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Episode 011 Transcript:
Brand Storytelling

Tori Petersen
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Did you know that mastering Brand Storytelling doesn’t have to be complex?

To show you, we’ve interviewed three Brand Storytelling experts to give you their opinion and viewpoint on how to be successful with Brand Storytelling.

From scaling to fine tuning, we hope you enjoy this deep dive.

Subscribe to BoostSauce to learn even more marketing and sales knowledge, faster…

When it comes to Brand Storytelling, there are only a few people we turn to for amazing advice that works across the board for different goals.

Whether you’re in SaaS, eCommerce, or lead gen, you’ll be excited to learn that the recipes these experts will share will all help you hit your goals faster.

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In Order Of The Guests Below:

BrentonCrane 300x300

Benton Crane: CEO @ Harmon Brothers

Benton is the Chief Executive Officer of Harmon Brothers, a Provo, Utah-based ad agency behind the most viral ads in internet history. Since 2013, the agency has collectively driven more than 1 billion views and over $300 million in sales through its groundbreaking social media spots. Crane believes in bringing excellence to everything he does. Starting his career as an automotive repair mechanic, he was honored as the #1 student mechanic in Utah and #2 in the nation. This knack for diagnosing and solving problems led him to study economics and data analytics. In 2011, he was hired by Deloitte in Washington DC where he served as a consultant with various clients across the national intelligence community.

In 2013, he joined newly formed Harmon Brothers for a campaign to promote Poo~Pourri, an internet ad that transformed the way products are marketed. Harmon Brothers went on to produce the most viral ads in internet history, including Squatty Potty, FiberFix, OraBrush, Poo~Pourri, and¬†Purple. The renowned spotmakers just rolled out another already viral sensation, a brand-new spot for Chatbooks, a new product taking scrapbooking to the digital age. Crane has managed the agency’s growth from its infancy to one of the most sought after ad agencies in the world.

Nuggets Dropped x50

‚ÄúHumor makes things more shareable and, in the ad game, effective.‚ÄĚ

MichaelBrenner 300x300

Michael Brenner: CEO @ Marketing Insider Group

Michael Brenner is a top CMO influencer, Motivational Speaker and CEO of Marketing Insider Group, where he has worked with more than 75 brands in building effective thought leadership, marketing and employee activation programs. He spent 25-years in sales, marketing, and executive leadership roles with brands like SAP, Nielsen, and a number of high-growth startups.

Michael is also the best-selling author of 3 books including his latest Mean People Suck Рhow empathy leads to bigger profits and a better life, The Content Formula, and Digital Marketing Growth Hacks. Michael enjoys sharing his experiences and client stories to inspire leaders like you into action that creates impact.

Nuggets Dropped x34

‚ÄúMake your audience – the customers – the hero of your story.‚ÄĚ

SJPetteruti 300x300

SJ Petteruti: Marketing Vice President @ Syndigo

SJ Petteruti is a producer, writer, and marketer. He specializes in brand strategy, helping companies and artists identify their unique value proposition and bring that to market. He currently serves as a marketing vice president at Syndigo, where he oversees the company’s content production. He is also a produced screenwriter, a former Disney Imagineer, and co-founder of the football blog sharpscover.com.

Nuggets Dropped x46

‚ÄúYou need to faithfully convey what makes your values unique.‚ÄĚ

Brand Storytelling Mastery With Benton Crane

Johnathan: Alright everybody, super super stoked to have one of the best, in my opinion, brand story tellers that also makes me laugh a ton. We have Benton Crane, the CEO of Harmon Brothers, on the line. Benton how are you?

Benton:¬†I’m well, thank you.

Johnathan: Awesome.

Benton: Pleasure to be here.

Johnathan: Yeah, yeah, no, so excited. So, you guys have done a ton of cool videos, Squatty Potty¬†being one of my favorites. Today we’re going to talk about how you guys unpack and how you put an action plan together for the purpose of brand story time primarily through video.

So to keep it conversational, I wanna ask you like, let’s say that you guys have a great fit client, can you take us through your onboarding process? And how you eventually get to the end goal.

