September 27, 2021

The Underground Marketer Podcast

Episode 25 – Authentic But Ugly vs. Beautiful & Polished Marketing

The Underground Marketer Podcast
The Underground Marketer Podcast
Episode 25 - Authentic But Ugly vs. Beautiful & Polished Marketing
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Learn How to Tell the Best Story for Your Brand

In today’s episode, I want to discuss the idea of authentic vs polished marketing and how to use each to your advantage. Many times, if you want to stand out in the market, you need to differentiate yourself from your competition. And the easiest way to do this is by doing marketing differently. I will teach you how to tell the story of your business and increase your sales with some simple yet effective advice. 

3 Big Ideas

  1. Start from your brand essence and think about the story you want to tell. Brainstorm to come up with ideas about how to create that image in your customers’ minds. 
  2. Your brand story and your advertising style need to match, otherwise, subconsciously, people will notice a discrepancy. If you say you are a small family business, try to be authentic and relatable, and not super polished. 
  3. When deciding what style to use, also analyze your competitors. If all of their ads look professional, try to go for authentic and vice-versa. This will make your business stand out. 

Show Notes

[01:42] There are 2 extremes.

  • If it’s too polished, it will convey that your brand is very strong, that you know what you’re doing, and that you’re an authority on this product or service. 
  • The other extreme is when it looks ugly and unprofessional but authentic. The same content presented in a less professional manner will give it an air of authenticity. 
  • Consumers are bombarded with thousands of messages a day and most often the content of those messages is not that different. What makes the difference is the marketing and how you position yourself compared to your competitors. The most effective type of marketing is the one that stands out. 
  • For example, Tai Lopez created an authentic ad by filming himself with his iPhone in his garage. That ad now has over 70M views on Youtube. While his competitors were going for the polished look, he went for authenticity and won. 

[06:28] Think about what you want to convey and how to position yourself on the market. 

  • Let’s say that you own an e-commerce store, you sell hand-made stuff and you wanna make it look like a small family business. 
  • If that’s the message you want to communicate, it’s not a good idea to go for the super-polished approach because it will not be effective. Subconsciously, people will notice a discrepancy between what you’re saying and what you’re showing. 
  • In this case, it would be a better idea to deliver an authentic message – invest less in the video and more in the content. 
  • Positioning is about what your competitors are doing and figuring out how to stand out in the market. 

[10:37] How to decide what you want to do. 

  • Always start from the brand essence and think about what you want people to associate with your brand. The essence is the story you want to tell about your brand. 
  • For example, if you have a family-owned bakery with recipes passed down for generations, that will instantly create assumptions in your mind. Take this image that you want to create into account. 
  • What I like to do is write down the brand essence and then brainstorm possible associations. This way, you’ll know what you want to communicate. 
  • Then, analyze your competitors, how they market themselves and what it communicates. Try to compare your approach to theirs and figure out how to differentiate. 

[18:50] The value of building the brand image you want. 

  • Building your brand is important because it will get you noticed and increase your sales. 
  • If your message and the way you deliver it don’t match, people will notice and you’ll fail. They’ll feel that something is not right with this brand and your sales will plummet. They will subconsciously create a negative association with your brand. 
  • This is why it’s essential that everything about your brand is congruent, from the core idea to what you post on social media and the ads that you create. Together, they all need to tell the same story.

[22:12] Summary of the episode. 

  • On one hand, there’s authentic marketing, where the design, the look, and the feel of your marketing campaign make it look authentic. In order to reach your target audience, it doesn’t have to look professional. This is how Tai Lopez differentiated himself from his competitors. 
  • On the other hand, polished marketing is pixel-perfect and professional. This exudes a strong brand and authority. 
  • There’s no right or wrong approach here, you just need to figure out what you need in order to tell your brand story. 
  • To decide what you need, think about the idea you want to promote and how to make people associate certain things with your brand. 
  • Also, analyze your competitors and differentiate yourself from them. If they use a polished approach, try to be authentic, and vice-versa. 

Full Transcript 

Read The Full Transcript

Introduction    00:00:03    Marketing, explosive growth, and revolutionary secrets that can catapult your business to new heights. You’re now listening to The Underground Marketer Podcast with your host Tudor Dumitrescu, the one podcast devoted to showing new businesses how to market themselves for high growth.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:00:25    Welcome to the underground marketer. This is the place where we deliver the real truth about marketing and explore big ideas that can help new businesses thrive and grow into big ones. I’m your host Tudor and for today’s topic, I want to discuss the idea of authentic marketing versus polished marketing. And here’s what I mean, whenever you release marketing materials or branding materials, let’s say that you’re putting a video out there. For example, the look and feel of that video are going to communicate something very different. If you make it very polished, you know, and your shorts are all very clean. The edits are very clean. It has a lot of cool effects to introduce your brand and your logo. And all that. First is somebody for example, who just, um, films, a selfie-style video of himself talking and delivering the same content, you know, so the content can be the same, but the impact and the meaning of it can be very different based on how you actually implemented the way that you deliver the content.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:01:40    You know, so, um, there are generally two extremes to this. You know, you can go in the very polished, extreme, as I said, which what it’s going to convey is that you are a very strong brand, is going to convey strength that you’re in control, that you know what you’re talking about, the children authority. Now, the other extreme, I call it this one, the one that looks ugly and looks unprofessional, somewhat looks, and on the positive side looks authentic. You know, that’s the value of it. If I do a video and I present the same content that you did in a highly polished manner, but I presented in an authentic manner, you know, just a selfie of myself talking and going over the content, I will look a lot more authentic than you do. You know, I’m clearly not trying very hard to persuade people.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:02:34    I’m just putting it out there. And there’s sort of that authenticity that shines through the delivery. So why is this actually important for you as a business owner? Well, no matter what you’re promoting or what your product or service is, you live in a competitive landscape where consumers are bombarded with 3000 plus messages per day advertising messages. That is so they’re swarmed with information. That’s coming both from yourself and from your competitors. And very often the information is not that different fundamentally the way the stuff that you and your competitors sell, there might be slight differences, but for most businesses out there, there are also many similarities and the similarities are overwhelming. So what makes difference in these situations is the marketing and how you actually position yourself in the market compared to your competitors. You know, so it’s not enough to give you some general guidelines and you’re able to select if you want to go for a very authentic and not so polished look and feel for your advertisements, or you want to go for something super polished and whatnot because what’s right for you is going to depend on your marketing and what your competitors are doing.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:04:01    The bottom line here is that the most effective marketing is the one that gets attention. The type of marketing that stands out, the type of marketing that is different from what your competitors put out there. You know, in the day when, um, a lot of people, for example, would do these really fancy videos with nice effects, nice cuts, great music and whatnot to advertise internet courses and courses that were aimed at people who wanted to get started in entrepreneurship along came somebody like Ty Lopez. And he did a video that he filmed from his iPhone camera, my selfie of himself in his garage, you know, you should type Ty Lopez garage ad. You’re going to find it on YouTube. And that ad alone generated 70 million views. And it was very popular with a lot of people, even though Tai Lopez doesn’t have a good reputation.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:05:01    And one of the things that were different about that at the time it was made is that many people were going for the very polished look, you know, those gurus, they were going for the polished look, you know, somebody sitting in a suit, uh, next to a fancy desk and whatnot, and Ty Lopez did the exact opposite. He filmed it himself. He didn’t have a crew. He obviously didn’t have somebody edit it, filmed it himself. And it made him look more authentic, you know, to people who didn’t know him versus everybody else who was doing the exact opposite. So that’s why I say that part of this when you’re doing positioning because this is what you’re actually doing. You know, you’re positioning yourself versus your competitors and you’re positioning your marketing message, not by changing the content, but by changing the way it’s delivered.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:05:54    And by changing the non-verbals that are communicated with it, you know, by going, for example, for something that’s ugly and on purpose, doesn’t look like it’s polished and made by professionals versus going full-wave to the very polished kind of marketing. That’s clearly super professional, super edited, super well thought out to persuade, and whatnot. The other aspect here when it comes to doing positioning with regards to this topic is that you have to consider what exactly you want to convey with your brand. And here’s what I mean. So if your brand is trying to, let’s say that you own an e-commerce store and you are creating handmade staff and you really want to make it look like it’s a family business, right? And it’s not this huge business making millions of dollars a year, even though you might be making that, but that’s not the message you want to put across.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:06:56    You want to look like a family business, where people do this as a work of love and whatnot. If that’s the message that you want to communicate, obviously if you go for the super-polished approach, it’s going to be less effective. And why is that? Well, the reason is that people are going on a subconscious level, they’re going to notice a discrepancy between what your content is saying and what you’re saying. Non-verbally through the way that you deliver that content. You know, so you’re going to probably be a lot better off by delivering an authentic message, which is less polished. You know, you invest less in actually making the video super polished and the rest of your marketing material, super polished and make it more on a tourist, you know, making mistakes in the design on purpose. You know, if the logo is a bit off and not properly centered, stuff like that, you know, it’s going to look a bit more a tourist, but it’s going to resonate with your brand image.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:08:02    And when somebody sees your content and the brand image, they will not get that feeling inside of themselves. That something is off because most people, cannot put their finger on it and say, oh, there’s a discrepancy between the brand image that is created non-verbally. And what they’re telling me through the content, in this case, the discrepancy would obviously be the, between the super high quality and super expensive type of delivery for the content that you’ve put in through the editing and through the design versus the message, which says that you’re a small business family-owned. You do all the content yourself and whatnot. So they’re not able to put their finger on this discrepancy, but they are able to feel inside that something is wrong with this brand. And the moment they associate that with your brand, you know, you’re fighting an uphill battle and they’re going to be skeptical.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:08:56    You’re going to fight much harder to actually convince them. So going back to it, positioning is both a matter of what your competitors are doing. It, it can help you stand out. You know, if everybody is super polished, probably a brand that goes for the authentic angle is going to be able to crush it. You know, it will help you get over the skepticism that people feel, you know, especially in a field that’s very crowded. You know, if you’re in a very crowded people, a lot of people are doing this then going for the very polished look and feel that everybody else is going for is probably not going to make you stand out. And it’s going to think that it’s going to make a person think that you just like everybody else in that field. Whereas going for the authentic look where you leave mistakes on purpose in your brand, in your design, and in the materials that you create in your marketing is going to make you look more authentic and hence more trustworthy.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:09:56    And the other side is also true. You know, your brand may need one specific form of marketing just to be true to its brand essence. You know, so if, if your brand essence is to be the family-owned small business created by an old lady or whatever it is, grandma’s recipe, then you cannot present grandma’s recipe with a really polished, very expensive video and super polished marketing materials that are perfect pixel perfect and super symmetrical and whatnot, because it simply doesn’t jive with the message that you’re trying to communicate. So how do you actually decide for yourself what you’re actually going to do? So the way I like to do it is I always start from the brand essence. And I think about the associations that people are going to have with that brand. So for example, if I say this is a family-owned bakery, where we bake cookies from recipes that I got from my grandmother, that instantly is going to create a certain image in your mind, you don’t imagine myself making millions of dollars a year from this bakery, even though I might be right, but that’s not what you have in mind.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:11:16    You have in mind, this small bakery using a really rustic and special recipe that probably tastes very well, but you know, they’re not super modern. They don’t have, they’re not hiring the latest designers. These are probably people that are doing their own marketing. That’s, what’s going through your mind and subconsciously that’s, what’s going to go through your customer’s minds when they see your marketing assets, you know, that’s exactly what goes through their mind. So you have to keep that in mind and you have to take that into account. So the way I like to do it is that I literally start from the brand essence, which is the story that you’re trying to tell, uh, which is in the middle. So I create a circle and put that in the page. And then I create a network, you know, I draw a line and I draw a circle, and then I create an association from that brand story.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:12:10    So one of them in the case of the grandmother is that your small, another one is that you have your, you’re not making a huge amount of money out of this. Another one is that this is a labor of love and so on. So starting from the core story, you develop these associations and you’re going to have on a piece of paper, you’re going to draw the connections out and you’re going to draw all the associations. You know, so let’s say that I draw the first circle. I write small in it. I can do another circle linked to that one, which says small revenue, right? And you list all of them and you build out the entire network. And then once you have this, you know what your marketing assets have to communicate so that you actually own brand, you know, and you don’t, uh, shatter the subconscious expectations that people have about you.