually moved on to his next training point.

It’s like he can’t turn it off.

Even as he went through his training presentation, much of the language was written in a way to sell the audience on paying attention to the next part of the training, keeping us interested and fully engaged. I’ll tell you, keeping an audience fully engaged for an hour isn’t easy to do, but for two very full days, that takes serious skill. Because Bill understands how to keep people engaged – after all marketing is all about engaging an audience so they pay attention to your offers – he was able to keep a room full of 300+ entrepreneurs paying rapt attention the entire two days.

The second entrepreneur was in the audience.

After the main meeting ended, there was a smaller follow-up implementation group with about 95 audience members from the local area. During that meeting one of the people in the audience stood up and started banging on the table, cursing and trying to “fire up” the audience to get excited about their businesses. In doing so, he made one of the official presenters running that part of the event clearly uncomfortable. So here was this guy, who has yet to be successful in his business as a personal trainer talking his talk by trying to be motivating.

However as I looked around the room, most audience members looked shocked, irritated and embarrassed by this person. The reaction had a lot to do with how he was speaking out of turn inappropriately. But something else struck me about why he was sitting in the audience and why his business has yet to be successful. As a personal trainer, his own body is anything but in shape.

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not picking on the guy because he has some weight to lose (ha- I could stand to lose a few myself!). His issue goes way deeper than that. He has an integrity issue. And sadly many yet-to-be-successful entrepreneurs and experts suffer the same fate.

If you are not walking your talk and living what you teach others, people will not take you seriously and will not buy from you. The message you communicate is “do as I say and not as I do.” And that’s a major problem.

Who would want to hire an out of shape personal trainer?

Or an organization expert who pulls up to the networking meeting in a messy car?

Or a time management expert who is always late?

Or a graphic designer with a visually boring logo and outdated website?

Or a wealth coach who is in debt?

Make sure your first and best customer is YOURSELF.

When you live and breathe your own message:

You become a walking billboard for what you do.

People are instantly attracted to you because you are in full integrity.

Your credibility is inherent in who you are.

Prospects can see clearly that you are successful at what you teach and are easily motivated to hire you to show them how to do the same thing.

Someone like Bill Glazer, who is a millionaire many times over, has thousands of customers around the world because he lives and breathes his message. His entire world communicates that he IS a marketer. It’s not just his words. His words, his actions, and his life communicate a completely congruent message. So take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself which entrepreneur are you most like and commit to doing whatever you must so your messages are in full alignment with who you are.

So tell me, how do you live and breathe your own personal message . . . or what changes do you think you can make to start to get your walk and talk to align with your message?

Brand Against the Machine – Interview with Author John Morgan

Felicia Slattery with John Morgan

John Morgan, Author of Brand Against the Machine with Felicia Slattery, October 2011, Chicago

As of today, branding expert John Morgan’s new book, Brand Against the Machine is available for sale wherever fine books are sold. I was honored to have the opportunity to interview John about his book. John and I have known each other through social media since the advent of Twitter‘s popularity began back in 2008, and since then we’ve often shared the same stages. I’m proud to present his detailed and helpful book to you.

Also in this interview, John allowed me to ask whatever I wanted. That’s unusual — authors typically send a list of approved questions and ask the interviewers to stick to the script. So in my interview I asked him of course about the book and branding, but just for you, I also asked about his speaking and writing career and how they have worked together. Brand Against the Machine is John’s first book — so I asked him things like how he got a publisher and how he came up with the title and tied in his speaking as well. He was generous and thoughtful with his answers. You can listen to the audio replay here:

Or read the full transcripts here:

FELICIA:  Hello! Hello! This is Felicia Slattery and If you can tell from the excitement in my voice, I even said two “hellos” to welcome you. That’s how excited I am.

I am here with my good friend, someone who I met originally on Twitter and have shared the stage with and have had a chance to really get to know on a personal level and is a wonderful friend of mine named John Morgan. And John is the author of a brand new book called “Brand Against the Machine” and I am thrilled to have you here with me listening to John today. So John, Welcome! How are you??

JOHN: I am doing fantastic, thank you for the awesome introduction.

FELICIA: (Chuckle) Well, you know I think we’re going to share a little bit more about you as we go through so I thought I’d save all of that Bio stuff as its going to  comes out in the interview, if that sounds ok to you??

JOHN: Sounds fine!

FELICIA: Awesome! Alright. So, what I thought I’d do today, we have got about 30 minutes here, and I decided to break my interview up in these 3 parts. So the first part will be about Branding because that of course is your area of expertise so I we’ll talk about branding and then I want you to share a little bit about the book, so I have got a few questions about that, “Your Brand Against The Machine”, and then the third part, because a lot of my audience are folks like you and me, they’re authors, they’re speakers, they’re experts in their subject area and so I just want to talk to you a little bit more about that aspect  of your  business. How’s that sound??Pretty good?

JOHN: That sounds awesome!

FELICIA: Alright Cool. So here we go! The first question is kind of a quick and easy one. If this interview would only going to be 30 seconds long, what’s the number one thing you’d want people to know about branding other than of course like “go buy your book”?

JOHN: That was it!

FELICIA: That was it Ok done.

JOHN: That was it you took my answer.

FELICIA: (chuckle)

JOHN: The number one thing is that they already have a brand; because everyone already has an opinion of you. Everyone that’s ever met you or even followed you online or you know, seen you speak, you know, read your book, read your blog whatever, they have an opinion of you so a lot of times  people think, let me start branding, you already have, so you have to make sure you done  it right!

FELICIA: Nice. That’s good. SO you already have a brand. That could be good news or bad news, right?(Chuckle)

JOHN: That’s right. When your brand works for you or against you, it will always work. So you certainly have to be careful.

FELICIA: Yeah it’s already working. Awesome!

Alright! So, we heard the term branding tossed around a lot over the pass year or so, it’s really kinda become, like this big buzz word. But you’ve been at this branding thing a while haven’t you?

JOHN: I have yes. Since 2000.

FELICIA: Since 2000. WOW! And what happened in 2000 that got you rolling into the whole branding world?

JOHN: Well, A lot of it was by accident. I, as a teenager for some strange reason was fascinated by marketing and branding which just lets you know exactly how nerdy I really am.

FELICIA: Nerdy, we kinda like that about you.

JOHN: (Chuckle) Well in 2000, I was 19 years old and realizing that college wasn’t for me and was figuring out what exactly I wanted to do, and you know me very well Felicia, I am a little bit outspoken and so I would go into like a business and you know, buy whatever they were selling or whatever and proceed to tell them what they were doing wrong. Enough of those people that were not offended by my rudeness, wanted to work with me and so that’s really how they got in and they got started because realizing, even though I was young, the way you market your business affects your brand.  You know every little thing that someone does you know every interaction you have with an employee, whatever the case maybe, has bad effect and I see so many businesses not realizing that.

FELICIA: Yeah! Wow! That’s awesome! So you’ve been doing this for a long time. So I’m sure of course, that you’ve got a definition of branding. Why don’t you share that? Because I know in fact, when I got to read the book, in the advanced copy of the book, yeah I was one of the few who’ve got the advanced copy, I was really impressed by that and one of the things that I actually said in my review of your book was that so many people think they know what branding is or they like nod they head, yes of course “Branding” but they secretly have no idea like what it is. So what is your definition of Branding?

JOHN: My definition is what you and I just talked about its people’s perception of you. You know, it’s their opinion of you; it’s your reputation.

FELICIA: But it’s not just any people, right. I mean, we are talking really about your marketing or is it anyone?

JOHN: Openly it is anyone, but specifically you know, obviously you actually cared about is your target audience. But yes Branding is not your logo. It’s not your slogan. It’s not your color scheme. People think my blog colors match my business card so that is my brand. That is not your brand at all. Like no one cares about that. Your brand is, if you are to go away, if people care and are upset that you ran away, you’ve got a good brand. You know, that’s the thing. That’s how you tell. If you could disappear tonight and no one gives a crap, then your brand wasn’t that good!

FELICIA: Wow! That could be humbling in a hurry.

JOHN: It can. That’s right! It’s about that relationship. We go and we buy Apple products, because we have confidence in them. That’s their brand. It’s not the logo, it’s not just the way how the products look, all of things that we have confidence in that. We have this expectation and they meet it consistently which makes them a great brand. So that’s the thing, when someone, ok we expected this of this person, that’s your brand and you have to deliver on that.

FELICIA: Wow! So it is the perception and the expectation that people have been interacting with you and your business?

JOHN: Exactly!

FELICIA: Love it!

Alright, so let’s talk now, my next couple of questions are about mistakes; so this one is about the other branding so-called “experts” in the industry. What do you think is the biggest mistake you see these other folks whose maybe kind of only recently jumped on the bandwagon, of, “this is a hot topic, so I think I’m going to start talking about it” but then they don’t have any kind of  background in this. What would you say some of the biggest mistakes you see other people out there that when you see this advice you cringe and AARGHH! I hope nobody’s listening?

JOHN: Yeah the biggest one is that, you know, almost all these people will say that you don’t determine your brand that your audience does. And that’s absolutely FALSE. And it’s also extremely deadly information to your business, in my opinion. Because I can promise you that none of the biggest brands in the world think that way. You know Steve Jobs for example; create a product that no one knew they wanted. He didn’t care to ask them, right? So a lot of times people would say your audience decides what your brand is. The problem with that foolish is what If they decide wrong? You know what if they see you in just one way and they put you in the box and you’re more than that. So it’s up to you. People think of you a certain way because of what you do. Not because of their own opinion. You can absolutely lead them the right direction. So that’s the big one and then another one just really quick is a lot of these branding experts and all that, especially the ones that comes in the scene for like last year like you and I are talking about , they’re confused of what marketing is and what branding is. You know, Branding is   a commitment, Marketing is your campaign. You know marketing is just onetime thing hey I’m going to promote this book I am going to promote this product or whatever it is that I’ve got going on and it ends. You know there is a beginning and end to it. Your brand is your overall strategy it never ends.

FELICIA: I love that. It’s like you’re reading my mind. I didn’t actually send you these questions. And just for the listener at home hears me kind of pulling back the curtain.  Usually when I interview and author or when I get interviewed typically the interviewer says, “Oh send me some questions” and John is like “no I am good ask me anything” because we have such a great relationship I know John stuff and I know what I can and I know you want to hear so he has no idea but John I will going to ask about that “Your Brand is not a campaign, it’s a commitment! Literally, I opened your book again today; and as I canister the font comes through virtually, I came across something like “Oh that’s really good I want to talk about that” so, I love that, that reminder that Branding is a commitment really to continuing to communicate who you are and what you are about as supposed to marketing which is you need to think of as a campaign. So I am gonna, like right now, what you are doing is a marketing campaign to sell your book “Brand against the Machine”. That’s what this interview is. I know I am not the only lucky person who gets to interview you. So interviews are part of your campaign. You’ll be guest of guest blogger, you’ll be doing a number of different things on your launch day and all of these are campaigns but your commitment is about you and your brand. Is that right??

JOHN: That’s exactly right! People get in the business but they forget about the overall all strategy. Right. You know they go like oh! I need to build my email list. Ok I’ll do that. And oh! It’s just a blog, so let me do that, and I never stop and think what’s my overall strategy here ,did you know what’s my  long term plan? And standard like chasing like shiny object and info meaning marketing campaign after campaign and never actually building any attraction. And that’s the problem. Like the good thing about the internet is that it’s makes it easy for all of us to put an info out there, and start these businesses right? The bad news is that people are now just jumping into space and forgetting what it takes to build a real business. I have zero interest in making money today and then not knowing how I am going to make money 3 years form now. You know I absolutely want to be making money 3 years from now and 30 years form no. It’s about building a sustainable business. And that is where a lot of people go wrong.

FELICIA: And actually that’s going to be what my next question is. What is the mistake that you see business owners and other entrepreneurs making when it comes to their branding? Would you say it’s that trying to go for the dollar today and forgetting that, o yeah there is next week and next month and next year or would you say there’s something else that you see when you do it like that they’re doing it?

JOHN: I think that’s the big part of it, right along with that is they have to be everything they do is branding. That goes back to every time you do something people will goint to have an opinion of it! Right? SO if you are complaining because you have a bad day and you are using Twitter to voice those complaints, you may think that that is not harmful but it is, because no one woke up today and said I wanna hear about your problems. Right?

FELICIA: Right! Exactly! I know!

JOHN: Well I was going to like say I always cringed cause I see people especially on Twitter and Facebook they go to a restaurant, had bad service, so they’re slamming this company, thinking you know, oh watch this I have got a voice now, look at this power I’ll make sure people know about it, but in my opinion, you’re just making yourself look bad cause for me I just see you’re whining. You know what I mean? And people don’t think about that. Everything you do is branding! So that means when you go to the restaurant the other day and seating outside was two of their chefs, seating on next to the dumpster and both of them have their hair cap and they are smoking, that’s does not make me wanna go eat in that restaurant! Right?

FELICIA: No really Eeuww!

JOHN: Those employees are thinking “hey I am not on the clock I am on my break so I can do what I want”. The manager of the restaurant is thinking they are not on the clock, they can do what they want but the problem is that’s not what you and I think. Everything they do is branding! So when we see that stuff, we now do not what to eat them.

FELICIA: Right! Exactly! You know what I was going to say about people on Twitter and on Facebook , my mom is not exactly on Facebook but she’s sort of EE…Like she have an account but she doesn’t never really go there, but she knows like we have extended family members who are and they’ll call and they say  Oh wow! Felicia’s doing a lot of big exciting things; she’s doing this and that, and because of what you are just talking about is, I am not putting on Facebook and Twitter when I have a bad day, or when I step my toe or you know whatever, and if I do put something that is not necessarily in a positive light on Twitter or Facebook, I put a spin on it, so that there is a teachable moment in there for the folks who are reading my stuff so that they can come to expect, ok that’s what Felicia’s going to be about, or I am talking about my kids, family or whatever happens to be, it’s a decision that I’ve made in that moment to say, ok I want part of my brand to be that I’ve got this business and I am doing it running it from my home and I am able to do stuff with my family as well and participate in those moment! I think it’s important to be very deliberate in the messages that you put out there and I am going to agree with you on that, that’s one of the things that I cringed about is just seeing people whining and what you are whining about? Stop it!