Benton:¬†Sure, sure. So we have several criteria that we look at during that onboarding process to make sure that you know there’s a great fit between us and our client or, you know,¬†we usually refer to them as partners because it’s really the creative process is a partnership.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†And so as we’re kind of exploring that relationship, usually the number one thing we look at is do we use and love their product or their service in a way that are we excited to tell our friends and family about it?¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†Because if we’re naturally excited about whatever it is that we’re selling, that type of passion and excitement, it comes out in the creative process¬†and that’s something that you really can’t fake it. And so that’s usually the number one criterion that we look at. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay.

Benton: And once that box is checked, then you know we kind of start to explore some of the you know maybe what you will consider more logistical or clerical type requirements you know things like can they afford it? Does the timeline that they need make sense with our calendar? Do all of those things line up?

And then once they do, we enter into a partnership with them and we get started in the creative process. That’s where the fun begins.

Johnathan: Cool! So, is it okay to use like Squatty Potty as a case study for this episode? Maybe you can walk us through that, how that worked out.

Benton: Sure.

Johnathan: Okay cool. So, let’s say that you wanna tell your friends and family about the Squatty Potty which for people who don’t know, very very amazing evil style slash unicorn rainbow video that you guys put together basically to help people poop in an easier way, right?

Like not having, I hate to say it online, but your sphincter being too tight and loosening up the bottom part of your what do you call that? Do you know?

Benton:¬†If I remember correctly, it’s called puborectalis.

Johnathan: There you go, there you go, so.

Benton: Which is like a terrible technical anatomical term that nobody wants to talk about, right?

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†So let’s back up really quick. To understand the context here. So a couple of years prior, we had done a big campaign for Poo-Pourri called Girls don’t poop. It featured this British red-headed woman on the toilet and you know she was telling all of the potty humor jokes that you’d expect to hear in a like a middle school locker room.

You would not expect to hear them from like a proper British woman but that was the whole concept there was that Poo-Pourri had created a product that they had customers who used and loved it.

But because it was such an awkward and tabooed subject, they were embarrassed to ever tell their friends about it, they were embarrassed to talk about it. In fact, they wouldn’t even display it in their guest bathrooms, right? Because they didn’t want to have to talk about it.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so instead they would like hide it away in the master bathroom where only they would see it or they would hide it in their purse so they never had to talk about it. And so when Poo-Pourri came to us, you know, the task at hand was how do we make it safe to talk about for you and me? Nuggetx1

And that’s where that proper British woman came into play was you know, we asked ourselves who is the last person on earth who would ever talk about this subject? And if we could figure out a way to make it safe for that person, you know in this case, you know, the posh British woman. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And then maybe it would be safe for you and me.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†And so we created that campaign and you know, at the time it was pretty risky. Nothing like that had been done before but it was wildly successful.¬†I mean, I can’t even remember how many millions of views it got. It hit something like forty million views in just the first couple of months. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Dang! The sales were pretty amazing as well too?

Benton: Oh! Through the roof.

Johnathan: Yeah, I can imagine.

Benton: Like, they were having back orders. It was like six weeks long worth of back orders that they were trying to fulfill on all these sales that were coming. It was just wildly, wildly successful.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so that’s kind of like the backstory that kind of set the stage for what happened with Squatty Potty.

So, Squatty Potty, they’re also a bathroom product, right? But their bathroom product, in my opinion, is like ten times more awkward because, you know, with Poo-Pourri, it was just about like hey how do we get rid of the stench? But with Squatty Potty it’s like okay, let’s talk about the biomechanics of how poop happens.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And I don’t know if you can get much more disgusting than that, right?

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so their CEO, Bobby Edwards, he saw our Poo-Pourri commercial and his initial reaction was, he was pissed that Poo-Pourri found us before he found us. So he was like this should have been us.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so he approached us said, guys look, I’ve got this Squatty Potty thing, we just went on Shark Tank, we got all these customers who love us, super high reviews, great product. We want you to do this campaign and initially, we kind of rolled our eyes like yeah whatever dude.

