More on branding… and Frank Kern

In our last issue, we began talking about branding and one’s “personal brand”. And I made clear that what a brand is, ultimately, is a mental image picture and a feeling.

Sure, the mechanics of a brand are things like the logo, the tagline, the imagery. We’ll talk about that stuff in coming issues. But, what I see is a lot of bloggers and social media types who don’t really think about the bigger meaning of their brand.

Some don’t even really have a brand… but they think they do. 🙂

A brand is much more than a name.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does your target audience really want? What does their ideal scene look like?
  • What images are associated with that ideal scene?
  • What will they feel?

In the last issue, I used Nike as an example of excellent branding. They’re just a classic example, actually. Their product is shoes and clothing and stuff. Not very exciting. But, when people BUY that stuff, what do they really want? What is their ideal scene?

When people buy Nike, their visions of being is great shape. Accomplishing great things and feeling fantastic. They want to be a badass, perhaps. 🙂

So, all the imagery you see in Nike commercials is exactly that. Showing the shoes isn’t the focus, usually. It’s the imagery. It is all benefits… very little about features.

Let’s take an example from the world of online marketing that perhaps some of you may know…

Ever heard of Frank Kern?

Today, Kern is a pretty buttoned-up guy who does high-end consulting. Because his business model has changed, his image has become more professional to back it up. Back in the day, however, he epitomized the “surfer dude”:


Now, I’m sure Frank probably enjoyed surfing. But, let’s look at this from a branding perspective…

What do people who are dreaming in the internet marketing space usually associate with success? What does the end of their transformation look like? Probably the beach. Sunny days. Being able to drink whenever you want. And… surfing. Everything that is the opposite of sitting in a cubicle.

Frank Kern adapted his entire online brand around being a walking symbol of exactly what his target marketed wanted.

That was his BRAND.

Until he changed it up, of course. His brand now is different… because his clientele is different.

So, answer this…

When you look at the images and the overall feeling of your brand, does it symbolize what your market considers success?

Inside the training in THE LAB, I often talk about the transformation. Our businesses are, in essence, about delivering some transformation in the lives of our customers that they want. So, put another way, what does the end of that transformation look like? Does your brand help illustrate it?

If we bring it home… back to the Blog Marketing Academy…

You may notice that I don’t go out of my way to hide my love for RV camping. Now, this is totally natural for me because we do use our motorhome quite a lot and it is a big part of me. But, look at it from a branding perspective, too.

In my line of work, people usually want time flexibility… location flexibility… the ability to travel and not report in to work every day.

Isn’t traveling the country in an RV and running an online business from the road a pretty awesome symbol and imagery for exactly that?

Of course. 🙂

If anything, I should probably work the whole RV thing into my BMA branding even more than I do.

But, it is also important to be truthful about it. You can’t fake it. It’d also be kinda hard to be successful in business if you’re not really living what you profess, but that’s a whole different article. 🙂

So, to end off here, think about YOUR business. YOUR blog. And YOUR target market. And think about what the end of that transformation looks like for them. What images and mood do they associate with it? And… how well does your current branding match up?

We’ll talk more mechanics coming up in the next issue. See ya then. 🙂

– David