The Lost Art of Critical Thinking & Problem-solving

Testing our knowledge creates understanding, and the evidence of that understanding becomes wisdom. Wisdom examined and tested from all angles with no bias is truth. Truth should be unbiased and is foundational to the design we see and don’t see.

Although this article may be positioned for brand strategy, I assure you this can be applied to all aspects of our lives. I hope that this will be a universal guide, or at least point you in a more optimal direction for your path to success.

I am going to focus on just three points in this article:

1. How should we define critical thinking & problem-solving?

2. How is this fundamental to brand strategy?

3. How would we apply this to our brand strategy process?

Point 1:

So, what is critical thinking or problem-solving? Let’s not leave these open to interpretation but use the definition of each to give us a foundation to expand upon.

critical thinking

noun

The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.

"Professors often find it difficult to encourage critical thinking amongst their students"

And…

problem-solving

noun

The process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.

"An expert at creative problem-solving"

Point 2:

Now that we know that critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgement, and problem-solving is the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues, how are both of these skills important and necessary in a strategic process?

Let’s take critical thinking for starters. Critical thinking is about analyzing and evaluating to find the truth. That discovery process leads us to unbiasedly examine each side to determine the best path forward when building a business or brand.

We at BAM Align have our clients take our FREE Archetype Alignment Quiz before walking businesses through our problem-solving frameworks This quiz lets us get to know our clients better and gives us a clearer vision of their goals and motivations. It also identifies their style of communication and what tone they best respond to so we know what words trigger for them and why. By correctly decoding their archetypal mix we are able to test our clients’ reality. The evidence of this process allows us to clearly see what our clients’ “true north” is and advise them accordingly.

You may have a different method for arriving at an unbiased conclusion, and that’s OK. As long as your process is able to examine the narrative elements that shape your client’s story.  If you include that piece you’ll likely get an optimal result in the end.

But… there are many people out there not using critical thinking in their process, and this is especially evident when looking at social media platforms. Due to the convenience of sharing, reposting, retweeting, and so on, we react to a post, and then share it without the consideration of actually looking at both sides to determine the merit or truth of what’s being shared. The consequences of this behavior have led to the “age of misinformation,” where truth has somehow become subjective.

By not testing the knowledge through a reliable, unbiased process, we remove the ability to understand all sides of the issue to find the evidence we need to draw a sober conclusion. Without testing our knowledge for full understanding, even though we may believe we have wisdom and know the truth, we create chaos and obscure what’s actually true. If truth is foundational, then it’s neutral - it can have no biases. This is not a one-and-done process, however, and we must test the fortitude of our beliefs against the data as more data points emerge. Through this process, we get truths that stand the test of time, and we at BAM Align call them “eternal truths.”

This all may sound like a bit of a tangent, but it’s important that we understand all the points that connect in the process of critical thinking as well the consequences if we negate this flow.

  1. Knowledge - Raw information acquired from examining our sources
  2. Understanding - Insight gained from objectively examining knowledge from all sides
  3. Wisdom - A holistic grasp of the many facets of understanding, and how to apply them
  4. Truth - Wisdom that has stood the test of time to produce consistent, widely-applicable patterns

We now have a process of critical thinking, allowing us to unbiasedly advise a business’ unique path of success—one that's grounded in the evidence of truth, that shapes our reality.

We may now have a better understanding of the client’s direction, but we still need to ask more questions through a process of problem-solving to determine the best solutions. We build on the existing evidence to start shaping their success.

Our method is called The Big BAM Process strategy framework. This helps us align all the elements of the client’s vision in a layered structure to determine the message (voice) of the brand.

You may have a different way to this approach of helping others in their business find their message, voice, identity, vision, and/or solution, and that’s OK. As long as you are building on the wisdom and truths discovered through the critical thinking process to give you a bearing on how to advise, then you are on solid ground to start building a brand.

Critical thinking should always be the first part of the problem-solving process when you start working with your clients. By taking this important first step, you’ll be able to transform their current reality into a better way forward.

Point 3:

We have seen how to use critical thinking and problem-solving as cornerstones of our brand strategy process, but how does that help you and your business?

In this next part, I am going to be framing and creating boundaries for helping you determine that reality.

Just as there are two sides to every coin, there are two sides to many designs in the world around us. Up and down, left and right, hot and cold, push and pull, light and dark. They are opposites of each other, but each one has its purpose. The balance comes from the parts, pressure, force, opposites and so on. This complementarity is intentional.

Examining our biases means looking at all the opposing sides and testing the evidence.

One way we can do this is by asking questions about experiences that were positive and negative with brands in your industry, which starts to outline the balance of what’s needed and what isn’t.


Another way is by assessing the pain your clients may be experiencing by asking targeted questions. The goal is to pinpoint the resonant pain points through this process. Think of it like playing the board game Battleship. You try to strategically locate the opponent's ships by calling out coordinates. You know they are on the grid somewhere, but you aren’t exactly sure where until you get a hit or miss. You can read the body language and tone to assess how close or far away you are.

By discovering that pain, you can determine what your solution needs to look like, and show them the steps or strategy necessary to make their goals a reality. Then, you need to help them package that solution and choose a channel where their current aligned client is most active. Measure and reflect on these results to make adjustments, and then you’ll be able to start uncovering the deeper message that has been resonating inside them, but was invisible until now. Through this added clarity, you can give hope and a new sense of focus to your client and encourage them to make that vision a reality.

Your process should reflect the client experience your clients want, and the culture you represent. It’s about mining through each layer of information and building on the truths you find to reveal a deeper existence or reality. As you go deeper, your area of focus will get tighter and the resonance inside your audience will get stronger.

This resonance is a result of the neocortex, limbic, and primal alignment in the brain. It’s not just about emotions or feelings, it’s the deeper, unconscious sense of who we are. If we base our decisions on our feelings, we are like a wave blown by the wind and tossed by the sea - fully at the mercy of our emotions; and that’s not balanced or healthy. But when we make decisions that are in alignment with our deepest selves, we can truly thrive.

When we are in business, our brand is built around problem-solving. The basic function of a business is to meet the specific needs of a pain/problem our clients have, and provide them with a solution. Your creative approach to the problem-solving process, as well as your solution to it, will partly be what differentiates you from your competitors.

One way I approach this is by examining each problem as though it was a cube. How many sides does a cube have? Six. And the cube has different facets that need to be examined before you can get a sense of the whole. Similarly, to get a complete understanding of the problem at hand, you need to turn it over to examine the six major questions: Who, What, Where, Why, When and How.


Here is an example:

KEY QUESTION: What value do I offer that is different from my competitors?

  1. Why should they choose your solution?
  2. What competitors is your solution different from?
  3. How is your solution different or better?
  4. Where can they find your solution?
  5. What is it about the result that makes your solution different?
  6. When is the best time for your different solution?

Another example...

KEY QUESTION: What is the internal pain/challenge my client needs me to solve?

  1. Why are we drawn to deal with the challenge/pain our client is having? 
  2. Who causes the challenge/pain for our client?
  3. How do we know this is the challenge/pain our client is having?
  4. Where do we address the challenge/pain in our process?
  5. What is the root of the challenge/pain our client is having? 
  6. When do we help the client with the challenge/pain?

As a rule of thumb, once I’ve examined all six perspectives, I focus on one of them to tackle the problem of the key question. This gives me a clear strategy to solve my problem.

These are all just different ways to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to find solutions for clients. It’s important that anything we discover is thoroughly tested and examined from all sides. The results of that testing process then give us insight on how to proceed with our client.

Agree? Disagree? Comment below.

Creating Clients, NOT Products/Services

Before I share what I am about, I want to take a moment and let you know these aren't original ideas. They may be packaged with our branding, but I believe true progress comes from standing on the shoulders of giants that have stood the test of time with evidence to support their truths.

Branding has definitely evolved over the years. It can be felt like the “gut” feeling that creates a connection of resonance with us to get us to take action. It can be the difference between us choosing a product/service or allowing logic to dictate our decision.

The brand model has shifted from creating a brand to creating clients, or better yet… attracting clients. Since we have a strong desire to understand our purpose, we tend to make decisions based on the meaning that aligns and supports the purposeful narrative we strive to live out.

In the early days, there was less competition, you may have had three to five brands at max to choose from for any given product. As a result, companies built brand products that attracted clients. This was never a sustainable brand model in my opinion, and it was doomed to fail. However, there are still brands today that have adopted this old model, and they are quickly realizing the changing landscape.

From the image on the left, we see a company creates a product or service to attract clients to sustain the growth of a company. This is the old model, and it primarily relied on the differentiation of the product to build a brand through repeated transactions. This will still be moderately successful to a point, as advocacy is important in both models.

The image on the right focuses on the company attracting clients to build the engagement of the brand. The brand is sustained through advocacy or brand ambassadors. The new model is about drawing them into your solution by connecting with what really matters to your clients. Through this advocacy, you start creating a powerful synergy around your tribe or community.

Put another way, the model on the left is more transactional and the model on the right is relational. The model on the left is logical, while the model on the right is emotive and logical. The model on the left meets the need, while the model on the right meets the internal pain/struggle/conflict. The model on the left is all about the company, while the model on the right is all about serving the clients’ needs.

Both models need visibility and advocacy of WOM (Word of Mouth) to be successful.

Some brands saw this and were able to make the transition from the model on the left to the model on the right.

Coca-Cola is a great brand example of this. Yes, I realize their debacle with the “New” Coke, didn’t sit well with consumers, but they were able to recognize why. Without getting into it too much, there were a few reasons why, including that new Coke may have been received well in 200,000 taste tests, but too sweet to be enjoyed in the way consumers drink it in the real world, by the bottle or can. Vox details more reasons here. Coke humbled themselves to make the change back to their roots and that’s why we have Coca-Cola Classic. I also realize that out of blind taste tests that people still prefer the taste of Pepsi, but that’s not why Coca-Cola currently dominates the soda market. The people at Coca-Cola realized there were very strong emotional feelings attached to the design of the bottle based on nostalgia.

The reality is that the bottle design was familiar to all of us if we were born before the mid-’80s. I remember RC Cola and Pepsi being a similar bottle design as Coke was, and maybe there were some significant differences to the glass design, but I can’t recall at this time.


Coke’s bottle design is reminiscent of warm memories with parents and grandparents. Maybe it was sitting on the porch with your grandpa or grandma on a hot summer’s day in August. Maybe it was working on the car in the garage with your parents or grandparents. Maybe it was at a sporting event where you shared your common interests together. The point is that we don’t just see it as a brand. We tie it to the familiarity of the experience and the warm memories it evokes. It’s timeless, generational, ageless, and when we hold that bottle it stirs in us those nostalgic memories. When they attached those feelings to the “American Dream” the desire grew to be a part of this globally. Coca-Cola became a brand without borders, and by sharing a Coke wherever you were in the world, the American Dream transformed into “The Dream”.

Other brands have done this as well. Nike doesn’t sell shoes and apparel, but tools to empower you to be better. Again, not focusing on the products to differentiate the brand, but the feeling. Remember the campaign “Like Mike”? The phrase, “I want to be like Mike” was referring to Michael Jordan, and by wearing the same gear he wore there was a feeling of empowerment to take action. This attracted clients to the idea Nike represents.          

Some brands have transitioned to the new model, while still being out of alignment or balance. This is because they took “creating clients” to be synonymous with the client is always right. This created a client-centric culture, but one that gave permission for the customer to push to the extreme. Which I believe reinforced the entitled attitude present in today’s society.

I want to share something personal, and I hope it helps you learn from my mistakes. The story begins with a memory from the first job I paid taxes on. I was a bag boy at Roth’s IGA, and we were strongly encouraged to give “bow-tie” service to every customer who came through that door. We would go above and beyond to meet the needs of our customers to create a positive and memorable experience. This would create a foundational belief I would carry throughout my life until this truth was challenged.  

Years later, when I had a creative agency, I had major boundary issues with my clients. I bent over backwards to please them at the cost of my own health, my family and the well-being of my staff and subcontractors. 

On the surface, we had an amazing reputation, and in the eyes of everyone, I was very successful. We had a lot of clients, and we were getting great results. The reality is this wasn’t a sustainable business model. Although I was creating clients, I wasn’t attracting the right people to work with, and I made decisions based on financial responsibility to take care of my team.

I created unnecessary bottlenecks by thinking I needed to cater to all of our unique clients’ brand needs. As each client’s vision is so different, you can see where things started to go off the rails. Even though we had well-thought-out processes and procedures in place, I didn’t enforce them as I should. I ended up personally eating these losses and took on debt to keep things together. At the same time, this was happening, internal and external sabotage was happening to my agency as well, and I was blindsided by a series of events that lead to the downfall of the company.

Now, even though some of these events were beyond my control, this was necessary and the best thing that could have ever happened to me personally and professionally. It brought so much alignment and balance to my life and I don’t regret the hardships I faced as a result. I even had the most gracious team that believed in the vision so much they would do what they could to help.

This led to a deep reflection of all the introspective questions you can imagine.

I realized I allowed my boundaries to be compromised for the best interest of my client and that the client isn’t always right. We as a team analyzed all the client relationships we had and I listened to everyone’s feedback. We found a common thread between our aligned clients.

I was already in the process of opening BAM Create Inc. when all the above was happening, and the goal was BAM would be the catalyst with the strategy, and the agency would be the execution of it.

I wasn’t able to save the agency, but I was able to preserve BAM and the ecosystem it represents. It allowed me to really focus and work with the clients we are most aligned with and be who I was meant to be.

I am grateful for the hardships and adversity that allowed me to be a better guide for transforming others’ visions into reality.    

The lesson is a good design or model taken to the extreme can be just as unhealthy as the old design. The reality is the truth is somewhere in the middle of where the pendulum swings.

Now, let’s get back to the brand model and how it has shifted and simplified in a way that will bring your brand alignment.


Old WAY: 

Better Way: 

It seems so simple, but you would be surprised how many brands are following the old path or even taking the new path to extremes.

Remember, your clients have more choices than ever, which means as a brand you need to leverage the collective internal motivations of your aligned audience. If you don’t appeal to the collective internal motivations, you risk your audience making a logical conclusion about their choice.

I hope you find this helpful to get a better brand alignment. Let me know your thoughts as we journey together to build better brands.

Your Logo is NOT Your Brand

So, when I say the word “brand”. What comes to mind? Is it your logo? Or is it a bit deeper than that?

The word “brand” or “branding” has been used interchangeably in so many different ways that many of us including those who are in the branding and marketing industry have trouble articulating the definition. As a result, the word has become diluted and confusing.

So if the people guiding you don’t really understand it… then where does that leave you? It leaves you lost and confused. I get it, there are a lot of layers to a brand and there are symbiotic relationships, and that’s why it’s so confusing.

“A brand is… a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. It is way more than just some fancy logo.” - Marty Neumeier (Paraphrased)

So, if a brand is a gut feeling. Then what are the pieces necessary to create that reaction inside us to engage and why do we identify with them so strongly?

