What Can An MSP Owner Learn About Marketing From George Foreman?
Two-time Heavyweight Champion and genius entrepreneur George Foreman will be ONE of the keynote speakers at our upcoming Boot Camp. Some have criticized the decision, saying, “We’re IT guys – not a room full of professional boxers or TV personalities, so why waste time listening to THIS guy?” So, please allow me to address that AND serve the dual purpose of delivering a solid “fundamental” in marketing that everyone needs to understand: personal brand.
For starters, many people think I’m against branding since I often say (and do believe) that spending money on branding ads and promotions for the sheer purpose of image advertising (not lead generation) IS wasteful. I prefer marketing that can be ruthlessly held accountable for a return that does the dual purpose of branding.
Further, I believe that building a personal brand IS a very smart, strategic approach to differentiation in a world where true differentiation is difficult to come by. George is a perfect example of this.
He took an ordinary kitchen appliance that could be gotten anywhere and turned it into one of the best-selling products in retail history – and he did it purely on his own personal brand.
George was VERY strategic and purposeful about building himself into a likable personal brand when he came back to win the Heavyweight Championship in his 40s, which was the true critical key to not only the success of the grill, but also to him obtaining multiple big, fat endorsement deals with other companies such as Nike and Meineke.
The first time he won, he admits, he was a mean, nasty SOB that nobody liked. When he retired, he realized his error. People forgot about him. Endorsement deals weren’t coming in and his money was drying up.
So, against all odds, he decided to go BACK to boxing to get the money he needed and wanted – only THIS time around, he showed up as a more humble, God-loving, funnier and approachable George Foreman. He created a totally different personal brand, one that fans adored and rooted for.
Now, here are a few keys to creating a magnetic personal brand:
- The first and most important step is that you have to decide WHO you want to be famous TO. It’s incredibly difficult to be universally known like the Kardashians, and for most of us, that’s not necessary. Being famous in a carefully selected market is VERY lucrative and FAR easier with whatever resources you have. As I’ve said before, you want to jump up and down in puddles, not the ocean.
Be specific about WHO you want to be known to, who you want to influence, and then craft your messages and identity to appeal to those people.
- You have to be about SOMETHING. A brand stands for something and is known for something specific. Starbucks is about “place.” Southwest is about “low-fare fun.” Amazon is about being “the everything store.” To be memorable, you have to stand for something – if you try to be milquetoast, nobody will care.
Take note: a sign you’re getting it RIGHT (and a critical component of personal brand) is to have detractors and vehement haters. Shark Tank’s Daymond John shared with me this same insight: rap artists USE their haters to make their fans more loyal…to get people talking about and arguing over them.
- Don’t confuse “brand” with logos and slogans. Those are PART of your brand, but don’t think for a second that the key to this is a clever tagline or a slick logo. Brand identity is about specific core principles and ideas first, THEN imagery is used to attach that to colors, fonts and logos. Companies MAKE their logos famous by everything else they do to create brand identity.
- A good brand has a strong customer culture with it. This is closely tied to being about something – think Disney, Apple or even our Producers Club. Customers feel they are part of something, NOT just being “sold” to.
One of my current favorite examples of this is Black Rifle Coffee. Evan Hafer, the CEO, has done a brilliant job of gaining a fiercely loyal client base and a fast-growing company despite the highly competitive nature of his product because he stands for our military and our country.
- Start with PERSONAL branding. As a small business owner in a service business, you’ll get much more traction with this than trying to brand your organization. ALL strong brands have a strong CEO behind them. Many new members are concerned about this, worried that if they send out the marketing with their name on it, prospects will *only* want to work with them.
This is simply not so – and I’m speaking from personal experience, as well as on behalf of the many and various examples of bigger-company CEOs who are closely tied to their brand. No one expects Elon Musk to be selling cars at a Tesla dealership.
If you want a basic starting point, at least decide who you’d like to be known TO. From there, what do you want them to know you FOR? What set of guiding principles do you stand for? What do you want your company to represent? From there, you have the foundation to start creating content and promotions to convey that to your chosen audience.
And if you want more powerful marketing strategies, templates and blueprints to grow your MSP, AND hear from George Foreman live, get registered for Boot Camp at www.RobinsBigSeminar.com before it’s too late!