How Joinable Is Your Brand?

Good brands are bought — great brands are joined.

Here’s what I mean:

To join a brand is to connect with it on a visceral level. To join a brand is to engage with it on a human level. To join a brand is to unite with it on a personal level.

Otherwise people are just giving you money.

Today we’re going to explore a collection of ideas to help your brand become more joinable.1. Surrender is the new control. Here’s the mistake stupid brands make: Instead of satisfying a compelling need, they project onto the market what they think they ought to want. Like the startup that invests thousands of dollars creating an elegant solution to a problem nobody has. Or the non-profit that drains the entire budget conserving irrelevant resources that are going extinct anyway.

In short: People fall love with their own marketing without recognizing that it’s already engaged to someone else.

Sounds like a bad country song to me.

If you want to make your brand more joinable, master the art of sweet surrender. Enable people to take your idea into their own hands by openly embracing a fan mentality.

For example, Scott Adams allows any of his readers to mash up his daily Dilbert comic strip. And if they’re funnier than his version, he’ll publish them. This demonstrates trust, transfers ownership to the customer and leverages vulnerability into viability. Does your brand do that?

As I learned from Vicki Kunkel’s book, Instant Appeal, “People who exhibit some sort of visual vulnerability relax out defenses and get greater support for their causes and companies.”

Remember: It’s not your job to tell customers how to consume you. Their taste puts food in your mouth – listen to it. Are you willing to give up some control of your brand in exchange for being able to let grow and expand it better and faster?

2. Inbreak is the new outreach. Outreach is outdated. Brands that claim to “start with the customer in mind” are full of crap. What they’re really trying to do is figure out how customers fit into their nice little marketing plan so they can bother them into buying something they don’t need.

Nice try, Don Draper, but that approach is broken.

If you want customers to join your brand, here’s my suggestion: Actually start with the customer. Focus on how your brand fits into people’s lives. That’s inbreak. That’s joining people first. And when you take this counterintuitive approach, a few cool things happen.

First, you proactively meet people where they live instead of cleverly sucking them into your marketing vortex. This lowers the threat level of your offering. Second, you extend respect for people’s life situation. This demonstrates empathy, respect and boundaries.

Third, by joining people first, you make them feel seen, heard and participated in. This delivers the social gift of gratitude. And lastly, instead of proving to people that you’re the kind of brand they can live with, you allow people to show you that they’re the kind of person you can’t live without. Which of your customers are just waiting for you to join them?

3. Click is the new join. To make your brand digitally joinable, you have to make it accessible through multiple channels. The secret is to help big numbers of people join you in small moments of clicking, the aggregate of which strengthens your brand over time. Here’s a collection of options you might consider:

*Make your brand subscribeable. Syndicate your brain. How many blog posts have published?
*Make your brand followable. Recognize that you’re a writer. How many of your tweets are worth printing out?
*Make your brand friendable. Become a virtual extrovert. Whose life is better because they know you?
*Make your brand likable. Get a personal demo video. How easy are you to get along with?
*Make your brand stalkable. Establish greater photo equity. How many pictures have you posted?
*Make your brand clickable. Build remarkability into everything you publish. How many bloggers are linking to you work?

Remember: Small moments plus big numbers equals huge profits. How many digital options are you giving people to interact with your brand?

4. Show-up is the new sign-on. When I first arrived at my professional association, the president took me aside and unexpectedly told me not to join. “Just show up, hang out and ask questions. Worry about joining later. Cool?”

Well, that’s a relief, I thought.

So I took Richard’s advice. And it turned out to be a much smarter investment of my time, money and energy. Plus I didn’t have to deal with the awkward pressures of membership, dues, committees and the like. Thank god. That’s all I need: Another affiliation.

The cool part is, after two years of casually showing up, I eventually did join. Then became a board member. Then became chapter president.

Lesson learned: Sometimes the best way to become more joinable is to tell people that it’s okay not to join. What do you have to lose? Why not look them in the eye say:

“Look, we have no petitions for you to sign, no recruitment drives for you to mount, and no expectations for you to fulfill. Just relax, and enjoy hanging out with the one club that requires absolutely nothing of you. Cool?”