Your brand is the identity of the vision you represent, and the message you want to share.

But what are the aligned pieces needed to create a brand?

That’s what I am going to discuss in this article, the anatomy of a brand and why the statement that a brand is a “gut feeling” is true.

First, let’s identify all the parts of the brand’s anatomy.

As you can see there are a lot of parts to create a holistic brand, but where do you start?

Vision: You start with Vision. Vision is the boundaries that outline where and where you shouldn’t engage. Everything else in those boundaries of your vision only adds more clarity to that alignment. Your vision is the framework of your brand, and this is why so many brands struggle in the marketplace. They can’t articulate with clarity their vision with consistency and therefore struggle with an identity crisis. If you don’t know who you are, then your audience will also pick up on that subconscious message as well. That can lead to a confidence issue and a breakdown in trust for your brand.

Visual Identity/Expression: This is way more than just some logo. I have heard from countless individuals for 20+ years tell me that their brand is their logo… NO, that is not even close. Your logo is like the face of a person. It’s a part of their first impression when you meet, but it’s not the deciding factor. This in my opinion is the least important of all the parts of the brand anatomy, but the more alignment between all the pieces the stronger the draw your brand has to your audience. I come from a strong background in design and I am telling you this, but your logo isn’t the only visual expression of your brand, and those parts are important to contributing clarity to your brand’s alignment.

Character, Personality, & Tone: This is your brand archetypal mix. It determines your motivations, communication style, and tone. It determines the language you should use to create a magnetic message that is aligned with your brand authentically. This is also linked to the core of your brand’s culture and DNA.

Culture & DNA: The atmosphere you create, the principles you stand for and the values that define you. The core essence of your identity as a brand. Your mission and purpose for being a brand. Even your processes, procedures, and platforms are affected by this on a deeper level.

Processes, Procedures, & Platforms: You don’t want to create processes, procedures, and platforms that aren’t aligned with your culture and DNA. You ONLY want to create and engage with the ones that are. This is paramount when creating a better engaging and seamless client experience.

Products, Services, & Client Experience: These are the frontline engagements of your brand and where you can start to wow them with your solutions. These are the solutions you are to their internal pain, and their experiences or touchpoints of your brand.

Differentiation & Value: This is what sets you apart from every other brand. It’s your unique approach to how you solve their internal pain points. This can be communicated in so many ways, but one of the best ways is the testimonials of your clients’ transformation process. 

Brand: All these elements create a holistic brand and the more these parts are aligned, the stronger the pull on your “gut” feeling. Each part has its role to play in the grand design of the brand structure. 

As you can now see from the way brand anatomy is designed. It’s, not a clear cut as many may have thought. You hopefully can now see why the brand is more complex. What other complex systems design can we relate to this toward? How about the human body and it’s the reason I chose to describe this as “brand anatomy”. We want to create connections between our brands and people. What better way to articulate the strategic structure of the brand. The more human our brand is, the stronger connections we can create between our audience. It’s really that simple.

So, out of the three major parts, which is the most important?

Technically speaking, brands who have only had the Products, Services, & Client Experience aligned have been able to generate quite a bit of “success” or influence. This includes all the symbiotic relationships attached.

If they aligned this way, they would have more success, but it’s not the optimal way.

  1. Products, Services, & Client Experience
  2. Culture & DNA
  3. Visual Identity

I would challenge this paradigm to be this way.

  1. Culture & DNA
  2. Products, Services, & Client Experience
  3. Visual Identity

This includes all the symbiotic relationships of these major parts. 

As you can see from the way the infographic is demonstrating, it’s counterclockwise, and the forces on the outside like attract, engage, and wow are the magnetic reactions and help to define the alignment.

So, now you hopefully understand why your “gut” is the deciding factor and the stronger the alignment of your brand anatomy. The more the right audience will be drawn into your solution.

Our company at this time ONLY focuses on help bringing clarity and focus to your vision. Which is the structure of your brand’s anatomy and we use strategic brand alignment frameworks to bring that into reality.

I have a Brand Anatomy PDF that you can download when you join our BAMFam community for FREE that will give you more visual clarity.

I would also suggest that you take our FREE Archetype Alignment Quiz to help you better understand your brand’s motivations, communication style, and tone of voice.

Leverage the 12-Archetypes to Grow Your Brand

This article is meant to give a brief overview of Carl Jung’s 12-archetypes and why you shouldn’t rope this into a personality quiz that is used more about entertainment than a solid foundation for understanding how others see the world.

Before we dive into the fascinating world of archetypes. I want to outline what we are going to cover.

So what is an archetype and why should you care?

I think it’s best to share the exact words Carl Jung shared about archetypes, and build off that foundation to bring a deeper understanding of the principles for this intentional design.

“ Forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths, and at the same time as individual products of unconscious origin.”

Archetypes are universal, archaic symbols and images that derive

from the collective unconscious, as proposed by Carl Jung. 

They are the psychic counterpart of instinct. It is described as a kind of

innate, unspecific knowledge, derived from the sum total of human

history, which prefigures and directs conscious behaviour.

