By Daymond John

On Shark Tank, I sit next to some of the most successful entrepreneurs and investors in the world. While we all know all of the aspects of creating a successful business, I’m definitely the brand guy. With FUBU, I built an entire empire based on branding and style, and that’s actually where I see a lot of promising ideas fail. People come on our show with a great idea, but they don’t have a sense of their brand. They’re absolutely sure that people will buy what they have to sell, but they can’t really say why.

That’s why building your brand is so important, and to build your brand, you really need to build yourself. What do I mean by building yourself? Here’s just one example… In season six of Shark Tank, we had a repeat guest come to make a pitch to us. David Alwan of Echo Valley Meats crashed and burned the first time he was on Shark Tank because he just wasn’t prepared. He was asking for an unrealistic amount of money, and he couldn’t tell us why we should invest in his brand or what we could expect to see if we did.

This time around, though, David had it all together. He had all of the numbers we needed, and he was asking for half the money he asked for last time. But that wasn’t all that impressed me. This time, David came in with confidence. I could tell right away that he’d been working on himself as much as he’d been working on his brand. He didn’t just know that he had all the information this time; he knew he had a great pitch that we were going to love.

Build Your Emotional Appeal

So, as you start to build your brand, think about its emotional appeal. Why do people want to buy what you’re selling? What problems do you fix for them, and what emotions should your products or services evoke? How can you tap into what people want and need in their daily lives to sell your product?

As you answer these questions, take a minute to reflect on how you think about and talk about your brand. When you approach investors, how do you stand and speak? What do you say? If you’re going to get people like us to invest in your brand, you need to show us that you really believe in yourself and your ability to sell your brand. In other words, you need to build your own emotional appeal as much as your brand’s emotional appeal.

One thing that David did exceptionally here was having his son serve us plates of his delicious meats as he gave his pitch. Not only did we get to sample what he had to offer, but we also saw firsthand that he was running a family business. I’m not saying you should always trot your kids out for your investors, but in David’s case, having Jordan help was a good move.

Network, Network, Network

While you’re working on your personal and brand appeal, you should also be working on building your reputation. Get to know as many people in your industry as you can. Build brand recognition. The more you get to know and build relationships with people in your industry, the more they’ll think of you as a serious contender and the more they’ll pay attention to your brand.

When you watch Shark Tank, pay attention to the entrepreneurs we partner with and how they’ve built themselves to build their brands. You’ll notice a lot of striking similarities, not in branding but in their confidence in their brands.

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Daymond John is a business and media mogul, and is featured on ABC’s Shark Tank as “the people’s shark.” Daymond began his entrepreneurial success by founding the famous clothing line, FUBU, in 1992.
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