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Digital Velocity Podcast Hosted by Tim Curtis and Erik Martinez

52 Creating a Powerful Brand That Converts - Kate DiLeo

This week on the Digital Velocity Podcast, Kate DiLeo of The Brand Trifecta joins Erik and Tim to discuss how to create a powerful brand that converts through messaging that promotes conversations.

For businesses to be prosperous in today’s market, their brand has to create a dialogue with the potential customer. Kate says, “COVID showed us the overwhelm that its consumers were facing. So, as we come through into this new phase of post-COVID, there has never been a more critical time in this economy for brands to be clear and concise and get to the point so that they actually create a brand conversation with their audiences.”

Brand conversations that lead to revenue results are comprised of three elements. Kate explains, “But when we talk about how do you bring your target audience to the point of conversion, the moment where they want to take the next step, click on the website, ask the next level in a conversation, your brand needs to serve up three things to get them there to have a brand conversation. What they need is first the tagline that tells somebody what you do, followed by a value proposition statement that says, here's the reality you're facing, and here's how you can solve that problem. And then three, a set of differentiator statements, the one, two, three big bullets of how you're different and better than the rest. That is actually what your consumers need to know in a brand conversation to remotely get to the conversion moment where they care to go deeper.”

A customer's initial interaction with a brand is critical to the success of future engagement. Kate says, “…your brand is your path of least resistance to revenue. I always say this. That's like my shtick because I always say that your ability to tell somebody in that first 15 to 30 seconds, whether it's website, in the room, on an ad, in an email, tell me what you do, tell me how you solve my problem, tell me how you're different, that is the stuff, psychologically, that's going to compel them to take the next step.”

Listen to this week’s episode to learn how to establish a brand that encourages conversations with consumers.

About the Guest:

Kate DiLeo is a brand architect, #1 international bestselling author, and the founder of The Brand Trifecta, the top branding SaaS product 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. When she is not directly partnering with clients to build brands that win more work, Kate teaches founders, marketers, and sales leaders branding best practices through more than a dozen global accelerator programs and business learning platforms. 


Tim Curtis: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to this edition of the Digital Velocity Podcast. I'm your cohost Tim Curtis from CohereOne.

Erik Martinez: And I'm Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.

Tim Curtis: And today we have the honor of Kate DiLeo joining us. Kate is a brand strategist, number one international bestselling author, and the founder of the Brand Trifecta, the top branding SaaS product 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 [00:01:00] 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. For more information visit Welcome, Kate.

Kate DiLeo: Thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here. I'm caffeinated. I'm ready to go.

Tim Curtis: As I am always overly caffeinated. One of the things Kate, we like to do at the very beginning is sort of give a little slice of your background. You are the accidental brand strategist. So, kind of weaving in that accidental part of that background, and kind of giving the listeners sort of a feel for what your journey has been.

Kate DiLeo: Well, absolutely. And I do call myself an accidental brand strategist because maybe like some people listening here, I have no idea candidly how I got to where I am in a certain right because I didn't exactly set off after college, Tim and Erik, to be like, yeah, I am going to do branding for a living. That was actually not my intention. So, if we rewind,[00:02:00] I'm 37 and I graduated around the time the market crashed. Okay, so just to kind of put that in perspective.

At the time I was planning to pursue a Ph. D. in Linguistic Anthropology, which is really the study of how language shapes culture and how culture shapes language, okay? So, I loved this whole language thing, wanted to be a professor, market started to crash, and I had a professor look at me right before I was going to start my post-grad work, and he said, you know what, candidly, I think you should go get a day job. Go pay off your undergrad debt, come back later because we don't even know how many positions are going to be there for people like you. Probably wise that you get a bit of real-world experience under your belt.

So, that was really the beginning of getting out of academia and it was hilarious because my Italian father was like, yep, you need to leave my house. I love you so much. Bye bye. Go and go forth. So, I took a sales job, and it was actually the dumbest sales job that I could take that began my career in branding. So, here's what happened. So, I take a job, you guys and I was cold calling IT professionals to [00:03:00] sell them $2,500 training classes over the phone.

