Bold Brand 2.0 – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Josh Miles

New book: Bold Brand 2.0

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

A: Marketing professional services is simply not the same as traditional B2B or B2C marketing. It’s its own animal, and there are better ways to approach it than “what we’ve always done.” It requires bold differentiations, and a strategic point of view.

Q: What was the inspiration for Bold Brand?

A: I was headed to one of my very first speaking events, feeling like I had so much to share, while the “imposter syndrome” was whispering things like, “who do you think you are?” That was when I realized a book would not only be a great way to demonstrate our firm’s expertise, but also a vehicle for me to hammer our exactly what I had to say on the topic of branding. Writing a book really forces you to develop a point of view, and commit to it.

Q: What is the key concept behind your book?

A: Doesn’t just about every book you’ve ever read on marketing or branding focus on the same B2C and retail examples? Apple, BMW, Starbucks, Target, and Zappos… it’s not that these aren’t great stories, but it’s tough for B2B and professional services firms to apply anything from these storied retail giants.

I thought it was about time that someone talked about how architects, engineers, attorneys, accountants, technology firms, consultants, and other B2B businesses could truly differentiate themselves from their competition.

Where other books have sought to define and harness the power of branding, this is a look at building on those definitions and simplifying branding exercises into a straightforward framework, to provide guidance for developing, positioning, and improving organizations from the ground up.

Marketers of professional services firms will benefit from a holistic look at everything they should be addressing in their branding and marketing efforts, from positioning to identity, to online properties.

Bold Brand 2.0 addresses:

  • Why you need a framework for building a brand strategy and where to begin
  • How to use a brand audit to determine potential for ROI
  • How to find your brand essence
  • Develop a unique voice to set your firm apart
  • What would happen if you had to rebrand in eight weeks?
  • How can your firm win the war for talent?
  • And more…

Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

A: It’s easy for professional services firms to fall back on “me too” messaging, but I want marketers of professional services to be bold in their choices, and to make brave decisions when it comes to standing out and differentiating their own firms. The most difficult decision you can make in any business is to identify what really makes you different and how to stand out, but if that’s the only thing you accomplish this year from a marketing standpoint, it will pay dividends for years to come.

Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?

A: I’m a very curious person. One of my first coworkers described me as a sponge, and I love the visual. I tend to seek out wisdom, soak it up, and immediately apply what I’ve learned.

And perhaps an odd quality, I’m more of a long-term vision guy than someone who always knows what to do next. Ten years down the road often seems more clear that tomorrow. I guess I’m more future-minded, and focused on what success looks like down the road.

Q: What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?

A: I find that at any point, I’m juggling between three and a dozen books. Today that stack is bigger than ever. This was especially true while I was writing the first edition of Bold Brand. Some of the most influential books were The Brand Gap, The Ultimate Sales Machine, and Rework.

I loved how The Brand Gap and Rework included graphs, charts, and interesting visual elements to complement the text, and I appreciated how The Ultimate Sales Machine offered the reader actionable steps to apply concepts as they are introduced. All of those were elements I incorporated into both editions of my book.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your life or career?

A: Swimming. I spent most of my life scared of the water, and I literally couldn’t tread water to save my life. Oddly, my young daughter was my inspiration. While I was out of town for a speaking gig a few years back, my wife texted me a video of my daughter jumping off the diving board, and going under. My jaw hit the floor. After a few seconds, she popped up and swam to the side of the pool.

That video was enough inspiration for me to come home and finally learn to swim. Fast forward to this past summer, I learned how to wake surf. And over the past few weeks I’ve been hitting the gym pool to learn how to swim laps. I’m still a pretty terrible swimmer, but I’m making progress with each visit to the pool. And it’s all thanks to my little girl, who’s now ten years old.

Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

A: I’m a big advocate of the ketogenic diet. I started this high fat, low carb lifestyle over two years ago, and am still down nearly 30 pounds since going keto. Eating keto means cutting lots of carbs and sugar, and consuming more fats and veggies. If you’d like to learn more, I’m always happy to chat about it.

Q: Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of?

A: I’m very proud of my two podcasts:

Q: Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?

A: Thank you for the opportunity to share with your audience. Things are definitely in flux for me today… you can read more of my story

Where to find Josh Miles

Thanks Josh.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.