Barry LaBov: The Power of Differentiation

On episode #236 of The Author Factor Podcast, I am having a conversation with nonfiction book author Barry LaBov. Barry is the founder and CEO of LaBov Marketing, Communications, and Training and a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. With 40 years of experience, Barry has helped some of the biggest names in various industries discover and celebrate their unique brand differentiation.

Barry LaBov and Mike Capuzzi

In his latest book, The Power of Differentiation: Win Hearts, Minds, and Market Share, Barry dives deep into how businesses can identify and leverage their unique attributes. One big reason listeners will find Barry's book compelling is its practical insights into rallying an organization around what makes it special, ultimately leading to increased productivity and retention.

Barry LaBov shares his Author Factor

Unlocking the Author Factor: This Episode's Big Takeaway

The key author factor from this episode is the critical importance and power of differentiation for any business or organization. Barry emphasizes that every brand has unique qualities—what he calls the "magic" or "special sauce"—that set it apart from others. Identifying, celebrating, and leaning into these unique elements can simplify business operations, foster a strong brand identity, and inspire both employees and customers. This focus can significantly impact market share, employee retention, and overall business success. Barry also highlights that this principle of differentiation is universally applicable, whether you're a small business owner or a leader of a large corporation.

Learn more about Barry LaBov by visiting:


Mike Capuzzi: Have you ever wondered what it takes to turn a brand into an unforgettable experience? Barry Labov, a two-time Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, has the answers. As founder and CEO of LaBov Marketing, communications and training, Barry has spent 40 years helping some of the biggest names in various industries discover and celebrate their unique brand differentiation. In his latest book, the power of Differentiation, win hearts, minds, and market share, Barry reveals the secrets to uncovering the magic in your brand and transforming your business. Barry, welcome to the show.


Barry LaBov: Mike. Thank you. It's an honor.


Mike Capuzzi: Oh, I appreciate that. It's an honor to meet you, and I love what you are all about. I did some research. It's neat to see that seasoned experience that you and I have. You know, you've done a lot. The brands that you've worked with, pretty impressive. But, Barry, I just shared a brief introduction. Tell us a little bit more about, you know, what you've done, what you're doing today to serve your clients.


Barry LaBov: I find it very, very fascinating, and inspiring to be able to identify the magic in what one of our clients does in their brand or in their features, because everybody, every brand has a magic. Now, they don't have 700 differentiators, but they might have one, two, or three. And identifying them and celebrating them is what inspires me in my life.


Mike Capuzzi: As I said, it's near and dear to my heart. I constantly preach, whether you're a local business owner or the corporate leader of a large Fortune 500 company, which I know, I think you have some Fortune 100 clients, but, you know, I call it the special sauce, right? Uncovering that special sauce, that differentiation that makes you special, is so important. And I'm sure you probably agree with this. Once you uncover that, Barry, it becomes a true asset for you and your business, right?


Barry LaBov: Well, it makes your life simpler, because you're not trying to be all these different things. You're not commoditizing yourself and cheapening things and rounding off those really rough edges. You're actually able to simplify your life because you go, wait a minute, we do this, and we do that really well. And you know what? Why don't we lean into that and stop almost ignoring it or sometimes even feeling ashamed of it. Let's go for it.


Mike Capuzzi: And I don't want to, you know, this is all about you. But I will tell you, for my own business, in the last month and a half, two months, we have been neck deep, I personally have been neck deep into SEO and really researching keywords and really refining what our publishing business is all about. And we have. We've carved out a very unique stake. There are times, and I'm sure you'll probably share some comments on this, where I want to maybe make it a little wider to potentially catch more people, but I realize our special sauce is the fact that we deal with very specific type of book authors, and we deliver a very specific type of book for them. And we're gonna try to do our best to own that space online. But let's talk about you. Let's talk about your latest book, the power of differentiation.


Mike Capuzzi: Great title. Tell me a little bit more about why you wrote that book, who it's for, and if you would, Barry, share a nugget or two from it.


Barry LaBov: Well, I originally started to write this book, Mike, because I thought I would love to share about 40 or 50 success stories of clients, of companies that identified their uniqueness. They were able to communicate it, and they celebrated it first with their employees, with all who represented them, and rallied their organization. In some cases, they made history. And I thought, Kyle, that's a great book. So I started to write it, and then, of course, we all went through the pandemic. And during the pandemic, 50 million Americans quit their jobs in one year. 50 million. And it occurred to me, Mike, it hit me like a ton of bricks that, you know what? It's not just to win market share in sales.


