FREEDOM FRIDAY: The Four Pillars of Building an Authority Brand


 

You can listen to the podcast version of this episode on Apple, Spotify, or this audio player:

 
"There's nothing wrong with being a commodity brand and attracting those discount shoppers, but don't build an audience of discount shoppers and try to sell $5,000 coaching programs. So you are an authority when you decide you're an authority brand." — Curt Mercadante
 

This episode brought to Rapport Mastery Virtual Sales System. Attract more appointments, book more appointments, close more deals. Click here to learn more.

 

In today’s episode, Curt discusses the difference between an Authority Brand and a Commodity Brand — and how to build your Authority Brand following the four pillars:

  • Attention

  • Accuracy

  • Alignment

  • Authenticity

Learn more about our Freedom Business Growth Bootcamp, in which we help you build your authority brand to communicate the right message to the right clients to generate more revenue.


FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THIS EPISODE:


Curt Mercadante:

This is the Freedom Media Network, and my name is Curt Mercadante. I am so happy you are here and I want to get this out of the way first. It's very important.


Curt Mercadante:

This episode is brought to you by the Rapport Mastery Virtual Sales System. It's hosted by my mentor, our freedom partner, Joe Peachy, ranked one of the top three sales trainers on earth by Global Gurus. Now this virtual sales system, I think it's got like 14 modules. If you want more clients, if you want better clients, if you want to attract the right clients, book more appointments, close more deals and recover lost revenue, revenue that you've lost over the last two crazy years, then wherever you're viewing this or listening to this, look for the link. There is a link where you can jump in, learn more about it. Guess what? My gift to you is you get about 60% off that virtual sales system, 60% off. So find that link, click it, learn more. Take advantage of this special author, offer, not author. Although Joe Peachy is an author and I'm an author, take advantage of this special offer, the Rapport Mastery Virtual Sales System. Sell more, sell better.


Curt Mercadante:

So let's jump into today's episode. I want to start off by throwing out the word brand. You see, I've been in branding for about a quarter of a century. One thing that I always find, if I ask 10 people what the word brand is, I get about eight to 10 different answers. Oh, you're in branding. Oh, you must do logo design, website design. What's my color scheme, all that stuff. Oh, you must help me make videos. And there's a lot of people, wherever you're watching this, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever, who call themselves brand strategists, but who are really vendors. There's nothing wrong with that.


Curt Mercadante:

Maybe they're a logo vendor. Maybe they're a website vendor. Maybe they're a vendor who shows you how to make videos, but that's not a brand strategist. That's a vendor. All those things I mentioned are brand tools. They are tactics. They are important, but if you don't build a strong brand foundation, it's going to be garbage in, garbage out. I don't care how nice your logo is if you don't know your ideal clients, if you don't have the right message, if you don't have a process to communicate that right message to those right clients. So Curt, what's the foundation? What the hell are you talking about? Well, that's what we're here to talk about today in the form of the four pillars of building an authority brand, the four pillars of building an authority brand. Well Curt, what's an authority brand? Well, let's jump into it.


Curt Mercadante:

You see, you're either an authority brand or a commodity brand, and there's no judgment here. A commodity brand might be great. A commodity brand might be you selling trinkets, watches, sneakers, whatever it is and you got this big Instagram following, and you can sell that. That's wonderful. But you have to decide and own it. Are you an authority brand or are you a commodity brand? Make no mistake, you are an authority. Now, who would be an authority brand versus a commodity brand? Well, if you're in the relationship business, if you're a consultant, a financial advisor, an insurance rep, a management consultant, you work with other people, you want to be an authority and you are an authority, believe it or not. Get rid of that quote unquote imposter syndrome and know, have a belief that you are an authority because your business started out as a belief turned into a thought, turned into actions, manifested as your business. You can line up 10 of your competitors, but you're an authority why?


Curt Mercadante:

I don't care if you sell golf balls or insurance products. How you deliver it, how you communicate that is unique, and therein lies your authority. Now, one of the best definitions I've found of authority brand versus commodity brand comes from my friend Brandon Steiner. I was posting about this on LinkedIn and he commented. He said, "You know what? Ask people, if they were a hotel, what type of hotel would they like to be?" There's nothing wrong with the Motel 6. My family and I have been traveling the country, traveling the world for a while. We've stayed in our share of commodity motels. There's nothing wrong with that. But again, you've got to decide. Do you want to be the Motel 6 or do you want to be the Ritz Carlton? Do you want to be the Red Roof Inn or do you want be a resort with a swim up pool bar, palm trees and just an incredible bed? You have to choose which you want to be.


Curt Mercadante:

Listen, there's nothing wrong with being a commodity brand and attracting those discount shoppers, but don't build an audience of discount shoppers and try to sell $5,000 coaching programs. So you are an authority when you decide you're an authority brand. Then that brings us to the four pillars. The first pillar is the most obvious. It's the one where unfortunately most business owners start and stop. That first pillar is attention. Now I list it first, but we actually work with our clients on it last. Why? Because if I didn't start with attention, I'd lose your attention. If I didn't start with attention, you'd say, "This guy's not serious," because we've been so conditioned to think that branding is all about eyeballs. It's about getting attention.


