Going Deeper: Branding Yourself & Discovering Your Voice

In advertising there are above the line (ATL) and below the line (BTL) communications that are used to distribute a brand’s voice.  Above the Line is everything the consumer sees (public facing), and Below The Line are internal communications that inform employee product knowledge, engagement, and the organization’s understanding of shared purpose. One thing I’ve learned over the last five years it’s that a company sort of works like a person.  There’s what people outside the company see, and there’s how the company functions on the inside.

  • When ATL and BTL are aligned, marketing is effortless and awareness (how the company is positively regarded by the public) tends to be high and far-reaching.
  • When BTL is great, and ATL is poor, the company has a lot to offer, but needs work on communicating its value to a larger audience. ATL is largely presentation and exposure.
  • When ATL outweighs the investment in BTL work, the company may present well, but has no value yet. Flash and no substance. You see this in ad campaigns that seem to communicate nothing functional or aspirational about the product or service, or appear to be trying to hard to be something it’s not. This is the hardest kind of marketing for marketers because it is, in essence, deceitful marketing.

All marketers will tell you that it is better to build something solid - a product, service, point of view - than to invest only in advertising. In life, it is better to spend time and resources building something to last; doing the hard work first to build what you stand for, and supplementing that position with the right look and tone of voice.  

We are constantly reinventing ourselves like companies, and doing the hard work to build your BTL communications is going to make your ATL communications more meaningful and impactful. More importantly, going deeper is going to make you a more original, happier person. Here are what this looks like when applied to your personal life: 


What You Wear
The Words You Say To Others
Your Actions
Your Associations


Your Drives & Desires
Your Mantra
How You Speak To Yourself
How You Treat Yourself

Developing Your Below The Line Voice like You’re Doing a Brand Deep Dive

  1. What Motivates You? What Problem Are You Trying To Solve?

  2. What Do You Stand For, In One Easy To Remember Sentence?

  3. Thoughts are symptoms. What thoughts do you silence because they are inconvenient? Have you considered your inconvenient thoughts and ideas could be your greatest strength and differentiator? Can you talk to yourself like you talk to or about your best friend?

  4. What would happen if you allowed yourself to act on your thoughts? Could you reward yourself for being more honest with yourself?

Practicing Your Voice In Public

Your voice is a muscle - when you don't use it, it's weaker, but when you start using it more regularly it starts to get lit (just like those gluts after reps at the squat rack).  Here are some easy things you can integrate into your day to get used to hearing and normalizing your own voice (because it's a nice one, and we all want to hear it).

  • Talk To Yourself Like A Crazy Person

  • Practice Disagreeing and Explaining Why

  • Graciously Say No Twice as Often as You Currently Do

  • Ask For What You Want, Without Expectation

  • Breathing exercises - hot shower - warm water

  • Hum, Sing Your Heart Out, Whatever. Warm Up Your Voice.

  • Karaoke

  • Speak in Work Meetings

  • Improv

  • Ask Someone Out to Dinner, for Coffee, on a Date