Does your business have a story to tell? It should! Every new product can be unique in its industry. Does yours stand out from the crowd?
After a life of exploring the way people exchange value in over 35 countries, Diehl teaches business owners how to have conversations about brand strategy. In Brand Identity Breakthrough, you will learn how to develop a strong business identity by combining your personality and values with the functionality of your products to become irreplaceable to your audience.
Whether you lead a growing company, or are just starting a business, Brand Identity Breakthrough will give you a smarter way to think about new product development and business model generation. With undeniable, well-organized logic, it will show you how anyone can sell more, and at higher prices, so long as they give customers exactly what they want.
Module 1: Why Identity Matters
The purpose of this course is to help you learn to see your own value, the value of your business, and the value of your products or services from the perspective of your customers. Only then can you begin to fashion your identity appropriately. If you can train yourself to think like your customers, you can get a much better idea of what value you should be focused on creating.
Think about a product or a service that you feel connected to in some way. The quality offered is paramount, or you wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place. But of all the many purchases you make, there are some businesses that you undoubtedly feel more loyal to than others. The strongest source of this heightened sense of loyalty is the feeling that a company has gone out of their way to create a special type of value specifically for you.
Think of your favorite coffee shop that goes a little bit further in service, personality, and menu offerings. While they are competing with much larger companies that have a lot of money to spend on advertising, you still prefer them because they add specific value to the product and the service they offer. They stand out in your mind better than others, and you forge a real relationship with their brand. This results in them being able to stay afloat in a highly competitive environment and, whether they are conscious of it or not, they are improving the lives of the people they encounter in their own unique way.
This value is not another “add-on” or “bonus” on top of the basic service. It is something much less tangible which permeates their entire existence.
This is section 1 of 3 of the Brand Identity Breakthrough course series. See the attached pdf study guide to follow along with as you complete this module.
Have you ever talked to somebody about something that resonates with you... and they just don't get it? It could be something fundamental to the core of who you are, your beliefs, or a passion project you are working towards, but you just can't seem to communicate the importance of it to the other person and you can't figure out why. This frustrating experience is a breakdown in brand communication, and it is one of the problems this course will help you solve.
Let's talk about what you will learn in this course and how it's structured. It's designed to be very actionable and easy to follow. There are three modules, and each module contains several lessons.Here is what we will go over in the rest of Module 1:
In Module 2, we will focus on creating your brand identity, including:
Module 3 is about blasting your message out to the world:
Many business owners and entrepreneurs today don’t understand the essence of what makes their ideas amazing. They lack narrative and deeper meaning to their business. They obsess over the most visible components of their brand, but they ignore character and core values. Without these things, they will never reach the market appeal and penetration their products and services are capable of.
I wrote Brand Identity Breakthrough to help current and prospective business owners craft valuable identities, and tell their story to the world. From day one, until long into the future, these strategies will continue to maximize your impact on the market. A comprehensive brand identity will save you countless missteps along the path to success. It can be the linchpin to marketplace dominance.
Any business or independent entrepreneur has the potential to stand out distinctly from their competition. If you personalize your approach, you can eliminate the side-by-side comparison buyers intuitively make with other businesses in your industry, and occupy a category all your own. You won’t just be the best at what you do – you will be the only one who does what you do.
This book is a journey of personal discovery and value creation. Prepare to be asked difficult questions and discover real answers about who you are and what you are trying to accomplish in the world. Prepare to innovate unique solutions for your customers’ biggest problems. Prepare to show off the personality and philosophical values that will separate you from the crowd.
Set aside - for a moment - what you think you know about what will make your business successful. You are on your way to a compelling new identity that will forever change how your business operates in the world.
It is my earnest desire to help you become the kind of person you always knew you could be, in business and in life.
Gregory V. Diehl
Author, Brand Identity Breakthrough
For certain types of people, the conventional path will never be a viable option. Even in early childhood, I knew there was something I didn’t like about the way most of the adults around me had structured their lives. I couldn’t understand how the majority of them could be happy spending their time working in jobs that had nothing to do with their passions, and which barely paid more than enough to cover their basic living expenses. I felt like it was the accepted social norm to give up on dreams, adventure, and curiosity so that we could better fit into the hole others had already carved out for us. I knew there had to be other ways to exist.
