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Jarod Spiewak is the founder of Comet Fuel, a boutique, strategy-first, agency that helps businesses run sophisticated ROI-positive marketing campaigns to fuel long-term growth, without all the typical agency BS.

We discuss the no-BS way to build your marketing presence, the challenges of products and automation that every entrepreneur and business needs to solve, and just explore lots of fun parts of marketing techniques and platform automation. 

Check out Comet Fuel here: https://cometfuel.com/

Check out Jarod’s awesome and fun website here: https://jarodspiewak.com/

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

What’s happening? Eric Wright here. Host of DiscoPosse Podcast. Thank you for listening, subscribing, hopefully and doing all sorts of other things like that. Wow. This is really going to be a fun episode because I get introduced to somebody new and so do you. This is Jarod Spiewak. Jarod is the lead strategist and founder of Comet Fuel. He’s a really interesting character. And first of all, his approach to things, somebody who if you actually go to his website, jarodspiewak.com, it’s actually hilariously awesome how he puts his stuff together.

We talk about growth, we talk about automation, we talk about the human integration, with marketing. Really great stuff. So definitely you’re going to want to check out Common Fuel and much more. But in the meantime, speed of things you do want to check out. I am going to ask you a little favor, because if you have data out there, you’ve got systems, you’ve got anything. Make sure that you look at our amazing supporters, like the folks at Veeam Software who have you covered for everything you need for your data protection needs, whether it’s on premises, in the Cloud, whether it’s Cloud Native stuff.

Yeah. You thought it was Cloud Native, thereby it is safe. No, actually, it’s just a new way of deploying apps that are going to get ransomware to not go away. Not cool. But you know what’s cool ransomware getting fixed because you used Veeam software. So get on it. Go to vee.am/DiscoPosse. It’s literally that easy. Go check it out. And they’ve got some really great offerings. So whatever you got, they can back that SaaS out. Oh, that’s right, SaaS.

Don’t forget, Office 365 teams, all sorts of good stuff. And there’s more new stuff coming. Wink, wink.

All right, cool. Second piece. Speaking of protection, what about the data that’s flying around on your Wi-Fi when you’re sitting in a Starbucks or, sorry, I don’t mean to make a fun of Starbucks, just the first one that came to my head. But when you’re out there, do you really think that you’re safe in the wild on someone else’s Wi-Fi? I hope not, because you’re not. The best thing you can do is use super easy things like ExpressVPN.

I’m a user. I’m loving it. So if you want to check it out, go to tryexpressvpn.com/DiscoPosse. It’s just quick, easy. You get a little deal. And on top of that, you protect your data in-flight, protect your identity. All right. Oh, yeah. And go to diabolicalcoffee.com because I love the coffee. Oh, I’m the founder. There you go. Full disclosure.

All right, let’s get to the good stuff. This is Jarod Spiewak. Enjoy.

Hey, this is Jarod Spiewak. I’m the founder and lead strategist of Comet Fuel. And you’re listening to the DiscoPosse Podcast.

Jarod, this is really cool, because when I saw your name come up on the guest list, I did a bit of background, and I always love to dig in. You are prolific in a lot of ways, especially for somebody who you seem to have about three decades of business sense in you, even though you haven’t got three decades on the ground. So we’ve got a lot of really cool stuff we can cover. If you want to give a quick intro about yourself before we get started for folks that are new to you, that’d be great.

We’ll talk about Comet Fuel. We’ll talk about the problems you’re solving, and also this is super close to me because I’ve got more and more folks who are really often struggling with how do they make the jump into better engagement. How do they get conversion. And really what’s the science and the techniques that we can wrap into them that we’re kind of unlocking a lot of just regularly good old-fashioned human behavior. But for whatever reason, we fail at it all the time.

There’s a ton that we could talk about that I think would be really interesting. But for anybody that doesn’t know me, my name’s Jored Spiewak, as hopefully you know by now. When you say that I have a lot of experiences because I got my start when I was 14, I decided that I was going to graduate early. So I started college at 15, graduate high school at 16, went to college for my marketing degree. I finished my degree a month after I turned 18. I was working in a corporate marketing job at the time, about a year into the corporate job, I was like, all right, cool.

I’m done with this. Just really not for me. And I signed up for a website called Upwork, which is much smaller at the time. Just after their merger of oDesk and Elance started working for about $5 an hour with the goal of, hey, let’s find another job somewhere. Did a bunch of interviews. No one wanted to hire me even as I was building up a portfolio, so that obviously didn’t work out. But pretty soon after, I had essentially resigned to, well, this is going nowhere. I got a full time job offer from a marketing agency which kind of transitioned me into, okay, great time to take this seriously.

I started off as an on page SEO. Within a couple of months, I was promoted to the lead SEO strategist. Over time, I freelanced more and more, went from full time, part time to no time at that agency. And then I was sitting with all these clients. I was like, okay, great. What’s next for me? Started my agency, Blue Dog Media in 2018, February 2018, and then throughout 2019 and 2020, planned the rebrand over to Comet Fuel and then early 2021, publicly launched Comet Fuel.

Now this is the fun part of, when you talked about Upwork and coming through that, I love to actually tap into that the transition from going from gig work to then agency to then effectively being agency. Right. So now you’d think that this could be a natural transition, but I find a lot of people get jammed up at stage one, and they’re still kind of grinding it out at Upwork. Or maybe they’re not even sure how to market themselves. And this is probably why you made the rapid transition from phase one to two to founding your own team on this one.

So maybe talk about how you started with gig work. What was really cool about it, but then how you made that jump to kind of go beyond.

Yeah. So I think that there were a couple of things that gave me an advantage over perhaps some other people. One was that I had a lot of agency experience going into this, which is that I worked for an agency. I had corporate marketing experience as well. So I had the more corporate refinement type of structure that anyone that’s worked in corporate is kind of used to. So I had that as well. So I had that sort of business sense. But I was also when I was freelancing, working for a lot of other agencies at the same time.

So it’s taking a lot of effort observing as to how things were run so that I would have an idea of how things would need to look once I went on my own, whether that was only freelancing in a more business minded focus or if that was to start my own agency. So I took a lot of observations there. The other thing that I did was I made sure that I had as large of a nest egg as possible where I was pulling in as a freelancer, multiple five figures a month in revenue, which made it a much easier transition than being like, okay, great. I have one or two clients, now let’s make this work.

So I was very slow in that transition on one hand. And then once I decided, okay, great. I’m going to make a shift here. I went from full time at that agency down to part time. So I had that extra levy that not everybody may have where I was half and half essentially. And I could build that up, make sure. Okay, great. This is sustainable. Cut it down to a couple of hours, just providing support over at the agency where if I needed to, I could have been like, hey, actually, my bad. I need to come back full time.

And luckily, I had a good enough relationship there that it would have been possible that transition part was kind of slow. But then once I officially left the agency, I took about two months to figure out what exactly I wanted to do, whether I wanted to keep freelancing or if I wanted to start an agency. And then once I decided, okay, great. It’s going to be an agency. I had that background, experience and knowledge to go this is what it needs to look like to a certain degree.

And then once I had actually been in the saddle for about a year, I then said, okay, great. I’ve followed what I saw from other people. Now I feel comfortable. Let me now follow what I think I want to do in my own way. So I would say, because of my experience, it was an easier transition. I had the opportunity to make it a somewhat smooth transition that I know that not everybody would have that opportunity or an employer that was understanding enough to be like, hey, go do your own thing.

We understand. But I was lucky enough to be in that position.

Well, I think part of it is you set yourself up for that opportunity in a lot of ways. Quite often we hear about sort of the Tim Ferriss’s four hour work week and his approach and a lot of folks that have adopted that style. It is actually okay to go to your boss and say, hey, I’ve got this thing like look at this, I’ve literally got a row of coffee beans behind me because I have a coffee company that I run and I have a full time job and I have a podcast.

There’s a way in which you can go to your boss and say, hey, I do these other things. And then somebody say, and these other things are actually starting to generate revenue. I’m here and I like this. And then quite often they recognize that you are going to go anyways, the best thing they can do is keep you and sort of leverage your skills and strength while you’re there, and they’re kind of more prepared instead of just suddenly going, hey, all right. I hear Jarod just had started his own agency, and he’s leaving.

More and more people are really embracing the fact that the best thing you can do for your staff is to make them successful in life, not just in their job.

Yes, I would agree. Unfortunately, I don’t think every business agrees with that. So some people will be in that position. Other people. Unfortunately, there are some people that go, oh, you’re thinking about doing your own thing. Okay. Well, you’re fired, and we’ll just find somebody else.

And depending on what state you’re in, sometimes they can just fire you for no grounds just because you said that other States do have laws against that. But for some people, it will be easy for other people. Unfortunately, they’re in a much more difficult position, and it might be where what they have to do is.

Okay. Great. I’m putting in 100 hours a week because I need to make sure this other thing is sustainable while also making sure it doesn’t impact my job, because I know as soon as they think something is up, they’re going to be hiring my replacement.

Yeah. I guess if I think of the captive audience, I’m probably calling on a select group of people who have been successful in it. There’s actually probably a lot of folks who don’t have that opportunity, but opportunity being created is much more self directed. And like you at 14 years old, you are suddenly on a different path than most people at 14 years old. And I bet that’s actually not the start. I’m betting there is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit that you probably were heading into preschool and thinking about selling the other kids some good lunches. There’s got to be.

You’re not entirely wrong.

So going to your origins. Jarod, what got you started on the entrepreneurial path?

Yeah. So I think some of it was I was just born that way. To be completely honest, I’m not intelligent enough to talk about this in detail, but I was just learning about how just basically scientifically, how chromosomes work and how 99.9% of us is all exactly the same. But that 0.1% of us is designated by birth, and some of that makes us less prone to being injured in accidents or more prone to being better at sports or whatever it may be. And so I think I was just programmed in a way that I was just always fascinated by business and management and making money where I’ve always been a big gamer.

But some of the games that I enjoyed the most were around resource management or tycoon business games like the old flash games I used to play all the time, and I was always interested in wanting to work in some weird way where when I was in, I believe it was fifth grade, I was allowed to watch a lot of movies that people my age generally weren’t allowed to watch. So I was watching a lot of older horror movies with my dad, like the old Child’s Play movies, Cube, Saw.

I was really big in the Saw at the time, a bunch of other movies like that. And so what I would do is I would go into the school library and I would basically just copy the plot of the movie into one or two pages, but have the setting, be the school and have everybody who died be my friends and everybody wanted to know how they died. So I would get paid one dollar for every copy of the story that I gave them. And it would take like an hour, maybe two to turn this out.

There was no story building. It was just okay, great. We’re at the school. We’re in this classroom. This person died because of that, whatever it may be. And it was just the same exact deaths in the movie as I could remember it. And I just did that. And then on the way home from school every day, I would go in to the corner store, and I would just buy a swim gym for one dollar. And then my mom was like, Where is he getting this money?

Because we don’t get allowance. And I think at one point she was like, ‘Are you selling drugs or something?’, which we weren’t in an area that would really happen. So it’s kind of funny, but yeah, I just kind of had that kind of nagging. I was always interested in it for some weird way.

I guess the more and more and talk to folks too. And you hear this. It’s not often necessarily the business itself. Like, people are not born to be business people, but they’re born creative and they’re able to use that creativity towards things. I hear the great quote it was from Jordan Peterson. Love him, hate him, people are on either side of that. But what he did say is that creative people tend to create a lot of wealth, but rarely for themselves. And it was a funny thing to hear.

It’s true, because I think of a lot of people that they would go to a job and they would get a great job and people love them and they do amazing creative things. But they lack that next ability to kind of take it to doing it on their own and kind of owning their outcome. And that’s why I loved your origin story is pretty amazing, because that then sort of gets amplified as you go and you take on, you see Upwork and you don’t just see it as a way to get a salary.

You probably went into it seeing an amplification opportunity much more than just I can get X number of hours of work done. You were probably immediately thinking like, how can I get 5 hours of work done in 1 hour? Can I get seven clients at the same time? That creative mind then the sort of tycoon lifestyle comes together in a really beautiful way. Is there anything else do you think, Jarod, that kind of prepared you for that?

So for me, a lot of it is just learning a lot. I mean, other things that I did across the time was I also signed up to Craigslist and I was doing gig work on Craigslist. And so I was meeting strangers at, like, 14, 15, sometimes going into their house. And there were literally times where I was getting more often than not, we would agree on payment, but people wouldn’t pay is like, okay, great. Here’s my business idea. Come into my house and hear it out and pick it apart.

Or if someone needed a math tutor. I guess I’m a math tutor. If someone needed a writer, I just happened to know English so I can put some words on paper for you, whatever it may be. So I just had that sort of knack, but I wouldn’t say it was necessarily skilled nor intentional with a lot of it. I think honestly, a lot of it was just luck in the way of probability, where luck isn’t necessarily random chance. But it’s just statistics. If you roll the die six times statistically, you’re probably going to hit six at least once.

Maybe you need to roll ten times, whatever it may be. So I was just taking those opportunities. And I think over time I started to realize what I had, which was that when I got on Upwork, it was because I was just frustrated with my job. I started trying to work for $20 an hour. Nobody hired me. I lowered it to ten, nobody hired me. I lowered it to five. I started to get hired. Once I got that, I moved it up a little bit on the platform.

