Calling Bullsh*t on Brand Love

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Austin Franke is the founder of Woo Punch, a brand design consultancy rooted in the science of how brands grow. 

Show Notes

Austin is also the man behind, a newsletter that exposes common branding, marketing, and advertising myths, and co-hosts The BS Show with Stef Hamerlinck on YouTube.

In this episode of the podcast, Austin shares why the old notions of brand love are outdated. In keeping with the new format of the podcast, he delivers a 10-minute masterclass before being interviewed. 

  •  A 10-minute masterclass about brand love 
  • The old notions of brand love that are outdated
  • Why distinctiveness is not synonymous with differentiation
  • The reality and the evidence-based insights into how brands grow 

Books mentioned:

Building Distinctive Brand Assets
How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don't Know
Seducing the Subconscious: The Psychology of Emotional Influence in Advertising

Valuable Resources:

Brand Tuned Newsletter
Brand Tuned Training Courses



Shireen: Hello, and welcome to Brand Tuned a podcast for people like you, marketers, designers and founders looking to build a great brand that's differentiated and distinctive. It's hosted by me, Shireen Smith, intellectual property lawyer, offer a marketer. Hello, and welcome back to the Brand Tuned podcast.

We're now in season seven, and we'll stay in season seven indefinitely. From now on, I don't see a good reason to break up the podcast into seasons anymore. Today's episode is the first using a new approach, which I'll explain shortly. I had ideas for improving the podcast a while back. However, as I didn't have time to implement them, due to having to write and record the recently launched Brand Tuned Accreditation program. I decided to just pause the podcast. I'd envisaged resuming the podcast sooner than this. However, following her Majesty the Queen's death on the eighth of September, it seemed appropriate to pause everything. I didn't send out a newsletter that was scheduled for Friday, the ninth of September, either. 

In view of the grief that enveloped the nation, it seemed appropriate to just push everything back to this week. The queen was the model of professionalism. The fact that she met with Liz Truss to formally appoint her as prime minister just two days before her death speaks volumes about her dedication to duty, it must have taken a superhuman effort to get it together to have that meeting. But for a lifetime, the queen had put her own needs behind those of the Office of Queen, so she probably thought nothing of it, and carried out her duty with grace and fortitude. What a woman.

On Monday, the funeral service will take place and the country will then shortly return to  a semblance of normality. We are in the dawn of a new era in the UK, so who knows what normality will look like. By all accounts, the winter ahead is going to be bleak. Given the energy crisis, the NHS problems are more, let's hope for a miracle.

As mentioned, the format of the podcast is changing. I'll be inviting guests to start by delivering a 10 minute mini masterclass on a particular topic. Then I'll interview the guest for 15 to 20 minutes to probe deeper into that topic. Hopefully, listeners will get more value this way, because we'll stick to the topic in hand and uncover more detail in the process. Let me know what you think. Now let's start today's episode with Austin Franke, who is calling bullshit on brand love. 

So my guest today is going to be calling bullshit on brand love. Austin Frank is the founder of whoop punch a brand design consultancy, rooted in the science of how brands grow. Austin is also the man behind, a newsletter that exposes common branding, marketing and advertising myths. He also co hosts The BS Show with Stef Hamerlinck on YouTube. Austin once thought consumers fell in love with brands preferred brands they identified with in enjoy engaging with brands online, gravitated towards highly differentiated brands, and remained loyal to their favorite brands for life. He believed as long as you could target your brand's design to an ideal customer persona, your customers would shout your brand from the rooftops, resulting in stratospheric growth. Now he preaches a different reality. One of distracted consumers and brand apathy. He now believes in the power of meaningless brand design, distinctiveness broad reach advertising, consistency, repetition, and patience to funnel distracted consumers towards brands. So we've got a slightly different format today in that Austin is going to do a 10-minute mini masterclass, and then I'll ask him questions. So without further ado, I'll stand all over to you.

Austin: Great. So our industry has become flooded with what we're told is a new revolutionary approach to branding and yet its core idea has been around and consistently debunked for decades. And I'm talking about brand love here, as Shireen alluded to. 

