Building a Big Brand Image for your Small Business – 251

You’re trying to build your dream house. You have hired the best construction crew in the world to assemble the pieces. You are expecting greatness. Spoiler alert: Without a clear blueprint, a “great idea” is all that house will ever be.

Building a brand works very much the same way.

It won’t matter if you’ve found the most talented graphic designer that has ever graced the World Wide Web unless you’re able to communicate the visual identity of your brand to them!

Today on the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan is speaking with Ian Bower, the owner of Graphic Rhythm, a full stack graphic design agency that specializes in this very thing. Humans are visual creatures by nature. Whether we are learning how to use a new accounting program or we’re clicking through Amazon looking to buy a new camping tent for the summer, there’s a reason we say “seeing is believing.” What many Amazon sellers don’t realize, when it comes to their brand, is “seeing is surviving.”

While it’s often true that small brands are in a constant David & Goliath battle with industry leaders in the online arena, our flexibility and speed make us dangerously competitive.

In this episode we are identifying pain points in the creative process, learning the importance of having a “translator” in the vibrant world of design, and challenging you to give your brand’s visual identity the attention it needs to succeed, flying colors and all.

In episode 251 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim and Ian discuss:

  • 02:55 – From Reluctant Retail Arbitrage to Brand Management
  • 06:25 – Separating the Art from the Direction
  • 11:50 – Visual Identity – More Than Just a Logo
  • 16:05 – What to Expect with Basic vs. Advanced Design Services
  • 19:10 – Is a Professionally Designed Logo REALLY Necessary for Business Owners?
  • 23:35 – This is Where Smalls Brands Can Outrun Industry Leaders
  • 28:05 – Establishing Yourself as “The Brand” for a Specific Problem
  • 32:40 – Ian’s Book Recommendation for the Cerebral Entrepreneur  
  • 34:30 – How to Get in Touch With Ian

Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Want to absolutely start crushing it on e-commerce and make more money? Follow these steps for helpful resources to get started:

  1. Get the Ultimate Resource Guide from Tim Jordan for tools and services that he uses every day to dominate on Amazon!
  2. New to Selling on Amazon? Freedom Ticket offers the best tips, tricks, and strategies for beginners just starting out! Sign up for Freedom Ticket.
  3. Trying to Find a New Product? Get the most powerful Amazon product research tool in Black Box, available only at Helium 10! Start researching with Black Box.
  4. Want to Verify Your Product Idea? Use Xray in our Chrome extension to check how lucrative your next product idea is with over a dozen metrics of data! Download the Helium 10 Chrome Extension.
  5. The Ultimate Software Tool Suite for Amazon Sellers! Get more Helium 10 tools that can help you to optimize your listings and increase sales for a low price! Sign up today!
  6. Protect Your Amazon Brand with a Trademark! Protecting your brand from hijackers is vital. SellerTradmarks.com provides a streamlined process for obtaining a trademark for your business and shielding your products from fraud!
  7. Does Amazon Owe YOU Money? Find Out for FREE! If you have been selling for over a year on Amazon, you may be owed money for lost or damaged inventory and not even know it. Get a FREE refund report to see how much you’re owed!

Transcript

Tim Jordan: Whether you’re starting your first e-commerce product, or you’re trying to scale your e-commerce brand, the truth is that many of us are smaller businesses, we’re side hustlers. We’re part-time business owners, and we might be growing these brands. But the truth is we don’t always have the resources that we think we do. And sometimes we think that we can’t compete, but in the world of e-commerce, we have a few tricks up our sleeve. One of them is being able to present a more robust or larger brand image than is in reality, but it helps us compete on these platforms against some huge brands. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about exactly how you do that. Really, really good information. Stay tuned. Watch to the end. Here we go.

Tim Jordan: Hi. I’m Tim Jordan, and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk-takers, the adventurous, and the entrepreneurial veterans. We all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.

