5 Ways to Jumpstart the Joinability of Your Brand

Este Lauder once said, “Women don’t buy brands — they join them.”

When I first heard that quotation, my inner geography changed forever. And I eventually came to a conclusion that has yet to be disputed:

Good brands are bought, great brands are joined.

Like my friend Jay Siefert, owner of Studio Element (pictured above).

Because of his passion for fitness, health and human potential, clients join more than his club — they join his brand.

Who’s joining yours?

Consider these ideas to jumpstart the joinability of your brand:1. Run a joinability audit. Traditional marketing is wallpaper. It’s invisible, inaudible and inconsumable. It’s appallingly uninteresting and instantly forgettable. And it interrupts people, disturbs their attention and pollutes the public space.

If you want to avoid that reality, the first step is to ask yourself five crucial questions.

*Does your brand interrupt people or involve them?
*Does your brand ask people to care, or invite people to participate?
*Does your brand demand and disturb people’s attention, or respect and reward it?
*Does your brand offer purpose-driven human uniqueness, or just a patchwork of weirdness?
*Does your brand offer real, human, experiential value at the point of consumption, or just dispense a message?

These questions aren’t just questions: They’re springboards. And they can be used in a few ways: As strategic planning tools to benchmarks to build the joinability of your brand; as benchmarks to sustain the joinability of your brand; and as filters to research the joinability of other company’s brands.

The best part: If you ask these questions enough, you’ll internalize them. And soon joinability will become second nature.

Remember: You can’t bother people into buying from you. All you can do is invite them to join you by expressing yourself fully and freely. Do the benefits of your brand transcend the transactional?

2. Identify and promote your brand’s human purpose. “All of our brands are designed with human purpose in mind,” wrote Leo Burnett. “And when our story plays a long-term role in people’s lives, it’s no longer a brand — it’s a badge. And that’s how we create lifelong emotional relationships with them.”

The cool part is, the consequence of your brand’s human purpose will be people’s participation. That’s where true joinability lives. And whether that involves in-person conversation offline, or user-generated content online, the result will be the same: Customers will move from being observers of your brand to achievers with your brand.

Why do you think Obama won the presidency? Certainly wasn’t his political resume. It was because his brand hinged on the human purpose of hope. And he knew that in tough times, people wanted to be told what was possible.

So he told them. And although he didn’t solve all the world’s problems immediately, he still ran the most successful campaign in our country’s history. Sixty-four million people joined him. They proudly wore his brand as a badge. And his story will have a long-term role in each of their lives. That’s the power of human purpose.

Remember: Your brand is your stand. What happens when people step onto it?

3. Participation is the only unit of marketing that matters. For the past eleven years, I’ve invited hundreds of thousands of people to join my brand. But not by asking them for money. And not by persuading them to join my overpriced, marginally helpful membership site.

Rather, by creating spontaneous moments of authentic human interaction, infused with a sprit of humor, playfulness and connection.

That’s what my brand does: It makes this moment, right now, a more humane, pleasant passing of time. From my handwritten nametag to my trademark philosophy card to my daily fill in the blank exercise, my goal is create simultaneous engagement and entertainment, both online and off.

What does your brand do for people? And do those people care enough about your brand to take a moment, take a picture and make a memory?

If not, you’re in trouble. Because people won’t value your brand if the experience of it doesn’t add something to their lives. And people won’t participate in your brand’s communication if they’re not rewarded them for the time they spend with it.

Your mission is simple: Let people into the moment. Induce participation. And intuitively respond to the human thirst for connection. People won’t just buy you — they’ll join you. Forever. Are you providing an opportunity for people to participate in a way that speaks to their individual needs?

4. Provide people with opportunities to act. Let’s talk more about participation. According to Leo Burnett’s book, Humankind, an act is anything that creates an emotional connection that deepens over time.

Something simple, inclusive, accessible and relevant to people’s lives. Something that gives people the gift of a quiet moment of joy. Something that connotes and reflects the brand’s human purpose. Something that enhances a moment of happiness. Something that creates excitement where apathy lives. And something that changes the momentary experience.

