Brand Conversations That Actually Convert

by The TogetherDigital Team

S3 E05

Brand Conversations That Actually Convert

Lean how to ditch ineffective stories, and craft a winning go-to-market message for conversions.

Kate DiLeo

Brand Architect & Founder, 
The Brand Trifecta

About Kate

Kate DiLeo is a brand architect, #1 international bestselling author, and the founder of The Brand Trifecta, the top brand-building platform that has helped thousands of organizations craft brands that bring more prospects to the table, more users who click, and more customers who buy. Kate’s approach is rooted in the belief that brand is the path of least resistance to revenue. She teaches you to eliminate complex and ineffective storytelling by delivering a simple yet provocative message that tells prospects what you do, how you solve their problem, and how you differ from the competition. The outcome? Brand conversations that convert.

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Joined by Amy Vaughan, the discussion delves into the complexities of simplifying brand messages while ensuring uniqueness in a competitive market. Emphasizing authenticity and targeted messaging, the speakers advise businesses to focus on attracting the right audience rather than aiming for broad appeal. Practical steps for deploying brand messages effectively are also explored, including the importance of consistency across all touchpoints of the customer journey.

DiLeo provides compelling examples of successful brand conversations, citing Beard Club’s strategy of engaging partners through interactive conversations and Facebook’s evolution from a niche focus to broader marketing. Real-life cases illustrate the impact of the brand trifecta on sales cycle and e-commerce conversions, demonstrating significant improvements.

Vaughan shares her positive experience with Sticker Mule, praising their exceptional customer service and proactive approach to user concerns. The conversation extends to the challenges of brand differentiation and societal barriers inhibiting self-promotion, particularly for women entrepreneurs.

Ultimately, the meeting advocates for authenticity, clear communication, and staying true to one’s values in building a brand that resonates with audiences and brings fulfillment

Key Questions

  • What are the practical steps businesses can take to deploy their brand effectively and attract more prospects to the table?
  • How did the brand trifecta impact the sales cycle?
  • How should metrics for online sales be analyzed?
  • What is the significance of time on site in e-commerce?

Key Takeaway

  • Debunk outdated branding myths and learn legitimate best practices of a brand that is the path of least resistance to revenue.
  • Uncover how to write the three key messaging components that provoke the prospect to want to have a conversation with you.
  • Clarify how to deploy your brand to get more prospects to the table, more users who click, and more customers who buy.

Amy Vaughan

Welcome to our weekly Power Lounge, your place to hear authentic conversations from those who have power to share. My name is Amy Vaughn and I am the owner and Chief Empowerment Officer of Together Digital, a diverse and collaborative community of women who work in digital and choose to share their knowledge, power and connections. Join the movement at wwwtogetherindigitalcom. Let’s get started. Today, my friends, we are going to discuss why stories don’t compel people to buy. Conversations do. We’re going to help you skip the complex and ineffective narratives and develop three critical messaging components of brand that wins more work. Sounds good. Right To help us do that. The phenomenal and talented Kate DeLeo is here with us today. Kate is a brand architect, number one international bestselling author and the founder of the brand TriFacta, the top brand building platform that has helped thousands of organizations craft brands that bring more prospects to the table, more users who click and more customers who buy. How’s that for a pitch? We’ve got some things to learn from Kate today. Her approach is rooted in the belief that brand is the path of least resistance to revenue. She teaches us how to illuminate complex and ineffective storytelling by delivering a simple yet provocative message that tells prospects what to do, how you solve their problem and how you differ from the competition. The outcome brand conversations that convert. I don’t know who’s not ready for this conversation. I know I am Kate, welcome. Thank you so much for being here.

Kate DiLeo

Yeah, thank you, amy. It’s a joy to be here and it’s fun to be able to see this bright, thriving community that you have built. I’ve been a champion of yours and just a fan of yours for so long, so this is awesome to be here today, dido, dido.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, I wanted to share a little bit for our listeners how Kate and I met. It was one of those IRL moments which, honestly, with a lot of my podcast guests thanks to the fact that we’ve been doing this virtually in COVID for the last two years haven’t had the chance, but I got to hear a really amazing and compelling what ended up being a three-page note speaking session that Kate did at Content Marketing World. I love your enthusiasm and the clarity that you bring to things in your directness. So again, mutual fan, super excited to have you here in this space with us and introduce you to our amazing and beautiful and generous community. You definitely carry a lot of that together, digital Spirit. So I’m so glad you’re here. Yes, before we dive into the fun of brand messaging and nerding out on all those good things, could you share a little bit more about your journey and what led you to become a brand architect? Were there any pivotal moments or experiences that shaped your approach to branding specifically?

Kate DiLeo

Yeah, absolutely, and it’s funny because maybe some folks can really to this. I really have had a very zigzag career path. This has never been this perfect straight line. I think that everything began coming out of college around the time that the market crashed. So let’s rewind how many years right and 2007, 2008,. I was actually at a point where I was planning to pursue a PhD in linguistic anthropology. I was very fascinated with this concept of how language shapes culture and how culture shapes language and was ready to really embark on that postgraduate work. And when the market crashed, right around that time I had a professor that said to me Kate, I love you. I think this is great that you’re passionate about this, but chances are this is not going to provide a lucrative opportunity for you to really make a living. We don’t really know where this field is going to be. It’s probably in your best interest if you go, get a job and get some real world experience, pay off your debt and come back. So I actually left academia and I had to get a sales job to be able to pay the bills. And it was in that sales job, Amy, where I was cold calling IP professionals to sell them training classes.

Amy Vaughan

Cold calling been there on that. It’s the worst.

