How to Build a Brand: A Guide to Standing Out From the Crowd

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Vishen on stage at Mindvalley Live 2020 in Los Angeles
Table of Contents
Summary: Your brand is your identity. Learn how to build a brand that increases your influence and sets you apart from competitors with insights from Jeffrey Perlman.


Apple, Chanel, Disney, IKEA, Mindvalley… These names are easily recognized around the world, but building a strong brand is not just reserved for the big players. Whether you’re running a business, building one, or looking to brand yourself, you, too, can create a brand that resonates with your target audience.

That’s what brand expert Jeffrey Perlman can help you do.

Brand is everything,” explains Jeffrey in his How to Build an Unstoppable Brand Quest on Mindvalley. And with his insights, you can get in the know to get your brand there.

What Is a Brand?

A brand is a type of product, service, or company that people can distinguish as unique from other products, services, or companies. An extension of it is branding, which is the process of creating and sharing the way a brand looks, what it stands for, and how it communicates with customers.

Most people think branding is logos, pictures, graphics, and stories slapped on a product. However, it’s about more than that; it’s about a story.

Marketing is what you say; brand is [your] body language.

— Jeffrey Perlman, trainer of Mindvalley’s Building an Unstoppable Brand Quest

In fact, here are some statistics that demonstrate how important branding truly is:

  • 81% of consumers require trust in a brand before considering a purchase from them.
  • 65% of consumers say the brand’s CEO and employees influence their purchasing decisions.
  • 55% of a brand’s initial impression comes from its visual elements.

Visual is especially true; just look around you. Practically everything you see is a brand—the paint on your walls, your furniture, your electronics, and so on and so forth. They are all brands. (Fun fact: even you can be considered a brand.)

The 3 levels of branding

As you may know, not all brands are the same. And according to Jeffrey, there are different levels of branding.

  • Functional. The goal of this branding is to communicate the practical benefits of a brand’s product or service and differentiate it from its competitors based on its functional attributes. An example of functional branding is FedEx for its speed and reliability in delivery.
  • Experiential.Experiential brands also sell you a functional benefit,” Jeffrey explains, but they add an intrinsic value—the experience of it.” Take a look at Qatar Airways, as an example, and its onboard experience with legendary hospitality and world-class service.
  • Transformational. This is where the stellar brands sit. They focus on creating an emotional connection between the brand and its customers, often by associating the brand with a particular lifestyle, value, or belief. A great example, one that Jeffrey was responsible for, is Zumba Fitness, a life-changing program that combines cardio fitness and Latin-inspired dance. 

Ultimately, it’s important to create a brand that your target audience can relate to, regardless of whether it’s focused on functionality, experience, or transformation. Doing this can set your brand apart from competitors and make it stand out from the crowd.

Business brand vs. personal brand

Branding is often associated with businesses and products. However, in recent years, more and more people have become interested in how to build a personal brand

The main difference between business branding and personal branding is the target audience. Here’s a closer look at the two:

Business BrandPersonal Brand
Focuses on promoting a company and its products or services to customersFocuses on promoting an individual and their unique skills, values, and personality.
All about creating a strong reputation and gaining recognition in the market.Establishes a person as an expert in their field.
Attracts and retains customers through trust and loyalty.Builds a following through social media and online platforms.
Creating a brand identity requires investing time and resources in developing a logo, messaging, and tone of voice.Helps professionals stand out in a competitive job market, establish credibility, and increase their influence.
Example: MindvalleyExample: Vishen, founder of Mindvalley

Despite the differences between the two, there are some similarities. Both require a clear understanding of the target audience, a consistent brand identity, and a strong message that resonates with people.

A woman working on a laptop at a Mindvalley event

How to Build a Brand: 5 Tips From Jeffrey Perlman

Building a customer-loved brand can be challenging—overwhelming, even. It is, however, essential to establish your business or personal identity to stand out in a crowd. 

Fortunately, you can learn how to create a brand strategy that is authentic, relevant, and compelling. Jeffrey has done it with Zumba Fitness and is now doing it with Mindvalley. 

With tips and insights from his Mindvalley Quest, you can apply them to your own branding efforts and take it from “Where’s Waldo?” to “There’s Waldo!

1. Discover your brand frequency

To become unforgettable, you have to become memorable,” says Jeffrey. And to do so, it’s all about brand frequency, which is how often your brand is exposed to your target audience.

This can be done through various marketing channels, including:

  • Social media posts,
  • Email campaigns, and
  • Advertising (like online ads, billboards, and commercials).

The goal of brand frequency is to create top-of-mind awareness and build brand recognition and loyalty among your consumers. And according to Jeffrey, the most effective way to do so is to create emotion.

Much like Nike’s “Believe in Something” campaign with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The ad had nothing to do with shoes, but using emotional branding led to a $6 billion increase in value.

It’s important to remember that marketing research is crucial here. In order for you to go viral, you really need to know who your target audience is, where they hang out the most, and what they hold dear to their hearts.

