Success Magazine interview: Brand-building for entrepreneurs

June 11, 2024

The era of social media and digital marketing means that businesses must be more brand-conscious than ever before. One perceived miscue can become a bad Yelp review or a viral post from some troll.

SUCCESS magazine interviewed Proven Media Solutions founder Dustin Siggins about what every entrepreneur needs to know about building brand credibility in the 21st century.

Press is good – surround-sound marketing & branding is better

Press is a great tool for building trust with target audiences. But in the modern world, no single tool – whether social media, digital or traditional advertising, e-mail newsletters, etc. – is enough. Surround-sound marketing and branding is much, much better.

“There are two strategic approaches for media,” Siggins says. “One is brand exposure. You just want your coverage. You want to talk about your ideas for whatever reason you want them out there and you don’t care if it drives sales or any other outcome.” 

“Or you want to drive an ROI with earned media,” Siggins says. “Typically for that, you need to have a robust marketing team in place. Because if you don’t, it’s just hanging in the ether in today’s media world. …. [Y]our team should have a well-developed, well-thought-out, well-executed marketing plan that is going to take earned media and drive more value from it.” 

Who represents your brand?

The best brand exposure comes from having the right people presented to the right audiences. For example, customer endorsements and culture praise from employees can often mean more than a speech from the entrepreneur founder, especially during a potential crisis.

“And then you have to think about the kinds of media that work for your company and the tone that you want as the spokesperson,” Siggins explains. “If you’re the CEO and you’re a nerd, maybe USA Today isn’t the best, but maybe The Wall Street Journal is or Gartner or Forbes—or if you have a stutter and you’re very shy or camera-shy, you probably don’t want to go on CNBC. Maybe have somebody else do that for you.”

And, of course, every spokesperson needs to practice. You don’t want to be flat-footed on TV or caught in a hot-mic ambush moment.

Stay on point

It’s very easy to get your narrative off-brand in a world where outrage generates viral distractions, and when a million topics come across your screen. Stay disciplined about your narrative and to whom you are spreading the narrative. Otherwise, you may become an ex-entrepreneur because you are no longer focused on what matters: growing your company.

“If you have a great connection with a consumer products reporter at The Wall Street Journal and you’re talking about lawyers and accountants, it’s not really going to work,” Siggins notes. “You have to have the three T’s: right topic at the right time from someone with the right title.”  

Even if you see something outrageous.

“Wait 48 hours [to put] an opinion out there,” Siggins says. “Second, If you care about the subject matter, seek original sources.”

And even if you’re getting criticized.

“Unless they’re relevant to your target audience, ignore them,” says Siggins. “People have too much time on their hands today. There’s easy access to the internet. Also, generally don’t talk about politics if you can avoid it.” 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *