How To Brand Yourself In A Noisy Marketplace Full Of Look-a-likes with Jeff Hoffman

What does “Brand Yourself” even mean?

According to the a gooroo FB live I saw the other day it comes down to posting motivational wallpapers on your Instagram.

And it also requires you to shoot YouTube videos talking about your dog.

The branding advice you’ve been fed accomplishes only one thing:

It keeps you busy and broke.

Busy because it requires a lot of time to be active on Social Media.

And broke because it doesn’t frigging work.

Branding is NOT about social media or motivation.

It’s not about your hobbies and your pets.

In fact, it has nothing to do with you.

I decided to debunk every branding myth imaginable by interviewing world’s #1 branding expert.

His name is Jeff Hoffman.

He’s the co-author of the New York Times Best Seller “Scale”

But you may know him as the guy who founded and

Yes, THE!

Jeff is considered to be world’s leading authority on branding.

And in just 20 minutes, he’ll give you a crash course in creating your own six figure brand.


This program is brought to you by the

Hi, my name is Igor Kheifets and this is the List Building Lifestyle, the only podcast
which delivers cutting edge conversion strategies from the online trenches straight to
your earbuds. Download the transcript of today’s episode and all future episodes at I also invite you to grab a free copy of “The Wealthy
List Builder’s Survival Guide” at and now
once again it’s time to claim your List Building Lifestyle.

Igor: Welcome back to another edition of List Building Lifestyle with your host,
Igor Kheifets. I started this podcast because I find it hard to think or talk
about anything that’s not marketing. Frankly there are few people in my life who
share this weird passion that is why I’m excited about unique opportunities to
spend time with fellow marketing junkies. Today, my guest is no other than the
co-author of “Scale”, Jeff Hoffman whose unconventional marketing vision has saved
and exploded tens of thousands of businesses around the world. Besides
co-authoring a New York Times bestseller, Jeff is a highly successful film
producer, a Grammy winning music producer and an incredibly smart business man. He
is also a branding expert, scratch that he is the best in the world at creating
mega-successful brands. Today, we are going to rap about how to turn your fanning
little business into a thriving customer machine thorough smart positioning. Jeff,
thank you so much for being here.

Jeff: Thanks for having me today.

Igor: So let’s go ahead and dive right in. My first question would be what is the
number one misconception that starting business owners whether online or offline
have about branding and positioning?

Jeff: You said number one there is a pretty long list. I would say probably number
one is that people think that branding is a slogan, “I just need a clever little
saying”, and branding is so much bigger than that. It’s literally a personality
for your company, a lifestyle, and a culture. So I think that is the biggest one
that your brand is something that you live and build and you hire around not just
a clever little saying in your marketing materials.

Igor: Alright so could you give us a couple of examples of what’s your world’s
most favorite brand, perhaps?

Jeff: I mean there are a few. One example that this is not necessarily my favorite
brand but it just shows the power of a brand. I will just tell you the story. I
was walking down the street in New York City and I saw all of these people in a
really crowded store all coming out with purchases. So I went in to see what it
was and it surprised me because it was a Ferrari store, the car, Ferrari is a
store in New York City and all of these people went in there and I started walking
saying, “So all of you own Ferraris?” In fact none of those people shopping in
that store own a Ferrari but they were all buying Ferrari shirts, hats, and
clothing. I asked, “What is the deal?” None of you own this car and yet the store
is full and everybody is buying shirts and hats and people said, “Because it’s
just cool. It’s being connected to with this brand makes us feel cool. We love the
logo. We just want to share; we want to be part of it.” It’s just amazing that the
brand has a glow. Wearing a Ferrari shirt makes you feel cool even if you don’t
own one because there image is more about the lifestyle. It’s the sleek, Italian,
powerful, good life. They have just done a really good job of crafting a brand so
much so that people that don’t even have their product will still wear their
clothing. I thought that was amazing that that store was full of people that don’t
even have the car.

Igor: Well it’s tremendous but I’m already hearing the voices in the background
saying, “Yeah, Jeff we get that and Ferrari is awesome but we don’t have a Ferrari
here. We are just starting out, we don’t even have a clue what exactly what we are
selling. We just help people.”

