Interview: Common Branding Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Today Lou Diamond at Thrive Loud interviews me, Mike Volkin, on common branding mistakes and what to do about it. As a freelancing you NEED to brand yourself properly, it will make or break your reputation, so this episode is important!


Common Branding Mistakes and What To Co About It

Get ready for freelancing strategies, hacks and tactics to help you skyrocket your success. Brought to you by Freelancer you’re listening to freelancing school with your instructor Mike Vulcan.

Hi guys, Mike Vulcan here. Welcome to another episode of Freelancer school. In today’s podcast, we’re going to be doing a little flip through here. Somebody has interviewed me for their podcast so let’s go ahead and listen to Lou diamonds thrive loud podcast where we talk about personal branding.

Welcome everyone to another episode of Thrive loud with Luda Nieto, the most inspiring and amazing people that are thriving each and every day. I Rios Lou Diamond today I’m Dr. loud. We have a serial entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, Army Veteran and author of five books.

was a best seller that’s highlighted in paragraph in parentheses I think he has built and sold for companies. As a marketing leader. He specialized in building company value through great branding. I’m gonna love this conversation because thrive aloud listeners I bring you the Vulcan editor, Mike Vulcan. Mike, how are you today? all consider doing well. Thanks for having me on. So Volk inator, my good friend here. Look, branding and making sure you get it right is a challenge that everybody has. Can you talk a little bit about some of the special sauce and the things that you do to help organizations or individuals or people get their right message out there? Yeah, well, there’s lots of different types of branding, right is such a buzzword. I mean, companies do branding, even individuals do branding. But really, I mean, now you can nowadays with all the the branding, quote, unquote, that’s going on with Hollywood celebrities. And, you know, Today’s decision with Harvey Weinstein, he’s going to prison for his quote, unquote, branding, unintentional branding. There’s positive branding and

Negative branding and you might be typecast into something that you don’t want. So it’s very, very important. Tip number one, if you are interested in your company or personal brand is to very easy just get a Google alerts about yourself or the keyword that you’re interested in and keeping an eye on because as soon as something negative, some kind of negative sentiments hits the airwaves, you want to be on top of that to mitigate that negativity as soon as possible. And I’m just shocked by the amount of freelancers and entrepreneurs that I work with. They don’t even have Google alerts for their own name. So tip number one is to get that get that one ASAP. So I have a side note to that. We’ll get back to that, you know, in the latter part of the interview, because I have a side note when you have interesting names, how difficult that can be just as not like myself, but we’ll get there. How did this become your superpower and your thing what what brought you to this specific specialization? Well, I work a lot with freelancers being a freelancer myself and a lot of them have issues with branding and

And I, I’ve worked with over 400 companies as a marketing consultant and a lot of them if not all of them have been concerned with branding at some point because branding is what really builds company and personal value. That’s what is sellable. Not from a personal standpoint, from a company standpoint, if you can build a brand, then you have something that is highly sought after and worth a lot of money to somebody and and I’ve sold four companies and I’ll tell you that the ones that I sold that have a brand are far more valuable than the ones that didn’t. Let’s talk about that these businesses that you you sold to they all have a specific area of expertise that you were focused on or did they range the gamut on what they did or the products or services they range? the gamut right one of them was a fitness product. Another one was a real estate company. I mean, they just they ran all over different industries and you know, I just as an entrepreneur, I’m I’m careful to launch businesses but I’m trying not to niche myself into one industry. If I have a good idea I’ll I’ll see through it with market research.

And then do my due diligence and then launch it. If I deem deemed it’s fit enough to launch, I have an Evernote app that I keep it all these different business ideas I have even walking my dog, you know, up and down the street, I’ll come up with an idea of something that doesn’t exist. And I’ll do some research on it. So you know, the ones that do make it to market and build good value, the ones that have brand or like I said, have the most money? How important is it for the people within an organization to connect with the brand and what I mean by that is you can have a business and a product that’s doing really well. But we’ve always said you really got to believe in the product or service and that comes with connecting with that product. how essential is that to the success of a company and its brand? Well, of all the companies that I’ve worked with, I’d say less than 10% have an actual brand guide and those that do have a brand guide, probably another 70% of those fall short on what they should contain. Brand guides usually contain font colors, background colors for websites, you know, stuff

Like that, but what a brand guide really should contain is everything from mission statements to purposes to all that stuff. So when anybody is hired by your company, employee, contractor, freelancer, short term long term, they will all get access to this brand guide. So you can all be on the same page on the tone, the voice, the passion, the mission, everything that is important to the company.