Tim Jordan: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the AM/PM Podcast. Today, we’re talking about branding and branding is one of those things that I have some mixed emotions on, especially as an e-commerce seller and even more specifically as an Amazon seller. If you’ve heard any of my content before, you’ve heard me say things like branding is massively important. You’ve also heard me say branding is not important. And I think the difference is where you are in your timeline, your roadmap, right? And just to clarify, I think that you can definitely get started selling your first product on Amazon without worrying too much about branding because people are so worried about this massive brand build-out. They haven’t even launched a product, but as you continue down your e-commerce road, you have to be building brands. It’s becoming more and more important today than it was yesterday. Even it’s massively valuable. I think there’s a lot of misinformation about what a brand is, how you develop a brand, how you cause people to perceive that brand, all that good stuff. The truth is I’m not necessarily a branding expert, but in today’s episode, we have one. So today we have Ian Bower who actually has a pretty cool history because he started selling on Amazon about the same time I did. And just second, I’m going to ask him to give his kind of a history of how he got started selling on Amazon, what he was doing and how he has since then become a visual branding expert. So welcome to the podcast, Ian.

Ian: Thanks for having me.

Tim Jordan: So go ahead and give us just a quick rundown. I already alluded to the fact that you started selling on Amazon about 2015, but give us just in a few minutes kind of history of how you found Amazon got started on that. And then just kind of walk us through that history to where you’re at now, which is this visual branding guy because we need a little context to the information and the experience you’re going to share with us.

Ian: Yeah, sure. So I got started in Amazon the way a lot of people do is retail arbitrage. Essentially, I was kind of looking for a side hustle. I was a chef at the time and hated it and wanted to get out. So, I was looking for a side hustle. So I got into retail arbitrage. And actually what I did was I found this thing called retail arbitrage. And I told my wife like, hey, this thing is like shopping and making money and you should go do it. And she did. And the minute a spreadsheet got involved or, or she had to like to use QuickBooks online, she was all done. And then it became my problem. So I took over the business and I hate shopping. So, I was all done with retail arbitrage. I tried online arbitrage for a hot minute. That was terrible too. So I gave that up and basically my business evolved into a wholesale, the wholesale model of buying from manufacturers and brand owners and selling on Amazon. And since then it’s evolved into brand management on Amazon. That’s actually a big part of what we do now, but something that happened was – I’m not a graphic designer, but I’ve always enjoyed graphic design. I’ve always really loved art. And so, I knew that I always wanted to have a graphic designer on my team and I would always make up excuses to have a graphic designer on my team. And for a while, it was Merch by Amazon. That was that excuse, so I always had that designer there. But in my network of entrepreneurs, in the Amazon community, we’re always on Facebook and in groups and so we always seem to be in these networks. They start to basically take notice of the designs that my designer was producing and became interested in that and want to know how they could have her create designs for them. And the issue that they seem to be expressing was not that they couldn’t find a good designer. I mean, there are good designers everywhere. The issue was that they were getting bad results from good designers and what broke down to really, and where I kind of figured out my own secret sauce is that I was better at communicating with graphic designers than peers in my network, and I was able to get better results because of that ease of communication. And so I became – so these entrepreneurs would say to me, Hey, this is what I’m looking for. Right? And then I would translate that to the graphic designer for them, and they would get better results. And so that’s really how graphic rhythm came to be. And we kind of just kept growing that. And now we’ve got 25 graphic designers on our team and creative directors and all kinds of people involved. But that was really the start of facilitating better conversations with graphic designers so that you get better results from graphic designers.

Tim Jordan: You just said something that’s interesting. You said that these graphic designers might be really talented, but they were having poor performance. And I think you alluded, tell me if I’m wrong, but I think you alluded to the fact that just because you have talent, if you don’t know how to direct that talent, it might not produce the results that you want to. Right. So, maybe as an example, we need to think of graphic designers as carpenters, right. But if we don’t know how to build a house and explain to them through plans, this is how I want the house put together. It doesn’t matter how amazing they’re cutting and hammering and nailing is like, it’s not going to turn out. Right. Is that what you’re saying? Like there’s a component of communication with some experience and expertise that’s needed to fully utilize a good graphic designer?

