How to Build a Brand of One
As the barrier of entry to start a new business approaches zero, the competition is greater than ever.
Copycats and also-rans have more analytical tools at their disposal than ever before. There’s a fast race to the bottom of you choose to compete in the arena with everyone else.
But you don’t have to choose this path.
There’s a second door—a back door. A door that allows you to skip the line altogether and sneak beyond the velvet rope of attention.
While the rest of your niche clamors for scraps, you can become a brand of one—building an entire business island of your own.
You become the mayor, gatekeeper, and teacher—all wrapped in one. The process is easier than you think. All you have to do is choose the road less-traveled.
Become a Contrarian
Choose a niche to serve and go all-in on that niche. You only create work for that niche and no one else.
Sure, others are invited inside, but your best work is made for your tribe and your tribe only.
How do you gather this tribe?
Become a contrarian. Find a hot, popular topic in your niche. Perform a deep-dive and find a better belief regarding this hot topic—a belief the polar opposite of the current thinking.
Start creating content around this new belief.
You’ll get a lot of attention, fast.
Yes, your solution may be correct. Your answer must work for the average person. You need to do your research with facts and data to back-up your stance.
However, all niches have plenty of room for contrarians. There are common beliefs everywhere, waiting to be proven wrong.
Your Brand of One is Impossible to Copy
If we want you we just go to you. I can’t go to the guy down the street who believes the same ideas as you. Because that guy isn’t you.
We buy Stephen King books for King. Plenty of authors write in his style, but he’s a brand of one.
We buy Russel Brunson for Russel. We buy Gary Vee for Gary. We buy our favorite sports heroes for them and the gamers for for the one person for the one person we livestream.
When you’re a brand of one you stand alone.
- You make the rules
- You set the price
- You control distribution
- You set the expectations
- You say who the work is for and who it isn’t
- You are the go-to person if someone wants what you sell
A Brand of One is Not Easy
This is not a simple journey. You’ve got to run against the grain and make a few people very upset. You must challenge current thinking. You will make many mistakes, and if you do it right, you’ll earn a few enemies.
A brand of one is not for the weak.
You will gain attention, but it might not always be the attention you want. Your ethics and morals will be challenged. Your ideas–criticized. Your knowledge–questioned. There will be days when you feel as if you chose the wrong path.
Your inner-voice will beg you to stop, wanting you to to quit and return to the comfortable life of the middle-ground.
However, once your brand of one gains traction, you’ll be near-impossible to copy. Your tribe won’t just want the thing you sell. They want you. Your customers buy you and your ideas. Anyone else is just a copy.
You’re No Longer Limited By Price
When you’re a brand of one, not only do you set the rules for your tribe, you set the price. If a customer wants to play in your sandbox they’ve go to pay the cost of admission. I know a marketer who sells his best information, bound in hardback books.
We like to think of a book with a cap in price. Maybe $30. But this marketer charges up to $1,000 for a single book. And his readers pay for it. Not because it’s a book, but for the ‘brand of one’ information he brings to the table.
You can do the same thing with your tribe.
When you take the contrarian stance you build a mote around your castle. You don’t have to race your competition to the bottom. You control the rules. Who gets in and who doesn’t. You become the only game in town.
The contrarian sets the rules and builds the model. The contrarian becomes the case study.
When you stand behind the velvet rope of your brand, not only do you set the price you also choose your customers. You become the gatekeeper. You don’t have to work with anyone you don’t want to. The customers don’t have a price reference because you are the only person they can do business with if they want your brand.
It’s Time to Stick Your Neck Out
Whether you build a brand of one for your business, or you build a personal brand around your contract work, this is your blue ocean. Choose not to accept the status quo. There is another way to do things. There’s a better way and you can find it.
Go all-in on your niche.
Create content, articles, social posts, videos, graphics, and publications, all based-around your contrarian idea. When someone researches the ‘normal’ way of doing things they’ll find your article that says, “Before you try X, consider this first.”
The road will not be smooth.
There will be many days when you’ll want to quit. But if your new, contrarian approach works, and you’ve found a way to grow an audience, keep following that path until is stops working.
Make Sure You Build an Email List
You want a direct way to contact your entire tribe. As you build a niche, you’ll also grow a social following. But you can’t take your social followers with you. As your work becomes more-popular, the more challengers will come after your ideas.
The status quo will feel threatened.
You could lose your social following overnight. But they can’t take your email list. Email is the last, great marketing frontier. With email, you have the ability to contact everyone on your list without having to buy ads (as you do with social.
With email there are few distractions, competing for your reader’s attention.
You can automate your sales process, growing your brand of one as new customers join your list. Not only will you earn their trust through your content, you’ll also solidify your message and grow your army of converts.
Email is the number one marketing tool of the contrarian brand.
We Need Your Best Work
It’s time to take a stand and give your customers a better experience. Not only will they trust you more than the competition, they’ll be happy to pay your higher-than-typical prices. Your customers want you.
A brand of one is a premium brand not a discount brand.
Yes, your new way of thinking must work. You must get the results you promise, for the typical user of your product.
A brand of one isn’t about comfort.
It’s about niche dominance.
You want your voice to be the only one in the room. Not the smartest of the all the voices, or the most-talented. Just the only one in the room.
We can’t help but pay attention to you.
Build Your Tollbooth
If a customer wants your contrarian solution she’s got to join your email list. She must pay the cost of admission and she must agree to your terms of engagement.
Too many entrepreneurs fail to choose their niche. They allow their customers to push them around and accept any client that comes their way.
When you’ve got a tollbooth in front of your bridge, you avoid a thousand decisions.
The customer accepts your work or doesn’t. You can choose the people you want to work with. You become the only player in the arena. And there’s room. Your tollbooth doesn’t have to be completely revolutionary.
When you build a brand of one, remember, even if there are copycats there’s only one you.
It’s time to take the road less traveled. It’s time to find your soapbox. Do the research inside your niche. Find a new way of doing the old work better. Show the world why the old way is not the best way.
Challenge the system and break some eggs.
A brand of one is the shortcut, but not the easy or comfortable route. Be prepared for challenges, but enjoy the new feeling of purpose you’ll bring to your business. The brand of one is the best way to keep the spotlight on your work, during a time when our attention is scattered everywhere, all day.
Now is your time.
August Birch is an author, email expert, and entrepreneur from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make more work that sells and sell more work once it’s made. When he’s not writing or teaching, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.