Kate DiLeo

Not the smartest sales job to take when you’ve never really done it. When I think back, why would I do that to myself? I was really in that job that I learned about the power of branding. It was from a pure necessity of how do I break the ice and connect with somebody over the phone, what would be compelling to want them to have a conversation with me that I had to create my own way of breaking through that wall a little bit, and that’s now this brand trifecta formula that I teach of what people really want to know in that first 30 seconds in order to dig into a real conversation with the brand. So even since then, though, I really got recruited out to work in agency world and marketing world and then in corporate America, and I was side hustling for years of building brands and doing marketing work on the side, and then, five years ago, I finally took the business full time into really what it’s evolved into now.

Amy Vaughan

That’s amazing. I love that. I love asking that question because I think, again, still too many of us assume that career paths need to be linear in order to be deemed successful, and that is absolutely not true. In fact, I don’t think I’ve had a guest yet that hasn’t zigged and zagged their way through sort of finding their way and figuring out what works for them. And it does make me think, having also shared that experience of doing cold calls I was selling windows for A&A window and door Talk about brutal, but I think you’re right. I think it’s like a boot camp for figuring out. You have only their ears, and you only have their ears for maybe a minute before they’re ready to hang up on you and you have to really challenge yourself to say what can I do to stop them in their tracks and keep them on the phone for even a moment longer? So yeah, I mean, for as much as I loathe it, what a great way to sort of train the way that you communicate, what it is that you are trying to offer or what problem you’re trying to solve the net, I don’t know. Maybe you all should pick up some cold calling. Try it, it’s fun.

Kate DiLeo

It was a good experience in the sense that what it really opened the door for me to recognize, too, is not only did I uncover like, okay, so logically, what is this brand pitch that I need to give in the first 30 seconds? Right, which is now what I talk about professionally, but I think I need to resolve this part where I recognize that sales does not have to be slimy. Sales is just about communicating with somebody else. It’s really about communication and it’s about finding common value, common ground where there’s maybe an exchange of goods or services or value and everybody’s walking away really happy and excited. And it opened up a level of confidence in me that I didn’t need to be a slimy salesperson. And, by the way, especially as I remember being in corporate now as an entrepreneur, where I technically have to sell myself or my services and products, that was very intimidating. I was really afraid, really deeply afraid, because of meeting my values in the way that I was raised in Midwest Minnesota here. Hello, don’t be pushy, don’t be too salesy, okay, you don’t want to come across as this, especially as a woman I was told you’re not allowed to do that. Nope, nope, nope. But I recognize sales is just about finding common value. Well, oh, maybe that I could do that, okay.

Amy Vaughan

Yep, absolutely. Yeah, it’s a great way to kind of attest those chops. Let’s talk a minute about something that might feel and might have captured some of our listeners’ attentions in the Chose, this episode that you know, conversations that convert. But then in the summary we talk about how stories, you know, I think stories have kind of been a buzzword in marketing and advertising for the last I don’t know, maybe a decade now. Right, Authenticity I would put that up there with storytelling, right, Storytelling is. Is it an amazing and remarkable tool? There’s a lot of reasons why, as humans, we love stories. But how did you come to realize that stories may not be as effective as conversations and compelling people to buy, and what led you to focus on that specific aspect of conversations for branding?

Kate DiLeo

You know okay. So there’s a couple pieces I want to address here. So, first of all, I think I love story as a concept, right? So I think storytelling is great. Story has a part to play, by the way, when we talk about marketing per second. So, as marketers, if you ever hear about, you know content planning and content hierarchy, and storytelling story has a part to play in your content strategy. The problem is that we lead with a complex story and then we lose them and instead my whole thesis statement is that story belongs to the book. Now, when storytelling came on, the market is kind of. The next big thing was with the man named Donald Miller, who wrote this book, storybrand, and I actually remember that I love what he had to say, which was that hello, make it about your customers, right? Um, promises, nobody told us how to write the story necessarily, so we made it all about us, yeah. So the dumbest thing that happened one time and I’m sure everybody’s had this moment. But I remember going to a Chamber of Commerce event and when it really clicked in my brain that stories don’t work. As I go to this Chamber of Commerce event, it’s the height of the storytelling decade, yeah, and somebody shakes my hand and I’m like so, kate, tell me about yourself, what do you do? And I launched into this convoluted story. Have you ever done that? And you see the eyes glaze over. Yeah, oh and I lost them. So like what I realized, Amy really quickly is like story is not compelling somebody to want to engage with you and go deeper into conversation. Brand conversations convert if it’s built off of a systematic way of like answering very simple questions. People at the end of the day, don’t want to be at the end of a story. You have one person talking yeah one person listening.

Amy Vaughan

Yes, that’s a great point. You’ve got a note from one of our live listeners. Yes, I’ve done that. I got very uncomfortable when telling a story. Well, let’s just say, Anna, it’s good practice. I think understanding and practicing and honing your story and or pitch is a part of the process. So we’ve all been there, so don’t feel too bad. But I agree, Kate, we’ve only got people’s attention for so long. How do we make them feel truly compelled to engage in the conversation so that at some point we could begin to unearth and involve them into the story and again, like his book, you know, make it more about them versus the you? And that might be another trap. Right Is like the storytelling oftentimes puts you or the brand at the forefront as the hero, not the customer. That’s right. That’s just not a way to go. Let’s dig into this some more. Let’s talk about some myths, common myths that businesses kind of fall victim to. And how does debunking these myths contribute to creating brands that lead to what really matters revenue?

