Features x Benefits = Product/Service

When you think about how products/services are presented what comes to mind? Is it the 3 tiered model we see online? Why is it presented that way? There has to be an intention and purpose to that design, and although we may have the system displayed correctly based on eternal patterns of psychology. How we get there is the much-needed debate that needs to be had. As we are going about this all wrong. We need to dive into the layers to understand why Features x Benefits = Product/Service is a better way to reach this outcome.

Before we deconstruct what this means… 

Three things we want to focus on in this article:

Part 1: The origin of products/services

Your Brand Protects What Is Most Important, So Why Do Your Products Hurt You?

The point of your brand is not to sell a product. And yet, it seems to be the only thing most brands want to do. A factory builds a widget and the brand slaps its logo on it before sending it directly to consumers. Dropshipping and the promises of a four-hour workweek have screwed up what it means to create, cultivate, and grow a brand.

The point of a brand, especially YOUR brand, is to connect you with an aligned audience with a very specific problem they need fixing. These problems are always something internal – anxiety, fear, something psychological – and are always more difficult to resolve. Yet, ask just about any marketing or branding professional (and we’ve talked to quite a few), and they are usually more concerned about “expanding market share” or “increasing customer retention.”

In other words: how do we sell more of our product? How do we get more people to sign up for our services? How do we, as a brand, grow?

Simple: you grow when your customers grow, and this all starts with changing the way you design and present your products.

Take a look at just about any company’s “pricing” page. It is usually tucked somewhere at the bottom of a landing page that is littered with overpromising and punchy copy. The pricing is presented in three tiers: free/cheap, basic, and advanced – Good, Better, Best.

Why is it presented this way?

I suppose you could look at SaaS companies from the early Silicon Valley days, the ones that were solely interested in gaining the highest number of users in the shortest amount of time. Customers were promised added features, more capacity, more bandwidth, or additional user licenses for each tier. This might make sense for a software company that can leverage automation to maintain and grow its user base. Their end goal is to often sell their product – users and all – to a larger company that will incorporate their features into something bigger. To reach this end goal, they usually have to scale horizontally to gain as much market share as possible.

You, however, first need to scale vertically - which requires a different strategy entirely - before you can try to expand horizontally. Think of it like the roots of a tree. Before a tree can grow a heavy, healthy trunk that supports a leafy canopy, it must first grow a deep, strong network of roots. Otherwise, the first stiff breeze will cause the tree to collapse. 

This growth will be dependent on your good/ better/ best tiers. The “good” is available to everyone, your “better” is for your aligned audiences, but comes at a premium, and the “best” you have to offer is unrivaled in quality, but very limited in distribution. Growing your business means finding ways to package your best product in a way that won’t appeal to everyone. 

To do this, we will have to take the equation you are used to and flip it around. But first, some foundational ideas:

The Origins  of Your Product

The BAM family loves to assess the specific definitions of the words we commonly use. For so long, “product” or “service” has stood in as the term for “the thing you sell.” Frankly, this has been an injustice to what both of these words could mean: 

Service (n) – The work performed by one that serves

-          A set of articles meant for particular use.

Product (n) – something that is produced

-          Something that is marketed or sold as a commodity

-          The result of multiplying two numbers or expressions together.

How many of us have started our businesses with the idea of “I want to deliver product X to people”? What if we looked at it a different way: your product isn’t the deliverable but the potential for what you could do for people.

Your brand must solve your audience’s internal problems. Those who invent products out of nothing often find themselves having to imagine a problem they could solve. It happens more often than you think: just look at all of the ridiculous premises of the stuff you can order on TV late at night.

In The Big BAM process, we figure out your audience’s problem, how you’re solving it, and who you are solving it for. It is a long process that requires a ton of research and reflection. Then, after you have determined the internal problem your audience faces, we figure out how to package the resolution. 

Part 2: Reverse engineering the wrong way - Product/Service = Features + Benefits

Features and Benefits does not a product make.

To learn how to do something the right way, you usually have to do it the wrong way first. For years, solo business owners and coaches have hitched their cart to the idea that their brand and the copy need to focus on the features and benefits.

When you build a product before anything else, you make a huge assumption about what people need. The result is often a product you have invested a load of time and money into that a few people may want but almost no one needs. You’re left trying to package your offer into a box with the features and benefits printed on it.

“LOOK!” you say to them, “This online course will teach you how to make six figures a year!” “Work from home” “super easy!” “passive income!”

(If you can’t tell, we get a lot of targeted ads swearing to fix our company’s problems from people who fix every problem with money).

When you list features and benefits as the reason to buy your product, you assume you know the challenges your audience faces. Every time this happens, the features are inflated beyond what anyone can reasonably promise and the benefits are just a distraction.

Your product or service needs to solve a problem, it needs to address someone’s internal conflict. You can’t create a scalable product that solves specific problems unless you can prove that you have solved the problem in the first place. Consider the three-tier pricing models:  what happens when your customer pays for more features, but their problem isn’t solved? “Better” doesn’t matter when “good” hasn’t solved their issue.

But if you did it the other way? Solve the problem, then build a product around it?

Part 3: Features x Benefits = Product/Service works better.

Features x Benefits = Product/Service is in my humble opinion a far better way to frame the reality of what you have to offer. By allowing the internal pain/conflict/struggle that your aligned audience is facing to become the

I started writing this because I think most brands need a reality check about what they are offering - especially when the brands are focused on coaching or consulting. You went into business for yourself because you wanted to help as many people as possible. But, really, how many people can you help?

