287 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Suzanne Tulien
Your Brand Is Your Business & Whether You Know it or Not, You ALREADY Have One.
Information on Suzanne Tulien and her book Personal Brand Clarity and Brand DNA
As a brand clarity, expert & international speaker/consultant, and author – identifying and defining brand value positions is in my DNA. I help businesses enlist, equip, and engage their people to understand and leverage their competitive advantage and attract customers who become advocates.
Suzanne is the founder of Brand Ascension, I partner with business owners and their employee teams to align their brand strategy, culture, and customer experience with their Brand DNA. Ultimately, my work creates conscious accountability in businesses to walk their talk from the inside out.
Suzanne is the co-author of “Brand DNA: Uncover Your Organization’s Genetic Code for Competitive Advantage,” author of The 6 Myths of Small Business Branding, and author of Personal Brand Clarity; Identity, Define and Align to Become What You Want to Be Known For. I deliver a brand clarifying process that enables businesses and solopreneur to truly leverage their value position and distinction. And as the pioneer of The Brand DNA (Dimensional Nucleic Assets(R) proprietary consulting methodology, & of “Ignite Your Personal Brand Presence” program I help brands realize their competitive advantage and deliver on it. I am certified in Accelerated Learning Methodologies and a Certified Trainer, as well as Certified in Modern Classroom Training. I have posted a ton of articles over the past 16 years and have been published on BrandChannel.com, eHotelier.com, Innovate Market Insights, & others.
Specialties: Pioneer of the Brand DNA methodology, a step-by-step brand-defining process, and internal implementation strategies; Brand consulting; Experiential training onsite and in virtual platforms; Employee engagement; Brand training & program design; keynotes; graphic design; brand identity design. I love EFFICIENCIES! I have a knack for finding easy solutions that foster productivity and efficiency.
Robert Newman: Welcome back to the mail right, oh sorry welcome back to the mail-right show. We are incredibly fortunate to have an amazing guest with us today. Her name is Suzanne Tulien. She is the author of not one but two amazing books on branding. The one first one was written 10 years ago and was called Branding DNA. And her most recent book is called personal, personal branding, or personal brand. Did I get the right?
Suzanne Tulien: Personal brand clarity.
Robert Newman: Personal Brand clarity. We are very, very excited to have her on the show today and to continue our conversation about various ways to brand yourself. I talk a lot about branding yourself with a story, and I’m sure that Suzanne is going to give us a lot of amazing insights. So with no further ado, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to our viewers and our listeners.
Suzanne Tulien: Again, I’m Suzanne Tulien I call myself a brand clarity expert. I’m an author speaker and, and consultant, and trainer. So I like to help realtors your audience really, leverage their wisdom, their expertise, and their personality to become what they want to be known for. So that’s what this book is all about. It’s the entire process. I pioneered a process called brand DNA in 2010, from that original book that you mentioned, and I’ve crafted that into, that was for corporate America. But now this book personal brand clarity is really written for the solopreneur, the person who is the brand of their book of business and realtors certainly fall into that.
Robert Newman: They certainly do. I’m also always overjoyed and grateful that many, many are at like 200 episodes or 100 episodes or whatever ago, that the founder of mail, right? The founder of this show found me and, agreed to share the stage with me. His name is John. He’s amazing. He’s a Word Press expert. He’s a multi-time entrepreneur. John, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience?
Jonathan Denwood: Thank you, Robert. And I’m really looking forward to this discussion with Suzanne. I don’t think there’s any more time where if you’re going to have a successful career in real estate where you need to build a personal brand. I think the agents in the next few years that don’t do that have not really got a long-term career, but those that do will be highly successful. So I’m just really looking forward to Suzanne’s views and tips and, what she feels a real estate agent really has to do to build a really successful local brand back over to you Robert.
Robert Newman: Well, you know, it’s funny because I just, I really quickly like pulled up the index and I was telling Suzanne before the show that I felt like I had read her book or listened to her book years and years ago, I really do think that I did think I picked it up and actually read it. So I have not read your new book though. So for somebody like me who may already have run across you in the corporate world can you differentiate the principles between your first book about branding and your second book about branding, just so that our audience understands the different directions that you went over the last decade.
