Gerry Foster, a highly accomplished brand strategist, joins us in today’s episode to discuss strategic branding for small businesses. He is the creator of the Big Brand Formula, which shows small business owners how to create a big brand and strong message that sells so you can excite, delight, and ignite your market. He has over 30 years of successful experience and combines the approach, thinking, and methods from the world of big branders. Not only that, but he provides a service that is above and beyond what is offered by his competitors.
On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast:
- How Gerry became the “Branding Evangelist”.
- Why Gerry is especially passionate about working with solopreneurs.
- What strategic branding means and encompasses.
- The secret ingredient to successful branding.
- What Gerry finds to be the biggest challenge for business owners.
- How to set your business apart from the crowd.
- What makes you admirable versus what makes you unique.
- Using brand DNA to show how your business is unique.
- One action an entrepreneur can take today toward becoming a bigger brand.
- “Unless you’re distinct, you risk being extinct.”
- How to provide something tangible when you offer a service.
- The part of Gerry’s work he enjoys the most.
- How Gerry helps his students accomplish mastery.
- How strategic branding can improve your return on marketing.
- Pre-internet business success compared to now.
- Why having a commanding, high-performance brand matters immensely.
- Advice from Gerry for business owners: do not socially distance your business.
Connect with Gerry:
Download Gerry’s Free Gift: https://gerryfosterbranding.com/claim-gift/
Share your thoughts about this episode, and…
Join the Live. Love. Engage. Spiritual Awakening Community for Entrepreneurs and like our Facebook page.
Check out my website to see how we can work together
Connect with me on Instagram: @liveloveengagewithgloriagrace
Pre-order your copy of my new book, “Live. Love. Engage. – How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Start Being Yourself.”
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[00:00:02] Welcome to Live Love Engage the podcast where we share practical advice from a spiritual perspective of how to create a life and business with more impact, influence and income.
[00:00:16] I’m your host, Gloria Grace Rand, the insightful copywriter and founder of The Love Method.
[00:00:23] My mission is to help you stop doubting yourself so you can live fully, love deeply and engage authentically.
[00:00:35] No, stay and welcome to Live, Love and Gauge, I am Gloria Grace Brand and I love the days when I have a guest on the show and this is somebody who I have Jerry Foster is someone that I’ve been actually working with. He is an amazing, amazing, highly accomplished brand strategist, as it says on his bio. And I can attest to that for a fact. And we’ll we’ll probably get into talking about that in a little bit. But I first want to introduce you to him and him to you.
[00:01:12] He is the creator of the big brand formula, which shows small business owners how to create a big brand and a strong message that sells so you can excite delight and ignite your market and make it easier to get new customers. And he’s got more than 30 years of successful experience showing small business owners how to brand is the big boys do combining the best and entrepreneurial branding with the best thinking methods and approaches from the world of big brands. And he’s also an international speaker or trainer and coach who is really driven by passion to give life to and nurture products and services that will flourish and grow beyond what is typically offered by a competitor.
[00:01:57] So there’s a lot more that I didn’t even have time to get into, but I figure that’s enough to give you a flavor. So first off, Jerry, welcome to Live Age.
[00:02:07] Oh, hey, Gloria’s so happy to be here. This is awesome.
[00:02:11] Well, I am definitely happy to have you because you have been really instrumental in helping me to fine tune my message, because even though I am a copywriter and I excel at creating messages for other people, doing it for myself is a bit of a chore and often very helpful with me in doing that.
[00:02:36] So I wanted to start off by just asking you how how did you become the branding evangelist as as as your call? So how did that all start?