So brand love is this idea that if you can identify an ideal customer for your brand, then mark it to them with emotional appeals, you can create a loyal following and those loyalists will then evangelize your brand to their friends, and your brand will soar as a result. We were told that brand love can be built through loyalty programs, differentiation, customer personas, interactive advertising, hyper targeting quality products and advertising your company's values. Seth Godin tells us that people do not buy goods and services. They buy relations stories and magic. Simon Sinek tells us the relationship that someone has with the brand is the same as a relationship that someone has with a person. And Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks tells us that if people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand. But be honest with yourself. Does this ring true to your own experience? Is it true for a handful of brands you buy? Possibly, but what about the other hundreds of brands you buy each month? Do you share the same values with Heinz? Or do you buy it because you don't know any other ketchup brands? Do you have a personal relationship with Netflix? Or do they simply have a wider selection of movies and TV shows that AMC plus? Would you ever use the word magic to describe your auto insurance provider? Take even your experience with Apple if you consider yourself an enthusiast? Do you really buy Apple because they identify with your values of thinking differently? Under Tim Cook Apple hasn't had a single revolutionary product and yet, shares of Apple have soared over 1,000% Since he took over from Steve Jobs. No one has ever accused Tim Cook of thinking differently. 

Simon Sinek may tell us that Apple is wildly successful because of the why behind their company. But he conveniently ignores the fact that Microsoft and Samsung have dominated the computer and phone markets without any discernible why behind their products. Maybe that's why he used gateway and Dell and his infamous TED Talk. 

But for a rare few and even fewer buying situations. Brand love could exist, but it's certainly not the normal pathway to brand growth. In fact, it's not even the pathway of growth for most brands that gurus like to use as models of brand love. 20% of Apple users don't perceive Apple as any different from competitor brands. When asked despite having completely different operating systems. Harley-Davidson riders buy Honda motorcycles twice as often as they buy Harley's on average. 

In fact, Harley enthusiast only make up an estimated 3.5% of Harley's annual revenue. The vast majority of Coca Colas annual revenue is generated by consumers who bought a single can of soda or less in a year. These are the inconvenient truths brand love promoters have to wrestle with. The reality is most consumers are distracted when buying. They don't have relationships with brands they are loyal to a handful of brands. They have simply heard of or bought before, not individual brands that they are enthusiastic about. Customers don't want to be part of a tribe with other brand buyers. They don't care about your company's values, and they certainly don't buy magic whatever the hell that means. Instead of attempting to change the nature of consumer behavior, marketers, advertisers and brand strategists must accept this reality and act accordingly. Is it nice to have some customers love your brand? Sure. Is it helpful? There seems to be little to no evidence suggesting that it is. 

To grow your brand distracted, consumers need to know your brand exists and consistently be reminded of its existence that is 90 to 95% of all marketing. Instead of marketing to a specific ideal customer with emotional appeals remind every category buyer, you exist by executing on five principles that are proven to influence purchase behavior. Number one, be distinctive. So distinctive means two things here a if your brand is not sonically and visually distinctive, consumers will confuse you with your competitors. And be if your distinctive brand once you've created it is not prominently displayed throughout your advertising from beginning to end. Distracted consumers won't process your brand when they're exposed to your ad. 

You can't afford to jump on design trends attempt to infuse deep meaning into your brand assets. And you certainly can't afford to tease your brand out until the end of your ads. Number two, be consistent. Again, consistency means two things here, A you should advertise frequently. And over long periods of time, and be your advertising should consistently use the same well established brand assets. You can't afford to invest in short bursts of advertising and then silence and you can't afford to get bored with your logo or brand character if they're well established. And number three, reach everyone. First. If your budget allows, you should invest in broad reaching channels like TV, radio and out of home channels like billboards and digital displays, they are still king. 

If you are restricted to online advertising reach as many consumers as possible as often as possible as your budget allows. broad reaching advertising channels are cheaper in the long run than online channels. And if you can afford to do both do so. But invest most of your resources into traditional advertising and avoid hyper targeting online. 