Kate DiLeo

Yeah, well, it’s interesting, I think one of the biggest. There’s some big myths that we have, which is that brand is is nebulous, it’s fluffy, creative, it’s high in the sky, and I understand that, because when we hear that word, we’re like brand. You know what does that really mean and you know the whole theory of my work is that your brand is your path of least resistance to revenue, and that could be both personal branding, but also corporate branding or an organizational or an organization’s brand, because, at the end of the day, what your brand is really addressing is your ability to tell somebody with your message in that first 30 seconds. This is what I do, this is how I solve your problem and this is how I’m different than a competition, and I really thinking, you know, that is the stuff that compels somebody to go. Oh no, that’s interesting, I want to know more. Right, that’s what opens the door, it’s what creates a opt in moment, a conversion moment, where the other person in that conversation is like Okay, you got me. How do I learn more about this? But I think a lot of us have deep fears about what brand is and what brand isn’t. We have a lot of misconceptions and a lot of stems from FOMO. We see what other brands are doing in the marketplace and we think that we have to do what they’re doing, or we’re so worried about our competition and what they’re doing, yeah, that we actually try to be like them in the process of building our own brand. But what’s hysterical with that is, if you think about it logically, if your competition is doing a great job being blue and green over here, right, why would you want to go be blue and green in the sea of blue and green? Doesn’t it make sense that you should go be your orange or purple or hot pink self over here? Because there’s people that need orange and purple and hot pink in the world, but we’re so worried about what other people are doing.

Amy Vaughan

I would agree I can’t tell you how many times I’ve, you know, having been a former creative director with an agency is having clients just spend so much time, energy, even money at times, just chasing down what other brands were doing, versus evaluating and seeing and kind of pulling it apart and saying, well, this is what’s working for them. How can we take something like this and make it work for us within our unique experience?

Kate DiLeo

Bless you, I get it. It’s that time of year, it is so bad. Yeah, brand is about individuality and authenticity, and I think that’s where we want to be thinking about. You know, how do I authentically show up in the world? What is it that makes me very different and very, very unique, and not from a place again, of like trying to bash others. It’s not about, oh, I’m so much better but actually you are different than the competition and that’s 100% okay. I think the other myth, that or the other misconception or the other thing that we often do as well, is when it comes to branding. You know, we get really afraid of not telling everybody everything on the front end. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re talking with somebody whether you’re selling for yourself or you’re selling or trying to describe the value of what your company does, or maybe it’s just your personal brand talking to somebody? And if you’ve ever been in this weird situation where you just go, but yes, but, kate, if I don’t tell them all the things we do and all the features and benefits and all the amazing stuff, and da, da, da, da, da da, then they’re not going to understand how great I am in the value ideal, if they’re not going to buy. I think that that really shoots us in the foot. Instead, it’s flipping this narrative to say here is the value I deliver. Oh, by the way, how I do. That happens to be through ABC, once they’ve opted in to want to care and learn about those things.

Amy Vaughan

That’s so interesting, I think, yeah, as I was saying before I started my coughing fit was, you know, being in that difficult position where trying to help brands and companies understand the importance of being distinct, because obviously we’re in a sea of increasing competition. You know, I look at and think about a lot of the brands that I’ve worked on in the past and you know, so often I was trying to really push them and urge them to move from having just not even a tone of voice like a TOV, but a POV, because, like, also, what happened was they ended up sounding and seeming so vanilla, they didn’t have a point of view, they didn’t take a stand for certain things in which would have actually brought them into important conversations, actually position their product as a way to help to solve a problem and they become that much more valuable and grow loyal customers by kind of earning that trust and respect which I think are so paramount for brands to kind of, you know, elevate the reputation. So it’s like you know, don’t take a note again and take inspiration from those brands that have, you know, broken out of the pack, but understand they got there by being different, they didn’t get there by being the same. So, yeah, this is a very, very familiar pain point, I think for a lot of you know people as marketers, when we’re kind of dealing with, maybe, clients that don’t quite understand the dichotomy there and the importance of, like you said, explaining the how and then the differentiator. So are those the three? Because then that was my next question is what are the three steps? if brands are looking to create a compelling three key message components. Those are the three essentially.

Kate DiLeo

So let me walk you through it real quick. Let me, if I can. So. The first one is and again, this is my method called the brand trifecta. Now, what you’re about to hear is not necessarily anything new under the sun, but I do want to kind of give you a quick understanding of how I built this and why I built this. Okay, so, after I stumbled upon, this whole formula of A plus B plus D creates a conversion moment, meaning opt-in moment. Someone’s like oh, it makes sense. I want to know more. Okay, what I recognize is I spent some time actually working with psychologists and actually going through the back end to go let’s prove this out, because it’s really compelled somebody and believe it or not. It’s based on very simple buyer psychology. Okay, so the three components are number one a tagline that says this is what we do. First thing that somebody wants to know Amy, when they walk in the room and they shake your hand, what’s the first thing they’re going to ask you yeah, what do you do Right Now? If I just said, oh, I’m a marketer, I do brand, like who cares, right, like who cares, yeah, but if I could instead, I kind of deliver my tagline, which is I build brands that win more work. Okay, it’s a little different. Now, if you’re my target audience, you might find that very compelling. And, by the way, you guys, if you’ve ever delivered a really good tagline, when you tell somebody what you do, you get this interesting body language. You’ve ever had somebody do the head tilt, lean and like really oh yeah, okay, what do you mean by that? Okay, so this it’s about provocation with brand and authentically provoking somebody with an emotional response. Okay, so the first part is you want to sell somebody what you do tagline. Now, if I provoked them authentically whether they read it or you, they hear it then I’m going to deliver the second piece and I’m going to explain what I mean by that with a value proposition statement. Now, a value prop or value proposition statement is really the statement that creates the oh my gosh. You get me moments. We’ve ever gone to somebody’s website and then the first few sentences you’re like yes, yes, I love this. Okay, so chances are that brand had a really strong tagline and value prop. Okay, but a value prop is four is really just addressing here’s the pain that you’re experiencing and here’s how you consult that pain with our brand. So then that leads to the third and final piece of the brand trifecta, which is then a set of differentiator statement one, two, three, maybe four bullets of how you’re different and, yes, better than the rest. Now I’ll tell you. Here’s what’s fascinating. It’s really interesting because most brands do not put their points of differentiation in the right order or they skip them all together.

