Behind the Book: Rick Cesari & Barb Westfield
By Laura Rashley –
Rick Cesari & Barb Westfield have worked together on-and-off for the past twenty-five years. Both have been advertising pioneers since the ’90s and are responsible for the success of four billion-dollar brands.
What differentiates a powerful, memorable, and successful brand from one that simply fails to catch fire, or to get the attention of the consumer? Here’s a hint: it’s not necessarily the fault of the product in question.Rather, it’s in how it’s packaged and presented. In an ever-more crowded, border-free marketplace, advertising, great customer service, and aftermarket care remain absolutely essential to building a trusted brand.
In their book, Building Billion Dollar Brands, Rick Cesari and Barb Westfield deep-dive into advertising and customer care to dispel the myths around what makes a successful brand and to illuminate for the average entrepreneur and inventor how they, too, can build their brand into an empire.
“Every occasion in which the consumer interacts with your product and brand—whether that’s via word of mouth, online reviews, seeing it in a friend’s home, at a store, a digital platform, or on a late-night talk show—is just a wider form of sales conversation,” they write.
With a combination of traditional brand-building techniques and highly measurable direct response advertising, Rick and Barb have created a powerful hybrid model that sells product while you are building your brand, a model they call direct branding, or direct response advertising.
Direct branding is the secret weapon that evens the playing field with large companies that have massive advertising budgets. It is how new startups beat out the big names at their own game. Marketing techniques, retailers, and distribution channels have changed dramatically since authors Rick and Barb started in the business of brand building and direct response advertising twenty-five-plus years ago, and they will continue to change, but over their combined years of experience,
Rick and Barb have found that five key strategies have remained constant:
- Utilizing your “unique selling proposition,” or USP;
- Creating a name and market position for your product or business;
- Under-promising and over-delivering;
- Listening to your customers to develop world-class customer service and powerful testimonials that will sell for you 24/7; and
- Direct branding selling—the best way to brand for most small businesses and startups.
In the past, the call of the industrial revolution was manufacturers saying, “This is what I make. Don’t you want it?” Now, the call of the information age is consumers asking, “This is what I need. Won’t you make it?” In their book, Rick and Barb expand on these simple brand-building keys in the context of the modern-era model of direct branding with the aim to educate entrepreneurs and inventors how they, too, can put these keys and tactics to use immediately in their business or to
launch a new product.
5 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT RICK AND BARB
- The George Foreman Grill wouldn’t have existed without them
- Neither would have Sonicare, OxiClean, or GoPro
- One of their products, Rejuvenique, failed for an unpredictable reason—the release of Friday the 13th, wherein serial killer Jason Voorhees wears a mask that looks eerily similar to the skin care product
- Rick began to formulate the concepts behind direct branding when working as a lifeguard in Daytona Beach where he got paid on commission from sunscreen sales
- Their book was written primarily from Barb’s home in the Provence area of France
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