That is the dumbest job you could ever take as like a green sales rep, right? You're like, first of all, IT people love to be called, right, Erik? And they love to be sold to.

Erik Martinez: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Why, why, why, right, Erik? Not an IT guy. Just because I do web stuff.

Kate DiLeo: All things data! Come on.

Tim Curtis: There's disagreement there but carry on.

Kate DiLeo: Erik's got some tech in him.

Tim Curtis: Yeah, he does He does.

Kate DiLeo: No. You know what happened you guys, as I was in that sales job, and of course, they throw you to the wolves, right? They give you two weeks of training. They give you such a sales scripts. They give you a database of like 10, 000 leads, and they're like, have fun, go smile and dial 40 to 60 dials a day.

So, I get in there and I'm looking at these scripts they have me trying to do, and nothing's working. I mean, they were terrible. Being the typical type A problem child that I was, I knew I was already on my way of losing this job. So, I thought I had nothing to lose, and so I decided to just throw out the scripts and unsubscribe my database from the drip [00:04:00] marketing campaign that they had done.

And I was like, forget this. I'm going to call these people up and I'm going to try this differently. And I just took a step back and thought, what in the heck would I want to hear if I was on the other end of this call right now? And I decided to test out a theory of telling them three things that has now become the backbone of the method that I teach for branding. And it was very simple. I just called them up, you guys, and I said, hey, my name is Kate. This is what we do, this is how we solve your problems, this is how we're different, and then I would shut up.

It was so interesting because what happened is, is I started to get this interesting response where they would say, Hey, I'm in the middle of a project, Can you send me an email on that? Hey, that's awesome but I'm not quite ready, can you call me back in six months? Now, certainly, some people just hung up on me, but it worked. It worked because it was giving them what they needed at the beginning quickly with a brand pitch, and then allowing them to opt in at that point of conversion.

So, that was the beginning for me. And then Tim, I got recruited out to go work at agency world and in corporate America to build brands. And I was side hustling for many years with this business before I took it full-time [00:05:00] about four and a half years ago.

Tim Curtis: So, it's interesting, you'll hear people talk about those sales jobs. The core of that is they're put in a position and it's sort of a grind. You have those people that are in the middle of that grind that recognize something's not right about this. And in order to make this successful and to be successful, I've got to make this my own. You took what was the smile and dial the very templated approach, and you started to do something different with it, which was maybe a bit more authentic and reflected kind of your style. One of your main focuses is helping companies craft that, call it an authentic, more purpose-driven message to grow the business.

Kate DiLeo: That's right.

Tim Curtis: You know, there's a lot of theories about how that works in today's environment. I'd like to know what your theory is or your position in a world like today, where all the companies post-COVID who have shifted into direct-to-consumer, they're desperately trying to get their messaging in front of the consumer. Why is it so much more important now than it was even back in the day? [00:06:00] What's different about today's environment and why is it so critical?

Kate DiLeo: Well, I think that today's environment, what we're experiencing is a big generational shift, first of all. So, if you think about the last three or four years, and now who's coming into the marketplace, that is an active participant in the economy. You have a set of Gen Z's that now are actually coming through college. They've got expendable income, they're at a different tipping point in their lives, they're no longer teenagers, okay?

And we've got boomers that are phasing out, slowly, of the economy. I'm not saying they're phased out, guys, but I'm saying slowly. Like my parents are older boomers, born in 51 and 54. You know, they're active, but they're not as active, let's say. They're on social security. So, we've got this interesting shift happening.

With that comes a different set of psychographics and needs of these buyers of what they expect, what they want in the brands and the companies that they purchase from and work with. And they definitely are at the tipping point, especially post-COVID where I think that most of us as consumers are tired of what I call megaphone [00:07:00] marketing. Do you remember the days of ClickFunnel?

Tim Curtis: Oh yeah.

Kate DiLeo: And you'd scroll down just like days upon days. And you'd have 75 videos and 15 calls to action and you're like, I don't even know what I'm supposed to click or buy.

Tim Curtis: Yeah, too much.