Amy Vaughan

How’s that? What do you mean?

Kate DiLeo

by the wrong order. Often people will lead with features and benefits of the product, or maybe they’ll say here’s how we’re different and then we’ll give you the value prop. But what I’m going to explain is you have to actually have your points of differentiation as the third and final piece, because it creates the conversion moment. Can I give you a really dumb example to kind of hit the zone Okay, so may as imagine, you and I are in the room right and we meet, and so this is the brand trifecta in action. You guys, it’s the dumbest example. But you and I meet for the first time. You’re like, oh my gosh, Kate, so nice to meet you. I’m like so great to meet you, Amy. And you look at me and you say, hey, so what do you do? And I tell you, let’s imagine I run a tax company. Let’s just try this for a second. Let’s say you’re my ideal audience. You’re a small business owner, Okay, Okay. So I come to you and I’m like oh well, I helped me. Compliance effort for small businesses. And you’re like you know, really, what do you mean? by that. Now, by the way, my tagline is making compliance effortless. Yeah, Really, what do you mean by that, Kate? So then I serve up number two value proposition statements. I’m going to explain what I mean by that. I say well, you know, you need a reality. Is that tax is a major part of your business, but it really does not need to be a major part of your day.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, Love it.

Kate DiLeo

And you’re like, oh God, that’s what I’m saying and I go. So you know, my job is to help you protect your credibility, relationships and profits with worry free tax consulting. Do you see how she can solve her problem there? See, amy, that’s what I mean by making compliance effortless. Okay, so I did. That was like 15 seconds, right. I gave you my tagline and then my value prop. Now here’s what we can’t miss. This is so interesting, cause for years I tried to just give the two and it didn’t work. Okay, at this point, logically, it would make sense that you would want to know about my products and services, right, my tax services, right. Here’s the thing, though You’re not quite ready yet. Can I tell you why, please? All right, because your brain is trying to make sense of the compelling chassis, authentic new information you just heard. So do you know what is going on as your brain is going? Wait a second. I need to make sense of what I just heard. This is super interesting.

Amy Vaughan

So, true.

Kate DiLeo

So when the brain takes some new information or data, do you know what the brain does to make sense of it? No, it compartmentalizes it, it compares it against something it already knows. Gotcha so if you’re going to actually put me into a category that you have predetermined in your brain, you’re going to compare me to the competition, my friend.

Amy Vaughan

Another company, yep.

Kate DiLeo

Exactly, and I want it to happen.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah.

Kate DiLeo

So I get this question all the time, like as a marketer, I might get asked okay, are you like a copywriter or a graphic designer when you say you do branding In this text scenario you might go so are you like TurboPax or H&R Block or are you? Like the big four tax companies and I go oh my gosh, amy, great question. I’m a little different. Here’s how. I can hit my bullets, my different cheater statement. I only focus on texts for small business. I’m super agile and flexible, all right, so I give out my three or four ways of different better to you and finally, finally, after that, to give you your branch with FACTA. Now you’re at the point of conversion. When you look at me and you go that’s so interesting, kate. So okay, how does that work? Or what does that look like? How does that work? What does that look like? So here’s the sweetest part about this. It’s finally, after delivering the branch with FACTA, you’ve had a conversion moment, because when you ask the how, what question that is signaling, you’re opting in now and you’re saying tell me how you deliver on what you just said. What’s included, what’s the features, what’s the benefits, what’s the price, what’s your process. In other words, here’s the method. You must hit all those three things for Amy to be at the point where you actually give a crap about my tech services. Yeah, that’s okay. The job of your brand, my friend, and the job of your brand, trefecta, is to simply get you there in 30 seconds or less to that conversion opt-in moment. By the way, on our website, this is where we track Amy and you can watch people systematically. Go, click. Go to the process or services page Mm-hmm.

Amy Vaughan

That’s fantastic. Every time on the platform, oh, I love it.

Kate DiLeo

They click. Now I want to watch the explainer video. Yeah, Does that make sense?

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, absolutely. I hope you all are taking notes. I know I’m going to go back in again, always giving me a ton of great, very actionable, clear steps that are clearly being proven by data as well, in the conversions and the revenue that you and your clients are gaining through this process and refinement. I love it. It’s great. That’s so, so helpful. You started off by answering the question by defining a little bit about what brand is. Obviously, that is a bit of a beast, I think. Oftentimes everyone thinks it’s a big undertaking and they throw a lot of cooks into that kitchen and into that process. For those who are looking to push or refine or better define or even create their brand, how do you navigate the challenge of simplifying the brand message while ensuring that it remains both provocative and distinctive in such a competitive market? Because I think this is where most of us, who are marketers that are servicing clients, feel like our souls get stuck down a little bit, because you have this vision and this idea and this process and you want to follow this vision and direction, and then you find that, because it’s a branding thing, all of a sudden everybody and their moms included no joke, the client will take it home and show it to their mom and their family to get feedback? How do you keep that whole process neat and tidy, effective and efficient and then really holding true to the desired outcome, which is being a revenue generator?

Kate DiLeo

Absolutely. I think that when it comes to refining and then actually putting your brand into the world, not everybody needs to be part of that conversation. First of all, that’s first and foremost. I think that there’s a couple of big buckets of work that you can think about doing in order to really improve and follow through on your brand. The first bucket of work believe it or not is really understanding how you authentically show up in the world. The reason that sometimes we feel like we are having this soul-sucking moment is because we’re trying to be something that we think we’re supposed to be. We think we’re supposed to show up this way, but actually brand is not aspirational at all. Great brands are 100% authentic and I know that term gets used too much but they’re very, very clear about owning who they are. They do not worry about appealing to everybody. One of the biggest things that I constantly tell clients that they have to get their heads around is listen. As a business owner, as a leader, you are not in the business of convincing. You are in the business of converting. In other words, it’s not your job or your brand’s job to speak to everybody in the world hoping that they’re going to buy from you.