Jeff: No, no, no but you are missing the point neither did they. Every company
when they started the company; they started by saying part of our brand – every
company that’s another mistake people make looking at a big company and saying
well they are a big company, I’m a little company, they got to be a big company by
recognizing these things when they were little when they started that brand. I
will tell you another story. This is the story of the guy who created Sony and on
one day one when it was just him so you can’t say I don’t want people that are
just starting with a little company saying I don’t have that now because that’s
how these people got there. When he started the company, he knew what his brand
was. His brand was going to be that Sony was the highest quality electronics out
there. He picked the brand and the gold medal that he was going to win which was
on quality not on price. On day one in his book, he tells the story that he took
out a sheet of paper and he wrote this down; there is was no company it was only
him and he wrote down, “It’s good but it’s not a Sony.” He said that is my brand.
I remember in high school my parents bought me a stereo and I remember my mom
saying, “Do you like it?” I said, “Well, it’s good but it’s not a Sony.” Then
years later I read that story and I said how powerful that he knew from day one in
a one person company what he wanted his brand to be and he built his company
around that so you don’t have to be a big company like Ferrari. The point is those
companies design their brand and then grew into them. Your listeners should say
someday just like the Sony guy did, someday what is it that you want people to say
or do when they encounter your company? Start that on day one and then build into

Igor: Wow, that’s incredible. It’s actually contradicting to most advice that
people get about branding. They really think branding is the last thing you do. In
fact, I thought that way. When I started out I was just let me get my first
customer, let me do something. I never even thought about the brand which we kind
of accidentally fell into with Igor’s Solo Ads. We did become the gold medalist
for the quality of it and now we are sort of expanding upon that. Yeah, I totally
get the Sony story. In fact back in Ukraine where I grew up, VCR was a big deal;
not every family had one. Everybody wanted a Sony or Panasonic but you know what I
mean? Everybody wanted the quality stuff.

Jeff: Yeah and they knew that again from the start. They designed into that so
that is what I think is important. I think that is important that you are thinking
about that brand from the very beginning so that every decision that you make
along the way is consistent with that brand, it is growing you into that brand. By
the way, you know having spent time with people like a little bit with Jobs but
more with Steve Wozniak and listening to the story for example the Apple story and
iPhone story, part of what they said had nothing to do with technology; the brand
which they thought of for that product before they ever had the product was “all
the cool kids have it.” I thought that was interesting that’s what Wozniak, the
Apple guys were telling me early on from the very beginning they said we want the
iPhone to be the phone where people say, “You’re not cool if you don’t have one.”
So again they had a feeling for what the brand was and way, way before they grew
into the product.

Igor: Well they succeeded because I’ve been getting every new iPhone that came

Jeff: [laughter]

Igor: In fact I was just walking down the street the other day and there was
somebody who was selling iPhones 7 with a seven year guarantee.

Jeff: Wow.

Igor: It didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever because why would you need a seven
year guarantee on an iPhone if you’re going to replace it next year when a new one
comes out. You know? [laughter]

Jeff: Right. I hope people weren’t buying the seven year guarantee.

Igor: Here is another question and this is a tricky one at least I think so. Until
now every example you gave us was of an established brand and of a company that
was selling a tangible product so Sony sells electronics, iPhones, they obviously
phones; what about digital space, the informational marketing space, the business
opportunity space, even MLM something like Amway or something like that, how can
somebody reposition themselves against tens of thousands of active competitors
pretty much selling the exact same thing?

Jeff: Sometimes you can’t by the way you made a really good point. Sometimes the
best advice I can give people is “life is short, go do something else.” Because I
see people that say I’m going to compete with all these tons of competitors that
all look the same and some of them are big and have big budgets. I’m not sure that
always makes sense. Sometimes, people don’t like to hear that answer but I’ve
heard people give me their whole pitch and at the end I said, “You know what if I
were you I would find something else to do instead of standing in front of a
thousand companies, why don’t you think of something to do that is a little
different?” The people say, “They are the only company that does that that way” so
again you’re asking a good question and the answer is it’s really hard to compete
in a super crowded space when you can’t distinguish yourself and if you really
can’t think of a reason then maybe you really should be doing something else
otherwise if you’re going to stand in that space you got to find the thing that
makes you stand out. There has got to be something that you’re better than
everybody else at or that you’re really good at and if there is you got to brand
that one thing about you that separates you. I’m going to give you a quick example
in the travel space because that’s my space. Everybody sells hotels and airline
tickets. Everybody sells travel and there was one new company that was trying to
figure out, we can’t just say we also sell airline tickets and hotel rooms because
you’ll never succeed but they came up with something different. They created this
was a site called Hipmunk, like Chipmunk but without the ‘C’, Hipmunk. Hipmunk
came up with this thing, they called ‘the agony index’ and they looked at every
trip you could book, everybody can put together a trip of an airline, hotel and
itinerary for you but what they did was they figured out ‘the agony index’. How
bad are the airports that you’re going through? How long is your connection time?
How often are these particular flights based on data delayed or cancelled? So they
came and they would give you five itineraries to choose from but each one had an
agony index saying well this one is cheaper but it’s always delayed, it’s always
crowded, you have to run from one end of the Chicago airport to the other so it
has a lot of agony to it. Now the point is that they came up with something that
differentiated themselves. Everybody can sell you an airline ticket, can sell you
an itinerary but only that company can sell you ‘an agony index’. So what I’m
saying is you either got to find something that distinguishes you or you might be
in a space you can’t win in.

