Notes from the Show
In this episode, we join In this episode, we join Henry Kaminski, The Brand Doctor and Founder & CEO of Unique Designz, in a discussion about how to use personal branding to differentiate:
- How you are the differentiating factor in branding
- How to win through building a personal brand
- How personal branding is the crossroads between your perception of yourself and how others perceive you
Intro: You’re listening to Dare to Differentiate, a podcast for business owners in crowded industries who want to learn how to rise above the noise. In this show, we focus not on doing everything for everybody, but on doing a few things for the right people with excellence. So, if you’re ready to leave the herd, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into the show.Intro: You’re listening to Dare to Differentiate, a podcast for business owners in crowded industries who want to learn how to rise above the noise. In this show, we focus not on doing everything for everybody, but on doing a few things for the right people with excellence. So, if you’re ready to leave the herd, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into the show.
Susan: Welcome back. I’m Susan Tatum and today I’m talking with Henry Kaminski, the brand author. Henry, welcome.
Henry: Susan! Thank you so much for having me on the show.
Susan: Oh, it’s great to have you. Before we begin, though, Henry, can you give our audience some context? I mean, tell us a little bit about what you and your team are doing there at Unique Designs.
Henry: Sure. So, I started Unique Designs 13 years ago. I was a one-man band. I was a freelancer. I was literally creating nightclub flyers for all the nightclubs in the state of New Jersey and New York City. And it was a great ride. I made a whole bunch of money, but I was 23, 24 years old and did not know what to do with that money and I spent it as quickly as I made it, and what happened was I came along some rocky roads and it took me about five years. I ran that business for about five years and then I realized that like, ooh, we’ve got a big problem here. Like I can’t scale, I don’t know what to do.
And so I hired a coach and this coach helped me get to where I’m at today, which now is a boutique brand agency that helps brand entrepreneurs and consultants do a couple things when it comes to building brand. It helps them save time, it helps them save money, and it really helps them scale their profits by really understanding who it is that they’re serving, what they need to become, and the products and services that need to be developed and created to make that connection.
And so, we’ve done this now for close to eight years. My math is off. About six years. And it has been extremely successful and we’ve worked with people like Jon Bon Jovi. We did two world tours with him doing all of his marketing and branding collateral. We’ve worked with Russell Brunson from ClickFunnels for three and a half years. We’ve worked with celebrity chef Fabia Viviani. So, those are some of my celebrity clients, but we also work with solopreneurs, entrepreneurs that are purpose driven. I like to work with individuals that really want to make the world a better place, and those folks are the people that I really enjoy working with.
Susan: I agree with you there. But, Henry, on this show, we’re going to be talking about the benefits and the challenges of differentiating and you caught my eye because you’re using branding to differentiate.
Henry: Yes. Well, that is. And so, that is simply it. You know, when I teach my brand accelerator clients, what their biggest X factor is, what the big point of differentiation is, they’re pleasantly surprised when I give them the answer. Do you know what the answer is?
Henry: No! It’s you! It’s you! And so, people are so bogged down by so much information and so much advertising and the complication and technicalities of everything in today’s world, they forget to simplify. And so, what I’m in the business of is simplifying the process of brand development, specifically with solopreneurs, consultants, and coaches and those folks, and really helping them understand that you are the differentiating factor. When we can design a brand around you, you’re going to win.
So, what is personal branding? Because that is my expertise. So, personal branding is the crossroads between how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. And when that gap is wide, you’re going to struggle a lot. When the gap is super thin, that’s when you’re aligning, that’s when you’re relevant, that’s when you resonate, and that’s when you make a lot of money. And just to cut to the chase, that’s where you become very profitable.
Susan: So, because you’re talking about a human that is the brand, then the differentiation from the other humans out there or your competitors, does that come pretty automatically or is there some digging involved in it?
Henry: There’s some digging because here’s the thing: everybody is afraid of vulnerability. I embrace vulnerability. I love vulnerability. I’m a big Brené Brown fan. And so, I will tell you that vulnerability has made some of the most powerful connections in my life just by sharing my story as a young kid and where I got all of this drive and motivation from.
So, the point that I want to make here is people underestimate their story and how empowering it is. Why? Because they’ve heard the story, seen the story, told the story a thousand times, it’s not important to them, it’s not sexy anymore to them. Right? But for somebody who does not know you and they hear that story for the first time, you could’ve clearly made a monumental impact on that person’s life forever. And to me, that’s powerful.
Susan: Yeah. You silenced me with that one.