Ian: Yeah, exactly. And it’s called creative direction. And that is a role within the graphic design world of a creative director. And interestingly creative directors are not always designers, although they frequently are, usually it’s graphic designers. The next move is to go into creative direction. But a lot of people can be a creative director if you’re good at directing somebody or kind of seeing the matrix. And the analogy that you use is one that I often use, which is this idea between a construction worker or a carpenter and a general contractor, or even the architect of the project. And there’s a difference between the person who could think creatively and, you know, um, kind of synthesize and interpret your direction and turn into something versus somebody who’s more of like, I’m going to go hit the nail really good. And another example I often use comes from my own background, which is cooking, right? And so, you really have to think of graphic designers in a lot of cases as cooks. They’re great technicians, they have the skills, but they don’t always do great when you give them generalized information and ask them to be creative, because believe it or not, creativity is really difficult. And it’s a learned skill to kind of interpret what somebody wants and translate that accurately into what they want to see.

Tim Jordan: And that makes a lot of sense, but it’s very counterintuitive or contradictory to a lot of the mainstream, especially e-commerce content out there education, which says, Hey, go to Fiverr and go to Upwork and find a graphic designer. Right? Like, I think that a lot of, and I’m not disagreeing with you, I’m just pointing out like a lot of times we’re told differently, we’re told, Hey, go out and find this $5 freelancer to make a logo. But what you’re saying is, Hey, you can find a great contractor or a great carpenter, or a great Photoshop person, but without having the direction, you’re missing the boat. Right. Is that accurate?

Ian: Yeah, exactly. Right. And it’s not to say that they’re – like if you go to Fiverr or whatever, and find a graphic designer, that person very well may be excellent at like that art direction. They’re great at interpreting what you want, right. But very often you have a bad experience. And there’s a tendency to blame the bad experience on like the designer’s skill, but it’s not their design skill necessarily. It’s just their ability to have conversations with you to get the results that you want. So that’s a real difference.

Tim Jordan: So, you’ve got three positions. You’ve got essentially the brand owner, the person that kind of knows what they want. You’ve got the actual executer, this is skilled labor. This is a skilled position that can put it all together. But then you have the creative director in the middle and the creative director doesn’t always have to be a different person. Sometimes the graphic designer fills both roles as the creative director and the actual developer of this content. Sometimes the brand owner can be the creative director. So I think this is great. If you think of three functions that have to happen. I think all of us that are listening can evaluate, Hey, do we do a pretty good job as a creative director as well? Or maybe we realize, Hey, maybe this is why every time I’ve hired a freelance or hired a graphic artist to do this, it didn’t come out like a want because maybe that’s what you’re missing. You’re missing someone to fill that role or someone that can fill multiple roles, which is great. I’ve never heard that described before, but it makes total sense. Even in the videos that I do, I’ve got a great video editor, he’s exceptional, but he needs direction. Right. And when it comes to video, I’m pretty good at directing that. But I suck at directing graphic design, like brand logos or even visual images I suck at, but he’s pretty good at that. So even when we transfer between video and still images, the roles change based on people’s individual skills. So this is cool. This is eye-opening for me because I never realized that that is a tangible asset. That’s a tangible function that has to be filled and we need to make sure it’s filled by somebody. So I think that that helps a lot of listeners here.

Tim Jordan: All right. So, let’s keep moving along because what I want to talk about is the necessity for good branding visually, right? I already said it before in some positions, you don’t necessarily have to have a great brand to get started selling products, but you do need to start building brands to have an actual, tangible business asset and to increase your sales and all that good stuff. But that’s tough because many of us that are listening are small businesses, right? We don’t have a Nike swoosh on the side of our baseball caps. We don’t have existing brand presence. And a lot of times we don’t have the budget for giant branding agencies, right. We can’t spend 10 grand just to get a branding package put together, but we’re competing with people on these platforms that do that. They do have the branding, they do have the pedigree, they have a huge budget. So what I’d like to ask you is how we, as small businesses can create like big impact branding, but for small businesses, how do we compete with these folks by putting a lot of like power in our punches while still being fairly lightweight ourselves? Can you give us some actionable steps and information on that?