If every client you took on received 100% of your effort and the most of your attention, how many clients until you totally burn out?

Consider the consultant who wants to show people how they can make six figures a year. How many people can they help with that feature, realistically? These are the consultants who need to learn what their audience is really dealing with (the internal problem!). It may not be about wanting six figures on your income. Rather, their audience may want to work less, leave the job they hate, or increase their income by some degree to save more and plan for a brighter future.

These are the internal struggles and pain points. Your features should be born directly from them. When you address their problems, you tap into the one end-all, be-all benefit that everyone is looking for: hope.

Your audience wants to feel a sense of hope. That’s it.

The opposite of hope? Disappointment – the thing they feel when your product lets them down.

But once they work with you, they get to where they’ve always wanted to go. Every one of us deserves the feeling of hope.

But you can’t deliver that feeling if you don’t feel it yourself. Typically, when business owners try to do more for their audience, they are faced with overwhelm and burnout.

This is why business owners need to look at the triple-tiered product offering in a different light. You’re not adding more features; each level isn’t any more beneficial than the one before it. Rather, the varying levels are there to protect you and keep you in business longer.

The person who signs up for the free tier gets just as much value as someone who drops $50K to get you one-on-one. The tiers aren’t there for them, they are there for you. Everyone gets the lower end, your general audience. But those who are truly aligned with what your brand has to offer to get the premium connection.

Consider the retail lifestyle brand – there are pedestrian editions that are printed and on sale at Target, and then there are the high-level, member’s-only drops that are highly coveted, expensive, and gone in an instant. Musicians who play art fairs and busk on street corners for everyone, but they also play private shows in the backyards of their biggest fans.

Or the blog you publish that gives everyone the top-five tips to becoming a better runner versus the ten people who are in your private training run-club, who pay you thousands each month just to log miles with you.


  1. The customers know their money is being put to the best, independent businesses and they are getting a unique experience.
  2. The customer knows their planning efforts and the event will be captured and preserved for the sentiment.
  3. Executives have more confidence in their sales team and when they need to next present to the board of directors.

It’s all in how much hope they need. Your “Good” offering – at the base of everything you do – should solve their problem. Everything from there on – your better and best offers – depends on the multiplier of the benefits you deliver. The sense of hope  Whatever the case, whatever problem you’re helping them resolve, their renewed sense of hope will compound everything else they go forward.

Would you know what this looks like for your brand?

Culture Creates Community

Community guides culture. 

You can create a Facebook group for just about anything. Worse yet, just about anyone can be invited to join your group. Worse still, pretty much anyone and everyone might try to join your group.

Combined, this is why Facebook groups are probably one of the worst ways you can build a community around your brand. Almost every brand, company, storefront, and organization attempts some kind of “community” as an arm of their marketing plan. The thinking is simple: get your customers in one spot, and it will be easier to sell to them. This is also not what a “community” is for. Telling people to go to a specific place for a single reason is called a “meeting.”

While every community can have meetings, most meetings are not communities.

I say this because I have just turned down several dozen invitations on various social networks to join one “Mastermind” or “networking” group or another, all of them hosted by some kind of “marketing guru” who wants my involvement to sell me on their program. They all run the same playbook, they’re all after your cash, and every single one of them misses the point of the “community.”

When it comes to your brand, culture creates community, and the community then guides the culture.

It takes a village to raise a child. Every member of the village - the community - pitches in to mold how every child grows and learns. Why? Because those children will eventually grow up to be the elders, teachers, mentors, and leaders who help raise the next generation. No one is selling anything, everyone is involved, and everyone benefits.

In a similar light, it takes a community to sustain your brand. And when the community builds itself around the ideals of your brand, it becomes a tribe. These aren’t your customers, this isn’t your audience - these are members of your tribe.

Tribal members do whatever is necessary to protect the sanctity of what holds them together from one generation or evolution to the next. They help cultivate new members while shielding their ideals and virtues from the negative elements that might limit what they can do. 

When done right, your brand’s community will guide you on where they want to go next. 

For the most part, this doesn’t happen on Facebook. I don’t consider this a problem. For those who are aware of the power of their brand, the culture is an extension and practice of the community. You’re reinforcing your core values without having to hard sell your product. This is the safe place where you can express your authentic voice beyond the ego of your brand. 

Your community, the tribe, should be born from and sustained by your brand’s core messaging. Forcing it to go any other direction isn’t going to do you any favors. There is much more to creating a community that goes beyond giving space to communicate with people. In this article, I’m going to dive deep on three points: 

Breaking Down The Buzzwords

As always, before we dive into the concept, we need to remove the esoteric buzzwords that have been tied to it. Before we understand the HOW, we have to comprehend the WHO.

Community (n.) – a unified body of individuals with common interests scattered through a larger society.

Tribe (n.) – a social group composed of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry or language

Combine community with core values and time; you will eventually find yourself with a tribe. The members of your tribe find each other, support each other, and build their own language and ways of doing things. Dedicated Peloton users find their tribe, as do fans of video game franchises or fraternal organizations. If you’re a part of them, there are things you just “get” that seem alien to everyone else. 

Not Planned, But Not An Accident.

