The 3 Principles I Use to Turn My New Site into a Worldwide Brand

I have just launched my new site “I luv Empire”, and the first day already beat this site in terms of per-day traffic. Awesome !

But the goal is not to attract a large amount of traffic, the real goal is to build a worldwide entertainment brand that entertains & inspires digital crusaders around the globe.

Whoosh. What a mouthful.

And although I’m going to use many “tactics” to achieve that, I want to share the 3 main principles that hopefully inspire YOU to build your own little empire Zwinkerndes Smiley

Ready to rock ? Let’s go.

 

1) The power of visuals.

I made it a conscious choice to go MOSTLY visual. When I check out the internet, there are 3 kinds of “articles” that have the potential of going INSANELY viral:

  • The Zeitgeist post. This is an article that hits a current trend like a sharpshooter hits an apple within a 3 meter distance — baaang, critical hit ! This post is super-hard to create, because there’s a bit of luck involved. You have to find a message that connects with lots of people at a specific time, and that requires INSANE intuition and backup from Lady Luck.

 

  • The uber-pillar post AKA the “mini” ebook. This is an article that owns at least 1000 – 2000 words and contains enough information to fill half an ebook with content. This kind of post blows out INSANE value, takes a couple minutes to read and at least half a day to write.
  • The visual post. My new favorite. This kind of post is highly image-based – either a single, funny photograph, an interesting infographic or a comic (graphic grenade) in my case.

Visuals are super-powerful because our beloved ancestors, the smelly cavemen, painted pictures AGES before they started to molest their descendants (mmm…YOU) with words and grammar.

Lesson: Visuals BEAT text…anytime. Leverage that knowledge to your own advantage. Use captivating images for your own content – break up the text with enough white space and make it super easy and fun to consume your posts. Adam Baker from manvsdebt recently used an infographic (he didn’t create himself) and it went ABSOLUTELY viral on his blog.

Images = goood.

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2) Aim for the special few “sneezers”.

I got this idea from the world’s greatest marketer, mister Seth Godin. The idea is to create a product (that can be anything, even YOU) and aim it at a small, geeky group instead of the broad masses (everyone). If the work you are creating is AWESOME enough, your “target” group is likely to spread it. And if they spread it often enough, it has a grrreat chance of going viral and entering the mainstream.

That’s pretty much how Apple dominated the market. Their first products like the iPod and the iPhone were aimed for the special few, and those geeks spread it like a wildfire. Sooner then later, they infiltrated the mainstream and now almost EVERYONE wants a piece of the apple.

My new site is targeting the geeky and passionate internet crowd – especially bloggers. This is a big niche group, and since I am part of it already, it makes only natural sense to dominate that market with my art.

Lesson: Look at the internet. Which group can you directly target with your “brand” ? If you choose a BIG group, how can you “target” a segment of that group ? Find it, and start “owning” it !

——————————————————————————

3) Make an inspiring statement about humanity. There’s was a talk by Steve Jobs (sorry, but there’s just soo much to learn from the Apple brand)  that changed it all.

In short, it’s about how big and successful brands like Nike stand for something bigger than the business. Nike is all about inspiring sportsmanship instead of “just” being a sportswear company. Apple’s motto is  “think different” and “Challenge the Status quo” – a principle they prove with every product they deliver.

that thinking inspired my heavily, and that’s why the tagline of my new blog is “be as epik as you can be” rather than “fun comics for everyone blah blah”. In fact, I don’t even mention the term “comic” even ONCE on my blog. I

I want to my future posts to be both entertaining AND inspiring. If thinks this “ Ahh, it’s good to be online & alive today. Let’s rock the online world.” I have done my job correctly.

Lesson: Don’t define yourself by what you do, but by what you stand for. Which idea can you infuse into your business ? Are you just someone who entertains or teaches people, or do you make an inspirational statement about humanity ?

Wrap up, baby

Of course there are many things to consider when building your digital worldwide brand, but I believe those 3 principles are the core of building it.

