Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on April 11, 2016

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How to Avoid Being a ‘Vanilla Brand’ with Gini Dietrich

“Don’t be afraid to inject humor and humanity into your brand. People love this. Life’s too short to be that serious.” This week’s episode was many things but serious was not one of them! Spin Sucks author and founder Gini Dietrich stopped by our virtual studios for a discussion on brands that stand out, avoiding spin, and infusing your brand with personality. Enjoy this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a digital marketing communications firm based in Chicago. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

Episode Highlights

Is spin more or less prevalent in an election year? “Two industries that are always spinning are Hollywood and politics.” We managed to cover both in this week’s episode. Including the candidate who shall not be named …

Yeah. What about Donald Tr- ? “Stop! Don’t say his name.” Gini and I managed to have an insightful conversation on what the current Republican front runner is doing right when it comes to messaging while never uttering his name. Taking a cue from John Oliver we went with either Drumpf or Voldemort. One of the biggest reasons he’s winning …?

“You don’t have to be everything to everyone.” Drumpf doesn’t have a filter and says what he feels. While neither of us endorse the candidate, these strategies are on point (albeit used for evil in this particular case study). Gini recounted making a tough decision while planning her wedding when her mom told her, “You’re not going to make everyone happy so do what you want.” More brands could stand to listen to this advice as well.

Strong brands that stand for something have enemies. Gini shared that strong brand stories should follow classic storytelling conceits, complete with a creation story, a hero, and a villain. “When Basecamp was founded the enemy was big company software.”

Contrast keeps you from being a vanilla brand. “I’d rather have people disqualify themselves as customers. It saves us both time and I don’t have to have a ‘vanilla brand.'”

Why does safety and vanilla branding prevail today still? Even though “digital blew up everything,” the old guard is still calling the shots at many organizations. Many still believe it’s all about reach as opposed to creating an interesting brand that stands for something.

What’s one thing Gini would tell brand builders today? “Don’t be afraid to inject humor and humanity into your brand. People love this. Life’s too short to be that serious.”

What brand has made Gini smile recently? An avid cyclist, Gini was all smiles when she got a Peloton Bike for Christmas. She’s biking harder than she’s ever biked and engaging in touch points both online and off.

To learn more check out spinsucks.com. You can also follow Gini on Twitter.

As We Wrap …

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  • Remember – On Brand is brought to you by my new bookGet Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. Pre-Order now for the best price and digital extras at GetScrappyBook.com.
  • And finally a reminder that On Brand is brought to you by the Social Brand Forum. This premier digital marketing experience takes place September 22-23 in beautiful Iowa City, Iowa. Learn from experts like Jay Baer, Joe Pulizzi, and Gini Dietrtich in the heart of the heartland. Listeners of the show get the best rate when they register using promo code ONBRAND at socialbrandforum.com.

Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


1 comments
ginidietrich
ginidietrich

Yeah. What about Donald Tr- ? “Stop! Don’t say his name.” Gini and I managed to have an insightful conversation on what the current Republican front runner is doing right when it comes to messaging while never uttering his name. Taking a cue from John Oliver we went with either Drumpf or Voldemort. One of the biggest reasons he’s winning …?


That makes me laugh!