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My first “branding vs. direct marketing” had lots of comments and questions – here’s part 2 with all my answers – including how you can create a brand that connects with your customers and prospects.

Please scroll down, leave a comment and tell me what you think.


Authenticity builds your business by building a connection with your future customers. (Click to tweet.)

The easiest way to get your brand right is just to be as authentic as you can. (Click to tweet.)

How to create a brand that connects with your customers and prospects… (Click to tweet.)

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66 Replies to “Branding, Marketing, and Authenticity”

  1. Why is this all so wordy? I can’t wait to hear the point of your message. In these days of information overload, I can’t even keep up with all the important stuff. You can be authentic without wasting my time. 7 mins 50 so far and no time to finish this, even if I risk losing important info. Education is clear and succinct. Please respect the time of viewers who have a mountain of things to do, and prepare your presentation before you open your mouth. Then we will all be able to learn from you. I hope you find this constructive.

    • Serena, that’s your personality talking! Not everyone is like you, or like Jeff. When you are your true authentic self you will attract people like you or who want to be more like you!
      “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken” – Oscar Wilde

    • On the flip side, I love long juicy articles, instead of quick snapshot buzzfeeds. Jeff, I encourage you to do whatever the hell you want with your writing. I love it.

    • Christine O'Leary-Eldred


      Dear Serena – I understand your frustration. You want ‘clear and succinct’ delivery of information so you can process it and get on with the ‘important stuff.’ For myself and probably millions of others – Jeff IS the ‘important stuff’ that shines like a beacon from our inboxes. Yet, he clearly is not a fit for you. Your person is still out there. The one who will give you what you want – the way you want it. I have found the caveat is belief in that fact. Seven years ago I was spinning, directionless and happened to see a vid of someone I was following interview Jeff Walker. I wanted to learn about ‘selling online.’ What I didn’t know, and learned that day from this casual, rambling, folksy and very charming man was that Selling & Marketing are two very different animals. I was mesmerized by the wisdom, generosity, encouragement and consistent nuggets of gold peppered throughout that video. Serena, I truly wish you find someone who does that for you. I too, used to want others to live up to my expectations of them. It was a very disappointing way to live. Many Blessings to You.

    • John Morley


      It’s easy… I use Enounce MySpeed and just watched it at 1.6x normal speed!

  2. Daniela Elena Costea


    Thanks, Jeff, for your invaluable pieces of advice and wisdom, delivered in such a simple, heart-to-heart style.
    I’m just starting my online entrepreneur journey and you are a true role model for me.
    You’ve taught me how to interact with my subscribers and inspired me to be authentic and speak from the heart.
    I haven’t done any videos yet but, when the time is right, they will most certainly have the ‘Jeff Walker Touch’;-)

  3. Hey Jeff – love this video and message – I am just starting to use video to sell my business – but something was always holding me back from really impressing this
    Part of my hesitation was I always felt I was not able to be myself but rather should be some more professional version of me
    You helped me understand to be okay with who I am and hopefully connect with the type of customer I really want to work with
    Thanks so much for sharing your insights and wisdom!

  4. Great. I love that about being authentic. When I have a vision of me being a successful entrepreneur- I think of you, Jeff. Thank you

  5. I love this too… I’m on a bit of a journey- sharing myself with the public is scary! I’m pretty shy and private in real life, so it makes sense that it translates to the internet world also… but working on getting past that! Any advice for shy people?

    • Hey, Sarah, congrats on your journey of sharing yourself with the public! I think that rocks and yes is totally scary, too. 🙂 I’m sure Jeff will have awesome advice for you but I thought I’d share my quick thought for you here as well ~ I wonder if (and perhaps you have already) owning that shyness in a bigger way in your brand as you seem to do in your life, could be a beautiful part of your impact as well. . . I’ve heard Jeff often share that he was nervous for public speaking and that he’s kind of shy (paraphrasing), and I think the way he’s shared that so openly with all of us has endeared us to him even more. And wishing you all the best ~ you got this! xoxox

  6. Robyn Andrade Toms


    Authenticity = Happiness… which will definitely leads to success! Thanks for the reminder! We humans so often doubt ourselves.

