“Bacon is a great metaphor for the perpetually interesting brand.” Taking a cue from comedian Jim Gaffigan (Bippity-boppity-BACON!), strategist and speaker Justin Foster has found that, while it may seem silly, bacon is an amazing metaphor for how we build and grow unique and engaging brands. We couldn’t wait to chat about bacon brands on this week’s On Brand podcast.
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About Justin Foster
“Inside every brand is a truth waiting to be amplified.” This is the message that Justin Foster shares as he works with clients and in his presentations and workshops. Based in Austin, TX, Justin is a brand strategist, published author, professional speaker, and workshop facilitator. He has worked for nearly 25 years in sales and marketing for small businesses and large corporations, co-founding two marketing/branding firms, and one successful start-up. As a brand strategist, Justin works with senior leaders and business owners to help them discover the “bacon” of their brand and create a meaningful, relevant presence in the marketplace. He believes that the truth of a brand is found in its culture and that culture should be as a brand’s #1 differentiator.
Justin is frequently asked to speak and write on social business, modern marketing and branding and business trends. As a speaker/facilitator, he has delivered over 400 keynotes and workshops across every major industry. In addition, he has published two books on branding: Oatmeal v Bacon: How to Differentiate in a Generic World and Human Bacon: A Man’s Guide to Creating an Awesome Personal Brand. Justin also contributes frequently to a number of blog sites and has his own popular blog at fosterthinking.com.
So why is bacon such a good metaphor for branding? “First, it has its marketing built into it. Compare that to oatmeal, a decidedly left-brained situation that requires analytic decisions and preparation. Bacon is emotional, not intellectual. And finally, the aroma of bacon is like the (intangible) culture of a business.”
Branding used to be about the development of outside perception. “Today it’s the external amplification of your internal awesome.” The three big trends that help amplification — social/mobile trends, millennials, and the rise of innovation.
How are millennials connecting with brands? “They learn about brands not from traditional media but through other people — like relationships.” Millennials are also dichotomous — both individualistic and social. They are the new influencers and some of the biggest customers in the market place. They are looking for that emotional connection.
How do brands build an emotional connection? You have to stand for something so that consumers can easily answer the question, “Does this brand believe in the same things as me?” That requires a brand promise. What is Justin’s definition of the brand promise? “It’s the leadership teams’s promise for how they’ll treat the people that touch their brands.”
Leadership is critical for great brands. “Every bad brand decision started as a bad leadership decision.” That’s why Justin thinks that many small businesses understand branding better than large businesses.
Can you fix a bland or non-bacon brand? “Absolutely! There’s a truth inside every brand waiting to be amplified. You have to develop that real value proposition — that’s the financial side of that emotional connection.”
What skill are most brand builders missing? “Empathy … so many branders don’t like people very much. They’re dismissive of the fact that the people own the brand.”
Justin also had a great definition of personal branding as well … “It’s the authentic application of self.”
What brand has made Justin smile lately? Alamo Drafthouse. “They have a respect for the art of the movie. They have behavioral expectations of their customers (no talking, cell phone use or they bounce you), and their employees all believe these ideas as well.”
As We Wrap Up …
Danielle Rogers gave a nice shout-out to the On Brand podcast back in February at AMA Iowa’s Experience Event. Big thanks to Danielle for listening and to AMA Iowa for being a great organization! [EDITOR’S NOTE: This podcaster may have doubled up on this shoutout but we’re sure Danielle won’t mind.]
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