To identify your brand’s act, try their formula:

“I seek to create act of _______ in moments of ________.”

Creative directors Tom Bernardin and Mark Tutsel provide a list of powerful examples. Consider a few of these to begin brainstorming your brand’s act:

Interest in moments of timidity.
Confidence in moments of doubt.
Progress in moments of stagnation.
Coolness in moments of social risk.
Connection in moments of isolation.
Inspiration in moments of weakness.
Liberation in moments of constraint.
Casualness in moments of seriousness.
Encouragement in times of insecurity.
Togetherness in moments of loneliness.
Friendships in moments of indifference.

Remember: You don’t need advertisements, you need invitations to act and engage with your brand. Are you selling to people or connecting with them?

5. Let customers take the steering wheel. Joinability comes from vulnerability. That is, surrendering certain parts of your brand as the cost of growth. And a few years back, Jeff Jarvis famously wrote three words on this topic that changed everything: Become a platform.

According to his research, that’s what winning brands do: Join the post-scarcity, open-source, gift economy and remember that their best customers are their partners.

Here’s a few ways to do so for your organization: First, give users and fans the ability to create and improve your online content. They’ll become your brand spokespeople just by being themselves.

Second, enable your customers to build communities and networks under the umbrella of your platform. They’ll multiply your audience beyond what you could have accomplished alone.

Third, encourage people to build their own products and businesses connected to your brand. They’ll become your mobile sales force, global marketing department and perpetual listening platform.

As a result, they’ll elevate your platform to the point that it becomes a catapult. And then, as your brand becomes an infinite source of infinite opportunity, they won’t give joining a second thought.

Remember: Surrender is the new control. Customers want to be pilots, not just passengers. Let them control their brand experience and they’ll thank you by telling everybody. How vulnerable are you willing to be?

REMEMBER: People love to buy — but they love to belong even more.

If you want to make money, make a difference and make history, help people join your brand.

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

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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

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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

Never the same speech twice.

Now booking for 2011!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Stop Being Nice and Start Becoming Necessary

That’s nice, but… We’re not Apple.
That’s nice, but… That doesn’t help me.
That’s nice, but… How much will this cost?
That’s nice, but… How does that affect the bottom line?
That’s nice, but… That doesn’t really answer my question.

So much for the power of nice.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being nice.

BUT HERE’S THE DIFFERENCE: Nice gets commended, necessary gets compensated.

Which word describes the work you do?

Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you stop being nice and start becoming necessary:1. Hit them in the wallet quicker. One of my clients, Aaron, is a nurse practitioner. He consults with hospitals, healthcare organizations and other medical professionals on how to practice heart-centered care. During one of our email mentoring sessions, he enlightened me about the mindset of a typical hospital administrator:

“If it doesn’t directly relate to patient care – they don’t care.”

To them, that’s what matters. It’s a bottom-line focus. It’s a self-interest that pivots on the principle of profitability. Not just for hospitals – for all organizations. For all customers.

Not that it’s always about money, but let’s not kid ourselves: People think with their wallets. And to move from nice to necessary, you have to hit them there quicker.

One suggestion for doing so comes from a recent issue of FastCompany. Made to Stick authors Dan & Chip Heath suggest that you sell aspirin, not vitamins.

“If you want to succeed, you’d better be selling aspirin rather than vitamins. Vitamins are nice; they’re healthy. But aspirin cures your pain; it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.”

That’s how you hit them in the wallet quicker. That’s how nice becomes necessary: When what you do unearths your customer’s deeply felt needs. Is your organization selling a better mousetrap or a dead mouse?

2. Be gloriously explicit. What do all coaches and consultants have in common? Nobody knows what the hell they really do. Because of low barriers to entry, minimal training requirements and mass-market saturation, coaching and consulting are poorly defined service offerings. Which makes most coaches and consultants nice – but not necessary.