Barry LaBov: It's also to win the hearts and minds of your employees, because 50 million people leaving the jobs they had told me that they did not think what they were doing was very special. They didn't feel any significance. So it came together to me that, you know what? Yeah, let's look at what makes us unique. Let's look at that, and let's really honor that. But why don't we rally our people, our organization, around that? The worst, worst failures I ever hear from some of my friends is they launched a new brand or a new product, and they spent all this money, and somebody walked up to one of their employees and said, yeah, tell me about this new product. And the employee goes, I don't know anything. Nobody tells me anything about this stuff. And it just breaks my heart to hear it.


Barry LaBov: So it's really important today, more than I believe ever in our history or certainly our lifetime, that we rally human beings around what we do to give them significance, which, by the way, will increase their productivity, which, by the way, will improve their retention. You know, that's really a good thing. So that's what the book is all about.


Mike Capuzzi: You know, again, I think it's so important what you're sharing, again, from the local dentist to, again, the corporate marketing team of Fortune 51 doesn't matter. This is important. So let me ask you, I've not read your book yet, but is your book for a specific? Are you only targeting corporate, you know, corporate clients, big clients, or can a small business owner that's on Main street take the power of differentiation, read it, and apply some of it?


Barry LaBov: Anybody who is a leader, whether they have that title or not, can benefit from the book. Whether they have a small business and they're a solopreneur or whether they're a company with 30,000 employees worldwide. It doesn't matter as far as that. It's not the demographics, it's the psychographics. It's the mindset of the individual. And if that person says, look, I believe we're doing something good. I believe we're making a difference. I really want my people, or I want those around me to be fired up and excited about it, then this book is really good because it talks about.


Barry LaBov: Here's one little nugget. It talks about things like, differentiation is not superiority. So some things we look at, we go, well, yeah, I do this a little different, but it's not necessarily the best thing in the world. Well, you gotta stop for a moment. Differentiation is how you're doing something, why you're doing it, and why some people will find it really attractive, not everybody in the world. So you start to identify the fact that, you know, I'm doing a few things. They might be a little quirky, but they're really special. And what I wanna do is maximize those things because, you know what? They come naturally to me or my company.


Barry LaBov: I'd rather do that, wake up every morning knowing I can do that, I can do it great, than try to be something I'm not. So anybody that's a leader or a non titled leader can benefit, Trey, and embrace that.


Mike Capuzzi: I really think it's so important. I think so many folks business, because I work day in and day out with business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders, small, big, and oftentimes I see Barry, they'll read stories, case studies, whatever. They'll see people being interviewed, whatever, and they feel like they have to be like them, right? They have to, oh, I've got to be this, I've got to be polished. I've got to be that, whatever it might be. And I'm always encouraging them, to your point of embracing their authentic stories, what makes them whatever it might be. And oftentimes, and I'm sure you've come across this in all your years working with clients. Even the most mundane little tidbits and background in history can really be magnified and brought out and really used effectively, in my opinion.


Barry LaBov: See, I think that's brilliant. You know, an example I have in my book, and I talk about it in terms of plastic surgery, you know, the celebrity that does the plastic surgery, and we see it on Facebook or social media, and they go, oh, my gosh, that's terrible. Why did he or she do this? And they can't go back, right? Destroyed how they looked. Right? You were in love with her. What a beautiful actress. And now look what she's done. Okay, we had a client that was an Amish RV company. Okay, that sounds like the beginning of a stand up joke, right? But it's not.


Barry LaBov: An Amish RV company was very well known for customizing their RVs, their recreational vehicles, and they decided one time, just like you said, mike, they said, you know what? Our big competitors don't customize like we do. They do a lot of things pretty much generic. Every product they do has the same options and everything, and it's really easy to order those products and they're cheaper. Why don't we go like that? Let's do that. Let's be like those people. Well, they did, they went right after it. And in the very beginning, they were more profitable because, gee, they were having nice sales and it cost less money and their product was cheaper to build. But I very quickly, within six months, they lost 60% of their market share, and they had to stop and say, what is going on? And you know what went on? They stopped being who they were, and they had to go right back to saying, you know what? We're going to customize each one of these.


Barry LaBov: Yes, customer, it'll be 40 different questions, all these different things, but we'll make it exactly the way you want. Now, here's the good news to the story. First of all, they were very brilliant to realize they made a mistake and they changed. But now, once they understood their differentiation, guess what? They started to charge for it. And all of a sudden, it wasn’t this burden. It was like, hold on. This is the cash cow. This is where we make our money, and this is where people love us.


Barry LaBov: So we’ve got to realize that what were doing can be viewed by our customers as brilliant. So lets nothing change those couple of really good things we do.