Ian: Yeah. So the first thing that I would say, is definitely take it seriously. And there was definitely a time when, if I was asked the question, do I need to invest money in a logo and visual identity? At the beginning of my business where I’m just getting started, there was a time when I would have said no, and even owning a design agency, didn’t change that. Like I would actually have clients that came to us and say, Hey, is that with the time? And I would say no. And my thinking on it changed because one of the things that a visual identity does is it increases consumer confidence, right. Especially in a marketplace environment, but equally as important on your own website. Definitely, if you’re advertising on social media, you want to look like an established brand more or less. Consumers are very, very sophisticated these days. They definitely understand that there are things like Chinese sellers that are on the marketplace, or maybe more fly-by-night operations. And what they’re looking for is essentially signals. Signal to them that you are an established brand, that they can feel confident that there are actual people behind it that this isn’t just a stand-up kind of brand that who knows next week, maybe it will be gone. And so the way that you do that is just by taking it seriously. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to do it. I do recommend that you have a professional logo designed and as importantly, a professional visual identity, and if you’ve ever had a logo design, this is my experience.

Ian: So, I always, we build a craft room and we build our services a lot of times based on my experiences and the experiences of business owners, right? And so my experience with logos and I have done all of the logo things. I’ve done the Fiverr logo, I’ve done the 99 designs logo competition. Right. And I’ve always hated it. It’s always been really terrible. And one of the big reasons why was because I get a logo and I’m like, okay, now what do I do with it? Like, do I just put it on everything? How do I functionally integrate this thing into my business? And, um, that was always challenging for me. And so when we came up with our visual identity package, it was a big help. And we really focused on like, okay, if we’re going to hand this thing off to a business owner, who’s probably going to use something like Canva or something like that. Can we give them instructions? Can we give them examples of how to use all this stuff? And by having examples and being kind of embedded and having a really strong understanding of what your branding looks like. I’m using the brand new, but I always mean visual identity. What that looks like. You can create this sense of consistency. You can create this sense of confidence into people that are looking at your brand that are shopping for, or holding it in their hand, whatever it may be, wherever you’re interacting with them. You want them to really feel connected and feel confident about it.

Tim Jordan: And let me stress a point here, which you just made, which I think is important is a brand is more than a logo, right? A lot of people say, I want to brand my product, let me get a logo. Great. And they think they’re done. No, the logo is a small piece of it. And even when you have the best logo in the world, if you don’t know what the heck to do with it, then you’re going to miss a big opportunity, right? You said it’s like where to actually place this. What do I – on my packaging, how big, how small, where does it go? Where do I put it on my product itself? And then you alluded to not just a brand identity, a brand package, right? Like an entire branding kit or a branding guide. So it’s not just about the logo. It’s about the font on your packaging, matching the font on the logo. It’s about the color scheme of your packaging or the color scheme on your image backgrounds that are going to fall into the same plan, right. Kind of explain to me what that means. It’s not just about a logo, but it’s about an entire brand guide. Like, explain what a brand guide is, maybe.

Ian: Yeah. Traditionally, if you get a logo and visual identity package, what a designer will do is they will design your logo. And then the visual identity is kind of like your guide to using your logo. It includes like your logo lockups and lockup is an industry term that just means configuration, not so like, maybe you’ll have a horizontal or vertical, or maybe your brand mark will be separate from your word mark. Or maybe there’s like a secondary seal or something like that. Right. So it’ll include all that and the rules for how to use it. And I’ve always felt like the rules were kind of weird to include. I think that it should go without saying that you shouldn’t stretch out your logo or, or distorted in any way, but a lot of times that’s included. And then your brand colors with their hexadecimal and CMYK and RGB color values are in there. And then, typically the next thing is you will have a font and typography, right? So that’s what most design agencies start with as a basis for a visual identity guide. And then, in our particular case, we go further by also including color application. So, we show you exactly how to use those colors, we put your logo on different backgrounds and color combinations. We actually mock up your visual identity on different things. Like, so we’ll create mock-ups of things like t-shirts and business cards and stuff like that. We also include what we call design, key design elements, if there’s a pattern or a particular design that gets repeated or that’s important or central to the brand that’s in there. And then the last thing is imagery. So, maybe that could be stock photography or illustrations or something along those lines.

Ian: And so when you walk away, when you have a visual identity guide like that, it’s easier for you as the brand owner to go to Canva and create a Facebook post. That includes these elements because now you can look at this visual identity guide and say, definitively, yeah, this matches, this works. Even if you’re not a designer, you can at least have the elements there to create that consistency. And then of course, if you pass that to a graphic designer, then they’ll be able to use their skill combined with this visual identity guide to really create some great-looking and engaging designs.

