10 Tips from an entrepreneur who built a global brand
Is it possible for one man to build a global brand?
“The answer is a resounding YES!” says Bill Belew (a.k.a. Wilby).
“I am a content marketer. What that means is I am blogger who has grown up. I would say matured, but my wife would likely dispute that,” says Bill.
Content marketing is when you create something–a video, an article, a graphic, an image that is so cool that your created content begins to market you. In other words people come to know you by your content. Your content gets passed around so much that people ask, “Who made this?” And then they come looking for you.
How do you brand yourself globally?
1. Think globally.
“I’m quite fond of a quote by T. S. Eliot that I read many moons ago – it was in a poster on a wall in my dorm room,” says Bill.
If you think the sky’s the limit, you have limited imagination.
Content marketers and bloggers seriously dream of creating a global brand, that is, they want to be reach the world and be recognized all over the world.
“I can say without exaggeration that some 95 million people know my name. I know that because I have had at least than many unique visitors to any one of the web sites in my network. Those visitors have viewed well over 125 million pages. I know that, too, because I have the analytics,” says Bill.
Do you know what happens when your web site reaches 100 million page views? The answer – nothing. The meter just keeps on ticking. The blogger, the content marketer has to keep on working.
If you don’t plan to reach the world, you won’t.
2. Don’t let anybody tell you can’t go global.
“When I started blogging I took aim at the whole world. Naive? I don’t know. Don’t care. Bold? I don’t know. I don’t care. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t reach the world,” said Bill.
“I don’t drink. But there’s a story of a Chinese dude who once wrestled and defeated a tiger … because he was drunk and didn’t know he couldn’t win. So he did. I take this attitude soberly,” says Bill.
Avoid the naysayers. They’re hungry tigers who want to eat your dream.
3. Travel the world with your brand.
“I have traveled the world virtually. I can see from my web analytics that I have had visitors from EVERY country in the world. No kidding. My name, my content, my brand has visited the world. I have also visited many of these countries physically,” says Bill.
Traveling is the best way to take your brand global.
“For a long time I had a huge following in India. I spent some time there while on a missionary trip. While there I learned about the religion of India: cricket,” says Bill.
“Not only do I physically visit those countries, I also visit them BEFORE I have been there and also leave something there AFTER I am gone. My research takes me there BEFORE. It’s my brand that I leave there AFTER,” says Bill.
Create aspects of your brand that people from different parts of the globe can relate to.
4. Have a brand worth sharing to different cultures.
“The way I got the invite to Singapore was because I had been at a conference speaking in Thailand,” Bill said.
“In Bangkok, I met a fellow who was impressed enough with my topic, my presentation and my expertise to invite me to speak at the National Library of Singapore,” Bill said.
If your brand is effective in one place, be so good that people will wonder out loud and take action to the point that they will want to see you and your brand in their country.
5. Have a brand worth recognizing.
Wilby is the name of the character that represents BillBelew.com.
“People who know me know that I am playful, yet I take my work and getting results with utmost seriousness … usually, but not always in that order,” Bill says.
Wilby is just such a character … playful but hardworking and results-oriented.
“Not long ago, I spoke at a conference in Singapore to a large group of children’s book writers. Before going I learned that the Merlion was the national marketing icon of that country.”
Create a brand that makes your audience say, “Hey, that’s my country.”
6. Have a brand that people can identify with.
“While speaking in Singapore after doing some due diligence, I learned that there would be attendees from a variety of countries around the equatorial city. When I put up this slide of Wilby in Australia, the Aussies in the crowd let out a big ‘Whoop!’ I love that about the Aussies,” Bill said.
“There were also some attendees from Vietnam. When I put up this slide, they said nothing. I wasn’t surprised,” Bill said.
Have a brand such that people can see themselves.
7. Draw from a deep well of experience.
“I had lived Japan for nearly 20 years before ending up back in the US in Silicon Valley and reinventing myself as an online writer/blogger/content marketer and now speaker and consultant on the topic,” Bill said.
“I often say that my work ethic is a combination of American creativity and Japanese kotsu (head down working hard) diligence,” Bill said.
To have a global appeal for your brand, you must have global experiences to draw from. You may not be able to travel the world physically, but you can easily travel the whole globe virtually.
8. Diversify with your global brand
“Asia is not the only continent Wilby has visited. Though he will be going back to Shanghai next year. And he has spent time in Siberia,” Bill said. “You have heard it is cold in Siberia? It’s true. It’s so cold in Siberia that the Russians tell jokes in November but nobody laughs until March … when their words thaw out.”
A global brand can adapt . . . and then it can go anywhere.
Visualize your brand in every culture throughout the globe.
8. Flex your global brand’s muscle.
Wilby can not only do cold and the eastern hemisphere, he can do the western hemisphere, too! Wilby has been to Mexico to speak to a large group of writers.
He has also been invited to speak to writers’ groups throughout the US.
Visualize your brand in a variety of situations before all kinds of audiences.
9. Work your global brand.
“Make no mistakes, I work hard abroad and in my own country,” Bill said.
Wilby does business, too … even in the Big Apple.
“It doesn’t do any good if your brand is fluff. There must be substance behind your project with your brand. As for me, not only my brand but I took New York City like the big monkey,” Bill said.
10. Find a good brand artist.
“This was an easy step for me. All my Wilbys are drawn by an ex-Japanese animator, Sakaguchi Benjamin Akeala Belew. The style he does for me is not even his favorite. Still he does these for me because I asked him and he knows me. He’s my son. He’s really good at what he does and can create any style for any brand. He produces hand-drawn, original, high quality art. Good, um, great, uh superb!” says Bill.
You can hire family if they are good. But if they aren’t, you’ll never go global.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to be living in the age we are. All we really need to go global is an Internet connection, a publishing platform and a head-down persistence to reach the world. Oh, and something worth sharing–that’s your brand.” Bill says.
Now that you’re armed with Bill’s secrets of how he created his global brand, it’s time for you to get to work to take your brand to the world.
If Wilby can do it, so can you!
Bill Belew is a business brand storyteller and expert in content development. He teaches bloggers and journalism school graduates how to make a living as freelance writers.
He’s a professor of social media marketing at the graduate level in Silicon Valley, CA. He is also a paid professional speaker and cruise ship lecturer who has spoken throughout the world.