“You may have come to BrandsFormation before, but you may not have seen it like this,” shares Chuck Mefford.
Why should your business know his name? Mefford is a marketing expert, public speaker, and author of the best-selling book, BrandsFormation, which uncovers his time-tested, results-driven branding strategies. We are proud to bring Chuck into our market every year because we know that his branding principles work, as evidenced by the success stories that many of our clients, including Steve’s Pest Control, have earned. “This seminar will take things to the next level and will really provide valuable lessons on how to speak to consumers’ hearts,” he continues. “If you own the heart, you’ll get in the head, and you’ll change the mind.”
With an updated version of his infamous BrandsFormation seminar coming to Columbia on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 we're sharing a recent interview where we sat down with Chuck and asked him to share some inside scoop on his newest book and what businesses can expect from attending the seminar this fall.
Zimmer: Chuck, let’s start by establishing some credibility. Why should businesses listen to you and take BrandsFormation seriously?
Chuck Mefford: I’ve been doing this for 40 years. This year, I’ll be in 21 cities within six months. I’ve written a couple of books. I’ve worked with business owners through both the good and the bad times, the recessions and the booms. So, I’ve seen a lot of trends and things that work and don't work and why.
So, that's what I talk about. There's a system that businesses in your market, like Steve’s Pest Control, follow to achieve what we call “top-of-mind awareness,” or being famous in the marketplace. BrandsFormation [has the power] to make any company famous. It’s not as much about the media; it’s more about the message. It's what you say.
Zimmer: So, talk a little about your newest book, “Tickle The Toes, Touch The Heart, Change The Mind.”
Chuck Mefford: If you're a business owner, you have to know what to say to consumers, you need to know how to say it, then more importantly, you need to know where to say it. So in this book, I answer those questions: What do you need to say as a business owner? How do you tell your story? How do you make the customer the most important part of your story (because they really are)? Then, once you’ve got your story, how do you choose where to advertise it?
Choosing the media is the easy part. The hard part is the thing that people ignore: What to say. All the media in the world doesn't matter if your message sucks. Everything starts with a great strategy and a good message. So, this new book focuses on that aspect: Getting the message right.
Zimmer: So, why did you write this book? Why did you decide you needed to single out this topic and focus on it more?
Chuck Mefford: In my newest book, there are a lot of new things that I haven't talked about before. I’ve narrowed it down to what I call the “eight lessons that every business owner needs to know” if they’re going to be able to tell their story. The whole principle is to quit talking to consumers’ heads. Quit talking facts and figures. Facts tell, but stories sell. People don’t care about or remember facts and figures.
The story of the Titanic is a good example. Everyone knows the story of the Titanic. But if you ask someone, “What year was that? What month was that? Where did that happen? How many people died,” not many know, because they don't care. They just know the story. We’re all wired to tell stories and remember stories, not facts and figures.
Zimmer: Talk a little more about speaking to consumers’ hearts instead of speaking to their heads.
Chuck Mefford: In the book, I outline the deeper steps of how you really connect with people. There are only two things in this entire process of marketing – the two Ms: the message and the media – but we must spend more time on the message because the message is everything. In the end, the media doesn't matter if you’re saying the wrong thing. If you’re saying the right things, no matter where you say them, it's going to start working and coming back to you.
So my newest content goes a lot deeper into speaking to the heart instead of speaking to the head. It talks about knowing what to say to win the heart over and how to get people to trust you. So, during the seminar, I'll have exercises that help businesses learn how to do that for themselves and help them build their story. Coincidentally, I feature Steve’s Pest Control in the book. I give him as a vivid example for how to use stories to make bricks and mortar come alive. This example connects the system to an actual person who's practicing it. No one listens to words like, “quality service,” anymore. Those are so overused and cliché. Those words don’t differentiate you; they’re just more noise to people.
Frankly, the best thing is to speak from the heart to the heart. But how do you structure that? What things can you talk about? I’m going to give people a whole list of storytelling questions that they probably never asked or answered about themselves that would give them plenty of material to start crafting their true story. That will help them build this whole strategy that they can take to the marketplace. Once they get their message, then it just comes down to deciding where they want to advertise it.
Zimmer: So, how does BrandsFormation still fit in given all of this new information? Is that system still relevant?
Chuck Mefford: Of course! All of this new content is powered by BrandsFormation and is built on the foundation of BrandsFormation. It just takes it a step deeper and goes into more of the storytelling aspect and really getting into the fine art of speaking to the heart. We’ve always talked about messaging when we go over the concept of bricks and mortar, but we've really never gotten into the specifics. We’re communicating to businesses that their goal should be to target the prefrontal cortex of the brain because that's where planning, judgment, and emotions are stored.
Zimmer: Why does someone who has already been to the seminar need to attend?
Chuck Mefford: To someone who has been, I can say that if you like what you saw before, then you’re really going to like what you'll see next. This seminar will take things to the next level. 90% of this is brand new material. I’m excited about it! We’re going to spend a lot of time on how to tell stories that speak to people’s hearts. We’ll talk about the “Three Fs of storytelling.” We’re also going to talk about how the best stories that you can tell are not about your business; they’re actually about the customer.
Some things will stay the same too. I’ll still do my famous cup trick that my seminars have been branded with. It’s a great illustration to show what happens when people spread their marketing budget too thin.
Zimmer: Why does someone who has never been to the seminar need to attend?
Chuck Mefford: To someone who has never been, I wouldn't listen to me telling you why to come. I would listen to all of the fabulous business owners in Missouri, like Steve’s Pest Control, ServiceMaster, Big O Tires, the list goes on. These are people that built their brands right there in Columbia or Jefferson City using the system. These guys have spent the money and taken steps of faith to walk the system out and have seen success.
There aren’t many media companies out there today that really get how this branding thing works. So, if your business has questions, I think you’ll definitely get the answers you need by attending BrandsFormation, especially if you’ve never been before.
Zimmer: What kind of questions do most business owners have for you?
Chuck Mefford: Most businesses, whether old or new, want to know two things: Number one is, “What should I be doing now? Where should I be today with all these darn choices out there? How do I get noticed?” The other question is, “Of all the things I can or should be doing, how do I make sure it's working?” I’m going to answer all of those questions at the seminar. I'm going to tell you where to be. I'll tell you how to do it and how to speak to the heart.
Zimmer: Do you like working with Zimmer? Why are you so willing to always keep coming back to our Mid-Missouri market?
Chuck Mefford: Frankly, Zimmer is so big now and they've been so successful. They started out as a broadcasting, or radio, company, but they're a media company now. They have radio, magazine, digital, all of the options you could want. But what makes them powerful is that they really focus on what businesses are saying and how they can tell businesses’ stories.
Zimmer understands that advertising is just one of five elements that comprises a successful marketing bridge. So they help businesses do a checkup on themselves. I'm just one of those elements coming to town to help businesses do that. They allow me to come and teach businesses how to grow using media and marketing the right way. It's not hard, but you have got to have a system! If you follow the rules and have a system, it's pretty amazing what can happen.
Zimmer: Why are you so passionate about small businesses seeing success?
Chuck Mefford: I'm a big believer in “Small Business America.” 70% of this country's total economic output comes from those businesses. Everyone started out as a small business: Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, everyone. So, that's what I admire about Missouri is that there are so many entrepreneurs! They get business. But generally, marketing doesn’t come with an instruction guide. We didn't grow up to be marketers.
So, hopefully, what I can bring to the table is to say, “Look, if you've got a story to tell and you're good at what you do, but you feel you're not being appreciated or people don’t know you or understand you, then you need to be at the seminar because I’ll teach you how to be famous.”
What you do with that fame is going to be up to you. I've seen some people flounder and some people get filthy rich. But you will be famous, so you better be ready because business will go where business gets invited. There's no doubt about that.
Zimmer: Any final words you’d like to share?
Chuck Mefford: In the end, it's all about the message and the media. It’s fun helping business owners get this part of their business right and showing them how to monetize it. That’s why I write the books and do what I do. I love doing the seminar and I'm looking forward to coming to Columbia again!
Want to hear more on Chuck Mefford’s strategies for crafting the perfect message designed to attract new customers? Be sure that your business makes plans to attend BrandsFormation this spring!