Kate DiLeo: Overwhelm. COVID showed us the overwhelm that its consumers were facing. So, as we come through into this new phase of post-COVID, there has never been a more critical time in this economy for brands to be clear and concise and get to the point so that they actually create a brand conversation with their audiences.

Erik Martinez: So, Kate, when you talk about a brand conversation, give me an example. What are you talking about? Because there's lots of different types of conversations that we should be having with our clients or our customers. What is the ideal brand conversation?

Kate DiLeo: Yeah, let's break that down because it's a big question. The three of us, we were talking a bit offline before we started the show about the difference between brand [00:08:00] conversations and brand stories. The method that I teach is a bit unconventional, and some people might throw their phones when they hear this, but I don't believe that story has any place in the first 15 to 30 seconds of your brand pitch, whether it's on a website or in a Zoom room or in a face-to-face conversation. Have you ever walked in and somebody asked you what you do and you go into this story and have you ever seen their eyes glaze?

Erik Martinez: I do it all the time. Yeah.

Kate DiLeo: All the time. Okay. So, here's the thing. Story is fantastic. Story has a part to play in brand. It comes in the form of about the founder videos and great interactive videos on your website that talk about the features and benefits or explainer videos. Maybe it's white papers, case studies, blogs, testimonials. These are all story-based types of content. Okay. I'm not saying that's bad.

But when we talk about how do you bring your target audience to the point of conversion, the moment where they want to take the next step, click on the website, ask the next level in a [00:09:00] conversation, your brand needs to serve up three things to get them there to have a brand conversation. What they need is first the tagline that tells somebody what you do, followed by a value proposition statement that says, here's the reality you're facing, and here's how you can solve that problem. And then three, a set of differentiator statements, the one, two, three big bullets of how you're different and better than the rest. That is actually what your consumers need to know in a brand conversation to remotely get to the conversion moment where they care to go deeper.

Erik Martinez: So, that's what you call your Brand Trifecta, and you just walked us through the elements. Walk us through an example.

Kate DiLeo: Okay. So, Erik and I show up at a chamber of commerce meeting, right? We walk in, Erik shakes my hand and I shake his hand. I'm like, so great to meet you, and Erik's like, so great to meet you. Erik, what's the first thing you're going to ask me?

Erik Martinez: What do you do?

Kate DiLeo: Now, if I just looked at you, Erik, and I said, Oh, I do branding. Is that very compelling?

Erik Martinez: No, not [00:10:00] at all.

Kate DiLeo: No, it's not.

Erik Martinez: Really boring.

Kate DiLeo: It's kind of boring, right? I'm from the Midwest actually, and so we're taught don't brag, don't be cocky. Don't talk about yourself, but I just want to like call this out for a second, okay? How do we just call out the fact that you need to stand confidently? There's a huge difference in having a brand that is pretentious and then a brand that's provocative. And I'm asking people, push yourself a little bit into that envelope of confident and provocative. That's where we need to get your messaging here. So, if you ask me what I do, and then I instead say, well, Erik, I actually help companies build brands that win more work.

Erik Martinez: Now I'm interested. I'm engaged.

Kate DiLeo: Different. It's different, isn't it? It caught your attention. Did you see what you just did? You did the head tilt. Have you ever told somebody what you do and you get the response of, really? Really? That's interesting. What do you mean by that? Ding. Good tagline right there. I told you what I do. So, Erik's hooked and he's like, interesting, what do you mean by that? So, I'm going to serve up number two of the Brand Trifecta.

Well, Erik, I believe business is a conversation and not a transaction. [00:11:00] Here's the problem is most companies struggle to create brand conversations that actually convert, and so that's my job. My job is to help you clarify your message and really deeply resonate with your target audiences so that they're going to buy from you versus the competition. That's what I mean, Erik, by building a brand that wins more work.

Erik Martinez: That's great. Tell me more.

Kate DiLeo: Yes. Bingo. So, by the way, can I call something out though, as we lead into the third point? And I don't want you guys to miss this. So, 95% of the companies I work with, do have some form of a tagline and some form of a value prop, but from there, they go into features and benefits, and we worked with so and so, and testimonials and all these other things. And I want to pause for just a second, that is the most terrible thing we can be doing if we miss the third and final part of the Brand Trifecta, differentiators, and here's why.