Suzanne Tulien: So when we started brand Ascension, thank you, Robert. And I’m so glad you may have read the book. That’s awesome. We built this, we pioneered this process called brand DNA, which is a process for companies with employees to flush out core brand attributes that make up their value position. So, again, it’s just a process so that we can create a brand around the entity of the organization. And that’s really what that book is focused on. And we infuse all of the outputs of the activities that are in that book that process. We’ve infused that into their culture their systems and processes leadership and everything that the brand does. So it’s an internal function. That’s why it’s DNA because it’s within the organization. And then the personal brand clarity book is really, it’s really close to the same process, but the language in it speaks to the solo professional. They don’t have employees. They are the brand of their business solely. It’s not an entity so to speak, but they make those decisions and it helps them flush out certain attributes that keep them authentic, consistent, and distinctive as to who they are. So they can walk the talk and deliver on their promise every single day.
Robert Newman: Okay. And so let’s just pretend that we don’t know who you are. What makes you an authority on Branding?
Suzanne Tulien: Oh gosh. How many years have I been doing this? I started in the marketing arena, marketing communications, advertising graphic design. So I realized that all of that messaging was certainly a function that was necessary to deliver the message, deliver the brand information. But what I saw that wasn’t happening out there was the actual fact that when you’re out there marketing a brand and you don’t have a defining, as the profile of what that brand is, my question is to the client, what are you marketing? If you haven’t done the work and defining that brand so that’s when I shifted. And I realized that all I was doing with my marketing and my graphic design work was just putting lipstick on the pig so to speak and this just means I’m putting a new coat of paint. And the client’s expectation was that their business was going to grow from that activity, which isn’t true. And that they really didn’t understand or have a, a real clarity around who they were as a brand.
So that’s when I realized that that was a gap. They weren’t taking the time to figure that out. And that’s when I rolled into starting a process to help these people. And these companies identify, define, and then align to who they were as a brand before they spent any more marketing dollars out there. So, you know, being a pioneer of the methodology, I think helps make me an expert. I’ve got case after case, after case of proven success from it. Getting companies and people more conscious, strategic, and deliberate in how they go about doing what they do.
Robert Newman: I have one follow-up question, and then I’m going to turn it over to my cohost, John because I know that he was incredibly excited about meeting with you today. And I’m sure he has a long list of questions that he wants to ask, but I have a question that I am personally curious about. So I, we have been fortunate, John and I, to talk to lots of authors and amazing people that, that deal with the concept of story you’re calling it a brand. I’m going to call it a story, but it’s really the same thing. The story of accompanies, the story of a person, whatever it is. I’m curious to know that you, as a person that lives and breathes and eats in this field, tell me, who do you personally look at and go that company or person has just hit a grand slam with their brand?
Suzanne Tulien: Well, there are several of them. You know, one I’ve been following for a long, long time as Tony Robbins. You know he is still the sole kind of owner of his own conglomerate brand because he is infused into everything that his Tony Robbins Company does. And so that’s huge. You know, people that have made a name for themselves and have stayed consistent with walking the talk and delivering on their promise. And in that same breath, we’ve got people that have made it to celebrity status who have fallen off of that realm, you know, have stopped being consistent for one reason or another, who had said that they are something and then something happens one day and everybody realizes that’s not what they thought they were. We can, I don’t know if I want to name names, but we all understand, you know, that’s when you’re in the celebrity arena, you have to really be more conscious of how you show up. So it’s really all those people that, you know, my-, someone that I would choose could be different than what you, it just depends on what your filters are and what you lean into in terms of what you trust.
Robert Newman: Okay. And so there’s really only one brand that you, that you named. Is there another that you get, like I was talking about somebody who just hit a home run? I will avoid as well as you like talking about people that are falling off their brand game, but is there anybody else that stayed on their band game that you like that you personally, like, I’m not talking about, you know, the world I’m talking about you, Suzanne, who else is it that you look at and you go, God, they just, they do a good job?
