Ep. 163: Best-Selling Author Marty Neumeier on Narrowing Your Focus to Grow Your Brand

How to Create a Successful Brand

Marty Neumeier, acclaimed author of The Brand Gap and Zag, shares his advice for real estate agents and other small business owners.

When it comes to your business, few decisions are as important as how to create a successful brand that will distinguish you from the competition. But as important a decision as that is, the process doesn’t have to be complicated.

For Marty Neumeier, branding isn’t so much about distinguishing yourself from the competition as it is about eliminating the competition.

Become “the only”

Eliminating the competition is not about Mafia-style business tactics.

When Marty speaks about eliminating the competition, he’s talking about finding that very narrow, very specific “something” that a defined group of people needs or wants and that you and you alone can provide.

Some call it finding your niche. Marty calls it being “the only.”

Two great things happen when you become the only:

First, when you do something for your audience that no one else does, selling is no longer about persuasion … it’s about revealing your precise solution to their problem.

Second, when you say or do something no one else is doing, and your audience wants it, price is no longer an issue. When you’re the only, you can charge higher fees and clients will gladly pay it.

Can’t find a difference? Invent one.

But what if you’re a real estate agent, doing the same thing that every other agent is doing—namely  helping people buy or sell properties and homes? In that situation, how to build a successful brand and become “the only” may seem like an impossible task.

Ask Marty and he’ll tell you it’s not.

You start with your purpose, and it’s got to be something other than making money. Ask yourself, why did you get into the business in the first place? Was it to bring life to your clients’ dreams? Was it to find your clients their forever home? Was it to help divorced people start anew?

Once you’ve got your purpose, ask who else has the same one and how can you get ahead of them? If you discover other agents selling homes to people who have recently divorced, do you want to work with those who are combining new families under one roof? Do you want to help single dads find the perfect neighborhood?

As you think and create your brand around these narrow purposes, instead of chasing others you’re setting yourself up as the one to catch.

Much of what’s written here about how to create a successful brand is about what you need. But there’s more to it than that. There’s also the process and the secret sauce that pulls it all together. Listen to this episode of Stay Paid and Marty Neumeier for the rest of the story.

Key Points

  • Lower prices and fees are generally the only way to differentiate yourself when everyone is doing the same thing.
  • When you do something that no one else is doing, and you find someone who needs whatever you’re doing, then the sale and purchase are the almost effortless, natural next steps.
  • Don’t compete head to head with anyone. Instead, serve only one type of customer, or be the only one who works “this” way, or offer the product or service only you have.
  • When it comes to branding your business, determine where it is you fit in. Make sure the category is understood by everyone. People should know what your business stands for, and that you’re dedicated to upholding these standards.

Action Item                                                                       

Look at yourself and your business and decide, what are you “the only” at?


You can find all of Marty’s books and learn more about his training and certification program for branding professionals at Level C.

Discover more about Marty’s branding company at Liquid Agency.

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