For over 2 years, BW Missions has worked with Rich Keller to build the branding arm of our business. Rich has more than 25 years of experience in corporate branding and marketing at companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury, and Godiva.
The more I work with authors, business leaders, and CEOs to market their products, the more I realized the importance of starting with a strong brand foundation.
At the outset of creating a brand, not much thought is usually given to shaping the brand’s identity. CEOs, entrepreneurs, and authors tend to look at the product they want to sell first, not their brand identity. While it seems easier to overlook details like purpose, problem, promise, and communication style, it becomes cost-ineffective in the long run.
Companies can have the best designers, coders, salespeople, and products in the world, but if their foundations are weak, it costs them millions in restructuring and rebranding down the line.
Thankfully, you can get it all right the first time and save time, money, and headaches.
How do people build companies around a core value and centralized message? How do you develop products that drive your brand forward?
That’s what this article will answer.
What is Brand Intellectual Property (IP)?
Now, think for a moment, about a Christmas Tree and the presents under it.
Brand IP is the harmonious marriage of the Christmas Tree (brand foundation and message) to the products it sells.
To reinforce the above:
Brand foundation & message
= Brand IP
It’s important to understand that the brand foundation is intrinsically tied to the founder. Since the company is an extension of the founder, their core value is what connects the Founder’s story to their business venture, thus driving revenue and impact.
The problem is that authors, founders, and CEOs have their products fully formed, but no brand foundation. Both are necessary. Think about if Apple iPhones weren’t connected to the Apple brand. We wouldn’t feel the same way about a regular phone as we do about an Apple iPhone.
“The brand foundation is intrinsically tied to the founder.”
Many entrepreneurs fail before they even really start, simply because they don’t know what makes up a solid brand foundation; it’s more than a good product, catchy tagline, and fancy logo.
A strong brand foundation can hold many different products as long as they each contribute to driving the brand’s overall message.
The Connection Between Brand and Product
Ultimately, a brand stands for a message that draws and attracts people to it.
Think about Nike. Who identifies with Nike’s values? Who wants to be a part of their mission? Driven, motivated, successful everyday athletes.
Why? Because Nike’s brand promise is to inspire athletes to find moments of greatness.
When people buy from Nike, they aren’t buying shoes, heart monitors, and shirts. They’re buying the moments of greatness that Nike promises by using their products.
How Personal Brands Lead to Winning Brands
What we’ve seen over the past two years is that many CEOs and entrepreneurs treat each product as a separate entity. When somebody comes to BW Missions with a book or podcast they want to launch, or a speaking tour they want to go on, they treat it as a separate entity, devoid of an overall brand message.
When products exist by themselves, nothing is gluing them to each other––or the brand.
When products aren’t packaged under one foundational brand message, they each require individual communication and marketing. It is financially inefficient to constantly create a new marketing initiative for every product
That’s why we work with clients to create a foundational brand message. It’s not only cost-effective but ensures the longevity of your brand and its products.
When founders, authors, and CEOs are focused solely on their products, consumers only buy their products to fulfill a physical need, not to receive an emotional payoff. This inherently shortens your products’ life expectancy.
To help explain it, Rich Keller says, “If NIKE was just about apparel, it would be unsustainable because competition can easily take down a company with lower-priced apparel. However, it’s much harder to lose a customer when they’ve been directly impacted on an emotional level.”
Nike doesn’t sell apparel. Nike sells greatness.
Simply put: When you compete on a functional level alone, it’s not sustainable long-term. When you compete on an emotional level, you win people’s hearts forever. When you build products that drive your brand message, you’ll have people coming back again and again to get the emotional payoff you offer.
Take Blackberry, a company that became known for a product that delivered your email. Their message was purely functional. Now, think about Apple. Apple iPhones routinely have an $800+ price tag. If Apple didn’t deliver an emotional payoff, there’s no way people would spend nearly $1,000 on the latest phone when there are so many cheaper alternatives. But Apple isn’t just selling phones, they’re winning hearts by making consumers’ lives easier.
Every iPhone conveys the Apple message: effortless technology that makes your life simple.
The consumer doesn’t bat an eye when they see the exorbitant price tag because they bought into the Apple promise. That’s what makes Apple a multi-billion dollar iconic brand. The products drive their message.
Multi-billion dollar brands are created when products drive their brand message and serve their consumers an emotional benefit.
Fast-fading companies are created when a singular-focused product is swept off the radar because consumers found a better alternative – one that leaves an emotional impact.
As the personal branding space becomes more in-demand, it will become more critical to understand how to marry your brand with your business venture to drive a winning brand.
How One of Our Clients Drove a Winning Brand
At BW Missions, we transform experts into thought leaders by starting with our 5-step process of constructing a brand foundation and message.
One of our clients is Brandon Green, an Alchemist (personal core value) who helps business leaders build wealth by promising to help them “Create Possibilities and Make them So.”
His brand foundation and the message is directly tied to his story of overcoming obstacles, creating possibilities for himself, and making them happen. Now, he’s doing the same for others and Real Estate Entrepreneurs alike. Each one of Brandon’s products drives this message.
After working with Rich and our team, he said, “This was the best investment I made in 2020.”
The first product he’s launching is his Wealth Building Intensive, a program to help entrepreneurs create a vision for their financial possibilities, build their business, set up the right financial systems, and increase their wealth.
As Brandon continues to make and distribute products (his book, his Keynote, experiential summits), it will all tie back to his brand foundation/message. Developing Brandon’s Brand IP from the beginning will now allow him to build a long-term winning brand that drives revenue and impact.
So Why Does This All Matter?
At BW Missions, we know how to marry the personal brand to the business venture to create a long-term winning brand.
Once the 5-step brand foundation process is complete, product innovation becomes easier, content ideas flow naturally,, and a successful community can be easily cultivated. Everything drives to communicating a clear and compelling brand foundation and message.
That is Brand IP at its finest.
If you have more questions about the relationship between products and brands, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org who is leading the current product arm at BW Missions