Why The Most Important Part of Your Brand is Invisible

social media content creation
By Mars Dorian, Contributing {grow} Columinst

We talk all the time about writing cornerstone content, building effective web design, and connecting with your community in the social media world. Yessss, it’s all essential, that’s why it’s getting poured again and again into our membranes.

But what about the invisible world behind engagement creation? That special “X Factor” that every great (personal) brand emanates, that elusive awesomesauce that connects them stronger to their raving audience than gorilla glued Lego pieces ?

Danielle LaPorte has it.  Chris Brogan has it. Mari Smith also has it. Mark Schaefer? YOU decide 😉

It’s often the invisible part of your online presence that turns visitors into raving fans.

And before I go all paranormal on you, the “invisible” I mean doesn’t include ectoplasma and proton blasters. It’s simply the “byproduct” (ugh, such an ugly world, forgive me) of your intent and THE WAY you create content and products.

It’s the elusive part that people cannot FULLY explain, but that tremendously affects the way they see your brand and interact with it.

For the sake of this post, let’s try to make the invisible visible … and demonstrate how YOU can leverage it to build a more compelling online presence.

Let’s start with…

The reason “why”

A friend of mine tries to buy as many Fairtrade branded products as her wallet allows. Their slogan “guaranteeing better deals for Third World producers” sets her heart on fire like a flame thrower.

Let’s put aside whether they actually do what they promise … it’s fascinating how it attracts a specific crowd that wants to believe in this promise.

And that converging intent binds people closer to the brand than any well-made product could ever hope to achieve on its own.

Heck, my Fairtrade fan-obsessed friend even lights up eating chocolate (and she doesn’t like chocolate) just because it’s under the Fairtrade label. THAT’s the power of the reason “why you do what you do” – a shared worldview that ignites intense passion.

So, the mission and belief you infuse into your brand will directly determine who your customers will be. If you want to attract a kind of customer who rides your wave length, you must put out a message that YOU are 100% passionate about.

social media content creation

Summonin’ some subtext

This looks like it belongs to a self-help book for screen and novel writers, but noooo, it’s relevant to ANY content producer. The invisible lines between your text are just as important as the visible. If you create content that can be enjoyed on many levels (think entertaining / inspiring / informational ), then you influence a reader’s heart in powerful ways:

Not explaining everything in excruciating details, pointing out hints and thoughts, writing ambiguous questions …

This can slam many more dimensions on your content creation and impact your reader even more heavily.

Sure, the average passerby, looking for fast food content to gulp down, will miss it. But the loyal reader, the one who’s deeply into what you offer, will appreciate you for doing this.

Because she will be one of the chosen few who “gets it” what you really want to say. And that will bond her even closer to your brand.


social media content creation

Putting the “you” in your work

Competing corporations battle it out in endless court room wars, because no matter how innovative or fast you can ship a new product, the “rival” is already on your heels, ready to copy your idea if it proves to be successful.

They sue each other because it’s fairly easy to replicate a lifeless product. But it’s super challenging, if not impossible, to copy the “You” in your work.

Material can copied, but how do you copy style and attitude?

When you buy incredible custom (art)work from individuals, or a loved one creates a delicious meal for you, there’s a heavy dose of the creator in there. “Made with love” is not just a truism, it’s something that directly enhances your experience of the work.

It’s hard to tell what exactly it is, because it’s impossible to measure. Put the “You” in your work and make your brand uncopyable.

The state of your creation process

Do you know Anthony Robbins? He’s a self-help guru with a track record that would put Donald Trump and Steve Jobs to shame (well, maybe). Yeah, he did those sleazy informercials in the 90s, but that was BEFORE the Internet, you guys.

What he proclaimed back then (now common sense), is that your emotional state drastically affects the work and choices you make. Wouldn’t that also hold true for your content and product creation? The emotional state you and your team are in will flavor the output of your work.

If you just do the work because you have to do it, people will notice. They’ll even sniff it out on the Internet. Your audience feels, at least on a subconscious level, that your work isn’t as compelling as it could be.

What to do?  Exercise, dance like a monkey on fire, sing your lungs out, do whatever it takes to get you in an elevated state before you create your content. The change of energy can directly jump onto your audience and alter the way they choose to interact with you.


All the things I just listed are hard to prove. It’s like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it. But if you’re genuine about your intent, you put yourself into your work and create something that’s enjoyable on multiple levels, you can create a connection with your audience that doesn’t seem to come from this world.

Make any sense to you? What’s the source of YOUR X Factor, your invisible power?

mars dorianMars Dorian describes himself as a creative marketeer with a moon-melting passion for human potential and technology. You can follow his adventures at www.marsdorian.com/

Original illustrations by the author.

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  • Spot-on. I think this also relates with the “story”, the “purpose” that the brand communicates and how it generates involvement and engagement for the consumer.

  • Marie Pijanowski

    Educational & inspirational article. Every person’s “signature” goes back to who they are (as a company or an individual), their core values, and their passions. This creates that emotional connection with the audience. The :trick” is knowing who they are, creating the skill in communicating it and being confident enough to communicate it. Well done article. Thank you.

  • Thanx Marie, I personally found it very hard in the beginning, as you have to communicate it directly without being preachy about it. But once you fully “bath” in your message, it slowly sips into everything you do.

  • Yes, the story aspect rules, and it seems to all the talk in marketing’s world today. I think it’s still challenging for some brands to develop a “natura”, authentic story, opposed to creating one that feels artificially.