Who knows? They might tell everybody. Are you blinded by the illusion that everyone in the world needs what your organization offers?

5. Imperfect is the new brilliant. The customer isn’t always right – but the customer always loves being right. And if you’re so smart, why aren’t you making other people look smart? Truth is, brands that are willing to broadcast their imperfection, remain open to improvement and allow customers to make their business smarter are eminently joinable.

Netflix, for example, offered one million dollars to anyone who could improve the accuracy of their movie recommendation algorithm by ten percent. This program was called The Progress Prize. And although it earned criticism from privacy advocates – not to mention the Federal Trade Commission – you better believe it positioned their brand as more joinable.

My suggestion: Kick your addition to terminal certainty. Be smart enough to be dumb. Besides, perfectionism enables procrastination, blocks inventiveness, stains communication and slaughters playfulness. Exert your imperfect humanity and your joinability will skyrocket. Are you still laboring under the myth that you have to do everything right? 


6. Engagement is the new marketing. For the past decade, I’ve never left the house without nametags. Because everywhere I go, people ask me if they can have one. And I’m happy to pass them out. To strangers, to friends, to random kids at the ballpark, whatever. My brand doesn’t discriminate.

The secret is, I don’t pass them out to make people wear nametags — I pass them out to make a point: My brand is participatory. Personally, I don’t even care if people wear the nametags. A lot of them don’t. What matters is that they join me that spontaneous moment of authentic human interaction, infused with a sprit of humor, playfulness and connection. That’s my brand. And people’s life is better because of it.

Your challenge is to determine the level of participation garnered by yours. After all, brand perception hinges on human interaction. And the only thing people can make a judgment about is how engaging with you makes them feel. I challenge you to think about how your brand could become more participative. Because encounter you have with another person either adds to – or subtracts from – its overall joinability. Do customers see your brand as a one-way street?

REMEMBER: Your people need to connect with you on a visceral level, engage with you on a human level and unite with you on a personal level.

Because it’s not enough for a brand to be bought – it has to be joined.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Is your brand buyable but not joinable?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Ways to Out Brand the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Who’s telling their friends about YOU?

Tune in to The Marketing Channel on NametagTV.com!

Watch video lessons on spreading the word!

Behind the Brandtag, Part 2: Lessons Learned from Shipping Art That Matters

“It’s not about the art – it’s about the person you become as you create the art.”

That mantra rules my life.

As an artist.
As an entrepreneur.
As an evolving human being.

Especially this week, as I celebrate the launch of brandtag.

This project is the most exciting, most risky and most remarkable work of art I’ve ever executed.

Much of my inspiration for this project can be attributed to Gaping Void, namely, Hugh Macleod’s cube grenade. To him I owe a debt of gratitude.

AND THE BEST PART IS: After fifteen months of hard and frustrating work, I’ve discovered dozens of cool things.

Today we’re going to explore part two (part one here!) of lessons learned during the process:1. Mainstream is lame stream. Art isn’t a game of kickball. Thanks to the beauty of the Internet, artists no longer have to wait around to get picked to play. Instead, they just pick themselves. They create their own market by finding the tiny handful of people who are likely to buy.

My suggestion: Divorce your ego from the illusion that market size matters. It doesn’t. Instead of buying tickets for the starving artist lottery, go out and find the market for what you love. Forget about appealing to the masses and focus on kicking the asses of the tribe who loves you.

It’s easier, cheaper and significantly less frustrating than trying to make everybody like you. Remember: The only permission slip that matters is the one you sign for yourself. Have you voluntarily opted out of the mainstream?

2. Discovery is the dividend of displacement. The origin of the first brandtag comes from Tokyo. I remember the experience vividly: My stomach was full of sushi, my creativity was firing on all cylinders, and there was a minor earthquake during breakfast. Not a bad morning.

But that was the first time it truly occurred to me: Contribution is critical to my constitution as a human being.

And on that day, something inside me changed. I don’t know what. But my work was never the same after that. That’s when I started writing about mattering. Both how to matter and what to do when you feel like you don’t matter. Through that experience, brandtag was born.