Johnathan: Right.

Benton:¬†But he sent us a bunch of products and so, you know, we all took a Squatty Potty home and started using it and the next thing we know we’re coming back to the office and we’re like dude, have you tried that thing?

Johnathan: We believe it.

Benton: Like, it really works.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†Yeah! And next thing we knew, he had kind of made believers out of all of us. And then we started to ask ourselves like you know, is there a way that we can make this safe to talk about?¬†Even though it’s like ten times more awkward than what Poo-Pourri was? Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so as we were kind of searching for what is that way to make it safe, you know my partner, Jeff Harmon, he came up with this idea of what is the last, like what is the furthest thing from poop? Like what is delicious and beautiful and desirable as opposed to what is stinking, gross, and disgusting?

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And of course he came up with soft serve ice cream. Nuggetx1

And so we started thinking like okay,¬†if we can use soft serve ice cream, this safe thing, it’s this desirable thing, if we can use it to teach people about this other disgusting thing, then maybe we can make this subject safe.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so we started exploring you know, what does that look like, you know what is the process? And of course like the first thing we look at is, you know, where does the soft serve ice cream come from? What does it come out of?

And it couldn’t be a real creature, right? ‘Cause anytime it‚Äôs a real creature, that takes you back into the reality, back into this world where things are gross. We have to keep you outside of reality in the fantasy world¬†and so you know, searching in the world of fantasy, the natural creature that would poop rainbow ice cream will be a unicorn.

Johnathan: Yes.

Benton: And so then we started playing with this concept of this mystical unicorn that you know poops rainbow ice cream and we were going to use this as a platform to address such a hard awkward subject.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And oh my goodness, our initial concept looking back now they were pretty scary. At one point we thought that we were going to have this food truck you know parked on the corner  in like New York City, downtown Manhattan, and have the food truck with this giant unicorn on the back of the truck that you know that poops out rainbow ice cream.

Like you know how it is, like the creative process is full of starts and stops and you usually have to have a hundred bad ideas to get to a good idea and of course, this was no different. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: So can I ask you real quick?

Benton: yes, yes.

Johnathan: So far, the ingredients in your recipe for success, ’cause part of it you know we’re talking about brand story telling, but obviously you guys obviously have the viral coefficient in these two examples too which is amazing.

Part of it is risk and part of it humor so far, right? Would I be correct in saying those are ingredients? Nuggetx1

Benton:¬†Yes, yeah, I think that’s a fair statement. Now, like humor doesn’t have to be part of the process, but, man, humor just makes things a lot more shareable, and¬†when things become more shareable, all of your ad dollars just become that much more effective. Nuggetx2

And so you can buy a hundred dollars worth of ads and then get an additional twenty percent from shareability, then essentially, all of your ads, compared to your competitors are on sale for twenty percent off and that makes your campaign you know, the reach of your campaign just becomes that much greater. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: A hundred percent.

Benton: That’s why humor is a fantastic tool. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah. We had ,it was my first speaking engagement in front of a thousand people. It was the unbalanced conference back in 2016, my entire slide deck was on the topic of poo. It was a scale from regular poo to gold poo to diamond poo and long story short, I got a standing ovation, I was the top three out of like twenty six speakers and got like basically voted to come back next year as well.

And I didn’t have poop in my presentation the next year, I had pizza. It did not go as well. So maybe, part of the recipe is like whatever you can add poo to whatever you’re selling, no matter what you are, it could be helpful. Who knows?

Benton:¬†Well, at risk of stealing some of the credit for you, I’d like to think that you know, campaigns like Poo-Pourri and Squatty Potty kind of laid a cultural foundation around making poop a safe subject.

Johnathan: Hundred percent.

Benton: So like you can be on stage and talk about it.

Johnathan: Yes.

Benton:¬†That’s really cool. Fantastic job on that.

Johnathan: Thank you. Alright, so what are next steps? So you said you got to sometimes have a hundred bad ideas before you get the good one. How does that process breakdown look like?

Benton: Sure. So, once we kinda had that concept of the unicorn that poops rainbow ice cream, then we went into the writing process. And the way we did the writing process, is we had each of our writers, write independently, in a vacuum, so that there’s no group think going on between the writers, at least initially. Nuggetx1

And each of them goes and they take their own angle. Okay how will I address this? What would I do? And that allows us to see several different independent attempts at making this work and usually through that process, you’ll find little bits and pieces from each of those attempts,¬†that you recognize. Nuggetx1

Hey, that’s really working or these other things, that’s just garbage. That’s not gonna work for us. And it’s through that process you can kind of pull out all of the golden nuggets.¬†Pun intended. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah. I’ll give you that.

Benton: So you can pull out all. Thank you. You can pull all those out and then you bring the writers together and kind of through the second phase, group think is exactly what you want because you’ve all taken your independent stab at it now all the writers come together and try to synthesize all those great ideas into one cohesive script.¬†Nuggetx2

And in the case of Squatty Potty, one of our writers who brought kind of this key element that made the whole thing work, that brought it all together, the writer, Dave Vance, he ended up being the lead writer on the whole project. He brought the prince into the world.

So prior to that, we were toying with this unicorn, but we were, everything we were doing kept the unicorn in reality and it was causing a disconnect. Every attempt we were making it was like this weird disconnect that we couldn’t put our finger on.

And when Dave came with his script, he had this medieval prince, you know, in this medieval castle and then all of a sudden the unicorn that poops this rainbow ice cream is right at home in this world and everything makes sense and that disconnect that we were facing, it just went away.

And so you can see there’s several different ideas coming from all these different areas. You know, Jeff had the idea of the rainbow ice cream pooping unicorn, and then Dave brought that idea into this mystical world and jointly, those ended up being what worked. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: So you guys started separate and you got together to basically narrow in on which ideas worked best and then you discovered the challenges that were left from those ideas. And did they then go, the writers, separately to try to solve those problems of what you narrowed in on? Or was the group think like the continuous way of doing it from that point on?

Benton: Right. So the group then synthesized their all into one script and this is actually a pattern that we do on every single campaign that we ever do. In fact, we hold these writing retreats where all of this happens. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: So what we’ll do is we’ll rent a cabin up at Sundance. You know Sundance is famous for its film festival so it’s kind of like a…

Johnathan: Do you rent Robert Redford’s cabin up there?

Benton:¬†No, Robert Redford’s cabin is unfortunately off limits. But you can see his estate from afar and it’s something special.

Johnathan: Awesome.

Benton: But yeah, we get a cabin up there and we bring the client and we bring our writing team and we come together in the cabin. And what we do is, one of the rules of the road that we have is that while we are in the creative process, everyone has to put their cell phones in a bowl.

Johnathan: Okay.

Benton: And if you need to go grab your cell phone, you have to drop a twenty dollar bill in the bowl and then you can take your cell phone out, send a text, you know, respond to an email or whatever.

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†And then your cell phone goes back in the bowl. So there’s this incentive to not use your cell phone, because at the end of the two-day retreat, then we raffle up all the cash in the bowl so you’re only eligible for the raffle if you didn’t use your cell phone throughout the process.

Johnathan: How big does that pot turn into sometimes?

Benton:¬†You know, it’s surprising how usually between forty and eight dollars.

Johnathan: Oh nice!

Benton:¬†Yeah! When you put a financial incentive not to use your cell phone, you’d be surprised at how little we actually really need them, you know. So usually, maybe two or three times per retreat, you know, an emergency will come up for someone where they do have to you know go drop a twenty dollar bill and get their cell phone.

And so, obviously the goal there is to keep ourselves hyper focused on the task at hand and to try to eliminate any distraction that keeps us out of that creative process. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: Because when you only have these two days, in this retreat, you have to get an enormous amount of work done. And so usually the process is you know, each of those independent writers will read their script, and so the client is hearing it for the first time. Nuggetx1

Honestly, I am usually hearing it for the first time at the retreat. I’m sitting side by side with my client, we’re both hearing it for the very first time.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton: And so, my clients rather than feeling like we’re pitching them something, instead they feel like they’re side by side with us in this creative process. It makes for a much better alignment between us and our clients.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: That makes sense.