So, let's say Erik and I are in this room and Erik, I deliver up my tagline and then my value prop. And whether you like those examples or not, Erik's probably going mentally, like, who is this crazy [00:12:00] lady who says that she can build brands that win more work and that she can get my audiences to buy from me, right? Right. Okay. So, I give this example all the time. Erik is trying to make sense of this. Do you guys know what the brain does when it tries to make sense of new information it's taken in? It's pure data, Erik.

Erik Martinez: I know, but I'm not a neuroscientist, so I'm going to use that as my excuse.

Kate DiLeo: All right, I won't hold it against you. So, here's what happens is when the brain takes in new information, you've heard something really interesting, provocative. The actual first thing that we do, as humans in our brain, is we try to make sense of it by putting it into a box or category that we already have in our mind. It's like, wait, let me make sure I'm tracking with you.

So, you're actually in this moment, Erik, you're going to compare me to the competition or something you already know. And I actually want this moment to happen. And you guys know this moment in a conversation, in a brand pitch conversation, when you meet someone. Because Erik looks at me and he goes, okay, so Kate, are you like a graphic designer or an agency or a copywriter? You're trying to kind of clear it up, right? And I go, Oh, my gosh, Erik, that's so great, such a great [00:13:00] question. I'm a little different. Here's how. I'm actionable. I only focus on education. Da, da, da, da, da. Right?

Erik Martinez: Right. Right. Right. Yeah, absolutely.

Kate DiLeo: So, here's the final part. You asked for this example of a Branch Trifecta in action. I tell you my couple differentiators really fast. And then you looked at me and you have the conversion moment when can you say, hey, that's really interesting. So, how does that work, or what does that look like? How does that work? What does that look like? The how/what question in a verbal brand pitch is the signal of a conversion moment that literally on the website is where somebody would click to go to your products or services page, click to watch your explainer video, click to go to the next layer on your about page.

You're signaling to me, Erik, I got it. Now let's have a conversation and go deeper. Tell me what's included. Tell me what the price is. Da da da da da. That's how the power of the Brand Trifecta works. If you can deliver that in that order, in that first 30 seconds, you're naturally bringing that person to the next layer of the conversation [00:14:00] where they want to talk about the specifics for them. It's where you get into a sales call, guys, right? And they're like, okay, well, I'm dealing with this thing, so how would you solve that? That's the beauty of it is we're opening the door then for the rest of that rich dialogue, where yes, story can come into play, anecdotes can come into play, specific examples come into play.

Erik Martinez: That's awesome. Now have to practice this because I suck at it. I will honestly admit that.

Kate DiLeo: Most of us are not brand people. We're just not, are we? That's okay.

Erik Martinez: Quite frankly, we haven't been trained. You don't learn these things in school.

Kate DiLeo: You do not. That's right.

Erik Martinez: You don't learn these things until somebody who's an expert in their field says, this is a way to do this, a way to approach it that works, and here I could show you success. So, my next question, before I let Tim ask his thousand questions that he has for you. A good chunk of our audience are E-commerce professionals, right? In a conversation that I'm [00:15:00] having with a prospective client, this makes a lot of sense. But now I want to translate this to the digital world and say, hey, you know, I'm selling home decor or farm machinery or twice-baked cookies on my website. How do I take what you just said and translate it to that frame of reference?

Kate DiLeo: I love this question because I don't know if you know this, but I was a developer for many years. So, I used to build websites.

Erik Martinez: Oh, so you're the tech geek, and you were calling me the tech geek.

Kate DiLeo: I love this question, Erik. Come on, let's go. Okay. So, here's the thing. So, whether you have what we call a brochure website, right? You're not selling through the website, but it's mainly to get people to fill out a form, contact you. Or you're in this E-comm scenario, you're selling a product or something through the actual site. Okay. So, you guys, regardless, we're talking about home page copy of your website.

