#44: Expert Interview with Re Perez [Podcast] - Jenn T. Grace—Book Publisher, Speaker, and Author Skip to the content

#44: Expert Interview with Re Perez [Podcast]

I had a chance to recently sit down with Re Perez of BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE. I’ve known of Re for a couple of years through our mutual relationship with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. At this past conference I brought home some of his marketing materials and promptly reached out to see if he would be a guest on the show and he agreed.

It was great talking to a brand strategist. I think you will learn a lot of general branding and marketing information from this episode in addition to many valuable tips for effectively marketing to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Happy listening!

Here are some links derived directly from today’s episode:

Listen to the episode by clicking the play button below!

Would you prefer to read the transcript than listen to the episode? No problem! Read the transcript below!

AUDIO TITLE:  Episode #44 – An Interview with Re Perez

Jenn T Grace:

You are listening to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast, Episode 44.

Intro:

Welcome to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast where you’ll learn how to do business with and market to the LGBT community in an authentic and transparent way. We’re talking about the $790 billion lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. We’ll help you grow your business, gain market share and impact your bottom line. And now your host – she’s an entrepreneur, a marketing maven and an advocate for the LGBT business community. Jenn, with two N’s, T. Grace.

Jenn T Grace:

Well hello and welcome to episode number 44 of the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I am your host, Jenn Grace. I am delighted to be talking with you today as I always am. We are in the middle of October right now and it’s starting to really get a little bit crisp around these parts up here in New England. I absolutely love it. I love the fall, I’m excited about it, and I just figured I would share that with you. I just got back in from an early morning run, and it was just gorgeous, and the leaves crunching under your feet which can also be equally as gorgeous as they can be a hazard to not falling on the ground which I did not do but I feel like it’s in the back of my mind that I am waiting for it to happen one of these mornings. But it is what it is.

I want to just talk about a couple of things before I get into today’s episode which is in interview with Re Perez of Branding for the People. And I had just an awesome conversation with Re and we talked about his role as a Chief Brand Strategist as well as the CEO and Founder of Branding for the People. Which is an NGLCC certified LGBT-owned business. And he just shares so much good information about how he came to starting his business, what those ‘ah-ha’ moments looked like that made him want to start it and kind of guide him in that path of doing so. And then because he is a personal branding expert, we really got to talk about some really interesting things that I think are going to help you be a more effective marketer, or either an effective LGBT person marketing to other LGBT people, or a more effective ally. So I’m really excited about that, so I’m looking forward to getting your thoughts on this. So we will get into the interview in just a moment.

Of course we do you know I always like to make a couple of announcements. And today’s announcement- so today is, as this is being released, it is October 16th, and I am just a couple of weeks away from running my half marathon. And I am feeling quite confident at this point which has been kind of touch and go throughout; whether or not- you know some days I was like, “Oh I don’t think I can do this,” other days I’m like, “I’ve got it.” Now I’m feeling really confident, so I’m excited. I’m also really looking forward to the day coming being a success, and then being able to kind of relax and breathe for a little bit. So I did want to just update you on that because I believe the next time I release a podcast I might actually be in route to Orlando, Florida for the half marathon. So if you are listening to this and you are planning on being at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, please let me know so we can get together. It’s surprising that sometimes when I’m sitting here talking, I feel like I’m talking to myself, but then I realize I’m talking to thousands and thousands of people; and it’s great when someone reaches out to me, and this did happen saying, “Hey I’m going to actually be at that race.” Which I feel like the odds of that happening are so incredibly small, but it happens and I’m really excited about it. So I did want to note that.

And then I also- I’ve been talking about in the last couple of episode, if you’re listening to this please reach out to me. I want to hear from you. I want to know that I am reaching you, and I am pleased that I heard from three people, so I’m super excited. Three out of a few thousand doesn’t seem like a lot but you know what, the three people who reached out to me, I’m super grateful for, I’m super excited because now I have a better connection with all three people. So I just want to give a quick shoutout to Donna who is in Calgary, Canada, and she was awesome enough to send me an email talking about how she basically works from home and she listens to the podcast in the morning a couple of times a week. So she said that it’s helping her ‘focus like I never thought possible.’ So I love getting emails like that, I truly do. And she also sent me a couple of resources that are Canadian-based as it relates to the LGBT community. So it’s a complete win-win; she’s sending me good information and she’s also just acknowledging the fact that she’s listening to this and it’s making difference for her business. So I am delighted. So thank you so much, Donna, I really appreciate you reaching out to me and I hope you are listening to this to hear this wonderful thank you. But really, thank you for taking the time to listen, this really, really means a lot.