Curt Mercadante:

Listen, attention is important. If a tree falls in the woods and no one's there to hear it, did it actually happen? If you have a business and no one's seeing or hearing your message, is it actually helping you? Of course not. So yeah, we start with attention, but we work on it last because I don't care how many people are seeing my brand messages if they're not the right people. I don't care if I get a million views of my latest LinkedIn post if it's the wrong million people. I'd rather have two of the right people, two of my ideal clients seeing my message than 100 of the wrong people, which brings us to the second pillar, which is accuracy.


Curt Mercadante:

Accuracy, delivering your or message to the right people, those ideal clients. Now when we talk about ideal clients, I often ask my clients, who are your ideal clients? And I get answers, something like, well, everyone. I don't want to limit myself. All God's children, every single human. That's not being very accurate with your ideal clients. I also want you to take those terms, B2B, business to business, and business to consumer, B2C, and I want you to flush them down the toilet because all branding, all sales is P to P, person to person. I get some people who get really more worked up, but I'm selling to a company. Right. But when you sit down to make your pitch, when you sit down to build a relationship, when someone signs on the dotted line to hire you, it is an actual person.


Curt Mercadante:

I had a seven figure PR and ad agency for years. I worked with a lot of trade associations. I knew my niche trade associations that were right for me. But if you lined up 10 of those niche trade associations, I knew there were two or three that were ripe for the picking, that were my ideal clients. Why? Because the person there was my ideal client. It's all person to person. Maybe that person had a similar background, a similar philosophy, and a number of things. In fact, with our clients in our upcoming Freedom Business Growth bootcamp, where we start with getting really aggressively, radically clear on your ideal clients, I think we're up to nine or 10 pages of questions. I had one client who said, "You said you were thorough. You said this is aggressive. This is like psychic hotline." But once we started working on it, he started to get it. He started to get the importance of getting super freaking clear on your ideal clients.


Curt Mercadante:

This is something we hammer in our Freedom Business Growth bootcamp, because so many business owners are afraid of niche-ing down. They're afraid of really getting clear on their ideal clients, because they're afraid of limiting themselves. So what happens is they speak to everyone. And when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one. When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one, because you have a vanilla message. And to me, that word vanilla equals poverty.


Curt Mercadante:

Imagine you're in a crowded train station and you're just speaking vanilla words and just common words, because you're going to appeal to everyone. Well, everyone is in that train station and they keep talking and they can hear you in the background, but no one thinks you're actually speaking to them, so they pay no attention. But let's say your ideal clients are in the back of that crowded train terminal. They're your ideal clients. Let's say they're all people wearing pink polka-dotted blazers. And instead of speaking in vanilla words, vanilla tones, vanilla phrases, you speak specifically to those people in the back of the room with the pink polka-dotted blazers or whatever the hell I just said.


Curt Mercadante:

When you start doing that, they're going to turn around and they're going to say, "Hey, shut up everyone, Curt," or whoever you are, whatever your name is, "is speaking to us." You've got to get clear on your ideal clients. That's why accuracy is so important. It's where we start with our clients. It's where we start in our upcoming Freedom Business Growth bootcamp, which by the way is April 21st and 22nd. There's a link somewhere in this post, somewhere in this podcast as well for you to click and learn more about. We still have spots available to you. So accuracy is so important, getting really clear on your ideal clients. And once you get really clear on your ideal clients, that brings us to the next pillar, which is alignment.


Curt Mercadante:

It's alignment, because you identify your ideal clients and then you determine what do they want? Not what do they need. You see, as business owners, we're so smart and we know what you need. So we walk up to our clients and we try to force feed you what you need. We assume that you know what you need. This is when we start verbally vomiting all over you, because we talk about, you want to know about us, our bells, our whistles, our features, our resume, how wonderful we are. I know what you need and I'm going to force feed it to you. That's verbal vomit. No. What your client wants isn't necessarily what your client knows that they need.


Curt Mercadante:

I like to talk about Elon Musk. He sells a shit load of Teslas to people who don't give a rat's ass about the green agenda. He sells a lot of Teslas to people who don't care about sustainability. You know who he sells a lot of Teslas to? People who want a status symbol. People who want a car that goes zero to 60 in 1.7. People who want the bulletproof glass on the cyber truck. He goes on Joe Rogan three and a half hours and talks three minutes about the environmental agenda. The rest of the time is speaking to what his clients want.


Curt Mercadante:

So, you identify your ideal clients and you identify what they want because, you see, with all due respect to Simon Sinek, people aren't going to buy from you because of your why, they're going to buy because of their why. And the reason this pillar is alignment is because you align your why with their why. It's alignment. You come up with an impact message, impact statement, not a value proposition. Look up the word proposition in the dictionary. Unless you're into prostitution, propositioning someone doesn't apply to you.


