Aaron Pierson is a Digital Brand Strategist, a Killer Content Creator, a Filmmaker, a #1 Best Selling Author, a Podcaster and an Award Winning Designer.
He has worked with John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire and Joshua Smith from GSD Mode. Aaron is an ex-rock climber, a husband, a father, and he wants to help you do branding like a boss.
AARON PIERSON’S CAREER JOURNEY
Aaron got his design career started as a freelancer while still in school after showing his business cards to a local business owner. The owner was so impressed with the design they ordered a set of new business cards from Aaron.
From this first interaction, Aaron was able to assess additional opportunities with the business owner. From a business card to a website to marketing materials to a completely new look and feel, Aaron ended up helping his client with a complete rebrand and in the process, a business was born.
The business grew very quickly and before he knew it he had partners and 30 plus employees under 10,000 square feet. His business took over every aspect of his life from late nights to weekends constantly trying to meet deadlines and customer requirements.
Eventually, Aaron reached a tipping point. As he assessed where he was at that moment in his life, he took a long hard look at his values, his lifestyle and his long-term goals. He realized his business was not part of his bigger life picture. So he decided to sell his share of the business to his partners. Then he got started in earnest on the next phase of his life
BRAND DOMINANCE HOW TO CREATE A DISRUPTIVE SOCIAL BRAND
While Aaron was building his former business he made a pretty good name for himself in the branding and creative community. Aaron leveraged all of his wisdom and experiences into his book, Brand Dominance How to Create a Disruptive Social Brand.
What is Brand Dominance?
For Aaron, branding is not a visual aesthetic like the logo, although those are components of the overall brand. Instead, Aaron views branding as the emotional connection or relationship between the audience and/or customer and an individual or a business.
Like anything else, brands can be good or they can be bad. As owners of our brands, we don’t actually own our brands we can only influence them via marketing or rich customer experiences. A brand is not just one singular thing. It’s a combination of interactions over time that forms the emotional connection between a customer and the brand.
When a strong emotional connection is made between a customer and a company/brand it’s possible for the customer to become a brand advocate. When this happens, Aarons refers to this connection as brand dominance.
In a sense, the customer becomes an ambassador for the company. They become an evangelist for the company not only purchasing their products but actively telling others about the brand and how they need to interact with it. An envious position for a brand to be in no doubt.
The Essential Building Blocks of Branding
Aaron is a big advocate of having a vision for your brand and/or company. He calls the vision for a company critical and vital to its success. Unfortunately, in his experience, he sees this as the one place where people spend the least amount of time developing. In fact, Aaron challenges that most people spend more time thinking about their grocery list than they do their life.
The lack of vision can lead to failure, burnout and a lack of desire. Remember the business Aaron first built? That company was built without a vision. Rather it was built from a need in the marketplace that Aaron knew he could fill which he did, every chance he got.
This led him to work at all hours of the day, 80 plus hours a week for over 450 clients. He was onboarding new clients daily and while searching for additional work with current clients. This pace was untenable. The business took over his life. All because he did not have a vision for what he wanted the business to become. This is why he eventually sold his stake in the business.
To define the vision for his next business Aaron asked himself and answered the following three questions.
1 – What am I trying to build?
2 – What are my financial goals?
3 – What kind of lifestyle do I want to live?
Based on his answers, today Aaron runs a new business, Vitals.Agency, based on an acronym he calls, E.L.F. ELF stands for Easy, Lucrative, Fun. Before he takes on any new clients he and his partners all review the potential opportunity to determine if it will be easy, lucrative and fun. It the opportunity doesn't hit all three buckets, Aaron and his agency partners pass on the opportunity.
Another essential building block for Aaron are values. Values will act as goals posts for your decision-making process and will help you as you determine your next steps and direction for your business. Like vision, if you ignore your values you will face burnout and/or you will at some point hit a wall that you cannot move past. Just like he did with his first business.
Using Lego Serious Play as a Facilitation Tool
Aaron’s new business is less about building business and about solving big problems within his client's company. One way Aaron and his partners do this is by using a tool called Lego Serious Play. Can you say Fun?