Traveling the world on my own terms taught me that human beings make decisions based not on the reality of things, but on the stories that fill their heads about how things are. I’d been told that Latin America was a wholly dangerous and unstable place. Instead, I found some of the nicest and most functioning communities on earth. I learned, as well, that stories could be used to alter and manipulate the mentality of people for a specific purpose quite easily.
As part of my global journey, I worked as an educator in countries like China, Thailand, Iraq, Italy, and different parts of Latin America. Having this kind of direct exposure to the developing children of so many societies gave me a unique outlook on the many ways in which people are conditioned to think from a very early age. Volunteering in Ghana with the Africa Youth Peace Call Liberty and Entrepreneurship Camp, I helped the young adults and teens who attended learn to see the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur. This meant not just creating value, but learning to communicate it to a world which would be very unforgiving of foreign appearances.
The stigmas that they will face as young entrepreneurs rising out of poverty into a worldwide marketplace are the same stigmas you will face as you introduce any new product, service, or proposition of value to people who think they already know what they want. Communication is the bridge which will break down the default barrier others hold towards new ideas, and all that occurs as a function of your compelling brand identity. Education removes the resistance to new ideas inherent to each of us.
We all have different ideas about what happiness is and the best way to acquire it. That's where we run into conflict, and it is only with respect to the larger system of free market exchange that a solution to that conflict becomes obvious. You begin to see the human race and every way we interact as a system of mutual happiness pursuit, irrespective of our subjective variations on happiness. It doesn’t matter if what you want is completely different than what I want, so long as there is a way for us to interact where we are both getting closer to our respective goals.
When you understand such a simple concept, you will see that money is just a vehicle through which people exchange happiness, and that businesses provide a method for people to do this in a tailored and systematic way.
It took me a long time to accept that merely being good at something was not enough to garner the attention, the respect, or the dollars of other people. The truth is that people’s actions are not affected by what is. They are affected by what they can see, and how they think it will affect them. So while the essence of business may be the creation of specific value, you can never expect a business to succeed on the virtue of its good ideas alone. It has to be presented in a way that answers questions people are asking, solves problems they are aware of, and is easily digestible.
This might sound obvious, but think of how many times you’ve been held back from getting what you wanted in life because people could not see the value you knew you had.
Narratives are mental structures we use to organize information about the world. If you think back to your days in school, your least favorite memories will probably include the times when you had to sit still and study endless amounts of information in preparation for a test or project. The reason these experiences are dreadful for both children and adults alike is that we are not designed to learn this way. Our brains actually process stories where information is connected to changing emotional events far differently than just a stream of rote information.
The greater the benefit that your products offer, the more extreme the state of unhappiness you will be bringing your customers out of when they make the sound decision to do business with your brand. Use those emotions to your advantage. Talk about the trials and obstacles your company helps people overcome, but learn to do it in a way where your audience can’t help but see themselves going through the positive transformation you offer.
A good narrative is designed to tap into the natural curiosity and emotional engagement that everybody has within them. It is the exact same way that a truly captivating movie, book, or even a song can draw us in from complete indifference to being fully invested in whatever is going on. Characters in our head become just as real as the people we know, even though they exist only as information in our memories. It is a universal tendency for all of us to want to give our minds interesting new ideas to play with and engage our emotions.
Your narrative in business is the story you should be telling the world about why your business exists and how it can change lives. Part of the purpose of this book is to help you gradually move away from “what I do” conversations, and weave an engaging story about the motivation, purpose, personality, methodology, and results you offer. The more complex the value of your business, the more education a prospect will need to reach a buying decision. This is where good narrative becomes most important to your success.
A high quality product or service can still sell with only very basic descriptions lacking any real narrative, but every stage of progress will be significantly more difficult. Stories make it easier to draw new people in or convince existing clients to spend more than they otherwise would have. They get people out of their strictly limited practical mindset and into a broader range of imagination, which means opening themselves up to making purchases or other major decisions they otherwise might not consider.
Without a strong company narrative, you will:
● Only appeal to people who respond to very basic or technical explanations of what your company does.
● Feel less emotionally engaged in your own business, which will unconsciously limit the effort you put into making it as successful as it could be.