Benton: Yes, yes. So after, you know after each writer reads their script, we kind of go into debate and brainstorming mode where we figure out what’s working and what’s not. Nuggetx1

And once we kind of identify that, then the writing team, it’s usually four writers, will then take all of that feedback and all of that information and they’ll go off into a writing room and they’ll spend usually a full afternoon kind of rebuilding all of that information into one cohesive script. And then they come back and then we read it again and then we tear it down again.¬†What’s working, what’s not? Nuggetx1

And we refine it and that process continues for two days until by the end of those two days, we walk out of that retreat and our client is on the same page as we are. We’re all pumped about you know, the concept and the script that we’ve built and then that’s when we go to work to actually bring it to reality. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: That’s so intense. That’s so cool that you guys do that and I’m actually just reading the book called Deep Work and I completely understand why you guys are doing that because you need to distance yourself from the, all the things that can distract you and yeah especially from a creative standpoint, I can imagine.

Benton:¬†Deep Work by Cal Newport is fantastic and then there’s another called Indistractable. Both are fantastic, you know fantastic references. They dive deep into how it’s so important to get yourself in a creative space without distraction.¬†Nuggetx2

Johnathan: Yeah, that’s amazing. So, once you guys have like the client has signed off on it, you guys are all excited like you said, you’re amped and you’re pumped, the execution of all like the actors and all those kind of things.

Are there any nuggets? ¬†‘Cause we don’t have to go into a ton of details unless you think so. But is there anything that would help our listeners out when that process then starts?

Benton: I would say the biggest take away that any creative could allow themselves, this isn’t always possible but whenever it is, holy smokes it’s so helpful, that‚Äôs to allow yourself both the time and the budget to screw up several times.¬†Nuggetx1

And what I mean by that is the creative process is just one that requires you to take a stab at it and then realize oh we got it wrong, let’s take another stab. Oh, we still got it wrong let’s take another stab. And rinse and repeat that process over and over and over again. Nuggetx1

And so, sometimes, we have some wannabe knockoff competitors, you know who are out in the market place you know saying they offer similar campaigns to us at a much lower rate. But the reality is, they are not allowing themselves neither the time nor the budget to, you know, to screw up several times and just get that creative process right. Nuggetx1

And so you know you look at their campaigns and it always feels like oh man! They got sixty percent of the way there but it’s not there and it’s because they didn’t go through the iterations and the hard work that is just part of our process.

Johnathan: Yeah. The execution is missing. It’s the same world that we live in but on a much smaller scale with like aligning page and things like that. We have so many fails that when we do get a win it feels obviously amazing but we can’t get that win until there’s like five or ten losses prior to that.

So, I can see the similarities in the creative world too. Is that where you guys when you’re on quote unquote set people from your team. Are they saying yeah I thought on script that it was going to be different and the execution is kind of off. Like can we do it differently? Does that happen at that moment?

Benton: Occasionally, yes that can happen. But the more, I would say the more typical thing that happens is that we write several variations directly into the script. And so, for instance, an intro to your video is a really really critical piece. Nuggetx2

Johnathan: Yeah.

Benton:¬†‘Cause you know, your intro determines the¬†click through rate. And so, we’ll write and film half a dozen different intros.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Wow!

Benton:¬†Because, you know, we can take our best guesses on what’s going to work, but until we actually write and produce those four to six different intros, and then we go out to test them, that’s when we actually find out what the rate on those intros really is. Nuggetx1

And sometimes, it can be the difference of, it can be massively different you know, from your worst intro to your best intro sometimes it can be to the tune of like eighty percent better rate and that one little piece, that can break or make a whole entire campaign. Nuggetx1

And then you apply that same process to, for instance, your call to action. You know, you might write and film two or three maybe four different call to actions and you might do the same thing on your offers, your titles, your video titles, your video thumbnails. These are all areas where you can really move the needle. Nuggetx2

And let’s say you get twenty percent better rate on your intro, and then you get a thirty percent better click through rate on your call to action, and then you get fifteen percent better conversion rate on your offer.

