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How Deb Gabor Became the Media’s Go-To Expert on Branding

by Zach Obront

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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.

She looked at people like her sister-in-law, a prolific non-fiction author, and wished she could do the same. But her sister got to take a sabbatical to work on her books, and as a business owner, Deb couldn’t afford to escape for the time necessary to create her book.

As soon as she heard about the Book In A Box process, she decided to take the leap

In October of 2015, she saw Tucker speak about Book In A Box 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 incredible book, Branding Is Sex, was published in June 2016 to rave reviews, an amazing book launch event, and Amazon Bestseller status.

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 swagger that comes with being a published author. 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 did a lot of blogging around the book, and manually sent copies to clients, prospects, and other folks she wanted to have a conversation with.

“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.”

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.

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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.

The first step was to hire a kick ass publicist (Smith Publicity). By leveraged the fact that she’s published a well-respected and successful book, journalists immediately knew that Deb was a leader in the branding industry. Deb quickly became the go-to expert for commentary on branding and PR disasters.

“The book does an amazing job of taking theoretical material and translating it in a fun, simple, and provocative way. Journalists see that and think ‘Perfect, she can translate all this to English and make it concrete and actionable.’”

The timing was fortunate. After back-to-back PR disasters (Pepsi, United, and the Fyre Festival), the media started coming to Deb more and more for her input on these situations. Within a month, she was featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, on NPR, and even wrote an Op-Ed for 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

In all of this media attention came more opportunities. One pitch to pitch to Forbes got the attention of Verne Harnish, who invited Deb to keynote his CEO Summit. Next thing she knew, Deb was speaking at dozens of EO chapters, regional events, and at the EO Women’s Summit in Athens, Greece.

“I love getting on stage and getting business owners passionate about branding. There’s nothing better. So these opportunities to get in front of more people are really exciting to me.”

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.

In her book, on stage, and in the media, Deb is powerfully honest and true to who she is. Her personality comes through in her writing and speaking, and the companies that are right to work with her are drawn to that.

Since she’s published the book and put herself out there, opportunities are coming out of the woodwork. Readers of the book are reaching out 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, 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 want to figure out a way to collaborate. One billionaire reached out looking for a way to work together. She ended up helping his non-profit, and they plan to work together more in the future.

Through the feedback she received, Deb is now launching an entire new business

Speaking to readers, it was clear that many of them needed an experienced branding expert to help guide them through their company’s big existential questions. They didn’t need a full engagement with a firm; they just needed some help and guidance from an expert as they worked through the big, deep questions.

This was especially true in smaller cities, which are mainly underserved by most branding experts.

Thus, The 8 Hour Brand was born. Deb will be traveling to smaller cities and putting on full day workshops aimed at fixing their brands and delivering actionable results.

If you’re interested, email Deb at deb@solmarketing.com and she’ll give you the “Book In A Box Discount”.



Zach Obront

by Zach Obront

Co-Founder and Director of Marketing