Okay. So, the Brand Trifecta holds weight in that the above the fold area of your page. I'm not kidding you. So, we're talking about tagline and value prop [00:16:00] above the fold. And then as they scroll down, I often see three key graphics with a quick blip on each differentiator. Maybe it's iconography. Okay. Quick, quick, quick, and then you're into the shop. So, then you want to get them into categorization of what they're purchasing.

So, I am not saying replace your entire homepage. We know the metrics show in an E-comm situation that you still need to have core shopping on the homepage to get people in. What I'm saying though, is that if you can get that above the fold and then maybe like the first little bloop above your shop area with the differentiators, you've done your job.

Let me tell you how impactful this is. I had a client that I just wrapped. They're called FiftyFlowers. They're on a Boise, Idaho. They're one of the leaders in selling wedding flowers online. We just wrapped up their brand messaging about a month ago, and they went out and they tested it on their mobile-first, and then they've been slowly testing it on their desktop. They haven't rolled it on their desktop yet.

When we changed this on mobile, where they did what I asked them to do to just test this [00:17:00] out with tagline, value prop, differentiators on the mobile homepage, they saw a 50% conversion rate increase in one week. They saw an order increase of 20 some percent. You guys, I'm serious when I tell you that this has significant impact in getting buyers what they need to take the next step.

Erik Martinez: Hold it. You just blew my mind. You just blew my mind. Crazy! How did you do that? No one does that!

Kate DiLeo: Of course, we did. I know. Oh, brand is measurable.

Tim Curtis: Well, yeah, I mean, when you get into conversations related to branding, you sort of lose half the C-suite right away.

Kate DiLeo: Oh, yeah, it's fluff. It's creative. Oh, purple. Oooh.

Tim Curtis: Yeah, yeah, it's the softer side. And one of the chief challenges that branding has had is it's not been effective at telling its story. You know, which you're here to help obviously change that. But when you talk about measurability, there are elements [00:18:00] that you measure in terms of the impact of branding. You just gave an example. But go a little bit deeper there because I do think it's a misconception that you can't test branding. It plays such an important role in long-term effectiveness of a brand to be successful. Let's hear your thoughts on that.

Kate DiLeo: Okay. So, let's talk about what you track and why. Right. I always say that your brand is your path of least resistance to revenue. I always say this. That's like my shtick because I always say that your ability to tell somebody in that first 15 to 30 seconds, whether it's website, in the room, on an ad, in an email, tell me what you do, tell me how you solve my problem, tell me how you're different, that is the stuff, psychologically, that's going to compel them to take the next step.

So, if we know that, how do you track that? How do you track the effectiveness of whatever you just wrote then, as a message, and implement it? Number one, I want you to track conversion rates across your website. You need to know your conversion rates, first off. What are you trying to get them to do? You have 75 buttons. That's not going to work. So, we need to think about where you're taking people and why.

The second thing that you should [00:19:00] be tracking just on an E-comm site, this is fascinating. I actually had a couple clients that saw a decrease in shopping cart abandonment rates. Erik, I'm sure you can weigh in on this one, but think about this was so interesting. What happened was as we deployed the message, we noticed that the time on site was a little bit less and that their abandoned rate was less. Which signals to us that if we told them what they actually needed to know we were lessening confusion. They were purchasing in a faster time frame. And the ones that saw that message and then left were not the right customers. The one that did see those messages were actually going through the process. Does that make any sense?

Tim Curtis: It does make sense.

Erik Martinez: Makes perfect sense.

Kate DiLeo: We want to see those two metrics actually shift. I know that time on site, we always say, oh, you've got to do this and that. That's not necessarily true. I think we have to take this idea of the longer time on-site metric with a big old grain of salt for most people.[00:20:00]

Erik Martinez: Amen!

Kate DiLeo: So, hang on, if that person comes to the website like Amazon doesn't care how long you're there. If you took two seconds to buy your soap, Amazon's like congratulations, I did my job. I showed you the soap options that you needed and loved based on previous purchasing behavior, and you bought it in two seconds.

Tim Curtis: Yeah.

Erik Martinez: I love that, Kate.

