How to Create Sticky Brands and Meaningful Messaging – In Just 7 Minutes with Steven S. Hoffman

Check out episode
  • Discover how branding helps you to stand out from all the other startups that struggle to gain attention on a crowded market
  • Discover what the essence of your company is and how it relates to your branding
  • Find out how branding can make your startup a ‘sticky’ one, building affinity and familiarity with your audience

Resources/Links:

  • Want to know more about how to survive and build a successful startup? Grab a copy of Steven’s Book NOW: www.foundersspace.com/promo

Summary

Have you been struggling with your branding?

Do you want to know more about the secrets of branding that will surely put you on the right track?

Branding is at the core of any great business.

All you have to do is look around you to see it. Dyson, Virgin, and even Coca-Cola made an impact more than just by creating great products.

Effective companies present their goods and services in the right manner to the right audience at the right time.

Steven S. Hoffman is the CEO of Founders Space. He is a venture investor, serial entrepreneur, and author of several award-winning books. These include Make Elephants Fly (published by Hachette) and Surviving a Startup (published by HarperCollins).

In this episode, Steven talks about his insights on what makes a brand meaningful and memorable. Aside from that, he reveals the secrets of branding and the ways to create a brand that everyone will love!

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 01:31 – Steven’s ideal client: “My ideal clients are startup founders. Anybody running a small business. Any entrepreneur.”
  • 01:45 – Problem Steven helps solve: “The big problem I solve is that a lot of entrepreneurs are good at their business, but they know nothing about branding. They know nothing about messaging. So, I come in there with my team, and we give them everything they need to know to really get on the right track.”
  • 02:44 – Typical symptoms that clients do before reaching out to Steven: “Well, there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there who have a really solid business, you know, good business plan. They have all the pieces in place, but they really haven’t figured out who they are. What is the essence of their company?”
  • 05:00 – Common mistakes that people make before they find Steven’s solution: “A big mistake people make is they want to be all things to all people. They want to speak to, you know, the whole world. They want the whole world as their customer.”
  • 06:15 – Steven’s Valuable Free Action (VFA): “So finding your brand isn’t like waking up one morning and having an epiphany, “Oh, my God!” You know, “This is my brand!” You know, we all want that to happen. And if it does, and it works out perfectly, but what you really need to do, and even if you have that epiphany, you need to test it on your customers.”
  • 07:09 – Steven’s Valuable Free (VFR): Check out Steven’s Website: www.foundersspace.com/promo
  • 07:46 – Q: What stops founders from really successfully branding their companies and themselves? A: The answer is that founders have preconceived notions about what their company should be, without looking at what it really is.

Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:

“In branding your company, you have to think about what is the value you give these people.” -Steven S. Hoffman Click To Tweet

Transcript
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

Tom Poland 00:09
Welcome, everyone, and another warm welcome to Marketing the Invisible. My name is Tom Poland beaming out to you from Little Castaways Beach here in Queensland, Australia, joined today by Steven S. Hoffman who’s doing a roadshow right across North America. Steven, good day! A very warm welcome, sir. Where are you at right now? Which part of the journey are you on?

Steven S. Hoffman 00:28
So, I started in San Francisco, my home, and I am in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m almost to the Atlantic Ocean.

Tom Poland 00:36
Wow! That’s a fair way from where you started. How long is the road trip?

Steven S. Hoffman 00:40
It’s a couple of months. I’m taking my time!

Tom Poland 00:43
Oh, It’s fun for you to sample coffee all over the US. That’s fantastic!

Steven S. Hoffman 00:46
All over the US and meet people. Amazing people!

Tom Poland 00:49
Folks, for those of you who don’t know Steven, he’s the CEO of Founders Space. He is a venture investor, serial entrepreneur, author of several award-winning books, one of which I’ve just ordered. It’s called Surviving a Startup. Book has fascinating, world-class reviews. He’s also written Make Elephants Fly, published by Hachette. It’s a French publisher, a big international publisher. Surviving a Startup published by HarperCollins, which I just mentioned. Our subject today is, “How to Create Sticky Brands and Meaningful Messaging”. And Steven is going to tell us how to do that in just seven minutes. Steven, thanks so much for appearing on the show. It’s a privilege to have you here. Our seven minutes starts now, sir. Question number one is who is your ideal client?

Steven S. Hoffman 01:31
My ideal clients are startup founders. Anybody running a small business. Any entrepreneur.

Tom Poland 01:38
Fantastic. And so, question number two, almost seven minutes left, what’s the big problem you solve? Tell us about that.

Steven S. Hoffman 01:45
The big problem I solve is that a lot of entrepreneurs are good at their business, but they know nothing about branding. They know nothing about messaging. So, I come in there with my team, and we give them everything they need to know to really get on the right track.

Tom Poland 02:03
And so, getting- they get the cut through with the brand. They get people the right people responding to the message, motivated to take action, and clearly sticky, I presume, reserves too memorable. Would that be right?

Steven S. Hoffman 02:16
Yes, memorable! You have something that sticks otherwise you don’t have anything.