Amy Vaughan

Exactly.

Kate DiLeo

It is your brand’s job to speak to the few who have the highest probability of buying and will most deeply resonate with your message. Period Full stop.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah.

Kate DiLeo

So you’ve got to be willing to swallow that pill in order to then do the work of saying well, here’s who I am and how I show up in the world. Now, who do I actually need to go after? That’s the second piece, because you’re not going to talk to everybody. Yeah, and once you decide on the one or two or three audience of maybe that you need to speak to, then you can write an authentic brand to effective message and stay the course in delivering that. And that’s when, all of a sudden, the like attracts, like thing happens. You don’t feel like you’re losing your soul and your spirit trying to hurt people, because you start to get a different type of clientele coming in, you get the right people in the room, you have a faster conversion to clothes.

Amy Vaughan

Exactly.

Kate DiLeo

That sales cycle is better. That’s where the magic happens.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, yeah. I think long gone are the days of just trying to cast that massively wide net in my mind at such a I don’t know, not to knock people, but a bit of an antiquated point of view. With the amount of targeting that we have and the ability to kind of personalize things, there’s no reason why you should try to be everything to everyone because, yeah, you’re going to end up serving no one, especially not yourself. Co-hatch is a new kind of shared work, social and family space built on. Community. Members get access to workspace amenities like rock walls and sports simulators and more to live a fully integrated life that balances work, family, well-being, community and giving back. Co-hatch has 31 locations open or under construction nationwide throughout Ohio, indiana, florida, pennsylvania, north Carolina, georgia and Tennessee. Visit wwwcohatchcom for more information. I’ll say that you’ve worked with a client to kind of establish, create and make this amazing brand trifecta statement pitch. How do they start to get the message out from here? Could you elaborate on the practical steps businesses can take to deploy their brand effectively and attract more prospects to the table, as you say, users who click and customers who buy?

Kate DiLeo

Absolutely, you write the coolest brand in the world, but if you do not get it out into the world quickly, it’s really going to fall flat. So a couple key principles. Number one when you deploy your message, I really want to hold you to the fact that if you are a brand enthusiast and you love iterating and changing stuff all the time, stop it. You have to let it sit for 90 days. It’s got to marinate. Ah, like, give it a shot to work, okay. So sometimes you’ve got to go have 40 or 50 conversations to see if the right people out of the 40 or 50 are converting, because, remember, this is a numbers game, right. So let’s say you say, okay, out of 100 conversations, maybe only 30 people are viable prospects. And out of the 30 viable prospects, you know that only a percentage of them are actually going to turn into a proposal and close. So you cannot expect to put a brand into the world and have 100% of people my friend all of a sudden banging down your door to buy, yeah. So whenever you will see impacts on sales cycle, revenue, sales, quality of prospects as you get this into the world, probably the biggest thing that I tell my clients is listen. This is not about having to re-architect your entire website. By the way, this is about a copy swap, so I want you to just like put some pressure off of you for a second.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah. Re-design a website find all your collateral Yep Hang on, I’m going to be in the defensive endeavor. I love a good copy solve yeah.

Kate DiLeo

Just swap the copy, Okay. So your biggest things if you’re like in serving businesses and you’re still your B2B company, right, I always say the biggest ones that I want you to do in the first few weeks is update your copy on your homepage, your website, maybe your products and services page. Second, I would love for you to update that same copy for antrefecta in your proposals. Okay, Yup, there you go. You know how you typically have like about the firm section or about the company section. It goes there One-pagers, sales sheets, your bios on social media and any slide decks maybe that you use for selling. Some people do use a deck, okay. So I just want you to think about your pieces of collateral that you use in the sales process, along with your website and your social bios. That’s it. Start After that. Then you can start to really think about things like how can I start to speak to my brand, to affect it in social posts? How could I do this in email? How can I do this in my workshops that I teach? How can I speak to it in other ways? Even some little things like oh well, we have a physical shop, so maybe I want to put some decals on the wall with our new tagline. All of that stuff can come a bit later, Amy, but your first line of defense is website, collateral, social bios the main things of what people are going to experience and use in the sales process to vet you.

Amy Vaughan

Yes, I think that’s a pitfall for some right. Oftentimes you forget that all the way down to the one-to-one customer conversation and experience that that’s an opportunity for the brand to be present Again, not to say that all of your help, support. People need to be speaking the exact brand language, but they need to be giving that consistent brand experience that you expected on the front end as well as what you get on the back end. Great example. I’ll give them a quick plug because they’ve been super amazing. I used sticker mule for some swag for an upcoming together digital event. As soon as the package was delivered, they asked for feedback. I picked these little hologrammatic stickers that are super cute but kind of a pitch to design because in the proof you can’t quite see the reflective qualities of the text. I received the package Super excited. Open up the stickers they’re practically illegible. I’m like, well, this was dumb. The proof looked pretty good to me. I’ve got design experience. I know a good proof when I see one. I think it’s really more to do with the fact that you can’t replicate that kind of sheen and reflectiveness on the sticker. On digital. I’m giving some leeway, but they asked for feedback. I would love it if you gave some specific parameters about what kinds of designs work well with these stickers, because this is the second time I’ve designed with this and it’s kind of both of them were disappointing. They responded within an hour saying our designers are going to take a crack at updating your design so that we can make it look better for you. And she’s like what are your CMYK colors? We’ll try to make sure it’s on brand. Here’s two new proof options. She’s been emailing me all morning long and it’s been such a wonderful experience that, even though I was disappointed and again, having a design background, kind of understood the implications of the proof. I wasn’t trying to be a total jerk about my review, I was just very much like this is the problem with these stickers. I just can’t learn my lesson. And nonetheless, the time, the consistency and the quality of communication is kind of why I keep going back to them. And they’ve got a solid user experience on their website clean design. I’m just like man, top to bottom, y’all just have this brand experience down pat.