Tim Jordan: So you just complicated the process. All right. Because we e-commerce entrepreneurs have always been told this is easy, go to Fiverr, get a logo. But what you’re saying is it’s not just a logo, like the logo, maybe a cornerstone, or like maybe a starting point for this entire brand identity brand guide, like this whole thing. Right. Which I agree is important, but does it matter? Like, and I know that of course, the answer’s going to be yes. But I’m going to ask you to explain it, like, does this more thought out detailed, established, more professionally done, visual brand, does it actually increase consumer confidence? Does it help us make more sales? Does it help us increase the price of our product? Explain the benefits of actually going through this slightly more complicated process that you’re talking about, or maybe more in-depth investment, right. Like, tell us why it matters and what difference it actually makes.

Ian: Yeah. So in 2017, Adobe published a study called the Adobe State of Create Report. And in that study, they demonstrated, and I don’t remember the numbers, so I’m not even going to attempt to quote them. But the big takeaway was that most consumers prefer to spend money with brands that look professional, that take design seriously, and that present themselves as a serious company. And so there are a couple things. There is – from a practical perspective, the value of having your logo design professionally. And look, I’m a business owner like I said, I have gone to Fiverr and got a logo. There are still projects where we’re like, let’s just mock up a logo real quick and slap it out there, right. And that’s completely fine. You need to determine for yourself your level of commitment and whether or not you want to get this stuff done right away. But one of the practical things, and this – and as an example, I recently spoke to a brand, and they had a logo created with an internal and the actual logo was pretty much useless as a logo. There were a lot of gradients and shading and layered stuff in there that, imagine that that logo one inch big on a hang tag or something like that, it was actually just not possible to do it. So it was not functional as a logo, right? Just practically speaking. And so like a professional designer or professional logo designer would have caught that, like for instance, in our business, when we do a logo, we don’t design it in color. It’s only black to start, right? Because it has to function as a logo to start right before you do anything else.

Ian: And so like that kind of functionality was missed, but then, more importantly, you’re in an increasingly competitive marketplace. And there are brands that launch very quickly and like you said, you’re running up against brands with really big budgets and you can afford to have to reconsider your oh, and the other thing about that brand was they had already printed all their packaging, right. And so now they had to redo all of their packaging because that logo is not good. So things like that, spending the money upfront to have the stuff professionally designed will save you money down the road because you won’t have to redo it, right. And if you’re just kicking the tires, don’t bother. Take that advice and go get a cheap logo done and kick the tires. But if you have determined that this is a business that you want to continue to pursue, I really recommend taking the plunge and straightening out your visual identity so that you save money on your website and having to redesign your website and you save money on your packaging and having to redesign your packaging and so on and so forth so that’s all thought of ahead of time.

Tim Jordan: That makes a lot of sense. And it’s easy to be distracted with all the stuff we have to do when we’re launching a product or creating a brand or launching a brand, right. But what you’re going back to is that principle that I like of measuring twice and cutting once, like spending a little more time to get it right now, because you’re right. We get wrapped up in so much stuff, whether it’s a website and social media and packaging and actually putting the logo placement on the product potentially, and this and this, and it’s easy to get six months down the line and look and realize that all of it was done differently. Right. And then we have to go in and fix that. So it’s better to do it right the first time and only cry once, so to speak, right. Do you think that there is an opportunity for us smaller brands to out position our larger competitors with branding because maybe some of these “more established” brands are not doing it as well as they should. And maybe they’ve gotten complacent. Do you think that we can position ourselves better than the name-brand household brands out there, because we’re more agile, we’re more attention and we know some better tricks of the trade? So, what do you think about that?

