“Talkable” – building an irresistible brand from the inside out

June 21, 2010

Properly branding your ministry is a challenge.  As a para-church ministry with one mission, but multiple outreaches, properly branding our outreaches so that we effectively communicate with our constituents is a challenge.  As we have delved even more into his issue, we have found many other ministries struggling with the same issue.

In our research on branding we came across a blog by Guy Richards, the founder and CEO of Abiah, an innovative Christian brand development firm. Guy has coined the term, “Talkable”, to describe his philosophy of building an irresistible brand from the inside out.  Guy has received numerous marketing and brand development awards so he knows what he is talking about.

Recently, Guy published the book, “Talkable” which is his approach to brand development.  The goal of this book is to help people to “maximize the growth of your brand cheaply and organically using an effective method called social strategy”.  His methodology is not that of an “overnight sensation”, but that of an intentional, time-tested, slow-burn approach for businesses and ministries that are serious about sustainable growth.  He talks about the common theme that is threaded through the book – what it looks like to build a brand that people who are unpaid willingly advocate.  Guy is also a committed Christian that is committed to exalting Christ and sharing the Good News with others.

Following are a few highlights from his book:

Social strategy is built from the idea that people have more influence on purchases and donations than a brand does in traditional advertising approaches.  People talk.

Positively Talkable brands have one thing in common: They create value from the inside out, which becomes contagious.  It is felt first internally.

The challenge is that we live in a world that demands quick results.  Tricky tactics achieve fast results but only for a season, while shipwrecking the organization’s future.  A positive reputation translates into a sustainable revenue stream.

The Brand Advocate and the Brand Detractor are one and the same.  What action ensues depends on the experiences they have with a brand.  A pure motive with a high level of common sense creates advocacy, which leads to loyalty.

The problem most organizations run into is not identifying core problems until it hurts – and by then, it’s too late.

A brand inspires belief in a forecasted future.  The belief works as a solution to a problem.  The greater the problem, the more engaging the brand will be.

Have you measured your plans against eternity or do your plans stop in this life?

Identify the group of people that is “adamant” about what you sell.  Then define how they think and why what you sell is a part of their lifestyle.  This groups is the trendsetters.  Then pick only the top three things they value in order of importance.  Once you have this information, you can position your core message.  He has found that by positioning your brand to trendsetters, you will ensure a wider reach with less cost-per-sale.

Be clear about your brand promise.

As a leader, your brand’s perception and reality starts and ends with you.  What is the end result you want?

It takes love to step out of our comfortable ways to connect with others.

It is better to inspire rather than use fear to motivate sales [donations].

These are just a few of the tidbits from his book and I do believe that it is worth reading, especially if branding your ministry is a challenge.

One of my favorite statements he makes is, “I love business, I love ministry, but more importantly, I love ministering in business.  I love being a light with the skills I have been given . . .” Here is a businessman, a specialist in branding, whose focus is on exalting Christ and making Him known – a great combination in my opinion.

BG