JOHN: And what you are doing there, Felicia is like you just said, the keyword, which you are being deliberate about it, which means you’re remembering your overall strategy and you know I think its business owners and entrepreneurs especially if we are an author or speaker, someone that is producing content, I feel that we kinda forfeited our right to use Facebook and Twitter and all that, the way normal people do.

FELICIA: I love that! It’s true. When we decide we’re gonna be in kind of publicize and speak, we need to use it in that way or else create a totally different account under a different name or whatever that we can interact with, you know, our very they’re best friends and the kids parents and you know school, or whatever, yeah. I love that! I agree with that! That’s a little controversial there John Morgan.

JOHN: It is. This is how serious it is I tell you Felicia, I have one brother and I love him dearly and this will absolutely stun you Felicia but my brother sense of humor is actually more raw than my own. And so when he signed up on Facebook I had to call him and be like hey look, let’s keep the humor that you and I have between email and not on my face book wall because I don’t use  it  for this!

FELICIA: Coz I can’t be saying that!

Oh My gosh you know that’s funny John because you know….

JOHN: He says stuff that offended me..So

FELICIA: Oh that is so funny. Oh my God!

JOHN: And he was cool with it by the way, he gifts it right he’s ok, no problem, my mom ,same thing, God forbid my mom is like, I think Farmville top student or member whatever it is  and you know, I need you to keep any of that stuff like those post off in any of my page, she gifts it but because I took that stop more seriously.

FELICIA: I do too. There are a lot of things that I laugh about with friends, I mean you have a raw sense of humor, and I truly appreciate it. and I laugh a lot with your jokes, the ones that we make in public or not in public but the ones we make in private but a lot of that stuff, I am not gonna put out there in the world and I don’t need the world seeing me like that. Even the things that you think are funny, even if it’s funny in your head, if it doesn’t mesh with, well, here is how I want the world to see me and how I want to be known then, keep your chuckle yourself not so good. SO let’s talk about your book…

JOHN: I know when somebody’s listening to this, and think ok, but what about being transparent? Because that’s what everybody keeps preaching. I just read a blog post about this recently. We think that we want people to be transparent but we don’t, right? For example, were ok with hearing that you’re sick; knowing you have diarrheal is too much .Right? Like there is a line on how transparent we want people to be. And that what comes back to what exactly you and I are talking. Yes we want you to be transparent but we do not care that you are having a bad day! Unless you’ve lost a family member or a friend or something serious like that, we can come, and you know, offer you encouragement and help lift you up, we certainly want to do that! But if your internet has crashed so you need to drop that “s” bomb about it I got other things going on. That’s not what I cared about. Just remember, yes we want you to be transparent but, there’s a line and you got to maintain that!

FELICIA: Actually, I got a couple of questions from folks speaking on Facebook and Twitter, I put out there that I was interviewing you and I got a couple of questions from people. This one question comes from another self-speaker Rich Hopkins and he wants to know, Is it more valuable for your brand to be a concept or should your brand be quote yourself, and he says  for example, people know me or what I talk about more.

JOHN: Great question. Great Question. And I see where a lot of people probably get confused by it. The answer is it’s gonna be him. And the reason it has to be him Felicia is because that’s who are going to build a relationship with, not his content and the more we get to know him and like him, that content will come and we’ll remember that. Right? So you don’t necessarily come to me and say, “Hey, John, I read this blog post 3 years ago and it was awesome”. You will come to me and say “Hey, I read Chris Brogans blog post on something”. You know it’s the people we connect with and especially when you are a speaker, for sure it’s you, it’s your personality. That is what an event organizer, conference what ever, that is what they are buying. Yes they want you to deliver good content but let’s face it they want you to get up there and just do a good job and it’s you that they are buying.

FELICIA: Because really, there is nothing new under the sun. There are ton of people which teaches about public speaking, so do I. So, if it is about the content, then there is no difference between Rich or me, but there is a huge difference between us other than, he’s guy and I’m a gal, you know what I mean. And you are not the only guy who happens to be great at branding so it has to be about us right?

JOHN: What? I thought I was?

FELICIA: You’re the best. You’re the best! Ok.

JOHN: Ok Felicia, I will end this interview so fast!

FELICIA: Right now!(Chuckle)

Alright, one more question from the peanut gallery. This is from an author in Geneva, Switzerland her name Is Janet Gomez and she said “If you have not-“I already know the answer to this but I am going to ask anyway, “If you not got your branding right is it better to start from scratch or try to fix what you’ve got?

