the equation of profit—how to build a brand with no advertising

All value is created in the mind—all value is created through perception and perception is built on top of sensory experiences, touch, smell, sound, visuals and taste. 

If ask “how do I start a brand” to those who have started profitable businesses, like Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Brian Chesky—you will find all of them have the exact same advice. 

Create something which makes the consumer of the product so stoked they can’t shut up about it and keep telling their friends about it all the time. 

And there’s only 1 thing which can make people go rave—their identity.

So if your product amplifies the consumer’s identity, the product will become a part of them, it will literally become their baby, how good is that?

Steve Jobs summed it up by saying “Marketing is about Values”—the only way your product can resonate with the customer is when it amplifies their values, which is another word for identity.

And the easiest way to find which makes people tick and go rave about your product is to belong to that group/tribe of people yourself—which is why Tim Ferriss stresses you “scratch your own itch”. 

Some people like David Ogilvy, Joseph Sugarman are true human exceptions, they have the ability to sell to a tribe they do not belong to by merely studying them.

And the exceptions of the exceptions are people like Steve Jobs, who are so in tune with their tribe, they seem to know exactly what their consumer wants. 

I always give the example of how Steve was talking about the iPad in the 80’s. Because he probably understood that the dearest thing we humans have is our kids—I came to understand what Steve meant when I lived in Saudi Arabia for 4 months without my kids and it was a heart wrenching experience at a level I had never experienced before—and incidentally it was FaceTime which kept me connected with my kids.

Have you noticed how foundational this insight is? There is one other person I know of who has insights as foundational as Steve, it’s Peter Thiel. Which brings us to the inevitable conversation about mimetic theory.

Like all selling is reciprocity, all buying is mimesis. Mimesis is the force at the heart of formation of tribes/identities—mimesis creates network effects.

So if your product enables the consumer to earn respect within her tribe hence elevating her status, your product is opening up opportunities for better mates, access to more resources and more power within the group. Which brings us to another interesting observation. There is a correlation between the level of status you can easily achieve and how tall, articulate and good looking a member of a tribe is.

Now ask yourself, do you want to make a product which is loved by powerful members of the tribe or otherwise? Seth Godin explains this rather well with his yoyo example.

this is why influencer marketing works, this is why celebrities command the advertising power that they do and this is why all brands are premium in 1 way or the other—in order to intentionally sell only to the high status members of the tribe.

Since this post is meant to be notes to self, I must mention David Sack’s post about self advertising products which is the best How to I know on the internet for amplifying your NPS even more.

P.S the best way to do top of funnel is to use reciprocity, for more about reciprocity check out Dr Cialdini’s work.

P.P.S this exactly what Dale Carnegie meant when says be interested in what others are passionate about, when you listen to someone talk about something they are passionate about which is core to their values, you are saying I have shared values with you, which makes them trust you, buy from you and sell to you at a better price.

Author: Usman Gondal

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