And all of those things start to create a compounding effect where you know, if you had just gone out the gate with just your best attempt, you maybe have a successful campaign, maybe you don’t.

Johnathan: Right.

Benton: But because you allowed yourself the opportunity to test all of those things, then your chances of the campaign being successful or even wildly successful, it just goes up astronomically. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: So when you guys have those intros and the thumbnails and the call to actions, do you test them yourself through like Facebook ads or YouTube ads or do you do like a focus group. Like how do you define the finished product? Like what combo of things do you then learn from? Nuggetx1

Benton: It’s the combination of all of the above.¬†So for instance, if your intro testing then yeah you can just intro test using Facebook ads. You’re just watching the rate as your KPI. So you’re just looking for statistical significance across the variations to find out what is your best bet. Nuggetx1

Other things, for example, we do what we call a last prep. So if we’re doing a humorous piece, then while it‚Äôs just in script format, we would go read that script to, it’s not like an official focus group, but we want to throw it out and do it to friends and family so you can call it kind of like an informal focus group.¬†Nuggetx2

Johnathan: Yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool.

Benton:¬†We’re reading the script to them and that allows us to breakdown throughout the whole entire script. How people are reacting to it. Oh! They’re bored and checking their watch here so that scores a zero, here they’re smiling so that scores a one. Oh, here they’re chuckling, so that scores a two. Oh, here it’s a full on belly laugh so that scores a three.

And that essentially allows us to create what we call laugh graph which looks at the whole entire script and we can identify weak spots. Where you say oh look we have this, there’s like a thirty second period here where we’re not getting any emotional reaction from our listeners. We need to go work on this part because, otherwise, it could be what because that’s where everyone you know fall off and stop watching.¬† Nuggetx2¬†

Johnathan: A laugh graph. I love that. That’s amazing. Benton, I know we’re running short on time. You’ve given us so many nuggets. It’s incredible. Anything I’m not asking you that you think the listeners should know? Did we cover a lot? What are your thoughts?

Benton:¬†I will just go back and harp on what I said at the very beginning and so much of this just comes down to believing in what you’re selling¬†and being passionate about the work that you’re doing. Nuggetx1

When you can get into that space, you love the work that you do and the final product just comes out in ways that you can so proud of, your clients are proud of it, and the market is excited to see it and receive it and everyone is better off when you work on things you believe in. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah. No, wholeheartedly agree. Same thing with our clients too. But you have a completely different mind frame which is unbelievable to unpack so thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you.

Benton: Alright my pleasure. Thanks for having me on.

Johnathan: Alright, talk soon. Bye.

Brand Storytelling Mastery With Michael Brenner

Johnathan: All right everybody, I got a Goliath on the show today. For somebody who has so much experience and was willing to talk to us, I don’t know how we got you on here Michael, but we’re so, so thankful. How are you doin’ today?

Michael: ¬†I’m great, hey man, it’s my honor to be talkin’ to you, it’s really not the other way around.

Johnathan:¬†Perfect, well that’s cool, so for people who are listening, I want to mention real quick, some major basic career milestones that you’ve gone through. You were the head of product marketing at Neilson, did I get that right?

Michael: Yeah.

Johnathan: Awesome.

Michael: Yeah, yeah, Kind of.

Johnathan: Okay, awesome

Michael: Pretty much.

Johnathan: More so yes than no. At SAP you were like the first head of digital marketing, and also head of content marketing.

Michael: Uh huh.

Johnathan: Which is a massive company obviously. Today you’re the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. You have some really really cool books that you’ve that you’ve already published. One‚Äôs called the Content Formula, and the other one is Digital Marketing Growth Hacks.¬†What’s the one you planned on releasing here soon? Nuggetx1

Michael:¬†Yeah, so I don’t know when this is gonna air, but we’ve got Mean People Suck, coming out on October 25th.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay.