Suzanne Tulien: Wow. You know the common ones like Oprah or Marie Forleo and those, those types of people are pretty- They’re doing a really good job at serving the way they’re promising they’re serving. Elon Musk He is a brand in and of himself, of course. And is pretty, pretty conscious, strategic, and deliberate in being Elon no he doesn’t let things faze him. He doesn’t let, bad reviews shake him. He’s just is what he is, I could just go in on.
Robert Newman: No, those were great examples. I just wanted to get a feel for what you’re like, what your vision of good branding was. So with that, John I’ve really taken up a lot more time than I intended to. So why don’t you go ahead and get in-
Jonathan Denwood: On a more scale because obviously, these are Elon and some of the other people, you mentioned, they are mega personalities, you know, but on a more maybe a more reachable. Are there any kind of real estate agents that have come on your radar through your teaching and consultancy? Any, any, if not, it doesn’t have to be real estate agents, but if they are, that’d be great. That has come on your radar that you think have done a really good job of branding themselves locally. And if so, what were some of the key things that you think they were doing right, Suzanne?
Suzanne Tulien: Well, we have several here locally in town that, are making a name for themselves, of course, on TV. So I really want to also make sure we understand the difference between branding and marketing, because I think your audience needs to understand those two functions. And I feel like we keep going into the marketing side of it. And I really want to stay on the brand side because that’s where my expertise is. I mean, we can market all day long and still not have a very good brand because a brand is about consistency. It’s about delivering on the promise. It’s about being authentic.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, can I just interrupt? You’re so right because before I was thinking of asking you a slightly different question to the one, and that was my experience of corporate America because it is a very effective way of increasing profit a bit. So most of corporate America is obsessed with brands So they have all these, you know, on message training for employees, blah, blah, blah, blah. But then there’s the everybody- But I, I tend to observe the, everybody in the organization plays along with it, but there’s also the real brand there’s the actual, real essence of the business. And in a lot of occasions, the two don’t match, but I feel very rapidly in the next few years, those that don’t match what they try and project to the reality of what they are, are going to have some problems.
Suzanne Tulien: You’re absolutely right, Jonathan. And that’s what I call cognitive dissonance or cognitive resonance. And when we’re not matching the marketing messaging with how we’re actually creating the customer experience or the transactional experience, if it’s two different things, then you’re breaking down trust and you’re not building trust through consistency. So that’s- one of the biggest problems I think solopreneurs have is that they’re trying so hard to be like what they see around them, that everybody ends up doing the same thing and their brands become diluted in the market and they become a commodity in the minds of their audiences. So I know 50 to 100 real estate agents in just my circle of influence. I do a lot of training for them and, coaching with them. But if I were to find somebody that I need to refer someone to knowing that person and knowing how they deliver on what they say they are delivering on is important for me to make that referral. Otherwise, they’re just, you know, another, a dime a dozen out there because they’re not creating a distinction. They’re all trying to do and market the same way as each other are marketing. And it’s just, isn’t working
Jonathan Denwood: Well. I think we’re going to go for a break, Robert, and then we come back we can deal- cause I would say how you do it the right way. So I think this is a great time to go for a break Robert.
Robert Newman: Sure All right, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, real estate agents of all places in their career, we’re going to be right back. So grab your note pads, grab your pens we’re going to ask Suzanne to get into some specific specifics about how you build a brand stay tuned.
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Robert Newman: We’re back with Suzanne Tulien. And we are in episode number 287. I think of the mail rights podcast we’ve been talking about the brand. The topic that we’ve covered so far is Suzanne was kind enough to share with us some examples of people that she thought was doing great brand. She separated the distinction about, marketing versus branding and a little bit of dissonance between the two. And now we’re going to ask her some questions. John is going to get right back into asking her some questions about how would you go about building a personal brand? So over to you John.