Most “communities” people want you to join are an afterthought. They shouldn't be. Think of the mailing list or group you are added to AFTER you have bought into the main product - now you’re on another list to try to sell you more stuff. Brand communities need to serve the main pillar of the brand culture. 

It’s not just “like and comment on this post!” after everything they do on Instagram or begging for reviews on Google or Facebook. Most social media followings may feel like a community, but they are open and public to anyone in the world. Best case scenario, your post gets lost in the noise. In the worst case, your post is scrutinized by someone who doesn’t understand your community language. Context is lost, words are twisted, and the following dwindles as your customers try to get away from you

Or this looks like the influencers who talk about being “shadow banned” or how their engagement is dropping. Shadowbans and engagement dips are not aspects of a community; they are concerns about visibility tied to a community they ultimately have no control over. If your social media accounts vanished tomorrow, would your “community” know what to do?

On the other end of the spectrum, you can find brands treating their communities like ATMs. Need to sell more merchandise? Push out a post, an email blast, or work the affiliate levers to see what happens. You can get an exceptional amount of business leads from a great community, but lead generation is a fraction of what your community could do for you.

If you only treat them like customers, they’ll never be members of your tribe. 

As an exercise: imagine if your community didn’t have a home. Suppose you woke up tomorrow, and Facebook groups and email lists just vanished. Would your community, your tribe, know where to find you? 

Would they know what to do to keep your core values at heart? 

Or would they just feel abandoned? 

A Foundation Built On Solutions

Creating a sustainable, thriving, autonomous community means facilitating conversations around the primary problem your brand set out to solve. 

This isn’t about signups or sales. Forget about engagement or follower counts. As a brand, starting a genuine culture-driven community begins with a dialog - so start it.

Dialog: an exchange.

Monologue: an open ended speech into the abyss.

In the Big BAM process, we spend a ton of time developing your brand culture for this exact reason. It is the very thing many brand managers and companies skip right over as they rush to sell a product. But when your culture drives the community, the community finds solutions to the problems you set out to solve.  

The culture creates the community, and the community in turn, drives the culture. Before long, you have more than a community: you have a tribe. You have something that could very well exist without you, beyond you, and after you. A well-executed community gives your brand the kind of equity you will never see out of an email list or a social media following. 

A culture-driven community can’t be accidentally deleted, banned for violating guidelines, or lost behind a forgotten password. 

Communities grow brands; brands grow communities. It starts with you defining your community’s intention, which is very similar to your brand’s intention. 

This leads me to the key elements to creating a community around the culture of your brand.

Are you brave enough to find out?

Culture, the DNA of Your Brand

When working through these BAM articles, it’s amazing how many words we use in our everyday exchanges with other brands and companies that are just a given. For example, this month, we’re starting to target our thinking around the impacts of brand culture - specifically, YOUR brand culture. 

Go figure, culture is one of those words we use without really thinking about what it means.

For this article, I’m diving into three points around why your culture is intrinsic to your brand’s DNA.

Defining Culture & the Impact on Your Brand  

To get a baseline, we need to understand the original context to build off of and go to the dictionary. 

Culture(n): the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group

When it comes to your brand, culture is everything.

Culture shapes you, as a person, and defines everything we touch. Every one of us impacts and changes the culture around us as much as we allow it to shape who we are at our very core. Culture is the connective tissue that links everything.

The same goes for your brand culture.

What is Brand Culture?

Brand culture is the way your brand's internal motives drive your company’s external output to influence decisions your audience makes as a client. It is the authentic line between believing in a certain set of values, and effectively showcasing the values in your messaging, products, customer service, social media, and more. It is the atmosphere that reinforces your brand’s vision and messaging. People feel the culture deep in their unconscious.  

Brand Culture Defines Your Company’s Alignment or Direction. 

Not just in what you’re selling, but how you’re selling it. Without a culture, you risk launching something your audience will find weird or off-putting. You may end up hiring the wrong people to work your front desk or back warehouse; you may even end up working with or for clients who are more trouble than they are worth.

Going deeper, the culture behind your brand is the greatest differentiator between you and your competition. Thousands of companies worldwide sell hamburgers, but no two do it the same way – the ones you hear about all of the time have a strong brand culture.

The kind of experience you have at Mcdonald's is different from what you get at Wendy’s or In & Out or White Castle. From the advertising to the packaging, from how you order to the uniforms your employees wear, from how cooks are trained to the kind of customers you attract – all of this is defined and reinforced by your culture.

How Has Brand Culture Been Misunderstood?

Like so many things, the idea of “culture” gets lost in the madness of buzzwords that surround every industry. Your brand culture isn’t your list of employee perks, or your Friday night office parties - those might be part of your company culture, but the brand culture - when done right - is what drives every intrinsic element of your brand. Otherwise, things can go off the rails pretty quickly.

Let's examine WeWork or the places like Google and how creating spaces and perks wasn’t actually enough to make a big enough difference in the productivity of the workers or for coworking spaces. In the beginning, it was a novelty, and many followed suit getting praise from everyone as this was a new idea, but time told a different story. Even though it was what the workers said they wanted. It cost lots of money and most of these “perks” ended up fading away into oblivion. In fact, in some co-working spaces, it created distractions from getting their work done. WeWork was an impressive vision, and some have blamed the failure on the CEO’s handling of the finances, but I think the truth started to make itself known and it was not what was needed and missed the whole point of incubating a co-working culture.