Kate DiLeo

And that’s one of the things that they can speak to in their brand trifecta as a core differentiator, right? Is the client experience, the efficiency, the feed to get things, responsiveness, and I think this is really interesting because it does speak to. Sometimes we struggle to figure out. How are we different? Now I’ll tell you and this is interesting too is one of the biggest pitfalls that I always see brands do is their number. One thing that they name as a differentiator is their people. Okay, first of all, everybody says that, yep, like, I’m sure your people are fabulous, but unless you can tell me why your people are that much more extraordinary, I’m sure Bob is just as nice as Susan. Yeah, okay. So we have to kind of cut that out and actually get into differentiation points that speak to really what you were talking about. The most common ones, by the way, are things like you just mentioned. So that can be speed, efficiency, it can be customer service or responsiveness, but we have a very like 24 seven we’re available or we’ll get back to you within an hour Very clear of what you mean by good customer service, right? You felt that that was so timely. What about things like educational approach, like the one of mine is I deliver a brand playbook or maybe I love that. A criteria approach? Yep, maybe you really teach people as a part of what you do. So you know, one of my differentiators is I only do branding. One of the things that makes me different is I’m not a jack of all trades marketer and I used to be but I evolved and I realized people actually bought from me because I was an expert of my singular domain, absolutely, and that made me different.

Amy Vaughan

And so I leaned into that.

Kate DiLeo

You know, for a lot of us it’s actually owning that point of differentiation with a sense of pride. And I’ll tell you, as individuals and as women, we struggle with that.

Amy Vaughan

Yes, 100%.

Kate DiLeo

One of the hardest things for us is to own how awesome we are. But if we actually want to have a brand that is a path of least resistance to revenue, we’ve got to be willing to own how great we are and speak to it.

Amy Vaughan

Absolutely yeah, I would agree. I think self promotion it’s just something that’s been kind of sort of socially conditioned out of us in a lot of ways, and I also think the other part you said we were going to have a lot of entrepreneur solopreneurs listening, we do support within the DeKalb Digital community, a lot of women business owners, and it’s so hard because they want to be all things to everyone and they don’t understand why they can’t land the clients that they want or that they wish for, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that they get a client that comes their way, that says hey, for example, kate, I know you do branding, but I really could use some social media content strategy. Your answer would probably be what?

Kate DiLeo

Absolutely not. I have a great person that can refer you to, though.

Amy Vaughan

Exactly, but so few women. Especially when you’re starting your own business, that’s a scary thing to do and at your point, the more you can niche down, the more you can specialize, the more you can show your value, your benefit, your differentiation. Then, all of a sudden, you’ve got people coming to you, because now it’s like whenever somebody asks me something about branding, I’m like I know who you should go talk to. You should go talk to Kate DeLeo.

Kate DiLeo

Well, so yes, and you know what it is. I learned a lesson a long time ago, which was that when I was trying to be everything for everybody, I was leading my business in my life from a place of desperation instead of invitation. Yes, I didn’t actually trust myself to be the expert. What was actually going on psychologically for me, like, let’s just call this out I was leading from desperation because I was deeply afraid that if I didn’t say yes to everything, that I was going to invest that on money and I couldn’t prove to myself that I could actually earn the right kind of money with the right people. I didn’t actually believe I was great at what I was doing. I had a confidence issue. But you know, I’ll tell you, we have got to be willing to say no to the good in order to say yes to the great. Love it.

Amy Vaughan

Yes.

Kate DiLeo

If we want a business and if we want a lifestyle that allows us to operate in our expertise, that brings joy and peace and this level of capability and living life we want, we cannot build companies and brands that make us consistently flounder out of our zone of expertise. Yes, period. Now. What that means is you got to build your brand, you got to own it, you got to stay with it.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, like we said, you got to let it marinate, and because I mean that’s part of it. Right is consistency, and if it’s changing every five minutes, that doesn’t breed trust, right? If I walked into your store, your cute little local shop, and every time I walked in, woman, and it’s a flower store, the next minute it’s, you know, I don’t know. It’s a stitching and sewing and craft store and I’m like what’s happening? Like every time I walk in here something different, I don’t know what to expect it, I don’t trust it. So, yeah, building and establishing that trust and I love that advice you just gave Kate, I think we need to pull that out of some sound bites, for sure. It’s just like a good pet talk for our female founders out there.

Kate DiLeo

I’ll tell you one other quick thing too. That’s really bode well for my business, because I didn’t know I could do this. By the way, I was in the middle of a divorce. I left a high paying, six figure corporate job that I was at the top of my game, running two departments Okay. So I was crazy. Everyone’s like this is crazy. Why did you do this? And I only? I went all in and I’ll tell you what I quadrupled what I was making In only two and a half years.

Amy Vaughan

That’s amazing. I don’t doubt it. It doesn’t surprise me at all.

Kate DiLeo

You’re awesome, you can do this, but you know what? Do you know what I did that you were speaking to? I stayed in my lane and I built a partner network. Now, if you go to my website, you’ll see a partners page. All these people are fantastic businesses and leaders that I know and I love and I trust that. I always say I do life and business with them and I don’t take a penny from them. If one of my clients or my friends finds them, they can email them right from that page. I’m like go on. If you want to get social, call so-and-so, call Brooke. If you want design, call Natalie. I actually have learned, interestingly enough, that by really creating a partner ecosystem, they’re going to refer to me organically.