Henry: I mean, I could talk about this for hours, Susan. I mean, this is what I love to do. There are a few things that go on. I see a lot of things that go on in peoples’ lives and in their businesses. Again, I’ve been doing this 13 years, so I see a lot of bottlenecks and they seem to be consistent. One if they do not know who they’re serving.
Henry: They are unclear. And, you know, when somebody comes to me and says, “My marketing isn’t working. I can’t make any money,” and then I say, “All right, well, who is your audience,” right? And they say, “Men and women between the age of 15 and 80.”
Susan: Right. [Inaudible 06:51]
Henry: I go, “Okay, so problem number one.” Right? So, they call me the Brand Doctor because I work in three phases: I diagnose, prescribe, and then I apply the application as needed. And so, the first thing that I do with my clients is I diagnose their challenges, their pains.
Henry: And that seems to be the big one. They do not know who to serve. The second thing is they don’t have any brand collateral that truly represents the value that they deliver. Talking to a guy the other day. So, every week I do live trainings, right? And this week, we did brand audits. This one was fun. So, I said, “For all you brave souls that there that want to step up, it’s going to cost you $100, but we will do a brand audit on your business and I will look at your social media, I will look at your –” now I charge $200 and sometimes it goes up to $500. I do these little discounts here and there.
But, so, this guy gets on and he promises that he can basically change the way you perceive yourself in less than an hour. Okay. Sounds pretty impressive. Now, when he showed me his website, it looked like one of those spammy click-funnel, click-bait – it didn’t even look like a website. It was like a bunch of text with like a flat blue background with like a couple of videos blasted in there and a couple of testimonials. And I said, “Joe, looking at this website, knowing what you charge, is it a clear representation of you?” and he said, “No. I had to put something together quickly and that’s pretty much what my capability was.” I said, “Would it make sense to you to hire a professional to come in and put something together for you that’s really going to truly represent you, pay a few grand for it? Do you think it would pay you back in spades, that investment and really attract the right people?” And he said, “Yes,” and I said, “Well, what’re you waiting for? You don’t have to hire me because I’m expensive.” I said, “But, what are you waiting for?” It’s that simple.
Susan: And? Did he do it?
Henry: Well, he said, “Well, we’ve got to talk about this,” right? So, we’re going to have a conversation next week because here’s a guy that is really talented, really good on camera, Susan, he’s got these big blue eyes, like he’s an attractive guy, and he really knows his stuff. Never mind his physical presence; his skill set is very, very high. There’s no doubt in my mind that the guy could change the way you look at yourself within an hour. The problem is people judge books by their covers, and when they see a spammy looking website or funnel, right away they go, “Is that guy’s service the same?”
Susan: I think what I hear you saying is that brand is a lot of different things and one weakness can mess it all up for you. And a website, granted, is a pretty important place to be weak. That, and I would say that LinkedIn in the same way because that’s your online presence 24/7.
Henry: Susan, it’s not so much the website itself; it’s the feeling you get when you look at it.
Susan: Right. The emotion.
Henry: Yes. So, branding is the feeling that you get, it’s that gut feeling you get when you interact with a person and/or a product or service or business of any kind. So, that’s what branding is. See, I asked this the other day to a prospect, not a client. I said, “What’s branding to you?” Let me preface this. He said, “We don’t have budget for branding,” and I said, “Okay. What does branding mean to you?” And he said, “Well, it’s your showroom. It’s your showroom.” And I said, “Well, what does that mean?” He said, “Well, it’s like your website, right?” And I said, “That’s part of it,” and then I explained to him exactly how I just explained branding to you. It was a phone call, but I felt the lightbulb go off in his head. And he was putting all this money into these systems and processes and softwares and all of that, and I said, “Those softwares and those resources are all great to help you be more of an efficient business, but what if no one is feeling you? What are those softwares and systems going to do for you?”
It’s like when somebody says to me, Susan, “I want more followers on Instagram,” because they see me. I have over 100,000 followers on my Instagram platform. And I go, “Okay. Why do you want that?” “Well, that’s going to help me get exposure.” “To what?” “My product or service.” “Okay, do you know what you’re selling?” “Well, not quite.” “Why?” “I don’t know who I’m serving to.” “But you want a whole bunch of followers.”
So, if you don’t have a process to nurture a lead into a qualified client, what is 10,000 followers going to do for you?
Henry: You’re bringing a whole bunch of people to a bridge that you probably wouldn’t want to tiptoe over because it’s going to crumble. Right?
Susan: Well, from my perspective, I would say, “Who are those 10,000 people and what do they mean? Are they potential prospects? Are they potential partners?” You know, that’s the old vanity metric thing, I think, because a lot of –
Henry: Oh, [inaudible 13:14]. People are so blinded by it. That’s why I love the news that I heard the other day about Instagram removing all of the Views and the Likes on any post going forward.