[00:02:49] What is there to. With us, there’s several there’s several parts to that answer from a big picture standpoint. I attended USIE Southern California, earned two degrees, bachelor’s degree, MBA degrees, cumulating with honors, majored in marketing, deep study and branding. And so that’s sort of put me on this whole career path of branding. And so when I came out of business school, I went to work for Procter and Gamble PG in brand management brand strategy, as I say, helping to grow their laundry brands like CARSKADON or Liquid Laundry detergent. And I started my own brand development and training company full time in nineteen eighty five. So I love to tell people I started when dinosaurs were roaming Earth at the dawn of the personal computers right long ago. And so during those years as I was doing professional speaking. I just sort of took I just I took on a very special passion and enthusiasm for delivering my message, and it’s interesting because the branding evangelist got birthed from the way that I deliver, as some people wonder, am I a Baptist preacher or some kind of ordained minister or something because of the the love, the passion, the enthusiasm and the cadence of my voice when I speak. And I love to tell people that I preach and teach the gospel to brand. And that’s and so on. My on my in my family, on my father’s side. My great great grandfather was a Baptist preacher from Alabama, Congressman Scott. And then on my mother’s side of the family, they were all educators, teachers, principals and like. And so I combined the two over the years where I’ve taken the preaching, combined with the teaching, you had the branding to begin over again.
[00:04:55] Well, that makes sense. I see that you just come by naturally. It’s in your DNA. I like that. So why are you so passionate? Because you’ve worked with big bands, but now you’re helping entrepreneurs to keep to create a big brand. So how why are you so passionate about helping folks like me, for instance?
[00:05:17] That’s a great question, because I love working with the solo partner. Most of the folks that I work with are one person businesses like yourself, or they may have two people, maybe three, but for the most part, solo partners. And are folks like yourself who have a skill, a talent, a gift and ability, some kind of expertise to offer the world. And what I’ve noticed is that for so many solo partners, they are flying solo, meaning that they often don’t even have any one in their business to provide some guidance and some direction and support. In my case, when it comes to branding and I’ve always connected with, quote unquote, the small business owner. I mean, I love to say that these are my people, right. And I work of other types of small business owners. I work with bond partners. I work with all types of independent professionals and solo practitioners and the like. But I love working with that one person like yourself who really excels at what they do. And they just love, if nothing else, for me to talk to. They are going down this path. Call it branding. And as you know, Gloria, I do strategic branding, not visual branding, because there’s three basic layers to branding. There’s a layer and then there’s the visual layer than what they call the social media layer. So I do the the strategic branding layer at the beginning.
[00:06:48] Absolutely. And you definitely do a good job of that. But maybe can you explain a little bit more about what that means? Because I’m thinking there may be people out there maybe not understanding because they think that a brand is like their logo. But you say strategic branding. What actually do you mean by that?
[00:07:07] Well, it means to give people a reason to do business with you. No one’s going to choose any one to hire or to do business with just because they have a great logo, a nice looking website and great photography. I mean, there’s more to it than that. Right. And and I understand why so many people, when I hear the word branding associated with the image, because that is the most common connection with this whole thing called branding, which is what people see. However, in the world of business, you have to give people a compelling reason to choose you over other alternatives. And quite matter of factly, no one’s going to hire anybody just because of the aesthetics. You’ve heard me probably use this analogy. Let’s take Coke and Pepsi. I doubt it. The Coca-Cola drinkers prefer Coke because it’s in a red and the Pepsi people because it’s in a blue canvas withinside. Again, it counts. Absolutely. So I tell small business owners, particularly solar panels, what’s inside your can you put a nail in the apple?
[00:08:17] Yeah, because, I mean, I’ve got the same thing with me when I’m working with with clients because like you mentioned, you can have the best website in the world. But if it doesn’t have the messaging on there, that is really going to attract and engage someone and get them to take action, then you’ve just wasted a lot of money on a pretty website. Make your money.
[00:08:37] Any other part of it, too, is that just big picture wise? The small business is what drives the economy here in America. I mean, we’re. We’re the coral reefs, we’re the buffers of what happens in terms of driving the economy in America, and I think that’s true in other societies as well.
[00:08:59] So I have a hard for, quote unquote, the little people, right? People like me and you.