On a side note, years ago I heard a presentation on Google’s “open and close” work schedule and how this way of working led to the expansive growth of Google’s technology and service offerings. Since it followed the Pareto Principle it resonated with me, but I have not had anyone confirm the validity of this from the Google executives themselves. I would highly recommend you look into the “Open & Close” theory… it’s quite fascinating as there is way more to what I have stated.

Briefly surmised Google implemented a new format for the five-day workweek was dedicated to 4 workdays of supporting existing and one day to experiment at the expense of Google, but the workers were free to explore. The catch was that Google would own the rights to anything they created. This gave the workers a deep sense of purpose and resonated at the core of who they were. This was genius in my opinion, but as you can see… it wasn’t from any perks.  

Having a well-defined brand culture doesn’t necessarily mean you are fun or quirky or putting out trendy content. Rather, it means there is consistency between who you are at your core and how you engage with your audience. 

An authentic brand culture doesn’t necessarily mean you are creating messaging that works for the mainstream. It might mean you have “haters” and people who want to see you fail - this means you’re probably doing something right. Brand culture speaks to the people who need to hear it the most, and in the end, your audience will thank you for it. Likewise, without an authentic brand culture, your audience might not know how to engage with you.

Culture is the fibres that keeps the essence and substance of your brand together. 

How To Create A Unique Brand Culture

that is also in alignment with your brand

Your brand culture keeps you focused on what you are offering to your customer. A well-defined culture helps you answer the tough questions about what direction you should take your company in, the products you make, how you package them, who you hire, and who you do business with. If it’s not a culture fit, it shouldn’t happen.

On a practical level, a brand culture can be a cost and resource-saving measure. By knowing your brand’s culture you know what leads to follow, what products to make, how they should be packaged and delivered, and even the way you put together a social media post - all of this depends on the culture.  

From a more holistic perspective, knowing your brand culture lets you attract and retain the kind of talent who are as ambitious about your brand as you are, which means you will attract even more clients who are dedicated to working with and growing your business.

Brand culture isn’t built in an afternoon, but you start growing it the day you first establish your brand. This may be why it is so tough to build out a brand culture - you have to keep at it in the good times and the bad. 

When we work with brands - either establishing new ones or overhauling ones that already exist - we start with the same question: 

Who is your brand for and what does that audience look like?

Without thinking about revenue, think about why you are in the business you are in. There is a reason you set out to create your own company, launch your own products, and approach the market in your specific, unique manner.

Why is that?

You had a creative solution to a problem that existed and your approach to solving it is as unique as you are.

Knowing the internal drivers behind your brand is what allows your audience to connect with you on an emotional level. From the purpose your right audience engages, your culture is guided by three ideas:

Be Authentically, You: 

Trends are tempting. When a certain filter or song goes viral on social media, a wave of FOMO settles in, and you feel like you have to act to take advantage of the exposure. Look at all of those numbers and metrics! Should you do it? Does it make sense for your brand to do the Harlem Shake? Or would your audience shake their head in disbelief that you jumped on yet another trend?

Your brand culture keeps you in your aligned range (stay in your lane!). Anyone can follow the crowds like lemmings off a cliff. Your brand is built to be different - Be authentically you, and you will stand apart from the rest.

Consistency with your verbal/non-verbal messaging:

A major part of The Big BAM process is in the alignment of your vision and messaging. From how often you communicate with your audience to the type of language you use to convey your message, consistency is everything. The same goes for colours and image styles and how often you update your product or services.

In the life of your brand culture, consistency goes beyond establishing a routine. It gives your audiences something to follow and the chance to let them go deep into what your brand is all about. So many brands nowadays go for width versus depth - you can advertise to millions of people, but it is those who connect with your brand culture who want to go deep. Consistency is the shovel they’ll use to get there. All you need to do is give them a space to dig or a foundation to build off.

Be human:

A brand culture needs an avenue of connection - a way to link what you are doing on the inside to how you want it to be received and used by your right or aligned audience on the outside. Furthermore, how you make the connection needs to make sense in the grander scheme of your brand culture. From the social channels you use to convey your message to how your product is delivered - your connection is the consistent, natural or intrinsic way your audience finds you.

Do you host in-person events? Online seminars? One-on-one coaching? Is your product best delivered via a surprise drop or as a slow-burn pre-release? One brand will differ from the next, and your brand culture will define what these connections need to feel like.

Your culture is the intrinsic fibres that create an atmosphere to attract the right audience to your brand. It’s felt deep at the core of the unconscious design. It can’s be faked or masked long-term without revealing the true intentions.

Still, feeling out of sorts about your brand culture? As I said, it’s not easy. The best you can do is *start* developing the culture today and watch as it grows and makes changes in the landscape of your industry. With The Big BAM process, we help you define the foundational elements of your brand so the culture has something to grow from. The better the foundation, the stronger and more unique the growth.

However, a FREE place to start is our Archetype Alignment Quiz that will help you determine your archetypal mix which influences your unconscious design where your culture stems from.

All of this could start today. Are you up for it? 

Magnetic Messages Resonate

“Resonance” feels like a word you hear all the time, but could you define what it means? Merriam-Webster has seven official definitions of the word ranging from music to electrical systems to mechanical frequencies. To the layperson, though, the verb form of resonance - resonate - has taken on the modern slang of “to vibe.” 

