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A Reading of “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out” by Marc Ecko


I recently read this life changing book by Marc Ecko. It's called “Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out.” And I have to tell you about it! You ask me why? Well, it’s because it has a bunch of great techniques that will help you on your way to success! And here’s how Ecko explains it.

The Authenticity Formula

  • The Authenticity Formula says that authenticity is equivalent to your unique voice, multiplied by truthfulness, plus your ability to change, multiplied by range of emotional effects, elevated to the power of imagination. Sounds like a lot of math, right? Wrong! Keep reading.
  • Unlabel means keeping the label off of yourself. It means taking on tough jobs and challenging yourself to escape from the herd, find your own distinctive voice and create an authentic, personal brand. That’s what sells!
  • You will sell without selling out, if you unlabel. You'll bypass gatekeepers (haters, critics) and go straight to the very important goalkeepers (buyers).

Whatever your product or service, it's yourself who you are ultimately selling. Deal with that and don’t question it.

You have to become an authentic brand if you want it to sell. Authentic brands have a single voice that is a result of three variables: action, fear, and self.

Visions will begin small. Too big a vision will cause pressure to cripple you. Speak of the next 10 hours and not of the next 10 years because that will only add stress to your life. And what you need to kick this off is solid belief.

You Need to Believe

  • You need a strong belief in your idea, your company and this is where everything begins. But then, you also have to prove this belief. You need to demonstrate what you have done in the past, so you can make this a success. When you begin, take a look at the history, the data. Use a calculator. Trust me, this formula works.
  • Great brands become great by learning how to be self-referential without being predictable, or boring or self-indulgent. They frequently refer back to their core beliefs and point of view. Rappers are one of the best examples of this. They stay true to themselves, no matter how society treats them.
  • You need to pursue innovations in order to create greater value, greater efficiency or gain advantage in any situation. Remember that the nuts and bolts and the other unsexy stuff matters. Items like production, procurement, stocktaking, technology all sound droll and boring, but you need to know they all work. Great brands are nothing more than sources of delivering on promises. Great brands go above and beyond what is expected of them.

And if someone copies you? Ignore them! Don't let copy-cats get you down. If somebody is willing to put their time and energy into copying your original stuff, they respect you! Treat this like it is: some serious validation.

You should always stay real, though. If you’re inauthentic, it will cost you! If you're not honest about your brand or company, say you can deliver a certain number of shirts by a certain date, then don't do it. It’ll come back to bite you later on.

Think of a brand as a three-legged triangle: (1) governance: power, control, order; (2) brute force: beastly force exerted without constraint; (3) swagger: how you take yourself into the world. Don’t forget any of these or your brand will go down the drain!

Ideas Matter

  • Don't spend time competing on dollars. Instead, wrestle with ideas. That's how you win deeper pockets in the marketing battle against enemies. How you make people feel is more important than how much you make.
  • Feeling is key here. It's not indulgent or low to feel. It's important to take stock of your emotions.  Are your days characterized by stuff you love or hate? Write down just how you feel.  Make sure you're not in a place you hate. Be frank about who you are and what you can bring to the table. Talk to someone you can trust regularly. You always need outside perspective. Keep your inner monologue going strong.

You're a human too. You will often have emotional disagreements with partners, employees, contractors. This does happen so don’t panic. Seek not to make this public, or cross any lines from which you cannot recover.

It's good to hook up friends and family when you become popular but be smart about it. Use it in a way that is not handcuffing either you or them. For instance, donate gifts, not jobs. It's not fun to have to explain to your family when things go south.

Mark’s Final Five

Here are five final suggestions from the book. These are:

  • Be a creative wizkid
  • Always sell without selling out
  • Create wealth that actually matters
  • Don’t be a label
  • Remember that authenticity is a chase, not a destination

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