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:13:04    And it makes them feel that you’re trustworthy and that you’re honest, and they don’t feel they don’t have that feeling that something is off. So you draw the associations. And then what I like to do next is that I look at my competitors’ brands and how they’re marketing themselves, you know, and I look at what they’re marketing the nonverbal stuff about their marketing, their design, how they’re presenting stuff, how they’re filming their videos. And so on. I look at all that and I look at what it actually communicates to me, you know, does it actually communicate to me that these guys want to be perfect all the time and really invest in their image and really want to make what you know are basically really trying hard to make a great impression, or are they the type of brand that going for that super authentic look and feel, and how are they doing it?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:14:01    You know, how are these elements coming together? And once I get an idea of their brand, you can actually develop a network around their brand just as you did for their own, for your own on a piece of paper, just do it the same way. You know, you start from the central circle, you write their brand essence there, and then you branch out and you discover the other components and what you have to do. You know, especially if you find that, for example, you’re going in a market where some of your competitors are going for this authentic feel, and you want to differentiate yourself from them. What you have to do in this situation is it’s not enough to just choose the authentic and the less polished option. You actually have to determine what you’re going to change about your appearance to make it less polished on purpose.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:14:54    You know, what exactly is going to be off. And the way I like to do that is that I look at the competitor’s network on paper, and I look at your network at the same time, and I see what’s different about it. Some things are always going to be different because businesses don’t often have the exact same story. You know, let’s say that you are doing an online bakery and you’re doing it based on your grandmother’s recipe, somebody else maybe doing it based on their mother’s recipe, for example. And you might say though, that’s not a big difference, but actually, there is a huge difference because there are different associations that come into play in people’s minds. You know, with my grandmother, I associate things that are far off, you know, there are very sticks that are old, maybe a hidden gem and whatnot. Whereas with my mother, I automatically associate things that are more modern contemporary.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:15:55    Maybe parent-like maybe somewhat oppressive, maybe somewhat dominating, you know, depending on the relationship that the person had with their mother. But on average, you know, people see their parents as more controlling than they do. Uh, their grandparents, who are seen as nicer and obviously older, and those associations are going to be different. And if you understand that you have to focus on those differences and I cannot accentuate this enough. You know? So the look and feel that you want to go, if you are the grandmother’s recipe, the bakery is going to be something that more old-style, maybe you use Siri phones, for example. So that Siri fonts, you know, are those that the letters have curly things at the end of them versus the sensory funds, which are straight. You can Google them just to see the difference, you know, Siri versus sensory font, and you make it look old style, you make it look nice.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:17:01    You make it look worm and make sure that it’s on-brand. Whereas the other guy, they’re probably a bit more modern, a bit more funky if they’re going for the mother’s recipe type of thing. So I’m focused on the differences, made sure that those differences stand out, and then your brand is also going to stand out. And that’s in the case where you actually have to compete with people, you know, where, and by compete, I mean, head to head, you know, so it’s not like you’ve identified a field where everybody’s going for the super polished look, and you can just go for the authentic one and make a difference. Know you’ve identified a field where your brand sort of makes you go for the same kind of look that other people are going for broadly speaking, you know, because there’s the two sides, the one that goes for authenticity versus the one that goes for strength, and you’re going for the same one as other people.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:17:57    So in order to make yourself different, you actually have to identify the associations that make you different and use them. You know, another example that comes to mind here, you know, if you, instead of email to your prospects, if you go for the grandmother’s recipe or whatnot, why not send them physical mail? You know, it’s definitely going to stand out. You can make it look like it’s handwritten, for example, you can type their address the way your grandmother would. You know, so you would not, for example, shortened streets, because in the past, people would not shorten streets, like SD dot, right? They would write street full-on so you do the same thing. And that’s how you actually build the brand image. And what’s the value of this. You know, a lot of people ask, you know, why should I even care about this? Uh, I just, I’m just trying to make sales.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:18:56    I don’t really care about building my brand and whatever. Uh, if that’s the case, if that’s who you are, and that’s the way you’re thinking, the reason that you should care about this is because if the non-verbal aspects of your brand are congruent with the content of your message, they’re going to be more easily accepted by our customer. And they’re more likely to buy directly straight off the bat because the problem comes when your message and the way it’s delivered are incongruent. And when that happens, people are going to tune off out, you know, or they’re going to get an uncomfortable feeling that something is not quite right with this brand. You know, maybe they can’t put their fingers on it. You know, they can’t say this is what’s wrong, but they feel it. You know, they, they feel that something is not right and they get a negative association to your brand.