Does this resonate with you?

Does this vibe with you? 

The essential, modern, meaning of the word:

Does this vibe with you?

Yet, we see the word resonate thrown around in the buzzword-loaded lexicon of the business world nowadays as a term used when marketing professionals can’t think of anything better. When in doubt, throw up something that’s not entirely accurate but sounds good enough that no one would want to spend time arguing with it. Then we end up with jumbled messaging that we hope vibes, syncs, or connects with our audience.

Reader, it’s time to realign. It’s time to ditch the pitch and start crafting messages that draw audiences in with magnetic aptitude.

It’s time to strike the right chord and let it resonate. 

For this article, I’m diving into three points around the why and how behind resonating, magnetic messaging.

That Gut Feeling

Resonate: to strike a chord, to hit on something of personal, emotional importance. 

How can we build this up to add to the rich layers of resonance around our messaging? 

Resonating with someone means going deep and triggering their “gut feeling.” This means aligning the unconscious design with the Neocortex, Limbic, and primal elements of the brain. 

The “gut feeling” that lingers with you deserves more stock than we’ve given it over the years. Recently, the hard sciences have revealed that our stomach and intestines react to emotions more than our heart or brain ever will. For a myriad of reasons, the gut has recently been named “the second brain.” 

While our modern, hard sciences have lent evidence to this idea, the gut feeling is far from new. Looking back into literature stretching back to ancient Roman or Greek times, there is symbolism throughout: 

Trust your gut. The feeling you get when you know something to be true - good or bad - is the gut manifesting the vibrations from your head and your heart. Chances are the more intense the feeling, the more out of alignment you are to whatever you are reacting to. The next time you get the intense gut feeling, take a moment to reflect on what’s really going on - after all, your body is trying to find resonance with the world around you. 

Push vs. Pull

When it resonates, the audience will feel it at their core. It will be irresistible to them. A resonating message will give them a gut feeling; it will drive the response you want. 

The Muslim faith has five daily calls to prayer - the salat. In religious centers, a network of loudspeakers comes alive to call the devoted to their prayer mats. By nature or by nurture, for many reasons, faith resonates with people at their core. 

Compare this to when a brand pitches you a tagline in a commercial. They are throwing, pitching, it out there and seeing what happens. Maybe someone bites the line and gets reeled in.

Don’t pitch, resonate.

Don’t push, pull. And even then, it’s not so much pulling as guiding. You are reminding them to act upon what they feel at their core. This isn’t easy to do. For starters, you need to be an authentic brand - which is a feat in and of itself. 

I challenge you to ditch the pitch. 

This is the difference between playing catch with someone versus hucking a ball at them unannounced. One is a game they’re happy to play, the other is rude. They will get defensive, angry, and put up their walls. Now you’ll have to throw higher, farther, and harder to try to connect with them.

Either way, no one wants to play your game. This is the result of an inauthentic brand with non-resonating messaging.

How does this situation look from an authentic, resonating position?

Imagine it is lunchtime in a busy office park. People in professional suits are milling about, eating lunches, getting fresh air. You show up in full football gear with a pigskin under your arm. You call out, “hey!” to the crowd and everyone stops and looks at you.

Half the crowd brushes you off and goes about their lunch hour. A few smiles: look at this person in this football uniform! 

But a few put up their hands. Pass it here.

Another one or two start jogging out farther. I’m going long. 

Another handful jokingly starts playing coverage. 

None of this was organized; it just happened. Something about your presence, the uniform, and the football resonated deep within this handful of people. You throw the ball, a perfect spiral, and someone catches it cleanly. Now you have a game going! 

This is what it is to trigger someone on a gut level. To reach deep inside of them and remind them of the good ol’ days - back when they were on the JV squad or playing touch football with their dads or their college roommates. Your presence may not have fit, but you were authentically yourself - and the right audience resonated. 

More than just giving out vibes, more than just manifesting what you want out of the universe - magnetic messaging is meant to attract a specific audience in a very particular way. As we pointed out in a previous article - this requires taking real, actional steps to align who you are with the audience who matters most. 

Magnetic Messages speak to the Unconscious Design

Your audience aligns when your message speaks directly to the Unconscious Design. This goes beyond having “proactive” or “engaging” copy or content that is riddled with buzzwords and catchphrases. How is speaking to the Unconscious Design different?

It leaves everyone with a sense of hope. 

One of the worst things marketers do is build up their audience’s hope, only to have it dashed when the expectations are unmet. When they don’t lose ten pounds, find the love of their life, or learn how to make a million dollars from home without lifting a finger.

Paint the pain, resonate the hope. We do this by framing the reality of your messaging - this is the very thing a lot of brands struggle with: who are you for? How many times have you heard of the business owners who answer the question, “Who is your ideal customer?” with the cheeky answer: anyone with money! 

In a prior article, I emphasized how important the who of your business is. You need to know who you are and who you ultimately serve because it is the foundation of the what and the how. In the Big BAM Process, we end our brand strategy framework by discovering:  

I/we help [who]: 

Find [the “what” of their success]: 

By [how]: 

While this is the start of the messaging process, it takes extensive research and soul searching to build the foundation of your resonating messaging. You might be able to fill in the above with a handful of words and phrases, but is it truly the foundation of something that will resonate with your audience? Are you using the right kind of language or writing style that will reach through the noise and connect with them?

