What’s A Brand? What’s A Badass Brand?

“Branding” is confusing

“Branding” is confusing

The “branding” concept is so elusive that no matter how many articles and books there are on it, most people still don’t know what effective branding is.

Defining “Brand”

Some people think it’s your logo and the colors you use on your website and business cards. These are an important piece of your brand, but they only make up your visual brand.

Other people define branding as “the emotional connection that people have with your business.” Yes I agree, as Simon Sinek has aptly stated, it isn’t about the what but the why. An example of this is action is that McDonald’s isn’t selling hamburgers, silly, they are selling happiness! However, most people don’t know what the heck that means in practice, and end up resting on this idea to the detriment of their business. (You’re selling transformation are you? You and everyone else!)

I particularly like Jeff Bezos’ definition that a brand is what people say about your business when you’re not in the room. It’s spot on because though that definition isn’t tactical and easy to apply, at least it holds up to the test quite well.

For example, I’ll never forget this demonstration of what a brand is that someone once said to me: even if you’ve never been in a Mercedes, when you hear the word “Mercedes” you can imagine what it would feel like to slip into buttery leather seats and go seamlessly from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. Let’s be honest, a Mercedes is a freakin’ car like any other car with some bells and whistles, but man does it feel different when someone tells you to imagine getting into a Mercedes, as opposed to a Kia.

But I still don’t find even that definition particularly helpful when it comes to building your brand, which is why, to this day, I still find so many business owners scratching their heads to understand what a brand is.


Defining a “Badass” Brand

Just be you

Just be you

Which is why we decided to define branding, specifically Badass Branding, a little differently. We developed a definition in a similar way to Bezos; it’s defined by what it does as opposed to what it is because we find this gives business owners a clear way to evaluate whether or not they have a Badass Brand. So here goes: Badass Brands have two fundamental characteristics.

  1. They repel bad clients, while magnetically attracting ideal ones.

  2. They are able to charge more than their competitors and still win the business.

Simple enough, right?

Simple in theory, tough in practice.

You see, in order to achieve these two characteristics you have to be a Badass (hence the name Badass Branding.) You have to have the stomach to go out on a limb and say what you really think, without cowering in fear that some people might not like it, disagree with it, or be confused by it.

You have to have enough self confidence that you can stand up to criticism of your words, or lose clients because of your price, and know that it simply means they just aren’t your ideal clients. (click to tweet)

You also must have the guts to know your value and charge for it. After all, if you picture what the owner of a Badass brand is like, you don’t imagine someone who is spinning their wheels hustling to get by and working all the time, do you?

Of course not. You picture someone who gets paid, and paid well, to deliver high value. Someone who is highly coveted for their work, while at the same time enjoying a life of freedom and flexibility.

And in order to run a business with that kind of freedom you must charge a certain price for your services. The minimum amount you need to charge to be a Badass Brand is based on a number of factors, but it’s important to know your number so you can work towards it.

If you want to find your key price that will give you freedom in your freelance business, check out my free mini-course Price For Freedom here.

Badass your... dating life?

I equate branding to dating.

My philosophy on dating was always this: the most important characteristic in a partner should be that they think you are fucking awesome. Anything short of that is not an ideal mate. They can be great on paper, but if they don’t think you are the bee’s knees then they are out. Later. See ya. Sayonara.

And while this should be obvious, the only reason I even came up with this is because I was surrounded by friends who were going after people who clearly didn’t think that. Remember Sex in the City Miranda’s famous line “he’s just not that into you”? I found myself saying that a lot, and in a positive way. He’s just not that into you, now you know he’s not a great fit! If he were a great fit, he would be into you! Problem solved!

I know, easier said than done.

But that is, again, why it’s called Badass Branding (and perhaps we shall coin the phrase Badass Dating as well?)

Reframing ain’t easy

Basically, you have to re-frame the very definition of your ideal clients. (click to tweet)

The number one characteristic they must have is thinking you are the cat's pajamas. Which means if a client doesn’t close, they’re not “the one that got away.” They just clearly weren’t enthralled enough with you to close, so they weren’t a good fit.

OK OK let’s back up for a second, I know what you’re thinking: they were a good fit they just didn’t know it because they didn’t know me enough yet. Point well taken. This is where your branding comes in in the first place.


In order for them to know enough about you so that this works, you have to have said enough to them so that they do have a pretty good picture of you. No, not in a sales call, I mean online.

On your website, on your social media, in your materials, and in whatever assets they are going to encounter. That first snapshot should tell them a lot about you and why you’re a badass so that they have something to judge you on. Because judge you they will, whether you like it or not.

And if you don’t have your Badass Brand out there, they’ll judge you in the worst way possible… they’ll forget all about you and move on to the next.


Do you have what it takes to be Badass?

That is, do you have what it takes to be an authority in your space? Do people hire you even if you’re the more expensive option? (maybe even because of it?) Do people find you and email/call you and tell you they LOVE what they’ve seen so far and must work with you?

To find out how close or far you are from building a badass brand that give you badass freedom, check out the mini-course Price For Freedom.