An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

You must personalize your brand-building effort or brand if you want it to be effective. It’s critical to give your brand a personality. Allow customers to see and experience your brand’s entire personality. Consider your brand as something that customers want to associate with, much as their beloved vehicles, cellphones, or laptops.

As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Adi Patil.

Adi is the Co-founder and CMO of Start It Up NYC and Co-CEO of He is a seasoned digital marketing and software development executive, frequent key-note speaker, and prominent figure in the US tech-marketing ecosystem.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

After working corporate for about four years, I thought of building something that I can call mine. Luckily I met my co-founder Nico Hodel when I was in the right frame of mind for it, and the rest is history.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My co-founder Nico Hodel and I were both excited and desperate for clients when we founded Start It Up NYC. We were able to obtain a large number of those rather quickly, but at a cost that would take an excessive length of time. Not only that but our services were placed in a rather inexpensive pricing bracket. As a result, when people suggested us, they made sure to mention our pricing. It took us a long time to figure out how to price our services appropriately and start making a decent profit. Fortunately, we were able to make that change and we are still going strong after four years in business. However, we made the early mistake of undercharging for our services.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Ah, I wouldn’t want to take anything away from others that have a rough journey but we do fall under the same umbrella. Creating a brand that gathers attention in probably the most competitive city in the world — New York, can’t come easy. We started out of a loft that we lived in, with no funds, and today we have a company with a team that earns three figures, with no external investment taken. The story seems simple — two friends that happened to be roommates, came up with an idea and launched a company, and scaled it. But the journey, phew, too long to be covered in this answer. All I can say is, that it was a lot of smart work, networking, learning, and manifesting, that went into it.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I think all of our clients are doing some exciting work with us. But there is this one project we have been particularly working on since the last year or so, and we still have another phase of mobile app development to go. It is a social networking app for those that are or want to work on the 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN. That’s all I am permitted to say as of now, but well, the app launches in September, and we are excited to see the response and work on marketing post this development phase.

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?

It’s quite simple. Brand Marketing takes place when you want to promote and establish the brand’s image and identity. Product Marketing is when you want to run campaigns and deliver messaging specific to a product in order to generate conversions.

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?

Depending on your target audience, whether you think of a technology company like Apple, or a consumer-facing clothing line like Zara which is for everyone, or Chanel which is for the ones that can afford some luxury, consumers know what to expect from these brands, and they will try and buy multiple products these brands launch.

Once you build a brand image and identity, your products and services are very much awaited by your target audience. If I hang a pair of my jeans in a Zara store, I know it will sell for the right price. If I hang it in a random clothing shop, it may not. The focus should always be on building a brand so no matter what business you are into, you can achieve longevity.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

1. Establish Your Brand.

The first step in developing a brand is to define it. This is a crucial phase since it determines what your brand’s true values are. Create a checklist of your company’s fundamental strengths while developing your brand. Similarly, when developing your personal brand, you should consider your abilities and expertise, particularly those that stand out. Similarly, you must understand what your brand represents and what is crucial to your brand (brand values). Your values should demonstrate that you are contributing to consumers’ environmental, social, and economic well-being in some way. Some of these crucial factors of brand building may not occur to you until later.

2. Set Your Brand Apart and Position It.

You must define your brand before you begin constructing it in order to draw attention and stand out from the competition. To set your brand apart, you must develop a distinct advantage in the minds of consumers, rather than simply attracting attention with brand-building colors, logos, or other surface components. Once you’ve come up with a distinct value proposition, you’ll need to apply a smart branding strategy to position your brand in such a way that consumers can perceive and appreciate its superior value to competing brands.

3. Create and Promote Your Brand.

As I previously stated, brand building is not a one-time event. It takes time and effort to develop a distinct and powerful personal or corporate brand. You must constantly be reinforcing your values and skills by taking on new tasks and assignments that will provide you with greater exposure in order to grow your personal brand. To build a voice for your personal or corporate brand, you can use promotional channels, blogs, forums, and social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook).

When creating your brand, you should also try to create a personality for it (what people know, think, and say about you). This is what makes people want to connect with and engage with your brand. The truth is that if you follow through on your plans, you will be successful.

4. Make your brand unique.

You must personalize your brand-building effort or brand if you want it to be effective. It’s critical to give your brand a personality. Allow customers to see and experience your brand’s entire personality. Consider your brand as something that customers want to associate with, much as their beloved vehicles, cellphones, or laptops.

Customers should be invited to be co-creators of brand values as you engage in brand-building so that they feel like they own it and can relate to it. Consumer-brand engagement is encouraged by top brands tailoring products to match the requirements and tastes of customers. When you customize your brand, you give customers a reason to want to buy it.

5. Evaluate Your Brand.

Your brand isn’t static; it will go through a variety of emotions over the course of its existence. Your brand will either strengthen, remain inactive, or fade over time, depending on your brand tactics. New events, changes, and circumstances in the brand cycle present challenges and opportunities to increase the value of your brand or re-establish it. All of these possibilities should inspire you to take control of your brand-building efforts.

As your brand becomes more well-known, so do the duties and expectations that come with it. Reviewing your actions and analyzing your results using measures like brand awareness and engagement levels is the greatest method to ensure brand growth. Regular reviews will be beneficial.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand? What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

Can’t help but give this one to Amazon. It is the biggest supermarket in the world. Especially if you look at their prime feature — Amazon Prime, products are trusted simply on the basis of the fact that they are drop shipped by the Amazon brand and stored in their warehouses. Yes, product reviews do matter, but as an umbrella, Amazon has the most amazing branding, delivery times, service, and customer satisfaction. No matter what else the brand launches, whether it’s their audio platform audible, or prime video for movies and shows, it’s all trusted and used by everyone, globally.

To replicate what Amazon did, one must provide seamless service, have great communication, and marketing that just delivers messaging around the trustworthiness of the brand. Of course, that is a mountain of a task to take on, but the results are as big!

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand-building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

It has all to do with sales, yes, but also shareability of the brand, the response of the customers, and taking a look at how long a customer is taking while considering your brand. How much time are people spending viewing your material or are they just ignoring it? A lot of these questions have to be answered and taken into consideration.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

Oh, a huge role! As I mentioned in the previous answer, your brand has to win the shareability quotient. People should want to share how amazing your brand is on all platforms. As for you, social media is a great place to get creative and share your message through amazing designs and photography. Show off your brand identity in a way that resonates with your audience.

Successful social media campaigns can be good enough to generate a big volume of sales consistently.

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. 🙂

In the great scheme of things, I believe education is crucial. There are many people in the world who do not receive a proper education. I’d like to encourage people to establish more free programs and to support any children who are eligible for college scholarships. We all know that we can’t rely just on the government; we must continually contribute back in order to improve everyone’s standard of living and encourage growth.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”– Lyndon B. Johnson

I’ve been through a lot in my life, from my parents getting divorced to losing both of them at a young age. I believe that focusing on today and the future has allowed me to see life in a more optimistic light. Maintaining positive intent on a daily basis is critical to overcoming life’s ongoing pain points. Especially if you have recently lost loved ones. Loss is both personal and irreversible.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have lunch or breakfast? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Leonardo Dicaprio. We don’t belong to similar fields at all. But I would love to get to know how he finds time for so many social causes, and how it compartmentalizes his life between the two. He is doing so much for the oceans. Secondly, I do like his movies, and I am a fan.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Linkedin would be best —

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

Adi Patil Of Start It Up NYC & Rriter: Five Things You Need To Build A Trusted And Beloved Brand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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