Building a strong Brand means starting with a clear vision of where you want your brand to go. This was the key takeaway when Shireen Smith invited Daniel Priestley, owner of Dent and author of Oversubscribed: How To Get People Lining Up To Do Business With You, to join her in a recent podcast.
From Vision to Empire
In less than 10 years Daniel has built an incredibly powerful brand offering training, mentoring and resources for more than 3000 entrepreneurs across the world. Clearly, he’s been very successful in helping his clients stand out in their marketplace, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
Being an entrepreneur himself, Daniel’s core Business started from attending training programs. He discovered gaps in the entrepreneurial knowledge market that he could fill with his own expertise and experience. He began writing books, before creating his own training programs.
Along the way, he discovered just how important branding is.
Starting out as an events company known as Triumphant Events, Daniel soon realised that networking events weren’t the be-all and end-all when it came to what entrepreneurs really needed to succeed. He’d also seen the emergence of new entrepreneurial revolution – more people than ever were starting and growing innovative new ventures.
Playing on the words ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘revolution’, Daniel began a new venture named Entrevo. The problem was, as Shireen pointed out, no one was sure how to pronounce, spell, or even write ‘Entrevo’. As a result, the brand simply wasn’t memorable. That’s when he realised it was time to go back to the drawing board and really focus on getting the brand right.
The result was Dent, as in the entrepreneurial theme of ‘making a dent in the universe’.
The Power of Branding
Understanding just how important branding was, a brand strategist was brought in to work on consolidating the imagery around the brand which, up until now, was a convoluted mix of fonts, colour and iconography. This led to a complete rebranding with the in-house design team reducing the corporate identity to a couple of simple fonts and just two colours, yet making sure all the products were identifiable as part of the same family
The company instantly went from looking like a small firm to a big one and this was reflected in a corresponding increase in business. At the same time, the company redefined its values of being brave, having fun and making a ‘dent’. The result was that everyone at the company was re-energised with the rebranded Dent and confident about the future.
This vision extends to recruitment. The brand book is sent to potential employees to highlight company culture. A trial week shadowing other team members is followed by a three month trial, after which new recruits receive a backpack full of goodies.
Interestingly, those that feel the culture isn’t for them, get a bonus on leaving the firm. This is to incentivise people not to stay if it’s not where they want to be. For those that do stay, passing up on this bonus demonstrates commitment and ownership of their role.
As values are a key part of the brand, there are regular meeting to ensure everything is on track in terms of the company vision. A dashboard of metrics, based on a traffic light system of red, yellow and green is used to identify issues and get things back on track, should brand standards slip.
The Entrepreneurial Revolution
The world of marketing is always evolving, which is why Daniel felt the need to do a new edition of his 2015 book, Oversubscribed: How To Get People Lining Up to Do Business With You. He explains that the US presidential election typically tells us what’s coming next from a marketing perspective. From Roosevelt’s fireside chats that changed the focus from print to radio to TV, to more recently, Trump’s election through the use of data and analytics.
Daniel believes that entrepreneurial revolution we are currently experiencing comes down to two successful business models. The first is a ‘lifestyle boutique’ business of two to ten people bringing in around £100,000 each. The size of these gives these businesses the feel of a family-run affair. This is what most entrepreneurs should aspire to initially.
The second model is a ‘performance’ based business with 40 to 150 people on board, typically divided into teams. These are businesses with a strong niche and presence in the marketplace, perhaps with their own proprietary assets and solid, predictable revenues. Valued in excess of five million pounds, these often become targets for buyers, but do well financially either way. The smaller ‘boutique’ businesses typically don’t get bought out unless they scale up to become ‘performance’ businesses.
As we can see from Daniel’s example, even businesses that seem destined for greatness can only do so by focussing on branding from the outset in order to get the right start in life and go on to be truly successful.
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