Ian: Yeah. Generally speaking, not even graphic design-related, but smaller companies, they don’t have a lot of the assets and they don’t have a lot of the budget, but they do have a lot more time and attention. And that’s one of the really beneficial things that they can leverage, especially if you happen to be a Viking at Amazon. So a lot of these big brains are just not good at Amazon. And if you’re better at Amazon, then you can win. I remember reading a report a couple of years ago, how it was basically comparing, like the biggest brands on Amazon, compared with how they fare in the real world. And I want to say that Coleman was an example, like the best-selling sleeping bag on Amazon at that time was not Coleman, even though they’re obviously industry leaders, but they happen to be bad at Amazon, right. And so, being agile in that way is really important. And you really just have to – a lot of, at least private label sellers, they also start out with a single product, which is a big benefit. And if you treat that private, that single product as a flagship and you go all-in on making it look really good, then you’re also going to set yourself up for building a brand when you add a second product and so on and so forth. So, if you consider the journey of an Amazon customer, they want to check out your brand presence on Amazon. So they’re looking at gallery images, any plus content, and storefronts and so on and so forth, but maybe then they’re going to go check out your website and does it match, or does it look like something that you throw up on wicks really quick and use one of their templates and put some stock photography.

Ian: To me – to that customer, maybe that’s a sign depending on what your product is. If it’s a $20 product, they’re going to take a risk, but if they’re going to spend something more money on you, then maybe they’re not so willing, they would rather go with something more established. So essentially, you have the ability to be agile. You have the ability to put your time, attention, and focus on it. And there are opportunities to win and out position yourself in marketplaces and even on your own website, just by virtue of the fact that you can devote your time and attention to it.

Tim Jordan: And a lot of times we feel like it’s a David and Goliath situation, right? Like we’re trying to come on this huge established platform going against these huge established brands, but like, we’ve got a pretty cool rock and that rock has flexibility. And maybe the concept that we can learn faster and stay more cutting-edge. I was actually on a call yesterday with walmart.com and having a strategy call with their third-party marketplace community manager, right. That’s what she was saying. She’s like, Tim, anytime I try to get something done, I have to go through just layers and layers of bureaucracy, right? And as a company gets larger things, slow down, they get quagmired and too many chiefs, not enough Indians. And everybody’s got to sign off on something and this and this, but e-commerce isn’t waiting around and brand demand from the consumers is not waiting around. And the way that people are finding products and finding brands, whether it’s through social media or different channels, it’s not waiting around. So we do have this crazy advantage of being able to move faster and adapt quicker than these big bureaucratic enterprise-level brands and companies. The Coleman example. I actually saw that example years ago with tents, if you typed camping tent or backpacking tent on Amazon like the first 30 brands were not brands I’d ever heard of. Coleman couldn’t keep up. Kelty couldn’t keep up. North face couldn’t keep up because it takes so long. So that’s encouraging for us because when we learn and all of you that are listening to this are learning like you’re educating yourselves, you’re out here in the swamp with us trying to figure out how to do all this stuff together. Like we know that the little things make a difference, the little bit of branding, the little bit of extra work, getting a whole brand identity put together, instead of just a Fiverr logo, like those are, what’s going to set us apart and those are what’s going to make us successful. So what else am I forgetting? Is there anything else related to branding that, that you would like to share that’s valuable to the listeners that maybe they need to be spending more focus on, or maybe they’re ignoring?

Ian: I would just say, to reiterate the idea of consistency and what that looks like when you talk to marketers, common advice is always to have a consistent message that the idea of you click on a Facebook ad and then it goes to a landing page, and then it goes to a checkout page and you want the message to be consistent. And the minute it’s not, people lose confidence, right. And so, I would really want to reiterate this idea of consistency when it comes to visual branding. What you don’t want is for a customer to purchase your product or go to your website and be impressed by it. And then, maybe purchase your product and it arrives in a polybag or something like that, what can you do to improve that customer experience and make sure it’s a consistent experience, you know, from the moment they encounter you for the very first time, all the way through to post-sale, maybe that’s an insert or something like that, or your product packaging, or a nicely designed email from your Shopify store or something along those lines. Can you keep it consistent? Not only the design, but also the words, the tones, the messaging, and by having that consistency it’s confidence, right? And then now, what you’re trying to really do, ultimately the big goal here is to establish yourself in the mind of that consumer as the brand for that problem, and a good example I’ll share is like two years ago I had to buy a bike rack for my car. And I spent a lot of time looking on Amazon, right? And the brand I ultimately went with, I went with because they were able to demonstrate that they’d been around for a few years. They had an Amazon storefront. I could check out their website and this year I have to buy a new one. And instead of spending all my time, going out in the world and trying to find a new bike rack, I decided I’m just going to go to that brand and buy the upgraded model because I’ve been, I was happy with it. I was impressed with the whole experience. I feel really confident in them and that’s what I’m going to do. And so that’s a $200 sale that they’ve earned by just being consistent. It didn’t come in a crappy box or anything like that. Or when you go to the website, they clearly care about what they’re doing. So, stay consistent and create a consistent experience in order to keep that confidence up and position yourself as the solution to their problem.