Michael:¬†Really super excited about it. It’s basically, I looked back at the 53 specific jobs I’ve had in my career.

Johnathan: Dang.

Michael: And found that the times I was successful was when there was sort of a feeling of empathy. For customers for colleagues. There we go. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah .

Michael: And how it drove success for both the companies I worked for and how I felt career satisfaction at the same time. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: That’s amazing, wow, okay so I’m excited. People don’t even know what we’re talking about today. We’re talkin about brand storytelling, and to your point Michael, your book will be released by the time people hear this, so I want you guys to go find it. Can they get it on Amazon do you think?

Michael: Yeah you can get it just about anywhere you can buy a book, but Amazon is obviously yeah, the place that people go.

Johnathan: All right, cool. So yeah, with a lot of nuggets dropped today, you guys will wanna buy that book.

When we’re talking about brand storytelling, I’m a big believer in this. This is what I built a marketing agency around an already very crowded space, and we’ve been very successful with it. There’s a lot of things we could do better.

So when people approach you, and you wanna talk about starting blocks of brand storytelling, what needs to happen for that to be successful for them?

Michael:¬†The number one key. Well let me start with what’s the biggest mistake.

Johnathan: Okay.

Michael: So the biggest mistake I see brands make when they do any marketing – And sometimes I think brands will use the word storytelling as a way to make it sound like it’s not pure propaganda and promotion. The biggest mistake, there we go, is making it all about themselves.¬†Nuggetx2

Johnathan: Yeah.

Michael: And the term I use is, don’t make your product or your company the hero of the story. ¬†And that’s not always an easy thing to do. So that’s the first step. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay, make sure you have that locked down. Then what comes next?

Michael:¬†That’s right. Well, then I think it’s about the elements of any good storytelling. Well, there’s the villain. They‚Äôre like who’s the villain? Usually that’s the problem your product or service solves.¬†But there’s also this thing I love to say. I’ve used the term marinate in the pain. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay, okay.

Michael: Good stories, if you think about the last movie you saw, it was probably two hours long, and an hour and 55 minutes of it was the pain.

Johnathan: It was Aqua Man.

Michael:¬†It was the journey. It was the mud you’re walking through. Exactly. And so¬†I think good brand stories need to do the same. Marinate in the pain. Spend 90 percent, 95 percent of your time letting your audience know that you feel their pain. It’s the definition of empathy.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah, that makes sense. I can already think of what my marinating of pain would be. I would wash and wax cars for a long time, and nobody would call me back to have me wash their car again. That was what I learned back then too. It didn’t go that well.

Okay, so marinate the pain. Focus on the bad parts of the story too. There’s obviously a lot of outlets and different versions of this that you can do from a storytelling standpoint.

Like when you work with companies, I’m sure they have decent budgets. I think a lot of people listening don’t have decent budgets. Or are able to use that to their advantage as easily. What do you recommend they do?

Michael:¬†Yeah, I mean, well first of all let me start by saying I started in sales. And so¬†I’ve always believed that marketing should deliver a result. If it’s not revenue, it should be something measurable.¬†And so let’s start with that as a goal. Nuggetx1

For me marketing has never been what color is your logo and what pretty pictures can we make? It’s been about connecting with people, solving a problem, and delivering a result.¬†And that makes you proud. Nuggetx1

And so I think that the one thing that I’d like to say is there are hundreds, almost all of my clients, I walk in and I say I don’t want more money. You don’t need a bigger budget. Let’s look at the things that you’re doing today that suck, because a lot of it does. And let’s stop doing it. Nuggetx1

So let’s take a small portion of that, and so here’s the thing that I talk about all time, and I wrote an article about this just the other day. It’s not about, quality and quantity is a false argument. It’s a false discussion.

Nobody, no brand, no person in the world has ever said I’m gonna create a shitty piece of content today. Everybody wants to tell a great story.¬†The challenge and the key that I bring up is consistency. So you don’t need a big budget, but a single drop of water every single day for millions of years can create the Grand Canyon.¬†Nuggetx2

Johnathan: True, wow.