● Be overshadowed by competing companies who tell better stories about their strikingly similar products.
● Lack direction and long-term goals for your business.
● Miss out on valuable networking and partnership opportunities by not appealing to complementary businesses. Have a weak internal company culture, which fragments the way your team fulfills their responsibilities.
Kristy Love is a massage therapist in Atlanta, Georgia who uses her gigantic 48NN breasts to massage clients, making up to $1,300 per day. She turned what was considered a disadvantage in the existing narrative of the massage therapy industry into her own unique identity. If she can do it, so can you.
Branding is taking the image you hold of yourself or your company and turning it into society’s collective vision. That means that for your branding to have the effect you desire, you have to understand what type of identity you are trying to show to the world. This is extremely difficult for most people to do with their own business for several reasons.
Once you start the process of creating a new brand identity, it’s easy to get caught up in pitfalls and traps along the way, which can stop you in your tracks or lead you astray. Learn to recognize them early on, so they can be overcome or avoided entirely. You’ll see examples of these pitfalls pop up from time to time in the case studies included in Section IV, but as you read also try to reflect upon your own situation and recognize where they may already be plaguing you.
Even if you have conquered the barriers which prevent many entrepreneurs from understanding their own value, a whole new battle awaits you in getting others to see the same thing in you that you readily see in yourself. We are all naturally biased about ourselves. We give ourselves special attention that others necessarily do not.
This is partially caused by the fact that we spend more time in our own company than in that of anyone else, and therefore we have insider knowledge. It is also due to our ego’s tendency to place special importance on our own sense of identity, which is a valuable survival mechanism when made to serve us.
It’s not as simple as merely memorizing the right sales pitch or mastering a particular marketing platform. It’s about getting out of your own way long enough to look at things from the perspective of a different person, and adjust your words and actions according to the expectations and methods of interpreting reality already present inside them.
So with that in mind, let’s dive into the most common reasons why the people you present yourself to will often fail to see the value you intend for them. This new awareness will form the foundation for the steps you need to communicate effectively with your audience. It will save you countless missteps stemming from false premises about what your audience perceives.
Introduction to the upcoming case study.
With Chris Reynolds, founder of The One Effect
Chris Reynolds is a world-traveling digital nomad who organizes co-living spaces in exotic locations around the world for location independent entrepreneurs, as well as charitable adventure travel trips that benefit everyone involved. You can learn more about his trips to save the world at www.theoneeffect.com and other projects at www.theentrepreneurhouse.com
Introduction to Chris
What entrepreneur has never wondered what it would take to turn their philanthropic passions into real business models? Very often, we are forced to face the false dichotomy of doing something for either love or money, but never both. For most people, it’s hard enough figuring out how to make money doing anything at all, let alone the one thing which is most personally fulfilling to them.
Chris Reynolds is the kind of guy who didn’t accept having to choose between passion and profit. He was already miles ahead of the pack because he knew what kind of difference he wanted to make in the world. He never for a moment sat around waiting for circumstances to line up just right so he could get into the action. He had already organized his first charitable trips to help the needy years before he had a proper business model or even a brand.
It was when we started working together that the seeds he had planted, all the little bits and pieces he had already put out into the world, started to come together to form a meaningful picture for the future. Sometimes it’s really as simple as learning to look at what you’ve already done from a new point of view. A good story is more than the ingredients that go into it – it’s putting it all together in just the right way, so that your audience is instantly engaged.
Now Chris has not only been busy creating trips in destinations like India, Ghana, and Peru to help out the needy, but he has also applied his passion for mutual benefit toward a project called The Entrepreneur House, where like-minded nomadic entrepreneurs live together for months at a time on a different kind of journey. He has transitioned from doing good when he could to being a fully empowered profitable entrepreneur with a clear vision of the future.
As you read Chris’ story, try to think of how his situation might apply to your own business (whether you are involved in a similar non-profit, or just a passion project). Ask yourself the following questions for maximum impact.
● Why do you believe your project has to remain non-profit? Would transitioning to a profit model adulterate your mission - or possibly enhance it?
● What is the greatest value you provide your customers and contributors beyond the intangible satisfaction of contributing to a good cause? Is there a more visceral and specific way you can productize your mission?
● How many of your hobbies and passion projects have you been delaying turning into real, scalable ventures? What’s holding you back from acting on them?
