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George Foreman’s name USED to be synonymous only with heavyweight boxing, but since hanging up his gloves, Foreman has established himself as a Knockout Entrepreneur (also the title of his new book; Thomas Nelson; $22.99). “I use the old shotgun method,” says Foreman, 60, referring to his business ventures: a clothing line in Casual Male Big & Tall stores, eco-friendly cleaning products, and the George Foreman Grill which has sold more than 100 million units worldwide. “I fire a lot of shots knowing that one will hit.”
“Foreman had to develop a new position for himself,” says Melissa D. Johnson, president and CEO of Velvet Suite Marketing Consulting Group and Brand Me International. “He was given the opportunity because he had credibility as a winner.”
She notes that for entrepreneurs without a famous name, interfacing with your clients is key to creating a successful brand. Foreman’s ability to be personable and relatable has shaped his brand and attributed to his success, says Karen Taylor-Bass, PR expert and CEO of Taylor Made Media L.L.C.
Three Tips For Going the Distance In Building Your Brand
Pound the pavement. “Too many entrepreneurs are afraid to sell their products door-to-door. For a startup entrepreneur this can make or break your business,” says Foreman. By personally connecting with a client you can sell more efficiently, advises Bass. Remember, brand building requires trust which is done through relationships, referrals, consistency, and deliverables. Utilizing cross-platform marketing, social, and digital technology is also a must.
Stand out from competition. The George Foreman Grill is marketed as an innovative product for offering quick and healthy meals. Entrepreneurs have to decide what they offer, who the target is, and how this will differentiate them from the masses and the competition. In her book, Brand Me. Make Your Mark: Turn Passion into Profit, Johnson advises associating your own DNA (distinct and notable attributes). Ask yourself, “Will my product be better, faster, cheaper?” Having a unique quality will help you stand out and solidify a solid brand.
Develop a winner’s reputation. “Every brand is based on reputation. The basis of George Foreman’s was a good name and a reputation of being a winner,” says Johnson. Entrepreneurs must remember that it is critical to develop a position in the mind of your audience. People will buy you on personality and trust before they purchase your product. You focus has to be building wins; that allows you to have the credibility and will ultimately afford you an etablished brand.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.