Jeffrey Perlman’s tip:If your brand can emote well (that is, transmit emotion), it will become memorable. And the extent to which it can do that consistently is the extent to which it’ll become memorable.

2. Catch your brand trigger

The most ideal branding is when consumers associate a certain thing with a brand. 

For example, a small box in a certain hue of blue is associated with Tiffany & Co. Or the “Where’s the beef?” slogan reminds people of Wendy’s. And a big yellow “M” is almost always recognized as the McDonald’s sign.

The brand trigger is the anti-emotion of your brand,” Jeffrey explains. “It is what your brand resolves at the emotional level.”

One example is when you’re stuck for ideas and are procrastinating. You may think of ChatGPT or other artificial intelligence (AI) platforms.

AI helps with productivity, which is the opposite of frustration. So whenever someone is feeling frustrated with generating ideas and finding information, they yearn for help in a more convenient way—exactly what the ChatGPT is known for. 

This is a brand trigger.

Jeffrey Perlman’s tip:What are moments—trigger moments—that represent being stuck?… I want you to think about how valuable it would be that whenever any one of your clients had any one of those trigger moments, they would think about you. It’s almost as if you would be able to have an ad pop up in their head that you didn’t even pay for. That’s how powerful triggers can be. That’s how you become unforgettable.

3. Create your mood board

A mood board is the first element in your brand that will actually create an emotion,” says Jeffrey. It’s essentially a collection of images that represent your brand and its vision statement.

However, it’s far from similar to a vision board, where you put images up of things you’d like to attract; for example, a house with a white picket fence. On the contrary, the main purpose of a mood board is to evoke a feeling or emotion. 

It creates the tone [and] the ethos of your brand,” Jeffrey explains. And when you’ve got a great mood board, it makes everything easier to ensure all brand communications are in line with the brand’s personality and values. 

Jeffrey Perlman’s tip: When you’re building this mood board, think about speaking to a child. You’re speaking to a brain that has not been developed. That brain can feel a lot, but cognitively, they’re not understanding a lot. So now go and look for the images that actually emote and really transmit the emotion.

4. Create your brand promise

While your brand frequency, brand trigger, and mood board are about what you emote, your brand promise is what you say, according to Jeffrey. He explains that it’s “what you resolve for your customer at the functional level, better than anybody else.

Here are a few examples of great brand promises:

  • Dove’s “Real Beauty” message promises to celebrate real beauty in women and empower them to feel confident in their own skin. 
  • Airbnb’s brand promise is to provide accommodations that feel like home as well as promote cultural understanding and community building so you feel like you “belong anywhere.”
  • For Mindvalley, it’s about transformational growth and lifelong learning. The brand promise is to provide access to the world’s best teachers, innovative learning experiences, and a supportive community to help individuals reach their full potential and live a fulfilling life.

It’s essentially a commitment to deliver a particular experience or outcome. And that creates an emotional connection between your brand and your customers. 

Jeffrey Perlman’s tip: Step one: What is a problem that you’re trying to resolve? Step two: How do you resolve it better than anybody else? That is your brand promise.

5. Define your brand architecture

Brand architecture consists of two elements: your brand promise and the brand experience you aim to deliver. It can simplify your brand structure and help customers better understand the different products and services your company offers.

According to Jeffrey, there are four brand architectures:

  • Unified brands sell the same experience and the same promise. Starbucks is a great example, and although they have many products, the promise is a cafe that feels like home.
  • Brand extension sells the same experience but with different promises. One to look at is Disney. It has multiple promises, like theme parks, cruises, and movies, but it’s always the magic and wonder of Disney.
  • Brand endorsement sells different promises and different experiences, but capitalizes on the endorsing brand. For example, Marvel. “It is the thing that gives it the quality assurance,” says Jeffrey.
  • Individual brands are stand-alone brands that don’t need any endorsement and do not need an endorsement from a parent brand. One example is Minute Maid by Coca-Cola. The brand is under the Coca-Cola company, but it would take away from Minute Maid’s promise of “freshness” if the Coca-Cola name was slapped on there.

So how do you build a brand with well-designed architecture? Jeffrey suggests answering these two questions:

  • Do all of your products and services deliver the same emotional frequency?
  • Do all of your products and services deliver one promise or multiple promises?

With these questions, you may just find clarity in your message and avoid creating confusion among your customers.

Jeffrey Perlman’s tip: You want to be as unified as possible without creating confusion, without being disingenuous, without combining multiple experiences or multiple promises.” 

How to Build a Brand Online

It’s all about social presence in today’s digital age. With millions of businesses competing for attention online, it’s crucial to have a well-defined brand that stands out from the rest.

It’s one thing to look good in pictures on social media, but the online world is constantly evolving. So if you’re looking to learn how to build a brand online, here are some tips to help you reach your target audience effectively.