When we work with clients in the Big BAM process, it takes around 8 hours to discover the who/ what/ how of their business so we can then come up with the actionable messaging. It’s not that you are solving a problem, but that you are solving it in a very specific way for a very particular set of people - you are speaking directly to their unconscious design. Not only do you need to speak their language, but you need to talk about what matters to them. 

In the end, thanks to your messaging, there should be no question about who you are meant to work with. Once the Big BAM clients have the above foundation figured out, we work to refine the idea into 30- and 15-second pitches before we ultimately land on a tagline - the tool which ultimately cuts through the noise with a message that resonates. 

So I ask: does your brand messaging resonate with the audience who matters most? Take a few moments and fill out the foundational statement:

I/we help [who]: 

Find [the “what” of their success]: 

By [how]: 

But answer honestly: How easy was it for you to fill it out?

Let me know what your response is.

And if it wasn’t easy, definitely let me know.

The Law of Attraction: Here’s Where You’re Wrong

If you build it, they will come - Field of Dreams. This is also the mentality behind any number of businesses that go into the market without a clear idea of who they serve. On any given day you can see a hundred different brands hoping that if they make the right product in the right way, with enough clever features and flashy copy, an infinite audience will arrive to buy their product hand over fist.

First, build it, then they will come - the shortcut to the Law of Attraction. The trouble is: the Law of Attraction is a strategy, not an excuse. Popular culture has taken the Law of Attraction to the extremes of absurdity. Use a positive mindset, focus your intentions, manifest your destiny, and you will drag it kicking and screaming into reality.

As if.

While your mind and mindset are a potent part of your being, it is not the thing that leverages the laws of attraction. After all, do you simply stare at your inbox and try to will your dream clients into sending you a retainer check? I bet not.

Three things we want to focus on in this article:

Part 1: Partial-Truth and Unconscious Design

Believe it or not, there is a history to the idea of “The Law of Attraction.” Unsurprisingly, the roots of the practice trace back to a world of theories, pseudoscience, and the New Thought movement that gained traction in the 1800s. 

Around 1812, Phineas Quimby - a clockmaker, mesmerist, and the foundation of the New Thought spiritual movement - came down with a bad case of tuberculosis. He noticed that the excitement he got while riding a galloping horse alleviated his symptoms - leading him to theorize a connection between the mind and the body. He rode so many horses that he claims to have cured his tuberculosis. 

In 1877, the phrase “Law of Attraction” appeared in the writings of Helena Blavatsky - a Russian Occultist and the founder of the Theosophical movement. She was giving context to the connection between nature and spirit. 

In Prentice Milford's 1886 text “Your Forces and How To Use Them,” an entire chapter is dedicated to the Law of Success - more work, more returns. However, Milford was a failed prospector, lost an election for the California Congress, and had a short career at sea that ended with him dead in a boat.

Around 1890, Ralph Waldo Trine expanded on the laws of attraction to include everything in life - nature, work, health, family, love - and his way of thinking was massively beneficial to his close friend Henry Ford. This very well could have served as the foundation of the assembly line, which rocketed the growth of capitalism, means of production, and all of the permutations of the industry we’ve seen since then. Can we really tie all of this back to a few writings from a New Thought thinker?

An Occultist, a man who cured himself of a fatal disease by riding a horse, a motivational writer who couldn’t find success, and a confidant of Henry Ford - all tied to the New Thought movement, all who contributed to the modern misconception of the Laws of Attraction. Weirder things have happened. As they say, give a cult a thousand years and it becomes a religion.

And while the “Law of Attraction” may be the latest derivation of this school of thought, looking back through the ancient texts of civilizations throughout history, there has been some concept of “attracting good energy” all along the way. These schools of thought come and go, but they all hold a common theme: alignment.

As we have written before, alignment starts with you. 

Carl Jung - a grandfather of modern psychology - believed there was a spiritual drive behind the reality of the human psyche. However, being a man of science, Jung couldn’t say “spiritual.” Instead, he named it the Unconscious Design in his professional publishings. The Unconscious Design starts with the universal, archetypal idea of knowing thyself and our ancient desire to find the eternal patterns throughout every aspect of our lives. 

After all, humans want to first know WHO we are before we can reason with the WHY, HOW, and WHAT that is our purpose for being. The Unconscious Design drives the narrative behind our existence, and our lives. From there we discover that it is the body, not the mind, that needs to take action to alter the reality to attract what we’re all really after. 

Just as no one stares at the phone willing it to ring, one must dial the number and get the prospect on the phone for something to happen. You must take action with intention and purpose. We all know a new habit doesn’t just happen. Studies show that it takes three 21-day cycles (63 days!) to create a noticeable change in your actions. You can say “I will attract my ideal clients,” but until you take physical action, they will never be your clients. 

It is only after the Unconscious Design and the engagement with the physical self that our minds enter the picture. The body changes the mind - the neural pathways created by habit building, new experiences, and trauma all shape your grey matter. 

Unconscious Design, Physical Self, Mental Acuity. When all three are aligned, something impressive happens: we engage the Law of Attraction. 

Changing your mindset means first understanding your Unconscious Design. To help you do this, we built upon the extensive work of Carl Jung to design a quiz that shines light on your archetypal mix. It’s free, and it’s a great place to start. 