An archetype is a symbol, theme, setting, or character type that

recurs frequently throughout time and place in myth, literature,

folklore, rituals, and even our dreams that suggest an essential

element of “universal human experience.”

Jon Howard-Spink says it like this(my favourite definition)

“An archetype is a universally familiar character or situation that transcends time, place, culture, gender, and age. It represents an eternal truth.”

A repeated pattern throughout history, the present and most certainly our future, and one we should pay attention to as it’s all around us whether we are conscious of this fact or not. Even the way it is structured follows a universal pattern we are very familiar with as well.

The structure of the 12-archetypes and why it matters.

As with many designs in life, the patterns have layers for more depth and Carl Jung’s 12-archetypes is no different.

Top-level: divided into four quadrants.

Middle-level: divided into 12 main archetypes

Lower-level: each archetype has five variants

This is an oversimplification as each level has its own layers and patterns that echo the world around us and the mechanics of this design.

In this simple, yet complex design contains our individual subconscious archetypes. This is our archetypal mix, but we’ll cover that later.

The four quadrants echo our directional or navigational motivations that we are most drawn to as individuals. These are the four main quadrants.

Spiritual Exploration - archetypes in this quadrant want to go deeper to discover hidden truths that bring a greater understanding to the world around them.

Leaving a Legacy - archetypes in this quadrant want to push the boundaries to really stand out, but not necessarily for any personal gain, but to be catalysts for change or progress.

Pursue Connection - archetypes in this quadrant want to build or create a human connection bringing out the best in each of us. They will use humour, beauty,c and community to draw this out of us.

Providing Structure - archetypes in this quadrant want to create and pave the way through originality and structure to allow others to follow as they nurture them to their full potential.

I will say this more than once… NONE of these archetypes are better than the other. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. The whole design is meant to work symbiotically. We need each other’s archetypal mix to be better as human beings.

Each archetype influences the way we interact with the world around us such as:

If that wasn’t complicated enough, then we have at least three levels to take each one of those to a deeper maturity.

We aren’t even done… Then take each archetype and add four variants to give us a more precise measure of what specifically motivates our subconscious to interact with the world around us. 

So, let’s just look at the numbers and maybe this pattern will start to make itself known.

First, we have four.


So, we know that this is meant to guide us and let us know where we are in the design based on which quadrant we land in.

Then we have the number 12. There is so much we follow that has this numeric influence in whether spiritual or practical.

So, this tells us that the framework of the repeated pattern can be divided into 12 parts to make a whole.

Now, we finally have 60… wait… how did you get that number?

5 variants x 12 archetypes = 60

60 minutes… shall I continue with all the ways these numbers are in our lives all around us.

How many sets of 4, 12, and 60 do you interact with all around you and govern the design we are a part of at this moment?

I could go much deeper into the layers, but I think this is just a taste of the complex nature of archetypes and that it has a deeper intention of purpose.

I also think this adds to why there is so much confusion around archetypes. It didn’t help that Carl Jung spoke in a way that took longer to say what he needed and many of us may get lost in the vocabulary.

So, now you know the reason for the archetypal design by Carl Jung.  

So what are the 12-archetypes… they have had many names throughout history, poetry, stories, and time.

I don’t use the original names that Carl Jung came up with. I tried to simplify the names the best way I could without causing any divisive discrimination or wanting one archetype to appeal more than the other. Which isn’t a very easy thing to do considering all the variables we need to consider.

The 12 archetypes I use are:

Now, even though the names changed, the meaning from the originals didn’t and the hope was to bring greater clarity and illumination to the power of archetypes.

So, why is my archetypal mix so important to help my brand grow?

Archetypes are the lens you see the world through that influence your communication style, tone, motivations and so much more. The Operating System, your OS that came pre-installed the minute you came to be. It’s the unconscious or subconscious that influences your behaviour.

Another great mind, Gerald Zatman, a Harvard Professor, said:

“95% of our purchasing decisions are subconscious.”

So, if this is true… Why aren’t we leveraging the power of archetypes for our brand?

If we can tap into the intrinsic triggers of our audience and even ourselves just imagine how much of an authentic brand we could build?

What we are known for and what we want to be known for… would be one and the same. Which is the very definition of authenticity.

You wouldn’t have an issue standing out as you would be following your archetypal mix for you and your brand.

Now, before I go any further, let me explain what your archetypal mix is and why you should care.

Your archetypal mix is the percentage of archetypes that make up your subconscious, but you have usually two that stand out more than the rest. Keyword, usually. In the 20+ years studying this and other related topics sometimes a third one shows up, but follows the second one. Back to the equation of our archetypal mix.

Intrinsic/Inherent - The one you are born with initially

Environmental/Learned - Learned and nurtured based on your environment of upbringing. I also believe based on data that this may exist, but be dormant until triggered.

So now that we have a basic understanding of what an archetypal mix is, let’s use mine to help demonstrate why this is so key to growing your brand authentically.

As a Magician (Variant - Alchemist)/Outlaw (Variant - Reformer), I am drawn to seeing the process of transformation all around me and challenging for change or progress.

Everything I do is aligned with this both brand-wise and personally.

My intrinsic archetype is Magician, while my fostered environmental outcome is Outlaw. 

This is because I have always been drawn to know the “why”, and the way I think or approach problem solving is very different from others.

As a result, I was rejected and outcasted by traditional systems of learning even if I came to the solution faster and more efficiently. 

I learned that I am the “outcast” or black sheep in most circles.

At first, I didn’t embrace this… I wanted to be accepted, so I compromised who I was and became what everyone wanted me to be, but I could only keep this facade for so long.

But now…

I know I am a catalyst of change here to disrupt, transforming the world around us to a better tomorrow.

See the power of the archetypal mix? I no longer have a crisis of identity. I know who I am personally and I know my purpose, value, and where I belong in this crazy world. I now know the building blocks or formulas that can bring about infinite possibilities. This is also true for my brand.

Imagine… if you started to see the world through the prescription lenses that were designed for you. You would have that much more clarity in how to engage with the world around you and attract those similar and different to your brand. The audience that is most aligned with your brand.

You wouldn’t have to guess what direction you should go as you have an archetypal compass pointing you in the right direction, but how you approach that creatively is part of the journey.

Take Ryan Reynolds, I would guess that he is a Jester/Outlaw. He loves to bring joy through humour while disrupting the status quo.

Or 
Elon Musk, who makes complete sense to me with all his decisions and brands he creates… I would guess Elon is a Magician/Outlaw & architect. He disrupts for progress while challenging stagnate industry categories to evolve technologically. He uses the same formula each time. It’s quite genius, and while that may be his formula and we may be similar, mine is different.

That is the amazing world of archetypes, we can have a similar archetypal mix, but our approach to the problem creatively will be different given all the variables we have to consider to get our outcome.

You can stand out with your brand, with your industry. Just by how your archetypal mix affects the way you see the world.

I know this was a lot to take in, and you may want time to process this information, but in the meantime, we created you a FREE Archetype Alignment Quiz for your brand, a community to join for support, and an Archetype Alignment Guide (FREE download when you join the brand alignment community) that really will help your brand grow and align with the right path for you.

How to create brand ambassadors who rave about your business

Series 7 of 7

You’re ready for a brand ambassador. This is someone who likes your brand so much, they’ll say nice things about it, even though it’s not their job to do so. Brand ambassadors work because they’re normal people who believe in a product or service. They’re the next step up from word of mouth marketing and testimonials.

Consider nurturing your brand ambassadors (and creating them from people who gave you testimonials) by adding a valuable incentive that will further build their brand loyalty.

Some brands do this through affiliate marketing and referral partners. That may be the route you choose, but first you’ll need a system to identify the brand ambassadors. For this, we use an automated marketing campaign through Infusionsoft. Our system works like this:

1. We created a campaign that allows us to ask for client feedback.

2. Based on their feedback, we segment our clients into three categories:

Satisfied, Neutral/Undecided, and Dissatisfied.

3. We have a campaign that automatically begins for each category:

a. Satisfied: We request a written testimonial. We make the process simple and are sure to thank them for their time with a bonus. If they give a particularly great testimonial, we may reach out to them personally to see if we can get a video testimonial. Only Satisfied clients are considered for brand ambassadors and our incentive/reward program.

b. Neutral/Undecided: This is a great opportunity to improve the relationship with our client by not being afraid to reach out to them to turn their “meh” into a “WOW.” Here we would ask for further feedback and schedule a call to follow up. You never know if you can turn them into a Satisfied client unless you try.

c. Dissatisfied: We haven’t made every client happy. Sometimes this was beyond our control, and other times it’s not. You will need to use discretion with how you want to proceed. I evaluate each case-by-case situation and divide these into two categories:

4. Introduce them to your incentive/reward program: Now that they are happy and gave you a testimonial, what a great opportunity to build a stronger relationship than by rewarding them for just sharing with people, “how great you are!”

All this is achievable through Infusionsoft, and we already have some of these campaigns built so you can simply modify them to your needs. If you need them fully, customized we can do that, too. Just schedule a complimentary consult with us, and we’ll get the ball rolling.

This is part of a series on simplifying and aligning your brand message with your marketing. Start reading the series from the beginning, or let us know how you’ve been able to implement the tools we’ve discussed.

How to capitalize on word of mouth marketing

Series 6 of 7

You’ve got amazing results happening in your business, so it’s time to collect those in the form of a testimonial. Word of mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools we can invest in. The power of a testimonial is proof of our authority and how people with the same problem can be helped through our products or services.

There are so many places where a testimonial can do the heavy lifting for you:

  1. On your website
  2. In your social media posts or reviews
  3. Lead pages and landing pages
  4. Lead magnets
  5. Lead generation campaigns
  6. Ad campaigns
  7. Credible review websites

One of the most effective ways to do this is by creating a system that captures this raw expression of their satisfaction with our product or service. What better way to do this than with a video testimonial?

Video doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it comes with the bonus of building even more trust with a client by taking them through the testimonial process and asking them the right questions. We’ve developed a sequence of seven questions that allow us to walk our clients through the process of how they achieved their most recent awesome results.

Sometimes video isn’t an option, and we can still use the questions above to guide them to the best written testimonial possible. You can also do a Facebook Live with the client to get more engagement and make it a fun experience.

It is worth investing time to get the best testimonials possible. A hastily written email testimonial from a client won’t cut it these days. A video testimonial can also tell you who will be an excellent candidate for being a brand ambassador for your business.

If you’re looking for some help creating an effective video testimonial, or to develop a strategy and system for capturing solid video testimonials, get in touch with Britton Ledingham at iEvolve Media. He’s happy to chat.

This is part of a series on simplifying and aligning your brand message with your marketing. Start reading the series from the beginning, or let us know how you’ve been able to implement the tools we’ve discussed.

How to create an automated drip marketing campaign to promote an event

Series 5 of 7

A drip campaign is a series of automated marketing emails sent to a targeted segment of your contacts with a clear goal. In this blog post, we’re going to look at creating a drip campaign aimed at promoting a webinar or live event. This sample campaign will act as a lead capture and it will send out reminders in the lead-up to the event, ensuring the most engagement possible and great turnout.

The success of a drip campaign needs to execute on the following fundamentals:

1. Create an event that people actually want. If you see a need you can meet through a product or service you offer, create engagement built around this, and use the event as a lead magnet.

2. Remind people of your event. People have busy lives, and one thing we sometimes overlook is that people can lose track or even completely forget about an event they are signed up for. Increase the frequency of reminders the closer it gets to the event. This may vary depending on how far in advance they are signed up. Use your own judgement on what you think is the best frequency for communication with your target audience and event. Here’s one sample approach:

3. Have a plan for those who miss the event. Sometimes we can do all we can to remind them of an event they were interested in, but life can get in the way. It’s important we don’t assume they are not interested, and we reach out to them to give them another chance to connect with us.

Here are some simple and creative ways we can use this type of automated drip marketing campaign.

1. Live Event: A networking event, training seminar, concert, gala, and so on.

2. Webinars: There are two types of webinars, live and pre-recorded. If you can do a pre-recorded webinar and still communicate high value, then do invest in this asset. You can also use a recorded live event for a pre-recorded session/training/webinar as long as you can strategize that ahead of time and have the proper legal covering to do so.

3. Scheduling an appointment or consultation: Time is valuable and we only have so much of it, but we can prep the client to be the most prepared for the consult. This will also add to positioning yourself as the guide to help solve their struggle.

The event you’re promoting doesn’t just use the list you’ve already created—it also acts as its own lead capture. You’re building your list and creating a captive audience that actually cares about your brand message and offerings.

If you need assistance with your drip strategy or building an effective campaign inside Infusionsoft, we would be happy to help you in any way we can. Just schedule a complimentary consult with us and we’ll go from there.

This is part of a series on simplifying and aligning your brand message with your marketing. Start reading the series from the beginning, or let us know how you’ve been able to implement the tools we’ve discussed.

How to build your brand’s email list through a lead magnet

Series of 4 of 7

A lead magnet is a powerful tool for attracting a targeted audience. It needs to offer excellent value in exchange for their contact information. The lead magnet rewards them for their effort so you get a chance to nurture the potential client into further engagement with your products or services.

A lead magnet can take several forms. For example:

  1. Guides and reports
  2. Cheat sheets or handouts
  3. Toolkits and resource Lists
  4. Video training
  5. Software download or free trial
  6. Quiz or survey
  7. Assessment and testing

It’s important to consider that each person’s email address and name has monetary value. That means it will cost you something in order to get it. The price you pay—AKA your lead magnet—must align with your brand message and the solutions you can provide further down the road.

The lead magnet that will work best for you depends on the goal of your campaign and your brand message. Using the samples above as a guide, I’d advise keeping each lead magnet focused on a single topic. Ideally, it’s a topic you can expand on during your automated nurturing campaign, which will eventually lead to a conversion or sale.

When you’re developing your lead magnet, keep the following three points in mind:

1. Choose a clearly defined objective or topic. You may have a multi-faceted offering, but try to only choose one that addresses the internal struggle or conflict your potential client is having. This will be made clear in your lead capture system.

2. Show the client that you can guide them to the results they are looking for. Demonstrate your authority, credibility and empathy. Show them with just a taste that you understand their problem, and that you have the solution.

3. Lead them into a campaign that further builds trust between your brand and the client. This can be done automatically or through another offer within the lead magnet.

Always be clear and creative with your lead magnet and you’ll be on the right to track to converting better leads into sales. Remember to make sure the lead magnet has high value—because their contact information is valuable, too. Create it to speak to solving your potential client’s internal struggle or conflict so you can demonstrate you’re the best guide to walk with them along this journey.

This is part of a series on simplifying and aligning your brand message with your marketing. Start reading the series from the beginning, or let us know how you’ve been able to implement the tools we’ve discussed.

How to build marketing that works while you sleep

Series 3 of 7

What if your marketing worked while you slept or put effort into other parts of your business? With the right strategy and execution, you can do exactly that. This kind of marketing engine isn’t just for big brands; it works for all sizes of business.