Jonathan Denwood: So I think what you said before we went for the break was really important. But the nitty-gritty of those people in your local market, that you think are doing an effective job. Are there some things that link them all together? Is there a pattern that you could share with our audience, even though they are individuals and a got their individual brand Is there obviously that’s what your book is about [Inaudible16:18] to achieve in that individuality of brand, is it not?
Suzanne Tulien: Yes, it is. And it’s let me just say that there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that every single person already has a brand. The bad news is, is that everyone already has a brand. So what that means is the real question is are you in control of it? Because a brand, all a brand is as a perception so we give off perceptions all the time and people are perceiving us in different ways all the time, but are we cognizant of it? Are we conscious strategic and deliberate in our actions and behaviors and how we actually show up and showcase who we are? And when you’re out there marketing your marketing, the brand Remember, and if we’re disseminating information about a brand, we have not yet defined yet. All we’re doing is chasing the audience instead of a poll style, which is really revealing who you are and what you’re promising to deliver on that very individual scale.
And so what makes a good brand great are people who are authentically showing up true to their core, brand style attributes, core values. They know what makes them different. And they are true to delivering on what they’re promising from the get-go and not just talking about in their marketing messaging about selling a house or helping someone buy a house, but really getting into who they are and those attributes that distinguish them from the next guy. And you guys were talking about this the other day on your brand story, podcast, you know, this is all about that uniqueness that you bring to the table. What are your superpowers? What is your area of expertise? If you are just organizing, you know, crazy nut and you just love numbers and you love organization, then you can really begin to leverage that in your brand, in terms of how organized you are in the process of buying a house. Do you know what I mean? You start your vernacular changes when you’re clear on what attributes you can bring to the table, and that’s really content for all your messaging.
Jonathan Denwood: So how could you apply it clearly to the example? So you got these individual real estate agents and they all got different backgrounds. They come from different histories, different areas of business. How do they clarify what are their individual strengths and the ones that would be interesting to their audience, which is selling and buying of houses?
Suzanne Tulien: So that’s a big question, but the process it is in the book and it’s really about flushing out what those core values are identifying and defining those. When I say define, I want the realtor to really define how they show up valuing that particular value. And so that’s in their actions and behaviors and when I experience that as a customer, as a prospect, then I’m seeing what they value through those actions and behaviors and through their narrative and how they’re even marketing themselves. So it’s very, it’s, again, everybody is so individual at what they can bring to the table based on their own expertise. And knowing that no brand is universal, that you’re not going to capture everyone, not everyone is your market.
And when you begin to leverage those things that you have superpowers around, that you just lean into, then you’re going to start attracting those customers, those prospects that believe what you believe. This is typical Simon Sinek, right? They buy what you believe they don’t buy what you do because I can get that 10,000 other places. A prospect is your perfect market, the perfect client when they can buy into what you believe. And until you reveal that, or even uncover that for yourself so that you can reveal it. It’s a crapshoot on who you take on as a customer.
Jonathan Denwood: Right. Do you want to ask a question, Robert? Or can I ask another one?
Robert Newman: You can ask another one I have plenty but please keep going whatever you want John I took up a lot of time at the start of the show.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. so have you got any insights on how I should treat the tricky relationship, which is the normally most stakes between broker and agent between the agent having needing if they’re going to be effective and have a real long term career building brand and what the brokerage is about, which is building their own brand do you have any insights about what the agent should understand about that?
Suzanne Tulien: Well, the clearer they are, I think that’s a great question, Jonathan, the clearer they are on who they are, the more satisfied they will be when they join an organization, the broker, right? The organization has that same set of core values or nearly the same set of core values. So the first thing to do is make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into, know what that culture is, know what that value position is of the brokerage you’re going into, and know yourself enough to know if it’s a good fit because oftentimes that’s where the relationships start to dissolve as we realized that they got themselves into a position or an, an organization that isn’t a good fit that doesn’t espouse the same values.