I was like, okay, great. Now I have a thing or two. What if I add this to a portfolio and I try to go get a job somewhere else? Okay, great. No one else wants to hire me. Maybe I’ll look at this Upwork thing a little bit more seriously, and then, oh, wow. This can actually be something. So a lot of it was kind of stumbling into it that I could make it sound like I knew exactly what I was doing. But I honestly didn’t. But what I have always done is absorbed knowledge, like a sponge.

And when I got into SEO, which was kind of what cemented me within the marketing world for sure, was I created a custom RSS feed for, like, two, three dozen different websites, and I read every new article that came out over a weekly period. I did it once a week, but I would also go back retrospectively and over time read back about everything that happened over the course of about two years, and I would join all the forms and I would get really engrossed with it.

So what I didn’t have naturally, I would try to learn from other people by just absorbing a disgusting amount of content.

I could ask you the question. I remember getting asked this one time by somebody and they looked as I did a lot of weird. I’m always looking for things. I’m always doing extra stuff, and it’s partly like, I really respect your approach. What can I do to learn to be better at this, to learn more about it, learn the background to it. I was always sort of just enthralled by the idea of not just knowing something but knowing how it worked and it can go into everything.

I used to take stuff apart all the time, and I remember one time a friend of mine, he asked me, what would you do if you were suddenly broke and homeless? Like, just like tomorrow something happens and that’s it. You lose your apartment, you’re out on the street. What do you do? And immediately I think, okay, well, I live out. I was in Toronto at the time, like, I’m not far. I can actually run or I can bike down to the Eaton Center. There’s buskers there. I want to have a guitar.

But if I spend the day, I actually know a few things I could do. And I got to make enough money. There’s a coffee time and it’s open 24 hours, and they’re okay with people staying there overnight. I just kind of went through this whole scene of, like, I’ll do that. And then I know this place that does second hand guitars. If I have to, I can just make enough to rent it. Whatever.

And in the end, he goes, that’s why you won’t be homeless tomorrow, because the moment you were thinking about it, you weren’t thinking shelter. You weren’t thinking, oh, goodness. What am I going to do? You immediately go into response mode of like, let’s start taking action. Let’s start thinking about things we can do. And that’s why I really dig your personality and your approach to stuff, because I think more people, it’s in them. But maybe they haven’t unlocked. And it doesn’t have to be, like, big, but there’s introducing adversity almost like an immunization, is something I think everybody needs.

We have this problem that people don’t prepare for it. But it seems to me like you are automatic, but you just think like, okay, what if it all went away right now? I had to start again right now. I bet in five minutes you’d be having a pretty solid plan.

Yeah, I could probably have one right now. Personally, what I would do is I would probably go down to the local library, get a library card, and I have access to the computer there for, I believe, an hour or two at a time, unless they changed it since the last time was there. I’d probably go back on the site like a worker similar Fiverr and over one to 2 hours a day or whenever I can get access to that, start working on that, find any sort of job that pays anything.

Just so I have some amount of money. So I don’t die from hunger or thirst. And then at the same time, we’ll try to find another place in which I can do either overnight work or some sort of office work where I don’t have a lot of supervision. So what I would do is, for example, let’s say a hotel clerk overnight, like, it’s the desk job where not a whole lot of people are coming in, not a whole lot of supervision. Maybe one or two other people there.

I’d find a way to make enough to have a laptop, and so I’d be working on both at the same time, building up the income on the other side of things to eventually make that job redunting because it would be for placing the income. So I’d essentially find a way to work on both at the same time while building up something where I’m more comfortable with, which would be the online stuff, but have something a little bit more stable to make sure that however long it takes on one front, I’ll be at least somewhat fine.

And that really is amazing to hear just that thought process that goes in another thing that I really like. And let’s take into Comet Fuel a bit. One of my favorite things about meeting and reading about an organization and about a team or a person, anybody, whether it’s just the fact that when you go there and you say this is what we do, okay, of course everybody has that, right? This is the stuff that I’d love for you to pay me to do. In effect, that’s what a lot of businesses have.

But you’re a rare treat in that. One of the most prominent things you have is this is what we don’t do and immediately going to the market saying this is literally my niche, and this is where we’re going to be fantastic for you. So it gets that out of the way. It probably saves a ton of, oh, Jarod, hey, now that we got you on the phone, can you do this? Can you do this? I like that approach.

Let’s talk about what Comet Fuel does and let’s dabble on that what we don’t do. I love that you’ve given good edges.

Yeah, sure. So in a nutshell, Comet Fuel is a boutique strategy first agency that helps exceptional businesses fuel growth through Google ads, PPC, as well as SEO. And I, at least, like to say without the typical agency but yes. In terms of what we don’t do, it’s something that I see as a bit of a moving target because it’s something that we find out more and more over time. But it’s very hard for the average consumer being a business owner marketing professional to look at an agency and know how are they different from everybody else.

Because a lot of the stuff sounds the same, especially if you don’t have hands on experience with that particular marketing channel. And so I’ve tried to, over time, understand what the greatest advantages as well as the greatest pitfalls are. And some of them are much harder to put into words than others. But I do try to make it as clear as possible, and whether that’s through content or whether that’s through a discovery call or through the proposal process of our style of doing things. It’s one of the reasons why I like going on podcast so much is because when people want to potentially work from, with us, I don’t say go look at our case studies.

Go look at our testimonials. Go look at whatever. I say, go listen to a couple of podcasts because that will give you a much greater understanding. You’ll be able to hear me. You’ll be able to see how we approach things. Do I talk technical? Am I talking about a bunch of stuff that you go, that’s all really basic. We’re way above that. Okay.

Maybe we’re not at the level that you need to go work with someone that’s at a higher level, or maybe look at you here. And you say, wow, I didn’t understand any of that. What are these metrics? What are these KPIs? What does that strategy even entail that I can’t even imagine how much that cost. Okay, then maybe we’re at a level that you’re not ready for it, it wouldn’t make sense for you to be for. So I try to push the content a lot, because no matter how much time and energy I put into what goes on the website, as much as it’s informative, there’s still always going to be some effect of like, hey, we’re pushing you to sign up to a discovery call, whereas on the content, it’s much softer and say, Listen, if you go, hey, I don’t like that guy.

Okay, great. Then don’t reach out and we’ve just saved each other a bunch of time and money.

I love that. It’s funny, too. Like a website is always like a resume like, you want to put everything in there, but then you realize you can’t because it won’t get read. And then it’s always this really intricate sort of balance of detail and specificity to making sure people know you’re not just kind of one thing, but another area as well. If we could talk about this is, who’s your ideal customer, like somebody that’s thinking? All right, I’m digging Jarod’s story. I’m digging your approach. Am I a good customer or a good client for you and the Comet Fuel team?

Yeah. So this is something that’s been a very interesting point of ours, which is that when I initially started, everyone talks about niche, usually in terms of here’s the industry that we work with, or here’s the one service that we provide. So they’re either the SEO company for whoever or they’re the dental marketing company or the dental SEO company, et cetera. And that’s how we kind of started off because my background was in law firm marketing. So I started off very specific with law firms at the time, contractors.

And then it kind of expanded to service based businesses. And then over time, what happened is we’re running into more and more instances where it’s like, okay, great. Here’s a national company, which now means we can’t even work in this industry anymore because we’re working with one business. So it doesn’t really necessarily make sense. And I would rather, in my opinion, work with one business that’s like, okay, great. Here’s $50,000 a month budget. We can be really aggressive. We don’t have to worry about this content writer cost $0.12 per instead of $0.10 per word.

Is that going to work? And we have much more ability in scale for growth compared to working with maybe 50 companies on the same industry at two grand a month, which would be double the amount. But the progress is much slower and the retention is lower, et cetera. So over time, what I started to look for was more of a personality. And what I forgot to just mention is also there’s a big difference between a small company industry and a large company in the industry in which they can’t really be compared.

So what we tend to look for is businesses who are usually at the seven figure or eight figure mark, or they’re below that. Usually they tend to be high margin, which their profit margins may be roughly the same as companies that do more money there. And usually they have an intermediate understanding of marketing and both business, so that if we go into a situation and we’re looking at the lifetime value of a customer and maybe where the lifetime value is $100 and it’s $10 a month, but it’s going to cost us $20 to acquire a customer, then we start to have discussions around gross margins, net margins, operating margins, burn rates, because if you’re taking a loss at first, how long are you actually going?

Do you have the cash flow to support this loss for how long? It would take six months to be profitable in this campaign. Can you actually afford that? Or did you just look at the lifetime number values and go, yeah, it’ll work out eventually. We’re able to have these discussions. It’s an indication that we’ll be able to move forward while also considering all aspects of the business, which is something that we like to do, because with my background of marketing, business and finance, I tend to bring that to the table.

And us being a boutique company, we only work with about 25 companies at a time, and so I’m still able to be very heavily involved, which I enjoy with the actual clients. So we can get on a call and we can talk at a very high level about the business as a whole, the numbers, et cetera. And so we can’t have those conversations, it tends not to really work out. So I’ve been making strides to be able to explain this in a much simpler way, but a lot of it comes down to, I can usually jump on a call with somebody and then understand through the mannerisms in their voice and through the way that they talk about their own business, whether or not there’s somebody who is what we’re looking for, and what we also try to look for is just companies that we actually want to see succeed, which is something I’m pretty big on.

If I don’t believe in the company, if I wouldn’t be a customer of the company, or if I’m not already a customer of the company, because sometimes that happens, then it’s just not somebody that I want to work with regardless of what their budget is.

It’s amazing in that discovery call when you really do walk through that and you get them to explore what’s your customer acquisition costs, what’s your current strategy? Because that’s often the biggest thing is just knowing where they are on their journey of taking on and you get to very quickly ask critical questions that they won’t ask themselves of, like, is this an area that is new to you? Are you comfortable? Do you feel like your YouTube spend is working out like, do you really need to go to seven networks?

Do you really think you need TikTok right now? You can ask questions like that that they are afraid to bring to their own team because they’re just sort of looking out at the world going, I need to unlock every channel I can. Meanwhile, it’s actually counter because they may be spending so much in each channel that CAC goes hugely high. And then long term value and customer long term value is sometimes not even measured correctly. It’s really cool when you can just come in and say, all right, where are you at right now?

Where do you need to be? What do you consider success at the end of this discussion today?

Yeah. There’s a couple of really core questions that really break it down. And one of those when you mention, how many marketing channels are on and whatnot. A really nice question I like to ask is, how are you tracking Omnichannel now? A lot of that is honestly built into Google Analytics. We can be very simple as. Okay, great. Someone clicked onto Google Ad converted on Facebook. And now depending on what sort of attribution model you’re using will depend on how much money actually gets attributed to each channel.

If I’m talking to someone that doesn’t understand that, then that can sometimes be a really big pain when we’re running through a Google campaign and it’s, hey, why is Google only made $20,000 in revenue this month?

And we’re looking at, yes, but your Facebook remarketing has recaptured the people from Google, which we can see through analytics or an Omnichannel, two of one is being used. And if you look at it from a first quick perspective, Google Ads has brought in 80,000 revenue. If you look at it from a last click perspective, it’s brought in 20. If we look at it from this perspective, et cetera. And then do you understand how to really model that and understand that and look at that and allocate budget accordingly?

Or is it just very binary with what I see in the Google Analytics dashboard or the Google Ads dashboard? Is it? And okay, great. Let’s turn it off and then not realize that how it’s going to affect the Facebook ads because the Facebook ads were making $60,000 a month in revenue because they were remarketing to the targeted Google audience.

Is there a common set of problems that maybe we can try to unpack for people because if they look into their own current strategy or their current tactical approach to stuff, there’s probably some really fast things that we could love to light people up and have them go like, oh, man, I’m totally doing that.

Yeah. So what’s kind of funny is a lot of what I see usually I can go into almost any account of any size of business, of any marketing sophistication and usually find one or two basic things that aren’t aligned. Not because people aren’t smart enough to notice that, but usually when you become used to something, you stop reanalyzing every little thing. But when someone new comes into it, they have to look at everything they need that full perspective of everything that’s going on. So there’s a couple of things that I’ll see.

One, very basic conversion tracking needs to be set up within Google Ads. A lot of people that are experienced marketers will have at least the basic set up. But SEO isn’t always tracked. Those goals aren’t always pulled back into Google Analytics, where you have a central dashboard tracking everything from every channel together. Also tracking various types of engagement. Okay, great. You’re an e-commerce store. Somebody bought. Well, what happened in that process? How many people that clicked on this keyword versus that keyword added the product to the cart, versus made it to part way through the checkout page or whatever it may be.

So you can see where that breakdown is and not just go, okay, people from this keyword convert at 2%. People from this keyword convert at 1%. Let’s turn off the 1% and spend more on the 2% where maybe you realize that the people that convert at 1%, a lot of them make it to the final checkout page, and then they stop because it turns out the coupon code that you’re promoting to your ads was no longer valid. About three months ago. People are really frustrated because they enjoyed the deal, and that’s why they’re not converting because they feel so that they’ve been cheated.