For that reason, five years ago I introduced a first-of-its-kind service called, Rent Scott’s Brain. People bonded with it instantly. More importantly, people bought it instantly. That moved the service from nice to necessary, because it offered people (who valued my thinking) access to a one of a kind product.

That’s your mission: To show people exactly what you do so they can decide whether or not they need it. I’m not just talking about honesty – this is radical transparency. Making no qualms about what you do, what you don’t do and what happens when you do it. How explicitly are your service offerings defined?

3. Embrace your outsiderness. People need fresh air. A new perspective. Someone from the outside to point out the glaring inconsistencies they’re too close to themselves to see. That’s the three-fold advantage to being an outsider.

First: Outsiders bring objectivity. This moves you from nice to necessary for several reasons: You have little or no bias. Your can recognize patterns immediately. You have no stake. You don’t bring vested interests to an existing problem. You can explore structure with fresh eyes. And you’re not viewed as a threat.

Second: Outsiders invite freedom. As an outsider, you don’t face traditional barriers. You’re unaware of common creative blocks. You’re not subject certain internal politics. And you can challenge assumptions that were never considered, or taken for granted.

Third: Outsiders expand thinking. Because you’re detached from outcomes. Because you’re not so close to the situation and, therefore have limited agendas. And because your body of experience applies cross-industrially.

The point is: It’s a lot easier to break the limit when you don’t know the limit exists. And the less you know, the more likely you are to come up with an original idea. That’s what I tell my clients: “I don’t know anything. And that’s exactly why I’m here.”

Remember: Sometimes it takes a person who knows nothing to change everything. How are you positioned as an equitable outsider?

4. Baseline remarkability isn’t enough. Crystal Pepsi was remarkable, but irrelevant. It was nice, but not necessary. That’s the trap many organizations to fall victim to: Being remarkable for the sake of being remarkable.

Most of the time, this is the result of falling in love with your own marketing. And the problem is: If there’s no sustainability and substance beyond baseline remarkability, you never transcend nice. The goal is to seek enduring remarkability.

My suggestion: Listen to people tell you what’s not working for them. Hell, you can even ask them: “What urgent, expensive, important problem do you have – that nobody else is attending to?” When you become known as someone who acknowledges what’s been tragically neglected, someone who overcomes the poisonous accumulation of unsatisfied customer wishes, necessary will be an understatement.

Remember: People can tell their friends all they want about you. But if there’s no substance to anchor your shtick, if there’s no pervasive problem-solving to support your product, you won’t last. Any number multiplied by zero is still zero. Do you truly offer meaningful uniqueness?

5. Dare to be dumm. You can’t avoid the appearance of ignorance forever. But it takes tremendous courage and humility to stand up in the middle of a meeting and say, “Does anyone else smell that?” or “Am I the only one, or is this confusing to you guys too?” That’s what the necessary do: They speak truth to people’s hearts. And if you want to do so, keep your eye out for three patterns:

First, ideas that are simply too convenient to be killed. Grab a pistol and be the one to speak up. Otherwise nothing will ever change.

Second, problems that are so simple and familiar that they become hidden. Pull them out from behind the curtain and expose them to world.

Third, people who are too comfortable to feel the weight of their own stupidity. Your job is to find evidence of burden wherever you can.

Now, keep in mind: You’re not here to be a downer – but you don’t want to put lipstick and makeup on the truth. Ultimately, to be necessary is to become a delightful disturbance. To snap open people’s eyes, strike at the very root and translate floating abstractions into concrete realities.

And if you can make but a few people pause, you win. And so do they. Are you ignoring the elephant in the room, talking about the elephant in the room, or jumping on its back and teaching it how to dance?

6. Positioning wins ballgames. It’s not about marketshare – it’s about mindshare. Your goal is to walk into a room as a peer of the people, a trusted resource to the people and a problem solver with the people. Like Jack Trout’s wrote in Positioning, “Don’t create the product – build the position behind the product in the prospect’s mind.”

Let’s break down each of the three roles.