Jonathan Denwood: Yes maybe it is I was going to say that it was obvious, but actually it was very insightful with the, you can see when you don’t follow that why things rapidly go [Inaudible 22:40] because let’s say you are an agent that really loves the technology and loves to be on the edge of using technology in your real estate business. And you join a very sleepy, very established brokerage that doesn’t really value technology. That’s not going to really work. Is it?
Suzanne Tulien: Not at all so values and the brand style attributes, which is also an exercise in the book helps you really understand your core personality. And if you can match that personality with the brokerage that you’re considering joining, then that’s even more powerful. You’re solidifying, resonating, you know, attributes that you can then, grow from and exponentially grow from within that organization. But you’ve got to do your own due diligence, and you’ve really got to pay attention. I keep saying the three words, conscious strategic and deliberate because we are not conscious enough today we are not strategic enough and we are not deliberate enough about how we show up because we are being so externally impacted by our external environments. And we lose the ability to be more internally driven. And when we’re not internally driven, we make bad choices and we discern differently-
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I’m going to throw- I’m just going to remark then throw it over to Robert. Cause we got about another five, six minutes of the podcast. Hopefully, you’re going to stay on for bonus content. But just as a, I think it was linked to what you previously said earlier on Suzanne, is that a lot of agents, they want to appeal to everybody. And I see that so much. And by wanting to appeal to everybody, they appeal to nobody.
Suzanne Tulien: Exactly.
Jonathan Denwood: They just like you say, just become a commodity. They just become, and I said last week, like in Northern Nevada, there’s about 12, there are about 12 agents that I feel really know what they’re up to and know their craft, but of those 12 there’s over half of them I wouldn’t work with not because I don’t think they actually understand the mechanics of selling a house or helping somebody buy one. It’s just that their personalities don’t resonate with me and for most people, the major purchase of their life. I don’t particularly want to work with somebody that I don’t resonate with.
Suzanne Tulien: You don’t have to.
Jonathan Denwood: You don’t have to over to you Robert.
Robert Newman: Well, I’m gonna, so strangely enough, I was, probably as a follow-up to our podcast last week, I’ve been doing a deep dive into reading some books and listening to some books all about, not so much brand, but like the concept of working with people that basically relate to your core values. And that could be a principal as a business owner and entrepreneur. And one of the books that I recently was picking up and I was trying to find it on my phone and I couldn’t, because I have so many books in my library, I’ve already read like another three, and I was just, I couldn’t remember the name, but anyway, the guy that did the book was somebody that was part of the PayPal mafia. Don’t know if, either one of you ever heard of this, but this basically a group of guys that were working at PayPal, which Elon Musk was one, but while nobody’s moved on to be as famous as Elon, this group of guys that have all moved on to do insane things, there’s about 13 major companies that have come out of the same group of workers that originally helped get PayPal off the ground.
Here’s what he said. It kind of relates to personal branding. I think that’s why I’m throwing it in the show. And I just want to hear what you think Suzanne. So what he said was even when you’re working in a larger internal, like large companies, maybe people that like companies that have thousands of people, or it could be a small real estate team. It doesn’t really matter. Align yourself with team members that have the same core values and interests. That’s what he was essentially saying, like align yourself with those people because creatively you’re going to work much, much better with that group of people a group of people that kind of has the same mission, or at least the same creative fabric that you do because oftentimes pushing and pulling against people in cyber organizations is it’s not that they’re bad people they just may not be wired quite the same way that you are. So oftentimes you find yourself creating friction and resistance based on differentiation in personality types. And I just kind of want to see what you thought about that.
Suzanne Tulien: Well, I think to some extent, that’s very true if you want to move fast because you’ve got everybody on board who thinks like you think, right, but you also have to be careful about groupthink and being stuck in a bubble and you know, not being able to step outside of the box and it’s really the antagonist or the catalyst in the group that doesn’t think like you think that could kind of steer it in a different direction than you may never have thought of before. So there’s a couple of different, you know, boundaries and things you need to think about. maybe you start a project with a bunch of people of like-minded values, and then you pull in a few people to review and give feedback that maybe don’t have the same values just to get a different perspective. Because if you know, that’s how we grow And if you guys are all about innovation, right, you’ve got, at some point you want to have that outside focus, provide some level of feedback so that you can think twice about something, tweak something and see what’s at the next generation of that thought.