Second, you must attempt to appeal to all category buyers, not ideal customer personas. Light buyers, those who rarely buy your brand and even from your category as a whole are your workhorses for brand growth just like they are for Coca-Cola. Number four get noticed. Research has demonstrated the efforts that getting consumers to pay conscious attention to advertising are rarely effective. The conventional persuasion model of advertising rational or emotional rarely works, and can even backfire with overt or cheesy emotional manipulation. 

Brand purpose appeals especially if an ad leans one way or another politically, or rational messaging, it's better to simply get consumers to look up at your video ads or perk their ears up with radio or podcast ads. Then make sure your brand assets are on full display when they do by getting customers consumers to notice your advertising and by repeatedly exposing those consumers to your brand assets when they do your brand will become familiar over time and that familiarity is the strongest gravitational pool there is for brand choice, we don't buy brands we are not familiar with. And number five finally be relevant. 

Consumers are rarely paying attention to the differences between brands. They are too distracted when buying and most brands aren't that different from one another anyway. Instead, individual consumers search their memories for a handful of brands that are linked to their specific buying situation when entering a category. These situations are called category entry points and brands must be linked in consumer memory to these category entry points. So there are two approaches brands could take here. Using these brands could attempt to own a single category entry point, or even a personality trait or some sort of attribute the very few other competitors own and this is the classic differentiation method, or brands could link the brands with as many common category entry points as possible. This approach takes much more time and patience but wins every time in the end. His research demonstrates that market leaders are linked to more category entry points than smaller brands. 

They are not linked more strongly with one individual category point, category entry point over others. This evidence flies in the face of differentiation. So to wrap things up, I'd like to take two different Super Bowl commercials and compare them. The first took a brand love approach in 2011. Its aim was clearly to engage consumers get talked about the next day, Link positive emotions with the brand and win creative awards. While this ad isn't as obvious as many ads we see today, in particular ads that exploit trendy social causes to let you know they care. It's clearly of the brand love ilk. The ad features a little boy dressed up as Darth Vader from Star Wars you probably remember it. He attempts to move various objects with his mind and of course fails until he finds himself in front of his dad's car. As a practical joke. The boy's dad presses the remote start feature on his key fob the car starts the boy is left amazed. It's cute, hilarious emotion you know and sweet, and as a short film, I absolutely love watching it. Now while this ad is widely considered to be the best Superbowl ad of all time, in reality, it fell flat. 

Why? Most people remember the ad, no one remembers who the ad was for. Even those that might remember within a month of seeing it will have forgotten in three years when they finally enter the car market. It was for Volkswagen by the way. While they did get noticed and succeeded in reaching and appealing to all category buyers, it teased its brand assets out until the very end, which were also quite weak at the time. It was inconsistent with all prior VW advertising, and centered on a feature not a category entry point. No one decides to buy a new car just for remote start. The second add air to this year's Super Bowl. It has no shot of winning any creative awards, it has no chance of going viral. It wasn't cute or clever, but its logo is plastered on almost every frame throughout. 

The ad featured a team of operatives rappelling down from helicopters and popping up out of ponds to install some random guys new floor mats, mud flaps, bumpers, seat protectors and a couple other phones Dan for his truck, this ad won't turn heads. But when consumers enter the market for truck accessories, the WeatherTech logo will likely stand out among others. without them even knowing why and they will buy it. I'm going to end finally with a quote from the ad contrarian Bob Hoffman to really put things into perspective, he's really good at that. 

He said once let me state the obvious. Yes, having a strong brand should be every marketers primary objective. And yes, the highest goal of advertising is to create a strong brand. But that's it. For the most part, consumers are not in love with brands despite all the baloney we hear from social media experts. For the most part, consumers do not want to have a conversation with your brand, or an authentic relationship with it, or engage with it or CO create with it or spin the romantic seaside weekend with it. Of course brand preferences exist, but brand Love is a juvenile fantasy. I swear if Pepsi were to disappear tomorrow, Pepsi loyalist was switched to coke with very little psychological damage. Big Mac lovers would cheerfully eat a whopper without the need for counseling, and Nike loyalists would throw in a pair of Adidas without having to enter rehab. 

Shireen: Great. Well, thank you very much, Austin. Certainly, I agree with much of what you say. But the problem is, how do you apply this to when you're creating a brand for an early stage business? You know, how do you actually do want to talk me through what do you do about differentiation? If you don't worry about it? Well, how would you deal with a new brand? 

Austin: Yeah, so when a new brand enters a market, it's most likely going to attract heavy buyers of the category that your brand lives within. So people that are willing to kind of try something new. And so to some extent, in the beginning, differentiation can help. The mistake that people make is to lean really heavily into a particular category entry point. And kind of especially one that consumers aren't interested in or thinking about very often. And they end up shooting themselves in the foot later on, because then they have to somehow switch the association's and consumers minds from something that was very different and radical and unique to something that they can actually relate to in their lives. But the second thing really is, you know, if you are, you know, this particular functionality of you know, your brand has this particular functionality or a challenge or brand or whatever the case may be, then you're likely not going to reach like category buyers. Because you're you're likely leaning really heavily into one particular element that you that you think and want to be different from every other competitor. And when you try to find some little thing, some niche or whatever, that separates yourself from any other competitor, you're likely not going to appeal to what the customer is actually looking for it because usually they're entering the category, because they want one of the things that your larger competitors are associated with. So to try to separate that you can do that in the beginning, it can certainly lead to short term sales in the beginning, you might attract some of those heavy buyers that are like this is new, this is different. This is interesting. But eventually, you're going to want to invest the money that you make from that back into trying to appeal to really common category entry points. 

Shireen: Right so you, you don't have an approach whereby a business starts in a certain way but might ultimately go a different route because they don't really have a budget a lot of businesses when they start so if they're not going to be niche and targeted to a particular customer by profile, how are they going to afford all the advertising to just compete with all the businesses out there? 

Austin: Yeah, and that's a really valid question. And you know, there are some categories where, you know, this is this might be really hard to hear for some people that are entering those categories. But there are some categories where it's a mistake to enter them, because they are they do have the big players, they are crowded, and what your you can even possibly offer isn't going to be very unique, or isn't going to be very appealing to most consumers, because those bigger brands have the resources and they can simply crush you, right. 

And that's, you know, that's a really hard thing to hear for a lot of people who are set in this business and they want to, they want to go down this particular track, maybe they want to start an auto insurance company. And without really serious investors, that's going to be very difficult to do, when there's already so many auto insurance companies that are really established in the market. Of course, you can do that if you have heavy investment in your brand. And you can potentially just really, especially if you enter a category that doesn't advertise much, there are plenty of categories out there that have major players who aren't advertising very often. 

But the reality is, for some categories, it's a mistake to enter them to begin with, because you don't have the investment for that. So So I would say to smaller brands that are looking to, you know if someone's starting a business, usually, especially if it's a really small business, often, it's just because they want a better life for themselves. For their families. It's usually not because they want to grow into this great market leader. But if you want to grow into a market leader, eventually you're going to have to really start investing in advertising. And there are some categories that you're going to have to avoid. 

Shireen: Do you actually deal with branding for businesses now? Or have you moved on away from actually doing designs for brands? 

Austin: No, I do I do. 

Shireen: What sort of businesses are they that you work with? 

Austin: Yeah, yeah. So so right now I'm working with, for example, a Catholic birth resource brand. So essentially, she is niching down, but on purpose, she really believes in that there's a avoid in the Catholic Church of caring for new families, especially those who are pregnant and about to have their first so she offers birth classes, but also resources for those parents that are very much rooted in Catholic theology, I am a devout Catholic myself. 

So this project really appealed to me. And in her case, she is doing something different, because there wasn't anything like what she was doing. And she really saw a need for that. And so for her, you know, it totally made sense to launch her brand within this category, because there really wasn't much else there. 

Shireen: But, well, quite often, that's what happens with businesses, I mean, somebody has industry knowledge, and they, they, they perceive a problem that they want to solve in a surprising way, which, which does involve really niching down and going after a particular target until you get some sort of list off and then you can advertise more, you know, widely. I quite like Mark Woodson's to speed approach where you know, you do targeted marketing to a particular customer base, but also broad reach marketing, to try and attract all possible segments into your, into your sort of business and people who might want to buy down the line so that they become aware, aware of you.

So what approach would you take to designing a brand and presumably designers don't really need to understand a business or have a brand strategy, if you can just design distinctiveness without worrying about meaning. How do you do that? 

Austin: Yeah, you know, I think that fundamentally, a lot of designers, they love design. And then they watch some Christo videos with the future. And they decided, well, you know, maybe I could go beyond design and I could really kind of be a business consultant in addition to design. And so many of those designers aren't equipped to be business consultants, right? They don't have the knowledge or the know how or, or even the soft skills to be able to enter into that.

And I've been able to combine kind of both worlds where when I work with a client, I'm really researching I'm not just assuming that I'm designing a distinctive brand, but I'm actually doing in depth research into the market to make sure that I really am. And sometimes with companies with larger budgets that means measuring distinct brand assets. But obviously, with other clients who don't have those budgets, it's it really does require an eye for distinctiveness. But another problem that I see often with designers is they, they get really stuck in the trends, right there a particular style of design or maybe, or they just, you know, they're wanting to always design whatever is trendy in the market. And that's a major mistake that most designers make is by designing trends, you're automatically not creating distinctiveness for the brands that you're working for. So there certainly is, not every designer is qualified to dive into business strategy. But those who have a knack for distinctiveness really have a leg up in terms of actual effectiveness for brands. Now, of course, you have another side of things where many brands want a trendy design, or they want to trendy logo or they want to look like everyone else. I've even had clients who were just like, you know, I want to do this with my social media strategy. I want to follow trends, I want to do that. 

And it was a really difficult conversation to talk them down from that ledge, because they're not going to really reach many, many people if they are trying to follow trends. And so there's all kinds of issues that designers can come up against. And then other designers who have particular styles, and they don't really venture outside of those styles probably won't make great business consultants, but they could still be hired. When I work with clients, and we come up with a style, I'm often not doing the actual designs for the business. And so once we've established a style, then I'm going and I'm looking for designers who fit and match that style, who can also who also are able to do it in a way that's more distinctive. And so that can also be a way that designers who are kind of funneling themselves in a particular style could find work is by working with those clients who are looking for that particular style. 

Shireen: What do you mean by style? I mean, I'm not a designer. So what can you give me examples? 

Austin: Yeah, yeah. So Right. There are calligraphy artists, there are, there are designers who do like contour line drawings, there are designers who might work more in like 3d sculpture, design. There are designers who simply really like a style, and they just kind of without even meaning to go down that particular path of kind of just found themselves. Designing in that particular style, I, myself have a particular style that I enjoy. And so I actually am always having to stop myself and make sure that when I'm designing for the client isn't isn't something that I would like myself, but it's something that would be distinctive in the market. 

Shireen: So you say a knack for distinctiveness does it. I've noticed a lot of designers don't produce symbols when you know, when they create brands, especially for small businesses, you invariably get a stylized wordmark in a particular color. And that's all business has by which to try and stand out. And I've often wondered, why don't they actually create symbols? And I wonder, does it take a certain type of designer to be able to create symbols? Because all these well known brands have symbols, you know, like, Nike, Apple, and so on. And they probably would design right at the beginning before they were big. 

Austin: Yeah, there's, there's definitely a lot of really generic logo designs out there. If you're going to do a word mark, you should probably, you know, create a custom typeface that's distinctive. I know some brands there was there's a trend with some larger brands to just kind of move into like Helvetica typefaces as their logo, but and you can do that you can have a kind of a more generic looking logo, it's not ideal, obviously. But if you surround that logo with other distinctive brand assets, then you can really, you can really leverage that brand. So if you have a generic word mark, but then you add a character for the brand, or, you know, a particular spokesperson that you bring, and he was not a celebrity, you don't want a celebrity because they're associated with other things. But someone who has a distinct face that no one knows about, you know, for anything else.

Obviously, there's audio that you can attach on to things like that. So you can if you're stuck with a particular logo for whatever reason, you can build around it. But it's probably always going to be ideal to have some sort of symbol I think, unless you have a really custom typeface that stands out really well. 

Shireen: Well, the other issue that I've experienced with many designers is they want to then change to your existing logo to fit a new symbol that you want, rather than creating a symbol to fit around the existing logo that somebody's been using for a few years. So the desire to change things it seems to be quite prevalent in the design world. They're not thinking in terms of how can I preserve what's there and build on it? It's, it's always, how can I throw this away and start again with something really great? Yeah, that is, yeah. 

Austin: Well, for one for what a lot of designers believe that if they're not rebranding a company that's come that's contracting them to create a brand or to rebrand their brand, they believe, if they don't do something radical, like, what's the point of them existing, right? If they don't do something completely new, a lot of the clients are looking for something completely new, because they don't understand that they already have existing assets that are working really well in the market. And so that's another place where a designer could dive into to business consulting, is if they are able to conduct a comprehensive brand audit, where they're looking at all of the different assets. They're measuring those assets among consumers in the market. And they're determining, well, this one you might not like, it might look a little 90s, it might look a little whatever, but it's working really well for people, I think a great example of this, and there could have been with any rebrand that I like, critique, there's all kinds of things I'm completely unaware of that go behind those decisions. But one rebrand that stands out to me the most is Pfizer. Right. 

So Pfizer had a very distinctive logo. I mean, it was kind of a generic logo for a medical company. But because Pfizer had been around so long their logo was had become really familiar to most consumers. And then right when they're releasing their vaccine, they completely up in there their entire logo and redesign it. And that just never made any sense to me at all. But it looks more modern, you know, but no one cares if it looks more modern, the point of a logo isn't to be stylish or trendy, or to you know, it's to work. It has to do its job. But if it doesn't do its job, it's pointless. Yeah. 

Shireen: So you would randomly pick something that appeals to someone if they wanted, say, an animal as a symbol of brand you feel it's acceptable to just choose something without any meaning. And then yeah, and then you build meaning into it afterwards do 

Austin: Yeah, I do. So a great example that I always saw. This kind of concept of meaning less distinctive design comes from I'm sure you know, Ginni Rometty, of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. But the best example that I know of have a distinctive brand asset of character in this case, which was completely meaningless to the category but they kind of attached a meaning onto it with the brand and in particular, is the Geico Gecko. I think that that is a genius. brand design strategy. It's taking a Gecko which has nothing to do with car insurance but can be tied to the very distinctive name of GEICO within the auto insurance industry. And they've been able to really, you know, do a lot of great work with that it's the Gecko essentially always talking about how he keeps getting mistaken for Geico, but then in the process is able to even describe certain category entry points, that they it's very flexible, you can even because of its, at least in the US, its distinctive British accent, you could play it on the radio, and people would recognize it. It's just a really well rounded, really flexible, really adaptable example of a meaningless brand character that works really well for the brand. 

Shireen: Okay, well, before we finish, what actually moved you to change your position so radically, because a lot of designers that I know, have exactly that approach that you use. So what was the change about? 

Austin: Yeah, so you know, in the beginning, it was not having clients, you know, flooding in, in the beginning of starting my brand consultancy, you know, some people would just get really aggravated by that, and they might just quit their business. I was fortunate enough to be able to have the finances, with my wife working to really be able to double down on learning. And so a part of it was insecurity, I wanted to make sure that what I was doing for clients was actually working. And I wasn't confident that you know, even though I was hearing it everywhere, that it was effective, or I just had doubts. And so it started kind of as an insecurity of wanting to make sure that what I was doing was actually effective and but also the other side of that coin was I stopped, I stopped looking on YouTube. I stopped reading HubSpot articles I stopped even reading her Harvard Business Review articles for the most part, and went to my local library got a library card and just like scan the shelves within the category of brand design and branding and marketing.

