An effective branding strategy is the key to every brand’s success. Learn innovative strategies anyone can use to identify who your ideal shoppers is along with how and where to find them. Learn how to leverage the strength of your brand to win with retailers.

I continually say that this show is about you and it’s for you. That means always looking for talented people who have a message to share. Talented people that can offer you the support and the help and the insights that you need to answer some of your most pressing questions.

Today’s episode is just that. Today’s guest was introduced to me by Andrew Therrien. He was my guest during episode 23. Thanks Andrew, I really appreciate your reaching out and introducing me to Bobby Umar. Before reaching out to Bobby, I took the time to learn a little bit more about him. He’s a gifted speaker with a message that all of you can resonate with; how to build a personal brand story and how to communicate it effectively. I listened to his Ted Talks and checked him out online, reading some of his content. Bobby is the perfect person to bring to you today to talk to you about how to build an effective selling story, how to communicate the value of your brand throughout your entire sales organization to the retailers, and more importantly, to your current and future loyal customers.

I mentioned that I had a lot of real exciting things coming up this year. Stay tuned to the end of the episode to learn about something that I’m doing that’s going to help you amplify what you hear today, to help you get in front of more customers, and to help you better communicate with investors and retailers, why your brand is the brand they need on the shelf and the brand that they need to get behind.

Download the show notes below

Click below to learn more about Bobby Umar

Speaker Mastermind Group, an 8-week Coaching Program to speak better, speak more often, speak with greater impact and maybe even land your first TEDx talk: FULL DETAILS HERE: 

https://goo.gl/h5aGBK

Main website: 

www.raeallan.com

Professional Speaker Profile: 

https://www.nsb.com/speakers/bobby-umar/

YouTube: 

https://www.youtube.com/user/raehanbobby

LinkedIn: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbyumar/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/raehanbobby

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/raehanbobby/

BRAND SECRETS AND STRATEGIES

PODCAST #26

Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #26

Welcome to the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

I’m your host Dan Lohman. This weekly show is dedicated to getting your brand on the shelf and keeping it there.

Get ready to learn actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.

LETS ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND GET STARTED!

Dan: Welcome. I continually say that this show is about you and it's for you. I am always looking for talented people who have a message to share. People that can offer you the support and the help and the insights that you need to answer some of your most pressing questions.

Today's episode is just that. Our guest was introduced to me by Andrew Therrien. He was my guest during episode 23. Thanks Andrew, I really appreciate you reaching out and introducing me to Bobby Umar. Bobby is a gifted speaker with a message that all of my listeners can resonate with; how to build a personal brand story and how to communicate it effectively. I listened to his Ted Talks and checked him out online, reading some of his content. Bobby is the perfect person to talk to you about how to build an effective selling story, how to communicate the value of your brand throughout your entire sales organization to the retailers, and more importantly, to your current and future loyal customers.

I mentioned that I have a lot of real exciting things for you coming up this year. Stay tuned to the end of the episode to learn about something that I'm working on that's going to help you amplify what you hear today, to help you get in front of more customers, and to help you better communicate with investors and retailers, why your brand is the brand they need on the shelf and the brand that they need to get behind.

Here's Bobby.

Bobby, I want to thank you for joining me today. Could you please share with us, a little bit more about you and what you do?

Bobby: Sure, I'm a professional speaker and I've been doing this for over eleven years. I've had multiple careers in engineering, performing arts, and brand marketing, but I also now do coaching and I run a band. I'm the founder of Raeallan which is called Discover Your Personal Brand. I'm also known as an influencer in the social leadership space particularly with interest in personal branding, social media, and networking and connection. I have over 500,000 followers on social media and I love what I do.

Dan: Sounds great. In fact, the reason I reached out to you is first of all, you were introduced to me through Andrew Therrien from episode 23, but the reason I wanted you on this show is because you're a personal branding expert and I'm always talking about how important it is for small natural brands to connect, not only with their core audience, but beyond their core audience.

The questions that I would like to explore with you, Bobby, are how do you recommend, first of all, a brand develop their branding story, remembering that the brand and everyone who works for their brand is an extension of the brand. And then, secondly, how do you communicate or what strategies or suggestions would you have to communicate beyond that, and as caveat, I know I'm throwing a lot in here, as a influencer, the best way that these small brands can get in front of their audience by leveraging the capabilities, the techniques that you leverage in your business to better communicate with their future core customer?

Bobby: Wow. Okay, let's start with the first one, which is ... repeat that for me again, please.

Dan: How would you recommend, first of all, a brand define their messaging, not only within just themselves but throughout their company, so that everyone's in lockstep?

Bobby: Okay. A big part of this really comes down to knowing your target audience and how you serve them, knowing what pains them and how you address that, knowing what brings them bliss, and how you bring them joy and bliss. That understanding of the emotional connection with your audience is a huge part of the brand piece because once you know what that is, then you'll be able to craft stories, and content, and marketing that directly resonates with those feelings of either the pain-point or the bliss-point.

As I tell a lot of brands, no matter how big or small they are, they should constantly be working on getting feedback with their network and engage them, and ask them questions, and crowdsourcing. And every single time they can, whether it's in store or online, ask them questions and get them to engage, and get information, and do surveys and get input, because that's how you really start to figure it out. With that said, you can also do your own self assessment when it comes to diving into your brand, understanding your values, your vision, your purpose, and your mission statement. Understanding how you serve that target, what benefits they get, and coming up with a really strong brand narrative that's going to resonate, not just with your customers but also with people who work at the company as well as people who want to invest and support your company.

Alot of brands have trouble doing that because they don't really take the time and do the rigor. It's a lot of work to do it, so for the first part of the question, I think that's the first piece you need to do.

Now what was the second question?

Dan: Excellent advice - thank you! Thank you. How do you then take that messaging, Bobby, and communicate that beyond the package? In other words, we've talked to the retailer, hopefully we're getting on the shelf with a unified message, now, how do we drive traffic into the store with our brand?

Bobby: Well, one of the things is to try to find ways ... again, I say this with a marketing copy and just the communication to plan those key emotional brand points, whether it's a bliss-point or a pain-point. So there's lots of things. For example, if I am running a store that sells say Whole Foods, organic food, right?

Dan: Right.

Bobby: If you knew your target audience was tired of getting a lot of, let's say, chemicals in their products, and you know that's a pain-point, then right away you can create a line or even a copy that just says, "Are you tired of never knowing what chemicals are in your products or in your produce?" Right away, that gets their attention, right? Then say, "We're happy to introduce this line of products and boom, boom, boom," you can mention all the benefit points and bragging points around that. And the idea is to get their attention, to engage you.

When it comes to communication and to get them in store is that you need to know that people really resonate with real people and real stories. A really common thing that I would recommend to many, for example, just retailers, is creating video content around their narrative, around the store, around what they believe, around what they value. Showcase the people that work in the company, showcase some of the customers that love their stuff. When you do that it creates an authenticity that people really appreciate because we all know that those who give real testimonials, real people testimonials, are five times more effective at getting people in store and to buy products than just having a general traditional advertisement.

This is a huge opportunity for a lot of brands out there to leverage the power of video content, leverage the power of stories and storytelling. Leverage the power of social media to not only reach a larger audience, but also amplify that voice.

Dan: My next question was going to be digging into the authenticity. I mean, big brands say, hey, we're the best, trust us, et cetera. The natural brands, the companies that buy the natural products in my audience, the smaller brands, struggle to communicate that. I really appreciate the fact that you talk about authenticity as you're developing that storyline, and I think video absolutely is the way to go. How do you recommend those brands develop a story and communicate their messaging through storytelling effectively? In addition to video, what tools or strategies would recommend?

Bobby: I love how you ask multiple layered questions here. Let's start with, "How do you communicate that?" When it comes to storytelling, investing in crafting your storytelling ability, is critical. Storytelling is a huge thing now. As a speaker, coach, you know, I coach a lot of people in speaking and how to present well and things like that, but storytelling is a very, very hot topic because a lot of people don't do it well. Having a story that has, for example, a setting and a situation, a conflict, a rising action, a resolution, and a lesson and moral learned, doing that in one minute with three minutes or five minutes is a really compelling way to really get people to listen to you and to hear what you have to say. It's important to invest time and energy and to understand how storytelling works.