Robert Newman: Gotcha. I kind of, I kind of agreed with that though. I think that you hit the nail on the head in the first part of your statement, the challenge I’ve always found with tech. I don’t think that people outside of tech understand the break-neck pace that you are trying to innovate at or create at like a developer who’s creating something in a year and John can attest to this. That is like lightning speed. Like you are doing so much work to take an idea from fruition to market You don’t really have the same kind of timeframe that other people think that you have in order to hear contrary ideas Like tech is really weird because if you get stopped or slowed down, you really can get derailed in a very major kind of way.
So, I was just curious to see what you, what you thought I’m, I’m a little bit on the fence. I think you’re right. But at the same time, I also understand exactly what the author was trying to communicate when he was saying work with like-minded teams. And I don’t think he necessarily, he was trying to infer that somebody wouldn’t disagree, but I think that everybody having the same core values, like here’s the value we can innovate as much as we want, but somebody is Footing the a hundred million dollar bill. We better get a product to market as soon as possible.
Jonathan Denwood: I actually think your yours, both singing from the same song sheet. I think you’re right. What you just said. And Suzanne was just pointing out as long as they have at their heart, they go in the end result, they’re going on the same journey. You don’t just want people that just agree with you all the time. They must be some cause in that disagreement is a creative process, isn’t it? But we need to wrap up the podcast parts, show Robert, and then Suzanne it seems up to doing some bonus content with us.
Suzanne Tulien: Absolutely.
Robert Newman: So here’s what we’re going to look at. Suzanne, if you’re up for the last 10 minutes, the show is going to be on YouTube alone. So for those of you who would like to see our beautiful faces, we’re going to invite you to go over to the mail, right YouTube channel, and do that. Suzanne, if you’re comfortable with it, we’ve talked a lot about general things and, I just kind of enjoyed getting your thoughts about the bigger brand concepts, but at the end of these last 10 minutes, if you could say specifically a couple of very direct tips for a solo real estate agent, do you think you could contribute something in the last 10 minutes of the show?
Suzanne Tulien: I think so.
Robert Newman: Okay, lovely. So listen to everybody. Thank you so much for joining the show. For those of you are only going to tune into the podcast, Suzanne, how would you like those people to look you up?
Suzanne Tulien: I have, a website brand ascension.com and I have an online course for the solopreneur that I built last year. And it’s at personalbrandpresence.com. It’s an awesome video self-directed course that has a little bit of me in there, a downloadable workbook and it’ll walk you right through it every step of the way.
Robert Newman: Wonderful. so I love free content for those of you listening to the show,, I hope you took that down and you go check it out, John, if somebody wanted to, reach out to you and, see what you’re doing with mail right lead generation system that leverages the power of Facebook. I am just stealing your language right out from underneath you. How would they go about doing that?
Jonathan Denwood: First of all, I wanted to say, don’t worry. The links to the things Suzanne just mentioned will be in the show notes with the video, with every link, on the mail right website. So I’ll make sure that those links are there folks. And about mail right well I think we’ve got a fantastic system, really great value aimed at the real estate agent, the individual, or the agent in a small group, go over to mail, right? You can book a free demo that demo and also a free consultation is done by me. It’s half-hour. I think even if you decided and I’ll be amazed, if you decided not to go with Mail-Right you would still get great value from that consultation over to you Robert.
Robert Newman: Lovely. And if anybody would like to figure out how to do real estate, content, marketing, inbound marketing, all story-based marketing, all those things, you can find that all out for free. I have tons and tons of posts and videos on my site, which is inboundREM.com. So ladies and gentlemen, thank you for tuning in, we’ll catch you on the flip side for those of you who are going to join us on YouTube. We’ll see you in a second.
Folks if you want to buy Suzanne’s latest book about personal branding “Personal Brand Clarity” you can buy a copy from Amazon here.