And that's when I originally came across Daniel Kahneman's work. He's a Nobel Prize winning behavioral economics economist and grabbed his book Thinking Fast and Slow. And that completely was just like, Okay, it's something else is going on here. That nothing that I'm hearing about brand love computes with how we make decisions as human beings. And then eventually I discovered Byron Sharp and they and the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute and what was beautiful is they, they completely affirmed one another. And that's, that's really difficult to do. That was a sign for me that there's something going on here. And so that's when I kind of doubled down on that. 

Shireen: I must say, I came at it from intellectual property law because I kept thinking why are they ignoring this? This is so intellectual property issue. And then when I read about Ehrenberg-Bass, actually distinctiveness is about distinctiveness in trademark law. So they actually reflected what was going on in the market that people are not creating distinctive brands that are creating ads without putting logos on. Yeah. So was it really resonated? I just want to ask what resources then would you recommend three resources for somebody who wants to help people create brands? 

Austin: Yeah, so from a designer standpoint, the most helpful book for me has been building distinctive brand assets by Ginni Rometty of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. I read it after I read how brands grow by Byron Sharp also of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, both of those books are really good to work off of one another. And then how brands grow to is also really great how brands grow to is what kind of expands on when you do like when you have everything, you have a distinctive brand. And it's prominent throughout your advertising. And then you have room to focus on the messaging of your advertising. I think the category entry point chapter in how brands grow to was really helpful for me to understand that.

And then I would also recommend, Robert Heath, he's got a book. He's a advertising psychologist, and he's got a book called seducing the subconscious. And well, I think some of the points that he makes in their conflict with empirical data on how brands grow. And I've been able to kind of pick that apart and figure out why he might believe that there's the stuff on attention, his work on attention, and how we don't need to actively pay attention to advertising for it to deeply influence us, is really phenomenal. And his work is even been mentioned by Byron sharp and is respected by Byron sharp. And so that's also another book that kind of plays off of Daniel Kahneman, and marketing effectiveness research. 

Shireen: Well, we'll add those to the show notes. And my final question, too, is, what is the most memorable experience you've had regarding intellectual property? As a designer? 

Austin: Yeah. That is a good question.

Well, my first experience with it, I mentioned that so I worked for a Catholic nonprofit for seven years. And we created an online resource called reach more. And there was a woman who worked for us who was it was like a kind of a higher level leadership position with I think it was HP, way back when she was retired, but kind of just volunteering your time for the organization. And she was all about trademarking the name reach more, to the point where it became this kind of running joke within the office where, you know, we called her Kathy TM.

Because he was like, always on us to make sure to add that little tea and at the end of it every time we wrote it anywhere, I think that's the most memorable experience and it was my introduction to it all and how important it was. And it's expanded from there. Ever trademark. 

Shireen: Did she managed? 

Austin: It was Yeah, she did. Yeah, yeah.

Shireen: Good. Okay. Well, where can people reach you? What's your place? 

Austin: Yeah, so my newsletter is probably the best place to just stay up to date on what I'm up to. But you can also just email me directly at [email protected]. So we'll is my brand consultancies website. So you can fill out a form there even schedule a Calendly meeting with me.

But I'm I on principle. I'm not on social media myself. It's a conviction that I had really early on with my business. So you can't reach me there even though I have old profiles that you could probably find, but it wouldn't be worth reaching out.

Shireen Great. Well, thank you very much indeed, Austin. Thank you so much. Bye.

That's it for this week. Do subscribe to the Brand Tuned newsletter to get weekly updates. I'd also love to get your feedback, just send me an email to info a Finally, if you liked the episode, please do share it with your friends and colleagues and review it on iTunes or whichever platform you use to listen to podcasts. If you leave us a five star review, it means more people will listen and we can spread the word much more quickly about the podcast. Thank you and bye for now.