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The Importance of Brand Building vs Direct Response Advertising

Friday, July 14, 2023

The Importance of Brand Building vs Direct Response Advertising

One of the core principles that we’ve been teaching clients and members and following for years is that “brand building should be a happy by-product and not be bought”

Most small businesses and entrepreneurs are steered wrong and with the ‘if you build it they will come’ advice and the ‘just get your name out there’.

But that isn’t enough and just like everything else we do in marketing our businesses should be created through planning and strategy.

So what do we mean when we say ‘brand building’ for direct response?

Direct response brand building has 3 components of which none is more important than the other:

  • ​Your message
  • ​Your story
  • ​Your visual presence

Your message is all about how you are perceived by the public.

Your story is who you are to the public and your visual presence is your logo, your colors, your signs, etc.

So how is this different than just brand building and just getting your name out there?

For the small business or entrepreneur, we want to make sure that every time we get our name out there we can associate that with revenue coming back in.

So we're saying it's not about getting your name out there but it's about getting your name out there smartly so that everything that you do is trackable. Everything that you do is measurable while at the same time, you are building your brand.

As entrepreneurs that's what we need to do. We can't spend a ton of money just getting our name out there.

If we spend a thousand dollars we've gotta get that back plus some and we've got to get it back quickly. And it's no different here at Magnetic Marketing. That's one of the things that we talk about. It's no different.

Most people start their ‘brand building’ with “I need to get a logo created” and they start with their name or their company name and add the colors that they like.

But when you start, everything in your business needs to be centered around:

  • ​Your client
  • ​Your customer
  • ​Who your patient is

And you build from there.

So, before we can go build a brand, we have to do some groundwork to make sure that we are building something that people want and more importantly something that people will exchange money for – because without the exchange of money, we don’t have a business!

Let’s get started……

If You Stand For Everyone You Stand For No One

Dan Kennedy is infamous for saying if you try to appeal to everyone you're going to appeal to no one.

So it's really important that one of the first things you do is to decide who you're going to stand for so that you can target those people.

Before you can start building your brand you have to know:

  • ​Who your ideal customer is
  • ​Who you're going to be targeting
  • ​Who do you want as your customer
  • ​Who is going to exchange money with you

If you try to appeal to everyone you'll appeal to no one.

In appealing to everyone you eliminate your ability to take a stance, to have definitive and authoritative fundamental beliefs, to be able to say that you are for certain people and you are not for others.

You can even see this, if you look very closely, at some of the bigger ‘brand’ companies.

Take Budweiser as an example – if you watch their commercials and pay attention to their advertising, you can see that they are not for everyone, their ‘ideal clients’ are everyday men, the cowboy, who wants to drink beer in his living room or in a local bar – they are not going after the female who is frequenting the dance clubs.

This becomes really important when it comes down to spending your marketing dollars – as a small business or entrepreneur we don't have the budget of a Budweiser to build a brand the way that they build it.

But what we can do is target who we are going after and build our brand to that specific ideal person while not spending a ton of money.

Why Can't You Appeal to Everybody?

The biggest reason is because we don't have enough marketing dollars to appeal to everyone.

You cannot appeal to everybody

Second of all, it's just impossible because your message and your branding have to be so spot on that when someone sees it they associate with it, and say “Hey this is for me”.

Especially today when things are so fragmented in their specialties.

Just look at television. I remember when there were only three networks. There was PBS, but there were really only three. So people only had three choices….. today you have 271 with just basic cable.

There are specialty channels for everything. How many food channels are there? And so who are they appealing to? Well, they're not appealing to the person who's not interested in food or interested in cooking.

But, if they tried some of those shows on the major networks the show would be canceled faster than the oven timer can go off.

That's how you have to target your message. You have to be niched but before you can start your branding you have to figure out who that niche is.

This is also the faster route, and as a small business owner, we need the fastest route, because we don’t have the deep pockets of a large company to finance our marketing while we are waiting to build our brand.

Choosing Your Ideal Client

So you’re probably saying “Okay I'm with you, I understand that I can't be for everybody, so how do I decide who I'm going to be for?”

Choosing Your Ideal Client

This is something that we cover in much further detail in the NO BS Newsletter & Diamond ( and is highlighted in the No BS Direct Marketing Book.