Susan: So, you and nobody else knows how well it’s doing. Interesting.
Henry: Correct. Correct. So, I’m curious. Susan, that’s going to change peoples’ lives. Why? Because there are kids getting bullied in high school today because they don’t get enough Likes on their Instagram post.
Susan: Oh, that’s terrible. That’s terrible.
Henry: So, I mean, that’s a topic for another day. It’s not fitting for this show, but like that’s the story. So, like the point that I’m trying to make is if your brand identity, if your brand messaging is not on point, you’re in trouble, especially in 2019 because I’m also seeing a lot of the bigger brands getting very, very personal with their audiences. And me and a colleague were joking about this yesterday on my YouTube channel. He said give it ten years, everyone’s going to be a solopreneur.
Susan: That’s an interesting outlook, yeah.
Henry: Because the way everything’s – the increase and influx of home-based businesses and small business owners, mom and pop shops, one-man bands, right? It is on the rise. It couldn’t be any easier to start your own business.
Susan: Well, that’s certainly true, you know, and I’m thinking the concept that you’re talking about of personal brand, I see that even within some of the largest enterprise-level companies because people choose to do business with other people, and especially in the business to business area in a complex sale where it’s a relationship that you are establishing. From the very first conversation, from the first salesperson or business development person that a prospect has contact with, there’s a personal brand there that’s very important.
Henry: Yeah. And that builds trust. And I always tell folks, I say, “If you show me an investment that will return you greater ROI than investing in yourself and/or your business, sign me up.” Sign me up. I will quadruple down on whatever that is.
Susan: I need some more. Yeah.
Susan: So, Henry, when a client comes to you, I like what you’re saying about know how you’re serving, and for me, it’s who that ideal customer is or ideal client is, how do you get them there? How do you get them where they are when you first start talking to them to where they are understanding who they’re serving?
Henry: That’s a great, great question. So, how do we get them from Point A to Point B, right? So, I walk them through what I call the diagnosis and strategy phase of the brand accelerator program. So, what we want to do is we want to identify who they are and who their clients are and what makes them the obvious choice. So, there’s a very specific framework that I bring them through during this program. It’s four to five work sessions. It’s about five hours of work. It’s not something that you download off of the internet and fill out a PDF.
Henry: So, we want to know who their ideal client is and why they should buy their product or service. So, I walk them through a very strong series of questions to get those answers. The next thing I want to know is what’s going to make them stand out from everybody else that does what they do? So, what we need to figure out is how do their strengths align with their clients’ wants and needs? So, I have a very specific process to take my clients through to get that information.
The next thing I want to do is I want to create a tailored, customized solution for them that’s going to help them market themselves and sell themselves. Market and sell are two different things. So, if they don’t have that, Susan, none of what I just mentioned is going to do them any good. So, we walk them through what I call the user profile program.
Henry: We walk them through the customer journey. Then I also go through the brand attributes exercise, and this is a really cool exercise because we really start to define the brand at that point, right? And so, I ask some very specific questions, like, “What do we need to look like? What do we need to look like?”
Susan: Visually? Visually look like?
Henry: Visually. Yeah, visually. Yeah. What do we need to visually look like to attract the client that we’re looking to attract, right? We just spent two hours defining this individual; now, what do we need to look like? What do we need to sound like? Right? What does the voice and tone of our brand need to sound like? I screwed up big time on this one because I’m a heavily tattooed bald guy from New Jersey, so you come around me and you think you’re going to get a baseball bat to the back of the head. Right? And if you really know me, if you get to know me, I’m the biggest teddy bear on the planet, right?
So, what was happening is I was coming across, my visuals were coming across very, very strong. Now, I am a very direct and upfront individual. I don’t sugarcoat anything, I don’t like BS, I don’t like fluff talk; I want to get straight into it. You can even hear in just the tone of my voice, right? I’m a very intense guy. So, what was happening was I was going online, putting out all this video, putting out all this content and you know what was happening? My audience was perceiving me as the man on the ivory tower. My tone and voice were coming across like, “You guys are wrong. I’m right, you need to be paying attention to me and paying me.”
Henry: When that was not the tone that I wanted to be. I did not want to be perceived that way. So, my copywriter, who I have on my team for the past five years, said, “We need to work on that with you because I think you’re shying a lot of people away.” So, what he said was, “You need to soften yourself up a little bit.” I said, “How do I do that? That’s a learned – I’ve got to learn that, right?” And so, he said, “Share with them experiences where you failed.” And I said, “Ooh, is that brilliant.”