What do you think ?

And plz retweet and share this idea !

  • http://twitter.com/jennmsmith Jen Smith

    LOVE your new site Mars! I am really inspired by your creativity and willingness to try new ideas. You also bring a great sense of humour to the blogosphere! :)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Yeah, drawing is one of my main passions (if not the MAIN passion), and it’s awesome that I combine it with my luv for anything digital !

  • McBart

    “That’s pretty much how Apple dominated the market. Their first products like the iPod and the iPhone were aimed for the special few, and those geeks spread it like a wildfire. Sooner then later, they infiltrated the mainstream and now almost EVERYONE wants a piece of the apple.”

    Actually that isn’t what Apple did!!! Think about it there are a lot of electronic gadgets that only aim at a special few…. Example http://www.sonos.com wireless speaker system they are doing good it’s really a great product, but only for a special few, but nothing viral….

    There is an other thing Apple does. They make incredible products with the best user experience ever. And that’s not just a sales speech. A lot of people remember the moment that the did held there first Apple product (produced under Steve’s supervision of course not the crap made in his absence ;-) And after I switched to my MacBook, I never looked back to windows.

    So I disagree on you with this tactic. It’s not about the group to aim for, but it’s really about making awesome products / content.

    Punch line: Think, think, think. be original, be critical, ask you self over and over: “Is this actually true?” Don’t make things up to to strengthen your own conclusion or idea. If you do you can wait till some one like me reads your story and tell you, it’s not actually true…..

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey McBert,

      I respectfully disagree with you. Apple’s early products were aimed for a small minority. Back when they were much smaller, look how much market share Apple owned with their Mac products as compared to the PC.
      They made special products for a certain type of people (Most Mac users back then worked in “creativity” related industries like design, film etc).
      When they first shipped their iphone and ipad, they aimed for a specific group that would by their stuff without even thinking about it, and that WASN’T the mainstream. Only when those groups kept spreading the message did they infect the mainstream crowds, at which it got viral. None of the “average” consumers who buy an Apple product now would have stood in line when Apple released the first versions of it…

      • McBart

        Hi Mars,

        Thanks for your reply. Did you watch the interviews with Steve and read the books that were written? Steve was certainly aiming for the “best user experience” with the masses in mind. certainly when he came back to Apple. In the time he was absent Apple was on the edge of getting closed. When Steve came back he made introduced the iMac, this was a computer not for a small croup, but for a broad audience and it success saved Apple.

        with Apple you are looking at three different time periods.
        1st Initial periode with Steve
        2de Steve is absent and the company start to dwindle
        3rd Steve comes back and save Apple with making awesome products. Which people recognize as the product that gives them the best user experience they can buy.

        So don;t mixup these three periods. Apple as a company had a totally different philosophy in all three of them.

        I agree with you that it looks like the products are just for an exclusive small group, but actually they are not. Steve like to reach as much people as possible with the best user experience possible. And that’s so brilliant. Look in which period Apple is really successful and how they got there. Read the book by Leander Kahney how Steve got there. It was certainly not by aiming at a small minority, but combining great user experience with very clever and never done before production technics to get there.

        And that contradicts your original statement: “That’s pretty much how Apple dominated the market. Their first products like the iPod and the iPhone were aimed for the special few, and those geeks spread it like a wildfire. Sooner then later, they infiltrated the mainstream and now almost EVERYONE wants a piece of the apple.”

        If you still think this is the point, you don’t get it, sorry.

      • Guest

        Not true also. With iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and the like they finally aimed for the mainstream. It was back in the 80s and 90s and maybe early 2000 something where they only concentrated on a small minority. Not the case for years now. Although they are pretty mainstream right now, Apple stuff are still niche products as far as computers are concerned. Something like 5% of the market I guess. Not that much. It is actually all the ipod and iphone stuff+its marketing which got them mainstream and so well known.