Tim Curtis: You know, you talk about historically looking at E-commerce metrics. Yes, historically, we looked at time on-site as an indication of engagement. What we never accounted for in time on site is the confusion, the challenge with a clickstream that was not appropriate. People were having to click all over the place or the search function wasn't refined enough. So, we almost championed the time on site without considering all the factors that contribute to time on site.

Kate DiLeo: That's correct. Yeah, in the name of content marketing.

Erik Martinez: The name of content marketing. Yes.

Kate DiLeo: Sorry, I'm a marketer, but I still have to chuckle at that, you know.

Tim Curtis: There's a lot of truth to that in that when you peel back the layers, especially of E-commerce. There's definitely correlation does not necessarily mean causation. We've fallen into that trap [00:21:00] and taken a very cookie-cutter approach to E-commerce. But brands get into this and there are a lot of people that hang their shingles out for branding.

Typically what I have found is most of those are some form of a graphic design where they're going to update logos or update the look of the site. Maybe some copy treatment, but really never getting in to understand the true essence of the brand, what the brand is, what it needs to be in order to achieve where it needs to go. So, what are the pitfalls that you see in coming back and forth to these kind of conversations with brands time and time again? In other words, what are they doing and what do they have to do to fix it?

Kate DiLeo: Can I tell you the biggest pitfalls, and I am really intentional when I say pitfalls that by the way, permission to just state that every single one of us does this, right? So, just hear me out on that for a second. Because when I say pitfalls, as an entrepreneur, any other leaders and entrepreneurs listening, we all do this. So, here's the things to watch out for though.

The number one is really struggling to niche in and decide who we're going after and why. When I see brands consistently updating [00:22:00] copy or trying this and trying that in the name of data A/B testing. Slow your roll for a second. Don't put this in the box of A/B testing when really what you're saying to me is that you're not sure who you're going after and why.

You know, we actually have to take a step back before you write that winning Brand Trifecta message, I have to go through a series of conversations with any of my clients to go, we'll hang on a second. Where's your revenue coming from? Well, that's great that you served audience A and B in the past. Is that who you really want to serve now? Oh, let's go further. Why are you offering 75 products when you only need to offer four that show that the majority of your revenue is coming from those four?

Let's talk about what you're selling and positioning and to whom. When you understand that, and you then have demographics and psychographics around that, that's the stuff that then puts you in the position to really ask the heart question is, okay, what is the bottom-line heart pain we're solving for these people? Not, we provide this, this, this, and this. It's flipping the conversation to say, here's the pain we [00:23:00] solve. Oh, by the way, how we happen to do that are through our amazing products and services.

Here's the thing, for most of us as leaders, it is extremely personal and it's extremely tough to put stakes in the ground because our fear is if we make those decisions, sometimes we might be leaving money on the table. But I'm here to tell you that you are absolutely leaving money on the table if you are trying to be somebody for everybody. You are not in the business of convincing. You are in the business of converting. And that means that it is not your brand's job to speak to everybody in the world. It is your brand's job to speak to the few who have the highest probability of buying, are going to most deeply resonate with your audience and convert. That's what we're talking about.

Tim Curtis: Imagine a world where people focused on niche conversions. I've got a thought here kind of bouncing around my head. Let me see if I can kind of put this together. One of the positives, I would say, we have seen in, I'm going to say the last 8 years, because I do feel like it's been sort of since the 2014, 15 [00:24:00] timeframe. What I'm seeing is the venture capital community, the private equity community, investing more heavily, or at least understanding and attempting to invest, set aside dollars for their startups that deal with the question of branding.

In a sense, there's a victory here in that the importance of branding is being recognized in ways that it hasn't been. We definitely have some thanks to brands such as Apple have really championed the concept of branding and carried that forward. Yetis are another example, people who've really focused on the brand. Where we're getting into this a little bit as we do fall into some of those pitfalls, right? We're not necessarily executing the branding beyond the packaging and the design.

But now, when you're really focusing on a startup versus a legacy, you really get into two different forms of how that branding begins to roll out. We've talked a little bit about some of the legacies. Why don't you pivot a second and talk about that startup community and those that are still in their series A or B. [00:25:00] What does it look like when you're trying to establish branding in that situation?

