“Can you recommend a book for…?”
“What are you reading right now?”
“What are your favorite books?”
I get asked those types of questions a lot and, as an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always happy to oblige.
I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.
On the flip side, I also believe there’s little hope for people who aren’t perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.
So, if you’re a bookworm on the lookout for good reads, or if you’d like to get into the habit of reading, this book club for you.
The idea here is simple: Every month, I’ll share a book that I’ve particularly liked, why I liked it, and several of my key takeaways from it.
I’ll also keep things short and sweet so you can quickly decide whether the book is likely to be up your alley or not.
Alright, let’s get to the takeaways.
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, it’s another episode of Muscle For Life. Welcome, welcome. I am your host, Mike Matthews, and thank you for joining me today to learn about a book that I liked. Now, why am I doing an episode about books that I like? Well, I often get. Asked for book recommendation. Many people want to know what my favorite books are on various topics.
They want to know what books I am reading right now, or what books I’ve read recently and which ones I’ve liked, as well as my all-time favorite books. Again, on various topics or in various genres and as an avid reader and all around bi file, I am always happy to oblige. I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest because the more you learn, the more you know.
The more you know, the more you can do, and the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed. Now, on the flip side, I really do believe that there is little hope. For people who are not perpetual learners, life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.
So if you’re a book worm on the lookout for new good stuff to read, or if you would just like to get into the habit of reading, then this episode is for you and this series of episodes is for you. I post one every four to six weeks or so. And the idea behind the series is very simple. I share books that I have particularly liked.
I explain why I liked them, and I share several of my key takeaways from the books. Usually it’s five, sometimes it’s three, as well as some of my own thoughts on those key takeaways. Okay, let’s get to the featured book, which is the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al and Laura Reese. And before I talk about this book, if you’re wondering why I don’t feature fitness books in the book club episodes, It’s because I don’t like most fitness books.
There are some good health books out there, some good nutrition books. There, of course, are some good fitness books out there, but I myself stopped reading them some time ago because I find it more productive. To read research reviews. So that’s what I’m more interested in and that allows me to stay on the cutting edge, so to speak, because by the time research makes it into a book, it is often at least a year old just because of the time that it takes to write and publish a book.
And in many cases, the research is. Years old. And so if you’re curious what fitness stuff I like to read, check out a couple of research reviews, check out Alan Aragon’s. I’ve been a longtime subscriber to Alan’s and have always enjoyed what he is doing. Definitely check out monthly applications in strength sport, mass.
[email protected]. That is Greg Knuckles and Eric Helms and Mike Zardos and Eric Drexler. Always good information in mass and check out examines research review as well [email protected]. Focuses more on nutrition and supplementation, but a lot of good information. And also check out the ology or ology, however you wanna say it.
Review [email protected]. That is James Krieger. Good guy, smart guy, good scientist. I’ve had him on the podcast. He’s on the scientific advisory board for Legion, and I’ve always liked what he is doing as well. And just to put this out in the universe, I wish Lyle McDonald did a research review. I would be the first person to sign up for that.
So Lyle, if you’re listening, Consider it. Consider it. I’m probably not alone. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top because.
Every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research. Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends, for example, and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored. So that means no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dies, which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe.
But there is good evidence to suggest that having many servings of artificial sweeteners, in particular every day for long periods of time may not be the best for your health. So while you don’t need pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape, and frankly, most of them are virtually useless, there are natural ingredients that can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster.
And you will find the best of them in legions products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and bars, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more head over. To buy legion.com/mike, that’s b u y L E G I O n.com/mike. And just to show you how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order.
Let’s talk about this branding book that I am endorsing and that I’m gonna be sharing some takeaways from, because this is a short and straightforward, but a fantastic primer on how to use branding to successfully launch or grow a product, service, or business. And it could also be a personal brand growing your own popularity on social media, for example.
So if you are interested in any of that, Read this book, it offers both high level strategic suggestions, you know, like brainstorming a category you can dominate, which is something I’m gonna talk more about, as well as tactical tips for building better brands, like coming up with an effective name. And if you’ve never looked into branding because you think that your business isn’t big enough or isn’t established enough to benefit from it, because often.
The term branding or the activity is associated with mega million dollar brand awareness campaigns conducted by mega corporations with no expectations of roi, no trackable returns. Then I still recommend you read this book because you will quickly realize that any commercial activity, any marketing of anything, including ideas, Can benefit from good branding.