And then I want to send a shoutout to Glenn in Litchfield, Connecticut. Who I know has been a very long-time listener of the show, and pretty certain he’s been a listener since probably day one, and that goes back to January of 2013 is when I recorded my first episode. And I’ve been doing every other week since. And I know that he has a tendency to be on his riding lawnmower when he is listening to this. So Glenn, I hope you are mowing over all these leaves that are falling here in Connecticut, and I hope you have been enjoying the show, and please feel free to reach out to me again for anything that you have. I’m always loving to hear from you.

And then my last shoutout goes to Michelle in Long Beach, California. Michelle I have known for a little bit of time now, and I did not realize that she was a podcast listener until we were on the phone the other day and she had mentioned that she listens to it when she gets a chance. So thank you, thank you, thank you to Michelle, Glenn and Donna for all reaching out to me, I really appreciate it. If you are listening to this and you’re thinking that, “You know I really want to send Jenn an email. I don’t know if she’s going to reply.” I promise you that I’m going to reply, and I would love to get to know you more.

Which actually leads me to another thing that I want to talk about in regards to wanting to know you more. I can’t remember if I mentioned this on the last episode, this is what happens when you’re talking a lot and meeting new people; sometimes you forget where you’ve said what. So I apologize if this is redundant. But I want to reach out to you to ask you if you’d be willing to give me fifteen minutes of your time. And what I’m really trying to do is build new products- I’m trying to just map out what 2015 is going to look like for me. And what types of products or services that you as my listener might be looking for that I might just be overlooking. And the best way to build a new product is really to just reach out to people and ask you, you know what are your pains? What are you trying to fix that you’re kind of running into some troubles on? Or what are things that you are thinking to yourself and you’re like, “How in 70 plus episodes has Jenn never talked about that on the podcast?” Those are the things that I really want to know from you, because you’re amazing and the fact that you’re spending your time listening to this, I know that you could be in the car right now, you could be on your riding lawnmower, you could be out running, you could be doing so many different things right now as you’re listening to this and I know that it’s a dedication and it takes- you know you have to set aside time to be listening to this versus just kind of skimming through a quick blog post. So I really- like I love the listeners, I mean I love the readers of my blog, I love people who attend my webinars, but it’s really the listeners of the podcast that I feel like I have such a stronger connection with. So I want to reach out to you as listeners and just say, “Can you give me fifteen minutes of your time?” And I would love, love, love to have a phone call with you to just pick your brain for a couple of minutes and say, “Hey, what is it about my content that you’ve enjoyed? What are things I’m doing that you don’t really prefer to hear? Or am I talking about too much of one thing and not enough of another? And what can I really do to help your business grow and expand in 2015?” Because ultimately that’s what I’m here for. I’m here to share information with you, but ultimately I want you to get a return on your investment, which all my stuff for the most part is free so I’m not talking about a monetary investment but what I’m really talking about is a return on your time. You know marketing to the LGBT community is something that takes time, and because of that I want to make sure that if you are spending the time listening to this you’re getting information that you can practically implement or execute that can help grow your business. So that’s why I’m here, and I really just want to reach out to see if you’re willing to have a conversation with me. And you know if you don’t have the fifteen minutes to set aside to have a phone call, I totally understand that and respect that. The fact that I am reaching out to a significant size audience with this request, I know I’m going to be inundated with emails and phone calls, but to me it will be worth every moment of being able to just kind of get to the bottom of what I can do better for you. So that’s really my game plan, that’s kind of what I’m looking to do, and I appreciate any, any insights that you are willing to provide. Whether those insights be via a phone call or shooting me- even if it’s a tweet. Honestly if you can just share any type of information you want I would love that. But if you do want to schedule a phone call with me, please head over to my website and go to the contact area. And it’s a tab on the top on the right hand side, and just put in your information, you know make some kind of note at the top, ‘This is in regards to scheduling a phone call,’ and I will get back to you shortly and we can go from there. So yeah, that’s my excitement for you.