Another thing is to make sure your storytelling is authentic. That's why I suggest using real people. I don't think you should get actors. I don't think you should do the commercial. A lot of big brands certainly will do the big brand commercial but what you'll typically find in some of the best and worst ads out there in traditional media is they'll say, "Brand, brand, brand, benefit, brand, brand, brand, benefit," but they're not connecting on an emotional level.

I'll give you two examples from my own personal experience. Okay, when I worked at Kraft. You've all heard of Kraft. I worked in Kraft Cheese and what they would do is they would say, "Kraft, Kraft, Kraft, two percent real milk, Kraft, Kraft, Kraft, two percent real milk." That's all they did and it wasn't as resonant.

When I worked at Unilever, which was the Dove campaign, they had this thing for Dove deodorant, and they called it little black dress approved. That was basically customer insight into the fact that a lot of women have trouble with deodorant because it would stain their black dresses and this deodorant didn't stain them. So they created this whole story around it. They actually had real women talking about their struggles and they'd say, "Here's one that doesn't affect your black dress," and they called it, little black dress approved. That advertisement had far more resonance in branding impact than the other ones that I'm talking about.

That's why it's so important to think about using real people. You need to understand the key bliss and pain-point that your target audience has, and at the same time, create a story and narrative that resonates on an emotional level.

Dan: I love that, in fact, actually, something that you and I share, we both worked for Unilever during that time period. I remember taking that messaging to retailers and helping them understand, hey, here's a new product, this is how it differentiates. Well, even backup even further, Level, that was one of the most successful launches in CPG history because they connected with the 2000 parts.

Bobby: Right.

Dan: And then this was an extension of that, talking about, as you said, here's a problem, here's a pain-point, here's how we're going to fix that. And I remember that campaign because it was a lot of fun because retailers were actually begging us to come in and bumping up our appointments with them because they wanted to get our product on the shelf. They wanted to take advantage of all the resources that Unilever put behind that brand. So, excellent example. Thank you for that.

Bobby: Thank you.

Dan: I love this kind of stuff.

Brands that I'm working with and brands that this audience speaks to are those same brands that have a disruptive claim that is unique and different from everyone else. It's these core shoppers that buy those products that understand the difference between putting no growth hormone in their product versus cleaning up everything, complete transparency, etcetera. That makes tremendous sense.

Let's go one step further. What vehicles or what recommendations would you have with taking this message and communicating it. You've talked about video, but social presence is so important, especially with this younger generation. So, how does a brand leverage that messaging with the up and coming millennial, and not ignore the baby boomer, but leverage that messaging to that larger community?

Bobby: Well, lets first think about, the most important thing again, it goes back to your target. If your target is millennials, who are they? If they are looking for your type of product or your type of business, where would they most likely be willing to do that? I think that's the first thing to really keep in mind in terms of your targeting. You know, if your entire target market is seniors, then obviously you wouldn't be targeting them, but if they are part of your target, you need to understand where they are, that's the first thing. The second thing is understanding who they are and what they value. Putting together some sort of brand customer profile to understand, or avatar to understand who they are and what they care about. Once you know that, then you can start targeting them in the places that might work.

A lot of brands don't understand how Snapchat works and if you have really young people that you're targeting, then it might be a good avenue. Otherwise, you know, you have to look at places like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and things like that. But again, understanding where these millennials are and what they care about. I think that's the first thing you have to keep in mind in terms of understanding how to market to them.

The second thing to keep in mind is understanding the values that your target group, care about, particularly young people. They care about personal stories, they care about authenticity, and they care about text savvy, and they care about things that look cool, for lack of a better word. So you have to find a way to create story and create a brand that gets them excited about that, but also, millennials are really good about social enterprise, social justice and causes. If your cause is natural foods, then I think that would be something you definitely should leverage, both in terms of stories and in terms of data, to get their attention.