In fact, it goes further than that. If we compare launching a business or a product or a service or an idea, anything that we want to popularize, and so that could be a solopreneurs side hustle, or it could be a founder’s venture backed moonshot. If we liken that to launching a rocket, then the branding.
Determines how strong the gravity well is. With great branding, our ship can quickly soar to the stratosphere with minimal effort, but with terrible branding. The same journey requires a tremendous amount of thrust and may be destined. To fail. So in other words, when it’s done well, when it’s done skillfully, branding is a force multiplier.
It enhances the effectiveness of all other forms of marketing that you do, including direct marketing, which is what tends to get the most attention, at least in the startup or the entrepreneur space. Just selling directly to people and getting. Direct ROI on money spent, which is important, but those activities are much more effective when you have also done a good job with your branding.
Here’s how the authors put it to quote them. Today, most products and services are bought, not sold, and branding greatly facilitates this process. Branding pre-sells the product or service to the user. Branding is simply a more efficient way to sell things. And then later, here’s another quote that I’m stitching together.
Because it flows, even though it didn’t appear like this in the book, for most people, a brand is nothing more than a guarantee of quality in a system for saving time, a way of making sure that the products you buy are decent without having to spend an inordinate amount of time comparing one product with another.
And finally, before I get to the takeaways, I just wanna say that although I’ve read. Many books on branding over the years and many, many on marketing. I’m recommending this one in particular because it has most informed many of the better branding decisions that I’ve made in my businesses, uh, my books and Legion and, oh, Yeah, those are my businesses.
The, the Publishing and Legion. This is also a book that you can profitably review regularly because as your circumstances expand and evolve, so do your needs and as a business gets bigger mistakes and. Missteps and especially branding mistakes and branding missteps and marketing mistakes and missteps.
They become more and more expensive and excruciating because of course there’s more and more at stake. Alright, let’s get to the takeaways. Let’s start with the first one, quote. Successful branding programs are based on the concept of singularity. The objective is to create in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no other product on the market, quite like your.
Product. And my note here is that many strong brands offer more than just high quality products. They’re also unique in other major and meaningful ways. They are a source of information, for example, that people can’t find elsewhere or they are a place to buy things that people can’t find elsewhere or buy them at prices they can’t find elsewhere.
Maybe a place to meet people. That they can’t meet elsewhere. Take Legion, for example, my sports nutrition company, which not only sells outstanding supplements that objectively outshine the offerings of even our best competitors, but Legion also provides services that most sports nutrition companies do not.
Like custom meal plans, pre-made meal plans, one-on-one coaching, as well as nearly 2000 at this point. Evidence-based and fact-checked articles and podcasts [email protected] on just about every aspect of diet training and supplementation that you can imagine, like probably any question you may have has been answered in an article or a podcast [email protected].
You could go search just about anything. And find a relevant hit. And as a result of that approach to business, we have legions of highly loyal customers who are responsible for producing some eye-popping good business metrics, measures that would likely be impossible with a more one dimensional product.
Focused branding strategy, no matter how slick it may be. Okay, let’s move on to the second takeaway, which is the power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope. Now, my note here is that many consumers don’t just want to buy from brands that offer unique products and experiences. They also want to buy from brands that specialize in just one thing.
They wanna buy their soap, their socks, and their supplements from companies that primarily produce just soap. Socks and supplements, and this is partly because we assume that a jack of all trades is a master of none. We assume that a brand that offers too many different types of things couldn’t possibly be better at each one of those things than individual brands that pour all of their resources into just.
One of them. This, for example, is almost certainly one of the reasons that Amazon’s House brands, their house sports nutrition brands, enraged nutrition, flexitarian, P two N, and Own Power all went nowhere and were abandoned as a consumer. We can buy that Amazon can make batteries, backpacks, and cables as good as any major brand and then just sell them for less, right?
In fact, we probably assume, at least, I assume that Amazon’s knockoffs are likely the exact same product made in the exact same factories. So we are getting basically the exact same thing with, uh, some different. Packaging with some different branding, and we’re getting it for a lot less money, but it’s hard to swallow that Amazon really made the effort to understand the science of sports nutrition and to bring something truly special to the market.
Instead, we assume that Amazon’s. Product people simply saw an opportunity to seize on a trend and they just wanted to see if they could make something stick. And that doesn’t work in sports nutrition, where the average consumer is far more discerning and sophisticated than in other categories. I mean, these are things that we are.