  7. interesting. Question about when you were talking about a landing page. I am thinking of putting my art work up on a website (I guess wordpress is good) but what is a landing page? Some of this technical stuff you talk about goes right over my head. and exactly what is brand marketing vs. direct response marketing.? Its these technical stuff that gets me confused and a bit frustrated.

    • Hi Danielle,
      It is always refreshing when folks new to marketing terms ask what is meant by a term. Helps all of us pause, and look more carefully at what we mean.
      Let me take a stab at this with your questions.
      Landing page is the first website page people see when they go to your website. For many, this is their website home page. For others, concerned about spammers, they may create a landing page with minimal information that basically says you have reached my website, welcome, click here to enter. My understanding is spammers can use automated computer programs to seek websites and either glean contact info which then puts you on their mailing lists, though you never personally subscribed to receive their emails, or they could mess with your website. I have had friends whose websites were changed by such , so people who came to their website were redirected to another website associated with the spammer. Thus some people put a landing page that is just a welcome page needing a real person to select to enter their website.
      Lastly, as for “direct marketing” and “branding”, I will just remind you what Jeff said about that, Coke soda, and more examples, Apple computers, Kentucky Fried Chicken are brands, which don’t email you information like Jeff does, but depend on you recognizing their brand, and then choosing to buy when out in the world.
      It may help to give you an example of this in the online entrepreneur world. Think Jack Canfield, who direct markets by sending me emails offering his success principles workshops. Jeff Walker sends his emails with links to his blog and his brand is helping entrepreneurs from startup to experienced create an online business. I guess you could say a brand is what you want your prospective customers to think what you are about. It can also include your style and personality. Jeff described his as personable, rather homey. Lady Gaga’s would be wild and flamboyant. Mick Jagger’s might be considered strutting and tad “bad boy”.
      And really, what I hear Jeff suggesting is a hybrid model, direct emailing to prospects, but having included s theme about what you offer and how customers can expect your style will be in offering your info and products and/or services.
      Does that help?

  8. Love your authenticity and you are right, that is what has kept me subscribed to your emails. I like simple, effective, genuine communication, which is your style. It’s also clear that you have a genuine desire to serve your community and over deliver. Please keep doing this – it’s inspiring, motivating and always gives me effective tools for my business. Thank you!

  9. Thanks for the further insights on this and for the reminder to be ourselves in our branding. And I just wanted to share that although I haven’t met you in person (yet!) 🙂 I’ve heard our mutual friends describe you as being just like the guy you see in the videos. Your congruency across your brand and life is super inspiring. Thanks for reminding us all to keep it real, both for the good of our companies and the good of our souls! 🙂 <3

  10. Wonderfully useful video, as usual! I loved that you used the words authentic and congruent. As a Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, I have the privilege of working with horses and clients with a wide range of disabilities. The words authentic and congruent come up a lot in my professional training. A horse will call you on a lack of authenticity faster than any online market can – which is probably one reason so many corporations use horses in team building exercises. Bringing the best “you” is the best way to connect with anyone – 2 or 4 legged 🙂

    Thanks for authentically sharing your wisdom.

  11. I have to tell you that I’m cleaning out my emails and your stuff was the only stuff I read, every other marketing thing I deleted. You have something going, my friend! I’m definitely going to be paying attention and trying to replicate your strategies!!!

  12. Jeff, it is your down to earth nature that I find attractive. It lets me know that nice guys don’t finish last and helps me to embrace me as I’m going through this journey. Thanks for being an incredible mentor and role model.