And then I guess I’m just going to mention one more thing, and then we will get into today’s interview. I am just so- I’m almost speechless which listeners, you know that that doesn’t happen all that often. I’m almost speechless that I had one of my old college professors from my undergraduate degree reach out to me a couple weeks ago. And he reached out to me to ask me if I would deliver the keynote address to the Communications graduates that are graduating this spring on one of the nights that’s basically- it’s portfolio night, so it’s where the students get to present their portfolio and get feedback from people in the field on ways that they can improve it and all that kind of great stuff. So that way they are more ready and prepared to present their portfolio in a setting where a job depends on it. So one of my old professors reached out to me and I am just so incredibly honored that he thought of me as a successful Communications graduate that could help inspire some of the youth coming out of the college right now. So I am just so super excited. It’s not until the end of April, and it is the middle of October right now, and I’m already thinking about what can I say. And I- you know I feel like if it’s coming down to LGBT stuff, I can have a keynote in my sleep that I haven’t even prepared, just kind of like come out of nowhere because I just know all of this information. But this one’s different. It’s me going to speak to other Communications students and folks who are going to be in the workforce really, really soon. You know they’ll be graduating just a couple weeks after that. And it will be really interesting to see what I can come up with that will be fifteen or twenty minutes of just hopefully good information. You know that’s ultimately my end goal and Lord knows I’ve got plenty of time to prepare for it, but I’m almost- I’m speechless that I was asked, I’m just completely blown away and honored that they thought of me, and second I’m almost kind of shocked and paralyzed of, ‘Oh my God, what do I say now?’ So I’m probably going to be rambling about this between now and April, so I’m sure this will come up in future conversations, don’t you worry. And of course if you think of anything that maybe I’ve said in the past that you think would be helpful to include in this keynote, I would love to hear your thoughts on that. And of course I will make sure that I somehow find a way to either record the keynote audio or visual, I’m not really sure how or what access I will have. But I will go out of my way to make sure that I get whatever it is that I do so I can share it with all of you folks. But again, it’s not until the end of April so it’s going to be a little bit of time.

I will get into today’s interview now and I really hope you enjoy it because Re really is just an expert in branding, personal branding, he gave a lot of really good tips and a lot of advice that in my book are just things you can practically execute. Which you know, you can listen to things all day long but unless you can actually implement and execute, you’re going to kind of still be stuck in that same place. So I’m really hoping that Re’s interview today with me really kind of just pushes you in that right direction. So without further ado, let’s dive into the interview.

And let me just ask you to tell the audience a little bit about yourself. So just share some of your story with where you may have been to where you are now as the CEO and Founder of Branding for the People.

Re Perez:

Sure. Well a little over four years ago, I was- I left New York City to go work for another top consulting firm, branding firm, in Dubai in the Middle East. And through a series of events was a great opportunity, it was certainly exciting to be in another part of the world. So for my journey- and I’ll get to your question sort of how I started Branding for the People, my journey sort of began in that moment when I’m out in Dubai and also around the same time I fell in love with someone who I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. And while it’s not really a breakup story, that is what ended up happening. My partner at the time, his father was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. And so we’re out in Dubai and I was like, ‘Well you need to go be complete with your dad.’ Anyone who kind of goes through that experience of losing a parent, it’s certainly an impactful experience. You know at the time, it impacted me also from a perspective of what was happening with this relationship, and where do I go from here? What was I doing in the Middle East? And why was I even in the Middle East where it’s illegal to be who I am. I came back to New York and I took several months off trying to figure out what I wanted to do next and how I wanted to spend my time, and also just to heal a broken heart. And so you know through a series of brainstorming and reading lots of great books, attending events and going to a retreat in Sedona, Arizona, I found myself really looking at what is it that I’m good at that I enjoy doing and who did I want to do that for? And so I loved branding and it’s creative, it’s strategic, it’s exciting and I’ve worked with some of the smartest brand strategists in these big firms, and worked for high profile clients. However, I wanted to change my focus and work with entrepreneurs and small businesses, and I wanted to really look at brands that were making some sort of positive impact and a difference in the world. And so after four or five months of all of that process, Branding for the People was born. And it’s kind of one of those things where it’s like you know I’m brainstorming some names of what should my company be called, you know I was doing yoga like every day during this time period and someone told me about this yoga studio in New York called Yoga to the People. And then I was in San Francisco because I was travelling, I have family out there, and then I went into this restaurant and I saw this sign ‘Food for the People’ and it’s so-

Jenn T Grace:

It’s a sign.