  • Very entertaining and visually stimulating Mars :). This content reminded me of a former career as a dancer (Jazz, not Stripper ;)), and one young woman who booked ALL the gigs. She was different looking, not the best dancer technically, but really confident and adept at getting inside casting director’s heads…She was also very stable emotionally. Perhaps that’s the golden ticket to “X”…

  • Mars – a thought provoking post that underscores Mark’s idea of mystical random synergy (like the wind). Sometimes when I write after when struck by random inspiration it just flows. And sometimes when I’m on a deadline for a project that is ‘meh’ I know there’s a difference in the output.

    On a related note, I was preparing for a talk yesterday on branding to a Rutgers graduate class… trying to drive home the power of expectation that brands create. Your JK Rowling post rolled into my inbox like magic… BAM – a perfect complement to my point – read a part of it aloud, garnered a few giggles, and of course cited your work. Thanks for the extra burst of creativity. Cheers!

  • Brian D. Meeks

    I was thinking about this very subject, today, as I drove back to my home in Martelle, Iowa. Martelle is about 22 miles from Iowa City. I drove into town to check out a pistol grip for my tripod. My old Bogen grip was losing the ability to keep my Nikon where I wanted.

    The local camera shop owner offered to order one, because he usually keeps them on hand. I said I would take a look when it came in. He mentioned that he had really been selling down stock because cash-flow was so tight. The comment seemed insignificant at the time.

    It should be noted that his worker had looked up the Vanguard GH 100 grip online and said it ran around $95.00. To get my old one fixed would be about $60.00. I checked the other day and it had come in, so I drove to Iowa City to see it.

    Now, before I continue, let me mention that I could purchase it from Amazon.com for $96.83 with zero shipping, because I belong to Amazon prime. I also would have used the affiliate link on my blog and earned 4% ($3.87).

    I had decided it would be nice to support the local camera shop, even though I would spend $10.00 on gas, lose $3.87 (affiliate), and pay $6.65 in sales tax, for a total of $20.52 cent penalty for supporting my local shop. Still, in this instance I thought it was a good idea.

    When I arrived, a different sales person brought it up for me to see. I had promised to take a look at it, but had NEVER said I was going to buy it. I was a little put off that it had a note on it, “For Brian Meeks” with the receipt already rung up. The total was not the $101.65 that I expected, but over $128.

    I told the young man that I wasn’t willing to pay that much and I’d just order it online. He said to wait and he would get the owner. The owner came out saying something about the next time there is a broken sewer, don’t come complaining to him.


    The look on my face must have been clear, because he said, “Just kidding”. I explained my point about the expectation the price would be $95, since that is what the clerk had found online. He agreed to sell it to me at that price, but commented that, “You know, I only paid myself $100.00 last week.”

    So, I bought it. I like the grip, but I’m not happy about my purchase. He made me feel badly, because his business is doing poorly. It isn’t my fault. It isn’t Amazon’s fault. It is evolution.

    People have amazing cameras on their phones. Amazon offers great products at great prices by saving a bundle on brick and mortar locations. For those willing to wait a few days, it is great.

    I’m not going to mention the shop’s name, but I won’t be going back. I’m not paying EXTRA, to spend 60 driving (round trip) to, pay for parking ($1.50), and then be charged 7% sales tax, just to be treated rudely and be given a guilt trip.

    Capitalism is great. Let the marketplace decides who wins and loses. If a local business is going to behave badly, then I will shop online and won’t miss them at all when they are gone.

    If you are a brick and mortar business, treat me well and I’ll support your existence. If not, I’ll blog about it, and next time, I just might mention your name.

    The only upside…I think I just wrote my blog piece for tonight. 🙂

  • Brian D. Meeks

    wow, that looks really long and obnoxious now that I’ve hit submit. Sorry. I do feel better at having vented, though.

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  • Thanx Bill,

    yeah, that JK post rubbed some feathers. Everyone who believed in the power of branding agreed, most didn’t. I guess most people still associate branding solely to being a corporation, and too limiting for an individual biz person.

  • wow, that comment is almost bigger than my post, luv the effort you put into this. Yeah, small businesses only choice today seems to be offering personalized customer support and service, which we don’t (yet) get from bigger corporations.
    That’s why Seth Godin talks about delivering unique experiences instead of competing on price, which really is a race down the button.

  • Thanx Linda,
    I personally believe marketing is all about psychology. If you can create that special something in their minds, you can hook them like a fish, hah.
    It’s almost a Jedi mind trick.

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  • Karen Highland

    This really speaks to me as a real estate blogger. Perhaps it speaks to different industries more than others, I don’t know, but I am my brand. My service, expertise, attitudes, etc. I don’t have a product, I have me. And I have to have a consistent, ongoing internet presence and it needs to get across to people who I am. I am challenged by your last point about being in that elevated state… I have to admit that sometimes I’m posting like a machine, not a person. I so, so agree with you about that invisible something… thanks so much for putting this into words, I’ll be +-ing, tweeting and sharing this to all my peeps.

  • Your brand is defined by what one consumer of the brand tells another not by what you present to consumer fo your brand.

  • But what your consumers tell about you is heavily influenced by how you present your brand !

  • Great post, well said. A genuine understanding of what the brand stands for is the first and most important step. Then and only then can the brand be presented (voice, face, personality) in a consistent and authentic way. When everybody within an organization is on the same page about what the brand stands for they can work creatively, and be individualistic, yet still be beautifully on-brand. That’s when the magic happens.

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