  • Define your brand identity. Defining your values, personality, and mission statement is the first step to knowing how to build your brand identity. This’ll help you create a clear message for your online presence.
  • Create a website. Make sure it’s visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provides relevant information about your brand.
  • Develop a content strategy. Create a game plan on how to best portray your brand identity to the online community and provide value to them. This could include blog posts, social media content, videos, podcasts, and more.
  • Use social media. Over 91% of marketers in the United States use social media for marketing purposes. These platforms are great to build brand awareness, engage with your customers, and drive traffic to your website.
  • Monitor and analyze your online presence. Use tools, like Google Analytics, to monitor your online presence. These analytical data can help you measure your performance on a month-to-month or year-to-year basis, giving you the opportunity to adjust your strategy as needed.

Mindvalley itself uses social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube to provide high-quality content that improves the lives of its audience and creates a sense of community among its followers. 

This approach has not only boosted engagement but also helped us build brand loyalty and trust over time,” says Rhythm Malhotra, the head of communications at Mindvalley. The social media strategy, she adds, is a reflection of “our unwavering commitment to provide exceptional content that resonates with our audience and reinforces our position as a leading personal development company.

Most Common Challenges When Building a Brand

Building a brand can be an exciting process, but it’s not always easy. As you strive to make your mark in a crowded marketplace, you may face some challenges along the way—from learning how to create a brand identity to gaining traction and customer loyalty.

Don’t worry, though—with some creativity and determination, you can overcome these hurdles and build a brand you’re proud of. Here are some common challenges you may face when building a brand, along with tips to help you through them.

1. Coming up with a brand idea

Sometimes, the challenge of building a strong brand stems from the actual idea itself. For example, you could have a great business idea that targets women, but each woman is unique, so how do you angle your branding?

Jeffrey addressed this very challenge at Mindvalley’s A-Fest 2016 in Mexico. And he suggests doing three things:

  1. Listen and find your truth,
  2. Have the courage to step into your truth, and
  3. Stay in your truth.

It’s much like how Taylor Swift built her empire by staying true to her brand image and connecting with her fans. Building a brand, whether online or offline, first requires you to be true to your authentic self.

Watch Jeffrey’s stage talk to learn more about million-dollar ideas:

CMO Of Zumba On How Billion Dollar Ideas Come To You I Jeffrey Perlman

2. Building brand awareness

Now that you’ve got your brand identity, making it known to your target audience is the next step. This process involves creating a brand image that connects with your audience and promoting it consistently across different places.

This is where brand frequency and brand trigger come into play. Science has shown that when a brand is recognizable, like Apple or McDonald’s, it causes neural activity in the brain. 

More specifically, when the audience sees anything affiliated with the brand (like the golden arches or a sleek, silver laptop), their limbic structures (the part of the brain associated with emotions, memories, and unconscious processing) get activated. And that evokes a connection with the brand.

The thing is, building brand awareness isn’t a one-time event; rather, it’s an ongoing process that requires consistent effort and attention. It may take time to see results. However, with persistence and patience, magic can happen.

3. Adapting to changing market conditions

Do you remember Tower Records? How about Blockbuster? Or Vine? These are only a handful of brands that failed to innovate enough to survive, let alone thrive.

Then there’s Amazon, Netflix, and the Walt Disney Company. These brands have managed to anticipate trends, stay relevant, and embrace innovation.

Look, building a brand is not easy,” says Jeffrey. “I’m gonna level with you, but if you’re devoted to it, if you have a very strong ‘why,’ a very strong gift, you will go through thick and thin for it.” 

The reality is, markets are always changing. And your brand needs to be willing to change your marketing strategies, product offerings, and business models to stay ahead of the curve.

From Zero to Brand Hero

There’s the Marvel universe, Disney magic, Nike excitement, Dove beauty, Mindvalley transformation, and so many others. Your brand could be among the names.

If you’re looking for guidance and support in building your brand, consider checking out Jeffrey Perlman’s Building an Unstoppable Brand Quest on Mindvalley. With valuable insights, strategies, and tools, it’s designed to help entrepreneurs and business owners build a strong, successful, and sustainable brand.

Here is what one of the students has said about it:

This Quest taught me how to create a brand in a way that I would never have gotten to alone. Jeffrey guided me through, day by day, step by step, building this amazing experience. 

Chamali Smith, dentist

You, too, can learn how to build a brand. By signing up for a free account, you’ll have access to the first few lessons and get a glimpse of what the quest has to offer.

Your brand is a story—your story. And it deserves to be told.

Watch the First Lesson of the Quest

Building an Unstoppable Brand With Jeffrey Perlman, the Brand Architect Behind Zumba and Mindvalley

Learn how to make your brand unstoppable so you attract customers and revenue with ease. Unlock your free Mindvalley access and watch the first lesson for free, directly on the Mindvalley platform.Get started for free

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Jeffrey Perlman - Trainer
Expertise by

Jeffrey Perlman is the trainer of Mindvalley’s Building an Unstoppable Brand Quest. He’s a brand-building strategist and master of branding strategy, having been instrumental as its global CMO in growing Zumba Fitness to become Inc. Magazine’s Company of the Year in 2012 with a valuation of $550 million. He joined Mindvalley in 2017, and since then it has doubled in sales every year, and the brand is now the fastest-growing personal development brand in the world.

How we reviewed this article:
Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.