Welcome to Module 2 of 3 of the Brand Identity Breakthrough course. See the attached pdf study guide to follow along with as you complete this module.
No discussion of identity could work without first establishing your core values and how they affect your experiences in the world. Your core values are what define you on a deeper level than anything else you might consider to be part of who you are. What are they? They are the most basic beliefs which influence your behavior.
They are recurring patterns in your mind which pop up over and over to help you interpret your experiences and regulate your emotional responses. The longer a pattern has been established and the less open its owner, the harder it will be to alter. For better or for worse, our instructions for living all derive from these core conceptions of what will bring us the greatest possible happiness or unhappiness. We spend our entire lives attempting to move away from the negative side of this subjective spectrum and closer to the positive. As our businesses are ultimately extensions of our identities, core values come into play there as well. Your company exists as a leveraged actor in the world – an instigator of specific types of change. The changes it creates will depend upon what the people behind it interpret as good or bad, or in other words what they want to create more or less of.
Even in businesses where the primary motivation was simply to make money, the ability to do so ethically depends upon aligning the company’s actions with the core values (conceptions of happiness and unhappiness) of a specific demographic of people they serve.
Uniqueness is vital to a business identity, more so today than any other time in history. There is now more competition in the marketplace on both global and local levels than ever before. Because people make choices based on what they perceive their options to be, and they have more options with each passing day, it becomes harder to stand out as the right choice in nearly any industry
A byproduct of this increase in marketplace variation is an increase in consumer demand. Whenever people are given the luxury of choice, they become refined in their wants. Specificity in life is a symptom of affluence, and over time our emotional responses become attuned to a narrower range of experience. There’s a reason why the wealthier people get, the pickier they become over the products they buy, or how they spend their time. The more specific their desire, the more specific the solution they will seek.
This heightened attention to specific types of demand mean there is great opportunity for any entrepreneur brave enough to come along and fill it. As a marketplace develops, producers become known for addressing the needs of the consumer in one very specific way better than anyone else in their industry. This is their Unique Selling Proposition (USP). If you want the world to take your brand seriously, you need to understand your own USP inside and out, and be prepared to make it the focal point of your messaging.
Your brand identity is more than the practical value of the things you produce. Whatever you choose to put out into the world is a product of your core values. It exists to solve a specific problem, and make people feel a certain way as they interact with your brand. The specific way you want them to feel when they think of you is your personality profile – and there is a much larger range of possibilities here than you might assume.
We all play characters in the larger narrative of the world around us. If you don’t choose for yourself what kind of character you want others to treat you as, the world will do it for you without your consent.
The same is true with your company’s brand. As soon as you grow big enough to be noticed, people will begin to form strong conceptions about the character of your business. They will make up in their own mind what kind of people run it, and what they are really motivated by. They will choose adjectives to align your brand with, whether you like it or not. The solution is to establish a strong brand personality before anyone has the chance to impose their projections on you.
Have you neglected the personality attributes of your own brand? They are more important than you might think, because the success of your business depends upon more than just solving a problem well. When your customers buy their first product from you, they should be entering into a long-term relationship based on trust and the memory of positive experiences. Brand personality is about being deliberate and crafting that experience in such a way that it supports your business goals while serving your audience the solutions to their problems.
A popular sales proverb states that the most important ingredient to success in business is having a hungry audience. Your target audience is the group of people who care about what your product does, because it has a direct, favorable effect upon their lives. They are the ones who will genuinely be bettered by the inclusion of your narrative within their lives, not people who you will have to trick or coerce to become your customers
The best quality product or the most innovative marketing tactic won’t matter if the people you are approaching don’t see a need for what you offer. The most expensive yacht in the world will be worthless to someone who hates the water. Gourmet coffee is of no use to someone who doesn’t drink it. A fish simply doesn’t need a bicycle.
An enormous part of winning the game of market success is knowing precisely who you are working to serve, and to whom you will be speaking when you promote yourself. Figuring out who your hungry audience is requires you to intimately understand what makes your products uniquely appealing from an outsider’s perspective, and the way your sector of the market makes important buying decisions. This is why, all other things being equal, it is good for entrepreneurs to go into businesses they already have a lot of exposure to. When in doubt, start with what you know.
