Why become the Recognized Authority? Alastair McDermott Rebrands for his new podcast
This one is a little bit different – it’s a behind the scenes look at the rebrand, that my old friend and former business partner Alastair McDermott did recently for his podcast where he rebranded from Marketing for Consultants to The Recognized Authority.
This episode is a conversation where I was interviewing him on his podcast. We wanted to dig into the logic behind the rebrand, the choices, decisions and processes that he used and I thought it might be valuable.
This might be of interest to you if you’re thinking about rebranding, or you are looking for ideas for your personal brand and your business brand.
If you’re interested in seeing a bit behind the curtains, discovering the logic behind this change of name and logos then stick around, and you might find this insightful!
- Why rebrand?
- When is the best time to rebrand?
- What are the factors you have to consider?
- From a ‘holding brand’ to something longer lasting
- What are some of the key challenges in rebranding?
- Be careful of saturating your network and not having a plan B
- The power of inbound enquiries
- Authority through education and expertise
- 20 ways to say the same thing, but which fits you best?
- Niagra Falls with a glass
- How do you do it right?
- A dependency on referrals in downright dangerous
- Every brand has a personality and how to discover yours
- Helpful approach to colours and logos
- Creating ‘Rolodex Moments’
people, authority, called, brand, website, consultants, philip, recognized, book, business, rebrand, niche, marketing, podcast, rebranding, referrals, talking, clients, bit, personal brand
Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Alistair McBride
Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. So you can increase your reach, have more impact and work with great clients.
Alastair McDermott 00:16
Hey, folks, this one is a little bit different. This is a behind the scenes look at the rebrand that we did recently for the podcast. We rebranded from Marketing for Consultants to The Recognized Authority. And so this is a conversation with my friend and former business partner, Alistair McBride. We recorded this in order to explain a bit more about the logic behind the rebrand, the choices and decisions and processes that we went through. And so this might be of interest to you, if you’re thinking about rebranding, or you think about your personal brand, and your business brand. This is not as actionable as a typical episode. So if you’re looking for something super actionable, skip this one, there’ll be another one coming out on Monday. And we’ll be back into the normal flow of things. But if you’re interested in kind of scene, a bit behind the curtains, and a little bit about the logic behind what, what’s behind this change of name, and, and logos and all that kind of stuff, then stick around, and you might find this interesting. So thanks for checking in. And I will hand you over to today’s host, Alistair McBride, who also hosts his own podcast called Dealing with Goliath. So thanks for being here with us today, Alistair.
Alistair McBride 01:24
Great to be here. Yeah, ’cause this is something I’ve been quite fascinated about where you are never 100% fully into a name. And as I said, I think this one, this one, no, I think you are at this rebrand. And it’s a fascinating process. Because this is something that I think I as a business owner, or coach, consultants, etc. And a lot of people we know, struggle with, it’s an ongoing thing. It’s like it’s, it’s, it’s how you say to the world, this is what I’m about, right? And so it’s a hugely important thing. So I’m kind of fascinated why you decided to change because you did a lot of work on your previous incarnation. So why did you choose to rebrand? And for the rest of us out there? If we’re, if we’re thinking about it, if it’s in the back of our heads, or or something very much at the front of our mind? What really are the principles in, in in that choice? Like, when should you or when should you maybe not? So talk us through this? Why did you rebrand? And what’s kind of the principle behind the timing of that one?
Alastair McDermott 02:37
Okay, so Well, there’s, there’s so many different things to kind of unpack. And, like, I guess I need to lay the groundwork. So if we go back before, the previous brand was Marketing for Consultants, and if we go back before that, I had a business called WebsiteDoctor. And the biggest issue that I had with WebsiteDoctor was that I was way too generalist, it was all things to all people. And so I wanted to niche down. And so I started to dig into that. And as a process of in the process of my specialization, I went through, okay, who are my favorite people to work with, and that’s consultants. And then I started to dig into that a bit more. And I looked, and I looked at what I was doing, I was doing, you know, all sorts of marketing related stuff, which is what you do when you’re doing websites, because there’s the, you know, websites are kind of a facet of marketing. And so I looked at what, you know, I looked at Websites for Consultants, and it wasn’t really, it wasn’t really the important problem, the problem, the problem, the important problem for me, was the marketing part, not the website part. And so, just I needed some
Alistair McBride 03:50
Clarifying that one so that, as I say, the website then was the what would you say? Was the how it was the vehicle for you to help your clients get clients? Is that is that kind of what you mean or?
Alastair McDermott 04:05
Yeah, so so when you get into web design, you realize that for, for non e-commerce websites, so e-commerce are a different class on their own because the e-commerce website is the you know, it is what it is, it’s it’s, it’s like a stand-alone thing, all of itself. The purpose of the website is to sell directly off the website. For Non e-commerce websites, normally the purpose is to to market a product or service. And so you become a marketer. When you when you become good at websites, that’s just naturally what you do because the website is marketing vehicle. And so so that was,
Alistair McBride 04:49
It’s an interesting perspective on that because I don’t think I wonder how many web designers would would say that number one, and I wonder how many people who want a website or a new website and upgrade your website will actually think that but I think it’s actually I think you’re quite correct. As you said, Why do you have a website? What does the business have a website, if not to be essentially like that front, front sharp window to the world to the World Wide Web. It’s very good observation.