And so, here’s a guy that loves vulnerability and embraces it, so I get out there on social media and I start talking about my whopping war stories. Ones that almost put me out of business. Ones that were 100% my fault. Susan, the amount of connection I’ve made and the amount of money I’ve made by just sharing those stories. See, people are attracted to weakness.
Susan: By being vulnerable. Well, you –
Henry: It’s weird.
Susan: I think they’re attracted to human-ness and being real, and that’s what you were doing.
Henry: Yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right. I think you’re right. I read in a book once where people will be much more attracted to your weakness. They admire your strengths, but they’re much more attracted to your weaknesses. And I sort of agree with what you said because, yeah, you’re right. Once you humanize yourself – I’m still puzzled by this, Susan, why people do not act the same on social media that they do in real life. It boggles my mind. I don’t know why.
Susan: Because there could be a fear factor there, especially for older people, you know, that are not native to that world. I grew up, you know, very private. We had no Facebook. We didn’t have that kind of stuff going on and so, sometimes it can be uncomfortable to just reveal yourself like that.
Susan: But, you know, when you’re talking about personal brand and your needs, what I heard you say was you didn’t match your personal brand to the people that you were trying to attract. So, what I tell my clients is like there are three components. There’s you, of course. You’ve got to be comfortable with it. There’s your company or your product or whatever it is. And then it’s your audience. All of those, it’s like a Venn diagram and it’s –
Susan: Where they all overlap is where you’re going to have the strongest personal brand and you’ll be comfortable with it.
Henry: Yes. Those are sort of the things we do in the brand accelerator program, and what happens is they start to see an epiphany, they start to feel that epiphany because, one, if you go to my website and read the case studies and watch the videos of my clients and the success stories, you’ll see that one guy in particular says, “I would’ve never done this on my own. I know how to do this. I would have never put in the time and effort into this on my own. I needed somebody to hold me accountable and show up every single work session and walk me through this.”
The amount of clarity and focus this man has now and how quickly we were able to create that strategy and execute it – so, we don’t just do lip service here. I’m not going to talk to you for five hours and then pat you on the tush and say, “Now, go figure it all out.” I have a team of 15 people here from developers to designers to coders, and actually, once we develop your strategy, you have an option. I never want to pigeonhole somebody or back them up against the wall. I say, “You have an option. You can continue the journey with us and we will build this whole thing out for you: your website, your identity, your logo, your funnels, your social media identity. We will do the whole thing for you. You could find somebody cheaper. Or you could try to do it yourself.” But there are options, right?
So, when they get through the strategy program, they get what I call the summary and insights document. Then this summary and insights document is a compilation of all the work sessions and essentially, this is the blueprint of their brand. So, this can build them a very profitable and reputable business if they follow what I tell them to do in this program, in this document. And it’s –
Susan: You just went back on your ivory tower, I think.
Henry: What’s that? Yeah, I think I just hopped back on. Yeah, I have like a – but these people have already paid. These people have already paid and, you know, they’re –
Susan: They have you.
Henry: They’re excited. Yeah.
Henry: I know you’re teasing me.
Susan: Henry, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I think this has been great and I think you’ve really outlined – while you were telling your story, you did outline some steps that, if business owners would just think about that, think about who you’re serving, think about what a solution is that you’re providing, think about why they should do business with you and not with your competitors.
Susan: And those steps, they just get – we give them lip service or we just don’t dig into them. Like, you’re talking about it, it’s a five-hour experience. It’s not easy.
Susan: But it –
Henry: But, like I said, the clarity that you get after and the confidence that you get after. You know, I tell people, they’ll be like, “What business are you really in, Henry?” and I said, “I’m in the confidence building business.” You know, when we develop brands for people and they see their vision come to life and they see this brand that truly, truly represents them, that does something to them on a subconscious level and they get out there like tigers and they get after it because now they have a brand that they are proud to promote.
Susan: Right. That’s a really good point. And the confidence. They feel comfortable with it. Well, so if anybody listening wants to stay connected with you or learn more about what you’re doing, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Henry: Yeah, so, if you go to UniqueDesignz.net, with a Z at the end, not an S, you will get connected to my Brand Doctor podcast, my YouTube Channel, my Instagram. I’m also on LinkedIn. You could just type in Henry Kaminski, Jr. and I’ll pop right up. There are not too many of them out there. And that’s how.
Susan: That’s great. All right, that wraps it up. Thank you again, Henry. This has been awesome. Have a great weekend. Take care.
Henry: You too, Susan. Take care.