Re Perez:

It’s a sign. I said, “Well what about Branding for the People?” It’s one of those moments where you’re like, “Well let me see if this URL is available,” and it was, and that was another confirmation and I had it trademarked and filed the paperwork and it’s been nonstop ever since. So the vision of Branding for the People is really, again, to bring Fortune 500 branding principles and strategies to help entrepreneurs, small businesses who are looking to make a positive impact and to help them of course build their business generating revenue and income, but also to really up-level how they’re presenting themselves just like the big companies, and how to position themselves in the marketplace and how to distinguish them so that they can thus show up as themselves and also make a bigger impact.

Jenn T Grace:

Absolutely. That’s awesome. And let me ask you was there a specific strategy around Branding for the People being in all caps?

Re Perez:

Yes. Well it’s interesting because you know having a good brand defined obviously helps to inform creative. You know, the design piece of it. And so ironically if you look at my logo- so there’s a concept behind my brand and the idea- the concept behind my brand is inspiring people to inspire other people. And so there’s this three part phase to that concept; inspiring and then people to inspire other people. And so that informed the sort of three part gradation of the color system, number one. And number two the period in the logo is about results. So obviously we don’t want to just do branding for the sake of it, we really want to make an impact, we want to produce an outcome and produce results. And then to the question that you’re specifically asking, one of the attributes of my brand is around being bold and pioneering and daring. And so that lended itself really well, also particularly for the type of font that we chose, that also lended itself to an all caps version. Some might say that the all caps is sort of loud and screaming and so forth, but balanced with a font that is friendly or playful or rounded in terms of the edges really helps to create a persona that’s certainly bold and approachable, yet making a statement at the same time. So yeah, there definitely was a design rationale for why it’s all caps.

Jenn T Grace:

As a branding person I assumed as much, but I’ve seen it in your email signature, I’ve seen it just doing a Google search and it’s always in caps so I had to ask. So this is excellent and you are- you know just in sharing your story, you were talking about just kind of how there was just a lot of signs for even what to name your company.

Re Perez:

Yeah.

Jenn T Grace:

So during this whole process did you have some sort of ‘ah-ha’ moment where it just smacked you and you just absolutely knew that that was the right path that you were on?

Re Perez:

You know aside from coming up with the name?

Jenn T Grace:

Yeah just I guess the business in general.

Re Perez:

Yeah, I mean I would say the series of ‘ah-ha’ moments if you will, really started leaving Dubai. I knew that something needed to change in my life, I knew that something needed to change in terms of my approach because it was kind of like why was I in Dubai? You know, was I running toward something or was I running away from something? You know and I think it was just trying to do something different or moving my location to try to do something different, knowing that the work that I was doing- and don’t get me wrong, I worked with some great people, I worked with some awesome clients. But it was no longer serving me in terms of how I wanted to spend my time. And so I just knew that something radically had to change in terms of the clientele that I was serving. So I don’t know if it was just one ‘ah-ha’ moment Jenn, but it was definitely a series of things of what are the communities and what are the people that are important to me? Obviously being a gay man, a gay professional, you know that’s a community that’s important to me. You know obviously working with people who want to make a positive impact in the world is- you know I know that’s quite broad but there is a certain breed of people who all really have that vision and that purpose who really want to make impact. But also where does the innovation, the creativity, and where does the fire happen? And a lot of it I found was through entrepreneurs. So like you and me and many of the people who are listening in on this call. Entrepreneurs and small businesses who really have the agility and the passion to be able to create something new and do something exciting and test the boundaries, and give ourselves permission to fail and produce something exciting in the world; does that makes sense?