Alastair McDermott 05:17
The other the other exceptions, by the way, are like websites that are apps, you know, like Facebook and Twitter and other kind of where the website is, you know, you do something like Canva, for example. But yeah, so the other thing that I discovered when I started to, to, because when I picked consultants, I, when I was talking to my business coach, Philip Morgan, and he said, “Look, just start doing, doing some research here,” because he’s a big proponent of doing research. And he said, “Look, just start doing it. Don’t, don’t worry about don’t think overthink it, just just start doing some research here.” And so I started to query or survey consultants. And the first thing I started asking them about was websites, you know, how much did you spend on your website, is your website important for you. And I discovered, no, it’s not important for them. And a lot of them don’t spend any money on their website. And so this was fascinating and slightly worrying. And so I started to dig into that more. And the great thing about the research is it really teaches you so much about your target market, it’s, it’s invaluable. So what I did then was, I looked at why it wasn’t important, and the why it wasn’t important was because most consultants get their business from referrals. And when you, when you get most of your business, from referrals, your website isn’t really all that important. It needs to meet a certain bar, that’s it, but it doesn’t need to actively generate business for you, because you’re getting your business from referrals. So, so I, I started looking at this and and, and so I decided, Okay, I’m interested in this area of how consultants are getting business and effectively marketing themselves. And so I said, Okay, I have enough at this point to say it’s not Websites for Consultants, let’s just call it Marketing for Consultants, for consultants, and let’s just get going. That that was that was how I got to that brand. And I just wanted to I wanted something that was different. I wanted, I wanted to hang a sign outside the door. And I didn’t know what to put in that sign. And so I decided, Okay, this is what I’m going to put in that sign. And it’s a temporary sign, you know, you can change the sign this outside the door, that’s fine. It’s not, you know, it’s not tattooed on your forehead. So and so yeah, that was where, where it came from. And then as I got into it, and it’s probably probably two and a half years now, since I initially started that brand. I did put a lot of effort into it. And that’s because I guess my background in web design and brand design, I’ve done a lot of doing a lot of rebrands and done a lot of kind of branding for new companies and things like that. So, and my designer has, you know, huge attention to detail. Dimiter or you know, you’ve worked with Dimitre, you know what he’s like, so he’s insanely, yeah, he’s, he’s so skilled, he, you know, the work that he does. And so, like, it may look like we put so much work into it, we well, we probably did. But you know, that’s because we’re kind of perfectionist when it comes to branding. So. So that was that was why, you know, it was Marketing for Consultants, to be honest, was always a holding brand. For me. It was always Okay, so it was a stepping stone. I knew I knew there was a further stone. And the reason, one thing that that would, and this, this kind of ties into, you know, this ties into what we’ll talk about later. But if I was to be introduced as an author of a book, I wouldn’t, I would probably prefer it not to be called Marketing for Consultants, that that wouldn’t be like the, like the signature book that I would be known, but it just doesn’t really feel like Marketing for Consultants is an engineer does branding. And, you know, that’s kind of where, where I came from. So that was me just being very rough and ready. Okay, this will do let’s go. And and the next step along the way is The Recognized Authority. And that was a lot more care and attention put into picking those those specific words. And yeah, so
Alistair McBride 09:16
We’ll get to that in just a second just just was was there. As I said that this was something to do with the timing. What was it that made you decide to rebrand when you did? And I’m just wondering what the principle there it is, if someone was thinking of rebranding, like what’s a good rule of thumb or heuristics that could be helpful there for now is not the time or no, you want to do it now before you do anything?
Alastair McDermott 09:42
Okay, well, the logic for me and this might be the same for other people. The logic for me is okay, if I’ve decided to rebrand, do it as quickly as possible. Once you once you made the decision, and you’re firm on it, then do it. Don’t, don’t mess about we’re 20 episodes into this podcast or 21 episodes or so. And so I don’t want to, I don’t want to be 50 episodes down the road, and I’m rebranding when I’ve got a much bigger audience. So let’s do it now before it starts to become really well-known. When I’m reaching out to for example, if I’m reaching out to like an A-list guests that I want to bring on, I want to be reaching out with the new branding, not the old branding, all of those kinds of things, you know. So, yeah, it’s kind of
Alistair McBride 10:26
Just, just, again on that. I mean, you mentioned that it was like a sign outside, it always felt a little bit temporary. But it was good enough to get going to get moving to get some momentum.
Alastair McDermott 10:37
Alistair McBride 10:37
To get in the game. And it does, you know, say what you do.
Alastair McDermott 10:42
Alistair McBride 10:42
It was nice and clear. And that way
Alastair McDermott 10:44
Yeah, there was there was never any ambiguity about that. Yeah.
Alistair McBride 10:47
No, exactly, exactly. So there was a lot of merit to it. But I’m just wondering, but once you sort of, as you say, decide, okay, you get that clarity about why it doesn’t quite work. Is it the whys, like, there’s something off about it, that you need to be more accurate or more evocative about what you’re trying to do? It was net that the different Yeah, and you go, okay, you put your finger on it, and then
Alastair McDermott 11:11
There are some problems with us. Okay, so one problem that personally I don’t have an issue with is that it says, “for consultants”, and some people might be freaked out by that, that, you know, it’s it, it doesn’t allow you to expand later. Now, there are so many, many consultants out there. So that’s absolutely fine. You know, this, the market size is fine. The other part of it is it’s it’s not very aspirational. And it’s so it’s, it’s more about, you know, it’s more about what’s going on inside the box, rather than what the goal is, you know,
Alistair McBride 11:43
Right. So, as you said, it’s like, it doesn’t sound terribly exciting. It sounds quite functional.