And that’s why I had no doubt in my mind that the first limited edition series would be about mattering. It’s simply too important of an idea not to celebrate. I wonder what you could discover if you displaced yourself across the country. Maybe you’ll stumble into the idea that changes everything. When was the last time you took a trip across the world all by yourself?

3. Sing in your own voice. Each limited edition brandtag is autographed in nametag style. Interestingly, when I took the prints to my framer, her comment was, “Wait, you’re just signing the nametag and that’s it? But in the art world, that’s not enough.”

To which I replied, “In my world, it is.”

Feedback is highly overrated. It rarely reflects who you are as an artist. More often than not, it just projects the insecure concerns and character flaws of the person giving it.

My suggestion: Develop deeper trust in your own instincts. Unless feedback comes from the small group of who truly matter most, it’s nothing but a confusing, discouraging, stressful waste of time and tears. Don’t spend too much time living in other people’s worlds. It leads you away from your own voice.

Remember: Life’s too short to create art in response to demands of the market. How much longer will you allow feedback to bounce you around like a pinball?

4. Joinability builds profitability. The greatest artists aren’t icons people bow down to; they’re ideas people can latch onto. For that reason, your customers – that is, your viewers, readers, patrons, fans and listeners – are buying more than just your product. They’re also buying your person, your philosophy, your process and the problem you solve.

That’s why quality can’t be your sole signature. People need to buy the story you’re telling, too. After all, they respond to what you believe – not just what you create.

Your challenge is to persuade people to make time in their busy schedules to visit the world you’ve created. Without that, your work will never endure. Because good brands are bought – great brands are joined. Otherwise people are just giving you money. What meaning do people create for themselves in response to your story?

5. Listen to unintentional music. About a month ago, my dad stopped by to help me hang the very first brandtag in my library. Once the frame was straight, we stepped back to have a look. And that’s when he said something that changed everything:

“Scott, I think I found a typo.”

Get the hell outta here. My stomach dropped to the floor. At first, I thought he was kidding. But upon closer inspection, we actually found a misspelled word in the lower right hand corner. If you look closely, you’ll notice the word “values” was accidentally spelled “vaules.”

And I thought: You sonuvabitch. I can’t believe I missed that. Goddammit.

Almost in tears, I called my girlfriend immediately. And I told her about the typo. But instead of lamenting about the imperfection, she came up with an idea that saved the day:

“Scott, you should leave the typo in there.”

Yeah. That’s a great idea. After all, this entire brandtag project is about approachability and humanity. And what’s more imperfect than that? So we did. We left the typo in. And from now on, every brandtag will have one.

It’s the snag in the Persian rug. The wabi-sabi. The crack that lets the light get through. And the reminder that success isn’t perfection. How imperfect are you willing to be? 


6. Finished is the new perfect. In a recent interview, Ira Glass made a brilliant comment on the creative process: “Your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is a killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.” That’s a tough pill to swallow: Knowing that not everything you make will feel like a masterpiece.

In fact, I remember getting to that point with brandtag. The obsessive-compulsive part of me wanted to keep editing, revising, updating and improving the final piece. But the impatient part of me said: Just ship the damn thing. Declare it done. The hay is in the barn.

Without this crucial moment, you trap yourself in the infinite regression of better. And it’s more convenient to be a victim of resistance than to risk executing what matters.

My suggestion: Stop ironing out the wrinkles nobody is going to notice. By fixating on improvement, you’re missing what you already are. When will you realize that you’re the only person waiting to get everything right?

REMEMBER: It’s not about the art; it’s about the person you become as you create the art.

Stop waiting for permission.

Go execute something that matters.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How risky is the work you ship?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Behind the Brandtag, Part 1: Lessons Learned from Shipping Art That Matters

“It’s not about the art – it’s about the person you become as you create the art.”

That mantra rules my life.

As an artist.
As an entrepreneur.
As an evolving human being.

Especially this week, as I celebrate the launch of brandtag.

This project is the most exciting, most risky and most remarkable work of art I’ve ever executed.

