Ever wonder why or how a brand can amass a strong following overnight?
Well, it’s not all algorithms. In fact, the algorithms only support you when you have a strong message. A brand follows one of four ways to get itself heard, seen, and followed. But you need to be careful. Any of these approaches comes with its pros but cons as well. If you want to know these four ways and how to use them while building your own brand, keep reading. But beware. There’s a specific approach you need to calibrate if you want to make your brand big and take it far into the future.
1. You Can Be Like Me
Say it out loud. Does it ring true? Brands use this approach when they have something that everybody else wants. It can be a human characteristic or a material good or an asset of some kind. They do this by broadcasting good looks, health, smarts, speed, creativity, money or any other numerous hierarchies we wish we had more of.
For those who know the Internet game, this is the top approach influencers will use to grow their following. We know them well as our celebrities, public figures, and people we love or even hate to adore. And here’s why: it’s a self-focused approach aimed at getting all the eyes on them. Brands can do this by showcasing their inherent value. We’ve all been blessed in our own ways with our own gifts. So, if you acknowledge your privilege and tell others about it, there’s a likely chance people will flock towards you wondering what your secret is.
The Pros & Cons
To utilize this approach properly, you’ll want to make sure you know what it is you’re really good at. When you know this, you can utilize it without talking about it. The goal here is to be suave about showing your value without boasting about it. You can easily lose control and lose your followers if don’t watch the boasting. Especially if that is not what they came to you for. But if boasting is your gift, be wary that your opposition may be high.
For influencers who know how to execute this properly, they will most likely create branded content, merchandise, and products around giving their followers a sense of being like them or close to being like them. Kylie Jenner makes lip products so you can have lips like hers. Michael Jordan creates sneakers so you can jump like him. Tony Robbins has a mastermind so you can be around him and become more energized like him. When followers use your content and products, it becomes a means of escaping their own lives and living in yours.
Mimicking is the highest form of flattery, and anyone can be like anyone else if they chose. But what if you know you’re unique? If you are living, you have something that other people want. This is not the hardest approach to make your brand big and rally people around you. If you are lucky and have a skill, then you’ll know that there is something others will like about you. But if you use this approach without knowing the current mood of the market, you risk looking like a fool. As the world turns more individualistic, don’t forget the power of individual value. The world doesn’t revolve around you.
2. You And I Are The Same
Say this to a stranger. Can you maintain it’s credibility? Brands use this approach when they want to make strategic partnerships. It can be a friendship, a professional or romantic relationship, or an alliance of some kind that results in both parties benefitting. They do this by touring around many areas and speaking about the commonalities that we share as a group. They also spread the message of how we ought to behave to uphold those exact values.
To many who watch any major live broadcast, they will know these as our politicians, activists, reporters, and public forum debaters and defenders. This is a self-driven approach where brands can utilize shared values to rally support around them. We all have a unique perspective on the world and life that many others can agree with. If you can accept yours and tell others about it, there’s a likely chance they will lean in to listen and consider what you have to say.
The Pros & Cons
To make sure you use this approach correctly, start by thinking about your beliefs and what you stand for. Once you do this, you can then talk about these beliefs anywhere you go. The goal here is to share and listen and debate when necessary. But you can easily gain a poor name for yourself if you push your agenda too strong or too fast. If you’re well-known for being this type of person and are regarded for it, excuse this. But most people will gravitate towards those who take much into consideration even if they are autocratic in nature.
The benefits of taking this approach is that it grounds your brand in your opinion of what you think is best. When the world is too self-absorbed, this approach becomes the beacon followers can crowd towards. It builds the intimacy they desire. It builds an equal playing field for speaker and listener to be on the same level. Think of people like Nelson Mandela who stood up against apartheid. Or Barack Obama who became a role model and first black president. Numerous figureheads can show you what this looks like as they spread their message on how we should treat one another.
But this approach won’t always fly. Timing is of the essence when it comes to this method. There will always be people who will never follow the adage “treat others how you want to be treated”. A counterintuitive approach is a brand taking this angle on but having no intention of equality or sameness. Much of the world is still in PTSD around mass media brainwashing and mass manipulation. Even if it has been an effective approach in making your brand big, it’s also a difficult one to implement. Take a lesson from the failures to this process and turn to honesty in your advertisement.
3. I Can Guide You
Say this to someone who doesn’t know how to do something. Can you actually teach them in a way they can understand? Brands use this approach when they want to utilize their knowledge to transform people who want to reach a desired outcome. It can be around anything that one party knows a little more about than the other. They do this by taking the time to level with others in their mindset and slowly bring them step-by-step to the desired outcome. They show how they did something, why they made particular decisions, and even the particular pitfalls you should avoid encountering. If they’re really a good guide, they’ll tell you what mistakes they made they hope you never make. This vulnerability makes them prime examples of “good people.”