Amy Vaughan

Yes, the thing is right and I’m going to refer to them. Yep.

Kate DiLeo

I actually had a practice in my business that I don’t take referral fees. Do you know? What it did is? I was finding that I didn’t sit well with me because I would get on calls many years ago, and it transactionalized the relationship.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, yeah, I could see that.

Kate DiLeo

I could see that I also felt deeply in my spirit that I wanted all the money coming into my bank account to be based off the work that I did and the value that I delivered, not because I was taking somebody else’s part or money. Yeah, amy, if you go close a $1,000 deal, is it really in your best interest that I’m taking 10%, right? Is that what a friend does?

Amy Vaughan

No no.

Kate DiLeo

It was a hard pill to swallow because, I’ll tell you, for a lot of us that’s the nature of the game, and some people have a great way that they do referral fees and they’re able to do it in such a successful manner. Sure, you’re able to do it in a way that is true to their values. But I just had to decide, as I build a partner network, how do I do this in a way that’s authentic to who I am and protects the friendship, protects the relationship and is not blinding? As long as we can do that. I think that’s what’s going to help us grow.

Amy Vaughan

I love it, I absolutely agree, and you do have a great network of partners and I think, again, it reciprocates right. It comes back to you. So, yeah, you don’t need to take fees because you’ve established this authentic, true situation where you are from a genuine space, not for the sake of compensation, recommending these folks, which, in turn, of course, they’re going to recommend you. So I love it. You also might get a little bit of a sound bite now in my networking gap book because of that, because I think building that partnership aspect is such a great thing. I definitely talk about it on an individual level in the draft right now, but I haven’t really branched into it from a business perspective yet. But from a business perspective it makes so much sense. All right, let’s get on to some more of these questions. Can you share some examples of brands that have successfully utilized conversations over stories to drive customer engagement and, ultimately, conversions? I want to hear some examples. Oh my gosh.

Kate DiLeo

Well, first of all, how much time do we have? Do you know what? I’ll give you a couple of interesting brand examples that I think have done a really good job. First of all, one of the brands that I stumbled across that sell the consumers is Beard Club. They did a fantastic job, when they really came onto the market, of creating conversations, but not just with the men that needed the products, but with the wives or partners of the people with Beards. Yeah, and I was blown away by this because I remember going and my husband was like, can you give me some beard stuff? I was like I don’t know the first thing about beard stuff, but of course, here I am in charge of going to get beard stuff because I’m the one that has to do all the shopping right. So I go onto this website and they immediately had like this clear crystal, like tagline and value prop and a set of differentiators that were right there at the top of their website page and I was like, yes, and I was in there and I was shopping so quickly. They knew how to get me, as the partner, to buy for the guy with the beard. They had a chat bot. Not only that, but they said do you want to talk to real human, click here. And I was immediately able to get into a conversation with somebody if I had a question about the different types of products. That’s one example. The other brand, believe it or not, that follows a lot of these principles, but in particular, followed the principle of niching down. Let me give you a quick example on that. Do you know who was brilliant at this Facebook? How so? Do you remember in 2004, when Facebook hit the market? I might Okay. So hi, my name is Kate and I was a freshman in college. I’m dating myself now, right. So okay, the freshman year college Emi. This is so funny. So Facebook opens that point with beta tested with a number of East and West Coast campuses In 2004, a number of us at universities got the email that you could join Facebook. But did you remember that Facebook used to be only for college students?

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, you get to have a dot edu email, yep, to be able to get in. I do remember.

Kate DiLeo

So my friends did? They know that eventually they wanted to take over the world? Sure, but did they start there? No, Ah good point, they knew that they had to do a really good job with one group and they niched in and then they waited for the demand to happen. So this is our invitation again to decide to go after maybe one group. All of a sudden, what starts to happen is other people want what you do, yeah. And then when that happens, then you expand your marketing, your positioning and your brand message to include some of those other groups, and that’s, like you know, on Facebook. Then it was my dad joined Facebook. Two years later my life was over, right, right. I was like, oh God, yeah. Then they lowered the age range, so so on and so forth. So that’s the second brand. I could probably send you some additional examples, but those are two of great companies that have followed these principles of creating brand conversation and creating demand.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, I think would you include I’m curious experience as a part of a conversation? Yeah, good, because I’m thinking about that now as you were speaking about. You know, at least the first example and then I was sharing my sticker meal example is that when people advocate for a brand, what do they talk about? I don’t say oh my Nikes make me want to just get up and run every morning because they’re Nike. No, I talk about the cushion, I talk about the quality, I talk about how they last long. You know is the experience.

Kate DiLeo

It is the experience, and even if we sell the business is not. And this is interesting because consumer brands by the way, you know what’s so silly is, consumer brands have an easy standpoint that they can have these nebulous tag lines like just do it and some of these crazy tag lines. But you know why that is versus sell B2B companies is because the number one question for businesses that they’re going to ask you, if you sell the business, is what do you do? So your tagline to what do you do for me, whereas a consumer brand, a consumer, does not ask what do you do? A consumer supplementing is asking who will I become and what experience can I expect when I have your product in my life? Right, so it’s different now, but still, experience holds true for businesses. Often. What that looks like, though, as well, is results. Yeah, what results can I expect? So does your brand effectively speak to outcomes? Mm, hmm, does it speak to result? Yeah, to the experience and getting you to the outcome. If it’s a crappy experience, but you can grow revenue for me, I don’t know if I want in with you.