When they expected something to be $70, they get it to the end of the car and say, hey, coupon Invalid. Please pay us $100 or whatever it may be. So really tracking everything end to end, if possible, gives you much more clear perspective as to where the breakdown is and not just where do we make money? Where do we not? For lead generation businesses, what you’re able to do for most, I would assume most marketing channels, I can’t say for all, but I know for Google Ads you can. For SEO is a lot more difficult.

It’s just how search works. But for Google Ads, you can pull in offline conversion, and you can pull that and tie that into your actual funnel stages as well. And so what you’re able to see is not just who filled out our lead capture form, whether you’re a software company going after a demo or whether you’re a service based business, going after some sort of consultation or whatever it may be, is what percentage of these people actually showed up to the demo or consultation, what percentage of them actually made it to the next step?

And then paid us whatever your funnel looks like. We are able to do is use a hidden form field to capture URL parameters, such as the GCLID, which is the unique tracking code that Google uses. And then when someone makes it through your funnel, export that into a CSV, upload it back into Google Ads, and then retroactively, you can go, which of these clicks actually went to customers and go, okay, great. Keyword A converts at 12%, but only 1% of people actually convert to customers where keyword B converts at 2%, but 50% of people convert to customers.

Clearly, one of those is way better, but you would only know that by pulling everything in end to end. So that’s one thing on conversion tracking. The other thing that I’ll see a lot, which I find annoying as a consumer. And so it’s one of the biggest things I look for for anybody that is e-commerce or software related or online education related specifically is stop remarketing to existing customers, especially if you’re on some sort of retainer like a software. I can’t tell you how many times I am using a software, and then I get an ad to sign up for a free trial of things, something that I already pay monthly or yearly for.

Very easily, even if it’s on the back end. Whatever page people log into. If they make it to the back end, have your Google Analytics tag on there with same property, and then just add that as an exclusion to your remarketing list. So people who have logged in are no longer on that remarketing list. If it’s e-commerce and you sell a product. Depending on what you sell, it can be too complicated to do this if you sell a bunch of stuff that people might buy again the next day or like, if you’re Amazon, it’s impossible to do it.

But if you sell a couple of products, let’s say you sell shampoo. How long does it take your average user to go through a bottle of shampoo? Let’s say it takes two weeks. Okay, great. If someone buys today, don’t remarket them for two weeks. If you want to remarket people over the course of two weeks include only people who have been to the website who have not purchased within the past two weeks. After that point, you can remarket to people to get them to try and buy again.

Simple things like this can save a lot of time and money. It can save money on clicks. It can save money on, especially if you’re doing any CPM bidding where you’re just paying per impression, it can save a lot of money there, but it just makes the data a lot cleaner. And I would say those are some of the easiest things to fix. But I also see in, like, 90% of the accounts that I look at.

I’m with you on this pet peeve, because every once in a while I’ll buy something, and it’s a very specific product from a very specific company that is not a repeat buy, and there’s no upsells beyond it. I did it. I literally am the perfect conversion. And then for two days after I’m getting ads for the thing that I literally bought, it just blows my mind. I’m like, sometimes just because I want to punish them a little bit more, I click the ad just like, I’m going to spend your CPMs then.

If you’re going to keep blowing up your own marketing budget because you failed to acknowledge that I completed the conversion. But it is easy, I guess, for folks to just think of it as like, we’re going to remarket and retarget. That’s not the goal. It’s like the quality of the retargeting because every penny spent becomes dollars. And then hundreds of dollars then thousands of dollars when you get to any kind of scale. When you go to a company and they’re ready to engage you, Jarod. How often do you go in?

And like you said, they think they’re doing okay, but they’re not questioning stuff like that. I would imagine it’s a pretty, it’s an easy hit. And people probably appreciate because they don’t have time to go get really good at this stuff. They’re just like, I’ve got Omnichannel marketing, I’m doing. I can’t know every single one through and through.

Yeah, I would say it’s probably 95% of the time, and we probably do it, too. I’m sure there’s tons of stuff within our processes that we just haven’t noticed that could be done better just because we’re used to the same thing and doing it the same way every time that it’s become automatic. A lot of it, in my opinion, is just having a new perspective kind of come in and take a look at things and go, why is this like this and someone go, oh, well, I never actually thought about that.

We set the remarketing list because we needed to get it done. So we just set it up and ran with it, and we saw that it was working. And so nothing in our tool said that, hey, this remarking list is performing under average, so we need to take a closer look at it. So it just kind of sat there. But one of the good things of the economies of scale is that if you’re spending a million dollars a month in ads, getting the same result while being able to lower your budget by 1% is quite significant.

That’s an additional employee that you could’ve hired by somebody potentially spending five minutes looking at your account. I was just looking at an account the other day that spends about $10,000 a day or so. Their goal is to kind of scale that to about ten times of what they’re doing now throughout Omnichannel, throughout Google Ads, probably about tripling what they’re doing now. And that was one of the things I saw was like, wow, you have such really sophisticated campaigns. There’s so much going on here a lot of this is functioning incredibly well to the point where I’m kind of jealous of it because I know internally that’s not their background.

And I’m like, how are you doing this? Well, in some of these areas without a background in this, like, this is really impressive. And then I go through and like, oh, here’s a really easy way that you can improve everything they’re doing, probably across not just one channel. But you probably use the same list across all these other channels because the list were created through Google Analytics, pulled in through Google Ads. And I have to assume most channels would also integrate with Google Analytics pretty well.

And so you’re probably using the same remarketing tactics. And if it doesn’t pull in, you’re kind of making them the same way, so that one observation could have saved a whole bunch of money across every channel, just kind of regardless of what’s just being seen in ads. So it’s quite common. And I don’t think it’s necessarily that someone intentionally overlooks on it. It becomes so automatic to see the same thing every day that a new perspective is going to question things. It’s going to take a little bit of closer look, because that understanding of how everything is set up, how everything works has to be built from the ground up.

Yeah. I think the new phrase we could always use is there’s no greater lie than one batch by Google Analytics. If you dig deep enough into those dashboards, you can put together some charts that always go up and to the right. But as you said, it’s the optimizations that especially at scale, they can really, really have a material effect, first of all, on just the cost. But just the efficiency, right? Conversion rates. And that’s one thing that people often forget is when we talk about conversion rates, we’re talking about 1% to 4%.

So if you’re spending money on 96% that aren’t going to convert, that 4% has got to count. And if you have to scale to continue to reach that four to five, like, there’s no way to get to 20% conversion. You just have to get really good at optimizing to scale to get to 4% with a larger push, right?

Within certain industries. And it also depends on what your offer is. For e-commerce direct transaction, Yes. For service based or lead generation, generally looking for 10 to 20%. Some of the accounts we’re working on will push 50-60% just because it’s been refined over such a long period of time. But what you’re looking for is not only a conversion rate, but anything that’s a percentage based is going to always be a very misleading metric. Anything that is an average or a percentage needs way more context for it to be valuable to you, because we’re not just looking for conversions.

We’re looking for quality conversions. Now, obviously, with something like e-commerce, you’re going to be able to see what the revenue was made or revenue wasn’t made. For lead gen, this is one of the big pitfalls is, okay, great. A conversion happened.

Let’s spend more money here because that’s not necessarily a quality conversion or one that’s going to be more profitable. And so looking at the bigger picture in those instances, such as okay, great. It’s a construction business, and they have a higher conversion rate in this area. But that area is 50 miles north. And so what happens is they’re going to have to increase their bids to account for travel time. They’re going to be able to do less jobs in a day because they’re further away from where most of their jobs are.

And not only that, but they’re probably going to be bidding higher than their local competitors who don’t have to factor in the travel costs nearly as much. They’re less likely to win those jobs in the first place. So even though Location B has a 15% higher cost per conversion, it’s actually more profitable to spend more money here because the bids are going to be lower. It’s going to be faster and easier for them to get there. So it’s less resources on their end. They’re more well known in this local area.

This is where the corporate headquarters are, et cetera.

If anybody doesn’t hire you on the spot from just your explanation of that, then they’re really not thinking about their priorities, right? Because again, I love this. The thought process that goes into the approach is really important. I work with a lot of folks that you can’t see outside of, I just need to create a chart so that every Monday, I’ve got something that goes up and to the right, and we fall victim to that. That becomes the thing you measure. And it’s really tough because like having gone through work with ads and I’ve used Facebook Ads as my primary channel for my coffee company.

And if you don’t measure it right, I’ll say I’ll spend $400 on an ad which is very simple small thing. Like first thing, I spent my 1st $400 on an ad and conversion rate was really cool. And I made all of my money back with no problem at all. And then you go and you toss another $400 at that with the same ad and then you get like, 3% conversion. I’m like, okay, so if I were to look at one versus the other, it’s not going to be a good sampling.

If I take the average, it’s really going to water it all down. But then like you said, what if I took the existing customers and then I did stuff like retargeting close to the cart customers and I did retargeting. And then I see that. And then customers that buy. I send a follow up three weeks later because I know they’re going to run out of coffee and give them a coupon that shows up in their mailbox three weeks after they buy and the conversion rates are incredible.

There’s like, that approach now that I tested them like, okay, this is where I know if I can get them to the checkout and get them to click buy. I know I’ve got good follow on and I’ve got good other things, and there’s physical retargeting. Actually, I’d actually love to get your thoughts on that one. When does physical remarketing and retargeting come into play with companies?

So to what extent if you can define that a little bit more?

Yeah. So like, sort of the postcards like a real material follow up because I get it when I shoot a recent guest on. She was fantastic. Michelle Seiler Tucker, and I have her book on my shelf here because I just read it and she sends, like, a postcard, a handwritten postcard. And I’m like, this is awesome. Even if somebody gets a service to write the handwritten postcard, it doesn’t sends me to then go back and double check your website and find out when the next book is coming out or find it when the next thing is coming.

Where do you get involved in that? I guess first I should ask Jarod, and where do you find that being effective?

Yeah. So difficult question to answer for that do we get involved. Because I try to be very specific about what we do, but at the same time, try to be as much of an asset as possible with clients. So in terms of do we provide that service? No.

But we consult with clients about a ton of different marketing channels and give our feedback where we can. So for something like that, I would look at it from a couple of different perspectives. One would be retention because there are some things that you just can’t measure, and those tend to be some of the most profitable things out there. The reason being is that everybody is way too focused on being data driven to the point where it’s causing a lot more harm than good. And so, in my opinion, it’s much better to be data informed, which is more complicated.

There’s more pushback. It’s harder to prove things, but in terms of being people, I think it performs better. Now on the matter of being more data informed, I know that if I take a more personalized approach, it’s going to drive a better experience, even if people don’t outright tell me that. For example, we were working with a company that we’re no longer working with, and they were an e-commerce company, and we kept finding various small issues, sometimes major issues with various aspects of the business that we were genuinely concerned about.

I’ll do this for some clients, but I never tell them that I do. So I went to their site and I ordered one of their products. So now I’m on their actual post sale process, and I get to see everything end to end. So the email marketing, very generic, and this is a product that is something where there’s not a whole lot of, a lot of the people buying are not generally informed about it and are kind of hesitant to try it. And so there wasn’t a whole lot of education happening in the email or anything special for being a new customer.

The SMS messaging was very boring and kind of generic. As a new customer, I didn’t feel any different than somebody who has bought a thousand times before. I didn’t feel as though there’s anything really standing out about this. And then I got the package in the mail and it was a general, like, flat rate envelope. I completely forgot what I ordered at the time. So I was like, what is this? I opened it up and the products inside. There’s no box, there’s no branding. There’s not only that, but the way that the product was described on the website didn’t really seem to be aligned with what I got.

And also the one that I ordered was the wrong time, but with the right label on it. And so from end to end, it was just a completely poor experience where it’s one of the big things as to why we no longer work with them is that I would never buy from that company again. It was just such a poor experience, and they’re not necessarily going to get that feedback from people because it’s just easier to go. Okay, great. That’s $20, whatever. That was a waste. I just won’t order from here again.

And so just by sending something like a handmade postcard, you won’t necessarily be able to track like people are. I mean, you can put tracking codes like oh, they’re ordering more. Maybe you A/B test, like, do people order more? We send this versus we don’t. And that’s all fine. But I know that long term way pass being able to easily measure this over the course of several years. People are probably more likely to tell their friends about me. If I’m sending out handwritten postcards, people are more likely to probably order for longer periods of time, which is harder to track, especially when you have so many different touch points happening and so many different.

Was it the emails? Was it the events that we’re doing? Was it the TV et cetera? And so for something like that, I would know it would probably work out in the long term. But for smaller businesses that have to be much more careful with every dollar that they spend, it’s something that would be very cost conscientious about because it’s something that maybe it helps over the course of three to five years, a lot. But maybe it slightly increases orders over the course of, like a year or two where it’s very hard to measure what’s happening.

So be a little bit careful there. But I always like to see how things can be tracked as much as possible, such as. Okay, great. We can track from a data perspective, when was this sent out? Roughly when they would have received it? And when was their next order compared to people that haven’t sent to sell? If you have enough customers, you can do an actual split test, make sure you’re actually running the test properly and you have enough that you can actually get a real sample size. Otherwise it’s just going to be data that doesn’t really mean anything.