To start determining your ideal customer - take a moment to envision some of your favorite current customers:

  • ​What are their names?
  • ​Can you see them?
  • ​What do you like best about them?

Usually, these are the people:

  • ​Who pay their bills on time
  • ​Are a pleasure to be around
  • ​Appreciate you for the good that you do
  • ​Refer others to you
  • ​Are an advocate for your business
  • ​Do what they say they will do

Now that you can picture these ‘perfect’ clients. Start listing all the commonalities those people have with each other.

But, you don’t want to stop at their commonalities, you want to describe exactly who you want to work with.

Are they located in a specific geographic area?

Let’s say that you are a real estate agent – you might determine that you only want to sell homes in the northwest corner of your town or only homes that are $1M and above.

This is what we call “Building Your Customer Avatar.” Now most people stop here, but we want to do deeper.
Ask yourself:

  • ​What are their biggest frustrations as it relates to your product or service?
  • ​What are their biggest fears as it relates to your product or service?
  • ​What do they really truly want and desire most (as it relates to your product or service)?

For example, before coming to our organization, our former Chief Marketing Strategist Dave Dee, was a professional magician (which is how he found Dan Kennedy) and he sold a marketing course to other magicians.

After discovering and implementing Dan’s Marketing principles in his own Magic business, he decided to package up his knowledge and expertise and teach other magicians how they could be widely successful just like he was. (If you like this idea, you can go to to get more information on how you can do this too).

Below he describes his customer avatar:

“In my marketing materials, I positioned and sold my course on the premise that they would learn how to book more magic shows. Learn to make more money. But that was just the surface. I had done the exercise to find my avatar and I took the time to go deep into their psyche to find out some of the ‘real’ reasons they were seeking help. What was it that they secretly, privately desired most? Well, what they secretly, privately desired most was to show all of those people who told them that they could not do magic, that it wasn't practical, that they were wrong. That they were dead wrong. Secretly they wanted to prove all those people wrong and make it as a successful magician.” -- From Dave Dee

And it’s much easier today than ever to find out the answer to this deep dark secret plaguing your ideal clients.

There are discussion groups, forums, and blogs on just about every topic – if you just go read a discussion book or a discussion group or a forum and just keep reading it, where the people in your target market are going, it'll become very, very apparent what they secretly, privately desire most.

But that is just one way.

Once we know who our ideal client is, it's going to tell us a couple of things.

For example, the ‘ideal Magnetic Marketing client’ is a male who's 35 to 50 years old, republican, has been in business for three to five years, has zero to five employees, reads books and newspapers, believes that there are different ways to solve problems, wants to really live the illusion that everybody thinks they have by owning their own business, they want to make the money that people assume they make because they own their own business, they want to stop working so hard and work smarter, and they want to prove everyone wrong who told them “why can’t you just get a job”.

The 3 Components of Your Brand

Now that you know who your customer avatar is, you are ready to start developing your brand!

The 3 Components of Your Brand

The three - so we define a brand as having three kinds of components.

The first is your message, which is your marketing message.

The second is the visual spacing brand of your company and for many entrepreneurs that means of you, I think that's a big thing that Magnetic Marketing does and teaches is personality-based and that you are the brand. It's not just about a name.

And then the third is the story that you build around you and your company that shows the public, that solidifies that to the public and creates that emotional bond.

So, let's start with the visual part of our brand to highlight and attract those people.

This means that we are going to choose colors/images/logos that our target market will respond to.

For Magnetic Marketing, the colors are Red, Gold, Black and white.

  • Red tends to exude power and is used to grab attention
  • Gold is the color of rich, elegance and warmth
  • Black is the color of power and credibility while White symbolizes peace and prosperity.

As a company that is known for its “No BS” results and whose ideal clients are small business owners and entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to grow their businesses and make money, these colors make perfect sense.

You can see that if your ideal client is the mother of infants these colors won’t elicit the response of your ideal client.

The second part of the brand that Dan talks a lot about and that our members at Magnetic Marketing embrace and succeed with is the story.

Your story is as much a part of your brand as your logo.

Your ideal customer will build a stronger emotional bond with you and your story than they ever will with your logo.

An emotional bond makes it harder for a customer or client to leave your place of business and is proven to reduce the resistance to price increases.

People do business with people not with companies, and as a small business, everyone is doing business with you!

