Build a brand not a business


When I get the call to meet with an entrepreneur, CEO or marketing manager to create a brand film we normally meet for breakfast or lunch. After all the small talk is done I see their eyes light up, they are eager to know my thoughts around one thing and one thing only “how can I connect with my market/followers and how do I engage their minds to have an emotional impact on them? The very first thing I do is smile, sit back and ask a million questions. As they are getting fired up, talking nothing but of their business. One common mistake most people in them meetings make is that they are so focused on expanding into different product lines, focusing on features, benefits and data it’s clear they are trying to build a business but not a brand which in my opinion leaves them vulnerable to their competitors because they are just a “me too business”.


Building a brand is harder and tougher but is definitely worth it. Let me explain, Instagram took 18 months to create by two entrepreneurs with a narrow focus and wasn’t generating any revenue but Facebook bought it of them for 1 billion dollars because Facebook understands the power of branding.

So how do you build a killer brand?


Well, I don’t have a magic answer but I feel it’s about owning the buying words in the consumer’s mind. I believe you do this by narrowing down and focussing on a concept delivered through stories and lots of them. Over time as long as you show up regularly to the right people you will start to build a brand. I’ve thought about this so much over the last couple of weeks, when I think of computers I think of Apple, when I think about getting a cab I think of Uber, when I think about booking a hotel I think of Airbnb. You see these brands in one way or another have done a great job attaching them words in my mind.


Another example is me, I’m a filmmaker. I could focus on fashion, porn or comedy but I don’t. I’m focused on Humanizing for connection and nothing else because when you think of connection marketing I want you to think of me.

As humans our brains are wired to organize information into stories. We use them to find meaning in the world. We see ourselves in them and the stories we hear and tell become personal to us. So the effort should be narrowing down a concept to achieve owning the buying words in the heart and mind of your consumers. To do this tell lots of stories around a narrow concept.

Michael Hanson , Founder & Creative Director - Humanize You

Michael Hanson