Ingesting. After all, it’s a bit different than a battery that our remote is ingesting. Another point related to this takeaway is that a brand’s, one thing that they focus on should be distinguishable by one word, and the shorter the better here. And this is a word that they strive to own in the minds of their ideal customers.
When one of those people think of that word, the brand that is best, Positioned for long-term success is the one that immediately pops into their mind. So for example, in the case of Legion, I’ve been working since the beginning deliberately to try to own the phrase all natural sports supplements, because I felt that was more approachable than the lofty sports supplements perch currently occupied by a company, probably Optum Nutrition.
It would be my guess that has hundreds of millions in revenue. In the case of. On, they’re probably north of six, 700 million a year in revenue. And if it’s not on, it’s gonna be another very large company that currently owns that term. Sports supplements. But all natural sports supplements was up for grabs.
And that is what I have been pursuing. And I would say the strategy is working because Legion is now. The leading by revenue line of all natural sports supplements in the world. And that’s of course because the biggest players all use artificial ingredients. And if the current growth trends of the business continua won’t be too long before a considerable percentage of 40 something college educated above average income weightlifters.
And those are really legion’s ideal customers will consider Legion synonymous with. All natural sports supplements. And that brings me to my next takeaway, which is leadership is the most direct way to establish the credentials of a brand. When you don’t have the leading brand, your best strategy is to create a new category in which you can claim leadership.
And my note here is as far as brand credibility is concerned. Nothing succeeds like success, and the ultimate expression of success is category leadership. If you can credibly claim and prove if necessary, that your brand is the leader of your category, the most popular, the most bestselling, that is far more effective than trying to explain why your products are better than your competitors.
Everyone tries to do that. Everyone tries to convince consumers that their stuff is better, and so. Consumers meet these types of claims with skepticism. That’s what they all say, right? Category leadership, though that says we’re better without having to say those words by tapping into the power of authority and social proof.
When most people see a brand on top in a category or here that a brand is on top in a category and believe it, they automatically assume that it must be better than the rest. It must be on top for a reason, right? Therefore, the authors believe that brand leaders should always promote their leadership above all because it is the single most important motivating factor in consumer behavior.
And so the authors contend that when you are building a brand, you must find a category that you can become. A leader in, even if you have to create that category and you have to promote it alongside your brand. Now how do you do that? How do you create a new category? Well, you narrow your focus. To come back to the second takeaway that I shared, the power of a brand is inversely proportional to its scope.
So in this case, you are not going to enter the beer. Market you are going to enter the Organic American I P A market. I don’t know if there is such a market. I’m not a beer drinker, but if there is, then that’s an example. Instead of selling just protein chips, you sell chicken derived protein chips and Yep, those exist and I’ve seen them in quite a few stores.
They must be selling instead of competing in the sports nutrition market, Legion is in the all natural sports supplements. Space.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. All right. The next takeaway, number four, but what works is not expanding the brand, but expanding the market.
And my note here is once a company is doing seven figures in annual revenue, the easiest way to keep growing is to just keep creating new products that. The existing customers and other people like them will also buy, and there are very right and wrong ways of doing that. And a major mistake that many companies make is they just start stamping their name on all kinds of things, products in very different categories.
And when they do this, they can enjoy a short-term increase in sales, but they also will blur the image of the brand. In the eyes of the consumers, and if it gets too fuzzy, then they’re gonna lose their position of leadership in the minds of the many. And once that happens, sales can plummet and refuse to reverse.
That’s actually how you kill a brand. The key then is to keep the brand focused on its core category and then work to grow the size. Of that category, of that niche by promoting its general desirability and counterintuitively by inviting competitors who can enter the category and help defray the enormous advertising expense of growing a category.
You need a lot of money to grow a category, and you usually need a lot of publicity. In particular, advertising alone usually. Isn’t enough. You need to get a lot of media attention, organic media attention, and so when you’re the leader of a category effective competition, which is gonna be companies that come in and can take market share from you.
Are going to do that and it will shrink your market share. But if they are good at what they’re doing, they are more than gonna make up for it by growing the size of the market much faster than you could ever hope to do by yourself. And if you are the category leader and you are leveraging that in your marketing and in your advertising and in your publicity, which you should be doing constantly, then a lot of the.
New people that your competitors bring into the ecosystem are going to find their way to you. And unless you accidentally scuttle your ship and ruin your brand, it’s gonna be almost impossible for a competitor to unseat you no matter how much money they spend or what they do. Really the best your competition can hope for once you have solidified your position of leadership.