Jenn T Grace:

It absolutely does. I love working with entrepreneurs for many of those reasons that you just stated. And I think it’s a matter of just being able to have the desire to take a risk, and being able to kind of turn on a dime versus some of the corporate functions where it takes some sort of act of Congress to make something happen versus an entrepreneurs where you can just pivot wherever the market is going. And I think that for that reason it’s really fun to help with marketing and branding and all that kind of stuff as it relates to the smaller, more agile companies. ‘

Re Perez:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jenn T Grace:

So do you have something that is inspiring to you or just helps keep you motivated? Because as business owners we are pulled in so many different directions and sometimes I know that I get that chasing-shiny-object-itis, or you just kind of get bogged down in just the amount of stuff that has to get done. So I think having a source of inspiration is always helpful to just keep you motivated. So is there something for you that just helps you do that?

Re Perez:

There’s quite a bit. I’ll give you sort of an overview and then I’ll actually- I want to read a quote to you guys, for you and the listeners on this podcast. Well I would say broadly speaking you should always remember the context or the ‘why’ you’re building your business. Because it can be really easy to get hung up in sort of the ups and downs, or the ebbs and flows of the business. The administrative stuff, the decisions about taxes and accounting-

Jenn T Grace:

Our favorite things.

Re Perez:

Hiring and firing and all that sort of stuff. And so if you always remember the context or the ‘why’ for your business, you know Simon Sinek calls it ‘Start with Why,’ you know it’s kind of that same sort of thing. It’s kind of really looking at the ‘why’ for your business. Now with that being said, a source of inspiration I’ll read a quote to you. It’s a little bit longer than your typical one or two line quotes, but bear with me.

Jenn T Grace:

You got it.

Re Perez:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool that I think ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure; these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked, there’s no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs.

Jenn T Grace:

Nice. That is a really good way to put things into perspective.

Re Perez:

Yeah, so you know with that being said- you know just sort of my commentary and voiceover is like why not? You know, we have as cliché as this may sound we have one life to live, and we get to choose how to live our lives, how to build our businesses, how to spend our time. And so just knowing that things that really matter to us the most- it really kind of pushes you through those moments when there’s things that you have to do that may not be as sexy or as exciting, but it is all part of a bigger picture in terms of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Jenn T Grace:

I like it, I think that’s awesome. That was really good advice. So you have a particular piece of advice, whether that’s business advice or just kind of a life strategy, or just something that you have found that someone gave you that’s just kind of something that you hold onto.

Re Perez:

There’s a couple of things. I think the first one is when I first started the company- this kind of really goes back to even just starting the company, but also on a daily basis I should say. Is that is being decisive. So everything starts with making a decision. So when you- it’s not necessarily knowing how that something is going to happen; it’s first deciding that that which you want to create or produce or do, is something that you make a decision on. And then you just get organized around that decision. So that’s the first part, is- and using an example with me I decided that I was going to create a business and I was going to have- you know I was going to meet certain goals, and I did that and I’ve exceeded them. In my first year of business, I actually exceeded them on my first six months of business. But it was just that idea of, ‘You know, I’m going to make this happen, I’m not going to be a statistic of so many businesses fail after a certain amount of time.’ It’s like I’m going to do something new and innovative and do it in a way that’s making a difference but also providing a work lifestyle for myself. So number one is making a decision. Number two is goes hand in hand with that first thing; but this is something that you have to practice on a daily basis, which is reducing the distance or the time between making decisions. So if you think about great leaders in our world, is that they’re masterful at being able to confidently make decisions quickly. Now it doesn’t mean to say that sometimes you need to be judicious about making certain decisions, or doesn’t mean to say you have to be haphazard about, but it’s when you’re very clear on who you are and what you stand for, what your brand is about and who you’re targeting, and all those great things. When you’re very clear on that and you’re clear on your vision, it makes it easier for you to be able to make decisions quickly. And that’s an ongoing process. You know there’s some things where I’ll take a little bit longer to think about, but you know consistent with that quote I just read, life is now. And sometimes you might be missing out on some opportunities because you’re thinking about it too much or too long, that it’s really preventing you from fulfilling on what you want. And the third thing, because I like to think in threes Jenn. The third thing is I’m going to kind of go with the word ‘fun.’ And here’s the thing, you know work is work, but if you’re not having fun in the process, then it’s time to inject some fun or creativity or excitement so that it can pull you into action. There’s things that I’ve done where in building my business where it hasn’t been as exciting, but I could always look for the fun and the opportunity in it because why not? If we’re not having fun, why bother?