Tom Poland 02:19
Right. Yeah, it’s not like the gank you can’t get off your hands, it’s the stuff you want in your brain. So, tell us about, question number three, six minutes left. What are some of the- when you have a client that comes in and your team works with them, and you sprinkle your magic, and they have this transformation, what are the symptoms that are disappearing when that happens? What are they experiencing right now, pre-client engagement? How do they know they should be reaching out to you?

Steven S. Hoffman 02:44
Well, there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there who have a really solid business, you know, good business plan. They have all the pieces in place, but they really haven’t figured out who they are. What is the essence of their company? You know, how do I communicate this to my clients? If you’re an entrepreneur, you have clients. You have customers. They could be users on your app. They could be business-to-business customers. It doesn’t matter. They need to know who you are, and they need to know it quickly. So, in branding your company, you have to think about what is the value you give these people. I always say go to your core value. If your brand doesn’t align with your core value, then you’re actually giving them the wrong message. You’re going to be hurting your business. The second thing I like to tell entrepreneurs is, do you want to be part of that brand? So in a lot of companies we see out there, the founder, especially, you know, in startups, embodies the brand. Now this works well if you have the right personality, you know, and the right communication skills. Not all CEOs have this. So, some CEOs, you know, if you’re the next Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, you can do it, right? They are master marketers. They wear the brand. However, if you don’t have those skills, you have to know- you either have to develop them, or you have to recognize it and say, “I’m just going to focus on my company brand.” Now, having the founder as the brand icon gives you an extra boost because people relate to people. People stick. We like people! So, if you’re the founder, and you can take on the persona of your brand and communicate clearly through your actions and everything you do, put out there publicly? Great. However, there’s a risk! If you screw up as the founder, then it’s going to hurt your brand. If you do something unsavory. If you speak off-topic, all of these things are going to come back to haunt you.

Tom Poland 04:42
Wow.

Steven S. Hoffman 04:43
So, it’s a two-edged sword.

Tom Poland 04:44
Right. Thank you for that! Three and a half minutes left. Question number four, in addition to some of the things you’ve just mentioned, like speaking off-brand, what are some of the other common mistakes that folks make when they’re trying to get that sticky brand and the message that’s going to get captured? Three minutes, 20 seconds left.

Steven S. Hoffman 05:00
A big mistake people make is they want to be all things to all people. They want to speak to, you know, the whole world. They want the whole world as their customer. I mean, who doesn’t, right? We all want the whole world to love us, to buy our product. But in reality, your customer is almost never the whole world, right? It’s very specific, and you need to speak to those specific customers and figure out what’s in their heads. It doesn’t matter what you think your brand is, right? Or what you want it to be? You need to understand what they want from you. What are their values? Are they, you know, conscious about climate change and the environment? Is that what they care about? Are they looking for value or savings? Do they want reliability or efficiency? You know, what do your clients want? That has to be the focus of your brand because if your brand is not what they want, they’re going to go to somebody else! And so, it’s not just getting something that sticks, getting something that demonstrates your core value, but that all have to align with who they are and what they need from you.

Tom Poland 06:05
Perfect! Thank you. Just over two minutes left. Can you give us a tip, one valuable free action that someone could take that’s going to help them with this? How do they get started?

Steven S. Hoffman 06:15
Yes, this is- so finding your brand isn’t like waking up one morning and having an epiphany, “Oh, my God!” You know, “This is my brand!” You know, we all want that to happen. And if it does, and it works out perfectly, but what you really need to do, and even if you have that epiphany, you need to test it on your customers. You need to take the time to take your messaging out before you lock it down. You might have 20 different ideas. You may have one idea, whatever it is. You need to see if it resonates with them, what their impressions are. You need to present it to customers. You can do this online, through Google AdWords or Facebook ads, and measure the response rates to your messaging. You can do this face to face with focus groups, with customers, but preferably you do it all possible ways, right? Through surveys, whatever it takes to get as much feedback as possible, but what customers are really taking away from your brand.

Tom Poland 07:09
Perfect. Thank you, sir. Just over a minute left, two questions to go. One valuable free resource we can direct people to. Now, I know the answer, for the sake of time, folks, is www.foundersspace.com/promo. If you go there, you’re going to be able to order Steven’s book which I’ve personally done, but there’s also a terrific cost that comes as a bonus for that. So, get your digital butt over to foundersspace.com/promo. If for any reason it’s years down the track and is not there still since we recorded the interview, subscribe because you’re going to get some terrific content! Now, 30 seconds left, sir. What’s the one question I should have asked you but didn’t?

Steven S. Hoffman 07:46
You should ask me, what stops founders from really successfully branding their companies and themselves?

Tom Poland 07:55
And in 15 seconds, what’s the answer?

Steven S. Hoffman 07:57
The answer is that founders have preconceived notions about what their company should be, without looking at what it really is.

Tom Poland 08:06
Perfect. Steven, thank you so much for your time!

Steven S. Hoffman 08:09
Thank you, Tom.

Tom Poland 08:11
Thanks for checking out our Marketing The Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated. And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.fivehourchallenge.com.

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