What do you find as the challenge and what I mean by this is, when you’re working with these companies and trying to come up with the issue that they have, what’s the one that like, gets you like, Oh, I love to solve this problem. What is the branding initiative? Is it is it that they’re not on the same page? I don’t have the right messaging. Maybe it’s slogan based what to you is the thing that’s like, Oh, this is the one that I want to solve? It’s clearly the answer that question would be that a lot of people are not aligned within the company on what exactly the brand is, in fact, some of them are polar opposites. And I’m talking about sea level executives don’t know their own brand amongst each other. You know, I’ll get some C level execs I get a VP I get a CMO

Get a CEO and all in a room and I’d asked him, what’s the tone voice of your company? And they’ll give me completely different answers if they give me an answer at all. So really, a lot of the branding issues over half of them can be mitigated right away just by getting everyone in the same room and creating a brand guide coming up with something that is feasible for everybody and understood by everybody and can be passed along to just about anybody in the company and, and quickly understood, ultimately, the brand guide should have an abstract on the front page that just a one pager for that anyone can read and understand the highest level points of your company’s brand. Mike, would you agree with me that when you have that situation

when there’s such non congruency or non agreement on what the direction or brand is in, that there’s actually a bigger problem at hand. Hmm. I would absolutely agree with you on that. So I guess, in the role that you play, how can you help

addressed that 800 pound gorilla in the room? How do you how do you help organizations make that adjustment and figure out how they need to work on? Yeah, well, some of it is company culture. And you know, the bigger a company is the bigger I see that as a problem that company culture either doesn’t exist or, or is so disjointed, that nobody really knows what it is. And then, you know, from a smaller company standpoint, it’s just a matter of

thinking through the process of what a brand is, many people don’t even go through that exercise, and even solopreneurs, and people who work from home or maybe even have a one or two person office, really need to understand from a brand perspective what it is that you do, why you wake up every day and do what you do. How does it even align with your life’s purpose? I mean, are you just going to work just to do the eight to five and come home and live for the weekends. I mean, that’s not the ideal way that people want to live nowadays. You know, if if you own a company, even if it’s just representing yourself, you want to make sure all of that is aligned because that’s how you find your true passion and that all exudes through your brand. Anything that you’ve seen a

Late that you said, Wow, they’ve nailed this. And it doesn’t have to be something that you’ve worked on. It could be something that’s been out there that says, they’ve done such a great job with all of the best practices that you recommend people recommend to clients and companies that you work with. Yeah, I mean, I’ll just specifically call it a company I’m working with now that just has built their entire company on their fantastic brand. It’s a company called canine carts and they make handicapped accessories for pets for disabled pets. They make wheelchairs and for dogs and even a chicken, they made a wheelchair for chicken recently, goodness, yeah. So they’re just they have such a great brand, not only the guy, but it’s been well thought out and they live it every day. They have quarterly meetings, at least every quarter that are formal that all the employees and contractors get together for half a day and they review certain aspects. They update the brand guy. I mean, these guys are just on top of it because they know that their customers are being acquired through their great brand and

might By the way, I’m recording

Right now and my four legged wonderful dog he’s passed out asleep on the right over here. Just imagine it’s so true, though, you’re dealing with a customer that has a connection like you know, to they care about their animals and they want to see them with the best level of care so I would imagine that the passion that everybody has in that place is at an all time level you know, loving animals and testing out these products to make sure they delivered help that’s great I love yeah so along the customer journey to a brand just doesn’t live you know, in a one step one moment of time along the customer journey it’s it’s actually varies throughout the entire like when a company or sorry when a person first finds out about your company, when a company I’m sorry when a person inquires about your company, and then when a person finally purchases and then is nurtured throughout your company that is a customer journey and each one of those you have to bring out certain parts of your brand. right time. So Mike, here’s the question. I am a big believer in

That the sharpest knife can’t shave its own handle. So what does Mike Volk in the Vulcan ater do or Who does he seek out to help get him on brand or your brand brand or your company’s brand on run? What do you do to make sure that you’re on track with all the things they have to do? That’s a great question. And I’m not afraid to say this. I actually have a therapist that I see just specifically not because maybe I have some kind of deep rooted mental issues or anything which I may or may not, I don’t know. But uh, you know, from from what we all do.