Igor: Interesting now so far throughout everything you said and throughout every
piece of material you put out there which you know I’m sure some of our listeners
are familiar but most not and guys if you’re still unfamiliar with Jeff work at
least start with “Scale”, an amazing book. So the one thing that is really
dominate is that you’re literally saying quit trying to be all things to all
people, be the one thing. Can you explain why we can’t try to be all things to all
people because it just makes so much sense when you get started?

Jeff: Absolutely and I see that with so many companies, small companies when they
are starting. The problem is that you chase money early on, right, you need
revenue. You’re working on this one thing that you want to do and be good at and
somebody says well I don’t want that but I’ll pay you to do this and you say,
“Geez, they would pay me.” You shift a little to the left. Then a third person
comes along and says, “I don’t want either of those things but I would pay you to
do this and now you’re doing something else again. It’s dangerous territory and
the reason is you only have limited resources, it might only be you in your
company but at any case you’re a small company limited people, limited cash to
spend on marketing and dividing your attention and your marketing dollars three
ways for three different products and services, you’re doing a third of each of
them instead of focusing all your energy on something you can really, really do
well. The example that I give very frequently is until you become excellent in
something you’re not recognized for anything, you’re just in the crowd. You got to
stand out. You got to be award winning in something and the example that I love to
share that I shared with you guys in London was for example the fact that early on
Jeff Bezos, I used to talk to him a lot in the early Amazon days, Bezos always
intended Amazon to be the marketplace of everything but what he said early on was,
“I’ve got to win a gold medal at something, I got to be the best at something.” So
he had the discipline to only launch books for like seven years, all they sold was
books because Jeff knew until you get recognized for excellence for something, no
one knows your name. So he said, “Don’t give me anything else except books until
we become the best darn bookseller on the planet.” Then everybody has heard your
name because you won something, the point is winning anything, winning a gold
medal in anything is hard, winning it in three things or four things ain’t going
to happen. My other example that I shared with you guys was my friend, Tony Shay,
who started a company called Zappos, same way that Jeff said, “I’m going to be the
best darn bookseller on the planet and then I will expand.” Tony said, “We are
going to be the best darn shoe seller on the planet” and Zappos only sold shoes
until everybody knew its name then they expanded into other products.

Igor: Interesting, interesting so until now we spoke about the brand, the
companies etc. but the other important element of branding which I think almost
everybody overlooks is the customer. Almost nobody when they get started think
about the customer which is something, a concept that I had to have it grow on me
for awhile before I accepted it because the customers are the ones who are
basically giving you the money that’s going to help your company grow and he (or
she) is the purpose of your business even existing because that’s what you’re
doing, you’re offering a service or solving a problem. Now in London, you shared a
really cool concept which I never heard anyone else share before and that is the
Second Slide Method, the Second Slide Customer Method. So I would love it if you
could walk us through it again because most people really don’t understand this at

Jeff: Absolutely. So here is the whole point of it and the concept of it is that
in sales we go out and we’re trying to convince people to buy our product and I
always get a kick out of the fact that conventional, traditional salespeople if
you went and hired one or took sales classes, one of the sales things they teach
you is overcoming no, overcoming objections. So by definition, they are saying if
someone says, “No thanks, not interested”, they are teaching you how to argue with
them and convince them. So with that in mind what this was about one day I went
out with my sales person, I said to him, “I want to go with you on two sales
calls” he had that day. He had created a 20 slide PowerPoint to try to sell our
service at the time. So I went with him and we went to the first customer. We went
to this guy’s office and he gave his 20 slide presentation and at the end the guy
actually said – he took notes through all 20 slides, he nodded his head, he said,
“I like it, I’ll call you guys. I’ll get back to you.” We got in the car and my
salesperson said, “Hey he likes it, he’s going to call us back. He paid attention
to all 20 slides.” I didn’t say anything. We drive to the next sales call. When we
get there, we go into this woman’s office, we are on the second slide, we just
started, and she said, “Oh my God, where have you guys been all my life? I’ve been
looking all over for something like this. I’ll take it.” My sales guy is like,
“What? I have 18 slides left.” I was laughing and saying, “What part of stop
talking, she already said yes.” He didn’t understand me. We got in the car, I
said, “Hey I have a new definition of your job.” He said, “What?” I said, “Your
job now is to go out and find all these Second Slide customers.” The time it could
take you – here’s what he said when we left the first guy, the 20 slide guy, he
said, “Give me two or three more visits with him and I can talk him into saying
yes” and I was thinking or you could close five people who are in the world who
said where have you been all my life, I’ve been looking all over for something
like this. The people that say yes on the second slide exist so your job is go
find all the people who have been looking all over for a solution like this and
don’t waste your time trying to convince people that say, “Well, I don't know it
looks interesting let me think about it.” So that’s what we started to do, we
started to develop a profile called “The Second Slide Profile” and it’s just
profiling what is similar about all the people that really love your product so
that next time around you can identify people really fast where you can say, she’s
going to love this thing, she is going to say yes. Why? Because these
characteristics about her that make her similar to the other people that love your
product versus the people that you spend forever trying to convince and you still
haven’t sold them yet. Stop wasting time with them that’s what the Second Slide
Method is all about.