With Niedra Gabriel, founder of Spirit Moves
Niedra Gabriel is a movement coach who specializes in helping people with limited range of motion restore their bodies to a state of peak flexibility and performance through bespoke, low-intensity exercises that release years of accumulated stiffness and tension. Her work is now centered around highly specialized motion therapy she does with athletes, recovering injury patients, and aging clientele through international workshops and private classes.
Introduction to Niedra
Sometimes, knowing too much about your business can be more of an obstacle to growth than not knowing enough. It’s very easy to get too close to your business and forget how it looks through the eyes of a complete stranger. When I first met Niedra, she had already been practicing her particular craft of motion therapy and training for most of her life. Already in her 60’s she had more skill and experience in her niche than most people will ever get.
Despite the years she had invested into learning about the human body in relation to motion and flexibility, Niedra had neglected something very important. She never learned how to tell the story of what she did in a way that instantly conveyed her compelling uniqueness.
In Niedra’s case, she had three decades of precedent describing herself as a conventional yoga and Pilates instructor to work against. The community of dedicated clients she had organically built through word of mouth all loved her, and they were enough to sustain her financially. However, without a strong and unique message, she had no real way to scale her efforts and start putting her brand in front of thousands of viable clients.
This is module 3 of the Brand Identity Breakthrough course. See the attached pdf study guide to follow along with as you complete this module.
Until you know what you want to accomplish, it’s impossible to measure progress. Before you can begin crafting a communication strategy, you need to have honed your specific identity first. How are you supposed to know what combination of taglines, slogans, symbols, color schemes, and personas will create the most favorable impression in the minds of your target audience if you haven’t analyzed what they are looking for? How can you display your best self if you hardly know who that is?
In the last module, we covered the types of questions you need to be asking yourself, and the ways your perspective will have to change, in order to bring your core values to the forefront of your business. These values go on to shape the overall personality of your brand, and how your products, and services can be displayed uniquely to a very specific sector of the market. Since we now understand what we are trying to say, our focus turns to the best ways to say it. This is where we enter the domain of sales and marketing.
Whether you plan to be in charge of your own sales and marketing or not, every founder should understand the fundamentals of their communication strategy. It will be integral to the way you train your employees, bring on new partners, expand your product line, and grow your audience. If nothing else, it should leave you far better prepared to delegate these tasks to the most qualified people in the best possible way.
Whatever your goal is, the skills you acquire here will prove invaluable in both your business and personal life. Anytime you want to get something done that requires the collaboration of other people, effective communication is the catalyst which makes it possible. As you develop your ability to speak, write, and present yourself favorably, make it a point to put these tactics into practice as soon as possible. Not only will you retain the information better, but you will be emotionally encouraged to continue when you see the tangible effects of better communication.
Mastering the art of communication will make people want to work with you, and customers want to buy from you. It’s the single most impactful thing you could change to improve your opportunities.
A personal passion of mine is animal welfare.
Specifically, I mean caring for stray cats in poor health, and rehoming them with someone who will be able to look after them permanently. Most people would think this practice is incompatible with my highly mobile lifestyle, where I often won’t spend more than a couple weeks or months in one location. They think finding someone to adopt a cat is a lengthy process, and not something that can be accomplished spontaneously. After all, just look at how many stray cats there are on the street, or sitting in shelters waiting for owners.
Over the course of the last year, I’ve taken at least a dozen cats off the streets of Guanajuato, Casablanca, Kumasi, Kuala Lumpur, Ubud, Tbilisi, Athens, and other cities, and found new permanent homes for them. The reason I am equipped to do this is because I understand the art of the cold pitch. I know how to target qualified prospects from a large group of random people, show off the most uniquely attractive attributes of what I am selling, and say the right words that lead to a buying decision as quickly as possible. I can do this even in a place where I have no social connections, and am unfamiliar with the local language or culture.
I call my process “street cat marketing”. It has dual meaning, because the cats are “street cats”, and I’m finding new homes for them through old fashioned “street marketing”. It usually consists of taking my latest feline companion into my arms and meandering through a populated public area, such as parks and outdoor cafe venues, to garner the attention and interest of qualified prospects (i.e. other “cat people”). It’s an irrefutable fact that anyone who likes cats will be irresistibly drawn towards a well-dressed young man carrying a cute little kitty in his arms. This is the first step in the process of qualification, and they quickly become viable leads.