She is this therapist is not so much a business person but she helps me talk through

the business aspects and just that very,

one hour a week that very focused conversation that she asked me the right questions that I’m able to then bring out, you know, answers that I wouldn’t normally talk or think about on my own. That is what I use her for, and she does a great job.

For you knows what questions to ask. So number one from a personal standpoint my therapist because it helps me so much being an entrepreneur and number two the startup that I run Freelancer masterclass, shameless plug. But Freelancer masterclass has a lot of Freelancer students and, and I constantly am serving them in groups, or when I talk to them individuals to our customer service department or whatever, I’m constantly asking them, what materials they want, what pain points they have, what do they want to see coming up? What classes do they want to, you know, be a part of, that all helps me understand the kind of personality that I need to exude, from a company standpoint, to best represent them to best keep them as customers.

That answered the usual question here on thrive lad is to what practice do you seek or what individual do you seek out to get yourself back on the thriving track for those thrive listeners keeping keeping score at home? Okay, let’s do the admin part of the show here, Mike. Let’s do let’s do all the shameless plugs. all the places people can find your website

Programs any special offer so that people can understand where they can find like Vulcan, the Vulcan, Vulcan, ater, and we will put it all in the show notes. However, the engagement boys is much better received when they hear from you. Yeah, so it’s pretty easy. There’s two places to find me online online, just my personal website, which is Mike Vulcan com VOLKN. And that’s if you want to hire me for just marketing consulting, I do what’s called fractional cmo work so companies will hire me to lead a marketing department if they can’t afford a full time cmo. I’ll work with them part time on a remote basis. And then my startup which I just mentioned, another shameless plug Freelancer masterclass calm it’s if you’re a freelancer consultant solopreneur you want to get some classes the freelancer masterclass is a nine step course to turn you into a master Freelancer and if you go to Freelancer masterclass comm forward slash free, I’ve put together four of our top money making webinars, all for free. You’ll get one webinar a day for four days we’ll teach you how to make money online.

This is spectacular. Now we’re going to not that we haven’t had fun, Mike, but we’re going to continue to go down fun straight here. Great. I love asking questions about our guests to understand a little bit more about them because I’m actually interested in this answer because you gave an answer to this. Can you share with the listeners your all time favorite movie? Braveheart? And why does that movie Connect so much with you because it is a about a comedy. Listen, I don’t want to ruin the end of the movie. But hold on one second. It came out in 1990. They’ve all seen it anyway. 95 It’s about a commoner who was so passionate about something that happened to him and lived his life through love and then turned it into a passion for an entire country and shaped the history of a nation and that’s it’s the most inspiring movie that that I can think of. It’s still the best rally cry, seen it in an hour. I mean, just watching him come out in that blue and white faces just just spectacular. Well if you want I can say the whole speech by heart but

You know what we we played. So just a little trivia here. We played on the 200th episode of Thrive allowed

the top movies of the of the guest because we used to make this the last question on the show. And we started tallying them up. And we realized that Braveheart crack the top 10 because so many people said it and we ended up playing that audio clip. Maybe we’ll inject that into this part of the show here. That’d be cool too subtle hint to my producers here to get off at the end when you’re when we’re wrapping down could use play the quick freedom. I think that’s how we’ll close the show. Yes, it could be worked along those lines. Do you have a music song jam thing that you like to listen to to get yourself you know, jacked up when you want to continue like to pick Yeah, you know,

some of the younger kids here might be making fun of me about this, but I’m a Phil Collins groupie. So I love in the air tonight. I’ve seen Phil Collins travel all over. I even I’m looking right now at my sofa. I had a Christmas present made me my wife. It was a custom Phil Collins pillow.

As his big face on a pillow here, it looks ridiculous. But yeah, so I love Phil Collins in the air tonight and then anything by Imagine Dragons is fantastic and inspiring. I like to work out to that. So it’s funny you mentioned Phil Collins, this goes way back like early 90s.