Kate DiLeo: Well, it's such an interesting question. And I do work with probably 15 to 20 seed to series B startups a year. I am a huge, passionate advocate for the startup community. I teach for accelerators. I just geek out on it. Right. I just love it. But you know, what's interesting is when we talk about this and founders come to me and say, I'm being tasked to update the brand, but I have all these responsibilities to my investors to make sure that the message that I'm putting into the world can attract all these potential buyers.

I want to always have founders step back and go, listen, when you went in with that pitch deck and you candidly went and got that next round, you closed your round. Obviously, there were projections of what's going to happen in the first couple of years versus the future ideations of product development, things that you're trying to do. What we need to make sure that these founders feel comfortable with is understanding that they do not need to solve for five to six years from now with the next iteration of the product.

When we talk about branding, there's this permission to recognize we give them a message that yes is accurate for here and now. [00:26:00] Yes, gives them a little bit of room and ramp here for the next one or two years. Okay. But they don't need us to boil the ocean.

Tim Curtis: Yeah.

Kate DiLeo: Recognizing that they can come back and tweak messaging slightly. It's never going to be like a full 180 anyway at that point. It's usually just massaging it a little bit when they have that next iteration. It's like going from a base product to an AI version. You know, there might be some updates, but if the core tenants and functionality are the same, we're going to help focus there.

I think the other thing to think about is a lot of times founders are going, I got to do all the marketing tactics. Says who? Who told you that you need to be on Facebook? I love this. I get founders all the time. Well, I have to be on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or now X. And I'm like, I'm sorry, let's go back to who you're going after and why.

The question that founders need to start asking in order to manage their marketing dollars better and have accountability back to their investors of how they're using those dollars for branding and marketing is this. If you defined the ideal buyer, the question is, what rooms [00:27:00] are these people already in, digitally or otherwise? Stop trying to create spaces and communities if you don't need to. If your people aren't on Facebook, get off Facebook. No, who cares? I'm not on Facebook. I tested it for 18 months. You know where my people are? LinkedIn. Now I'm finally getting some on Instagram. Doesn't matter.

I think it's about giving permission to these companies to realize that when they get their message down, a lot of this can be translated on their own, website copy, basic ad copy, getting it to their SEO teams to deploy quickly to understand the backbone and architecture of keyword research they're going to be doing. If they then need to know if there's pillar piece of content that they do need to create based on those categories we defined for differentiation. There's low-hanging fruit here that a founder can do without feeling like they have to do everything. That's the ticket to success as you augment and grow your brand over time.

Tim Curtis: I love that.

Erik Martinez: I love that too. It seems really complicated to do because it's not a [00:28:00] black and white number that you can point to and say if I just move my brand message by 10 points. What? What does that mean? It doesn't mean anything. In this world that we're living in, where do you see the future of branding headed in the next three to five years? And I think some of the context is we have hyper commoditization, products and services, and messaging in our society right now. So, where do you think this is headed over the next three to five years? Also realizing that there's these incredible technologies coming out that are driving some of this hyper commoditization. But they also have the potential to do some of the differentiation. So, where do you see this going?

Kate DiLeo: So, I think there's a couple of layers to this question. So, let's kind of address that. I think the first thing is if I were a founder or business owner, I'm going, how do I get my brand done? That's going to start to change in the next three to five years. The days of hiring Kate as a consultant are going to slowly go bye-bye. [00:29:00] There's some companies that will, and that's beautiful. They really want that personalized feeling of being in a collaborative environment to write the message.

But even I have a number of friends that run copywriting agencies and gosh, even this last year with ChatGPT getting on the field, their businesses just pummeled. It's the reality of people want quick and they want their own capabilities. This idea of always having to hire the expert is really hard for a lot of businesses in this economy. They don't always want to hire an expert. They want to be empowered to be the expert. So, what does that look like then?