But also, if you put a special coupon code, maybe on that, put a special maybe a website link, so you can track how many people actually visit from that website, or if you have a customer support number where it’s like, oh, thanks so much for your first ever order. We’d love if you would call us directly and even we’re not available, leave us a voicemail. Let us know what you felt about it. Or here’s an email that you can respond to, et cetera.

How many people actually contact that specific email or call that specific number? CallRail will cost you an extra dollar a month or Twilio, if you have a more technical background, it will be a lot cheaper. So I think it’s a good idea. I think it’s one of those things really difficult to track in the long term. And because of that, it’s probably incredibly profitable. But for a lot of businesses, that’s where it also becomes very scary when they go, okay, great. This is a very limited marketing budget.

How do I explain to myself or how do I explain to my boss that this is working? Sometimes you can’t. And a lot of that comes down to the data-informed side of things, which is that reasonably of the ten different coffee brands that maybe they’ve tried within the past year, how many of them have personally reached out to them?

Yeah, it’s funny. And it becomes a thing of measure what matters. And also, like you said, there’s the personalization. There’s the period of time over which it would be effective. I just need to get people and get that first customers and then work on the customer delight experience from that point forward’ there’s no point in like I said, thinking about how do I retain an 18 month customer when I have zero customers or 20 customers? I’m like, I just need to get to 100 customers, and then we can begin to backfill and do some of that post sales delighting type of thing.

And again, using data and anecdotal information to be able to inform that like you said, it’s data driven. It’s just been washed out as a phrase because people say, oh, we’re data driven, like, I can take any set of data and make it tell the story that I want to. But are you actually merging it with true anecdotal experience? And then, like I said, data informed as a much better thing. On the Google side of things, and I guess in general, Google is a moving target.

Everything is. We all saw the introduction of the Core Web Vitals in around July timeframe that kicked in leading up to it. Everybody was freaking out because they’re like, I’m going to get punished for my web speed and it’s going to affect my search ranking results. Is this going to affect my SEO and my ability to do CPMs? The irony was the blog from Google about Core Web Vitals fails Core Web Vitals, like the actual product blog from Google doesn’t pass their own test. So number one, is it real as a worry?

And number two, how do you stay on top of things like that? I would assume, Jarod, that nothing is done in your world. We have to keep revisiting. Am I right on that assumption?

Yeah, you’re absolutely correct. So for a little bit of context in 2018, maybe 2019. Don’t quote me on that. Google announced, I believe again, don’t quote me on this. It was the only time they’ve announced how many updates they’ve made to their search algorithms over the course of a year. And it was over 3500 changes over the course of a year. Most of these changes will go completely unnoticed. If you were to use a range tracking tool, which if you use a phone and we don’t, nowadays. It’s not going to be the end of the world.

But if you look and you see that fluctuation, we go from anywhere from five to three, depending on the day. You’re not going to be able to look at that normal fluctuation go, what happened? Where? Oh, maybe that was a Google update. And that’s why we’re now four more often than we were five. Or maybe it was just that you did something and then the way that Google’s indexes work is that they can come and crawl your website and then they render different parts of the website at different times.

It takes anyone with a technical background knows it’s much easier to parse HTML than is JavaScript. It’s going to take a lot longer with how much code is on websites nowadays. It’s going to take Google a long time to understand that long time in terms of Google. They just crawled half the way. It takes time to do that. And when you look at tiered indexes and when you look at ranking and reranking, look at all the sophistication that’s built in. It’s really hard to understand exactly what every little nuance is and what did or did not affect you.

What I’ve learned over the past ten years is that there have been very few updates that I have been worried with for the types of businesses that we work with, which is not something that are in very dangerous niches. And what I mean by that is your money, your life type stuff like if you’re in weight loss, if you’re in a very, if you provide a lot of financial information, especially on the more sketchier side of things like crypto, penny stock stuff that tends to be pump-and-dump happening all the time. And that kind of stuff like you’re, a lot of medical advice, things like that are very scrutinized.

Those tend to see the biggest fluctuations also on the affiliate marketing side of stuff which I have various sites in that those are always wildly fluctuating. But the average business I see barely move unless something has been done wrong over a long period of time. In which case then we’ll get a little bit nervous where sometimes we’ll be working with a client that has done some sketchy stuff in the past for links, and every time that there’s a core algorithm update, it’s like, well, this tank, who knows it’s possible?

Stuff that you did years ago can really come back to bite you. Which is why I usually recommend people be very careful with SEO much more than any other marketing channel, because literally stuff that you did five or six years ago could come back and punish you tomorrow. So when it comes to specifically Core Web Vitals. We all know that we need fast websites. It’s not rocket size. If your website takes 20 seconds to load, nobody wants to buy from you. This has been known for years.

I think 2014 or 2015. A study was done that showed the average person like 40% of people bounce if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load on a mobile. Page speed has been important for UX for a long time. In terms of getting past Google scores. It’s something I haven’t really worried about too much like it’s something where it’s like we do want to try as best as possible. Now that Google has officially made it a ranking factor, is trying to be in the good zone as much as possible, but also page speed is a very complex topic where it also depends on the connection that people are using the browser that they’re using.

How it’s actually being rendered will affect the user apart from how it looks at Google. And there was a point in time where it was just page speed insights. I took a flat HTML site that I built that was very clean code that loaded in .2 seconds based on every test you’d ever run. If you load it in mobile or your desktop, it would always load instantly, and it had like a 12 out of 100 and then a much slower version of that site. Objectively like you try to visit, it would take about a second and a second and a half to load, would have like an 80.

When it comes to speed, I focus much more on the UX side of things than I focus on the Google side of things. And realistically, if everybody else in your industry that is also ranking for the same terms as you loads in 4 seconds and you load in three. And Google says that your scores are bad. Chances are there’s a worse. So in terms of that factor, you’re winning. How much of an impact of that factor is how heavily weighted it is.

If you want to dive into the algorithm side of things, it’s always a question how much it affects on a ranking versus a reranking basis. There’s always questions in there. Maybe there’s a little bit more detail in the patents. Or if you look at Stanford, has a lot of documents that will detail how algorithms can work just because that’s how they can work doesn’t mean they’re necessarily in use. But for something like Core Web Vitals specifically, it’s something I went, okay, cool. That’s interesting. And then just carry it on about my day and then look at the stores when they come into search console.

But aside from that, I didn’t really worry about that. The only things that I’ve really ever have to worry about with Google is when Penguin 4.0 came out in 2018. I believe that was something that had been anticipated for quite a few years, and so I was very interested to see what was going to happen with that, because Google went from punishing you for bad links to being able to ignore bad links, which made things both more difficult and easier at the same time.


And then where I’m much more concerned right now is on the Data Privacy things.

We just saw Facebook. It absolutely destroyed with iOS 14, where you might be getting the same result. But now you’re only being able to track, like, 70% or 80% of the conversions, right? Google was originally going to get rid of third party cookies in 2022. They now push that off to mid 2023. And with that, the question is, well, if they don’t find out a solution why remarketing has gone because they haven’t found a solution for that, FLOC or the Federated learning of Cohorts is heavily disputed.

WordPress is saying they’re going to block it by default. Google has a lot of stuff that they need to do right now. There’s very little insight as to what the advertising world will look like in terms of digital. Come here, mid 2023, assuming that the deadline doesn’t move again. And out of everything that’s happened within the past couple of years, that’s the only one that I’m genuinely nervous and hesitant about, because I think that one’s going to be tough for the advertising world, but also even tougher for the people who are paying advertisers who aren’t marketers themselves.

They don’t necessarily have the acumen to understand that you might be getting the same result, even though we can only make a report on 80% to 90 of what it was before, especially for those accounts that are just barely making it through where they need to be. That may now show that they’re underperforming below their baseline, even though that’s the same. In short, Core Web Vitals, whatever like it’s something, not really too worried about it. I’m more concerned about the Data Privacy changes we’re seeing right now.

Yeah. It’s amazing that you think about that. When I saw what’s potentially and it could happen both quickly and slowly in weird ways. And Google, if there’s legislative stuff that comes down, you can see very rapid, strange changes, because part of the problem is that they’re effectively the only game in town as far as the major game in town. Facebook obviously same story. They’ve got a significant presence. These are the champions of ad media. It used to be the signs you drive by on the highway, and it’s long gone now, right?

No one does TV advertising the same way anymore. If we see this some shift, the trick is what’s on the other side of it, we went from print media to television media and radio media like you got what the change would mean. You got how you could measure it. This is the first potential change where we have no idea what’s on the other side of it. We are almost taking it back to the billboards where you’re just saying, hey, I see 20,000 cars drive by this an hour.

I can’t tell you what the cars are, what the demographics are, the people driving them. But I can tell you that 20,000 cars drive by it every hour. That’s all we’re going to be that level of lack of knowledge on the digital front, which is kind of weird.

Yeah. There’s a big consumer movement towards massively limiting data to the point where some of the more, I would say extreme groups want there essentially to be no data, no tracking like you shouldn’t know who does or does not purchase from your own website, even first party tracking, let alone third party tracking. And what makes it quite challenging is things like view through and click through conversions, in which case, you might find that a YouTube video that you’re running doesn’t convince anybody to convert. But what it does do is help educate people of your brand.

And when you look over a 90-day period, you can see that people who viewed this ad ended up more likely in a different segment that you’re tracking? Or are they more likely to engage with your ads on another platform? And then without that, you might just assume, okay, well, YouTube doesn’t work. So let me turn that off completely. So on one hand, allegedly, by the way, before, I don’t want to stand alone bills for everybody. But allegedly, from the last I’ve heard Google saying that FLOC would have about 95% of the same performance as of right now.

But what people are nervous about is that you don’t really know until you know, and if you were to know it was only going to be 60% the same, you definitely wouldn’t say that, because then everybody would freak out. And Google makes about $140,000,000,000 a year from just ads, I believe. So, there’s a very heavy incentive for them to get this as right as possible. But what we might see is that ad costs may actually go down because the tracking is less there. So people are going to be less likely to spend as much money.

And so that’s also the potential counterpoint to that. Which is that, okay, great. Well, if you can only track things 90% as well, we want to only spend 90% as much as we were per click or per impression as we were beforehand to kind of try and even that out. I think it’s a bit of a good time. Some of the changes are needed. Data is kind of like the Wild Wild West right now, but I am fearful that we might go from very far in one direction, which is collect any sort of data you want.

Like, no one is really going to know how it works unless they really dive into it. No one knows what you’re collecting. Some of it’s pretty shady. Like is my smart home device, like listening to me right now and transmitting that to a humans reading that is potentially personal information, et cetera. To the other side of things, which may be very little data, in which case, honestly, it’ll hurt the smaller businesses out of anyone. Target can afford to spend $100 million on an advertising campaign and go, you know what people know our name.

They’re going to buy from us, a small company that no one’s ever heard of needs a lot more data in order to know that this is actually working for them to use that money effectively. So in my opinion, is going to hurt the smaller businesses and the smaller advertisers more. Unfortunately, which is something that I don’t see being talked about a whole lot.

Yes, that’s a tough one. And it’s funny, like the assistants listening to us. People, often, I want to do just a podcast with nothing. Just every ten minutes, just say, Xbox turn off, Amazon order, you squeeze those things in. And that’s the stuff that I dislike. I don’t mind retargeting for ads. I kind of know what’s going on if I need, I use VPNs for a variety of just like, for web testing and for just general safety as I move around in strange Wi-Fi. I do stuff like that. And I know it will lock down some of that, but I accept that retargeting is a thing and cookie tracking is a thing and it will occur.

I know how the machine works, so I don’t mind. Like I said, there’s no listening assistance in my entire house for a reason. I don’t like that part of it, but yeah, I’m with you. This is kind of a wild time that’s ahead. And look for folks that are listening now, it reminds you that very few people are going to care as much about this as what you and folks like you are doing, Jarod. This is why it’s good to reach out to folks that do this.

That’s your focus, because my internal team, I can’t afford to have them care this hard about it. I need them to be good at knowing my business and then taking it to this is why comment feels important. And I think people got to head there. All, of course, have links to the website, and people should definitely reach out because this is the time now to leverage this capability. We’re still in a very weird spot as far as human movement in the world. So all of the traditional media, all of the traditional approaches, they got wiped off the map 18 months ago, and they are not coming back.

And this is the digital forefront. We thought the digital forefront happened already, but this is a chance more people don’t have to go back to work. They can start their own side hustle, they can use you and use the techniques that you’ve got, and they can unlock a really cool new feature for themselves and their families and their organizations. I’m excited in a weird way of like how strange it’s been because I want to find the good in all the craziness that’s happened. It’s out there.

It’s out there somewhere. Obviously, I would trade every positive outcome to not have to have the world go through what we’ve gone through. But, it’s happened. Like, let’s try and find something good out of it.

Yeah. And I mean, luckily, what it has done on the good side is, as you mentioned, from the technology side, it has pushed a lot of people to embrace technology. And not only that, realize how inexpensive a lot of it is. Go back 15, 20 years and okay, great. You want a basic website? Every tiny, every character had to be coded from scratch on more archaic systems, with a lot less automations and automatic press tab. And it finishes the line of code for you, et cetera.