First: A peer. A friend. Not someone who surreptitiously memorized the names of your family members to make it look like he cares. And not one of those lame-ass, social media pseudo friends that don’t actually know anything about who you really are. I’m talking about a real friend. Someone who knows what you ache for. Someone who’s well versed in your why. And someone who knows is how you think, how you live and whom you love. Do your clients, coworkers and superiors think of you that way?

Second: A trusted resource. Which means even if you don’t know the answer, you know the questions that will point people to the answer. And through the depth of what you deliver, you don’t make people ask, “Should we hire this guy?” but rather, “How should we use this guy?”

Third: A problem solver. Which means you’re the answer to something that matters. You’re don’t just learn about your customers’ businesses – you learn about their brain. You try their heads on. And when the time comes, you practice restraint when it comes to deliver answers. No need to deploy every weapon you have. No need to teach people how to build a watch – just tell them what time it is.

Remember: The stronger your pre-sale position, the easier it is to get to yes. How are you positioned prior to making the sale?

7. Serve people as if they were already paying clients. You don’t need to give away the farm – but by helping at a high level now, you help people find a way to pay you later. It’s all in the mindset you maintain. For example, if you walk in the door thinking:

“It’s just a free gig. I can half ass it. I’ll bring my b-game and save the good stuff for people who actually pay,” your performance will suffer as a result. Not to the extent that the client will really notice the difference – but to the extent that the client will assume that’s all you’ve got.

On the other hand, if you walk in the door thinking, “I know they’re not paying me, but I’m still going to rock their faces off. I’m going to make them laugh, make them understand and make them marvel. And I’m going to engage them emotionally with an unbroken series of value-driven actions, an extraordinarily pure heart and an indispensible presence,” people will be so blown away that they’ll have no choice but to start paying you.

That’s what happens when you throw your full attention to the world of the client: They throw their full budget to the world of your bank account. Or they call security. How are you making it clear that your focus is on helping and not charging?

8. Be a vital component, not just a helpful addition. A few years ago, my friend John Janstch told me the secret of his blog commenting strategy: Don’t just comment – contribute. Now, although we’re not talking about blogging today, the same general principal applies. You have to transform yourself into a value-adding machine.

That’s how you move from nice to necessary: By not being selfish with your knowledge. By positioning yourself as the only path to fulfillment. By positioning your expertise in such a way that people wouldn’t dare go into the marketplace without your opinion first. And by sharing your expertise generously so people recognize it, embrace it and eventually depend on you for it.

Soon, people in your office, people in your network and people in your marketplace will start coming to your for your time. Because they won’t want to make a move without consulting you first.

Remember: If your absence doesn’t make a noticeable difference, why would people bother inviting you back? You want to become so imminently significant, that your client’s world crumbles when you’re not around. When you walk out of a room, how does it change?

In conclusion, I’d like to talk about something that never fails to amaze me:

The stark difference between the value you think you deliver, and the value your customers actually remember.

One of the groups I work with provides seminars, coaching and resources to unemployed professionals. And after a recent workshop, my client expressed something that blew my hair back:

“Don’t get me wrong, Scott. The material was great. The slides were stimulating. And the delivery was engaging. But these people need to laugh. Some of them have been unemployed for over a year now, and their spirits are sagging. So, the fact that they just spent the last three hours of their lives with smiles on their faces and chuckles in their bellies is exactly what they didn’t realize they needed. That’s the value you bring – and it’s priceless. Thanks.”

You know, it’s amazing: When you deliver a dose of positivity, you achieve a stroke of superiority.

And I agree that hope isn’t a strategy. I also agree that the people who inspire an atmosphere of hope are the last to be shown the door.

My suggestion:

Engage the muscle of yes.
Remain radiant amidst the filth of the world.
There will be no escaping the echoes of your enthusiasm.

And your radiance will propel you lightyears beyond nice and into the galaxy of necessary.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How much money is nice making you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “20 Ways to Make Customers Feel Comfortable” 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!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

Scott Ginsberg Teaches Optimists International How to be More Joinable

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who’s joining you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “15 Ways to Out Learn Your Competitors,” 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!

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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