Amy Vaughan

That’s a good point. It’s a good point. It kind of brings you back to I’ve done a little work on PNG in the past and I mean some of the most effective advertising out there was really about like the product experience and what you could expect info and results, focused. And I think you know in the business community that is being creative and even strategic at times and following trends. It’s so hard, it’s so easy to get away from sort of those core values which are really the things that drive people to outside of emotions, as we know from our friend Nancy Harhutt, kind of cause people to consider and buy. So please tell us for a moment, because we’ve got just a little bit of time left and I want to make sure we have time for questions from our audience. So ladies who are listening with us live today, please be sure to drop them into the chat, let us know if you’ve got a question and then in the meantime I’m going to ask you my last few, just in case we don’t get any questions. But, kate, this has already been such like a great informational and insightful packed conversation. I know we could go on for much longer, but would you share? I would love to hear another specific case study where the brand, following your approach, specifically increase its prospect, engagement and conversions or conversations. I’m sorry.

Kate DiLeo

Yes, oh, this is a great one. So I had a SAS company. That was earlier stage, meaning smaller business, right, people like five people and they sell this online SAS program. That was geared towards CEOs and sales leaders, who were their primary target audiences. And so we built the brand to affect a message and we did a few layers of messaging. We did not only the homepage, but then we also did more roles, specific brand trifecta. So what was in it for the CMO, who might be needing to know, what was it for the CFO, what was in it for the sales leader, so on and so forth. We built all that and the results of building that messaging is that we started to see a decrease in sales cycle, because what was happening is, by the time somebody got on a discovery call, that person was no longer asking what do you do? They already knew all of that and, yes, they had feature that in benefit charts and yes, they had a couple explainer videos, right. But by the time somebody got on that call, the brand trifecta solved a lot of those questions in their mind. And so what was happening is that person, if they held that call, was coming in, already opting in. Yeah, that’s great. I saw all this, so I have this problem. Can you solve that and how much would it cost? Meaning the brand trifecta got that person to an opt in. So what we’re seeing is that, instead of you having to have that particular company is they were doing like two to three calls just to get to a proposal. They actually shrink that and they went down to one 45 minute call to get a ballpark price and proposal out, to then a close.

Amy Vaughan

That’s fantastic.

Kate DiLeo

That’s the kind of stuff that this can do for you, for me, for my business. One call proposal out, same day, close. I should not have to do more than one call.

Amy Vaughan

I love it.

Kate DiLeo

That signals to me that I either miss the memo or they’re not right for me.

Amy Vaughan

Yeah, that’s fantastic.

Kate DiLeo

Really common is sales cycle. Watch your sales cycle If you sell a product last piece. I have clients that saw a very interesting trend and actually see this in a number of consumer brands that sell three e-commerce. We see a decrease in time on site but an increase in sales. Why? Because what’s happening is if somebody immediately understanding what you’re selling and going to shop and buy faster, versus having to search through content and search for answers before they purchase. So sometimes what the signals is that the metrics we once thought were important are no longer important. Time on site five, ten years ago was really important and now what we’re realizing is that time on site Actually may not be as critical. Shopping cart abandonment rate is interesting, purchases interesting, but it’s really allowing us to take a different analytical approach. To go Listen, I don’t care how long somebody’s in the same if they’re going to a purchase faster.

Amy Vaughan

I make more money with people clicking through versus just perusing my website, my beautifully designed and so intriguing, I know I mean, yeah, I agree, I think that’s so amazing. It’s such a great example.

Kate DiLeo

Good, so those are the biggest ones and I see for different and I had a flower company. By the way, they sell wedding flowers online Ten million dollar company, but that’s a lot of flowers you sell every year. So within one week of implementing a brand trifecta on their site, they saw a 50% increase in conversion.

Amy Vaughan

Wow, yeah, it’s working. That’s amazing. That’s awesome and what a boost. So you, you all, just to get a little bit more into the weeds on brand trifecta you all work with businesses of all sizes.

Kate DiLeo

I do yeah, you know, and my book, by the way, for those that are listening, we’re kind of going. I want to explore the method a little bit more. I’m curious about what this looks like. I actually would recommend that you consider taking a look at the books that I wrote called muting the megaphone, and you can find that on my website, which is going to be in the show notes. But it really dives into how do you can write this on your own. Maybe you’re somebody that wants to take a first stab at looking at how do I build this, how do I write this? That’s a great resource, like 120 pages with really just like practical, very like step by step, but that digs into that process and then might. The other thing is brand trifectacom, which is really the whole methodology in action in an online platform Watch you through. What does that look like to be able to build this for your own organization?

Amy Vaughan

So fantastic. Again, kate, I’m such a fan of you your passion, your methodologies, the way that you bring clarity to something that can feel very big, daunting and made easily complex, such as branding and communications. I think you are truly working within your zone of genius. Like I said, I ran up to Kate’s booth right after her talk at content marketing round and like let’s be friends. Here’s my.

Kate DiLeo

You’re like, listen, I’m running out the door, but I just want to talk to you. I was like, okay, you know.

Amy Vaughan

Because it’s just such a rare thing to find, I think, one you know, getting more women up on stage and doing more speaking, packing rooms and the way that you you packed them in, but then again, like just again, having such a clear, distinct, differentiated point of view and value, and the way in which you promote yourself and speak to your business and your practices, it’s just very inspirational and, like I said, I just knew that our members and our listeners would would take a lot away from this conversation. So hopefully, for those of you who listening felt that way, we had a lot of happy, agreeable chatter, but no additional questions. So we will wrap this up for the day and let everyone get back to your Friday. But, kate, so glad you got to come in and join us for this discussion. It was a lot of fun.

Kate DiLeo

Oh, this is awesome. Thank you so much, amy, thanks everybody for joining us.

Amy Vaughan

Awesome, alright, my pleasure. Everyone. Have a fantastic Friday. Until then, keep asking, keep giving and keep growing. We’ll see you next week. Bye.

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