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4 Ways Branding Is Like Fitness Training

In what I’m hoping will become a series of inspirational posts over the next few months, I’m going to delve into what I learned about myself and the art of branding once I changed my personal life and started exercising again.

No, I’m no musclebound gym rat, like some of us here at TopRight, but up till last year I’d been 30+ pounds overweight for as long as I could remember. When I finally made the choice to change my life, I did expect to see some change in my body, but I never expected it to alter my approach to marketing—yet it absolutely did.

I’m not the transformational marketer I once was—I’m better. And I want to tell you how you can do it, too.

In this first post, I’ll write about what holds us marketers (and couch potatoes!) back from taking that frightening first step toward real transformation. Just like when it comes to getting healthy, there are four main obstacles that can hold your company’s brand back from the marketing transformation it needs: Inertia, Lack of Mentorship, Doubt & Depression, and Lifestyle.




I’m sure plenty of you out there can relate to feeling out of shape and never being able to find the time to work out. But me? I had always been active, but at a certain age my weight just started ballooning and didn’t stop, until one day I looked in the mirror and was amazed with my size. But I got used to it! I ate what I liked, did what I wanted, and after years my heaviness just became the new normal.

And anyway, I felt fine, everything worked normally—so why fix what wasn’t broken?

But I wasn’t fine. I was stuck.

It won’t be lost on you that this kind of negative inertia also happens to brands. When a big company falls into a bad or a “go-along-to-get-along” pattern, it can easily lose its dynamism and creativity.

And, largely, everything is fine! But the good is the enemy of the great. This issue is a big reason why consultants exist in the first place. Brands need to be forced to evaluate their own idleness, to look in the mirror and measure profitability, effectiveness, and growth as often and as objectively as possible. Brands need a checkup! And it’s consultants like TopRight who not only hold the mirror up and point out the flaws, but offer solutions.

One of the worst things you can do is let yourself be “fine.” In this market, fine just isn’t good enough.

Lack of Mentorship

This is critical. And it’s yet another reason why a consultant has become a necessity for modern marketing.

If you don’t have a mentor or teacher you admire who can take an authentic interest in you and offer wisdom and support, you really are several steps further behind than you need to be.

In the end, we all need a coach. For me, it was my colleague at the office, Chris Weissman, who encouraged me, took me to the gym, and showed me what I needed to do to get fit again (he called it the House of Pain!). Without his help and influence, I don’t know that I would have been as successful as I have been in losing all the weight.

Without a consultant, it doesn’t mean your brand or your marketing team won’t get there one day. It just means you’ll have a much slower and more difficult time jigging up the momentum you need to make it happen. So find someone who knows the ropes, make the call, and ask for help.

Doubt & Depression

Being unhealthy will make you miserable, whether you realize it or not.

I always thought I was doing pretty well with my attitude, until I started exercising again. Now, it’s like I have this whole extra reserve of power and energy, and it’s transformed how I do everything.

The same is true in marketing a brand, product, or service. Doubts can often multiply and grow, especially when the company is small or when the brand is embarking on something new and challenging. Then, when something does go wrong, a malaise can settle over a marketing team that can manifest itself in lowered performance, a drop in quality, doubts in leadership, and mass complaints.

In this situation you may actually know what you need to do—but knowing isn’t good enough. You’ve got to do it. Staying motivated and avoiding the deadly procrastination means staying in motion.

What I mean by that is that keeping yourself moving, despite how you feel, can actually be a way to keep yourself productive and on track. It may sound silly, but literally going through the motions is actually helpful. We all have moments where our thoughts are overcrowded by fears, doubts, uncertainties, and what have you. The best way to keep yourself focused is to get started working and keep moving no matter what.

Don’t believe me? Try it and see what happens!


Maybe your brand just “doesn’t do that”—whatever that may be. That’s sure how I felt about working out. It just wasn’t me, not my lifestyle, and I wasn’t about to change.

Baloney! A company or individual who offers this excuse is someone who just isn’t facing reality. Any person or brand can do anything they want, all it takes is willingness, focus, and energy. And every time you tell yourself that doing this or that just isn’t who you are, you’re denying yourself the enormous benefits of transformation.

Brands fall into this all the time. They choose a persona and then they just won’t budge or even tweak to acclimate to new circumstances. That’s a mistake. To stay fit, healthy, and happy a brand—just like you and me—needs to get outside their comfort zone and enter the House of Pain to make a difference.

Did you dig this post? Sign up for the TopRight blog! If you feel like you could use a little boost in your sales or a quick marketing health check, then let’s have a conversation. In the meantime, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, follow TopRight @toprightpartner, or if you want to go deep on transformational marketing, grab a copy of TopRight CEO Dave Sutton’s latest book, Marketing, Interrupted.