MATE 010 – Bob Knorpp on building a successful brand, advertising and marketing strategy

Bob Knorpp is a consultant and a podcaster. He works with businesses to help them understand their brands and solve their big marketing problems. I met Bob on the sunny rooftop of his building in midtown Manhattan, where we discussed: what is a brand, how do you build a successful brand, how to develop effective content marketing and what happens if brands stop advertising? Bob is a self-taught marketing professional who also teaches a Master’s Degree at NYU.

Bob Knorpp recording MATE 010
Bob Knorpp recording MATE 010


Topics and links:

  • How to demonstrate your value using an effective elevator pitch
  • The start-up world gets too bogged-down with what their product does (i.e. the functional benefit) rather than understanding who their customer is and what your brand means to them (i.e. the intangible benefits). Think like the customer: “What’s in it for me?”
  • “A brand is not what you say to people in your marketing communications, a brand is how you do business, a brand is your identity …” ~ Bob Knorpp
  • “Your brand is not your logo; your brand is the experience of the consumer with your product or with your service. Your brand is built up through experience, after experience, after experience. And ultimately the logo is just a reminder of an experience that you had.” ~ Bob Knorpp
  • What happens if brands stop advertising?
  • Who’s doing brand advertising well? Apple, Zappos and Amazon.
  • Seth Godin talks about being remarkable … i.e. something people remark on. Make your product experience amazing and the brand looks after itself.
  • Why you need brand advocates and how to generate them
  • “A great idea for an ad does not bring people to your product. What it does is it might incite a little bit of trial, and if they’re not having an amazing experience with the product they’re never going to come back.” ~ Bob Knorpp
  • The fancy Himalayan Rock Salt phenomenon
  • Using borrowed interest to build your brand, and why it’s not always the best idea.
  • What is the difference between brand advertising and direct response marketing?
  • “No matter how many different medias come into play, we do three things in marketing. We either brand, we do direct response or we do public relations … So, we have three initiatives. Every other thing that we do in marketing is a media choice. So, there is no such thing as digital marketing or social media marketing … These are just media choices that we can execute any of the three core initiatives of marketing across.” ~ Bob Knorpp
  • Why does McDonald’s need to maintain brand awareness through advertising when they are one of the most recognisable brands in the world?
  • Has anyone ever tried stopping advertising and seeing what happens? Yes, Pepsi skipped their annual Super Bowl campaign in 2010 and it was catastrophic to their sales.
  • What is a notary republic?
  • “The biggest challenge for marketers is to stop what they’re doing and pay attention to what’s going on around them.” ~ Bob Knorpp
  • Where did the name for the podcast The BeanCast come from? (And Bob explains why The BeanCast is a stupid name for a marketing podcast!)
  • Here’s a photo of the beautiful Manhattan cityscape view Bob and I witnessed, as we recorded this podcast:
Our beautiful view of the Manhattan city skyline from Bob's rooftop, while recording MATE 010 in the sunshine. ☀️🏙️
Our beautiful view of the Manhattan city skyline from Bob’s rooftop, while recording MATE 010 in the sunshine. ☀️🏙️
  • We’re starting to see more and more branded podcasts (in fact Bob has been involved in producing a few). Can these be successful marketing plays?
  • How to create successful content marketing
  • What’s exciting (and terrifying) your right now? Cognitive advertising. IBM has coined the term and is experimenting with cognitive advertising using their Watson initiative.
  • What’s pissing you off right now? The evangelists for specific marketing techniques: single-channel experts (e.g. social media experts, word of mouth experts). These approaches are plain ignorant and don’t consider the need to achieve overarching marketing objectives, regardless of the channel used.
  • Who should I interview next? Mitch Joel. “He will not only be your toughest interview subject, but he will put you on the spot, because he is one of the smartest people I know.” ~ Bob Knorpp
  • Mitch Joel also has a great podcast called Six Pixels of Separation


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MATE podcast is a show about Marketing, Advertising, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Hosted by Adam Jaffrey: Digital Strategist and Entrepreneur. Made with ❤ in Melbourne, Australia.

MATE podcast is a production by branded podcast agency Wavelength Creative.

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