    • Peter Joseph

      I’m still amazed that the mac’s only have 10% market share, so yes, they still are in the minority – most of apple makes it’s sales from the ipod and ipad.

      I disagree with the “once you go Mac you can never go back” claim that everyone seems to make; because Mac’s are not that amazing, a bit of aluminum casing here and there…

      The big problem is that every damn person on this earth likes to compare a $900 laptop that they bought on the cheap to that $1600 macbook that they want bad. Compare a $1600 laptop to a $1600 Macbook from a GOOD company and the pc crushes the mac. “This is Apple’s marketing – get you to think their products are better”

      Windows breaking is only because Microsoft gives people more features and customization to mess with. When people start messing with stuff, it starts breaking. They think that they are good enough users to go into the registry change a few settings; and then when things break, they remain ignorant to the fact that THEY are to blame, and they go complain to windows.

      The mac being considered a good device is because of this. People buy the ipod and see how good it is, so they think that all apple products have to be good. Mac’s are over priced and have the lowest specs; (they can only run 4 year old games, nothing new) so if it’s power you need; i absolutely bet, that your going to be getting more for your money out of a $1000 PC with more features compared to an over priced Mac with less.

      Honestly, when something costs a lot more, that doesn’t make it better – but most people still think that.

      • McBart

        “I disagree with the “once you go Mac you can never go back” claim that everyone seems to make; because Mac’s are not that amazing, a bit of aluminum casing here and there…”

        I didn’t state that. I stated, “I never looked back” Infact there is a minority that uses a mac for a while and goes back to PC. They have valid reasons for that.

        “The big problem is that every damn person on this earth likes to compare a $900 laptop that they bought on the cheap to that $1600 macbook that they want bad. Compare a $1600 laptop to a $1600 Macbook from a GOOD company and the pc crushes the mac. “This is Apple’s marketing – get you to think their products are better””

        I disagree on this. It’s not the casing, which is descant and OK, but it is the OS that makes the very big difference. In my opinion and a lot of other users it’s far superior to windows. Work with it for a while and than judge, don’t judge before you tried it.

        “Windows breaking is only because Microsoft gives people more features and customization to mess with. When people start messing with stuff, it starts breaking. They think that they are good enough users to go into the registry change a few settings; and then when things break, they remain ignorant to the fact that THEY are to blame, and they go complain to windows.”

        This is also not true. I have seen many windows computers with broken registries, with windows user not even knowing what a registry is, having in fact nothing done than normal user operations.

        OS X is just more stable than Windows, due to the fact that it is based on BSD libraries.

        “The mac being considered a good device is because of this. People buy the ipod and see how good it is, so they think that all apple products have to be good. Mac’s are over priced and have the lowest specs; (they can only run 4 year old games, nothing new) so if it’s power you need; i absolutely bet, that your going to be getting more for your money out of a $1000 PC with more features compared to an over priced Mac with less.”

        This als no true. I know many Mac users that don’t own a iPod, iPhone or iPad. It’s not overpriced either. See your comparison of a $1600,- MacBook and Laptop . The Hardware is high end and lasts longer than low end laptop hardware, that’s normal. The 4 year old game argument is not valid anymore, there are a lot of game factories now producing for OS X. Beside If you buy a Mac you get a lot of quality software with e.g. iLife Software that you have to buy if you want to preform the same thing on a laptop.

        Honestly, when something costs a lot more, that doesn’t make it better – but most people still think that.

        You are just going with the anti Apple crowed, without being well informed. There is a word for that Applefobia ;-) Have fun with your PC till it catches an other virus.

        • Peter Joseph

          I don’t have a problem with Apple, and their ipod’s are a great product.

          “Have fun with your PC till it catches an other virus.” Maybe that’s just because windows has 80% market share. I bet if osx ever flips to 80% market share, virus writers are going to go full on at it. Mac’s are only safe at the moment because they have such a low market share, people aren’t going to bother doing damage to something that isn’t widely used on things like servers, etc. And the claim that because Mac is built on UNIX makes it so much safer is not true. I don’t get virus’s, because i install virus software, don’t click bad links in emails (you can’t get a virus from opening an email okay!).