  13. Hi Jeff,

    I’m one of your loyal students and I love this kind of format of videos you’ve been doing. Thanks a lot. Great content!
    At this moment of my life as an online entrepreneur I’m struggling with my selling video: the copy I mean. I’m not sure about the correct sequence and what is important in each part of the video. So I would love if you could make a video just about selling video copy, PLEASE!

  14. The way you are just yourself and talk as though you were sharing with a friend or family member is the reason that I take the time to watch your videos. Feels like you can be trusted. Love the authenticity that comes through! Don’t know that I’ll ever have an online business of my own but if I do I’ll be listening to you and looking to you for the information I need.

  15. Jeff, thank you. I’ve seen quite a few of your videos now and this is my favourite. I find your straightforward emails endearing.

  16. Thank you Jeff. Love your message.
    The message of being authentic in ALL relationships just resonates with me.
    To me authenticity = trustworthy = more relaxed and awesome relationships that make room for everyone to be real and bring their true gifts forward. Best way to live!

  17. I love that reminder to keep “friend self” as close as possible to “video and email self”. I find it takes me some time to get comfortable on camera so I end up shooting all my videos for the week on one day. How many takes do you usually need for your videos, Jeff? While authentic and unpolished, I know how hard it is to talk to camera for 10min and you make it look easy!

  18. Jeff many thanks truth i enjoy you are email video friendly i like them you keep as you are going growing thank you we always have folk who knock us i have found in life . many thanks Jeff i do appreciate your video’s . How was the skiing did you enjoy yourself . thank you again still have to get to video .regards .i have written short stories on computer about Suicide/drinking as teenagers etc. being different.about my life a bit . i am my truth awesome .sometimes i speak out other times i am the silent peace maker .all the best awesome you are .talk soon

  19. This completely resonates with me. I am about to start a personal growth company based on the same principle of clarity being me self.

    Thank you for inspiration and confirmation the way is right.

  20. Thanks Jeff, loved this video!
    I think your brand is just about adding value. You have achieved so much that you have no need to demonstrate anything else to yourself or others – and you have now the freedom to just do what you like, what you are good at, what you think adds value to as many people as possible, and you do that with tons of integrity and no hidden agenda. Thanks for your leadership.

  21. For me you are just the way you explained and that is what I like, …you.. not an image you are giving of you.
    Like so many woman do looking like teens when there rather like 50ies. I fine that very deceiving

  22. Love all the videos, Jeff, but this one knocked it out of the park. I’ve been told (more than once), that when people first see me, they think I’m unapproachable. Then when they get to know me, they’re amazed at how approachable I really am. (Haven’t figured that one out yet.)

    I’m just getting started at using video for my blog and my Facebook page. Thanks to this video, I’ll be paying closer attention to some of the details of how I can let them see that I’m not a whole lot different from them. You’ve got that down to an art, and I love the fact that you’re a laid back guy from the mountains of Colorado. (I used to live in the mountains of New Mexico before moving to San Diego.)

  23. Love it! Finding and freeing our self-expression is the personal growth silver lining of being an entrepreneur. A lot of people don’t realize that “being yourself on camera” is something that can be cultivated and that we can actually get better at it. We tend to think that either you’re “a natural” at speaking in public or on camera or… you’re a lost cause! It’s not true. Your vulnerability and openness (which is natural to have in front of others when we’re on the spot) can be our greatest strength and our confidence can grow and we can relax over time. It’s all about putting your message and your mission and the gift you’re here to bring in front of your fear and get some support to share it with the world in the biggest possible way. So good jeff I look forward to sundays and your videos!

  24. Hi,
    It’s because of your authenticity that I am in the program now.
    So please just be you as you are as it also shows who you are inside.
    Authenticity has cost me a lot in the past as I did not comply with “their” rules and my honesty has often brought me problems but I did not change.
    But if you stay true to your beliefs and you say the truth…you don t have to remember what you said to him or her.
    I think your emails are damn good and I like you just the way you are 😉

  25. Elaine Danforth


    Hi Jeff,
    I can never be sorry when I watch your videos. They always put a smile on my face.

    I have not started my business yet, and I cringe at the term “brand,” but I do get why branding and direct marketing can work beautifully together, especially when somebody comes across as authentically as you do. (I don’t know you in person, so I can’t compare the videos to the direct experience of you, but you do come across as someone who would be great to meet in person, and who would be like

    As for what I think your brand is, in addition to being friendly, I also think it is very encouraging. And generous.

    I love the idea you put forth, of building a business and a lifestyle together, (especially when skiing is included in the mix).

    I think also the beauty of the land in which you live, Colorado, and the ways in which you choose to enjoy it (like skiing and cutting down carefully sought out Christmas trees (great story last month!) figure into your brand, too, as well as being a dad and family member.

    Thanks again for another great video!

  26. Hi Jeff, I try to never miss one of your videos. I have subscribed from many other online marketers out there but unsubscribed the moment they start selling something to me, not you, you just add value. And no one is forcing people to watch or listen, I don’t understand comments like Serena’s complaining about your long video…but she is watching anyway. Thank you for been who you are and for sharing.

  27. Hi Jeff, your authenticity equaled integrity and honesty to me. That is why I signed up for your program. I have not been disappointed at all.

  28. That was an awesome video, thanks jeff. Being involved in the fitness industry, these days it is all about image and creating a persona, when all I want is to be myself. cheers

  29. Jeff,
    I have to agree with the guy on the emails. I don’t read your emails very often because the letters are too small(i have gmail) and the email format is really cheap looking. Its just too plain. Why don’t you have your brand and colors in your emails. And that is one of the reasons why I have never bought anything from you and why I don’t listen to you that often because there are hundreds of other guys out there with similar messages. Just my thoughts. I do respect the level of success you have achieved though. I think a guy of your caliber could do much better….

  30. hi Jeff, yeah, starting from nothing not easy at all…..but your advice will make a difference. thanks

  31. Brilliant insight into branding!

    Just be authentic, instead of copying the guy next door.

    Thank you, Jeff!

  32. Hi Jeff, really love the lesson you are sharing here about being authentic.

    All good wishes, Rik

  33. Hey Jeff, thanks for the video. But I’ve got one question…

    I agree completely about the authenticity, but it makes me wonder about criticism (and how one affects the other). Do you think more authenticity = more susceptibility to being *affected* by criticism?

    Have a great one!

    ~ Jody

  34. Hi Jeff,
    I really get inspire and love your style of branding. Just be Myself! So effortless and at the same time so engaging. I love to build friendship instead of “tradeship” with my online audience.

  35. Hi Jeff! When my friends tell me I remind them of you on my videos! I get so excited!

    LOve what you do and who you are!!!

  36. Great message! A couple months ago my husband and I scrapped the cool looking email for a personal story in text and one picture… our open and click rates went way up! People are sick of feeling like they’re being fed a bunch of fake stuff… personal connection is so powerful!

  37. Christine O'Leary-Eldred


    Happy Monday, Jeff! I am deeply appreciative for your constant encouragement, exemplary success tools, and sincere caring for me and the legions of others who enjoy being part of your extended family! Your recent vid about ‘closing the gap’ between the two Jeff’s was pivotal for me. I have known what to do – but not how to do it. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! Now I can begin . . .Many Blessings To You!

  38. Was anyone else waiting for bullet points or something to appear on the right side during the video? I can tell the demographic is targeted towards baby boomers. Great information but a little production value can go a long way.