[00:09:08] Absolutely. I know you’ve we’ve been working together for a while and I’ve come to see some of your some of your other presentations and things. And I know that you have one of them where you talk about a secret ingredient that extremely successful brands you use for massive success. Could you maybe share what that secret ingredient is?
[00:09:30] Well, there are media only brand, because nowadays you have to stand out. If not, if you’re not standing out, you’re invisible and any owner has a choice. Do you want to stand out or blend in? Do you want to fade into the background or do you want people to really take notice of. So that secret ingredient has to do with being able to configure your brand so that you are what’s called a stand alone brand image only brand, a one of a kind brand where people feel they can get something from you that they cannot get anywhere else. Because if someone feels that they can get the same thing from you down the street or in another state or another country, wherever it may be, then you’ve gone from being a standalone Maione brand to a me too. So now you’re looked upon as being somewhat generic. Right. And so that’s the first thing which is to be able to clearly say to the marketplace that you’ve got something different, that you have something distinct, that you have something unique. And the other part of that, though, is, well, what what what of it? What enables you to not only be different, but to sustain that difference? And that gets into what’s called your secret sauce. And that’s the other part of it, too.
[00:10:46] And when you’ve been working with clients, what have what have you found to be maybe the most challenging thing for people to, I guess, understand maybe with regards to me only and these concepts?
[00:11:03] Yeah, it’s hard for a lot of people to get in touch with their own magnificence. A lot of times I often say this to people, which is it’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. It’s hard to see yourself inside the picture frame. And a lot of times when I have conversations, particularly with professionals and other people who offer services, any kind of service based business, let’s say biscuit business to business services, even business to consumers. I asked him the question, well, what makes you different? They immediately start talking about their credentials. People like to talk about their level of education or their certifications that their training is and things like that. And I point out, well, that’s what makes you admirable. What makes you unique? That’s a different question. And so what I find is that people never separate the two. They they have a hard time grasping that in order to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd, you have to be able to say that you can pull something off on behalf of your client. I’m like No one else. And the fact that you’ve got skill sets and knowledge and wisdom and all of that, well, that’s fine, but so does your competition. And so they have to be able to take all of that and bring it together in such a way whereby they can serve up a very highly distinctive way of delivering their expertise through some kind of system, some kind of process, some kind of method, some kind of approach that they that they take and after they put people on. And that’s hard for some people to do. It really is just to have that distinction because because I really blow their mind when I say don’t offer services to offer a system.
[00:12:54] And I go, oh, that’s true. Yeah, absolutely.
[00:13:00] Because it is it is different to be able to think that way and to be able to realize, because I think one of the things that a lot of service providers in particular come across is that because they’re so skilled at what they do, that it’s just natural to them and they don’t realize that not everybody has the skills. And so I think that’s part of the issue is that does that sound right to you?
[00:13:26] Is that something you’ve come as part of it? Yeah, but one time I got a question where someone said, well, I’m an accountant and there’s millions of accountants. How do I set myself apart? And I my response to this guy was, well, know when things like, you know, what solves problems, like, you know, one follows up like you unless you have a twin or. There’s only one you and so you have a thumbprint, you have a DNA, right, that nobody else has. And so in the world of Brandy’s strategic branding, I always help my clients and students get in touch with their own brand DNA, which now gets into. Hmm, let’s take your perspective. Let’s take a look at how you think and how you problem solve. And let’s take a look at what works and doesn’t work. All the things that make up how you pull something off on behalf of the client. Like no one else that nobody else can do like you, because there’s only one you. And so part of my gift is pulling that out of someone to see what that is. And when they get in touch with that, they’re like, well, yeah, I am one of a kind. I may be an accountant, but there’s there’s no other accountant like me.
[00:14:43] Yeah. And I can attest to that. You do have a gift for that and being able to see that. Yeah, absolutely. What is one action say an entrepreneur could take today that could help them get started on becoming a big brand name to get in touch with what their purpose is?