So, okay, great. You want a really basic website, please pay me $15,000, $20,000. And now that same really basic website, you can just sign up to WordPress, which is free and open source, and then you select a theme or Squarespace, Wix, et cetera. Where if you’re looking for something basic, great, that cost is gone. So many businesses throughout the past year, almost two now have developed like, apps. I got contacted by a laundry mat, and they were like, hey, we just developed this app. And so now set people coming to our laundry mat.

We now have TaskRabbit like contractors especially. Basically the Uber of laundry. Locally, we just go to their house, we pick it up, and then they bring it to the laundry mat. They put in the machine, and then it runs its cycle. And when it’s done, somebody else comes and they bring it back there’s like a butcher shop in New York City that I can’t remember the name, but they absolutely exploded in growth, and they had to develop, like, an online ordering system and so many restaurants around me.

I’m in New Hampshire, which is not the most tech friendly place in the world. There was like, ten places that we would order from, because these are places that we can order online from.

Great. Aside from Uber Eats and DoorDash and whatnot. And almost everybody has their online ordering figured out. They realized that, oh, this isn’t this thing that has to be built from scratch. It’s going to cost tens of thousands of dollars, like it did when we looked into it ten years ago. But now our hand is being forced. Now we have to find a way to do it and a way to do it cost effectively. And, oh, we don’t have to build this from scratch. There’s literally an API that cost $5 a month that has already built the technology for us.

We just need someone to build us a nice looking interface for it.

It’s an amazing thing to watch occur, so it’s not slowing down. There will be more changes like this. And this is why, as I said, go to the experts. So there you go, Jarod Spiewak. What’s the best way if folks want to reach you? Of course they can go to cometfuel.com, if they could find out about you and the team if they wanted to reach out personally, what’s the top way to find you?

Yeah. So if you want to reach out personally, I’d recommend connecting with me on LinkedIn. And what I’m trying to do is slowly over time. When I have time is build up my YouTube channel. So if you just look up Jarod Spiewak on YouTube, there’s not much on there right now, but I am trying to make a much bigger push for it, so I’d really appreciate anybody engaging with me there.

I like your agency is Devon. That was really. But your contact is really cool. Like you said, we can look at websites all we want. Just spend some time with the person. And it’s been a real pleasure to learn from you today. And folks, inevitably, they should lean in because this is the kind of stuff. That’s why I love podcasting so much more than just like, even going long form too. Everybody said to me, like, don’t go long form. Like people don’t have the attention for over 30 minutes.

The data has not proven that out. I can tell you without a doubt that being longer for number one, list ability is higher. And number two, every single person has a can set of responses for the first 20 to 30 minutes. And after that, you’re actually having a real personal discussion with somebody. And it’s cool because they get to hear your nuances. Your character comes out, and it’s so much more effective than just like, here’s the three things that we do really well, I’m like they could go to your website and find that out.

This is why I love going longer. Well, if I’m lucky, I’ll be a client as well someday soon. So with that, Jarod Spiewak, thanks very much.

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.

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Randy is a recognized brand strategist, conceptor, and creative director with over twenty-five years of marketing and innovation experience in the client, agency and media worlds, from entrepreneurial to corporate environments.

We discuss the power and importance of storytelling, the choice of medium (and platform), plus core lessons and fundamentals that every entrepreneur or business needs to embrace to successfully amplify their message and value.

Check out The Visual Brand here: https://www.thevisualbrand.com/ 

Transcript powered by Happy Scribe

Welcome to the show. My name is Eric Wright. I am host for your DiscoPosse Podcast and this is going to be a really, really great story bound episode with the voice, the creator and the minds behind The Visual Brand is Randy Herbertson. He’s a really, really incredible individual. But let’s just wait for a second.

And speaking of stories, I’ve got a story to tell you. It’s a story, making sure that you protect all the data you got because before you get into the podcast, make sure you get yourself over the fine friends and Veeam software.

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This is Randy Herbertson. Randy is really cool. I love this chat. He’s just such a he gets it. He gets how to tell stories. So we go through the history of big brands. Oh, you’re gonna love it. Seriously, I’m actually just excited as your about to enjoy this episode as much as I did. So this is it. This is Randy Herbertson from The Visual Brand on the DiscoPosse Podcast.

This is Randy Herbertson. I am the founder and principal of The Visual Brand, and you’re listening to the DiscoPosse Podcast.

My favorite thing I love, especially when people that your job and your passion is brand. And you nailed it on the first try for, first of all, saying DiscoPosse podcast is a challenge unto itself. But as somebody who, when I look at the work you’ve done and your approach to things and I’m really, really excited by the chance to chat today. For folks that are brand new to you, you can definitely give your better version of your backgrounds than I can. So let’s do that. Randy, tell folks about you, The Visual Brand, and this is going to be fun because I know this is an area that I’m passionate about, and a lot of people come to me regularly.

Like, how do I stand out? What are the things I can do, especially in kind of a strange world that we’re in right now and how things are changing in media?

Yes. All right. So very quickly. So my background, I traveled all the sort of major arenas of marketing after graduating with business and graphic design degree, which is a little odd I realized. I’ve been sort of in a new product and service for my whole career. But I’ve done that on that’s called the client-side or the brand-side. I’ve done it on the media side and the agency, the large agency-side. And now for the last 15 years, I’ve been in the small agency world where I’ve owned my own businesses.

I’m in my second one. Now based on Westport, Connecticut. I did the flight from urban, commuting early long before COVID. About eight years ago, I decided to move my business to a converted post office that I’m in right now, five minutes from home and found no problem finding clients who troll over the world and employees, fortunately, plenty in the area. And the theme again. So for my business, I have always been sort of a right-brain, left-brain approach to new products and services.

And this is where I think people, they struggle with understanding what it means when you go to a consultancy and agency into an outside group to look for help around how to most effectively portray and emote your brand. And I use that word very strongly. Like it’s not just telling, it is emoting. You have to infuse the vision, what your passion in the organization and have it come out in different medium. Right.

Whether it’s the written word, the just the pure print visuals, web visuals.


It’s very difficult for people to look outside of themselves and accept that inbound. But when they do, they’re like, oh, wow. There’s this neat thing that happens when they realize, like, you are really good at what you do. Why wouldn’t you hire somebody who’s really good at helping you to portray this brand outside? Right?

So you’re describing classically. We worked with big companies and small companies and the small company. You’re describing it perfectly where a founder has come up with an idea and sometimes the idea is something they don’t even know how to do. But they’ve come up with a great idea, and that’s even more problematic because then they have to get someone to do it for them. But typically, again, any small business person knows you have to be the Jack of all trades. But the reality is that you should be focused on what you make or what you provide and not trying to do things you don’t do .

That again in one part of it, where we come in. But to take further what you were saying before, we have a strong belief that your, as we call it, your brand foundation goes beyond your communication. It also goes to everything. It goes to your product form or the way you articulate your service, the way you execute what you do every part of the whole process, from the customer service first gateway to the end, the whole thing and the brands that we look at that are so successful have a lot about that, that every touch point of the experience carries a consistence theme or personality.

And again, a lot of times that happens intuitively, and sometimes you go, everything is great about it. I love this product, but something’s just not working. Oh, they’re really rude when they communicate with me. Oh, I get it in a weird box that doesn’t seem to match the luxury element of the product or all sorts of things. Or they have a website that is really aggressive, and this is supposed to be for something soft and gentle. So there’s all sorts of ways that that has to come together.

And so that again, like I said, we call it a brand foundation, is something that is a starting point for almost every innovation project that we do, even where a client doesn’t even understand that it’s needed until we kind of communicate what it is. And the nice thing about that once you have it and it’s a living, breathing document to use literally every day, we would utilize it as we’re going through the full process of whatever we’re assigned to do with them. But then they really becomes a little bit primer forward, going forward, right down to what’s your brand vocabulary, which is really your communication code.

What is your tone of matter? Like you said, what your emotional and functional drivers? I thought about this for so long, literally, when we create this, it’s like literally twelve pages. It’s not 89, 90 page, a lot of complicated metaphors, and we find it works. And again, it makes our job easier. And it makes the clients job easier as well to frankly communicate to us what they’re after.

The thing that we’ve learned. Luckily, I think over especially the last 20 years, the marriage of behavioral psychology into business in how we saw what, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, ultimately gave us with. Thinking fast and slow and understand behavioral economics, when to. Behavioral psychologists, one Nobel Prize for economics. We realized that the industries aren’t actually separated. The genres aren’t distinct and diverse away from each other. And now the same thing with brand. It’s not just, you know, you can’t just say, does it look good? Or does it have the right font?

It’s what what are you trying to achieve? When somebody opens this box, they receive your phone call. Like you said, user experience, especially now that we know it’s critical in the flow of how people get to your website, how they sign up to get a demo, what’s that called, like all this crazy stuff that we do. It seems like throw away things sometimes. But as I say, user experience, no one knows good user experience, but you very quickly know bad user experience. Good user experience is like painted room.

When it’s done right, when you paint a whole room and then someone walks in after you paint it, they say, okay, looks good. But if they walked in halfway through, they’d be like, oh, you got a long way to go. It’s immediately obvious that you’re doing this thing, but when it’s done, it just feels right.

That’s right. Or and again, a word often happens when you say something isn’t right.


Where you say yes. There’s so many things I like about this experience, whether it’s a product experience or service experience, but something isn’t working. That’s the part where you need to think about it. And truth, like I said, when constructed correctly, when you know kind of what your personality should be, what your most important drivers are, then you utilize it. And that’s also, frankly, we do it like to keep it very simple.

So it’s easy for you to communicate to others, to do it that way as well. Like you said, one of your. Interestingly, we had a cosmetic client that a very important driver was fun, which is kind of a weird word in the cosmetic world. Honestly, that became a very, really critical part of literally even creating products for them. But fun in the way that they interpreted. Not like boisterous fun necessarily. But so those kind of things are important because, again, that also, frankly, makes your life simpler.

But, you know, when you read reviews of companies, a lot of times, people. When negative reviews comes down. Oh, I expected this because you communicate some way with this. But I got this. And that disconnect is the place where you go, okay. So how do we not stay true to who we are in that way? Where and where did it fall down? And then you try to fix it.

Yeah. And I’ll say the example I always love to give is, you watch a commercial and it shows people dancing in a field and they go through this whole thing and they show somebody laying on a beach and holding a drink and smiling and laughing and hugging. And then it says, you know, Alandra, and you’re, like, contact your physician. I have no idea what this thing is supposed to do, but there’s no connection to and they don’t mention it because it’s probably a host of disclaimers. But like, I’m completely lost.

You hit one of my pet peeves. And this is that my dislike of focus on what kind of word you want is that there’s lots of great cinematography down out there that has nothing to do with selling a product or service that is gorgeous. It’s a motive. It’s beautiful. At the end of the day, does it make you feel better about the brand you don’t remember what it is? I’m not so sure. So the really genius communication work brings those two things together that you hit a core element of who you are as a brand.

And it doesn’t mean you can’t use associative things, you can. But if they’re so far afield, how does that help you? Same thing I remember an agency that I work with and this beautiful, beautiful work for a bank. And maybe this whole thing about a mother reading a story to a child. And it was a beautiful, gorgeous thing at the end that said, XX Bank. And, of course, recall is really low. In won all sorts of awards, but what does it have to do with the bank?

And of course, the agent said, oh, it’s a soft, warm touch you have with your client. The truth is, you’re asking that consumer to go a big stretch to go from mom reading a book to bank experience because you told me nothing about the bank experience.

Yeah. This is always the I think another thing that people get concerned about when they look to go outside is they sometimes worry that the person creating the asset, like the outcome is looking for, like, they’re looking to win an Emmy for a commercial, not to really, truly connect the brands to customers. There’s an unfortunate thing where we’ve seen things, and sometimes it works like, of course, I’ll call it out. I mentioned I’m not going to mention competitors when I call it sort of the famous Chiat/Day, the 1984 throwing a hammer at the screen.

It had nothing to do with what was there. However, Steve Jobs was, like, perfect. He was like, Ed Wood, just like, this is completely wrong. He says, exactly. And it worked in a weird way. But today we people think that that’s what’s going to happen. They’re going to end up with a cologne ad type of completely discounting be visually appealing. And they fear that you can’t understand my brand as well as I can because I literally created it. And it’s this unfortunate control feeling that a lot of founders have where they’re afraid to have somebody else tell them what they actually feel about the brand when you tell limits.

Sorry, I know this all too well. As I approach people at a time when I do advisory, and there’s a real sense that, like, no one can know me as well as me. Actually, that’s not the case.

The truth is, what we find is it’s unlocking what that me is. So it definitely mean we’re inventing it for the product or service, necessarily, unless they really have no idea. And you have to come up with something. But usually it’s there in some way, you just have to lock it. So the problem, usually for the founder, is just being unable to articulate it. Yeah. And finding that way to articulate is critical. And again, sometimes it’s a little bit of a trial and error kind of situation, but we’re successful.