The third thing I would add is to leverage influencers, particularly for millennials. Instagram is a great way to get their attention. There are well-known influencers that millennials love and follow . Millennials are very passionate about following certain real people who have great and strong profiles. If you leverage those influencers, you can actually get quite a bit of traction.

Dan: Great answer. I want to back up a little bit. In the online space, we hear the term avatar a lot. Could you please share with us, what is an avatar, how would you define it, and how should a brand, not only craft or create that avatar, but validate that avatar so that when they're going forward, when they're doing their marketing, they know that they're talking to the right person?

Bobby: Well I look at an avatar as basically a customer profile. You have a face of somebody and you have a list of who they are, what they do. You actually have a paragraph or two that talks about their story, how they spend their day, how they spend their time, what they value, what they believe, the type of friends they have, the type of activities they engage in. That's really a full fledged customer avatar, really shows your ideal customer or a heavy user, what you might call, that's loyal. It's really like a facsimile of a face or a profile, like a drawing, and then you have like a couple paragraphs that identify who they are.

Billy is in fourth year university and he's studying anthropology. He believes in saving the environment and he has a couple of roommates. You actually talk about what he is interested in, and what he values, and you really dive into it. By doing that it gives you a sense of who your audience is. Typically, most brands, the best brands will actually create, not just one, because you're not just targeting one person. They usually have several. You can have anywhere from half a dozen customer avatar profiles that align with their brand but they might have little slight variations in terms of demographics, where they live, age, and period of life. But, for the most part, having those set up is a great way to understand who you're engaging.

Dan: That makes so much sense and this goes back to what you were talking about before where a lot of brands don't take the time to really identify who their target audience is. What's kind of funny in this industry is that just because your mom likes it doesn't mean everyone else will, so to your point, you need to know. You need to really know and understand who you need to be communicating with. And so, with that said, the next part of the question, even going back up to before, is how do you leverage that relationship or develop that relationship? And then influencers. So we're not talking about a high A-list actor necessarily, but who is an influencer, and then how do you connect with them? I know influencers are different depending on what niche, et cetera, you want to get into, but how would you define that? Who is an influencer. how do you make that connection and how do you leverage that message going forward?

Bobby: Well, an influencer is essentially somebody who, first off, represents the branded avatar of your customer profile. . You will see that they are on a platform, whether it's Instagram or Facebook, or LinkedIn, or Twitter, or Snapchat. They are actually engaging in a way that has a huge following and has strong engagement from their followers.

They don't necessarily need to have 100,000 followers. They can even have just a couple thousand followers. However, their followers are engaged. They wait for every single thing they do and they love them so much, their so engaged, that it can still be quite effective for you to leverage them.

So, one, they have to match your profile, your avatar, but then number two, they have to be someone that has a large following or a large engagement among their following. The best way to get them onboard is either to go through an influencer marketing company that works with many of these influencers or to reach out to the influencers themselves. I've had people reach out to me to be an influencer with Twitter or LinkedIn because I have done that. While you can reach out to them individually, that takes a lot of work. That's why there's a lot of agencies that help brands do that.

Dan: What strategies would you recommend to help a brand identify, without going through an agency, what is the best influencer for them and their niche, and their avatar?

Bobby: Well that would take time because you know, you have to go through the whole branding process to understand what their brand is, what their vision is, what their why statement is, whose their target, what's the pain-point? Doing the avatar… It's a lot of work, right? But then, once you have that then it's easier to then source out some of the influencers just by doing a quick search with key hashtags. For example, let's say you're into organic, organic food's a good example, right? If I went on Instagram and I searched the hashtag organic, organic foods, and foods, I would get a list of people who are talking about that and using those hashtags. I can then analyze their profile to see which ones have a large following and which ones are getting great engagement. Then also research if they're actually doing some influencer marketing with some products or services or activities that they're doing.

And if so, they will be a prime candidate for me to go after and say, "Hey listen, I'd like to get you involved with doing some influencer marketing for my brand." And some of them are quite fond of just getting access to new, cool, products and trying them out and doing a video or an image-based post on Instagram for them.