Curt Mercadante:

Also the word proposition, the root of it is proposal. You're not making a proposal upfront. How many people on LinkedIn on Facebook, whatever, try to make the proposal upfront in the LinkedIn messages. You connect and they hit you with a proposal. They also assume what you need. "Hey, my name's Jim and your name's Dawn. I was looking at your LinkedIn profile, and based on that, I think you need my product." This is verbal vomit. So, identify your ideal clients very clearly. Identify those people. Identify and get clear on what they want. Accuracy, who they are, alignment, align your why with their why and what they want to come up with your impact statement, which brings us to the next pillar, which is authenticity.


Curt Mercadante:

Now this is another misunderstood word because so many people on social media think authentic means keeping it real. So you've got to bitch and you've got to moan and you've got to do things to get attention. And when people give you attention and give you a lot of likes and views, oh my dopamine is up. I must be being authentic because I'm keeping it real. Many of those people, maybe it's you, are being authentically someone else. You can tell they're not being themselves. They just watched a Gary V video and they're trying to mimic Gary V. Nothing wrong with Gary V, but Gary V ain't you. They just watched a Grant Cardone video and they're trying to be Grant Cardone and you can tell it. Authenticity isn't about just keeping it real. It's not about being rude. It's not about doing whatever you can to get so many likes and views. True authenticity starts with consistency, showing up every day, communicating your impact message to your ideal clients every day, day in or day out.


Curt Mercadante:

For the last four years, I haven't missed a day putting out content, speaking to my ideal clients. Sometimes two, three times a day on LinkedIn alone. It's about consistency. And you know what? What I love is when I get on the phone with someone and they say, "Oh my gosh, I follow you. I feel like I know you," because one of the biggest reasons people buy from you is if they know, they like, and they trust you. And if you have fake authenticity last week and you change it this week and you change it next week, and then you stop posting for a month or two, that know, like, or trust isn't going to be there. You haven't built that trust by showing up every single day.


Curt Mercadante:

Now paired with this is you've got to provide your clients a quality product, a quality service. You match that up. But consistency breeds authenticity. Authenticity isn't just about being intense and going out for a week and keeping it real and getting a lot of likes and views and shares because you just went and bitched and moaned. And oh my gosh, I got all this. That's not authenticity. True authenticity starts with consistency, showing up every single day, truthfully, factually, saying what you mean, doing what you say, being consistent in communicating your impact message to your ideal clients. That brings authenticity, which brings us to attention. Remember that first pillar that we said we work on last? That's where it comes in. Getting the attention of your right clients with that impact message and doing it on a consistent basis.


Curt Mercadante:

Now in my recent Freedom Growth bootcamp, we talked about maybe a fifth pillar, which is accountability, which is going to help the consistency and breed that. So if you want to add that on, certainly because the toughest thing with some of my clients is getting them to post every single day, getting them to be consistent. If you're not consistent, you're not authentic. And if you're not authentic, you're not communicating your message to your clients. And if you ain't doing that, hope ain't a strategy. You can pray all you want, ya ain't going to get clients.


Curt Mercadante:

So friends, these are the four pillars of an authority brand. It starts with you knowing that you are an authority and then deciding, do I want to build an authority brand and a commodity brand? Being aware of who your clients are, really clearly identifying those people that want to hire you, that you want to work with, that are your ideal clients, and knowing what they want. Aligning your why with their why. Clearly crafting a compelling impact message and showing up every single day, consistently communicating that message, truthfully, factually to build true authenticity. My friends, these are the four pillars of an authority brand.


Curt Mercadante:

Now, these four pillars are something we work on, we help you build in our Freedom Business Growth bootcamp. Look at the link wherever you're watching this, wherever you're listening to this, you can learn more. It's April 21st, 22nd. It is two days. We go in deep over two days. It is intensive. And over those two days, by the way, it's virtual. We help you build your authority brand. We go over the four pillars. We help you get really clear on identifying your ideal client. We help you reverse engineer that to know what your clients want and put together your impact message. And then we put together a process. By the way, we help you utilize LinkedIn not as a dopamine engine, but as a revenue engine to put together that process. We also help you script all your sales conversations so that when you attract people into your orbit, you bring them into those sales conversations. You don't verbally vomit on them, and you have conversations that turn into more revenue. That's what we do in our Freedom Business Growth bootcamp.


Curt Mercadante:

If you are interested, send me a message. Look for the link, learn more. You can go to the freedommedianetwork.com website. Look in our Freedom Academy as well. I want to thank you for joining us today, wherever in the world you are joining us. Have a wonderful rest of your Friday, an incredible weekend, an abundant life in which you are free and present. And remember, you are an authority. You've just got to decide it. You've got to own it. Use the four pillars to build that authority brand. I am your host, Curt Mercadante. This is the Freedom Media Network. Thank you so much for joining.

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