Ultimately, they go, oh, yeah, that’s sick. So it’s like, literally it’s like I said, it’s not a black boxing thing. Here’s the grand reveal. Here’s who you are. Here’s who you want to be, and they go, okay, great. I never thought of that. It should go, oh, that feels right. That feels like what I met or gosh. I’ve never been able to articulate that in the same way.

It also what I want to ask you, Randy, is like, over the course of time, what you found to be the testing process, right? This is not like four people will interview you for 2 hours, then they go away, and two weeks later, they hand you your press kit, your brand kit, whatever. That’s not how it works. There’s a real interactive, continuous process. So maybe walk folks through what you found to be a successful method in going from I need help with my brand to people saying, okay, it’s working now.

So to your point, I would say the less successful or less effective ones. This woman says, okay, go do this for me. Come back when it’s done presented to me great data that in those situations nine times out of ten, they don’t actually use that. They don’t actually follow it. When we try to do any continued work, creatively against it, they go, okay. Because they haven’t really taken ownership of it. So in the best situation is finding that perfect balance where they’re a part of the process and look for everybody, that level of time commitment is different.

And obviously, thank you. With virtual platforms that’s become a little easier than it used to be, because it doesn’t mean we have to go to you or you have to come to us every time we do that. We always do, of course, a lot of internal work, even behind the scenes. But that ownership piece is really, really critical. So the way we typically try to do it is do it in stages and where we can literally do a little bit of work, do a little check in, and because the work is iterative, it’s a building block.

Okay, so we go to the next stage. We can say, okay, look, we all agreed you were part of this, and they go, yes, that’s familiar. And then how do we get to the next stage? Because you know, frankly, the biggest challenge a consultant or an agency has is getting the right kind of direction from the client. Not that at one end. I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel right.


Saying, you know, I just want it to be red. Please just make it red. And our answers to both is why?

Why is our most important word? So if you want it to be red, why is red important? Well, because it’s always been red. So what is that trying to tell people? Why is it? Not saying it’s wrong. So as creative people, we want to understand, not just the direction we understand why we’re doing it that way. It doesn’t mean we’re going to do something different. We just need to understand it, because I always say we can either give you exactly what you asked for or what we recommend.

You probably are paying us for what we recommend, but we want what we recommend to be in line with what you want and the other part where they say it just doesn’t feel right. I always say, give me some adjectives. Okay. Is it too much of this? Is it too little of that? Because again, when you speak to us in adjectives, we can start painting a picture to get to the right place. So that is our biggest challenge. And one thing, our brand foundation, where it tries to get at.

But even without it, that is the thing that you always work at trying to get. Because I said, clients end up on one end of the other where they give you no direction at all. And either are happier decided or give you too much direction.

Yeah. And you end up with this thing of like, I don’t know. It feels like it needs more pop. You describe exactly what it is that your after. And the color thing is, as you said, it’s not even that you’re saying it’s right or wrong. It’s tell me what the background is. What made you decide that that’s important, what makes this valuable to you and how you portray your brand or your company, and it can be. I like yellow. My daughter, it’s her favorite color.

Okay. It’s great. I take, are you trying to be the ideal psychological color to draw people in to make them feel calm? Like, no, my daughter likes yellow. Perfect. That’s a boundary, will work within that.

Even there you say, how does that make her feel? And how does that feeling transit you makes her feel safe. Great. So it’s feeling safe as in safety of security. Is that part of what you want to communicate? Then you’re getting somewhere, then you’re getting a place that you can work with versus just simply saying it’s the color that I like. Because, frankly, even with anything, particularly with color or things, it’s not a non emotional response. We always have an emotional response to color in some way, whether we recognize it or not.

And obviously color is just one element. But that is like you said early on, the emotional response. It’s important. Look at that. Also, we also have functional drivers. There are functional things that brands and services need to do that are not necessarily emotional, but both have to sort of work together.

And when it comes to train the customer as part of their brand, like you said, we could show the things and they may look visually fantastic. But if it doesn’t actually connect you to what the customers either currently experiencing or will experience as a result of engaging with this company or product, that’s why it’s so important. And even we say, like, a thing can be fantastic. Right? This is an amazing bottle. I love this bottle. It fits beautifully into my cupboard, whatever the reason is. But if it wasn’t water that I like to drink, it wouldn’t matter that the bottle fits perfectly in my cupboard.

It is truly matching all of these requirements. And the most important one being I really like the water.

Right. Which is okay. And sometimes, well, I really like the water, but it’s so hard, it doesn’t fit anywhere. I can’t open the top. So you know what? I’ll find another water. So that functionally you are kind of love the idea of that. I love being seen holding that. It’s very cool, but it’s such so difficult, so many obstacles to get there that I don’t want to continue. It’s funny. We do a fair amount of work in industrial design and packaging as well. And we’ve recently worked with two clients said to add spectrum, one that very much about meticulous detail and ceremony and all that kind of stuff.

And so when we were doing the packaging, so I always think packages to sort of open like a present in some way should have some kind of ritual. For that one end, it had let’s just say, lots of layers. You’ve had some elements to get to and storytelling that unfolded, and it completely fit the product for the other product. It was really all about efficiency and time savings. So it had to be as simple as possible. So I said, okay, this is the opposite. So no layers, don’t make it an origami opening.

I got to make it so kind of ingeniously simple. It was funny what we ended up with. I did exactly that. So basically, when you open the package, the product base popped out at you in a way without falling in your lap. But that would fit what that user expected, which was I want to get there 2 seconds because this is a fast, efficient product. So that’s again, about just really paying attention to your full product experience.

And another one. I’ll use an example, and I’m going to pick a specific branch because it’s interesting where the brand is actually completely opposite to the product. However, it’s part of their choice. And there’s a company called Liquid Death, and they make water. Flat water and sparkling water. It comes in cans that have, like, a devil face on it. They look like it’s like an energy drink or 17% beer, and their whole thing is murder, your thirst and all the stuff. And in the end, it’s literally water.

But they specifically said, we’re going to create this crazy brands like the red bowl of water. And so it’s almost like at the antithesis of the actual product. But in this case, it’s actually working out well for them. So I’m curious, Randy, when you see also, where does that work? Where you can have these almost like a dichotomy in the presentation. But yet it gets you to a place where you’re like, oh, cool. I dig this product because I dig their branding.

So it’s actually great in my country. Love what I would call paradoxes or juxtapositions. That is okay, because sometimes you need just that we have a brand, new brand we’re working right now where our overarching theme is what we’re calling modern nostalgia. So to us, it has these particular brand. There is the nostalgia element that’s really important, but for the audience for reaching, we don’t want to look old, that we have to be sort of nostalgic cast in a new way. And so those juxtapositions can work.

The only thing I would tell you, sometimes, like the example you said, it can get gimmicky. It can be clever. Yes, it’s great to draw somebody, but at the end of the day, you go say, right, I’m selling water. I keep wanting to say that if I don’t like the water and it’s not something that’s affordable, accessible, I probably will say, yeah, it was clever and cool, but I’m not going to keep doing it. Or if it still passes all those other elements you brought them in through the cleverness and he kept them, which is great.

Bringing them in is, of course, if you can’t do that, you can’t get them to stay. So that’s the key with kids, though, it isn’t. You don’t live only on that. Because again, there are plenty of brands out there that have great wrappings, all sorts that are funny, they’re cool, they love it. But then when you get inside, you go, okay. The wrapping was great, the inside was, okay. So if the inside doesn’t also pay off, then you’re not going to keep them.

Yeah. And sometimes as another famous, I actually don’t even know who did their branding on, of course, is Buckley’s Mixture. If you know that one, then it’s awful stuff. And eventually they just changed and said, let’s embrace it. And their slogan became it taste awful, but it works, right?

I thought it works is all right. So what they’re doing, which is clever there is they’re saying, you know what? You’re going to have an obstacle here. It’s going to have an obstacle but the other day is going to be worth it. Okay. And that’s okay. You know, it’s funny. A famous German liquor brand did this where again, they taste absolutely atrocious, it’s really an apparent thing, actually. But they embraced it completely and made it part of their thing. But the other day, it was high alcohol. That’s why people were drinking it.

Okay. So the truth is. But they embrace the fact that you’re gonna hate drinking it. It’s not a drinking experience that’s going to be enjoyable. And so that’s okay. But again, they’re still at the end, something that says it was worth doing for whatever reason, I’ve chosen to do it. If that part doesn’t work, that’s where it falls off the cliff. I worked early in my career, actually, for a brand that was really what’s called a popular price sort of discount brands, but very popular. But they’re chosen communication was very upscale and aspirational and beautiful.

And again, it won awards and all that kind of stuff. But people just really disconnect. They said, you know, I’ve seen these beautiful, gorgeous scenes and all these things. And then I basically find it at Walmart for 299. Where do those two connect? I don’t understand what I’m supposed to do so, not sure but the company said, stop getting a million dollars for this production, this commercial. Not that we have to be downscale, but let’s meet our customer where they’re buying our product. And that’s be more communicative above that level.

Yeah. If you don’t want to pay Kendall Jenner to stand outside of a Dollarama and put it on Instagram, like, it’s not going to connect the customer to the actual emotive experience that they’re going to have. And the reason why they’ve chosen the brand again, each completely right target audience. Fantastic. Target influencer obviously delivers has proven to deliver in some cases, but you just can’t just mush them together and have it automatically work. Right?

That’s right. Absolutely.

Now in the discovery process. And that’s why I love to have you walk a bit further into Randy. When you’re tapping somebody to like, let’s whittle it down to the simplest word. What’s that process look like? As you first sort of sit down in the room and said, you know what we want to come out of this room with and how far are we going to get here today? And what does that process look like?

So we start with what is classy called drivers, motivational drivers. And there’s not a magic number, but it’s often three, emotional and three, functional. It’s one of the hardest things that we do, because again, they have to be distinct. They have to be relevant, and they have to be easy to understand. So even when we come up with words going, I always say, if you have to explain it in more than a sentence, then it doesn’t work. It has to be very, very simple. So that’s the real starting point.

And then we usually take that then take those drivers and model them against consumer profiles that we either know we’re going to be there or maybe there. Now again, qualitative testing can absolutely depending on the brand be in there. And in fact, it’s funny. We’ve been qualitative testing on Zoom and other platforms for many years because you get way better people and they’re not sitting in a focus group facility, and it’s cheaper and faster everything else. So sometimes that process happens. But regardless of that part happens, those drivers, then putting them into consumer segments tells us a lot.

Sometimes we have to back out of the consumer segments and go, you know what we thought this was the driver, but it’s not fitting anywhere. It just sort of, it’s not unique. It’s not distinct so we have to go backwards. But there’s still a direct connection. So that’s another critical step. And then we take from there we then have a really good idea after doing that, understanding how it fits in contact with whoever our segments, that could be consumer could be business segments. And then we build a personality and the personality.

We do a personality ladder, which again starts with attributes of who you are just elements to describe what you are and then go through emotional, functional articulation. And then the personality works. And what I like about that is that, you know, agency that are saying, here’s your brand personality, and you go, so why am I confident? Where did that come from? So the personality letters let you show, so this is where it came from. I understand, started from here. And so that’s the purpose of that. And so again, that’s just sort of the starting gate, the funny last pace.

And again, a lot of we build this off classical models field what is for become statements, which is always hard to write, is usually what comes next. How do we, basically, one, a little bit long sentence describe everything about who we are. So we had to say the old elevator speech. Describe who your are, we are this for this because of this. And that statement happens next. So again, these are all sort of iterative. And where we go from there is into literally building what we call brand vocabulary, which are one of the words that you use consistently or should use consistently.

And these aren’t necessarily invented words. They are words that are in common lexicon. But the words that you may use frequently because they connect to your drivers because they speak to your audience and from a digital world. Yet it’s great to have contextual consistent words. It’s great for SEO, blah, blah, blah. But more importantly, when your customer or consumer starts seeing these words from you, it’s the short hand of saying this is what I mean. So when I say this word, it has a very specific meaning.

Just like, when you talk to anybody, everybody has their own turns of phrases. You start to know what they mean when they say that it’s the same thing for a brand. So that’s sort of the nutshell. There’s a few other elements. But that’s a nutshell process. And the great part of all of that is that once you’ve gotten to that point, building that out as a creative articulation or credit platform is easier, because now you have words and actives and context and understanding that then can lead you to how your visual expression will come to life.

And frankly, which, of course, always has the subjectivity to it is you’re in dialogue with your client on that you come to a meaning and an understanding of what certain things mean. So if let’s say one of the things that there is romantic. So for the context of a brand or a client point of view, that might mean one thing, and we may say something else, and we have to come to a joining point where we both say, yeah, that’s what that word means for us. For this brand.

The thing that I want to hone in on to is the specific words that we get hung on. But it’s important that we have to, like you said, get that foundation there, because it often leads to people say, what is your product do? Like, let’s just say, makes the applications faster. You’re like, okay, cool. So everything you do make something faster? Well, sometimes it stops it from failing. Okay. So it’s not just about faster. It’s faster while reducing risk. Like, okay, we’re getting warm. And then the words that you can do, does it make it cheaper, more expensive?