Dan: That's a perfect answer. Thank you for that. In fact, I've spent a lot of time in my business in talking with other people about learning how to do SEO word searches, longtail searches, et cetera, and without getting into the weeds, using the hashtag I found to be a lot more effective. In fact, another strategy that I've learned is that if you type the name into Google you get four of the top examples, you get the most relevant, the most frequently searched terms, and you can use that to start there. How do you measure engagement? Is that a gut thing or for someone whose kind of new to this, how would you recommend someone look at that, is it how engaged they are with each post? What's your thought on this?

Bobby: There's a lot of variables there.. One is how often they post. The other one is how many followers they have. The other thing to look at is what is their engagement to follower ratio. If I have 20,000 followers and I post something but only 10 people like it, that's terrible. But if I have 1,000 followers and 900 like it, that's amazing because they have 90% ratio engagement, which is unheard of.

It's also important to look at people who comment and share posts versus those who just like. Someone who comments has actually put thought and time into their comment. Liking can be done really fast and takes litte effort. When someone actually takes the time to comment and to share that post elsewhere, that tells you that they're not only inspired to say something, they're even inspired to share it.

Those are different things I would look at to see how engaged that influencer is as well as how much impact you'll have for your brand.

Dan: Well said. In fact, one of the things that I've really been focusing on is what they call the epic post for a blog. That kind of falls on that same methodology, the same strategy. You've shared with us a lot of great insights, and again, I really appreciate your time, Bobby. What other suggestions or recommendations can you share with us?

Bobby: Good question. I'm a big believer in, you know, I follow social media trends and the big trend right now is LinkedIn. LinkedIn has been really doing a lot of work to change their algorithm, to create more space for personal authentic engagement. They're promoting video content now. I'm doing a daily video on LinkedIn everyday from Monday through Friday and I'm getting way more traction than I ever did with Facebook and Twitter. That's something to keep in mind, not only just from B to C; but B to B. If you are a brand, I highly recommend you get on LinkedIn. Start sharing tech space and video-based posts talking about your product, talking about your brand, sharing lessons, sharing personal stories, and really start to build an engagement there. I have found incredible engagement on LinkedIn in the last six to eight months, more than I ever have on any other platform the last few years.

Dan: I have to agree with you and let me go one step further for everyone listening. LinkedIn groups are powerful. They are small communities that are like-minded. Communities around organic, some of the things that Bobby talked about. Get involved in groups, answer the questions, be a thought leader, engage. And honestly, to your point, this is where I have the most traction. Facebook doesn't work for me, Twitter works decent, but LinkedIn is where I'm able to have a connection or a contact with those people that are building a brand, or working to develop their selling story, etcetera. Excellent suggestion. Anything else you want to add?

Bobby: I want to add that Facebook groups are actually really, really good.

Dan: I haven't tried that.

Bobby: I may complain about Facebook pages or profiles, which aren't getting the right algorithms, but Facebook groups, if you get the right ones, can be phenomenal. So, I wouldn't dismiss Facebook in general, I think Facebook has a lot to offer when it comes to the groups.

Dan: But don't you have to be invited to a group? I'm not an expert on Facebook, obviously. How do you find them, because it was my understanding that a lot of those groups are hidden or private. So, how do you get into that crowd if you will?

Bobby: Well, most groups are not hidden. I think you should do a search or ask around. Ask people, say, which are some of the best Facebook groups for such and such, topic X, what are the best Facebook groups for speakers, for leadership people, for organic foods? Just ask, find out and you'll actually see some really great stuff. That's what I would do.

I'm involved in many groups on Facebook and they're fantastically engaging and great learning. And again, the algorithm doesn't really get an effect on it because people who join the groups will automatically just create notifications that they get. They're far more engaging than anything else.

Dan: So where do you find the time?

Bobby: Well, it all depends on your target, right?

Dan: Yeah.

Bobby: It goes by your target and where they hang out. If your millennials are all engaging on Instagram, then that's where you need to be. Truth be told, they're not all engaging that much on LinkedIn groups because most LinkedIn groups engagement is coming from Gen X and Boomers, right. The millennials aren't engaging in LinkedIn groups right now, they're engaging in either Facebook groups or they're engaging on Instagram, things like that.

Dan: Good point.