Tim Jordan: Well, this conversation has done two things. One is, it has challenged me because what you’re saying makes complete sense. And sometimes I don’t take this branding seriously enough, and I think I’m missing big opportunities potentially. So I feel challenged to get my ducks in a row, so to speak, make sure that I’m very, very tactical and intentional in everything that I do with brand consistency and making sure that I’m portraying myself the way that I’m going to need to portray myself to compete in this market. The other thing has done is it’s encouraged me because sometimes we do feel like we’re going to get out-gunned right. And sometimes we do feel like it’s very hard to be competitive in this space, but everything that you’ve said that matters, it’s fair little stuff. It’s not that hard to get a decently designed box on your product as opposed to just an OPP bag. It’s not that difficult to make sure there’s consistency between our coloring, our fonts, and our logos when it comes to all the different places that our assets are parked. So it makes a lot of sense. So I’m encouraged, I’m a little challenged, but I’m also very, very encouraged. So for those of you who are listening, let me just back up and remind everybody. Ian started off a lot. Like a lot of us did in 2015 by kind of accidentally getting into Amazon. And he has figured out this thing that is very valuable because of his own personal experience. He’s not up here pitching his agencies, not here giving us three reasons why we should outsource that. No, he’s literally telling us something that he learned along his journey in e-commerce and something he became a specialist in. So, this is really, really not just powerful stuff, very, very relevant to us as small businesses, e-comm entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, all that good stuff. So Ian, I’m going to end the episode by asking the same thing that I ask a lot of people. You got into this bad accident, you’re figuring out how to succeed obviously, and becoming an established business owner, but you couldn’t have done it all yourself. You had to have some advice, experience, or wisdom from somebody else. And usually, those of us that are in this space read a lot of books. So if you had to go to your bookshelf right now and pull one book off the shelf that you wanted, everybody that’s listening to read that had a large impact on your business, what would that book be?

Ian: The book that comes to mind is I can’t remember the name of the author, but it’s a book called Paid to Think. And it’s a book that essentially teaches you how to be a better thinker, how to be a better, leader entrepreneur. Essentially it’s really focused on people, executives and business owners who want to do a better job at the thing that they are paid to do the most, which is think, and I’ve always loved that. And that book has given me some great ideas and some new ways to evaluate, not only like productivity and thinking about the way things work and processes and even like people leadership, so I’ve always really enjoyed that book.

Tim Jordan: And that’s one I’ve not heard of. And usually, when someone recommends something on the show that I haven’t heard of, I go ahead and buy it and it stacks up on my bed table home, and I’ll eventually read it. I just Googled it on my phone. The author is David Goldsmith. So, David Goldsmith, Paid to Think. So thank you for that recommendation. And thank you for being on. I know that it’s not a small deal to take time out of your busy day to come on here and share information with everybody. But I appreciate it. The listeners appreciate it because that is a sacrifice that you’re making for us. And I appreciate you sharing your wisdom and your experience. If any of you listeners have appreciated this episode, make sure to leave us a review on whatever podcast platform you’re on. Share this around. If you’re in any groups, organizations, if you’ve got some friends that are entrepreneurs, make sure to send this over to them on whatever platform you’re listening to this on. If you’re watching this on YouTube, make sure to give us a thumbs up, ask any questions you might have in the YouTube comment section below. We monitor that we can get you some questions and make sure to check out Ian’s graphic design and for directing the right graphic direction business, however you want to describe it. Which website, Ian?

Ian: You could go to graphicrhythm.com.

Tim Jordan: Graphicrhythm.com and it’s spelled like it sounds?

Ian: Just like it sounds.

Tim Jordan: Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you Ian, for being on. Thank you all for listening and we’ll see you guys on the next episode.