Founder of Silicon Hills News

Bg7-86FCAAAAhhhWhat’s in a brand?

Billions of dollars, said Bill Schley, branding expert and co-founder of BrandTeamSix.

Rackspace’s brand “Fanatical Support” is worth one billion dollars per word, Schley said.

“They said we will answer the phone in one ring at midnight on Christmas Eve,” Schley said. And they did. And Rackspace became known in the IT industry for providing outstanding customer support, he said.

Schley spoke Thursday afternoon at Geekdom, a downtown San Antonio coworking and technology incubator, to a roomful of startup entrepreneurs and others on “Branding for Startups.”

Schley recently wrote the book “The Unstoppables” with a foreword from Graham Weston, founder of Rackspace. The book details the plight of entrepreneurs and dispels myths and shares the keys to success. Schley also wrote “The Micro-Script Rules” and “Why Johnny Can’t Brand.”

Schley spoke for an hour on branding and NowCastSA did this video of his talk.

But for those who don’t have an hour, here’s his top 12 tips.

1. The fact is your brand isn’t optional. Branding is something we do automatically, Schley said. It’s something we do unconsciously and for primitive reasons. Either you control your brand or your customers and competitors are going to brand for you. “You’re not going to like the tag line.”

2. What’s the one thing that sets you apart and sticks in your mind? That’s your brand.

3. You need to align everything you do with that idea so you perform the way you promise.

4. Find a category to be number one in. “People remember one big thing” Schley said. “They don’t remember 100 things.”

5. Create a Microscript – which tells a brand’s story in six words or less. That script can powerfully convey your brand in one idea. Examples include Rackspace’s “Fanatical Support.” M&Ms “melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

6. Your brand needs to be superlative, important, believable, memorable and ownable.

7. You’ve got to be the best in what you do. Your brand has to be a must have and not a need to have, Schley said.

8. The No. 1 Rule is “Specific is Terrific.” For example, Rolex is the luxury watch, ESPN is the sports channel, Volvos are safe cars and Wheaties is the breakfast of champions. Even Superman has a microscript, Schley said. He stands for truth, justice and the American way.

9. When number one is already taken shift your brand to the left or to the right. For example, Subaru branded itself as SUV Wagons. People create this category by combining two categories, Schley said. The Patagonia Tooth Fish became Chilean Sea Bass and sold a lot more fish, he said.

10. You don’t have to be General Electric or Starbucks to do this, Schley said. For example, a massage business run by a Native American branded her shop as Native Palm and become known for that.

11. Branding is not optional. What this really comes down to is the ability to focus. The reason people can’t brand is for a very simple reason: it’s fear. “The narrower your focus, the wider and broader your brand goes.”

12. Your job is not to entertain. Your job is to put them in motion. Once you’ve got their attention, you’ve got to sell them something.