Bobby: They're doing even more things. They're doing other, newer stuff, they're engaging on Whatzup or other things like that, or Snapchat. Research where your audience is and then pick the amount of time you want to spend. Determine how much time you want to allocate, and then based on that allocation, determine where you want to spend most of your time.

So, if I want to allocate 10 hours a week or 20 hours a week on engaging via different types of communities online, you have to decide how you want to allocate your time. I do the exact same thing for my business when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. It's shifted over the years, it used to be Facebook was about 50%, Twitter was about 30%, LinkedIn was about 10%, and then everything else like Instagram, Snapchat, and all the other small ones were 10% combined. Now it's shifted. My LinkedIn engagement time is about 70%, my Facebook is about 20%, and my Twitter is about 10%, and that's about it.

Dan: Well said. That makes a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing that. I think it's really well framed. I appreciate that because one of the things that I talk a lot about is creating a compelling story that evangelists are going to walk into a retailer and say, "Where's this product? I want it." And that's the best case scenario. I think you've brilliantly framed that, so thank you so much.

Anything else you think that we've missed that you'd want to throw in here?

Bobby: No, I think that we've covered quite a bit. I will that every individual in a company needs to have a strong thought leadership brand. So, you may have a company, but what does your personal profile say because people are going to look at that. If you have a bad profile but a great company, that looks bad. If you have no profile and a good company, that looks bad. You also have to work on creating your own strong leadership brand for yourself across all social media, across the internet, wherever it might be, and make sure you do that. And if you need help, by all means, let us know.

Dan: Well said. In fact, I could not agree with you more. One of the things that I do when I'm getting ready to work with a brand to mentor them or working with an investor that's looking at a brand, is we go in and we look at the social profiles of the people that work there. Who are they? What are they like? What do they value? How passionate are they? Are they aligned with our core mission? And to your point, authenticity, all the way through the entire program.

Could you share a little bit about your company and give us a link to how to get a hold of you and to learn more about this great stuff?

Bobby: Sure, my company is called Raeallan, www.raeallen.com. I also run DYPB, which is dypb.ca, and you can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, my Facebook biz page, all under the handle Raehanbobby, R-A-E-H-A-N-B-O-B-B-Y.

Dan: Don't forget your TEDx talks. That's what inspired me to call you.

Bobby: Sure, well, I've done four but I'm about to do my fifth. I just announced this, I'm actually about to do my fifth TedX talk in March, so I'm pretty excited about that.

Dan: I'm looking forward to that. I will put a link to your website and then any links to anything else you want me to put, on my website and in the show notes. Again, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. This has been tremendous.

Bobby: My pleasure. Thank you so much.

Dan: I want to thank Bobby again for coming on today and for sharing his valuable insights with all of you. In the examples Bobby shared, an effective brand message can be the difference between success and just being another “me too” product on the shelf. I will include a link on the show notes to Bobby's website. In addition, there's several other ways you can connect with him to learn more about how he helps brands. I mentioned something at the beginning of the show. I'm working hard to put the finishing touches on a free course designed to help you create the best selling story for your brand. How do you get your brand in front of retailers? How do you get your brand in front of consumers? I mentor and work with brand of all sizes from pre-revenue to some of the largest brands on the planet. In fact, I'm proud to announce that I am one of the mentors for the Pitchslam at EXPO West this year.

Tune into next week's episode to learn more about this exciting program. If you like this show, please share it, subscribe to it, and leave a review on iTunes. Today's freebie is my guide, Strategics Solutions to Grow Your Brand. You can get it instantly by texting “strategicsolutions” to 44222, or you can download it on this week's show notes at www.brandsecretsandstrategies.com/session26. As always, I look forward to seeing the next show.

Speaker Mastermind Group, an 8-week Coaching Program to speak better, speak more often, speak with greater impact and maybe even land your first TEDx talk: FULL DETAILS HERE: https://goo.gl/h5aGBK

Main website: www.raeallan.com

Professional Speaker Profile: https://www.nsb.com/speakers/bobby-umar/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/raehanbobby

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bobbyumar/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raehanbobby

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raehanbobby/

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