Alastair McDermott 11:47
Yeah. Yeah. It’s an engineer does branding. Yeah.
Alistair McBride 11:50
Right. Which, you know, you are an engineer at heart.
Alastair McDermott 11:54
That’s, that’s, that’s the way my mind works. Yeah, I’m a marketer now, and I own that I am a marketer and so be it. Sometimes I say, like, geez, like, Am I really a marketer? But yeah, that’s what I am now. But, but I’ve heard you know, I’m, I’m an engineer behind it all. So. So yeah, it’s and so going to something more aspirational, I think, is is nice. It’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a title of a book that I will be happy to be introduced with. And that’s something Jonathan Stark mentions on his podcast, you know, if you’re picking a title for a book, would you be happy to have somebody introduce you as your name author of x, you know?
Alistair McBride 12:35
Yeah, that’s a nice little litmus test isn’t that it’s a nice little acid test there. Because that also, that’s a nice principle, because it also kind of means that, how happy are you about that name? How proud are you that like, this is me, this is my professional self? What? You know?
Alastair McDermott 12:54
Alistair McBride 12:54
Come join me, you know, where I can see the difference already between Marketing for Consultants and The Recognized Authority. There’s something as you said, it’s that aspirational thing that that is that bit more attractive, there’s that bit more energy behind it. So how did you arrive at that name? Because I know your processes are lacking just the years they have, meticulous you can be.
Alastair McDermott 13:19
Alistair McBride 13:20
So I mean, what was your took us through the process, which again, you know, will help people if they’re thinking if they’re playing with that idea of rebranding even before they do it.
Alastair McDermott 13:30
Okay, so so what I did, right, so I knew I knew I wanted to rebrand I, I was looking at, and I’ve mentioned this several times before, but I’ll say it again, in the world of consulting, huge amount of business comes from referrals. And that part doesn’t interest me. And in fact, I think that sometimes a dependency on referrals is dangerous. I’ve seen it where there are some businesses, where they’re locked into this dependency on referrals, and not able to grow and expand, because they don’t have any other source of leads.
Alistair McBride 14:02
This has been a nice contrarian point of view of yours for a good while.
Alastair McDermott 14:07
Alistair McBride 14:07
I mean, you’re not alone. But you were also in the minority, you know, as you say, consultants, this is from your research, but I think we kinda knew it a bit already is, they’re all about word of mouth, aren’t they? And that was probably with the website, because they get a referral, the probably the client or prospect would check out the website, just to have a quick read, make sure they’re kosher enough, they’re looking at the part. But that wouldn’t be the key factor of the website. It was just kind of a
Alastair McDermott 14:33
Alistair McBride 14:33
A little brochure.
Alastair McDermott 14:35
It’s got to meet meet the bar. Yeah, that those, those websites are kind of like these kind of trust websites. All I’ve got to do is make you look trustworthy, and like, you know, what you’re doing.
Alistair McBride 14:43
Alastair McDermott 14:44
And, and sometimes, you know, they were very, like, they were basically a business card, you know, a single page website, you know, no, not not a whole lot to kind of demonstrate authority. But if we’ve already got the referral, you don’t need that.
Alistair McBride 14:54
Not unique point of view because, as you said, this was from your research. Again, from the 1000s of responses on LinkedIn, and other survey places, and everything from consultants and all sorts of disciplines, that it was fascinating for me, you know, from a coaching psychology point of view, the stories people were telling themselves. So instead of saying, I’ve overstretched my network, the amount of people said, Oh, I am too old. People think I’m too old, or the internet or I’m too young. Or on to this around to the other. It wasn’t. I need another route in, I need a source of clients, because they’d overtopped and saturated their network.
Alastair McDermott 15:41
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well, to, I mean, to go back to the the, the overall, you know, the three boxes, I call them, there’s your referral network. And then there’s outbound if you want to do a band, you know, make cold calls, or hire a company that does cold calling for you, or hire somebody that sends LinkedIn messages or cold emails,
Alistair McBride 16:03
Or whatever, you know.
Alastair McDermott 16:04
Yeah. So so something that you know, where you’re doing a band, and that also has absolutely no interest for me. I was doing some research into just to kind of note know, the enemy kind of stuff. And I was just reading about somebody saying, like, a typical outbound salesperson leaves 70 voicemails a day. It’s like, Oh, my God, like, like, that is just, like, that’s nightmare for me. You know,
Alistair McBride 16:30
Alastair McDermott 16:30
Alistair McBride 16:31
They’ll also just say, have enough experience with Google ads and Facebook ads that we don’t want to do it anymore.
Alastair McDermott 16:37
Yeah, yeah. I mean, they have their place. You know, I’m a big fan of running ads into content. And, you know, paying paying to send send people to read blog posts, or listen to podcasts, or watch videos, things like that. But and that’s something that I might actually get into more as, as I grow the business a bit more. But the last box is, is the inbound box. And inbound marketing has always interested me, because I’ve been into search engine optimization for
Alistair McBride 17:13
That was very rough. All right. When I met you many years ago, yeah,
Alastair McDermott 17:16
Yeah, yeah. I first came across this guy called Google guy online in about 99, or 2000. I started getting to SEO, I wish I’d actually got deep into it at the time, but I went another route went kind of software development route. But to come back to, to inbound, inbound is about having people come to you. That’s that’s what it is. And inbound is very much associated with what people call content marketing. And another way of talking about content marketing is education, marketing, because you’re educating your clients about the problem and about the solutions. And another way by talking about content marketing is authority marketing, because you’re demonstrating your authority, and you’re building your authority. And so inbound marketing, authority marketing, content marketing, education marketing, it’s all pretty much the same thing. At least in this world, in the world of consultants or professional services. And that’s where I wanted to kind of niche down to so so what we’re doing with with this rebranding, it’s the opposite of say United Airlines becoming united, or the opposite of Dunkin Donuts becoming Dunkin. Like we’re actually niching down rather than getting wider those those big mega corporations, they’re simplifying their name so that they can do more. Whereas I’m kind of going the opposite way. I’m, I’m niching down and saying, I’m just focusing on this one part on unbox number three, the kind of the authority marketing the inbound marketing part.
Alistair McBride 18:43
I mean, that’s a great explanation of the the thought process that you went through to get to that name. But there were other names that you considered. I mean, there were hundreds but you know, there was a shortlist that you considered. So what what else was in that mix? And why did you cast them aside? Why did you go with the one that you went with?
Alastair McDermott 19:06
Yeah, so. Okay, so the first thing this, this came from conversation? Well, from a number of conversations I had with various different people, and of course, the podcast itself. And in fact, if you go back and look at the episode number two, with Jonathan Stark was called “How to Become a Recognized Authority”. So he was right there. And that wasn’t that wasn’t planned, but that was, you know, that was what what I picked as the the episode title after talking with him, you know, and, and so, so the words were in there and in the back of my subconscious from a long time, long time back. So what I did was, I realized, okay, so it’s something around this area, and I hadn’t got the authority thing. Hadn’t got that nailed down. I was talking to Philip and we talked about niche famous and how to help somebody become nice famous. And that just didn’t feel like me.
Alistair McBride 19:28
Right. I was gonna say, remember we talked about this? And I remember Perry Marshall, who we both like he, he is a niche rock star. He’s one of his terms of way back in the day, you know?
Alastair McDermott 20:19
Alistair McBride 20:19
But again, you’re right. He, it can sound conceptually correct what you’re trying to say, but not actually, the inference from those words, you’re like, that’s not me.
Alastair McDermott 20:30
Yeah, yeah. So what I did was I surveyed my audience as much as they could. So I put out on all the social networks that I’m on. I said, I’m looking for different ways of saying niche famous different ways of saying, I can’t remember the other niche authority might have been what I said, as well. I got back all of these these huge list of words. So I’ll just go through some of them not going to read them all, but industry expert, vertical expert, niche leader, renowned, respected, narrow appeal, customer appeal, celebrated in their fields, a cult following, domain authority, illustrious narrow popularity, you know, so I, I took all of those, and I put them in a spreadsheet. And the reason I put them in the spreadsheet is because I put my positioning statement around that. So my position statement is I help these people solve this problem. So I help vertically specialized consultants, or I help specialized consultants is what I’m using now. So I help specialist consultants become The Recognized Authority. And then you can have so that they can have more impact and greater reach command, higher fees, things like that. So so what I do is I put, I put it in a spreadsheet, and I put every one of those words in that sentence, and I read them all. And I read them all out loud, actually. So that I could just hear what it sounded like. And I was going back and forth on to the two where Thought Leaders and The Recognized Authority. So I help I help specialize
Alistair McBride 22:07
Later on, because I remember you mentioned quite a few times, but it never sat right. And we had conversation. And again, it’s about the choice of words Watson. Farid what’s the emotion around what’s the thought around? And we will have different definitions. But for me, I remember saying, oh, a thought leader was like some sort of silicon very schmaltz. You know, I’m a thought leader. And some people are, you know, like Guy Kawasaki, you know, is a thought leader, your mind and Y Combinator is a thought leader. But, you know, to people that you’ve never heard of it’s, it’s, it’s harder. It’s almost like something other people have to say about you, rather than you can say for yourself. I felt.
Alastair McDermott 22:47
Yeah. Well, I mean, okay, so on that I don’t think that you can sell or ordain yourself as a thought leader. I don’t think you can sell ordain yourself as an authority either. But I don’t think you can ordain yourself as an authority either. And that’s why it’s The Recognized Authority. It’s like other people are doing the recognition.
Alistair McBride 23:04
Exactly. But that’s, that’s where you’re at. That’s where you’re get to, and that’s why I like the book.
Alastair McDermott 23:08
Alistair McBride 23:08
I’m the thought leader was become the, the The Recognized Authority.
Alastair McDermott 23:12
So and the other thing is, like, I did a lot of thinking research, for example, I spoke with, I spoke with several people about thought leadership, what does it take to, to create thought leadership content. And actually, some of those conversations are going to be podcast episodes upcoming, were really useful. But these were all testing. And what I realized was helping somebody to become a thought leader is, is an interesting challenge. Like becoming a thought leader. There’s, there’s there’s two components there. There’s becoming known as a thought leader, but there’s also having those lead leading thoughts. Let’s, let’s say, and that is a fascinating problem. But actually, I think that’s more of a that’s more of a Philip Morgan type problem than an Alastair McDermott type problem, because I know that Philip is is really into you know, that that, you know, he has he has co cohort or projects. workshop, I guess he called us called the expertise incubator.
Alistair McBride 24:15
Alastair McDermott 24:15
Where he helps people to incubate their expertise. And I think that’s, that’s the kind of thing that we’re talking about there.
Alistair McBride 24:21
Tell us about this way where it helps you find your voice because it was something Philip said, where you realized, Oh, he’s he’s looking at a totally different zoom level. like you’d be much more zoomed in. You’d be much he was looking at the grand almost Philip
Alastair McDermott 24:36
Alistair McBride 24:37
Alastair McDermott 24:38
So I say this sometimes about Philip and there’s another guy called Tom Miller. And, and when Philip and Tom are talking sometimes like, I’m wondering, am I like, should I be in the same room as these guys? They’re talking at such a high level. Whereas I’m kind of more of a ground level practical approach. And so yeah, I realized it’s okay. This is like it was, it was the it was talking to Philip by this it was like, yeah, this is this is for you not for me. That’s that’s the way I felt about it. And, and so like I have a kind of a more ground level practical approach. And like people who’ve listened to the podcast episodes will know that I’m very kind of actionable advice oriented. You know,
Alistair McBride 25:28
Polarizer, because as you said he in some ways, remember, we talked with us where you felt it was maybe too much overlap with someone like Philip. But then when that became clear of the level, or the level of zoom, whatever you want to call it, that that you you take a completely different approach to it.
Alastair McDermott 25:45
Alistair McBride 25:46
It was different right there. It was nicely polarized.
Alastair McDermott 25:48
Yeah. The other thing that I did that I should mention, is I looked up all of these words, on Amazon, I look for books by them, I checked for domain names, TheRecognizedAuthority.com was was available. RecognizeAuthority.com is out there available for $4,000 if somebody else wants to go out and buy it, but I’m not going to go for that. So I just got TheRecognizedAuthority.com. There’s no book that’s just called The Recognized Authority. There is another book called “Become The Recognized Authority” that’s out there from by 20 years ago. And I might even get the author to come on the podcast at some point in the future. But I did look at all of these other other terms, like Theresa Lena wrote a book called “Be The Go To”. There’s a guy called Luk Smeyers from Belgium, who is going to be on the podcast, he is “The Visible Authority”, Hinge Marketing have a podcast called “The Visible Expert”. And hopefully I’ll get somebody from Hinge Marketing on at some point, they’re fantastic. This guy called Matt Johnson has a book called “Micro Famous”. And that’s what he’s known for.
Alistair McBride 26:54
No other way of saying all the things.
Alastair McDermott 26:56
Yeah. So I looked at this lot of these, you know, there’s also another one called, like, “Build an Authority Platform”, there’s a guy called Marc Guberti. And so I looked at all of these to see, okay, are there books out there by people, you know, a lot of people who’ve written books about becoming the thought leaders or developing thought leadership, and, and The Recognized Authority looked like, what I would want what Jonathan and Rochelle on the Business of Authority podcast, they would say, find a hill and plant your flag. And so this is that this is my Hill. And as I’m planting my flag here,
Alistair McBride 27:30
Just to point out, though, what I love about that, is that what a lot of people will consider as almost overlap with a lot of those people who’ve written those books. You take the opposite attitude of going, Oh, no, no, I can have you on the podcast like the market is, you’re not in that scarcity mindset, you know, you’re very, there’s enough for all of us, you know,
Alastair McDermott 27:53
We’re standing under the Niagara Falls with a glass and we need to fill the glass. So, you know, that’s, yeah.
Alistair McBride 28:02
Alastair McDermott 28:02
Yeah. But But the other thing is, like, you might say, and I’ve said it directly to Philip before, like, he’s helping me to become a direct competitor to him, which is really interesting, but some people are gonna resonate with with the way he does things, and some people are gonna resonate with the way that I do things.
Alistair McBride 28:19
Like, I like it stuff, but you’re the person I want to work with.
Alastair McDermott 28:23
Alistair McBride 28:23
Alastair McDermott 28:24
Yeah, it’s like Alan Weiss is in this field. And he’s the, he calls himself the rock star of consulting. And he is an extremely polarizing character. It’s hard not to have an opinion on Alan, once you get into his stuff. And, and, you know, that he does call himself in one of his books is called Contrary and Consultant. You know, and that’s, that’s his, his approach. And some people will go to him, you know, because of that. And so, you know, so it is good, you know, to have your, your, your style, your point of view, your voice.
Alistair McBride 29:00
This is, this is what I go back to, as I think one of the underlying principles here is, is finding your voice because I was an art dealer, as you know, back into my previous life. And that was the most important thing for the artists, they do this style. And then they try some paintings in for a year or two and that style, until but they’re trying to find their authentic. Now an overused word, but they’re genuine voice. And it sounds like that’s kind of the parallel as a business coach, consultant that you that you are that you’re trying to find your voice. And anyone who’s thinking of rebranding, it’s the same thing you’re trying to say what best reflects what it is I’m about, and how I actually help people and how I differentiate myself from someone who does, you know, in theory, the same thing in inverted commas, but they don’t do the same thing the same way.
Alastair McDermott 29:53
Alistair McBride 29:53
But it sounds like you’re trying to find that authentic voice. So once you found that the The Recognized Authority and It’s great, as I said that you have the perspective of abundance that under Niagra with the glass, I love that. That you can you can be allies, you can be friends, if not just friendly with people who say they do the same thing even be their clients like with Philip Morgan.
Alastair McDermott 30:19
Yeah, absolutely. And these other people feel the same way. I mean, I contacted Luk because I originally Luks Smeyers, I originally invited him to come on Marketing for Consultants. And I contacted him and said, Look, I don’t want to I don’t this come across like a bait and switch, because I’m rebranding, and I’m going to be rebranding and to be called The Recognized Authority. And his business is called The Visible Authority. So like I said, Look, I don’t feel like I’m kind of just trying to pull pull a fast one here. And he was like, Oh, yeah, no problem, I have no problem coming down and talk to you about this stuff. This is great, you know, and he, like, you’ll hear him, when we put out this episode with him, you’ll hear he just has a totally different style, a different way of approaching a lot of very similar ideas. Because, you know, I think that there is a correct way to go about this, what you do in this field. And so a lot of what we say is will overlap, but he hasn’t just a totally different style and approach and different products and services.
Alistair McBride 31:13
That’s how you say it. It’s obviously what you say. But it’s also how you say it is crucial. And just on that point to bring you back to something you said a few minutes ago, which I didn’t want to interrupt you. But it’s a beautiful point that a lot of people forget. You said, you said it out loud. A lot of people write this stuff. And they scribble this stuff on a notepad or in it or in a spreadsheet or whatever, or they email it to people, what do you think of this, but they don’t actually try it on like a new coach or something, saying it out loud? It’s like, how would you introduce yourself, this is such a good point. It’s like imagine putting out the hand once we’re all back, meeting people on occasion, in real, or even on zoom, you know, say it out loud. Because it has a totally different resonance than when it’s written. And just in relation to that, so you were saying it out loud. you relate, you felt like literally it’s your authentic or your genuine voice. It reflects what you do and how you do it better. So trickling down from that, then was all the logo and the branding and all that. How did you decide on the logo? And more importantly, maybe, how do you decide on the colors? Because there’s quite a different color palette to you and some people be going colors? Why do colors really matter? Surely, that’s a totally tertiary thing. But that sets the whole tone of the thing doesn’t it sets the whole person.
Alastair McDermott 32:36
Yeah. So like every brand, every brand has a personality.
Alistair McBride 32:41
Alastair McDermott 32:43
And okay, so when you look at the words, The Recognized Authority, the word authority is in there. And so it has to be authoritative. And so that changes the color palette that I would use for this. For example, if we had gone with thought leaders or thought leadership or something related to that, I very well might might have been looking at color palette with lots of blues in there. Right? Just to signify the mind and thinking and things like that. With The Recognized Authority. I, I had a look at different color palettes and red very much appeal to me, red, red and black and white. It’s a very authoritative kind of color palette. You’ll see it use. Now you can you can pick like behind me here on my bookshelf. Right now I have my books sorted by color, because it’s all kind of cool. But when you look at when you look at a lot of books, you can see different authors have different colors.
Alistair McBride 33:47
It’s amazing. You say that, by the way, because I’m just looking on the screen here and when we’re talking, and I can see that several of the main books that are read are the personal MBA, Josh Kaufman and the 10 day MBA.
Alastair McDermott 34:04
Alistair McBride 34:04
It’s kind of a thought, as you say, authorities Yeah, it’s not extra knowledge. It’s that insight. They happen to have gone for read.
Alastair McDermott 34:12
Yeah. So, so if there is, you know, there is a personality to to the, to the colors and and then there’s a personality also to the font to the typeface that use and there’s personality to the symbols as well.
Alistair McBride 34:28
So, so talk us through the logo then because that’s that’s another thing that people say, Oh, I have to design a logo. And again, it’s one of these subtle things that that that speaks to people about what you’re a very.
Alastair McDermott 34:38
Alistair McBride 34:38
And differentiates you from others. So you’ve gone for this kind of crown like structure.
Alastair McDermott 34:44
Alistair McBride 34:45
Isn’t I’ve taken the authority talks through that.
Alastair McDermott 34:47
Yeah. So I was looking at different symbols for authority you know what what represents authority like there’s the respect my authority with Cartman with the with the police badge, you know, and this kind of stuff and anybody watching me on video.
Alistair McBride 35:02
You go to South Park?
Alastair McDermott 35:04
There you go. And, and again, this is one of those things that will
Alistair McBride 35:08
Just to point out people on the video if you ever see videos of Alastair in his office is often the little Cartman in the back there, it’s all professionals.
Alastair McDermott 35:17
Yeah. Yeah, Carmen’s favorite books, by the way are “How to Lie with Statistics” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.
Alistair McBride 35:25
Alastair McDermott 35:26
So, yes, so there’s lots of different symbols that you can choose. I did like the idea of a crown. I, but I wasn’t sure about it. And then I was looking through a bunch of different things, I saw an origami boat. And it’s a bit overused, as a concept, the origami boat. But it says when you fold up a piece of paper, and it’s about they can actually float like they really good. So. But I noticed that if you tighten it up, if you push it together a little bit, it also looks like a crown. And so what I did was, was I made one after watching YouTube. And I thought, Okay, this is cool. This is a dual purpose symbol. So the crown is the authority, and then the boat is the journey to the authority. Because this is kind of about people. Like it’s, it’s about the journey to becoming an authority to becoming a recognized authority, it’s, and you may not get all the way there. But even taking that journey is going to be really useful. And so it’s about that journey. And so, I like this, because it’s just the symbol is kind of cool. It’s got this dual purpose. And I also really like the origami stuff, it just looks really pretty, you know, nice, nice pictures. And I could imagine how we can use it as a throughout the website. And throughout the branding, I can imagine that we can use that, you know.
Alistair McBride 36:51
So on the logo area, you know, as I said, some people kind of put maybe too much attention and worry about it a huge amount and spend dozens of hours working with other people. It’s a total afterthought. Where do you sit on this word how when you’re working with a client, and they’re doing a rebrand, or they’re asking for advice on doing a rebrand? Where does that logo sit in importance? Because it echoes them trying to find their voice, but what sort of some of the steps in the process?
Alastair McDermott 37:20
Okay, I think it really depends on if you have a personal brand, or like a business brand, or some other kind of brand. Now, now just to say like,
Alistair McBride 37:30
Just to clarify personal brand is like when they use their name
Alastair McDermott 37:33
When you use your name.
Alistair McBride 37:33
Right? Dot com.
Alastair McDermott 37:34
Yeah. And the really cool thing about a personal brand is it’s totally flexible. And so you don’t need to re register your domain name, you don’t need to rebuild your website, you just change the words on your website. That’s it.
Alistair McBride 37:44
Alastair McDermott 37:45
And personal brands are really great in a lot of situations. And I think that your personal brand, even if you have like a business brand, or like a an external brand, let’s call us rather than a business brand. Like I have The Recognized Authority. Now, that’s a that’s a podcast name, let’s name the podcast isn’t the name of the business will technically No, it’s not legally the name of the business, that’s something different. But, but it is the brands that people will know me by. And actually, it doesn’t really matter all that much, whether it’s the business name, or if it’s just the podcast name, or whatever, because it’s the words that people are going to associate with you. So I do like those external brands, which is why I’ve always used them. And I guess in part, that’s because I hadn’t really figured out what it was that I was selling and what I was doing. And so having that external brand to test and to experiment with, is really useful. And so if you don’t have that external brand, then you have to really associate your personal name with what it is that you offer. And people don’t always know that. And what can happen sometimes as they start to associate you more generically, as Oh, he’s a business coach, or he’s a management consultants, you know, and doesn’t really, you know, that doesn’t really mean anything, you know, it puts you It puts you in a box that people can understand. But that won’t get you like that won’t create that Rolodex moments that Jonathan Stark talks about. So having having that external brand I find is useful for that. because it’d be very easy for me to say I help people to become The Recognized Authority in their fields. And people understand will understand what that means. So having that external brand I think is useful. I like it, you can have like what I’m doing here is which is I’m creating an external brand for the podcast, and hopefully a book as well. And then I may decide then to work off of my own personal brand and develop that, you know, for speaking and things like that. But and I think personal brands are great if you want to develop, speaking, you know, be invited to talk and I think.
Alistair McBride 39:51
There’s an element where you can do both where as you said, you can have the personal brand for lots of the different strands that you do even though maybe 80% of your work isn’t one area, maybe it’s another last he said like the speaking or whatever.
Alastair McDermott 40:04
Alistair McBride 40:06
But you can still give that a bit of attention, but then have the
Alastair McDermott 40:09
Alistair McBride 40:10
The the, the almost the niche down version as I said, what your The Recognized Authority
Alastair McDermott 40:15
Alistair McBride 40:16
Alastair McDermott 40:16
Well, if I said to you for our workweek, you know, as Tim Ferriss if I if I said to you, if I said to you, Simon Sinek you’d say start with why, you know, and it’s just like, those are, those are external and personal brands that are intertwined. And that’s because they, they they grew into that, you know, so but they they started out, I mean, Tim Ferriss was relatively unknown before he wrote that book. And I was totally enough, that was what launched. Yeah. So that’s, you know, that’s, that’s how you do it. It’s, it’s you, you, you start to develop. I mean, like, I see a brand, I see brand as a synonym for reputation. Like, what are you known for? What’s your reputation, and then you can get to get into branding can be very complex. And I’ve heard a million different definitions of what is a brand, like is a brand your logo, it isn’t split, but your logo is a representation of it. And, and so that’s kind of it’s all intertwined.
Alistair McBride 41:13
I think that’s something we both touched on many years ago was that because brand, you know, even the word brand fields, to some people, you know, but for me, in my head, I just swap, as you say, with reputation, or to reputation. And so when you see those colors, that symbol, what does it mean? Like people have a reaction when they see the golden arches, some low this other people, it’s a comforting, you know, saying what Starbucks say, with all these huge global brands, but it’s exactly that, that when they see your symbol, what does it mean? What does it, what should it mean to your prospects? Are presuming you want alignment?
Alastair McDermott 41:52
Yeah, I mean, you want to do you want it to be so I mean, like, I would love if people recognize that it’s a boat, and it’s a ground, like when they see the symbol, or I would like them to think, Hey, that looks kind of funky. I don’t know what it is. But it looks it looks, it looks kind of cool. And there is something authoritative about it. That’s fine with me, too. But I would like the people who, you know, who were listening to the podcast regularly, that that they they understand, you know, the, the that this is about the journey to becoming an authority and that and that’s kind of what it’s what it’s about, you know.