To most anyone, we know these as our teachers, professors, and the slew of online course creators popping up everyday. This is an others-focused approach where generous brands like these can garner acclaim for their ability to teach and successfully transform their students. People congregate with a strong desire for these brands to articulate how to get them closer to their dreams or away from a harried life.
The Pros & Cons
Though it’s an effective way to make your brand big, no approach is without its cons. In order to proceed with this effectively, brands need to consider the purpose of teaching and sharing their knowledge. Begin with the reason to teach. What problem do you notice occurring or will occur if you do not step up to the plate? The goal here is to build your expertise in a particular topic so that you can make opportunities to share it. But not everyone wants to learn what you know, so be careful of who you teach. Once you find the right people who want to learn what you have to offer, you will notice they don’t all learn the same. It’s imperative you offer a variety of teaching styles to keep all students who are willing to go down this path to become masters of attaining their desired outcome.
If you are the guide, this positions you ahead of others. They will look to you as the person they should consult before making any large moves. The world can bring about many unknown factors as we try to move from A to B in our journies. The people that can guide us towards the next big thing will always be sought out first. Our best teachers are those that we still remember or professors who upload their lectures on YouTube like Jordan B. Peterson and countless others. Even content creators who have turned to the course world as a way to share their in-depth knowledge in a particular subject to display their craftsmanship or wealth of passion. Influencers these days are flocking to this as a viable approach to elevate their branding out of the self-focused approach to a much more considerate and altruistic one.
But be careful. There’s a fine line when it comes to teaching well or teaching for profit. We all know that we want to feel good helping others down the road, but if that helping comes at the expense of others in promising them desired outcomes without any real steps to get there, you will be seen as a fraud. Better yet, a “guru,” a term that used to hold high-esteem and is now seen as the leeching broadcaster ready to swindle you out of thousands of dollars. Burned by the past, the swarm of highly educated Internet goers will pounce on you for any misgivings after being duped by the higher education world of institutions and organizations.
4. You Can Be Great
Say this to anyone. Do you genuinely believe it? Brands use this approach when they want to spread their beliefs for those who want to reach a higher plane of existence, especially when you’re not sure if it’s something for you. They do this by motivating you and empowering you with inspiration to move you towards your goals.
For anyone who knows a thing or two about positivity, they will know these people as our mentors, coaches, preachers, and anyone who is promoting the potential of individuals back to themselves. This is a others-driven approach where the consideration for upwards movement of these brands really shines as the light in a dark tunnel. When humans are either clueless or at their lowest points, these brands interject themselves in between a follower’s journey, acting as a catalyst to give them the push they need in the right direction. When you’re floundering to act, they will show up talking about the move you need to make.
The Pros & Cons
Even approaches that seem as helpful as these can have a negative impact if you don’t watch out. They only succeed when brands can execute promoting greatness with a sense of realism. Of all the various cultures, philosophies, and religions, there will always be a need for common sense and people to articulate the ability to navigate with nuance with it. A healthy dose of realism can ground this method in the world we share and need to live in. The goal here is to bring people up, but not to ignore their circumstances or responsibilities with escapism.
If you’ve ever dreamed of being a speaker or at a conference with keynote presentations from the greatest minds, they will usually hold this brand approach. Think of the likes of Simon Sinek with his book Start With Why, or Marie Forleo with her award-winning Web TV show, or Tom Bilyeu from Impact Theory’s most-watched talk show YouTube videos meant to motivate its viewers. They didn’t just create their material from nothing to make their brand big. They saw a deep need for people to rise to the occasion and they gave them room to be their next best self by creating material that supported them being able to reach the next plane of existence.
But this approach can easily go south if you don’t base your hype with facts. The biggest risk this easily innocent seeming method can have is appear to be a lot of fluff. Without grounding your motivational speeches in some nuanced storytelling of actual events, or share the realities and statistics of what is going on that can back up your assumptions, many will believe you’re just blowing hot air up their you know what. Take a chill pill and utilize your passion to inspire people with their need to be led through the dark tunnel to see what you see.
What The World Needs
The world doesn’t need more individual brands doing just one of these systematic procedures by itself. Not unless they have the resources to execute their plans to detail. What the world needs is more people who take on a hybrid approach to embody two or more of these methods at once.
This may seem complicated at first to some, but most likely you’ll fit into one of these categories. This means that all you need to do is find the next most sensible approach to keep you checked and balanced.
Start by knowing what you naturally gravitate towards. The skills you need to be able to execute those processes will be garnered over time, but your dynamic self will not falter the more you aware of being able to influence and make your brand big. It’s one step in front of the other.