Jenn T Grace:

Oh absolutely. Especially as an entrepreneur or somebody owning your own business, you have the opportunity to create the fun versus other environments where you’re just kind of occasionally stuck to whatever the culture is.

Re Perez:

That’s right.

Jenn T Grace:

So I want to pause for just a second so we can hop over for a commercial break, and then I want to come back and have us dive into some marketing and branding specific questions.

Re Perez:

Okay great.

Jenn T Grace:

So let’s just be right back. So welcome back to the Gay Business and Marketing Made Easy Podcast. We’re talking with Re Perez today. And he is a branding expert as you are all getting a glimpse of. And as somebody who is a personal branding expert, I want to ask you this next question kind of in two parts. So the first question here is as somebody who teaches their clients about branding themselves personally, branding their business, finding what it is that you enjoy; a lot of the things that you were just talking about. Do you have some kind of tip or piece of advice for someone listening to this audience if their goals is to brand themselves as a go-to person for the LGBT community within their particular niche? So the audience listening to this are people who are either allies to our community or people within the LGBT community, who share a common goal of wanting to do business, sell their products, their services and really kind of build that trust with the community itself. So from a branding perspective, is there any type of just piece of advice that you might give someone that you think might help?

Re Perez:

It definitely applies across different disciplines and practices, but even moreso that I would say this is useful in the context of branding your company or yourself and being able to market and communicate directly to the LGBT community. So I’ll give a framework. The first thing is, you always want to answer the questions, ‘who,’ ‘what,’ and ‘why.’ Right? So I’ll explain what I mean. Is you always have to know who your target audiences are. Now we can say that the LGBT community is a target audience, but within that there’s so many layers within that. You know, demographics and psychographics, right? So knowing who your target audiences are. The second thing is also knowing what is, or what are, the problem or problems that you’re solving for them. So one way to be able to create value for the LGBT community is to kind of really understand what are the problems that you’re solving for them? For us? Right? And then the third piece is the ‘why,’ which is why should they listen to you? Why should they care about you? Why should they believe you that you can help solve their problem. Now there’s many different layers within that in terms of really carving out the ‘why.’ I’ll mention a couple of them. Well one, usually that ‘why’ is what kind of functional, economical or emotional benefit can you provide for the community? What makes you a credible resource to be able to provide a service or a product or a resource, or whatever that is that you’re trying to communicate or market to this audience. And how is this service, product or program, or offering; how is it relevant and how is it different? So I know I mentioned a few things inside of that Jenn, but I’ll just kind of summarize them in the context of really knowing your ‘why,’ why should they listen to you is credibility, I mentioned. What makes you a credible person to be able to deliver a product or program or service? What makes you unique or different? Vis a vis other people who might be providing that same service or product. And then how is this relevant? How is it relevant to the day-to-day life, the wake up in the middle of the night problem, that you’re solving for the community, right? And then the fourth thing I kind of mentioned but I mentioned it out of order, but is what are the benefits that the community will derive in your resource, product or service? You know it could be a functional benefit, it could be an economical benefit, it could be an emotional benefit. So I’ll pause there because I think in terms of frameworks, right, to really be able to kind of- these turn into questions to ask yourself and therefore questions to answer, and to get clarity on. Because the first part of any kind of brand is being clear on your position in the marketplace. And targeting the LGBT community is really- you have to understand who we are and the history and the challenges and the mindset that we go through on a day-to-day basis as an LGBT, right? And then you have to look at what are our wake up in the middle of the night problems to solve? You know again, different sectors might have different problems to solve, and again depending on your targeting. For example, if you have the LGBT entrepreneur business, they have a different set of problems to solve than other kinds of activists or non-profit organizations, et cetera. Right? And then the big ‘why,’ is why you? And what is unique that you have to offer that either A) we haven’t heard before, or B) if we have heard it before, well how is this going to add unique value in our lives?

