The Most Interesting Blog Post in the World

Ellen Rohr

Branding 101 – What I Learned from the Most Interesting Man in the World!

Recently, I was invited to speak at the Business Experts Forum at the Harvard Faculty Club.  How exciting!  Our assignment was to share our most important, essential, legacy message…in 5 minutes.  As I was putting my materials together for the event, I struggled – again! – with my title and my topic.  There are lots of wonderful and helpful things that I do for clients.  I have volumes of advice to share.  I’ve got all kinds of monikers and achievements I can use to identify myself.  However, I was assigned 5 min.  Not a half day.

Can you relate to my struggle?  Are you also brilliantly talented in a myriad of ways? :) Do you fill your marketing messages with dozens of features and benefits?  And are those the same messages that your competitors are broadcasting?

Another speaker at the Business Experts Forum at Harvard was Jonathan Goldsmith.  In 2005, Jonathan was auditioning for the part of The Most Interesting Man in the World, and he realized he was one of thousands.  A veritable sea of actors had turned up at the casting call.  As he was called on stage, he knew he had only a few minutes to make an impression.  So, he took off one of his shoes, and then his sock.  He put his shoe back on, and put the single sock in his pocket.  Then, wordlessly, he indicated to the stunned casting director that he didn’t want to talk about it.  It made an impression.  He was forever referred to in the casting process as, “That guy who took off his sock.”

That made him different.  What made him better?  As the casting choices were whittled down to the final three, the casting director told Jonathan’s agent, “If only he were younger.  We are going to go with one of the other two because they are younger.”  The agent replied, “Then you would be making a mistake.  The Most Interesting Man in the World has to be an older man.  You just can’t be that interesting as a 30 year old.”  And it was kind of interesting that he took off his sock!  Jonathan got the part and has become the iconic element of Dos Equis brand.  (He also married his agent.)

Branding 101 means being able to share what’s different about you in such a way that you get noticed in our noisy, sensory-overloaded lives.  And, that the difference is something that your customers want or need and are willing to pay MORE for.  Consider asking these journalistic questions when it comes to your brand…

  • Who are you?  
  • What do you offer?  
  • Why? 
  • How are you different and better?

Who does this really well?  Starbucks.

  • What do they offer?  Essentially…coffee.
  • Why?  The Starbuck’s Mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.  That’s compelling.
  • How are they different and better?  They don’t just serve coffee.  They create an experience that celebrates people and coffee.  The servers are baristas.  The coffee is deep roasted (some say burnt!) to make the store smell really good.  They invite you to stay all day, log onto their internet, and join in their community.  Even their cup sizes are Tall, Grande and Vente…not small, medium and large.  In every detail they consider howthey can inspire and nurture the human spirit.  Add in a little faux controversy about a solid red cup and you have Branding Master Class.

So, back to my branding dilemma.  I refer to myself as The Plumber’s Wife.  That certainly isn’t all that I am.  And I don’t even work with my husband, Hotrod – The Plumber – anymore, though we are still married.  However, when I quit my real job to join the family business, that became the pivotal moment of my career.  That’s when I sunk to my lowest, and when I rose to my best.  I developed a deep understanding of what it takes to make money doing service work.  I loves me a dirty job.  And I “get” family business.  It’s just a added level of kooky when you are married to, or related to, others in the company.

  • Who I am: The Plumber’s Wife.  It’s not all I am…however, it is the part that you might most connect with, as a service business owner.
  • What I do: Make Money with Dirty Jobs.  And I am happy to help you do that, too.  I’ve become an expert in service businesses.
  • How I do it: Make Business UN-Complicated. For over 20 years I’ve been boiling down business building to the few things that have the greatest impact on your success.  The focus is on financial clean up, and simple business planning.  How to keep track of the money, and how to get what you want out of business and life.  I share
    information, inspiration and tools for implementation… from freebie webinars, blogs, and videos to online courses.  We can also meet in live seminars, and work in real time together to make quantum leap changes.  I’ll also be turning you on to other savvy business people.  Maybe you?  I love bragging on clients and friends who are building interesting, profitable businesses!
  • Why: Honorable, profitable business expands peace, prosperity and freedom across the planet.  That’s why I do what I do.  So, you and I can live Life UN-Leashed!  It’s all about doing what we want to do.  Everyone wins when we live our best life and pursue our dreams.

I’m realizing that as I change and grow, my brand can evolve.  Yours can, too.  We don’t have to fuss about it.  We can continue to ask these questions and refine the answers.  One of my intentions for 2016 is to clarify and simplify my branding.  And thank goodness, my team makes sure my attempts at being clever aren’t overshadowing the message, the benefits…the mission.  So we are working through this together.  I encourage you and your team to explore these journalistic questions together.  And ultimately, we are not the ones in charge of our brand.  We do our best to communicate what is different and better about us, about our companies.  But as Jeff Bezos says, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you aren’t in the room”  

BTW…I feel great about my presentation at the Harvard Faculty Club.  It was one of the best days of my life.  I’ll post my speech – “Advice From The Plumber’s Wife” – soon.  It’s only five minutes long, and you may want to take a listen.  Also, you can check out inspiring messages from other powerful speakers.  The subjects range from “What To Do If You Are Facing Death” to “Is Your Couch Killing You” to “What Makes A Bulletproof Leader”  Great stuff!



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