People like people that they have commonalities with – so you want to highlight and play up the commonalities that you have with your ideal clients.

Sharing your stories and your experiences puts you in this position. People want to do business with people that they have an affinity with or who they aspire to be like.

This is overlooked and devalued most often. You can deliver the best education, information products, and services but so can everyone else. The reason that people stay for long periods of time is more for the entertainment, the story, and the affinity that you build.

At Magnetic Marketing we help small businesses and entrepreneurs:

  • ​Generate more leads
  • ​Close more sales
  • ​Make more money
  • ​Have their business run more efficiently so they can have the life that they want to live

And we aren’t the only ones out there sharing this – there is someone teaching this to the “conscious entrepreneur” and someone who is more into the spiritual side of this.

In essence, we are all delivering the same ‘information’ but we have built up a list of clients who have developed an affinity with Magnetic Marketing, who relate more to Magnetic Marketing and Dan Kennedy – just as these other companies have done.

The third and most important arm is your message.

So the message that you're delivering is part of your brand.

Remember again we're talking here about branding for direct response marketing. So we're not talking about just getting your name out there. More importantly is not about getting your company name out there.

So what is the difference between a message and a story?

So the message is your, what we call your unique selling proposition.

What makes you different?

As Dan says “What makes people want to do business with you as opposed to any other option that's available including doing nothing at all.” That is the message, a consistent message that you're sending out.

It’s important, as you are developing your message that it is all about what you're going to do for your customers – it follows the WIIF (What’s In It For Me).

So it's really your client or your customer focus versus the story is about you and how they're going to relate to you.

So you really have to communicate your message in a different way where most people's USP and their messages are really about them and that's why it doesn't work.

The message is benefit-oriented toward the:

  • ​End-user
  • ​The customer
  • ​The client
  • ​Patient

While your story is about you, how the public sees you, right?

So the message is what you can do for them. The story is how the public sees you. So let's give an example of messaging here.

The message is going to do one of three things:

  • ​It's going to fill a need
  • ​Solve a problem
  • ​Help someone achieve a goal

So you can really build your message around that but you really want to be, again, that client-focused with that.

So what do we mean by your story?

Tell Your Story

Well, let’s take a look at Magnetic Marketing and the Dan Kennedy brand. We use the same stories over and over again and don't deviate from them.

So there are a number of things that when you think about me you automatically associate who Dan Kennedy is.

  • ​One is that he's kind of grumpy
  • ​Number two, he's a no B.S. kind of guy. He's a straight shooter. And again everything is played up with it
  • ​Number three is a big one, he doesn't use technology. He's not on e-mail. He doesn't have a cell phone and doesn't use social media
  • ​The only way to communicate with him is through fax

So these are things that are building the Dan Kennedy brand.

I think it's important that people realize we are not saying that you shouldn't do this stuff. What we're saying is this is truly who Dan is.

In building these into the ‘story’ he is exemplifying these traits to make them a part of the brand.

So the fact that he doesn't like to use the telephone except for pre-scheduled things. Does that mean that he never uses a telephone? No.

But it means that he continues to push that image and that idea and he plays upon it and it's written in everything so that those are the things that people associate with him.

Those are what have become his brand.

Those are what make him who he is, which then makes him and the Magnetic brand what it is – one of the only companies out there that still lists fax as one of their major methods of communication.

And these things become memorable.

In the last part, he qualifies himself as an expert.

So part of his story that he reinforces in almost everything he writes is how successful he's made others and this means you should follow him if you want to be like these others.

At the beginning of this chapter, we talked about how you can't be for everybody. You have to stand for something.

So when building your story you're playing on that whole thing too. People want to do business with people that they want to aspire to be.

So when you create that story it has to have the definitive, authoritative, “I'm saving the world one small business at a time” type thing so that people want to come to you. And it's taking your personal story and using that to create the story and to pull some of those things out.

This is why everyone’s story is different – and why your story will set you, your company, and your brand apart from all of the competition.

As a small business or entrepreneur, our brand is a personal brand – you are the brand. As the entrepreneur you are the brand and even big companies have found that they need to have a representative of the brand.

So when Wendy's was failing and in deep trouble, they brought back Dave Thomas.

Why does Nike pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to have three or four iconic sports figures to represent their brand?

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