Jenn T Grace:

You managed to hit up so many different things in that one answer, that’s awesome. One of the things that you repeatedly said is one of the things that I’m constantly preaching about, which is the LGBT community is not monolithic. So just saying that you want to market to LGBT people in and of itself is not enough, and that you really have to ask why and understand who within the community you’re trying to focus on. So that was one just good takeaway, but if somebody’s listening to this thinking, ‘Okay now he gave me this framework to work within, and I want to just throw my hat in the ring here, I want to market to the LGBT community, I understand that the community is not just one mass of people.’ Do you have something from an LGBT consumer standpoint that you think sharing with the listeners might help them be more successful in that? So obviously a message targeting you versus a message targeting me, one would hope would be an entirely different message based on you being in an urban setting, me being in a suburban setting. You being gay, me being a lesbian. Clearly there’s so many different factors. So just because we’re LGBT doesn’t mean that that message would resonate with us both.

Re Perez:

Yeah.

Jenn T Grace:

Do you have any other things like that that you might- just kind of pop in mind that you’re like, ‘Huh, actually I would share this with them because I think this would also kind of put them on the right path of success.’

Re Perez:

I can’t speak to all the different segments, but I would say that one, is you definitely would want to listen, and talk to the community that you’re looking to talk to, because there within is the gold, the information that one might be looking for if they really are looking to get in front of them, right? It’s kind of surveying them, talking with them, asking them what are their dreams, hopes, desires, wishes, wants, frustrations, et cetera, right? But let me just go take one step back because let’s just say you have this broad category called LGBT and you’re not even sure what slice of that community you want to target. Well I would probably take a look at where can you add the most value in the community? So what do I mean by that? Well if your product or service or offering is going to help small businesses grow their businesses, you know entrepreneurs grow their businesses, let’s look at professional LGBT people and what are their sort of problems. Because their problems aren’t necessarily the same as some of the other subsets, if you will. But then specifically within that, where remember I talked about credibility earlier, Jenn? It’s like, well where can a company act from a place of credibility, how can they serve? Are they best- are they more credible in serving the lesbian community versus the gay community versus the teenage community, you know what I mean? The urban environment. It’s kind of looking at where can the company have the most credibility in being able to serve. It would be disjointed if suddenly I wanted to be the go-to expert for all things suburban lesbian entrepreneurs want to deal with, right?

Jenn T Grace:

Yup.

Re Perez:

It wouldn’t work.

Jenn T Grace:

Just the thought of that’s pretty funny.

Re Perez:

I know, right? So I can’t position myself as an expert in that area if I am myself not living and breathing that community. Now I understand that there are allies who don’t necessarily need to be gay or lesbian or in the particular demographic, but then the question really goes back to well why? Even as an ally, why are you passionate and interested in serving this community? And if people understand your ‘why;’ maybe there’s a personal connection, maybe your own personal story that you see sort of certain issues spill across in your community, or maybe you have a relative or someone that you’re close- that you’ve seen things happen or whatever the reason is, is really bringing to surface the story of why, why you?

Jenn T Grace:

It’s almost as if I paid you to answer that question that way. Because you just hit up about three different chapters in my book. That’s awesome. So as somebody who’s part of the LGBT community, have you found a way that you’ve been able to actually capitalize on that for your own business by just networking with an LGBT environment, serving LGBT entrepreneurs, or anything like that?

Re Perez:

You know absolutely. So I’m in several different circles. You know if anything, from a positioning perspective, you know my company is called Branding for the People. And so there is a segment where I do focus on entrepreneurs and small businesses in the context of the LGBT community, I have been involved in the NGLCC and then more specifically- the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, as well as the NGLCC in New York. So to your question, yes it has served well for me. You know I have a handful of clients from the New York chapter. I recently spoke in Vegas and was- twice in a row actually, two years in a row I’ve been sort of a panelist speaker in the community, but also this particular, this past year I was able to be a sponsor for the community and really being able to get some exposure of who I am, and what we’re doing over here at Branding for the People. So yes, it has worked well for me in terms of being able to turn that into revenue opportunities. But more importantly creating friendships and allies and relationships with people who are all out for the same cause, and that really is promoting economies for our community.

Jenn T Grace:

And I know that your time is tight today, so I really appreciate all of the great wisdom that you’ve shared. But I want to ask you if there’s just something that you’re working on right now that’s really exciting? Do you have any new projects on the horizon, any new programs, anything fun?