Igor: Yeah, this is really a true definition of the perfect message to market
match, right? I mean if you’re just coming in solving that biggest pain in the
most efficient way possible, they are going to say yes because that’s what they
want. It just removes all the friction.

Jeff: Right that’s what they are looking for.

Igor: I mean because when you’re really trying to get somebody to say yes what
happens is defenses go up, I mean you have to just start fighting and kind of
climbing over fences and under barbed wire and stuff like that and nobody likes
that but everybody seems to believe that that’s the way to do it.

Jeff: You are absolutely right. So that’s the lesson that we learned refining and
refining the process is that you got to start to identify the profile of the
people that you can close the fastest and spend your time looking for them, don’t
waste your time trying to sell people who are really not sure.

Igor: Exactly, at least until later on when you got the manpower and the resources
to expand your market but until you reach six figures or multiple six figures, you
really won’t have to do that because there is going to be plenty of customers that
will be ready to say yes if you just offer them the right solution.

Jeff: You just got to find them, right.

Igor: Exactly. Now Jeff, there is one more question which I wanted to ask you
which is my personal interest – you’re highly accomplished like you’ve done so
much successful work and virtually every industry out there, you have been on
“Salt”, you have been on “Forbes”, you’ve been on CNN, MSNBC like every possible
news channel. You do a lot of stuff. What inspired you to actually write and
co-author the book with David Finkel, “Scale” because a guy as busy as you are,
you’d think you would be busy making money rather than writing a book about it.

Jeff: You know it really was because you would be amazed at how many times small
business owners and entrepreneurs come up to me and say the following: “Man, I am
just stuck.” David was hearing the same thing. I launched my business and it grew
to a certain amount and now I can’t seem to grow anymore and people were saying
that I feel like I’m working twice as hard as I used to and growing slower or not
growing at all. I don’t get it. So that was the reason for writing “Scale” was
people would say, “How did you get over the hump?” Obviously in our case, the
biggest company that I was part of was which includes
and Agoda. Priceline now does business in 200 countries around the world. So we
were able to continue growing, growing and growing our business from the start and
that’s the question that people ask; what are the things that you have to get
right so your business doesn’t just hit a wall and stop growing? People just kept
telling me, “I’m stuck and I’m not growing.” So “Scale”, David and I sat down and
let’s make a kind of practical how-to guide that here are all the things you got
to do if you want your business to continue growing and that’s why we wrote that

Igor: Wow, I’m really happy that you did it because lots of lives are changed and
will be changed in the future because of the principles you shared there
especially the story about the guy who used to sell sand which I’m not going to
spoil it for your guys, you should just go and read the book but it is truly eye
opening to how small-minded business owners are and how we can find ourselves in
this little box and we don’t see the solutions which are so darn simple often
staring us right in the face. So anyways, guys you’re listening to this, you
should definitely go on right now and get “Scale”, it’s by Jeff Hoffman
and David Finkel. Jeff, I couldn’t be more thankful, grateful to you for taking
this time to sit down with me and share this knowledge with our listeners. Once
again guys until the next time we chat have a good one.

Thanks for listening to The List Building Lifestyle Show, make sure to subscribe on iTunes
or Google. Play to never miss an episode because who knows just one conversion tactic
we share on the show might double your list and double your business. Download the
transcript of today’s episode and all future episodes at and
don’t forget to claim your complimentary copy of “The Wealthy List Builder’s Survival
Guide” at . This is Igor Kheifets until next time we talk, have a good one.

This is the

Who Is Igor Kheifets

Igor Kheifets is the 3rd highest-earning super-affiliate in the internet marketing niche.

Igor’s 2-step system has helped him consistently rank as the highest-earning and the highest-converting (measured in commissions earned per click) for industry’s leading vendors including but not limited to Matt Bacak, John Crestani and Anthony Morrison.

Igor boiled down success in affiliate marketing to a set of predictable easy steps anyone can take to generate commissions.


weekly fans

[email protected]

Contact Us

All rights reserved © – Igor Solo Ads Ltd.