Mike Capuzzi: Barry, in your experience, which literally is measured in decades, again, working with some very large clients also, do you believe that every business slash organization has the potential to differentiate?


Barry LaBov: I do. Because of this. I've talked to 200 year old companies, 120 year old companies and startups. They've said to me, we don't do anything unique. We're like everyone else. And I have to stop, especially when you're, you're 100 to 200 years old and go, you know, you must be doing something really well. You gotta be doing something. You have to be somehow striking a chord that people love.


Barry LaBov: So I think in almost every case, you're doing something that's a value. Here's what I really work with, with clients, and that is when we start our process, because we have a process called brand re engineer, where we do not try to create your brand, we try to discover your brand. One of the questions we ask all their employees, all the leaders of the company, all of their customers, is, what do you want this company not to change? And it's a secret question that normally delivers differentiation, because if you think about the employee, the executive, the customer, they go, oh, I hope they never change. Such and such. You go, now wait a minute. Thats a statement. Thats saying, please, that’s why I work here. Thats why I buy your product.


Barry LaBov: And again, like I said, and you said the word celebrate, I think you have to celebrate that. You have to honor it. Youve got to respect that. The good news for all of our listeners is you don’t have 30 or 40 of these differentiators to go memorize. You have a couple in my life, I do like two or three things really well, and then the rest of them, I am mediocre to terrible. And the only problem with that is if I don’t understand it, thats the problem. The problem isn’t I only do two or three things well, and that’s how it is with a business.


Mike Capuzzi: Jeff. Love it, Barry. I really do. Again, there’s nobody listening to this interview that could not benefit from learning from you reading your book and understanding this. Most critical things, in my opinion. Let's segue to Barry, the author, because this is not your first book.


Barry LaBov: Correct, correct, correct.


Mike Capuzzi: How many books have you written?


Barry LaBov: Oh, I've written around 14 or 15, but many, many of them were business parables, you know, shorter stories. And also as a creative, I've written a few hundred songs and maybe 500 jingles. So I'm a pretty, I'm a prolific creative. I'm not saying I'm good. I'm just saying I can do it very quickly.


Mike Capuzzi: Just out of curiosity, with all that many jingles is there any like that I would know if I heard.


Barry LaBov: Well, we did some jingles for Disney, for Wendy's, you know, some pretty big companies.


Mike Capuzzi: Very nice. Very nice. All right, so I want to focus because, again, the author Factor podcast is about inspiring maybe someone who's never written a book to write that first book, non fiction, business oriented type book. So I want to kind of focus on your author journey. So you are a multi book author. Why did you decide to write this particular book? What was it that you saw or you wanted to leverage or do with this book?


Barry LaBov: I had a couple of goals in mind. One was, as I've gotten older, I want to make sure that these stories live on and can inspire people within my company as well as outside. So I thought that was good. Another was, I allowed my inspiration to feed me as I went through it. So I wrote this. And if this helps those listening, I wrote this in about three months and then took about two and a half years rewriting it. So I wrote it, I forced it out. And when I say force, it wasn't unpleasant, but it was like, I'm going to write this.


Barry LaBov: I organized it the best I could. I stayed very non critical with myself. So I didn't try to make the first sentence perfect. I thought, hey, this, I hate this first sentence, but who cares? I'm going to tell the story. I wanted to influence people in a very positive sense, Mike, in that branding doesn't have to come off pompous or arrogant, and you don't have to scare people that if they don't do this, we're all going to fall apart. I wanted to turn this into a purely positive and very, very instructional message. So somebody listens to it, reads it, and goes, go, this is cool. I feel uplifted.


Barry LaBov: I feel there's actually hope, and it's something where I can make others feel good about themselves as well. So I thought it was a purely upbeat, positive opportunity.


Mike Capuzzi: I'm guessing, though, it's also a differentiation point.


Barry LaBov: It is. It's a differentiation point for my company because I tell people we focus on one word and that's differentiation. And my goal in this is to inspire 1 million people worldwide with the message, and that's not to be confused with selling 1 million books. But I have one company I'm working with that has 16,305 employees. Okay, well, we're helping to influence them. So that's a good start. So that's, that's my goal. I got a big goal in that I want to influence over a million people.


Mike Capuzzi: I'm going to ask a loaded question, but it has to do with differentiation, because to me, when I'm working, when I'm either talking to a prospect and in any of my books, I always say, you know, one of the reasons you want to consider investing the time, energy, and money into writing and publishing a book is to differentiate yourself. Right? Again, I'd say two thirds, maybe three quarters of our clients in our publishing business are local business owners, the local dentist, the local CPA. And those kind of individuals really need differentiation, because there tend to be a lot in their community. What are your thoughts on that, Barry, as far as using the power of being a book author as a point of differentiation, whether it's a CEO like yourself or just an owner operator, I.