[00:15:04] What they’re calling is how is their God using them to do some amazing things out in the world, in the community, the market. They serve as, you know, glory. I’m all about people standing in their purpose to know why they’re here. What exactly are they on the planet for, to accomplish in their life that perhaps is sovereignly been set aside for them, whereby they are in touch with the fact that they are here to accomplish something that they and only they are to accomplish. Now, from a spiritual standpoint, people can interpret that different ways. People can interpret that as their divine assignment. Some people can interpret that as this is what they’re meant to do and supposed to do with their life. Some people may interpret that as saying, OK, this is this is my Y. Right. But it all comes down to people getting in touch with and discovering what their purpose is, because that then drives all the other aspects of their brand in terms of what is it about their brand that allows them to put something out into the world that will be hard for the world to ignore, because unless you’re distinct, you risk being extinct, unless you are putting something out into the world that people can fall in love with because they see that you offer something they cannot get anywhere else.
[00:16:27] Unless you can do that, you run the risk of being kicked to the curb. You run the risk of struggling and having slow sales. Right. And that’s not a marketing solution. No, no. No reflection on you or. I know.
[00:16:42] Yeah, but it all starts because here’s the other thing, too, Gloria. When you’re branded a product, it’s different, right? See, when you have a tangible physical object that people can see, taste, touch, smell over here in advance, people can sample the goods before they ever pay for anything. Now, in product branding, that’s a whole different conversation and product branding. It’s all designed to not only point out, but what is that so superior about the product? It’s that it’s designed to get people to sample it somehow. When you’re branding yourself in any kind of service based business, you’re selling the invisible to someone. It’s it’s not something they can sample. And so what I do is I say, listen, we have to take that intangible that you have and make it tangible and make it real, make it touchable in the minds and the heart of your audience as if it were a product right now. So all of this is strategic because people don’t think about this stuff.
[00:17:46] But as you know, this is all I’ve been doing my entire adult life is branding going all the way back to us and started my own company. And we’re going to right now. So welcome to my world.
[00:17:58] Well, I tell you what I’m even going to give you I’m going to give you a testimonial because you don’t know about this. I’ve been out earlier this week, I attended a networking mastermind type event. And so one of the things that you and I worked on to differentiate myself was the fact that when I was surveying other copywriters out there, nobody offered a guarantee. And so we created I created this happiness guarantee with your assistants. And so that was what I did when I was introducing myself during one of the breakout sessions. And as the fact that I was the only CEO copywriter who guarantees to tap into your unique voice and turn it into copy that attracts, engages and converts. And actually, this is the actual the. Out of this whole mastermind thing, he’s just like, tell me more about this guarantees, like I’ve never heard of anybody offering a guarantee before. And so explain to me that’s pretty good. So that’s the type of stuff. See all of you listening out there who want help. This is why you need to work with Jerry, because this is the stuff he can do to help you come up with.
[00:19:07] Oh, thank you so much. And that’s great to hear. And I love how it now just rolls off the tip of your tongue to see what you would see. What you just hit upon is that in branding, you have to stand behind your brand itself through some kind of irresistible promise or guarantee of some sort, because a brand is a promise of a local brand, is a mark of trust, a brand is the standard. You are on behalf of the consumers that you are benefiting. And so what they want to hear from you is what can you be counted on to deliver in terms of solving a problem that I have improving outcomes for me or performing some kind of miracle or perhaps helping me to get rid of a certain negative emotions?
[00:19:55] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And so when you think of a fenet standpoint, you’re now giving something tangible in a way that you’re speaking into existence by basically saying to the client, I’m going to create a future for you that’s no longer limited by your past, by by bringing forth the kind of possibilities that you never thought were even possible, because you because you’re too busy talking about your services and what makes you more admirable.