Re Perez:

Projects or programs? Well to be honest, yes. My clients who are listening in on this, ‘Well how come you didn’t choose me?’ We are definitely working on a handful of new projects. But I will say one of the things that I designed within the model of this business is sort of events and workshops. And so a project that I’m working on right now is really taking a small group of small businesses, in kind of what’s called a Branding Intensive; and it’s like a two day excursion and experience where not only do they get educated about branding, but they go to work on defining their brand and their positioning. And there’s some cool things that we’re creating that I think the world could benefit a bit more with creative thinking and outside of the box thinking. And so you know, we’re just literally carving out some cool exercises to make it a unique experience. And why that’s exciting for me is because I’ve certainly done brand strategy for big companies; I’ve done it for a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses, but I believe that the best way to learn about branding and the impact and the power that it can have in the world, is by experiencing it and actually go through a multi-sensory journey that you understand branding on a whole other level that you might not have been able to read in a textbook, or learn from a PowerPoint presentation in a keynote presentation if you will. Or even just on a simple phone call with a branding expert. So I like to create these experiences if you will, because remember this- and this is actually true for even the allies who are marketing to the LGBT community. Is no one really cares about what you do, sell or make. They care about the value that you bring in their lives, and they care about- and they remember how you make them feel.

Jenn T Grace:

That is such good parting advice. I love it. Thank you so much. If somebody were interested, because that is- my audience is your audience. So if you want people to find you, how would you recommend they do that?

Re Perez:

You know I recommend just going to www.BrandingForThePeople.com, and you know listen there’s lots of great resources and tips and video blogs and regular blogs, and some of our portfolio work, and things like that if you want to learn more about us you can certainly go there. But I invite you to, as you go to that site, do one of two things or do both of two things. And that’s one, watch our manifesto video because I think that really highlights sort of really who we are and it’s very inspirational; we’ve gotten lots of great feedback in terms of it really being inspirational. And the second thing is don’t be afraid to connect with us. You know sign up for our newsletter and our goal is to provide as many great free resources and tips and advice and communicate regularly with the community about what we’re doing, and how we can serve people. So just www.BrandingForThePeople.com and if you do decide to reach out to us more specifically, please mention that you found out about us through Jenn’s awesome podcast.

Jenn T Grace:

Thank you for that. Well this has been great, I really appreciate your time, and hopefully you and I will stay in touch.

Re Perez:

Thank you Jenn, and thank you all for listening. Have an awesome day and I look forward to connecting with you soon, Jenn.

Jenn T Grace:

Absolutely. Thanks so much.

Re Perez:

Thank you.

Jenn T Grace:

Alright. I really hope that you enjoyed today’s interview with Re Perez of Branding for the People. I just love what his personal brand looks like, it just has such a nice cool and fun look to it, but yet it just speaks like, ‘I know how to brand myself.’ So I really encourage you to check out his website as he gave you that information just a moment ago. And yeah, while you’re checking out his website, if you haven’t been to mine which I feel like there is a high likelihood that you have never been to my site, and that’s okay. Feel free to go over there and check things out. I have videos, I have many, many blog posts, I have- let’s see, many other podcasts. So if you liked today’s podcast, and this is one of the first few you’ve checked out, feel free to go back to the website, look through the archives of other podcast episodes I’ve done. I’ve done I would say about fifty interviews, and I’ve done over seventy podcasts total. So go check it out if you’re interested and if you’re looking for any information that was talked about on today’s episode specifically, you can head over to the website at www.JennTGrace.com/044 and that is for episode number 44.

So that’s all I’ve got for you folks today, I really, really appreciate you taking the time to listen to this interview, and make sure that you send some virtual love on over to Re to thank him for being a guest on today’s show.

That’s all I’ve got and I will talk with you in the next interview. Take care, bye bye.

 

About Jenn T. Grace

Jenn T. Grace (she/her/hers) is an award-winning author and founder and CEO of Publish Your Purpose (PYP), the acclaimed hybrid publisher of non-fiction books. Jenn has published 100+ books written by thought leaders, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who are striving to make a difference. Jenn T. Grace’s work elevates and amplifies the voices of others—especially marginalized groups who are regularly excluded from traditional publishing.

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