JOHN: That’s a good question. I think it depends on what level you have not gotten it right. I think a lot of people feel like starting over is going to be bad, but every time you start over its amazing how quickly you can bounce back, you know what those things? But I think that a lot of little changes and little tweaks that you can fix, you’d be amazed at how dramatically different your brand can be in just 30 days. So if you got some foundation…. there are some things that are done right, then you have something to build on. You do not need to start with scratch.

FELICIA: Definitely. Alright! Cool! So awesome tips.  So tell me about the book “brand against the machine”, First of all I loved the title, how’d you come up with that?

JOHN: After speaking at an event with you, in Chicago a couple of years ago, I had a late night flight back home that was really like scary, it was storming and it was like one of those small planes so I just put my iPod on and was just listening to my favourite band “Reed Against the Machine” and basically I was just gonna come up with a concept that people would get because we are bombarded with this marketing messages and they’re bad, and the way most businesses were going about, you know building their brand and marketing themselves are bad and that concept just came up. I wrote it down I thought “man that will be an awesome title for a book”. I have no idea that I would write a book and that’s how it started.

FELICIA: Wow. Ok. Im gonna ask you that question about writing abook in a few minutes, but, so, what is the machine that were branding against?

JOHN: It is the fact that we are hit with like a thousand of marketing message everyday that are unwelcomed and unwanted and businesses think that they can make us care, right? And it’s like this machine that’s putting out all these businesses that are identical, you know, everyone is just falling in line, all this person got a blog, Ill have a blog. This person wrote a book, I’ll write a book. It’s like we forget that we have to be different and have a reason to exist in the market place. You can’t just come out and say “Hey, they are out there making this and making money, ok me too.”

FELICIA: Really, That is how you brand against the machine how you get people to care is by being different.

JOHN: That’s right. People don’t buy based on “Oh, this is similar to this, so I’ll buy it”. They buy stuff because it’s different. And that’s why they make a purchase, so you have to be different!

FELICIA: Ok Cool. So I know you work with some major so huge Brand. I am not sure; who do you write this book for? Is it for the big, huge brand, or is this for kinda small fly business owner?

JOHN: It is more for the small business owners because since Its what I consider myself to be  and I still work with  those solo entrepreneurs and information marketers and people like that so what I did, Felicia, was when I learned from working with big companies that’s understand what they’re doing and broke it down to apply it where the small business owners can do these same things, because it’s not rocket science. And it’s also not; you don’t have a 50 million dollar budget to do this.

FELICIA: I love that! Alright, let’s talk just a couple of little nothing balls here. How is your book organized to help them, those entrepreneurial, the small business owner, that reader, how was the book organized to help that person with their branding?

JOHN: Well, when I wrote the book, the first thing that I wanted to do, because you know me I am like no biatch right? SO I do not want to put anything in the book that I have not tried to do myself, and had my clients do and I know it works. And I know it works regardless where you are in the world and regardless to what industry you are in, this works. And that’s the first I didn’t want to write crap. I wanted to be good. And its set up to get people understands “I’ve got a brand, here’s the benefit of building this brand now and Ok “how”. And in the rest of this book is the “How”.

FELICIA: Nice! Alright! Cool! Well, it’s an awesome book “Brand against the Machine” we’ll talk about where folks can go and get that in just a minute but I want to break out this last few minutes that we have about you as an author and a speaker coz a lot of people that I get to talk to on a regular basis and some people think that speaking and writing a book is kinda like a chicken and egg thing, we’re not sure how that works, speak first write first, can I not get book to speak, they’re not sure how that works, now I know what came first for you and its actually true for most of the expert authors that you and I hang up we know, it is speaking, so how long have you been speaking and tell me, kind of like, how has does that evolve for you?

JOHN: It wasn’t evolve in a big way. I think that my first speaking gig ever was probably 2004. And it was a complete accidental thing. I didn’t plan to speak. That is a conference, I knew the organizers and they said hey, do you want to talk with some of our people and share your story and I was like “Ok Cool” and then I didn’t realize it was going to be on like the main stage in front of 3000 people and I this will surprise you Felicia, I loves the attention. I was up there and thought, Oh My goodness I was born to do this. I loved it. Speaking is probably something I’ve done for a long time and the way it impacted in my business is, when you’re on stage you’re the authority. You know, you’re up there and you much know what you are talking about. Right? And it’s such a great way to connect with people and build relationships and those things, the speaking skills so much of my business  Clients that vie gotten, big time clients that I’ve gotten have come from someone sitting in the audience that seen me speak.