Positioning your product or service in the market is about getting enough people to see that the value they will receive is greater than any other way they could spend their money. It's not just other people in your industry that you are competing with. It is literally every other product on the market, and even every other activity they could be spending their time doing. Money and time remain finite for even the richest and most powerful people in the world. Whenever you spend five dollars on a cup of coffee, that cup is competing with ballet lessons for your daughter, or leather seat covers for your car.
Selling is when you transfer useful information and emotional motivation to others, in order to get them to take an action in their own best interest which they otherwise would not have taken. It is about helping others help themselves make better decisions in their own subjective pursuit of happiness. When you sell yourself, you are helping someone understand how you can help them improve their own life, and giving them the support they need to overcome any emotional resistance to taking action with you.
In the last module, we talked a lot about how understanding your target audience is just as understanding yourself. Great communication is a two-way process. Whatever words you use in speech or writing need to be tailored towards the preexisting mentality of the people who will be on the receiving end. This is part of what makes teaching so difficult. You aren’t just explaining how something works. You are identifying where your student’s present level of knowledge ends, and then finding the words you need to take them to the next level at their own pace and in their own way.
Everyone you pitch to will be coming from a different place, no matter how well you try to target them. You have to be very aware of the information you are sending out, and the way the people around you are predisposed to interpret different signals. Otherwise, you cannot possibly tailor your approach to them as individuals.
Whether or not they ever aspire to be a professional public speaker, a salesman, or any other type of presenter, every entrepreneur should learn at least the fundamentals of the spoken word. Why? Because speaking and writing are the primary ways in which we communicate value and instructions to other people.
When you speak to your team members, there is a huge range of different types of impact you can have by how well you communicate their roles to them, or when you attempt to motivate them or build a stronger company culture. When you seek out partners and other business-to-business relationships, you will find the willingness of other professionals to work with you will be heavily affected by how they feel when they talk to you, and the conciseness with which you present information during conversation.
You may already be thinking to yourself that you’ll just hire a salesperson to be the face and voice of your company when a real human presence is needed to make the right live impression, or to cold call potential buyers, or make a presentation. Even if that is ultimately the best business decision for your company to outsource its sales and/or marketing, there are many other benefits to understanding how to communicate both as an individual, and as the visionary behind your company.
Do you know what the point of the conversation is before you open your mouth? If you don’t there’s a very high probability that you will end up meandering aimlessly as you go, confusing your audience or diluting your message. In one form or another, your mission is to change the behavior of another person when you talk to them.
Writing has become the most prevalent form of communication in the age of the internet.
Just like with speaking, your style of writing is often more important than what you write. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, and choices in vocabulary all contribute to the way people interpret what you write. This doesn’t mean going out of your way to use unnecessarily complex language or becoming a master grammarian. It means showing that you put thought and intention into every detail of what you do.
Effective writing means getting the whole message across as quickly as possible without wasting words, but also without sacrificing the way you display yourself.
The two major sins of bad writing are polar opposites:
The perfect written communication is one that tells your audience exactly who you are, why you are talking to them, why they should care, and what you want them to do next. This is true whether you are applying to a job, soliciting business, or nearly anything else. The last thing you want to do is start a conversation with a stranger with an open-ended ambiguous statement, or drone on about details they’ve never asked for.
The greater the meaning behind your business, the harder it becomes to communicate it to the world. A complex idea or deep ideology cannot be spammed out to the masses the same way a sexy model eating a cheeseburger can. You can post positive affirmations against a kitten backdrop all day on your Twitter feed, but what are you actually accomplishing for your business by doing so? The majority of entrepreneurs who take this approach do so because they need to feel like they are getting something done, and don’t know what other path to take.
Education marketing is a high-friction approach to gaining traction with a particular audience. It consists of producing content that is very dense in informational value, and that by itself already provides its readers with proof of the concepts behind your business. It brings marketing down to the real world, and away from the cartoon imagery of most popular ad campaigns. Education marketing is how real businesses display what they can offer to the world.