          “The Hardware is high end and lasts longer than low end laptop hardware, that’s normal.” Seriously no. Doesn’t the mac use a core i7 processor, Ati graphics? Pretty sure all the tech comes from that same one country. There basic make comes with a 512MB graphics card, the equivalent of a $150 card, you could custom build a pc and get a $350 card and you’ll still end up cheaper in price range, and much better performance.

          As for the free mac software that you get, that’s sacrificed by the cost. If you want to end up with the same price tag, then add on buying the same software for a windows system and it will still end up the same. (And why ignore Linux, they probably have everything free on that too)

          Have you ever used windows 7? That’s damn stable, and it works flawlessly. But maybe you should “Work with it for a while and than judge, don’t judge before you tried it.” I have used a mac before and it gave me no reason to swap over.

          Mac and PC use the same architecture, ever heard of a hackintosh? And aside from the case, there all the same. Do you remember those Mac v Pc adds that Apple had running. Apple was trying to knock windows, not the hardware on the Pc, because Pc hardware is much better. What about when apple moved to an intel processor, they started saying “our macs are now 4x faster with the new Intel processor.” Windows works well, and Windows 7 is a great operating system; or maybe your just standing up for mac because you spent a large amount of money on something that has only average features, and you could have done better buying a pc from a GOOD COMPANY.

          • http://artofgreatthings.com Jeffrey Tang

            I used Windows all my life before buying my first Macbook Pro about a year ago. As far as hardware comparisons, I have to say that the Macbook’s trackpad is by far the best I’ve ever used. That was, in fact, one of the main reasons I bought the Macbook in the first place.

            As for Macs being inherently better than Windows, I wouldn’t know one way or another. Perhaps Macs are basically equivalent to equally expensive PCs. I do know that certain things are more intuitive on the Mac (like system updates) and certain things are more intuitive on Windows (installing programs – “mounting” installation disks is just weird). In many ways, however, OS X feels more polished than Windows – not necessarily because of functionality, stability, or power, but at least because of visual and UX design.

            It may be my imagination, but I’ve also found a better community of independent developers around OS X – simple, useful little programs that just make things easier, like BetterTouchTool and Notational Velocity. Finding similar things for Windows seems more difficult for me – plus the programs you do find seem just a bit clunkier – though of course that says more about the developer than the platform itself.

            Before I get accused of fanboyism, let me note that I’ve used Windows 7 for years (and still do on occasion). It is a good OS; I just happen to like the OS X experience better.

            And one other thing – I’d like to point out that for both Windows users going to Mac and Mac users going to Windows, it takes a lot more than a cursory “let me try this out for a bit” to get an accurate impression of the OS. In my experience, it takes a few weeks of dedicated, open-minded use before you get past the shock of transition. Poking around for a few hours or days just doesn’t cut it – all you’ll get from that is annoyance because you’re still used to your old way of doing things.

            Whew. Long comment.

          • Guest

            I think there is one point where you are wrong. I believe most people who use a Mac do it mainly because of the OS. There are just less complications. It is simple, it works, you don’t have to worry about viruses and such–it is just simple and has a certain clarity to it.
            With Mac OS you are more focused on important stuff like on the work you are doing with your PC. It still beats Windows and Linux easily if you are looking for an easy workflow.
            Apple is just good in combining hardware and OS in a very effective way. Easy to use and easy maintenance.
            Of course a nice design doesn’t hurt, but it is not the main point of interest for a lot of people, except maybe for some of those iPhone kids who are looking for status.
            No doubt a MacbookPro looks way better than a Dell machine for example, but this is not a reason why I would buy a Mac and it isn’t for lots of other people.
            So I think it is a pretty stupid fight all this Apple vs. PC crap all the time.
            It is just about what you are looking for, some people like the clarity Apple delivers in OS and design and thus for their workflow. Some think of Apple to be restrictive and believe that is not the case with Windows, that’s why it probably suits them better.
            Some are just happy to get cheaper hardware and don’t care about an OS, workflow or design at all, such as the gamer folks. And it is just fine this way.
            No need to try to convince someone else of Apple or non-Apple products.