FELICIA: You’re singing my song baby. I love it. Its true. John have no idea I’m gonna ask that. We didn’t know we are going to talk about this so I just want to say thanks. That exactly what I’ve been preaching for years being when you’re  on stage you are the authority, folks hear you they get to hear your message and they go “WOW” That guy knows what he is doing. I am gonna pay him lots of money!

JOHN: That’s right! It’s so easy! I don’t know that there has ever been a time that I spoke in an event, that I did not get business from it. Even without me pinching, you know someone came out and said “Gotta work with you, how do we hire you?”

FELICIA: Right! That’s awesome. Alright. So, I hear people say all the time, that having a book helps you build a brand, I of course tell people how they can build their credibility, so here’s kind of  is a sticky one for you!  Why did a branding guy like you wait for long to write your first book?

JOHN: It’s a great question. First of all, financially, I didn’t need it!its been very black. Like there was no point. Second of all, I’ve always known that I would write a book that was never an urgent thing for me. It was just always something like, “Oh yeah at some point I’ll do that”. SO when it came about it was just simply because Wiley called me and would you like to write a book.

FELICIA: Really that was my next question. How’d you get that book deal?How did they call you?

JOHN: A few things with it, cause certainly my situation’s a little unique. Several Wiley authors are client of mine, so my name has been brought up a few times. Which obviously I am not gonna lie, that’s obviously gave me a bit of advantage, maybe put me on their radar a little bit, but it was actually speaking in an event where someone from Wiley was there I did not know, they did not come up to me afterwards or anything like that, they sent me an email the next week and said “Hey, We saw you speak at this event, we really like you and thought of putting your stuff into a book.

FELICIA: SO speaking actually got you the book deal!

JOHN: Very much so, because all the benefits that you teach people, unclear of the authority, they got to see my personality, they got to see how what I say is different, you know they got to see me in action and they got to see the audience react. That was another thing! Right? It’s like they can actually see firsthand “Oh, people actually like what this guy got to say”.

FELICIA: Yeah. I know I got to tell you, one of the things that I love most about your book, is this kind of the outside content actually, is the fact that I hear your voice in every page. It’s all you and so and really what your book is a perfect model of continuing along with your brand and if people get if for nothing else other than to say “Ok, this how, someone who is an expert at this , an expert at building and communicating brand has put out of book, that’s why you should get this book, is to see how he does that. Even if you don’t even, even if you are not looking at the content and want to learn about branding which you’d be fool if you didn’t, but even if you didn’t and put the content aside, just watch what he does. I mean John, I hear your voice on every page, it’s so funny, I actually had to slow down how I was reading so I could laugh at the jokes and literally I was  laughing out loud.  What are you reading?

JOHN:I appreciate that and I will certainly buy it,  One thing I will say, it’s a Wiley’s credit. My publisher is that they let me write the book I want it to write. Because by the way, I did everything possible to not get the book deal.Shanon my editor says, “What’s gonna make your book different?” And my exact response was “Shannon, 98% of the book out there, especially about business or marketing or branding whatever are completely horrible and a lot of them are books you guys have published. Like if you are taking those right now, that is what not to do. But I was very fortunate because Shannon was like “I don’t disagree with you, tell me what’s different” And I proceeded to tell her and I will say this “I did Lie in part of it!” Which they don’t know this, but she said ok, you thought about writing this book, and I was like  “yeah I got it the whole thing mapped out, and she was like “ you do” and I was like yeah A-Z and all that and her response was, can you send it to me later  today? Well, I did not have it mapped up at all. All I have was the title and that was it! So I obviously spend that afternoon coming up with something. You know, that’s it! It’s over. But that’s the thing, its I think this is what I want authors and speakers especially get. While Wiley, “Ok Cool the guy’s got cool content, it was me they wanted.”It was you know, this guys going to be good in interview, this guys gonna be good in the media, this guy’s good on the stage, like that’s what they are going to buy.

FELICIA: They’re buying your brand.

JOHN: Exactly. Yes they’re right! The big rule with them was, I am gonna write this book, please don’t edit it in a big way and I am proud to say they had one thing beside the fact that I can’t spell. They had one change and that’s was I had insulted someone greatly with a very horrible word and they just have me scale that word back to something a little more friendly.

FELICIA: Oh that’s nice

JOHN: That was it. That was the one change, otherwise they didn’t sinister me at all

FELCIA: That’s wow! That’s handsome! ….That is fabulous!

Alright, so we’ve been talking about your book, “Brand against the Machine” How can people get the book and how can they read more about you?

JOHN: Well they can certainly go to Amazon and get the book or they can go to it’s gonna be available everywhere Find books are sold, barns and nobles all that stuff. Anywhere you can find a bookstore it should be there. But certainly, the normal ways of Amazon and all that and they can find out more from me in my blog and that’s where I blog and rant about stuff and all that.