[00:20:27] I like that. That is awesome. Um, one thing I wanted to talk about is so how do you work with people? I know you and I, we’ve worked one on one, but I think you do you sometimes to work with groups to or how do you.
[00:20:42] Yes, I work with people primarily three ways. I do have a virtual program, the home study course called Big Brand Formula. But then the second way is through a group coaching program that I have called Big Brand Formula Intensive.
[00:20:57] And A Third Way is working with people privately like you and I worked together one on one. And that’s always a function of what time, availability and budget. And it’s all part of the courses and all the different things that I bring to people so that they can choose what’s best for them in terms of making sure that they have a brand that will allow them, as you said in my intro, to flourish.
[00:21:23] Right marketplace. Absolutely. And as you know, I’m putting together my my academy, my big brand academy where all of this is going to be housed so that people can really, really have that rock star world class, best in class brand. Absolutely.
[00:21:39] Yeah, definitely. That that’ll be awesome when you have that together, because that’ll be a nice place. One stop shopping, as it were, to be able to get all the information. So that’ll be good. What I mean, I think you’ve probably alluded to this already, but I maybe just I want to ask it to really clarify. What is your favorite thing about what you do?
[00:22:03] What brings you the most joy from it is hearing people share the benefits of my work, like you just shared a minute ago, is when I can see or hear the transformation. When I can work with someone and they have that golden moment where it all comes together and they know that they can now put themselves in a position to ring the bell for greater sales and more fulfillment and more joy in life. And that’s what puts a smile on my face. And I know how awkward this can be for people at the beginning. I often liken my work to learning a foreign language. It starts off as very awkward and then you stay with it. It becomes a little mechanical. But then it and then at some moment you’re going to have this thing called flow, which I call mastery. And so my goal is always to get my clients and students to a place of mastery where they are now living and being their brand that we created together. And that’s often reflected through their speaking in how they language like you did a few minutes ago, you know, language, who you are and what it is that you offer the world. And I can hear those shifts just in terms of how people articulate and communicate. And I help them to get in touch with what that is. And that’s it, by the way. That’s a that’s a huge area of expertise is messaging, of course, as you know, in branding, that’s also an area where people really struggle with just how to communicate the essence of what they do.
[00:23:44] Yeah, absolutely. Because, again, it comes down to we don’t always appreciate the gifts that we have or we don’t know how to talk about them correctly. I mean, I remember I had a client that years ago who sold outdoor lighting and his website was really more about the nitty gritty of it and about his credentials, sort of what you talked about. And but it wasn’t enough about why someone should buy outdoor lighting, what is the benefit? And you have to be able to communicate that information. Otherwise you’re OK. And and why you, as you were talking about that differentiates you.
[00:24:25] Right. And that gets into being able to make sure that your brand positions you as being preeminent in your space. Right. And category your industry, your field of expertise by making sure that it gets people to see you as being number one in your specialty so that they see us the smart choice and the only choice and the best choice. And that’s all strategic. And then that all has to be fed to the marketing machinery, websites, social media promotions, online marketing, done on and on and on. So that was so that the marketing could be more effective, because then when all of this started, the branding stuff gets integrated with the marketing and all of a sudden the marketing requires fewer impressions to be effective. So therefore, one dollar works like five dollars and they get a higher return on their marketing investment.
[00:25:20] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It’s all about consistency. You’ve got to show up the same way across the different channels in order for people to really get the message. And then they see, oh, you really are the one and only X, Y, Z person.
[00:25:36] Exactly right. And that gets into the business owner, particularly the solo partner and whatnot, making a decision. I want to offer a service or do I want to offer a brand? Because if you want to offer services, then that’s a different path. That’s not the path that I’m on. But if you want to offer a brand, which I would hope most people would want to do in this brand conscious, brand driven world and society that we now live in, because it’s all about the brands, nothing but the brand, then you have to make sure that all the right components are brought together so that you have a standalone brand that can do what you want it to do.