            I’m sick of people trying to convince me that I buy some Apple products just for status. Because not everyone is a stupid concumer kid. Never heard someone say you bought an HTC phone or a a 4000 dollar gaming PC for status. Most people buy the products which they either need or which are comfortable to use for them.
            For some this is Apple, for some it is not. And just for a few insecure people it is about status.

          • Peter Joseph

            Same goes for the war between Firefox and Chrome. People are die hard chrome users who say everything negative about Firefox and how it’s slow as hell. But speed isn’t everything, and Firefox is great for it’s support for Add-ons, so it depends on how you want to use the browser. Same goes for Mac and PC; how you want to use it.

            Certainly Mac may have a much more streamlined way of use, but i prefer Windows because it gives me the customization i need, and i can make the os exactly how I want it to be, for my own improved workflow. So it does come down to personal preference.

            I’ve changed my whole attitude towards this discussion. Who cares? Use whatever you like!

  • Patrick Vuleta

    I agree with you on visuals, Mars. They’re so important. Got an article going up tonight which explores this topic.

    As for the comments, well you’re both saying the same thing…

    There’s a statement from Seth Godin that reads something like “If you’re not the best in the world, then there’s no point. The trick is to narrow your market enough so you can be that.”

    While a product may be ‘awesome’, if it’s not the number 1 product in the world, it’s the diet coke of awesome – not awesome enough.

    The more you narrow your niche, the more you can take a stand for something and create something that stands above all the generic products out there.

    The end result of both viewpoints is the leading position. But if you try to take a leading position with a very generic product, then good luck. You’ll need it.

    Also, the word ‘awesome’ is overused.

    • http://penvspaper.com/blog Jeffrey Tang

      Impossible. There’s no way to overuse the word ‘awesome.’

      More on topic: I read a piece by Scott Adams that said in order to be really successful, you can either be in the top 1% of a particular field (very difficult), or you can be in the top 25% or so of two fields and find success where they intersect.

      • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

        haha, luv that word. And that’s a good quote, should check out Scott Adams now.

  • http://www.byjanet.net/purple Purple Panda

    Definitely like it! Great job on the new site. I saw the viral post about the types of bloggers. Didn’t realize it came from you and made the connection that it was a Mars Dorian site until just now :P So in which case WOW and congrats; I had no idea you were a talented illustrator too. Awesome!!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      thanx Janet,
      it’s my true calling – and I luv to combine it with my marketing/blogging knowledge.
      Hope you are rocking it on your site of the planet.

      • http://www.byjanet.net/purple Purple Panda

        Thanks Mars! Really inspirational thing you’ve got going with your new site.
        I know a struggling illustrator I could pass it on to who hopes to do
        similar stuff (web comics). I think art is a great form of communication in
        such a shorter impact, instead of reading a 1000 word blog! Way to go. My
        site is still rogue right now. Not sure when I would officially “launch” it
        but so far it seems to be doing pretty well when I post things!

  • http://imperfectvegan.blogspot.com Beach Mama

    Thanks for this post Mars. Great ideas/thoughts! I like the way you deliver information and appreciate your experience and that you share so willingly (and with humor!).

    Love the new site too ~

  • anthony lee

    man…this is awesome. i absolutely love it. that whole “sneezers” thing is soo true. i read the IdeaVirus too, seth is a genius.
    inspiring humanity is also, not only a way to go viral, but a way to create something sustainable long in the future.
    my only problem is, i absolutely lack in any way, shape, and form, artistic ability when it comes to graphic design (or design of any nature). how does one go about finding images (particularly infographics….i LOVE those)?

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