JOHN: That’s it!

FELICIA: Nice. Ok. So your website is, you can read and comment on some of John’s very fabulous blog with a lot of his personality infused because that what he’s been talking about here. John, is there anything, what would you like to close with just kind of enclosing here about branding for folks what if they leave here with just kind of one flavour in their mind, what would that be?

JOHN: Yeah! It’s never ever be intimidated by the fact that one of your competitors Is already doing what you wanna do, you and I talked earlier that there is really no new information what people are buying especially if you are a speaker author or blogger or whatever Is not your information or your content, its your perception of that. You know, so you mention you and Rich earlier you guys do something similar, but difference you may have a certain perspective on speaking that he doesn’t and vice versa, right? And so some people are gonna connect to you, some people may connect to him, and that’s fine, because there is enough business and enough money out there for all of it but the problem Is if you see someone doing what we wanna do and we are doing our big scale and we get intimidated by that, screw that. You have your own unique stand, your own opinion, just go out there and do not be afraid to put it out there!

FELICIA: I love that. You know one of the things you say in the book and Ill end with this coz I think this is fabulous and that is your word. You said if there’s gonna be afraid of anything be afraid of being poor.

JOHN: That is right!

FELICIA: So don’t be intimidated by somebody else sharing the same information you have. If its good stuff that you are putting out there, then go ahead. Don’t be afraid. Be afraid of being poor. Go up make some money with your stuff and love that!

John Morgan, Thank you so much for being here. I am so glad you gave us time today! I love it Love it!

Alright folks, go buy “Brand Against The Machine” not just one copy but maybe 3. Gift them away to some other clients, friends, colleagues, people who has business and need to get the word out about who they are  , what they do and who they’re gonna be!

So Thanks so much John. Thank you for listening and we will talk again next time! Bye!

“Clever Truth” or Outright Lie?

Video screen shot of Dan Kennedy with the words The Invention of a Category of One Which You Can Instantly Be #1

Dan Kennedy

A few weeks ago I twisted my ankle — I actually heard the cracking sound inside my body. Ouch. By the next day it had swelled up and was so painful I had no idea if it was only sprained or in fact was broken. I hobbled into urgent care where I had it x-rayed. It turned out it was not broken after all. Whew. Here I am a few weeks later and aside from a little twinge now and again, I’m all better. Yay. Now… hold that broken ankle story for a few paragraphs while I tell you what reminded me of it today.

So I’m watching Dan Kennedy’s new video series he’s calling Game Changer DNA where he’s presenting a lot of useful information for free. His video crew is obviously top-notch and has made a visually interesting product — at one point even turning Dan Kennedy into both Batman and Superman. Really fun!

During the second video in the series, something struck me. Dan Kennedy talked about an idea he learned from copywriting and marketing genius Joe Sugarman. If you don’t know the name undoubtedly you know some of the products he created and marketed. Remember Blublocker sunglasses? Those were Joe Sugarman’s. Here’s the iconic TV ad you might remember:

Anyway… Joe Sugarman has been writing massive sales-generating copy for decades and Dan Kennedy talks about a strategy he modeled after Joe Sugarman.

Dan Kennedy calls it creating a “clever truth” about your product or service. You do this at business inception by positioning your business (or re-positioning if you’ve been in business a while) and naming yourself the best, biggest, most whatever in the world or country of whatever it is you do. But for the strategy to work and be truthful you must be very specific about the category you are in and, as Dan Kennedy says, create a category of one for which you are the ONLY choice.

Back in the 1960s Joe Sugarman called his company, JS&A, “America’s Largest Single Source of Space Age Products” because while his companyDan Kennedy clever truth was likely not technically “selling” more in quantity than existing giants like Radio Shack or Sears, he was shipping more out of one warehouse location direct to customers — the single source — than any of the others, and therefore was telling a “clever truth.”   He created a genre of one- and his company was IT.

Dan Kennedy himself modeled the same idea when in 1983 he named his new company, Success Trac, “The Largest Integrated Publishing and Training Company on Practice-Building Serving the Chiropractic and Dental Professions.” What made this a “clever truth” was at the time he was the ONLY company serving both markets — chiropractors and dentists –  simultaneously.

From its inception, Dan Kennedy has called his No BS Marketing Newsletter “The Largest Paid Circulation Newsletter in its Genre.” That genre? Teaching direct marketing strategies for non-direct marketing businesses.  From his humble beginnings in the first month with only four subscribers, to now what is a world-wide circulation, he has always “technically” told the truth. He created a 1-publication genre. So he was the largest. Of one.

Later Dan Kennedy released other programs like Magnetic Marketing he called “The Best-Selling Program of its Kind” and as he says “kept to himself” it was the ONLY program of its kind. To date it has now sold over $70 million, so it has since earned it’s positioning.