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:19:55    And that’s clearly not what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to tap into the associations that people already have through your story, through the rest of your brand, through your messaging, through the way you’re delivering the message. And you’re trying to make all that congruent with some associations that people already have from their past. So, um, while if you’re a small business, for example, let’s say that you are a small e-commerce store, or you’re just starting out as a coach and whatnot, branding may not be your core focus at that stage. You may be in the direct response stage where you just want sales fine. That’s all good. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to invest the minimal amount necessary of time and effort to actually make sure that your message and the way it’s delivered are concurrent with each other. When you do that, you’re actually going to see your sales explode and increase, and sometimes significantly, you know, and I can’t emphasize this enough, and I know that it does, it’s not necessarily rational, but the way human beings work in the end is not rational.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:21:06    You know, these are, we decide many times with our emotions, as the saying goes and we justify using reason. So that’s why I say that you should forget about the content in these cases and focus on the way it is being delivered and what that is going to communicate. And that’s actually going to be very important, both short-term to get more sales and long-term to actually build a brand that’s sustainable and can make you money over and over and over again because ultimately that’s the difference between people who just focus on direct response for them. It’s just literally the first sale or maybe the second or third sale that are important. And then they don’t care about the person anymore, versus those who want to build a sustainable brand. That’s going to repeatedly make sales to the same people and resell to them and make them into loyal fans that are pretty much always going to buy from the business again and again.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:22:07    So, um, that’s what I wanted to cover for today’s episode. I’ll give you a brief summary right now. So we discussed the difference between authentic marketing, where the design and the look and feel of it and the non-verbals that are involved in your marketing communication, make it look authentic, make it look, you know, it has the design and the style of it has mistakes in it. It doesn’t look like it’s made by a professional designer or a professional videographer. If it’s a video, it’s the type of stuff that’s similar to the way Ty Lopez did his in my garage ad from his phone, not edited in basically super authentic looking. And that was the look and feel of it. And versus the highly polished marketing, which is pixel perfect videos are perfect. You use nice effects on them, obviously super edited, super-polished so that they look perfect.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:23:07    The difference is that in one case you exude authenticity and for some brands and in some markets that may be the right choice. And in other cases, you exude strength and for some brands and again, in some other markets that might be the right way to go about it. So there’s no perfect here. You have to choose what’s right for your brand. How do you do that? Two ways? Number one, you have to think about your own brand. What’s your brand story. What’s your brand essence create, as I said, a network for your brand showcase, start from your essence and then showcase the other associations that people would have based on that. That’s where you start. And then you go to doing the next step where you look at your competitors and you see the kind of marketing and feeling that they are communicating.  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:23:59    Look at the way they are communicating their message, not at the message itself. Once you’ve done both of those, you can actually go and create networks for your competitors as well. If you’re in a, in a kind of industry where your brand is going to benefit a lot from the authentic look, uh, and everybody else is going for the Polish, look, then, by all means, do it. And the reverse is also true. If you are in an industry where you’re not going to be at the only brand that goes for the authentic loop, for example, of the only brand that goes for the polished one, then focus on what actually makes you different. You know, remember the networks that you drew for yourself. If you drew one for yourself and for your competitors check, what’s actually different about them and make sure that you are, you put the accent on the differences and that they really show through not the content of your communication, as much as the way you’re communicating it, you know, are you, and this includes everything, you know, the labels on your product, uh, the way that they’re shown on your website, how you reach out to your customers, do you do it by email?  

 

Tudor Dumitrescu     00:25:07    Do you do, does your email have graphics? You need to do it by physical mail. All of that goes into the brand that you’re trying to build. And if you can get resonance between the way you’re communicating and the content that you’re communicating, then you instantly get people to trust you and to want to do business with you. So this is going to increase your sales, whether you’re focused on direct response and getting more sales, or you’re actually focused on building your brand. So, um, that’s an overview of what we’ve covered. I hope you’ve got a lot of value out of it and stay tuned for the next episode. And until next time, keep growing your business and providing massive value to the world, because remember you are the reason why we’re all growing richer. Our freedoms are expanding and we’re all living in greater prosperity. Thank you. 

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