Much of my inspiration for this project can be attributed to Gaping Void, namely, Hugh Macleod’s cube grenade. To him I owe a debt of gratitude.

AND THE BEST PART IS: After fifteen months of hard and frustrating work, I’ve discovered dozens of cool things.

Today we’re going to explore a few of lesson learned during the process:1. Infect people with your vision. Otherwise your dream will never make into their hearts. That’s what most people don’t know about brandtag: It took fifteen months to execute. And not because I was procrastinating.

Rather, because I was documenting every single phase of the creative process – then, privately sharing it in a twenty-minute slide show presentation – with people who matter to me. Partly to obtain their feedback, but also to infect them with my vision of what the world would look like when these art pieces finally shipped.

And to my delight, when brandtag set sail, those people were already on board and willing to help me paddle.

Remember: If people can’t see the passion in your face, they won’t hear a word that comes out of your mouth. Don’t just show them the way – show them the why. How will you inspire people to see the world as you do?

2. Bring your cause to life. According to Gallup’s thirty-year employee engagement study, disengaged employees cost companies three hundred billion dollars every year. The question is: How much of that money was lost by your team? And what are you going to do about it?

For example: Employee’s inboxes don’t need another boring, overextended piece of corporate communication that they delete immediately or, at best, peruse passively. If your words don’t speak directly to what’s important to them, you’re nothing but spam.

That’s why brandtag works: It’s custom designed to stop the financial bleeding caused by disengaged employees. By displaying the art within your company walls, your team, and the people they serve, are ultra aware of your commitment to them. And that’s how approachability converts into profitability. Are you delivering your story in a lifeless way?

3. Expand your role repertoire. When I first started my company, I had a book. That was it. A decade later, my business has evolved into a diverse, robust enterprise. Now, my clients can use me in eight different ways. And this not only diversifies my business and positions me as a valued resource, but educates my clients on the depth of my deliverables.

That’s why brandtag was so exciting to me: It was a new role.

A combination of artist, translator and consultant. Not just a guy who writes books. And if you want your business to accomplish the same, try this: Physically map out a chart of every possible way clients can give you money. By doing so, you’ll be able to better articulate the diverse offerings that emphasize your expanded role repertoire.

Remember: The goal is to transition from “Should we hire them?” to “How should we use then?” Do your customers truly know all the different ways they can engage your services?

4. You’re defined by what you decline. It’s a beautiful moment when you realize what you can’t do. After all, sometimes that’s the only way to free yourself to focus on what’s left. Like the boxer with a broken arm, you realize you have no choice but to develop your speed.

That was the hardest part about executing brandtag: I couldn’t draw a straight line if I tried. I’m an artist of the verbal – not the visual. And as much as my ego wanted me to be responsible for every part of the process, I eventually made the decision to surrender.

Thanks to the suggestion of my friend Matt Homann, I hired out the artwork to a brilliant letterpress shop called Firecracker Press. And to my delight, their craftsmanship was a million times better than anything I could have ever attempted. What are you afraid to let go of?

5. Safeguard your artistic vision. I kept brandtag a secret for fifteen months. That was painful. But as Julia Cameron taught me, “The first rule of magic is containment.” That’s why I only told a select number of colleagues about my art project. In my experience, there is a direct relationship between how many people you tell about your dream and how quickly that dream becomes a reality.

If you force your ideas to hatch before they’re ready, they’ll arrive to the world stillborn and lifeless.

My suggestion: Don’t blow the lid off your idea by telling too many of the wrong people about them. Not everyone deserves a backstage pass to your dream. Just tell the few people who matter most and then get back to work.

Protect your dream. Otherwise the vultures will destroy your seed before you have a chance to harvest it. Are you gushing to people who are just going to belittle your ambitions?

REMEMBER: It’s not about the art; it’s about the person you become as you create the art.

Stop waiting for permission.

Go execute something that matters.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How risky is the work you ship?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Unmistakable Motivators of Human Engagement,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Now booking for 2011-2012!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Sign up for daily updates
Connect

Subscribe

Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!