[00:26:14] So if someone wanted to be able to learn more about you and to be able to start working on creating a big brand, what’s the best way for someone to reach you?
[00:26:25] Just go to my website. Jerry Foster branding Dotcom as Gerry with a G, Jerry Foster branding dot com. And they can check out everything that I have and all types of great stuff. And as you know, Gloria, if they put Jerry Foster branded dotcom or slash claim hype and gifts, they can download my free gift. That is my big brand secrets video series that you helped me put together and lay out my website. So I’m really excited about that.
[00:26:56] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I really I was happy to help you with that because I definitely think it’s a great way to have people get a taste of what you have to offer. This podcast will definitely help as well, I think. And because I really know that there are I’ve worked with so many. Solo partners myself are a network with them, and they are in desperately need your services because they are not showcasing who they are in the light that they deserve, because I know they’re talented people, but they’re not branding themselves in a way that help them stand out. So I hope they will take advantage of that. And I will have all those links in the show notes so people will be able to take advantage of it.
[00:27:40] And I just say one thing to what you just said, which is so great before the Internet. You remember before the Internet, it was all about doing good work because your competition was probably within three to five miles of where someone was located.
[00:27:54] And then you could depend upon what word of mouth and referrals for business. Right now, because of the Internet, your competition is worldwide because a consumer knows that at the click of a button they can go here and there and everywhere and pick out who they want to work with. So therefore, being good is no longer good enough.
[00:28:11] And that’s part of having a commanding brand, world class brand, high performance brand. This says to the world, I’m exactly what you’re looking for and you want to know what else. You can only get it from me. That’s where I go and that’s where I have people go catchin. And that’s how these multi-million dollar brands are being built. And that’s what I tell people how to do.
[00:28:35] Yeah, that’s awesome. Absolutely. And I would just say I would also point out that I think the other part of it is that what holds people back is that, again, once they can get you to help them to differentiate who they are, they still have to be able to own that from inside. And that requires sometimes some some extra help with with their mindset. And so that’s actually something that I can help you with as well. In addition to the copywriting and the the actual words, that is something that I would definitely love to help you out with. So if you’re listening and want to contact me, you can go to engage with Gloria Dotcom and set up an appointment so that we can make sure the words are touching your heart. And once you work with Jerry and he’ll get the he’ll get that brand going for you, too.
[00:29:28] So any less any last words of advice you’d have for anyone listening before we we and the lovely kind of I would say, especially now during these very challenging times that we’re living in, I tell owners all the time, listen, don’t put a mask on your business. Not so sure this is your business. If anything, this is the time to really elevate who you are, your voice to the world as well as your face to the world, because I don’t diminish the importance of a logo.
[00:30:04] Ok, anything that helps you stand out and get noticed is a smart thing to do.
[00:30:08] However, it’s your voice, right, and your message. So you have to know your brand, know your message and know what your uniqueness is. Yeah. So that you can put yourself in the best position to accelerate what you are here to accomplish during your lifetime.
[00:30:30] Well, I think that is a perfect place to end this conversation. And I so appreciate you being on our show today, Jerry. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. And now I get to share you with some more with the world. So I love it.
[00:30:45] Thank you so much. This was my honor. You are. You are a gift. You certainly are. To other people. You really do.
[00:30:52] Well, thank you. I appreciate that. So are you. And for all of the rest of you out there, I appreciate you so much for watching on YouTube and listening. And until next time, as always, I encourage you to go out and live fully, love deeply and engage authentically.
[00:31:12] One more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the Live Love Engage podcast, I want to help you shine your light in the world, not only while you’re listening to the show, but all day, every day of the week. That’s why I created the word love and gave Spiritual Awakening community on Facebook. It’s a place for you to gather with other business professionals and entrepreneurs who are committed to living the life of their dreams. If you want to be a part of this community and receive free trainings for me, go to live, love, engage dotcom and request to join.
[00:31:47] That’s Ally. Be beaten. Be engaging in dotcom.