Once you effectively build the fences around what it does and what it doesn’t do, then it gives you the freedom. Like you said, you are free to take that base, that foundation. And then words will always have to come back to that core. But it’s very easy, without the consistency of those words, that one sales person will describe it as we make yourself go fast, one person will say, we make yourself go faster. And some people say, we make sure we stop your stuff from being slow.


They may all mean exactly the same thing and talk about the same product, but the inconsistency of the message, it’s framing as well. Like, the reason we chose faster versus fast. There’s a framing element to it. There’s a lot of stuff buried in the choice of word. And if you don’t have that at the start, then you can’t walk around and said, I don’t understand why my sales folks don’t get more meetings or don’t close more deals. And you realize because I’ve been on seven sales calls and it sounds like seven different products, that’s exactly right.

And that’s yet another voice of the brand that has to be consistent. And by the way, it also has to be understandable for that salesperson and meaningful to sell well. And it really all comes down to point of difference. Is like any brand will have parity with other brands in some ways, but it’s the old 1+1=3. The way we put our pieces together provide unique opportunity, which could be any element of the marketing mix that helps them do that or that we do the same way. But somehow we do just incrementally a little bit better.

As you’re talking earlier. One of the things that comes to mind to sometimes choosing certain words very carefully. And not promising, over promising on your brand. So, for instance, we’ve worked recently on some food products that are I wouldn’t call them health food products, but they’re way better for you than the alternative.

A healthier option.

The healthier, healthier. This is a healthy product. That’s kind of overselling. Truth is, it’s not as bad for you as the alternative, which is completely unhealthy. But you don’t want to say it’s a health product because it’s not, it’s healthier or better for you. So all that is a true statement. So again, back to the out end user, they’ll get an idea that you’re not saying, oh, this is a health food product, and I’m gonna like, oh, but it does say, you know what? I’m making this choice because it’s better than the alternative.

But by the way, it doesn’t make me sacrifice taste or whatever else. But being really honest, not over promising is also really, really important. So like, to your earlier point, you can’t say we are the fastest product on the market if that’s actually true. Yay. Screaming it off the rooftops. But the truth is, is that we are going to make things faster is probably an easier and more believable sell.

Another one, this word is really one that people use very often, and I find it gets lost because it’s a dangerous thing. And I got taught this lesson by the founder of the company I’m at actually, we used to say, like, we’re doing this. We saw that we’re unique in the way we do with it. Or it’s a unique product. And because it was it was patented, it was differentiated from other things. But there’s a difference between saying differentiated and unique. And he would listen to people tell this thing, and then he would say, I want to stop you for a second.

When you were, did you have a lot of friends when you were young? And it was this funny story he would walk you with through and you could watch it. After a while, I would see he uses the same sort of shtick all the time. Do you have a lot of friends when you were a kid? They’re ike, well, yeah. Do you have a lot of friends now? Was it because you were unique?

I, no. Was it unique the thing that made it important that you have friends? Like, no. Okay, so when we look at what we do. And what our product does, does unique matter to the customer or does what we do matter to the customer?

It suddenly hits them like, but you throw this word and it’s very easy to put these words in. And he’s like, it doesn’t actually move the value by using this word.

Yeah. Different for different sakes they say, isn’t a selling point. Look at difference in a sea of where there’s the same obstacle, every other thing in your category, and you’ve solved that obstacle. Great. That is your difference. But like I said earlier, it’s the combination that makes a difference that you provide this in parity as good as everybody else. You do this in a little bit different way, but you’re less expensive. Okay. So you say you reduce a barrier so you’re not getting anything less. You’re paying a little less.

You’re paying a little more. But you’re getting these other things that you wouldn’t otherwise that are meaningful to you. Now sometimes too, frankly, it’s the old classic gilding the lily. You’ll say, okay, this is more expensive. We’re going to add all this gild to them that you don’t really care about. Yeah, it’s going to make it look more expensive, right. Okay. So you put it in a fancier box, but it’s the same product. Why will I pay more just for a fancier box? I don’t eat the box. I eat what’s inside.

So it’s just realizing what things are going to be meaningful to the end user.

It’s interesting when you bring this up. Where does pricing come in in the discussions around creating a brand element and a visual brand?

So that’s really interesting because, again, price in any category is something that always comes into play, because ultimately, when you’re creating a product or service, you say, oh, I want to do this and this and this and this and this. Then you go, oh, my God, sticker shock. That’s going to cost us so much. We’re either going to make no money or have to be really expensive. So you then start curating what you can do. The reality is that price can be an obstacle in different ways, you can actually be too cheap.

And people will say, I I don’t trust this because it’s not expensive enough. I mean, I know I do this myself. I’ll look for something that I want to buy on Amazon, or wherever. I go, I’m not going to buy the cheapest one because they sound good, but it’s way cheaper. I’ll go somewhere in the middle, right. But the reality is that price is important and look at it’s. Okay. Sometimes to have a higher price if it is justifiable. But again, that will also weigh on increments.

If this stuff get used all the time, a relatively higher price is going to have to be a huge benefit for me to do this. If it’s for somebody who use less frequently, yeah. Maybe I’ll justify it. Right. But it’s just one of those, you know, consideration of barriers. But the reality is that it’s also understanding what that classic price sensitivity area is. Being $0.10 more may not make a difference. Okay. Being $10 more might. Okay. And it all depends on your expectation. So a lot of times, particularly with newer companies, they end up just wanting so much in there that they say, oh, we’re going to make no money for the first two years because we just want to always in there.

And then they realize after two years, okay, they love what we have. We can’t make it any higher price, and we don’t make any money. Eventually, our investors are going to stop investing us because we’re in a no win situation here. And then they learn either we have to cut a few things away and we realize we love, but they’re that important that allows us to make a little margin. Or maybe we need experience, we go up a little bit of price and still maintain what we’ve got.

So price is a really critical thing, I would say rarely is it the only driver. Measuring something that is purely commodity. And then it doesn’t matter. But it’s just where it fits into the overall mix.

The thing that often in the way that you can tell that story can be simple and effective, you know, a little more, a lot better. Whatever, like some sort of tag line type of thing that often immediately pushes like, we understand we’re a little bit more than the alternative.


Let’s talk about what you really want to get out of, why people use us. And then that’s the other thing is introducing peer validation and the proof points when you’re looking, especially when a customer, sorry, a company is very early in their brand and they don’t have proof points. I’m curious, Randy. How do you see that story when it’s not there yet?

To your point, one of the things you just said, some kinds of testimonials are important. If you can get someone saying whether it could be an expert, it could be an even advisor, ultimately should be an end user that gives some kind of validation. That what you’re saying is not just you saying it, but that it’s real. That’s really important. It’s funny. On the flip side, I was thinking earlier from one of the things that a lot of times pays huge value when you’re in a different situation, we call the brand mantle. Right? So certain brands just have that at eye view.

Right. So I know it’s from this brand. It’s interesting. I bought an outdoor grill this summer for a new patio, and I ended up buying a brand that was actually funny. It was pretty inexpensive, but it was brand I totally loved and was aspirational to me. So I took a leap saying, you know, it’s only inexpensive size, and that makes me concerned. But it’s from this brand. So I feel okay now unfortunately, it turned out okay. But that brand mantle did have an added value for me.

Now I can go both ways. You can have a brand mantle that says they only do inexpensive things. They do them really well. And so buying electric product may not work, but it might. So it’s understanding where that trust mantle is. And so look at that’s why companies put millions of dollars on their balance sheets for what they call goodwill. Brand goodwill has a huge amount of value for the customer. And again, like you said, in a place where you don’t have it yet, you just know that it’s important to build, because if you don’t build that, then it’s all just on your product.

And then it also becomes commodity and easy to knock off.

You know, another thing that’s interesting is that when people become so I’m going to buy this thing no matter what. I really dig this brand. And often I don’t want the packaging. I don’t want the frills. I’m like, Look, I get it. I’m going to buy this anyway. My thing that was funny is when I lived in Vancouver and there was this amazing coffee shop there, and they did fantastic artisanal coffee. And gentlemen with handlebar mustaches. And they’re doing the little latte art. And they’re drawing the face of Jesus in your latte.

And at one point, I’m like, “Dude, I got to get to a meeting. You don’t need to do the heart like, you don’t need to just like, literally, pour it in the cup”, but they’re like, no, this is part of our experience. They will not let it go at the door unless it’s right. And then the funny thing is, you’re gonna take a plastic lid and you’re gonna mush it on top. And what started off as this beautiful heart will come out the other side looking like it was shot out of a cannon.

Right. That’s right. But again, honestly, that’s where you make the choice. If I need a fast cup of coffee, I’m going to go to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. If I want to reward myself. I’m going to go here. So they’re making a brand decision there, too. And a good or better and different. That’s a choice. It’s the same thing when choosing something that is based on the time you have to do it. And other ones just say, I’m going to spend a little more time. So example for me is that we buy some meal services where you get the box and you have to make it at home.

So we started with one that nothing was pre prepared at all and also was pretty indulgent. So that was a concern. So we landed on another one, which was like, the perfect mix. Things are semi prepared, meaning they give you half of a vegetable that’s already cored. And they do this thing. It’s packaged in paper, so it’s not sustainable. But so it takes us instead of 40 minutes to make dinner takes 20. But it’s kind of fun that it takes 20. I do a little bit of chopping and a little bit of this, and I’m not just getting everything already ready to put it into, like, a microwave.

So it’s finding the balance and what the customer will pay for.

Another thing that’s interesting to think about. Vancouver was a classic case where the brand itself and the product itself, almost to be tied to that juxtaposition, can be sort of disconnected. There’s a company that people may know is called Boston Pizza. What they may not know is that Boston Pizza is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. And if anything, you know that Boston is not famous at all for pizza, yet somehow a very strong and well adored brands. But all of it, none of it actually maps out in the end.

And at one point, they could just get bought by Nestle or some other company. Even the original brands may not survive the life of the company because of the way the financials work. But when you get that kind of a situation, Randy, like, how often do you see that? And how do you position it when they’re again these sort of like juxtapositions of things, but in the end, you just have to create the experience for the customer?

So you’re sort of articulating is ultimate would be the brand story. Right? So the reality is that having a brand story is important. But even how you get there is okay. The reason that they’re Boston Pizza and they’re from Vancouver. There’s a story behind that. And as long as that story articulate, it’s not like, oh, we’re presenting to be in Boston, and we’re just not going to let you know that it’s not really true then that’s artificial but the truth is there’s going to be a brand story behind there.

And that’s what’s important. You know, this is similar example, we worked with a very large beer company and the craft beer is exploding and everything like that. And they actually did a lot of beer production in Mexico. And they said, but craft beer all seems to be in the US. It’s all Seattle and Boulder and blah, blah, blah. And we discovered in a process that, you know what, as long as it has a story and authenticity, it can be from anywhere. It can be from Mexico. So not every Mexican beer is cheap and just about the beach.

It can have a story and really hardcore craft beer lovers got it. And they understood it. And frankly, we wouldn’t have known that if we hadn’t done some consumer work to really unveil that, wouldn’t believe that if we said it. So that brand story is really important. Just again, whatever it is, frankly, people find it really interesting when people who it doesn’t mean you had to grow up always doing this or aspiring to do this, you could have a turning point in your life where you said I had a pass over this or had a problem I had to solve.

And so I did it. I solved it. Okay. That’s gonna be interesting to people. They don’t care that. Oh, you grew up your whole life wanting to make shoe lace.


It doesn’t matter, you know. The fact that you figured out at some point either based on a problem you had or inspiration you have is kind of cool. And frankly, people relate to that.

There is another thing that you talked before about healthy, healthier. This gets into an interesting area that people don’t always get. And I know, of course, the phrase we use is called puffery, right? When we use specific phrases to describe a product, it’s like we say, you know, 20% better than the competitor. Like, there are legal ramifications to the statements that we make. And when we say stuff like organic, organically sourced, made in or manufactured in the United States or like, what Apple does this right. They say designed in Cupertino.


Well, that’s great. But it was manufactured in a factory in China, but it doesn’t say that in the product, it says designed in Cupertino, because there’s a specific phrase and that’s the limit. It is legitimately designed in Cupertino. They can legally say that. But when we get to those things, like, better, faster, fastest. What are the kind of rules around that stuff, Randy?

So as you pointed out, some of them are absolute regulatory. So if you work in the pharmaceutical or the liquor or spirits, or they are very specific, you can and can’t say. Even the food business, the word ‘organic’ isn’t just allowed to say for anything if you’re not truly organic. And there are also all bunch of other certifications you can or can’t have. And so you have to be very, in those it’s specific. And it’s funny, particularly in the first two categories we’ve mentioned, you end up hearing a lot of nuances where they can directly say this, but they’re meaning this.

And the customer finally kind of figures out that’s what it means. But they can’t say it the other time is when things are all the same. Organic is a perfect example. Everybody, they don’t believe that anymore because everybody is organic. And frankly, even not everybody is a good job explaining why is organic important? And so really smart companies have figured out a way to if that’s important claim explain why it’s important. What part of that is really meaningful to you as an end customer by saying that it’s organic, but as always, it’s recognizing what are those things that are really going to matter to the end customer that are saying. Just because it’s important to us is going to be important to them.