Once you’ve created a system of marketing funnels that make it easy for your target market to get what they need from you, you’ll see results. This automated system will be the driving force of your brand.

Before you build this automated marketing system, you’ll need a list of contacts who are likely to be interested in your offerings. The easiest way to do this is by creating a lead magnet. Your lead magnet is something of value that will give your potential clients the kind of helpful information they’re looking for, plus establish you as a guide to solving their internal problem in exchange for their email address.

The power of automation is immense. It allows you to create a collection system (also known as a funnel) that will enable you to communicate with a captive audience. This means you can be specific in your segmentation and messaging to different groups of clients while also building trust in your client relationship. This is a key part of creating brand loyalty and brand ambassadors.

This automated marketing is typically, at a very basic level, a series of emails. The key is that the emails are delivered in a painstakingly developed sequence and contain important and helpful information to a targeted and segmented audience, with your goal of converting them along the way or at the end. Striking the right balance is key and it’s something we’ve worked hard to develop within the Big BAM Process.

We all get a lot of emails these days so you might be thinking, “As if that’ll work!” I was once skeptical too. But the numbers bear out. With the right content, digital funnels such as this have an 80% effectiveness rate.

The best way to execute automated marketing of this nature is to find the right CRM/automation platform for your business. We love using Keap (known as Infusionsoft), it just works. Here’s what to look for when you’re choosing an automation platform for marketing:

1. All-in-One Solution: Something that will be able to go through the full marketing lifecycle and build out the different stages. It needs to have multiple functionalities and tools that work together, so you don’t have to recreate the same concept, which saves you time.

2. Scalability: Will the platform grow with your business or will it outgrow its usefulness when your brand evolves?

3. Established/Longevity: Look for a platform that has been around for a long time and aligns with your model the best. You can take a risk with early adopters and sometimes the gamble pays off, but you may be rolling the dice if you choose to build important business systems based on untested software.

If you have any questions or need help setting up your Infusionsoft account and campaigns to grow your business, we would be happy to assist you, and help you be positioned to thrive.

This is part of a series on simplifying and aligning your brand message with your marketing. Start reading the series from the beginning, or let us know how you’ve been able to implement the tools we’ve discussed.

How to align your brand’s visuals with your brand message

Series 2 of 7

Once you’ve clarified your brand message, making it easy to communicate with your target market, you have the foundation laid to align your visuals with this brand messaging. If you’ve been following this series, you’ll know that your brand message can be expressed in a simple statement. It reflects and is reflected in the three parts of your brand and tells your target market what you’re about in just a few seconds. (If you’re still figuring out your brand message, check out how the Big BAM Process can help guide you through all the steps to create this key piece of your brand.)

Aligning your visuals and tweaking your marketing collateral to reflect your brand message is key to attracting the right clients. If your messaging is clear, but your content and visuals aren’t, it creates confusion, and doesn’t position you as a guide for your potential client. We can fix that. This doesn’t mean you need to start over with your visuals or rebrand at all. In fact, you can better align your visuals with your brand message starting right now.

Start Here: Align Your Website With Your Brand Message
There is a lot of science and psychology that happens when someone visits a website, and this can be a key factor in whether you win or lose a potential client.

Let’s start with what marketers call “above the fold.” This is the very first content you see when you go to a website. This is crucial. It’s where a lot of brands make some big mistakes. When people visit your website they should be able to understand what you are going to help them do in less than seven seconds. If that sounds like a good place for your brand message to be communicated—you’re right.

I see brands clutter this prime real estate with call to action (CTA) buttons and visually overwhelming content. Doing this makes a potential client work too hard—to decide if they want to click or ignore those buttons, or find the content they actually want. This creates subconscious resistance to your brand messaging and anything else you have to say to them later.

I recommend using both a direct CTA (such as a “Register Now” button) and a gentler transitional CTA (Such as an invitation to “Enter your email address for a free copy of our ebook.”) in the top-right of the website. Choose visuals that will reinforce your brand messaging. I typically advise my clients to keep the visuals minimal in the hero banner (that’s the main visual element above the fold) for the most effective results. A slider can work in this position, too, when two slides are used creatively, but can otherwise just be a distraction

The text you choose for the hero banner needs to address an internal struggle or conflict that you can solve. Below the hero banner, you might place the CTA or a brief sentence stating your solution to their problem, or showing empathy for that struggle while also implying you’re an authority who can bring them the solution. You want them to feel like they are in precisely the right place. Again, this all comes back to your brand message.

Need some help aligning your website to your brand or building a new website? Get in touch—we’d be happy to chat about how we can help.

Next Step: Apply Website Updates Across Your Online Presence
You can take the same messaging—your CTAs, your hero banner text, your visuals, etc.—and ensure your brand’s entire online presence reflects this message. That includes all of your social media platforms and anywhere else your brand lives.

Seek feedback from clients and create incentives or a reward system to show the value of the person’s time when you ask for their opinion.

This is part of a series on simplifying and aligning your brand message with your marketing. Start reading the series from the beginning, or let us know how you’ve been able to implement the tools we’ve discussed.