This episode features AJ Saunders, the founder of AJS Digital Group, a media company with over a decade of experience in digital marketing. In addition, he has also launched an eBook publishing company, a global e-commerce shop, and started the current brands in the AJS Digital Group’s portfolio.
Listen to AJ as he shares what brand identity is and why it’s important. AJ discusses what could happen to those companies that don’t focus on creating their brand identity.
AJ shares his new course and the feedback he’s received. He deep dive into the problems he solves for his clients through his coaching and his courses and how his agency stands out from the competition. Who would benefit from his courses or from his coaching?
Episode Action Items:
To find more information about AJ’s company, go to www.ajsdigitalgroup.com
ABOUT THE HOST:
Andy Splichal is the World's Foremost Expert on Ecommerce Growth Strategies. He is the acclaimed author of the Make Each Click Count Book Series, the Founder & Managing Partner of True Online Presence and the Founder of Make Each Click Count University. Andy was named to The Best of Los Angeles Award's Most Fascinating 100 List in both 2020 and 2021.
New episodes of the Make Each Click Count Podcast, are released each Friday and can be found on Apple Podcast, iHeart Radio, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and www.makeeachclickcount.com.
Andy Splichal 0:00
Welcome to the Make Each Click Count podcast. This is your host, Andy Splichal. We are happy to welcome this week's guest to discuss today's topic which is Brand Identity, what it is and why you need it. Today's guest is the founder of AJ's digital group, a media company with over a decade of experience in digital marketing. In addition, he has also launched an ebook Publishing Company, a global e commerce shop and started the current brands and AJ s digital group's portfolio. Now making his second appearance on the make each click count podcast, a big welcome to AJ Saunders. Hi, AJ.
AJ Saunders 0:35
Hey, so great to be back. Thank you so much for having me back.
Andy Splichal 0:39
We're excited to have you. Now you of course have your course how to create affiliate content that drives revenue available, available at Make Each Click Count university, but I see your recently launched a new course on your website called Brand Style Guide course. What is brand identity? And why is it important?
AJ Saunders 1:01
Sure. So a lot of small businesses have this perception that branding doesn't matter to them. They're small. Whereas I was arguing I was assert that actually branding is more than a logo, it's more than some colors. It's how you make that person feel. And I think, you know, it's you know, it's the galleries that you go to to get your car fix that says, I'll don't worry about that, you know, for my house because it's, you know, stupid not change, right? Or it's Isn't it okay, to the five minutes to do you know, that's mean branding, you know, them all season better than them in the same outfit, those kind of things. So I think brand identity is so important, especially if you want to be memorable. And I think as small businesses, we all want to be memorable. So that's why I think brand identity is, especially to me.
Andy Splichal 1:50
Now, what happens, you touched a little bit about being memorable, really distinguishing yourself from the competition is that really, the main point is to if you don't, you're not going to be memorable, and you're just going to be another company?
AJ Saunders 2:07
Absolutely, absolutely. I think, you know, like, if my classic example is McDonald's, I can't think of a better example. So I apologize for people who've heard me talk about this before. So McDonald's has spent billions of dollars over the last kind of 20, 30, 40, maybe 50 years, thinking about how that customer experience is sent to their brands. See, if you think I'm a doctor, do you think of, you know, fast sheep, everywhere and clean? You know, and all of those attributes are things that they spent hours and months and decades, and lots of lots of money coming up with and thinking about how they can make that part and parcel of the customer experience. And to me that for the good brands should be in you know, regardless of whether you like bottles or not, you can't fool how they've built a great business and a great brand. And how the two are really interconnected. And I think small businesses can, you know, we don't have to obviously spend that kind of money. But we can take some of these ideals and these principles that doors are so, so greater and apply it to how we operate as business owners.
Andy Splichal 3:17
So let's talk a bit more about the details of your new course. And what need did you see for for putting the course together?
AJ Saunders 3:26
Still, so a lot of clients that I talked to the moment you say, so who are you targeting? They might have a good idea, right? The moment you say to them, so what associations do you want to that customer that prospector have? They go blank, the moment you say, right, well, what kind of tone John to use in your marketing, they're going to blank. And so the more conversations I had with these clients, I was working with all these kind of people that I speak to, the more it became apparent that a lot of small business owners didn't have some of the fundamentals in place. And actually, these gaps are so easy to fill. Because it just involves a little bit of thoughts.
Andy Splichal 4:06
Now, small business owners, they're they're some of the busiest people in the world. salutely always find that something's demanding their attention. And so I've found for a course to really sell well, it's got to be able to provide an immediate bump in sales for them. How How does your course do that?
AJ Saunders 4:23
Right. So but by working through the first kind of full chapter of the course, for the first four modules, I should say, first four modules run through, here's how it customer is how you want to talk to them, how humans perceive you. And I think for the majority of small businesses, they don't think about how they want to be perceived by the customer. And so their marketing is very what I would call it wonky. I'm sure you can appreciate this. I'm sure you've seen so much of this. So they do things like they might write a copy and then somebody else comes in and tries to like write another piece of copy. And it's bit one on here, it doesn't feel like there's a continuation of the same voice voice. Yeah. Yeah, as a customer's pick up on that, and they get scared, they think, Well, who are actually dealing with? am I dealing with, you know, Andy? Or am I dealing with, you know, you know, Claire or whoever, right? I think that, yeah, if you just take some of these ideas that are out in the course, and he's sitting, sit there for a couple of hours, and you think about these things, it will have a massive effect on how you market because you'll have a lot of these answers. But also, you'll you'll, you'll be able to clarify and solidify, how you talk to your customer, and how you the outworking of your customer experience in terms of how they should perceive your brand, I think you know, in terms of actual ROI is off the charts. I know that I'm skeptical. You know, for me as a horse race of blood, I think a lot of small businesses, if they thought about this stuff for an afternoon, which I know is, you know, four hours or so is quite a bit of time to take. But actually you see dramatic impact and in touch customers that come through the door, and how they want to communicate with you.
Andy Splichal 6:14
Now, I realized that you just released the course. So maybe it's too early, but how what kind of feedback if any if you received?
AJ Saunders 6:21
so I actually did it around a be setting before with some current clients. And the feedback has been great. Because, again, I think a lot of people don't think about this, this stuff. And the moment you sit there you say, right, you know, tell me about he wants to talk to how'd you want to talk to them? What kind of language you want to use? What kind of language Don't you want to use? What language are they going to respond to? What language are they not gonna respond to? I see light bulbs go off all the time. And so the sources I've run through it before for generalise or if it was positive, and I trusted, you know, real close friends of mine to do it right as beta testers and not to hold back and not to be to be likes to me that since you know, the field I got back from actual customers is they raved about it, because they realize how powerful it can be.
Andy Splichal 7:11
Cool. Now, while we're talking about courses, let's talk about your other course how to create Yeah, please, that drives revenue? Do those courses complement one another? Or are they completely different?
AJ Saunders 7:24
So a couple of customers that I've had this year, I've started to say to them, right, okay, what kind of content Johnsville out onto your website, and I say to them, what kind of voice you want to bring to that customer experience? And they say, and so that's why I think, you know, if you buy the second course for us, so, right, and then buy the first course second, right? So get your brand certified. And and that will actually make creating content and creating the user journey so much easier, which is a pure mapping course, which you're going to place now that you can buy that course, because I've done version two, which is more small business focused. Yeah, so isn't this for you, and I encourage people to sign up because it's not just my course the access to on the each click count University, it's the whole the whole shebang that you get. So it's, so it's brain activity stuff.
Andy Splichal 8:19
So focusing more on coaching, or, or what do you have planned into this year going into next year?
AJ Saunders 8:30
So yes, so I'm working with more and more coaching clients where we're building out a lot of what I do into like coaching, it's it's many SAP driven, so I'm building out templates and building out processes to enable them to get the results no matter who's in charge. Be here, I found that actually, if you put a really crisp person in charge of, say, SEO or say content or branding, actually, they have the right processes when they have to be creative and think they can use that brainpower. And they're following a checklist for things, repetitive tasks. They don't have to think so much because they're just literally just following a checklist. So I spent a lot of time coaching clients doing process driven activities, and just coach them on how to do that. So yeah, I just see the next year, I'm gonna do far more of that. Going to open up the SEO services that we can offer, through, you know, partnership agreements. And so yes, I'm really excited about what's gonna happen in the next year as a business.
Andy Splichal 9:29
So yeah. Now I'm sure I asked you this the first time you were on the show, that's one of my favorite questions. What, if any, are there any business books that you can attribute to your journey as an entrepreneur?
AJ Saunders 9:44
So to think about this all day, Luke. So I don't think there's one in particular, I've read probably about 50 or 60 business books in the last 10 years, if not more, and so I think you know, my practice Been to kind of duct tape things to take ideas. So I had a meeting this morning hours in the flow of the talk we would I just said all year that reminds me of things. Cate Blanchett, he did the one minutes he did while he was a manager? I don't know if you've heard that book? No, I haven't. Okay. It's a great book, because it basically lays out how to run how to run a team in a very non emotional way. And one of the things well, this is one of principles on that book is you employ people to find solutions not to be dictated to. So there's this back and forwards in the, in the book where the manager say to employees, what solutions do you think we have that problem? So it's not the manager saying, right, what problems? Do you you know, here's the three solutions, I think we have that problem is actually the employee and it says, how are you? It becoming more of a coach? And so that's really your that wasn't that contents? Mine today, as I'm talking? Yes, I can't I can't think of one particular. But there's been loads, and there's been loads of things where I just, you know, it's I guess it's sheer, isn't it? I guess you feel you must feel the same? Yeah, there probably may not be one book for you. But there's probably been like 20 or 30 books, either in the last couple years. You can drag in. You know, right, right.
Yeah. No, I always, you know, if I get one or two ideas out of each book,
yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's definitely worth the price, isn't it then?
Now, the next question, I think you're gonna give a good answer, given that you're an expert in by brand identity, but what problems? Do you see yourself solving for your clients through the coaching and courses? And how does your agency stand out from the competition?
So I, I think my superpower is I, I can empower business owners to build out a team that makes it work for them. So I can, I can help. Founders can help CMOS bridge the gap between maybe hiring agency and having an in house team. So that when they're, when they're at capacity, and they need to hire an agency, they know how to talk to the agency. But also they know how to you know how to implement some of that stuff themselves. So that's really one of the problems that I solve. I think another problem that I solve is, again, quite process driven. So I help people understand what process is in our how make process actually work for their business. That's so important. And then the third thing that I think that I definitely do, and I definitely stand out from from other people, is I'm just naturally encourager, so I can see when a client on a coaching call is having a hard time or you ever get an email from somebody saying, I've tried this course, it didn't work, I'm more than happy to jump on a call and just encourage them, and help I find me the best cheerleader on God's green earth, just because I feel that that's missing, I feel that, you know, we're all a bit more of a cheerleader, I think we'd all get there, you know, get to our goals quicker. Because we feel inspired, or motivated will fill helps you to reach that next pinnacle. And so yeah, so there's, there's all kinds of things that I feel I'm different.
So who out there would benefit from taking your course or your coaching, if they're listening right now should absolutely check it out.
So the branding course, are designed for any small business, so it's 97 bucks. So it's really highly affordable, it'll take you kind of three or four hours to go through. It's, it's both video and workbook. And so yes, that's aimed at every single business, the content course that is available through Mickey's click count University. Again, it's the framework is is great for any small business. And then you know, if if you either are struggling with a place on the principles, or you need help, or you've got big content problems, that's where for me, the coaching really kicks in. So the course will will teach you the principles. And sometimes we all need help with implementation. And so that's why coaching really works. And also in coaching you, you, you become in control of what outcome you actually want. Because you know, you're not, there's not somebody doing the work for you. You're getting asked to do the work. And so coaching isn't for everybody, but for the people that you actually work for. They see results very quickly, because they're applying and they're using their brains and they're growing as individuals.
So the new course is it for both e comm as well as professional services. Yeah,
literally any small business. It doesn't matter if you're online or offline. The first four chapters especially are just called us their years and years of research and thinking distilled into to your bite size. questions that anyone can answer for their business?
Great. Well, where can an interested listener find out more about you and the courses in common? Yeah, sure.
PBO pure can go to the HS digital.com. They can follow me directly on Instagram, which is just a underscore Jay underscore Saunders. Or you put me on LinkedIn, which is just AJ dash Saunders das S E. O, I'm available, you can book 15 minutes for free on the website, if you want to get in contact with me. Always happy to talk to people.
Great. Well, we will definitely put all those links into the shownotes below. Now, before we wrap it up, is there a piece of actionable advice that somebody wanting to start thinking about creating a brand identity should take? Where should they even start?
Right? So they really should understand who their customer is. And so the best thing to do to understand your customer, is to actually listen to them. I know that sounds really remedial advice. But a lot of times when I talk to clients, or I talk to prospective clients, and I say to them, what are the top 10 questions you ask every week, every month, every quarter? They don't have an answer. And actually, they go to their customers and start asking, So what problem are we solving for your what problem was you likely to solve? They end up with, you know, dozen or 20 questions, and that that can inform who they talk to how they talk to that customer. But it also can give them the confidence that they can correct them next year. But it also will help them in a brand new journey. I think you know, the customer. I wouldn't always say always right, because customer isn't always right. But the customer can help you dictate way where you go in the business. And I think that can be really, really powerful.
Yeah, that's some great advice. Well, that's it. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we go ahead and wrap it up?
Now, as I say, I just say, you know, be be encouraged today that, you know, because by lessons this year, take a step forward. And yeah, there's loads of people out there who are willing to help.
Well, that's great. Well, thank you once again for joining us today, AJ.
Man, it's an absolute pleasure as always.
For listeners. Remember, if you liked this episode, please go to Apple podcasts and leave us an honest review. And if you're looking for more information regarding AJS digital group, or connecting with AJ you will find the links in the show notes below. In addition, if you're looking for more information on growing your business, check out our all new podcasts Resource Center available at podcast.makeeachclickcount.com. We have compiled all of our different past guests by show topic and include each of their contact information in case you would like more information on any services I have discussed during the previous episodes. That's it for today. Remember to stay safe, keep healthy and happy marketing and I will talk to you in the next episode.