Michael:¬†And that’s, I think, is the key. Is it doesn’t need to be a big budget, it’s just about consistently focusing on solving of client problems, solving your customer problem. And you can achieve great things. Nuggetx1

My own website, I don’t spend a dollar on marketing or content, and I get a million page views a year, because I try to publish great stuff as much as I can, twice a week. That’s it, I do two articles a week, and I’ve seen this massive increase in traffic, engagement and conversion because of it. So consistently focusing is more important than getting a big budget.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: So you are pretty much your own brand right now, and you’re obviously the face of your company, there’s two parts that I’m thinking about in my mind like of content. There’s the content that we publish which is, here’s how to solve a problem that’s specific to an advertising issue, or performance of a website or lain page issue.

There’s not a lot of space in there to do storytelling. Other than us being quirky or fun, and our humor shines through somewhat of that. What recommendation do you have for that, or is it more for like the medium of video that you think storytelling is way better? How can people do both?

Michael:¬†I think every piece of content should tell a story. And again, there’s a hero, there’s a villain, marinate in the pain. All those three things you can do in any piece of content.¬†I can’t remember it right now, but I think Hemingway was asked to tell a story in three words, and it was something about a dead baby on the side of a road, I don’t remember. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: I’m Googling it.

Michael:¬†All I know is I have the image in my head that he told… Yeah please. It was saying I think it’s a story with three words. You can tell I think every medium, it’s possible to take those elements and apply. Nuggetx1

Video, we live in a world where we’re visual creatures. Visual storytelling is way more impactful. You know, science proves it. But you can tell a story in a webpage. You can tell a story in a blog post. You can certainly tell a story in an Instagram story or a Snapchat story. Or even a Facebook ad, I think.

And just to talk about advertising for a second, the most effective ads are stories. They’re things that make us laugh or cry. They’re things that make us think differently about the world. And so they all are stories. I think it’s platform independent. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah, no completely, I completely agree with you. Obviously with the visual element and the music, and the sound of video, it’s a different beast compared to like a written blog post. But you’re right, I was even thinking to myself in challenging what you said.

I was like, no we can make a story starting an intro of the hero and the villain. But it doesn’t have to be like a grand opera. It doesn’t have to be something of a Broadway play. So that’s something that is important.

And I think a lot of people too, we’re guilty of this, because it’s an afterthought many times of the ads that we create. Sure they’re beautiful, but are they all tied together in like the main story that we’re telling? Like is it all cohesive? The answer is no. It’s like oh we have this illustration that we made a long time ago, let’s throw that into an ad in some way. It’s not very thought through.

When you work with companies, and I don’t know if you go through this like play by play, but what are some examples of you seeing this being done? Whether you did it yourself, with a company, or you’ve seen outside people do it. And like the results from that? Because you mentioned marketing being something that we can measure, what was the before and after?

Michael:¬†Yeah, well, I’ve asked CMO’s probably a couple dozen times, what’s the ROI of your marketing, and I’ve had one, maybe, that gave me a number. And so one of the things that I start with, especially at the senior level, is you need to start measuring return on investment on marketing with a number.¬†Nuggetx1

I love to say marketing has a marketing problem, and what I mean by that is if you ask most people what marketing is, they say ads. And when you ask executives they’ll say, yeah maybe it’s advertising, but it should show a business result.

And so we need to be able to think through what’s the way that we can justify our expense so that marketing isn’t just an order taking tactical sort of mechanism. Coca Cola doesn’t have a CMO. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Wow, I didn’t know that.

Michael:¬†McDonald’s doesn’t have a CMO. Johnson and Johnson, Uber and Lift don’t have CMO’s. And the reason is because they said, hey why do we need somebody making 300 grand, 400 grand a year to hire an agency to do what we can just tell them to do directly. Nuggetx1

And so I think marketing needs to think through one of the things I’m doing a lot right now is internal storytelling. So what’s the brand‚Äôs story from a founder‚Äôs perspective? Like why does the company exist?¬†And so that’s why we need marketing. