…I also believe it’s a good time to rebrand if you as an entrepreneur don’t feel excited about the work that you are doing. This means that you need to look into understanding what is missing and what you can improve in your confidence around your business.
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Fabi Paolini. Fabi is a brand strategy and online business coach helping entrepreneurs feel and position themselves as authorities online, build premium brands that attract and captivate their ideal audience with powerful marketing strategies that convert. Originally from Venezuela, Fabi is the secret weapon behind hundreds of brands and businesses online, helping them radically transform the way in which they are perceived.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’m originally from Venezuela where I had a successful business working as a brand designer. My business was built entirely on word of mouth — which meant that my marketing efforts were honestly inexistent. All I had to do was make my clients happy, and that always brought in new people my way. Fast forward to the end of 2015, the political climate in Venezuela started getting complicated, and my family and I decided to leave Venezuela and start all over. That meant that I had to basically launch my business from scratch. I had zero contacts, zero leads, zero online presence. I took over 15 online courses and coaching programs in a year and took massive action in building my own business. I failed miserably at first listening to what everyone else was teaching, until I started to apply more and more of my own experience and knowledge. After all, I had an MBA and had worked with successful million-dollar companies and global brands back home.
Everything started to change, and I went from making $3,000 per month, to $40,000 per month within a year. So essentially, I started teaching others how to do the same, bringing together brand strategy and marketing and helping entrepreneurs position themselves as authorities online. It’s a pretty incredible story considering that as an immigrant with zero digital marketing experience, my business now generates over $500k a year — all through digital marketing.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I started discovering more about digital marketing, I decided to create a video series called “The Brand Experience.” It was 5 days long, each with a 5-minute video. Those videos took me hours to record. I was so focused on making them perfect and making sure I sounded “professional” that I completely lost myself in the process. Even worse than that, I was SURE I was going to become a millionaire from it, so I reached out to a few designers in case I needed to hire a team.
I didn’t make ONE sale from it. I find it pretty funny right now, but back then I was super upset. Here’s the thing — what I have learned is that building a successful brand is a result of you being yourself and having the capacity to connect with your audience. I was so focused on making my video series perfect that there was absolutely no personality behind it, so my message (or lack thereof) didn’t resonate with my audience.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
Absolutely! My tipping point came the moment I decided to stop focusing on marketing and start refining my message. I got really clear on three core things. First, on understanding what was my differentiating factor. What were the things that made me unique as a brand? Once I got clear on this, I was able to leverage it in my marketing and general communication. Second, getting crystal clear on my audience. Understanding exactly what their problems were so I could speak directly to their pain. Finally, learning to communicate based on outcomes. One of the major mistakes entrepreneurs are making is simply stating what they do.
For example, I used to say I’m a brand strategist and designer and I build brands that attract.
There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with that, but it doesn’t say anything to my audience.
Now I say, I’m a brand strategy and business coach and I help entrepreneurs feel and position themselves as authorities, create premium brands that attract and captivate their ideal audience online.
It really comes down to understanding the value that you deliver. When I acknowledged these three things, it gave me the confidence and certainty that I needed in order to take my business to the next level.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! One of the things I am focusing on right now is hosting a week-long bootcamp to help entrepreneurs leverage their messaging and positioning and create content that captivates their ideal audience and takes them to 6-figures in their business. I’m hosting this bootcamp 6 times during the year and my intention is to give entrepreneurs a completely new vision on their brand and marketing strategy.
I’m excited because this is something completely different from what everyone else out there is teaching, and it gives me an opportunity to truly engage with my audience.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Two things. First, I would say to make sure they are building a business that feels right to them. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of following what everyone else is doing in terms of marketing and even in terms of goals. You have to get honest with yourself and understand what it is that you want to do and why you are doing it.
Secondly, it would HAVE to be to work on their mindset. This has been fundamental in my life. What I mean by this is doing the personal development or spiritual work that you need to stay focused and with a high energy. It’s extremely easy to get sidetracked with obstacles and challenges, and you need to be mentally strong to be able to get back up again and again, as many times as it takes.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
For me, branding is about understanding who you are at the core. It’s about getting massively clear on your message, your differentiation factors and your major outcomes. This is what allows you to position yourself in the minds of your consumers as the correct option for what they need.
On the other hand, when we talk about product marketing or advertising, we’re focusing on specific things you might be promoting — such as a program, course, or product. Here’s the thing, if you don’t have a well-defined brand, it is likely that your product marketing will fail. The reason for this is that we live in a highly competitive world and if you don’t give your audience a reason to pick you, they simply won’t.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
Building a brand is no longer a ‘nice to have’ it’s an absolute ‘need to have’ if you want your business to thrive. Because of the nature of the world we live in, market saturation is at its peak. This means that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people out there trying to sell a similar product or service to your same audience. The only way to truly be successful is by having a brand which allows people to connect with you.
When we’re talking about branding, it’s not just about having a logo and a nice font. For me, your visual brand is the cherry on top. Branding is actually about building a voice, a message and personality that stands out from everyone else making you the no-brainer choice.
If on top of this, you can do a good job of positioning yourself as an authority, it means that you are able to stand out from your competition, attract even higher quality leads, command premium pricing as you increase your perceived value and create more demand.
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
I believe that rebranding is fundamental specifically when you are at a point in your business when there’s simply a disconnect. Again, it’s not only about working on your brand identity (logo, colors, fonts), but about truly uncovering what your core message is all about.
I believe it’s fundamental for businesses to rebrand if they are having a hard time making connections with their audience and also within the company culture. You want to look at your values as an entrepreneur and see if your message aligns with your current beliefs.
I also believe it’s a good time to rebrand if you as an entrepreneur don’t feel excited about the work that you are doing. This means that you need to look into understanding what is missing and what you can improve in your confidence around your business.
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
If you have a brand that is strongly established in the market, a business that is growing, a clear positioning that you as a business owner are excited about, you should absolutely not rebrand.
Basically, if you are happy with the results you are obtaining you don’t want to fix what’s not broken.
That being said, I personally believe that even if you are well positioned in the market, but as an entrepreneur you are not aligned with your message, it simply will not work in the long run, and I would rather you rebrand, than lose momentum in your business.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
The way in which I focus on branding is through what I call the Brand Strategy Pyramid. This method essentially ensures that you start to look at your business as a whole instead of looking at separate pieces which have nothing to do with each other.
At the base of the Pyramid is the Brand Foundation. To me, this is THE most important part of your brand as it provides clarity on what makes you absolutely different. For example, I’ve worked with multiple health and fitness coaches over the years who need to do a great job at differentiating themselves from everyone else because of the over saturation of their industry. Brittany Lake is one of the coaches I’ve worked with and she focuses on intuitive weight loss so her message is all about creating food freedom — which is essentially about being able to eat what you want as you listen to what your body asks from you.
We wanted to make sure that what she was offering was not simply perceived as one more ‘diet and exercise’ program — so we constructed her communication around her own experience with truly understanding how your body works. You can get a sense about her brand and messaging just by looking at her website’s homepage.
To give you a contrasting example, I worked with another company in the same field, BadassGRLBoss whose message is all about helping women feel unstoppable. This is all about empowering women to have the body they can feel sexy and powerful in. The brand image is completely different, as well as the message.
They are two sides of the same coin. Your job in the process of building your brand is finding the best ways to be able to use your authentic voice in order to stand out from others. No matter how saturated your field is, there is always an opportunity to say things in a different and unique way.
The next part of the Brand Strategy Pyramid is your Signature Offer. This also gives you an opportunity to do things in a different way. Because of the world we live in, there is an over saturation of almost everything. Your job is to become the bridge that takes your audience from where they are now to where they want to be. You want to bring in something different and offer your audience an opportunity to truly solve their problem at the core.
It’s also important that you learn how to communicate your value based on outcomes while showing your audience that you can help them solve their problems.
Essentially, what you want to bring in are the things that make you different and leverage those in order to make a powerful offer that gets people real results. What I want you to understand is that you need to be the one that goes the extra mile. You want to be the person that is offering something in a way that no one else is offering it right now. And this needs to be present everywhere in your sales process. This is all a fundamental part of your branding process.
As an example, I worked with a doctor who was having a really hard time selling a program to help women sleep better. So, as part of her branding process, I helped her get clarity around her offer and the things which she is really great at. We uncovered that what she really wanted was to help women reclaim their health and we created a completely different program that focused on helping her clients on a whole different level.
At the top of the pyramid, we have the marketing strategy and visibility plan, and these have to be connected to your offer and, more specifically, to the outcomes that you help others achieve. I believe that your marketing strategy needs to be a reflection of the value you provide. It has to focus on positioning you as an authority, delivering value and overcoming common objections. However, once again, your marketing also needs to come from who you are and what makes you different. All of this needs to show up in the way in which you generate visibility and deliver daily content to your audience.
Finally, when we look at your visual brand, it’s crucial to ensure that everything you put out there is consistently doing a phenomenal job in building your authority. You want your logo to be professional and your photographs to truly lift you up. These are all things that help to establish the trust you need in order to influence how others perceive us.
As an example, I worked with a financial coach that was having a hard time positioning herself online and it really all came back to her not having a brand that was doing a good job of showing her authority. So, we went in there and transformed the way she looked, up-leveled her design and made sure her brand truly represented her value. You can clearly see that it looks like a completely different brand.
What I want you to understand is that when we talk about branding, it’s not just about working on the logo, it’s about looking at all of the elements that make up the brand. Essentially, it’s looking at everything that helps to shape people’s perception around who you are and what you do. While a logo and visual brand is tied to it, this perception is made up of all the components that communicate your voice, vision, mission, purpose, passion and message.
The more you look to bring these pieces together cohesively and with heart, the more powerful your brand will be.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
What I see happening globally right now is a simplification of brands. We see this happening left and right. Businesses are going back to basics. They are removing the fluff and focusing on what’s at the core.
A great example of a brand makeover was the one Mastercard went through a few years ago. People would generally think there is no need for this well-known company to even touch their brand as it was a legacy in the marketplace. However, they went back to their roots and went as far in as to offering a new service, MasterPass with the launch of their new, simplified image.
They were looking to speak to a younger audience and to stay fresh and top-of-mind. It wasn’t just about the logo, but about elevating and amplifying the message of such an iconic brand.
Again, it goes back to understanding that it’s your job as an entrepreneur to stay up to date with digital marketing and branding strategies that will allow you to stay top-of-mind and be THE choice for your consumers. You should always be challenging yourself and, even if you are at a comfortable place right now, ask yourself “how can my message be conveyed in a better way? How can I be better at communicating and speaking to my audience?”
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think that doing what I do right now is really important. People need to understand that when we talk about branding it’s really about helping them transform the way that they see themselves. As human beings we tend to be so hard on ourselves. We go through constant self-doubt and have this eternal mental chatter that is always telling us we aren’t good enough. I believe that branding gives us the opportunity to truly connect back to ourselves and to who we really are. It gives us a chance to see what makes us different so that we can rise up to our worth and start seeing how deserving we truly are.
I believe that the more people can step into this position of certainty, confidence and conviction, the bigger impact they can go on to make in the world. And this is a direct result of branding when it’s done well.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Right now, my mantra is “My success is inevitable.” I truly believe that the most important thing we can do in our businesses is focus on giving real value. I always say that you want to be so good, you can’t be ignored.
Anytime I have doubts around myself and the next step I need to take in my business, I go back to remembering how, by giving as much of myself as I possibly can and just moving forward, my success is inevitable. Simple.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me on every platform (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn) as Fabi Paolini. You can also sign up for the free 6-Figure Breakthrough Business Bootcamp to help you leverage what makes you unique and captivate your ideal clients online as you develop your brand, right here: www.fabipaolini.com/bootcamp
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.
“5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and Image” with Fabi Paolini was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.