You can do better. You deserve better.
When it comes to starting and growing a business, there’s one kind of equity that can’t be measured in dollars: brand equity.
Gary Vaynerchuk: Wine Library TV
“I don’t care what business you’re in, everybody today is in the branding and customer service business. Whether you know it or not, you already are.”
He’s not your typical wine expert. Gary Vaynerchuk spent years reading wine magazines while working the cash register at his parents’ liquor store. To further self-educate, he tasted obscure fruits, grass, dirt, rocks, tobacco and wood–all tastes associated with wine. Armed with these experiences and an entrepreneurial spirit, Gary rebranded his family’s business as the Wine Library and established himself as resident expert.
Within five years, he grew the business into a $45 million enterprise which further expanded to include Wine Library TV. Now Vaynerchuk is the go-to guy for millions of oenophiles through an active online forum, Twitter and Facebook. To share what he’s learned about branding and entrepreneurship, Vaynerchuk’s penned an enhanced e-book–a vook–called Crush It!, about turning a passion into a business.
Dan Schawbel: Millenial Branding
“I had been marketing myself all along,” says Schawbel. But things really clicked when he discovered his brand was personal branding. The rest–books, videos, speaking–he says, was easy.
Even though he was in middle school at the time, reading Tom Peters’ The Brand Called You put Dan Schawbel firmly on the path to his future career as personal branding strategist to Generation Y. “In a global marketplace, the recruitment process forces everyone to be a networker, the internet forces everyone to be a marketer, and the economy forces everyone to be an expert.”
Unfortunately, he says, too many twentysomethings don’t have a polished personal brand to help them succeed in such a competitive market. Though he’s only 26, Schawbel has been honing his own brand for over a decade, and he’s leveraged his experiences both as corporate denizen and entrepreneur to create Millennial Branding LLC. Now in the expert seat, Schawbel is still refining and reinforcing his brand, appearing in the news on a nearly daily basis.
Billie King: Bow Tie Cigars
“I injected my personality into as many aspects of my business as possible. This is evident from the cigar bands to the website design, to the all-inclusive packaging concept, and my moniker. Bow Tie Cigars is me, and I am Bow Tie Cigars.”
Four years ago, Billie King decided he wanted to create his own brand of cigars and named them after his favorite accessory; and the Bow Tie Cigar Company was born. King’s cigars are sold as all-inclusive packages, a niche he’s developed in order to offer his customers the best value. Each Bow Tie cigar bears an identical bow-shaped band, but different blends are distinguished by individual band colors, something King says he learned in Psychology 101.
“People remember two things: shape and color. You will always remember smoking a cigar with a blue bow tie label.”