Part 2: Complacency & Authenticity

How do you truly engage the Law of Attraction? How do you make it work for you? 

Live Authentically. 

That’s it. 

A dead-simple answer with a wildly complicated process. The weird thing about living authentically: it often means you have to walk an uncomfortable path to get there. You have to abandon the thoughts and critiques of the people you have considered friends and peers. You have to just be and understand that your contribution is a single thread woven within the giant tapestry of the collective unconscious. 

You are here to solve a particular problem with your creative solution. Your unique offering and the path you walk to your success may be similar to someone else’s, but it is still wildly unique. This is on purpose. Yet, there are eternal, archetypal patterns found throughout our world that hint at the universal paths we take to speed up our journey. 

“...the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  - Henry David Thoreau.

Most people are just fine living compliant, complacent lives. Things are easier when the expectations are lowered. Living authentically is no easy task. It requires looking inward and taking the time for serious self-reflection until the light flips on and you find clarity. How this happens is different from one person to the next, but it almost always means someone has understood who they really are. 

We are living in an age of identity crisis. Globally, worldwide, almost everyone you know is having a crisis of identity and are spending loads of time trying to convince others that they know who they are, rather than just being who they are. While this crisis feels insurmountable, it is nothing new. Every age has a crisis of the self that shifts the course of human history - empires rise and fall, new worlds are discovered, new limits are pushed. There is a fundamental human desire to belong to something bigger than ourselves. We want a purpose and for the purpose to have a significant value. This probably isn’t going to happen on TikTok.

But this desire is part of the Unconscious Design. Lucky for you, there is a tribe out there who is ready to accept you for who you are. They need your message because it will provide them with something to help complete the process of fulfilling their own. 

Living authentically takes courage. It means you are regularly facing fear, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Fear is the resistance you need to push forward.   

Part 3: The Good Type of Influencer

Live Authentically. Engage the Law of Attraction. Find Your Tribe. 

How does this all happen? 

What you want to be known for and who you are known for being are one and the same.

Again, a simple answer with a complicated process. It’s going to take a lot more than just riding a horse to get it all to knock into place. 

You need to understand your sphere of influence. There are places you should exist and lanes you should stay out of. You need to understand who you are and what you represent, which means understanding the intricacies of your identity as a brand. WHO you are as a brand drives the narrative for the WHY of your existence, HOW it can help your tribe, and WHAT solution you can offer to resolve their pain. We also understand that putting this all together, especially when you start from zero, can seem wildly overwhelming. 

Fortunately, we created a brand strategy process to help you understand the intricacies of your identity as a brand. We call it the Big BAM Process, and you can learn more about it here.

When you have an authentic brand, you can hear the unique message that resonates with your tribe. Seemingly, out of nowhere, you see it unroll across social media and in your brand’s visual elements. We’ll be diving into this in our next article. 

But for now, you have a crash course on how to engage the Law of Attraction to find the tribe that needs you - which is far different than your “target audience.”

Live Authentically. 

Think you’re up for the task?

Is the Hidden Conflict in Your Branding Keeping Clients From Your Door?

“Branding” is a tricky thing to talk about. It’s one of those things where we all seem to know it when we see it, when we feel it, but to speak about brands and branding objectively, most of us are at it a loss. 

Fortunately, in the past few years, we are seeing far more conversations where business owners are finally coming around to the idea that having a “brand” goes way beyond a nifty logo, a colour scheme, or a clever domain name. However, we’re still a long way from discussing brand as alignment. 

What is Brand Alignment? Dear business owner: know thyself. I’m willing to bet your brand is nowhere near as strong as it could be, purely because you built it on the wrong foundation.

Because without alignment, your brand will:

If your brand isn’t aligned, no one will align with you. It’s like what all of those dating coaches say: can you really love someone else if you don’t love yourself first?

Years ago, a viral TEDx talk from Simon Sinek went viral. “Start with why,” he said as he walked us through his golden circle of messaging. His idea: don’t start with what you’re trying to sell. Instead, start your messaging with why you got into business in the first place. The video took off, millions of views and shares, thousands of bits of content referred to it, and the branding world knew it had to reckon with it.

Does Simon’s theory work? For most, no. While it put forth clever talking points, it missed one essential element: WHO.  

Before you can comprehend the WHY, HOW, and WHAT of your brand, you have to know the WHO. Your “Why” doesn’t mean anything unless you fully comprehend who you are as a brand and how that brand relates to those you are trying to help. 

The brands who figured it out started with WHO. With this article, I want to emphasize three points for the why and how of brand alignment. 

The Essentialism of Alignment

What Sinek Missed

For what it’s worth, Simon Sinek got many companies to reassess what they offer and how they offer it – this is a grand undertaking for just about any company. It turned their approach around: you weren’t just selling things; you were selling the why you started the company in the first place. For some companies, this meant their purpose was brought to the front lines for the first time ever. For others, it meant they had to go back to square one and figure out what their purpose was in the first place. (Can we just say, “We’re in business to make lots of money so we can make a difference? No?”). 

Like everyone else who tries to dish out a free masterclass in a fifteen-minute TED talk, the audience ran with the ideas in every conceivable direction except the one that mattered most. They were told to start with Why, but they didn’t think about The Who. 