Lego Serious Play is a facilitation method designed to get participants to express their identities and experiences through Legos. Aaron and his partners use the Lego workshops as a way to disarm the client team and to put them all on level playing ground.
Using Legos “forces” participants to use their creativity and ultimately helps to surface then resolve some serious organizational issues. If you want to learn more about Lego Serious Play just do a quick search on Google.
Aaron uses Legos to help walk organizations through big concepts such as the following.
1 – Visioning
2 – Strategy
3 – Various scenarios
How do you Define Your Audience
Aaron looks at defining your audience in two ways. First, you can try to define your audience before you have one. Meaning you can try to tailor your content to a specific audience and hope that they find you and your message.
What Aaron has found works best, however, is starting off doing influencer type marketing such as creating content, podcasts, marketing, etc. Following this method will allow your audience to reveal itself to you. They will begin to reach out to you because your message resonates.
Once your audience becomes known to you, Aaron suggests that the time to begin profiling your audience where now you are looking specifically at their needs and how you can best fulfill them by going deeper into your content.
Too many people try to cast a wide net while trying to attract a tribe. Their content is very broad and not very deep. They use the mile wide inch deep methodology with their content. While they may catch a few tribe members here and there with this method it’s much better if you make you content an inch wide and go a mile deep.
This method allows you to form a much greater emotional connection to your audience because you are helping them solve very specific problems or challenges.
As your profiling tribe, Aaron recommends determining at a minimum the following information.
1 – Introverts or extroverts
2 – Risk levels/tolerances
3 – What influencers do they follow.
One way Aaron uses to get this information is by leveraging FaceBook. Specifically, he uses the following steps.
1 – Find the person on FB
2 – Select the MORE tab
3 – Go to their LIKES
4 – Review to gain a better understanding
The information you glean from this exercise will allow you to tailor your content directly to the LIKES of your tribe members further building that strong emotional connection. You’ll know a person’s likes and dislikes, where they shop, who they follow, what they read and listen to. The FaceBook review is like a secret weapon for developing your audience’s persona.
It works so well you may even feel like you have the inside track on your audience at this point, Aaron cautions us to keep it real and remain authentic to who we are as we create our content.
Authenticity is one of those buzzwords you hear often in the branding and marketing space. I know I get asked this question a lot and I think Aaron summed it up perfectly when he stated that Authenticity is a sacrifice.
It’s a sacrifice because being authentic, being uniquely you, means not everyone is going to follow you. You’re going to sacrifice a segment of people that will not identify with you or your message and that is perfectly ok. In fact, it’s desired.
Building Your Business Brand with your Personal Brand
Aaron agrees there is very much a blur today between the business owner and the business brand from a brand standpoint. One of the ways he looks at this situation is based on the business model.
A Practice, for example, is a business built around a practitioner. The example Aaron provides is that of a dentist. If the dentist doesn’t show to work, no work gets done that day. The same is true for someone who does coaching whether it’s career coaching or life coaching if you don’t show up, no business gets done.
In these cases, the personal brand of the business owner is very much the brand of the business.
For other businesses not based on the practitioner model, the personal brand of individuals in the organization are overshadowed by the larger business as a whole. All marketing efforts, social media efforts, and other brand assets are directed at the business.
Ultimately it depends on your strategy, your vision and your goals both life and business. If you are looking to become an authority or influencer in your space then you need to focus on your personal brand. Ways to do this include writing a book, doing a podcast, and working on building your platform.
AARON PIERSON’S ONLINE COURSES – ACTIVATOR
Wanting to reach more people with his message, Aaron put together an online course for his branding methods. The course is targeted at digital entrepreneurs who are looking to create grow and monetize their digital brand.
The Activator course consists of 13 videos with companion workbooks and audio files for each. Aaron created the course by packaging up the process he uses with his high dollar paying clients. Designed to help you build your digital brand, the course walks you through how to define your brand, your vision, your digital assets and how to execute on both.
If you’re interested, you can pick up Aaron’s course at this LINK. Aaron has generously offered a 20% discount to the BNY listeners who want to purchase his course. Use the code BNY at checkout.
Two other products Aaron offers to help you further develop your brand include the following.
1 – Content Strategy guide
2 – Naming your company
THE BEST WAYS TO CONTACT AARON PIERSON