How A Branding Expert Became Her Own Brand (Hint: She Used A Book)
Deb Gabor is a brilliant brand strategist
As the founder of Sol Marketing, she works with brands like Microsoft, NBC, and Dell to help them understand their customers and answer the deep existential questions at the core of business. She loves her work and has a knack for helping brands get deep into their customers’ minds.
“This business is fun for me. It’s not just my work; it’s my hobby.”
She knew a book would elevate her brand, but she couldn’t find the time to do it
Throughout her career as a strategist and a speaker, she was repeatedly told she should write a book. She knew her ideas did an amazing job making branding click for people. If she could use a book to spread them, it would increase her credibility and act as a calling card to bring in new clients and opportunities.
“I knew a book would elevate me to the next level, but I just couldn’t see how I was going to do it.”
As soon as she heard about the Scribe process, she decided to take the leap
In October of 2015, she saw Tucker speak about Scribe at an EO event in Austin.
“When I heard Tucker speak, the heavens opened up and I saw the light,” Deb said. “I was like ‘Shit, I can totally do this!’”
From there, she didn’t waste any time. She started her book the next week, had a draft by January, and her book, Branding Is Sex, was published in June 2016 to rave reviews.
She immediately used the book to open connections and build her network
As soon as the book came out, Deb felt the pride, satisfaction, and confidence that comes with publishing a book. But she knew there was more work to do, and this was just the beginning.
Her first step was to use the book to open doors for conversations. She sent copies to clients, prospects, and other folks she wanted to have a conversation with.
The book also served as an opportunity to add value to her client relationships. She reached out and offered to send free copies to clients as a thank you for their business.
“It was a fun point of connection for me,” Deb said. “Telling clients and friends about the book, showing them where they were mentioned in the book, or sending them free copies gave me an excuse to get in touch with people I hadn’t spoken to in too long.”
Once the book had some traction, she doubled down on a publicity strategy
Deb knew that the book wasn’t just meant to be a business card, so she refocused her energies on spreading the message beyond her personal connections.
By leveraging the fact that she’s published a well-respected and successful book, journalists took Deb seriously, and by offering pithy quotes on PR issues that companies were having, she became the go-to expert for commentary on branding and PR disasters.
“I have an interview or an op-ed or a bylined article running in top-tier press at least every week. I may hold the world record for having commentary run in Fortune, which is super fun to be able to say to people: ‘I’m a regular contributor at Fortune.’
I’ve become this business celebrity over the past couple months. People from my hometown have been telling me they heard me on NPR, or saw me on Fox News. It’s really surreal.”
Her publicity success led to a flood of speaking opportunities
With all of this media attention came more opportunities. One pitch to Forbes got the attention of Verne Harnish, who invited Deb to keynote his CEO Summit and ScaleUp Summit. Next thing she knew, Deb was speaking at dozens of EO chapters, EO XCentric, and at the EO Women’s Summit in Athens, Greece.
“Each of those events had me speaking to hundreds of CEOs of growth-oriented companies in dynamic industries. That’s my exact target audience. I have walked out of every event I do with lots of new client contacts and assignments.”
All of this premium attention has led to clients for her business, Sol Marketing
All of the attention is nice, but ultimately, Deb’s goal is to grow her business. And that’s exactly what’s happening.
Since she’s published the book and put herself out there, opportunities have been coming out of the woodwork. Readers of the book are reaching out and wanting to work together.
“My favorite example is that I was sitting at my desk on a Wednesday afternoon at 5:30. The phone rang, and nobody else was in the office, so I ran to answer it. It ends up it was the CEO of a big digital marketing company in New York. Their founder had read the book, loved it, had given copies to the whole office, and now they wanted to hire me to solve their brand problem. They couldn’t believe I was picking up the phone!”
Many companies like this want to work together in a formal way, but others are just drawn to her, telling her they love how she thinks and they want to figure out a way to collaborate. And most importantly, her client base has expanded rapidly:
“The new client relationships are too many to list. The most important thing the book has done for us is to help us diversify our business in a significant way. Previously, we had too many eggs in a single client’s basket. The book has allowed us to expand our client base significantly, and has given us a stronger, more diverse client base from which to grow.”
BONUS: Because of reader feedback, Deb is now launching a new business
Speaking to readers, it was clear that many of them needed more than her book—they needed an experienced branding expert to guide them through their company’s big, existential questions.
They needed something between her book and a full client engagement with her firm; mainly, they just needed guidance from an expert as they worked through the big, deep questions.
Thus, The 8 Hour Brand was born. Deb will be traveling to cities and putting on full-day workshops aimed at fixing brands and delivering actionable results to businesses.
“It’s so exciting. I knew my book was going to help, but I wasn’t prepared for how much it would change things and how many opportunities it would create.”
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