My cousin and my cousin Lisa, just shout out to her. She got tickets to Phil Collins, and it was one of those incidents where he canceled because he had lost his voice. And the tour took him around the country and then he came back maybe several months later, and they created a special date for those particular people who obviously we got rescheduled, which I had not seen before and that was a big venue. And that might have been the best show I’d seen in a long time because he opened up knowing full well that this was a makeup show because you know I ran better to Sam and it was it was pretty awesome when he played in the air tonight and watch him you know, drum and sing. His concerts are epic. I can’t stand going to I see the fair amount of concerts and they just sound nothing

like they do on radio, you know, it’s like, well, there’s a lot of touch up work when the song hits the hits the radio. But you know, Phil Collins sounds exactly the same, he puts on a great show. Just lots of people involved lots of effects. It’s just amazing. I’ve seen him probably seven or eight times in concert. So in the last one, he was in the chair because he was had a broken knee or something.

I’m still a big Bruce Springsteen, fan tops, but he got it was a really good show. Okay, so now, I mentioned in the earlier part of the show, when you talked about doing the Google search and making sure that you have a Google Alert when people are searching for your name. Needless to say, there are some challenges when you are the name of a famous person as well. Lou Diamond Phillips, I there’s some interesting challenges, which, which Google hasn’t even quite figured out how to handle my question to you is this from a branding perspective?

When you hear names of companies or brands of people or even the names of people

do you find from

Having seen the breadth of not only just how people can market and message and be consistent and all the different pieces that you have that expertise on, do you find that there are certain names that resonate more than others? Because maybe there’s almost a familiarity or likability to the name itself. No, by the way, I’m talking to them. There’s something fun about the Vulcan ater and Michael Vulcan, we will never get it. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on that as we wrap up our episode here. Well, yeah, I mean, there’s a there’s a problem about you know, people with common names and they can’t they can’t do Google Alerts because somebody else’s names always comes up. You know, that’s honestly that’s the reason why I’m branded the Vulcan Nader. I mean, it’s silly. It’s what am I the Terminator? I like to say I’m a futuristic marketing machine sent back through time for one lucky company, right? But it’s stupid, but

it’s it’s dumb as hell but it sounded more shermanator more than real world Terminator but that’s okay. Wrong with copying brands. Yeah, so on.

Honestly, I mean, the answer your question is if you can find something that is memorable to your audience or to prospective audience and that is what you should consider rather than just your name, there’s nothing wrong with your name, but if you find it’s gonna be mixed up with a lot of other name similar names out there, then you should consider something like the Vulcan ater. Even though my name is Vulcan is pretty unique as it is I just felt that from a branding perspective, Vulcan was just that much more memorable, you know? So that’s, I’ll let the listeners know that I got a chance to view him on our video chat before we started recording this episode and his ears are not pointy.

Now I got the surgery. No, exactly. No, but I look it catches it works. And I think I think it’s great. And any last shout out recommendations to our listeners, things that they should be thinking about. If they’re, you know, you want to give one last takeaway for people to take home from this conversation? Yeah, I mean, look, if you’re interested in branding, there’s a whole slew of books out there that you can branding books that are well reviewed on Amazon. We didn’t get a chance to

So much today to talk about, maybe on another podcast we can talk about neuroplasticity and how to hack your brain for ultimate productivity and, and focus. That’s kind of my passion right now I want to be the most

productive and efficient entrepreneur that I can and really turn my normal work day into three work days into one. But I do that

through through sperrys brain hacks, which you can learn through books, I really like to learn various things that I’m interested in, but in terms of like, getting to your peak performance, you can read books, there’s one called peak performance, actually, it’s excellent. by Brad Stoll guard. There’s the power of neuroplasticity by shad helmstetter. All these books will make you fantastically productive, focused and efficient at work. And you can get so much more done during that time. But if you want to talk more about branding, feel free to reach out to me on my website. Mike vogon. great pleasure to have you on the show today. Thanks

So much for sharing your wisdom and giving some very good tips along the way we liked it. We’d like productive episodes here in thrive lab where we actually learn and have something to do. Thanks so much. It’s been a lot of fun. You got a man until our thrive listeners out there. Thank you for joining us until next time, keep thriving on winning upward and remember be brief, be bright, be gone.


and I see Oh, my country, but here in defiance agility

and dying in your beds. Many years from now.

Would you be willing to train all day from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to jump back here. Until

then they may take your life

You’ve been listening to thrive loud with your host blue diamonds. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts. And check us out on the web at thrive or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook at thrive loud.

Thank you for joining us for freelancing school. Be sure to subscribe to get the latest updates on the show. Go to freelancing Master to become a master freelancer.

Transcribed by

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Leave a Comment