At the end, we have another client that has an EU certification for traceability back to the roots of every bit of their product. And their product actually is not a food product. So it’s kind of interesting, really important to them. And one of the things that it’s relative in your client, we’re going to sort of learn is, is that important to the end user? And the reality is, it could very well be. It could be, wow, that’s a huge point of difference. And everybody else. And they’re, will mistrust other products because they’re not traceable, but it’s understanding and ultimately seeing where the end consumer falls on that.

And I guess that really would come through sort of the testing. There’s a restaurant that I’ve been to in a couple of locations, and their big thing is effectively kind of like 100-mile diet. They use 100-mile sourcing, and they actually draw a map on a chalkboard, and it has a little chalk market that says tomatoes from this place. So you see the regional map. Again, most people that walk in, it may not even matter, but to a lot of folks, they can say that’s a factor that they bring in.

I like supporting a local economy, and that’s a feel good that maybe their burger probably doesn’t taste better than any other burger. But this is a factor to me that makes me move towards this brand.

So a given angle there, which is sort of interesting that a lot of companies don’t speak to then that, but it’s really the root of that, which is reducing carbon footprint. So the reality is buying in a local sourcing. Yes, it’s great to support the local economy, but the real root of that was I’m not driving my tomatoes a thousand miles to get here or I’m not buying that drive. So I’ve reduced my carbon footprint. Now there are some buzz word or area that people understand better, see is more meaningful.

And so that would be the thing to say. Rather, just, hey, we bought local. Yay. We bought local. The other thing, of course, sometimes is freshness, and they can articulate that. And the other instances saying that less pesticides and all those other things, too. But it’s really understanding what parts of those are meaningful. It’s really interesting. I worked with a client in the stack food area who decided instead of using corn, to use sorghum. What the hell is a sorghum? It’s a very low water produce. Right. And so they really took the time to say so this is why it’s important.

And literally, over the course of year, we could save 500,000 gallons of water, which means that three towns would have regular water supply. So that all then became in contact. You go, oh, now I get it. And by the way, the product taste the same as corn.


And again, the consumer didn’t say, oh, I’m saving 500 dozen gallons, but it tastes like crap. You know, it still tastes okay. But it was a meaningful choice to make that choice to reduce the carbon footprint to produce water usage.

That’s what I love is in the process of actually talking to customers and going to the world. It’s such a merger of many things. Which is why, again, I really respect what you and the team are doing because you bring this approach. This is what you know you have to go to many areas versus like a founder, a creator or whatever it is. They have to be laser focused on just building a great product, bringing it to market needs that push of an outside voice and understanding of the behavioral psychology that makes this work, the economics of how to plant it and position it.

It all stems from that foundation. Like you said, when if it is from the roots of this foundation, then everything will always be born of the right tree. If it doesn’t work, then you don’t chop off the branch. You go back to the root and say, was it, did it lose something along the way? Are we missing the mark at this point? It’s super easy for people to you sort of get hung on a thing. And especially once brand lives a little while and you bring in more outside voices because at first, if you develop your first sales team, they’re going to basically be for lack of that word, indoctrinated with, this is what we do. This is why we’re different. This is why we’re better. This is why customers need us.

You’re going to tell the story this way and they do this and they’re like, okay, cool. Well, now you have 100 sales people. You’re hiring them at five a week and then to leave because of attrition like, you’ve got this continuous flow. If you don’t have that root documents that sort of brand vision somewhere, the next thing you know, they’d be like, hey, we’ve got really great pistachios. And I find that when I tell people that it’s cheaper than the other ones, I’ve closed a bunch of deals and so that becomes like a playoff beard for them.

They’re like, I’m just going to keep saying it’s cheaper and you’re like, no, no, no, you don’t get it. None of those customers you just got are repeat customers.

Right. Right.

Because although you achieve your metric, the brands did not. And this again becomes like we talked before, bringing them in is one thing. Retaining them and getting recurring revenue is the really the goal of any company.

And look, it’s not to diminish the important to bringing them in the first time is critical, because if you don’t, you’ve a number off now, right? But again, often too much effort is spent only on that. And is that, wow, we have 10,000 new customers, but our repeat business is 2%. That’s a big warning signal, right. Because you have either over promised, under delivered, blah, blah, blah, something didn’t work. First as I get, I’d rather start from here and said we have 2000 new customers, but 1500 of them return that’s something to build off of.

Okay, well, we’d hope to get 10,000, but we have an 80% return rate. Wow. Then we just need to figure out what’s working there and keep doing the same thing versus the other way around. We would have to say, wow. So clearly, we’ve got an attractive message or something or product or the way we’re pushing in the market, but something’s not working. Let’s go back and ask some of those people didn’t come back and say, why didn’t you come back? And that’ll help us get to the right zone.

And I’ll ask a question. Let’s just say there’s a change. Like, let’s say the company is ten years old. They want, they’re pivoting something. How do you re-infuse that now? Like, how do you revisit brand? Because sometimes there’s even just a business change that’s occurred. Geico was famous. Of course, they’re, like, 15 minutes will save you 15%, whatever. And at some point, they realized we need to stop anchoring on that. And they’ve adjusted it. They actually played it up because they chose a very consumer, strong consumer, lots of advertising, lots of whatever.

And that was they had to shift their brand. I worked for a company called Raymond James, so that’s white in color. And one of the things we often said was 222 consecutive quarters of growth.


It was super valuable because it shows we’re conservative, we’re consistent, and they’ve maintained that. They continue to add to the number. But what if all of a sudden you miss one? You’re like, 222 consecutive quarter growth, then we missed two, then we’re back on track.

That’s right.

So now at some point, they need to say, okay, we need some new messaging.

That’s right. Or you say we have grown instead of consecutive quarters of growth. We have grown X amount in the last ten years. So you find a new way to cast that message. But I think to your point. And this is also sometimes a thing that is a mistake. People end up going having a style gathered brand platform, whatever it is and say, oh, my God. That is what we have to do always everywhere even if we don’t understand it or we don’t believe it anymore.

You have to recognize that sometimes things have to evolve. Doesn’t mean you break rules there consistently. But if something has changed or isn’t work anymore, then address it, you know. You learn things that you’ve been in the market. Or, like you said, there’s a need to evolve. Big brands think that are very successful that start to fade, are terrified about making changes because they say, oh, my God. We have a huge business that’s so high risk. And yet the see their business steadily decline.

And the reality is, you got to change something now. By the way, it doesn’t mean you change everything.


You need to understand what can’t you change? But there are things you can change that will again reintroduce the end user to your product or service that will bring them back. But you have to know how far to go. And by the way, sometimes it is drastic. But if it’s drastic, then you’re really saying I may lose everything, but I don’t have any other choice. Okay. And that at Christmas it’s dropping 30% a year, and God, who cares?

It’s going to be gone in three years anyways. Or you say, you know what? I’m going to have to do this a little incrementally, because I see how much is enough.

And also brand brand saving or brand recovering expeditions. Right. I’ll use a bit of a harsh example, but like BP, they were able to, not obviously, they have such a presence it’s hard to unseat them. But nothing is, nothing is protected from going away. And they were able to despite some really, really, obviously difficult and environmentally horrifying experiences that were introduced, they kind of just said, okay, let’s go mea culpa on this and say, like, we’ve made mistakes, and we understand that you need to learn to trust us again.

And they really walked to the market and went visually with it. They went to commercials audit. They said, we’re going to blanket the world with this. What was the other one? Tylenol great example, right. When Tylenol had the problem with pills that were tainted and somebody had died as a result before we had the sealed tops, right? The FDA said, whatever you do, don’t like, just get the old ones off the shelf and just keep going, like and they said, we’re going to get all of them.

We are going to start from scratch, and they are actually advised to not do it. But in making that choice of saying full mea culpa of massive things just changed in our industry. And we are starting again, and it resulted in them really surviving as a brand versus if they sort of just tried to incrementally, just tuck it away, they probably would not have had the success they have. So I’m curious again, Randy, and when people come to you and say, like, Randy, we’ve had a big change and we need to make sure the story comes through.

So for starters is being honest, you can’t, when you have a big issue that really is damaging to you for one way or the other, you can’t just ignore it. Did you ignore it? People keep saying, what about that? What about that? You have to and frankly, always say honesty is the best policy to be very transparent on it and explain what you did to rectify it. It’s interesting. I actually think it’s great when I see companies doing customer service on social media. Think, oh, my God, you’re exposing people who are not happy.

Reality is, the real great way is how you solve their problems or listen to them, right? Or address their interest. There’s another person who say, oh, yeah, they had that problem, but wow, that company was responsive, and they did the right thing. And they were able to explain, rather, just getting a negative review, right? And so I think it’s just the way you address it is really, really important. And then in some of these, it’s so dramatic that you have to really say we’re walking away from this.

But we’re doing this instead. Years ago, I work at, you remember the Enron, flame out in Texas. So we were involved in rebranding one of their legal firms.

Oh, wow.

Oh, my God. We had no illegal issue ultimately at that. But then they were directly associated with Enron. They went, oh, my God. Nobody wants to work with us anymore. And so what they had to do is really recast the brand. They didn’t change their name, unfortunately, because that had a legacy. But they did definitely recast what they did. In fact, one of the things they did is walked away from that sector for a while. They said, okay, that’s a hot potato. So let’s focus on other sectors.

But what they decided not to do is hide from us. Obviously, Enron no longer period of their client list. They did rebrand to give a new fresh look to introduce themselves new places. But they didn’t say, pretend that never happened. Yeah.

This is also like you said, social media. And I hate to do this. We only have a few minutes left. But this is an important piece where the brands then continues in an active voice. And there sometimes people chose the sort of like the can’t be fun, edgy type of thing. Right. You’ve got Wendy’s social media having a run at Burger King, like, the edit becomes cute. It’s viral, but it also impacts the if they suddenly switch, it’s obvious noticeable, and it takes away trust. Every once in a while, somebody will put out a promoted tweet because of something.

And they say a BP or an Enron or whatever. Somebody that’s. All you see is the reply count, just like ticking up and you’re like, oh, good golly. They’re trying but you’re like, this is not the medium in which you want to bring this message out here. And social media really affect the continuation of that visual brand.

So again, the social media is obviously a really critical channel for any brand today. And what we talk about a lot is just using the right platform for the right kind of message, just using Twitter as a perfect example. That’s the newest platform. If you don’t have something that’s topical to newsworthy items, don’t be tweeting. Nobody cares that you’re introducing a new flavor of granola bar. Just doesn’t matter. It’s not the place that they’re looking for that information. They might be looking for that on Instagram because Instagram is interest based, right?

Pinterest borrowed interest and interest base. Okay. Facebook community stories connection with people, right. And actually has a little broader mantle then as well. If you’re looking for something that’s very business to business. Yes, LinkedIn is absolutely the right place to do that. In fact, in LinkedIn probably may not be the right place to put a big emotional story about something that no one when the business mindset is going to care about. So it’s really understanding where and how to do it. The other reality is too, and I think people have known this for a while is that you can’t just like, put things out in social media, expect you’re going to build an audience because it’s going to get viral.

Yeah, that happens. That’s not science completely. That’s a lot of chance and winning the lottery and having the right place at the right time. So promoted posts and stuff are the reality. You got to do it. You got to do it. Then you have to experiment with it. All the social platforms today actually have pretty sophisticated tensions to allow you to do that in a pretty economic way. But we tell that to clients that, that isn’t definitely is a check the box. But don’t get all sad because you’ve got 200 followers on Instagram after three months because all you do is put it out there because yeah, 200 people happen to find you.

With all your friends and family are following you. But if you really want to get it further, you got to promote it. But it is as viable as a place as any other digital media place to do it. Somebody with a good digital plan definitely does it not only social media, but social media certainly is a critical component to it.

Yeah, this is as a holistic approach, and I think that’s what lose sight of it’s like they choose one thing, and it also where you make sure you can be consistent in your usage of any platform. Right. You come up with a fantastic if you pay all this money for a visual ad and then you fire it up and you use your impressions and then you stop using it. That’s a failure in your understanding of what the platform is meant to do and how you get an ROI from this platform, even though it’s a beautiful image, a beautiful video you created.

If you just hammered it into the ecosystem, it’s timing, right? Like an amazing movie comes out on a Friday and does 14 million, and then it came out three weeks later. The same movie could get 4 million. Why? Because Harry Potter came out the same day. So it’s timing placements. But what I really want to branch back to is it’s about taking the foundation of your company, your vision, your customer story, and making sure that it’s from the roots of that. And for folks that want to make sure that they can do this right.

Randy, what’s the best way if they want to contact you and the team at Visual Brand?

So our website is thevisualbrand.com. And I am Randy, R-A-N-D-Y at visualbrand.com.

Excellent. Randy, this is really good. There’s so much more I could tap into. We talk about, we can talk about influence and other things. I’d love to have you back and go into some of those areas because I know it’s. It’s a keen interest to a lot of folks these days of where is the right place to use some of these things. And I know you’ve done a lot of work in this, but I didn’t want to truncate it to a two minute hunk of our discussion, but it’s been really great.

Thank you very much for spending the time.

Thank you, Eric. I enjoyed it thoroughly.