The point is you need to establish your authority in every single sales letter, presentation, ad, or whatever every single time.

I agree that you need to establish your authority. 100%. That authority is a crucial part of building credibility in business.

My question to you is: do you question the ethics of communicating a “clever truth” and thereby starting your business relationships off only in a “technically” truthful way? OR do you see the “clever truth” simply as positioning and helping you stand out in the marketplace, and rationalize that most people see all that as “ad copy fluff” anyway and kind of let it roll of their backs?

Here’s my opinion that has come from many hours of reflection and in conversations with sales greats like my friend Kevin Nations. Remember my story about my swelling and painful ankle? I didn’t care if the doctor at urgent care was the best or the brightest or whatever medical school he went to. I also didn’t ask, “Before you fix my ankle, how much do you charge?” I found someone FAST who I knew could get the job done and I did whatever I had to do and paid whatever I needed to pay so my ankle could be fixed and I could be out of pain and back to my regular activities as soon as possible. I pretty much had no choice.

In your business position yourself as THE person who can fix the proverbial twisted ankle your customer has. Your customer might realize they have a “twisted ankle” so to speak, but they may not know if it is broken or not. It’s YOUR job as a specialist to help them determine how bad their problem really is, help them understand the depth of their problem, and then it’s your responsibility to do what you can to help them fix it. Just like my doctor wasn’t about to let me walk out of that urgent care clinic without a cane or crutches and an ankle brace, you can’t let your customers walk out your door without you doing what you can to fix their issues.

So where does positioning come into play? When a customer doesn’t realize they have any pain. Or when the pain is minor and there is a sea of alternatives to choose from. That’s when creating a “clever truth” can be the vehicle to drive your customers directly to your door.

Tell me what you think in the comments below… brilliant marketing strategy? Shady at best? Or could it be just the game-changer your business needs?

Public Speaking on Video

Who’s Afraid of a Little Video Camera?

Turns out, lots of folks, just like with public speaking! In fact, most businesses don’t delve into video marketing simply because they’re afraid they won’t look good on camera, or that they won’t appear professional. That’s understandable, but being camera shy is no reason to miss out on the Online Video Revolution! There are even ways to create effective promotional videos without appearing on camera.

Lou Borton, Felicia's Video Guy Extraordinaire!

Lou Bortone, Felicia's Video Guy Extraordinaire!

If you’re not sure where to begin with video marketing, my friend and colleague Lou Bortone has created a really helpful Video Resource Center at

Lou’s a guy who’s been around video for his entire career. He’s not one of these Johnny-or-Jenny-come-latelies  who decided to jump on a hot trend. Lou was in TV broadcasting for years and finally decided to get out that rat race for a simpler way of life where he could spend more time being a great Dad & hubby to his lovely wife. So now Lou both creates video for and teaches video to entrepreneurs like us.

And he’s REALLY amazing at it. If you’ve ever seen one of his promos or cool video shout outs on Facebook you’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. Lou Bortone Fab Facebook Friends

If you decide you’d like to give public speaking on video a try, Lou is definitely the guy to get you started – yes even if you’re pretty much a technophobe like me.  And I’ll toss in a few tips myself for making sure you are effectively communicating your message on video:

  1. Make Eye Contact: Wait… what? Aren’t we talking about video here? Yep. Here’s how you make direct eye contact when you’re speaking on video: look directly at the lens. You’ve seen people looking slightly off camera or looking down reading their notes, right? It’s unnerving for most viewers because when you appear on video, people feel like you are talking directly to them — because you ARE! We’re taught it’s rude not to make eye contact with someone you’re talking to, so make that video eye contact and your viewers will be happy.
  2. Be Concise: In most promotional message you don’t have a lot of time. The media have trained us to look for information and get it quickly. Looking for an in-depth news story? That’s likely 2-3 minutes on your nightly local news broadcast. Ads on TV are 30-60 seconds long, typically. Some online video ads produced by major national brands are even shorter at 15-20 seconds. You have to compete with all that, so make sure your message is tight. To get more info across, consider doing a series of shorter videos, rather than one long one.
  3. Look the Part: Just because you work at home in your sweats does not mean you should appear on video that way. If you run any type of professional business, you’ll need to look like a professional in your industry. That’s not to say you need to appear in a suit in all your videos, but your appearance should match your message.

Ok– now you have a few tips for communicating your message, head on over to Lou Bortone’s Online Videopolis to see all his video details to really get you rolling. He has loads of free info, but if you’re serious about tapping into the power of being seen and heard on the most popular medium today, you’ll want to consider upgrading right away.

And really quick — in the comments below, please take a minute to share your biggest pet peeves you see on video. Or share what you LOVE to see on video and why.

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