Is the number two spot. And the authors, for example, believe that a single brand can never have more than 50% of the market share. There is always room for competition because people like choices. They like variety and any. Viable market can support at least two big brands. And of course there are many markets that support many others, but the two biggest are going to account for a large percentage of the total sales of the category.
Probably a majority of the sales in the category. And this principle I’m talking about here, by the way, is one of the reasons why I am always excited. When other fitness influencers and celebrities publish books, especially inaugural ones, especially first books, because I have established category leadership in the fitness book space, not health because that’s a much bigger category, but in fitness books, I sell far more than any other fitness author in the world.
It’s not even close. And I promote that fact widely and many people have associated me. With fitness author or fitness book, when they think of fitness author or fitness book, they immediately think of me. And so I want my category fitness books to grow as fast as possible. And I’m doing a lot myself to make that happen.
I’m always working on the next book. I’m always promoting my existing books more widely. I’m working to grow my email, following my email lists, my social media following, but the category is gonna expand a lot. Faster if more people like me are doing the same things. And then there’s also the fact that readers read widely books are not a zero sum game.
And if someone has good information and if they are an effective communicator, then I like to see them getting into the book. Game because there aren’t too many authors in the fitness space who I would openly endorse. And so for example, when my friend Sal from Mind Pump released his book, I immediately wanted to help promote it because it’s good information and I want.
People who are into fitness to read my books, I want them to read Sal’s book, and I don’t want them to read Stephen Gundry’s stuff, for example. Anyway, by the same token, I can’t wait for large health and consumer brands to start launching all natural sports nutrition lines because that category is poised to explode over the next decade.
The trends are clear, and if my team and I can stay on our medal, then we’ll be in for one hell of a ride. Okay, let’s move on to the fifth and final takeaway. The most important branding decision you will ever make is what to name your product or service, because in the long run, a brand is nothing more than a name.
And my note here is I have always been very sensitive to the names of my brands and my products because it matters far more than most people think, according to the authors. All other factors being equal, the brand with the better name will come out on top. And I’ve seen enough circumstantial evidence to say that that is probably correct, or at least it is more right than wrong.
And so you want to be very deliberate in naming your businesses, naming your brands, naming your products, naming your services, because the power of the brand name is in the word. It’s in the meaning of the word. In the mind, it’s not in the logo type, it’s not in the trademark, it’s not in the visual symbol.
For most brands, those things have little or nothing to do with creating meaning in the mind of the consumer, and that’s what the brand name needs to achieve Now. Naming is an art and science unto itself, and if you want to learn more about it, I recommend a book called, hello, my name is awesome. Great book name, also great book.
A lot of good information. But the authors of the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding do offer a few naming tips. For example, they say that one of the fastest routes to failure is giving a brand a generic. Name. What you should generally do instead is take a regular word and then use it out of context to connote the primary attribute of your brand.
Another tip is, unless there are compelling reasons to do otherwise, the best branding strategy should be to use the company name as the brand name. Another is starting with the generic name for the category and then condensing. That is a good way to kill two birds with one stone, so you create a proper name.
That’s also short and easy. To spell cnet.com for example, took the generic term computer network and then shortened it to cnet, which is a short, proper name that’s very easy to spell. And the final tip is when you have to choose between several brand names that seem equally good, the smartest name to pick is usually the one that has a good nickname because people feel closer to a brand when they can use.
The brand’s nickname instead of the full name. And that’s it. That’s it for my book review, my five top five takeaways from the 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and my Thoughts on each. Thanks again for joining me today. I hope you found this episode helpful. I hope it makes your marketing more. Effective and what do I have coming next?
Well, I have a q and a, which is gonna be on vegan meat alternatives, gaining strength, but not size and fitness for shift workers currently that’s slotted to come out on the 30th of April, but I just found out I have to travel next week, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get it recorded in time, so it may come the following Friday.
On May 7th, we’ll have to see. But I’m gonna be talking also about how to fix the five most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies that’s coming up, as well as another installment of best of Muscle for Life, which is going to feature beating back pain, information on beating back pain, rapid fat loss tips, and some motivation for training hard.
All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger.
Healthier and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com. Just muscle f o r life.com and share your thought.
On how I can do this better. I read everything myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at Muscle life.com. And. That’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode and I hope to hear from you soon.