Moving Your Brand from Average to Exceptional with Jay Acunzo

January 9, 2017

jay acunzo

“All advice is bad advice unless it’s contextualized to you.” As marketers and brand builders, we get advice left and right. Do this, not that. Send this many emails. Write this many blog posts. This week, Jay Acunzo of the Unthinkable podcast reminded us that we need to always ask ourselves why we’re doing this and who we’re doing it for if we want to close the chasm between average and exceptional.

About Jay Acunzo

Jay Acunzo jokes that he’s the world’s most passionate “craft-driven” marketer. He is a highly sought after keynote speaker, writer, and host of the atypical-sounding podcast Unthinkable. Jay launched his career at Google as a digital media strategist, led content marketing for multiple startups, followed by the VC firm NextView, and today, he hosts his weekly show and travels the world exploring how people can trust their intuition to do more exceptional work.

Episode Highlights

Jay calls himself a “craft-driven marketer.” “Anything that’s craft driven is where the process is the point.” While your overall volume of work is important, ultimately you need focus.

The chasm. As Jay defined his work on the Unthinkable podcast, he framed it as answering one question: “How to be exceptional? There’s a chasm today between average and exceptional.”

How do you bridge the chasm? “You need an aspirational anchor. Something that you’re striving toward. If you ‘why’ something to death, you’ll find clarity.” Jay told us of Drift in Boston who ungated all of their content and ultimately grew their subscriber list.

How can you get started today? As it’s the new year, I asked Jay if there was an easy exercise to move your brand toward the exceptional end of the chasm. “There’s a real simple exercise. I call it an extraction.” Simply put, you find something from outside of your echo chamber or industry that you admire and you extract the aspects of their brand that make them exceptional. For example, you may want to be the Anthony Bourdain of business. How would you go about doing this?

What brand has made Jay smile recently? He pointed us toward Bill Simmons and the project he has going at

To learn more, go to and follow Jay on Twitter.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our community …Recently Dylan Diewold gave us a shout for our 100th episode featuring Seth Godin. Thanks for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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

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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.