It’s not always immediately obvious how you can turn your business into compelling educational content. It takes expert attention to uncover what your audience is most interested in learning about, and gradually crafting the voice through which you will deliver this pressing information. Teaching itself is a skill that must be learned through attention and repetition, regardless of how well you understand your subject or your technical skill in any domain. To put a new spin on an old saying, “those who do, cannot necessarily teach”.
No matter what the physical component of your business consists of, there is always room for expansion through education. Most importantly, education is infinitely scalable, and isn’t weighted down by the constraints of physical production and distribution, if you make use of digital education methods.
With Olivier Wagner, founder of 1040 Abroad
Olivier Wagner is a tax preparer and offshore consultant who specializes in helping Americans who live, work, and invest overseas. His unique background of immigrating to the US and running a business while traveling the world has enabled him to focus his profession on the areas of the US tax code that change the rules for uncommon lifestyles and sources of income. He also helps individuals gain greater freedom through citizenship renunciation, offshore banking/incorporation, and other little known strategies to legally minimize tax obligation. You can find out more about Olivier’s work at www.1040abroad.com
Introduction to Olivier
Olivier has one of the most interesting personal backgrounds of anyone I’ve ever worked with, and one of our primary goals of working together was to figure out the best way to use his personal brand to his advantage in a very convoluted industry.
The moment people start thinking about taxes, they tense up emotionally. They are legally obligated to pay, and their greatest concern becomes about minimizing their burden as much as possible, and making sure they are reporting accurately so they can avoid the potentially huge consequences of failing to do so. These become even greater concerns for people who earn their income or spend a lot of time overseas, as the tax rules are much more complicated, and it’s very easy to make a mistake if you aren’t deeply familiar with the system in place.
This is what Olivier had to help his clients realize, and he had to learn to use his own personality and image to make that easier for them, which he was a bit reluctant to do at first. His focus had always been on the hard and fast rules of the internal revenue code, something he had soaked up into his mind like an information sponge. While this made him incredibly qualified to help his target market of Americans based internationally, it blinded him toward how to best earn their trust and deliver his vitally important message of saving them money and keeping them out of jail through superior tax compliance.
Olivier now has a completely new website and overall branding position to be promoting himself from, which in turn has allowed him to double the amount he was previously charging to prepare tax returns. He has also expanded his services to include much higher end bespoke offerings, which have increased the total lifetime customer value of the people he works with significantly. As we continue to work together, we will come up with bigger and more effective ways to tell his stories and help the people who need his help realize that he is the kind of person they can trust the most to aid them.
As you listen to Olivier’s story, look at his progress through the lens of your own business struggles. Even if you don’t want to ever become a personality brand with your name and face plastered all over every advertisement, you can still take huge measures to create a personality for your business itself.
● Have you been putting too much focus on the technical value of what you are offering and neglecting the human element? What steps can you take to add personality without diminishing expertise?
● Have you done enough to make your audience realize how your specialization differentiates you from generic providers in the same industry? What are you doing to get in front of and educate the exact right people who need your specialization?
● Do your website and other marketing materials tell too much? Are you overwhelming your audience with information, instead of gently inviting them to get more involved?
Congrats on making it all the way through this course! Now it's time to put your new identity into action and spread your story to the world.
If you haven't already, I highly suggest you pick up the full-length companion book, Brand Identity Breakthrough, on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Brand-Identity-Breakthrough-Companys-Irresistible-ebook/dp/B01C37VTAW
If you'd like to learn more, get free resources, please contact me through my website at https://brandidentitybreakthrough.com/
I started Identity Publications to give a polished voice to people seeking an outlet for their unique perspectives on important topics. I’ve been able to draw on my experience of teaching and coaching around the world to craft messages for people who deserve a space to spread their ideas – earning money, recognition, and visible influence for their contributions to humanity.
My professional background of education and sales around the world puts me in a unique position to help authors figure out what they are trying to say. I can work with them to make their messages complete, yet accessible, to the target audience that will become their best customers. My specialty lies in informing people of opportunities they did not know they had and ethically convincing them to act.
If you aren’t sure if our services are right for what you want to communicate, you can contact me directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I only work with people with a message I can stand behind and that I am uniquely qualified to help refine and promote. If I believe in you, I will go to the ends of the Earth to see your message gain the respect it deserves.