That starts to look like more technology-based platforms. You know, I'm building one. There's a lot of AI things that are coming out too that give people the tools and teach them how to write. How do you break this down? What are the exercises you can go through? Not the typical, remember the old E-learning courses? We're not talking about that. Okay, we are talking about iterative, interactive, streamlined, built-in accountability. The expectation is that a [00:30:00] business owner can go in with their team or their marketing leader, sales leader can go in and do these chunks of pieces and come out immediately with brand components written that they can deploy.

The other thing, let's address from the other angle though, Erik, how is brand going to evolve? One of the biggest things that I see is that the nature of brand is going to continue to evolve around personalization from the standpoint of somebody being able to hear or read somebody's brand and go, Oh, my gosh, I know that tone of voice. That sounds like this, that sounds like that, especially in the world of influencers.

My first question that I asked most clients is if your brand were a person, who would it be? How does it sound? Are you Kevin Hart? Are you Oprah? Are you Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool or Ryan Reynolds in Aviation Gin? Which one are you? The thing about brand being recognizable by the way it even sounds, the way that impacts rhythm, sentence structure, punctuation, it impacts everything. This is what people are craving so that if it's in a [00:31:00] ten-second TikTok, they know what it is. They have to be able to see and read it and grasp, oh, that's such and such brand, that sounds like such and such brand. I really feel we're going to lean into that heavily.

Erik Martinez: I had the pleasure of attending a public speaking workshop and it was an experience that I can't even describe it was so powerful. But it was really centered around the idea of public speaking as a performance. You're kind of saying, in my own words, that branding is kind of a performance, and it has its own style and tone and tambour associated with it. I think that's really powerful and that really puts people in a spot where the numbers, because we are a numbers-driven society in a lot of our businesses, the numbers don't matter anymore.

They're important. Right? We're all still going to be measured on how much revenue we generate. Are we growing from quarter to quarter and all that stuff? That doesn't change. But I think what you're saying is, [00:32:00] the development of this style, I'm going to call it style for a moment. The style is really what's going to be the generator for those future revenue streams.

Kate DiLeo: It's really about your brand being that conversation. A conversation in and of itself is not a one-way monologue, performance is a one-way monologue, but every time we speak, there's a performative aspect to it. When we really get at the heart of what a conversation is, it's two people, right? There's bounce back and forth. And when somebody reads your message and they go, that's interesting, hang on, what do you mean by that? Whoa, hold on. Tell me more. Even if somebody reads that on your website, that is a brand conversation. And that's what we're trying to help brands start to evolve to is moving away from one-way monologue to having a rhythm and a tone of voice that attracts somebody.

If you have a sense of humor, your buyers are going to have a sense of humor too. And they're going to love it. And they're going to see the cheekiness in what you're saying. And they're like, yeah. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And that's where we want brands to go is [00:33:00] the recognizability. I don't know if that's even a word, but the recognition of me relating to a brand. As if way back when in the 1990s I had a home phone that did not have caller ID, and I picked up the phone and all I heard was a voice and you knew who it was. That is where we need to get back to with branding.

Tim Curtis: That's a good word. I do think you're right also on the trend. It's very, very difficult to imagine the current level of technology unfolding around AI not playing an outsize role in the future of where we're headed in terms of branding. Well, as we wrap up if the listeners want to know a little bit more about you, how do they find out?

Kate DiLeo: Well, first of all, I would love for you to connect with me on LinkedIn. So, if you are following Tim and Erik, you're a fan of the show on LinkedIn, I'm predominantly on LinkedIn and Instagram. Please go ahead and find me, Kate DiLeo. You also can check out my website, That'll be in the show notes. Feel free to connect with me there. You're going to see more about the method that I teach called the Brand Trifecta. I've got a new staff program coming out. If you're like, [00:34:00] I kind of want to try this. There's a lot out there. And feel free to reach out if you have any questions of what we talked about today.

Tim Curtis: Awesome. Thank you again for coming on the show. It's been a fun, lively discussion as we knew it would be. So, really again, appreciate you, and I'm looking forward to getting the rest of the way through the book. This is Tim Curtis from CohereOne.

Erik Martinez: And Erik Martinez from Blue Tangerine.

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