“The goal is not to do business with the people who want what you have, but to do business with the people who believe what you believe.” - Sinek

And herein lies the rub: the question of Who? The “who” isn’t necessarily your audience avatar or market segment – at least, not yet. First, you have to ask the question: What do YOU believe? 

The answer will lead you to other essential questions, such as: 

What are you known for?

What do you want to be known for? 

The grand “Who” ultimately determines the “Why” at the center of Sinek’s Golden Circle. Those you can best serve are merely a refraction of what you represent. The “Who” determines the group of people you fit with and the communities you can help foster. The “Who” drives the narrative of alignment and determines every other element of your brand. So why isn’t everyone starting with determining who they are? The sad truth of it – and this is likely a bigger, existential problem than what can be discussed here: most people have no idea who they are. The world is in a state of continuous identity crisis – and this bleeds over into their business and what they are trying to offer the world. They ultimately fail to deliver on their authentic selves. 

Without authenticity, there is no alignment. 

BAM Starts With The Who

To date, the BAM collective has guided over 3,000 companies and individuals through our brand development process. With every organization we have guided, we start with the same question: Who The Hell Are You? 

The BIG BAM Process starts with Identity. Who you are, determines who they, your clients, will be. This goes beyond who you, John or Jane Doe, might be and beyond what you think your company or business looks like. The key to your identity is partly determined by what others perceive it to be. 

What you have already internalized as your brand’s identity is worthless compared to the external demands of your customers. The balance between what they demand and what you can offer is in constant and continuous refinement, much like how light through a prism is always changing depending on every other variable.

Consider the Kapferer Brand Identity Prism. 

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Six variables stretched across four different perspectives. The Internal/ External of the customer and the Internal/ External of you, the company. Think of a beam of light that cuts through the prism. The internal culture of your brand will determine the kind of relationship you have with your customers. Your physical attributes will be internalized and adopted as a part of your audience’s self-image. The personality you foster within is reflected in how they amplify, engage, interact, or buy into your brand.

And this is just where we start. 

We take this and analyze your brand positioning. Your external product should relieve the client’s internal pain: what is it? Once you know this position, you can determine how to best present your product, the sort of language you use, the visuals, and so on. 

“Brand is not what you say it is. It’s what THEY say it is.” - Marty Neumeier

It’s not about saying “trust us, we’re the experts” (your personality) but getting the audience to reflect this by saying, “Trust them, They’re the experts.” Everything a company does with its brand should reinforce its authenticity to confirm with the audience the very thing you want to be known for. 

We use the term GUIDE with great intention. This goes far beyond what Sinek first said about how great leaders lead. We know that great leaders guide. 

It’s only after we have determined Identity, done the Analysis, and found ways for your brand to serve as a guide that we start developing the outward-facing strategies. This goes from the “WHY” to the audience you’re doing it for. There is often a lot that happens here, and you have to do it over and over again. With 8 billion (and counting) people in the world, your strategy needs to vary from one quarter to the next if you’re going to hit the people who need you the most. Every new strategy yields new pockets of people you are meant to help.

The best part? Because you’re working in alignment with your brand, you shorten the lead qualification process. Are these people the right customer for you? Well, they aligned with you – so you bet they are. 

From your Identity, we start to shape your Offer. Everything to this point is to get people to show up – so now it’s a matter of what you can offer them. Now you deliver the answer to the question: “well, now what?” With the right offer presented in the right way, buying into you is a no-brainer. There’s less need for sales because the customer already knows they need what you have – yet another gain from alignment.

Strategy, offer, messaging – it’s all coming together. Alignment determines the best way to share your offer with the world. Social media or direct mail? Twitter or LinkedIn? One-on-one or a 1,000 person seminar? The top of the funnel isn’t the start of your brand journey; the implementation of the brand alignment is. 

What are they putting down versus what you are going to offer up?  

Taking time To Evaluate

Win or lose, the value is in the debriefing. If you put in all the effort and didn’t draw out a dime, figure out why. Where did things fall apart? What variables can you change? Chances are, you wandered outside of your alignment. Whatever the case, there’s not much use in making the same mistakes over and over again. 

Are you a household name? Great. How are you going to hold on to that position? How many Apple-wannabes are out there? How easy is it to copy what you do? 

Brand Alignment is EVERYTHING

Chances are, there is something your company is struggling with. As of this writing, in early 2022, companies all over the world are struggling to retain their workforce and talent. They are fighting for attention in an increasingly competitive and expensive advertising marketplace. Supply chains disruptions are causing late delivery in everything from raw materials to finished products. 

Can brand alignment really alleviate these issues? Absolutely.

When you know who you are and what makes you different before you approach the “why,” you save a lot of time and resources by attracting audiences who are right for you, customers who don’t need as much selling or convincing, and brand acolytes who will speak on your behalf.

Alignment keeps you in your lane. Brands that wander usually find themselves in some kind of trouble – offering services beyond your scope, marketing messaging that doesn’t fit with your audience or trying to compete with brands that aren’t even in your field. For a large company, this means risking money that will have you losing shareholders. For smaller companies, you may overexert your workforce and bring on burnout. If you’re like so many we know, solopreneurs can find themselves extending beyond their alignment and finding themselves failing. Not just as a brand, but even as a business, even as a person.

Knowing yourself is understanding that you can’t be everything to everyone. 

And all of this starts with the Who. Who are you?

Who are you to your clients?

What do you want to be known for?

Are you brave enough to find out?