Alistair McBride 42:25
It is I mean, you know, it’s a whole series of other podcast episodes on their own. But when what we’ve talked about here is, is helping people develop in certain way, as we said, more authentic voice, toward being on that road to becoming The Recognized Authority in their own nation, their own field of expertise. What else can you tell us about that, about that journey about helping them get there? Because a lot of those parallels with your own journey?
Alastair McDermott 42:57
Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is, that’s why I’m doing this, you know, it’s, it’s absolutely my journey. So I see this as a spectrum. And at the top you are, you are The Recognized Authority at one end of the spectrum on the far right, you’re, you’re The Recognized Authority. On the far left, you’re at your beginning, you’re maybe like a technician, or a freelancer or, you know, you’re not, you don’t really have any authority, you’re a commodity. And somewhere in the middle, you’re an expert consultants, you may be getting quite a good hourly or daily rate. But you may not be, you may not not have actual authority. So you’ll be getting a lot of referrals, but you don’t, you don’t, you know, you don’t have people coming to you out of the blue. And that’s because you’re not recognized, it’s not necessarily that you’re not an expert, you may be one of the world’s leading experts, you may be, you may be invisible, you may be the like the best kept secret, you know, and, and so on this on this spectrum, I want to move people towards the right, I want to move people towards being The Recognized Authority in their field, so that they have people coming to them looking, lot lots of ideal clients so that they’re able to turn away clients. So that so that they’re able to turn away bad face clients. So they’re able to turn that down low value projects that people in the middle may need to take on, because they’re not getting referrals or their network is tapped out, or referrals aren’t working for them, or they’re an introvert and they don’t really want to go to networking meetings and all this kind of stuff. So, so I want to help people move from from one end of the spectrum to the other. That’s that’s about it. And I see that as a journey.
Alistair McBride 44:37
Yeah, it will, I would imagine most of them are in that that middle area. Rather than on the left area, they’re in the middle. They have that expertise built up to have that good block or that experience built up. But as he said there, I would suspect many of them aren’t really in a position to turn away clients on the basis of just having a niggling feeling that they’re not the right fit.
Alastair McDermott 45:00
Yeah, and this is the great thing about having more clients than you can deal with. You can, you can refer to your friends and colleagues, which is where you have this abundant mindset, you can say, Hey, you know what, Luke, Luke, or Philip might be a better fit for you, here’s their websites, go check them out, you know. And having having a, having more more leads than you, then you can serve as coming in is exactly where you need to go to be able to increase your prices.
Alistair McBride 45:27
I mean, this is something you’ve talked about a long, long time, which is getting out of that feast or famine rollercoaster, where, because let’s be honest, a lot of those people in the middle, the key reason they occasionally turn down work is because they’ve too much work on not because of any kind of, Oh, I don’t think we’re a great fit. But there are other times of the year or in their two or three year cycle, where all of a sudden, the pipeline’s empty Oh, god, oh, god panic, you know,
Alastair McDermott 45:55
Yeah, I’ve been there, done that. And it’s, it’s a horrible place to be. And, and, I mean, the key thing is to set up a systematic way of generating new leads. And it doesn’t matter what approach you take to that, so long as it is systematic, and it’s repeatable, and you have a process for it. So long as you have new leads coming in on a regular basis of potential clients that you can, can help and can make a difference for, then you will be able to increase your prices you’ll be at, you’ll be out of that system. And some people do do it the the outbound way, which is just purely a numbers game. Well, I think it’s numbers on tolerance, you know, you need to be able to tolerate what you’re doing as well. But it’s, it’s it is a numbers game. And if you play the numbers that will work for you. Another way is to set up systems to make your referral network work, set up systems around referral setup systems around going to networking. Some people do things like joining the BMI and things like that. There are ways to do that. And then another way is to set up systems to generate inbound leads through things like content marketing, authority, marketing, and no matter which one of those you choose. That’s That’s fine. Choose whatever is right for you. But I’m picking the last time I’m picking the authority marketing one.
Alistair McBride 47:14
Alastair McDermott 47:17
So, yeah, so I think that’s a wrap. I don’t know if there’s anything else that that would be useful for people listening to this, you know, in the context of rebranding, personal branding. But if anybody is, is listening to this, and is thinking about this, and just wants to run it by somebody, I’ll happily get in a call for 15 minutes when any listeners of the show and and just brainstorm with you about about branding, if that would be useful to
Alistair McBride 47:42
I’d add to that, that you know, if there’s more of a broad topic that you want discussed, and you’d like to hear talked about for 30 or 45 minutes or whatever, to actually email that in and say, Hey, this, yeah. Could you talk about this issue more on when you interview other authorities in this vehicle.
Alastair McDermott 48:04
And people can do that if you go to TheRecognizedAuthority.com, you can, there’s, there’s a place on if you scroll down the website, someone’s a place you can send a message, and you can do that.
Alistair McBride 48:14
Brilliant stuff. Right, Alastair. Great talk as always.
Alastair McDermott 48:18
Thank you very much for hosting me today.
Thanks for listening to The Recognized Authority with Alastair McDermott. Subscribe today and don’t miss an episode. Find out more at TheRecognizedAuthority.com
- Become A Recognized Authority In Your Field
- Be the Go-To
- Build Your Authority Platform
- How to Lie with Statistics
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
Connect with Alastair McDermott
- Alastair McDermott’s website: https://therecognizedauthority.com/
- On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alastairmcdermott/
- Podcast Page: https://therecognizedauthority.com/podcast/
- On Twitter: https://twitter.com/whatstrategy
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