  39. hi there 😉 I just LOVE your videos and your passion for communication. All of this stuff is so so important I agree. I think with so much visual and informational material out there, there is unlimited “stuff” to be inspired by, it is hard (well, especially for me as an artist-illustrator to “FEEL” authentic. I am learning, daily that personality, GRATITUDE and soul and like you say, “attitude” whether that be through your brand, how you write and email, how you showcase your business on line or present yourself on camera really expresses authenticity.
    I need to work on this “presentation of self” while showcasing my visual business- my art. Small (yet big) life lessons I work on with my kids are part of this growth as a human, and how you find your true self and how you express this with others. Waving thank you to a car while crossing the street… ending an email with ” Thank you” or showing written gratitude, taking the “extra step” and SLOWING DOWN… I believe are great starts to finding true authentic self. I do love this trend in video, for it shows the “real person” behind their magic:) Thanks for inspiring “bravery” in this aspect… to me, this could be a healthy and great “new” growth in my business…. after letting the art work “shine and speak as Cathy B. Design”, possibly I might (and will get the courage to shine as “Cathy the creative” too! Gosh do I ramble, thank you for your time.

    with gratitude,
    Cathy Braffet Richardson

  40. Hi Jeff,
    Love your videos and your to the point texted emails. I personally don’t like when I receive super lengthy emails.
    With that in mind, I too, write to my group of followers, like friends. I couldn’t agree with you more about marketing and branding!
    It is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS!!!! I have learned that long ago in sales in the early 90’s that it was never about price, but all about relationships.
    I have established my art business since 1999. I service clients with hand done calligraphy, I teach calligraphy, and have a published book on how to do calligraphy, and just launched my first online course teaching basics in calligraphy. I am very happy with what I do, and I really thought the online course was going to be a game changer for my business, but only sold 2. I am on all social media platforms, videos, do a high volume of services for high end clients. I invested in so many good software programs upfront, thinking I was going to get a huge return and didn’t. I think I just really need to increase my subscribers list, which isn’t that big right now. I still feel this will go, just will continue to persevere. Do you have any recommendations?

  41. Jeff, I think your brand represents relationship to whatever it is your client is all about (among other things). Helping people who have an offer to be able to share it appears to be a good place to be. I can see you’re also giving back by sharing what you have learned. I’m thankful to be in a position to benefit.
    Would you say a blog is closer to branding or direct marketing? It doesn’t seem like social media is specifically designed for either. Interesting topic!

  42. Jeff:

    For over 20 years, I have been an executive in a “polished” corporate paradigm that does not encourage authenticity and have recently embraced my purpose of starting (S2), to teach others to develop their intution & use it daily. S2 is all about being your authentic self and using your intuition in every facet of your life; especially in your everyday aspects of corporate America.

    I agree with you that your website/brand needs to have a certain level of polish but being authentic when “directly” engaging (email, etc) with your clients/audience, the formality will just keep that corporate wall between you and the magic that can and should occur with them. Jeff – Keep the magic going going on your end and I will on mine! ~Laura

  43. Dear Jeff!
    Thankyou very much for your generousity, you are using your time to teach us. I like your way, it makes it less frightning to put myself out there, when i can just be myself. Thankyou for you being you. It lowers the gab.

  44. Hi Jeff
    Thank you for your honest and helpful work.
    What prompted me to comment was your mention of Steven Pressfield – his book, The War of Art inspired me so much that I even wrote about it and my experience with it’s subject – PROCRASTINATION.
    I feel like by far my hardest challenge to overcome has been procrastination in my entrepreneurship journey. I know what needs to be done – your work was a large part of that – and even though I do feel that I have like you say a “sacred duty” to put my work out there – my overall aim is to make conscious living – and consumption – commonplace – I don’t always have the motivation and/or inclination to implement this – I have even hired a VA thinking it would makes things easier but it hasn’t really. The funny thing also is that I’m super organized at my day job. Do you therefore have any advice on:
    -overcoming procrastination
    -recruiting help

    Sincere thanks,

  45. Here’s to knowing yourself and shining your light as only you can. Brilliant message, Jeff. You’re an inspiration. Warmly,

  46. Thank you. that is what attracted me to PLF in the first place, your easy going, honest, style, without the hype and with what looks to me like approach-ability and integrity.

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