Barry LaBov: Think it's a big differentiator, because very few people will follow through and get that thing done. I know more people who are working on that first book than. Than anybody that's finished a book. And I do think, here's the thing. I know one of the questions you always ask. Cause I love your show, is, okay, well, what have you learned? And one thing I think is important is, yes, write that book. But realize it's up to you to promote it. It's up to you also to make sure there are no typos in there.


Barry LaBov: It's up to you to make sure that you like the COVID because nobody will care about that book like you will. And I believe that you don't have to be pushy and arrogant and try to get money on the street corner for the book. Share it with people. Allow people to see what you've done. Allow people to read it. Show honor to what you did because it is a differentiator for your business.


Mike Capuzzi: And you're 100% right. I mean, oftentimes, I don't know how many, probably well over 100 times I've mentioned this. To me, as challenging as writing a book can be, it's not always that way, but it can be for certain individuals. The use in marketing and promotion, to me, is the much harder part, because the energy has been spent on the creation. And then it's like, okay, now what? Any comments? Barry? Being a marketing genius, a different, you know, differentiation genius, any just nugget or two about the use of books.


Barry LaBov: Well, I think what you said is great. And I started to smile because really, for two and a half to three years, I was pregnant with the book. I just gave birth. Okay, so the book is now alive, and it's just like when we have a child. It's not like, okay, we're done. This kid's alive. It's like, no, no, no. Now the work begins.


Barry LaBov: And that's how I look at this. So with my company, we have a twice a month e newsletter we send out with messages on it. Not trying to sell anything, but messages from the book. We have a podcast. We're just starting up. We're sending copies of the book to prospects, to clients. We're trying to help people with that message. And I've been on 75 plus podcasts in the last six months, sharing the story and not trying to push people to buy the book.


Barry LaBov: I think that's what we have to do. You got to have a passion for what you wrote the book about, right? So then start sharing it, and you're also going to find the more you do it, the better you get at explaining what this book is about.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, Barry, after 235 plus episodes of this particular podcast, I've never heard anyone say they were pregnant with their book, especially a man. But I love it because that metaphor is exactly what it is, right? You know, the gestation. And then the real hard part is after they're born. And it's so true. Again, that's a writer downer for me. So I love that metaphor. So, Barry, I. As we get ready to wrap up here again, you're a serial published author.


Mike Capuzzi: Your newest book. I'm not sure, there's probably more in the future, is my guess, but I'd love to hear what it has meant to you to be a published book.


Barry LaBov: Authorization for me, humbly. And I mean this humbly, I believe that it's kind of like what I said about giving birth to a child. That's. It's great that it happened, but to me, I feel it's a responsibility. All right? I feel it's more of a responsibility than it is an accomplishment for me, because it could be a bad book and it's out there. So I believe that it is my responsibility that the book is genuine, authentic, and it was my best effort at that moment. And it is certainly not perfect, but it was my best effort. And that it is my job going forward to spread that word, to not keep score on sales, but to look ahead and try to have that book make a difference.


Barry LaBov: And if it makes a difference, and I hate to keep using metaphors, but just, like, if we make a difference in someone's life, wow, that's great. All right, well, that book makes a difference in somebody's life that is worth all the work you put in. So that's how I look at it. I think it's a point of pride, but I'm pretty low key on that, to be honest with you. I don't brag about being a published author.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, Barry, this has been awesome. I love it. Again, I love what you stand for. I knew that even before we got on today's meeting. I just doing a little bit of research. So congratulations with the book. How can our listeners learn more about you? And yes, we want them to go buy your book because they can't be helped unless they get the book. Where can they get the book?


Barry LaBov: They can get the book virtually at any bookseller because it's distributed through Simon and Schuster. The book is on Amazon. Please go there, buy the book, and leave an honest review. I think it would be great. The reviews are important for the Amazon algorithm, as you have shared with many of your customers. So I think that's great. I have a company website,, as well as my personal site, Please go there.


Barry LaBov: I have a few free giveaways that do not require anybody to leave an email. But you can also set up an appointment with me and we can talk. And I'd be happy to give you my input and my experience if it can help you.


Mike Capuzzi: Well, Barry, thank you very much. I appreciate your time today.


Barry LaBov: Mike, you're a pleasure. I love your show, and I don't think anybody knows more about what you do than you. That's the differentiation.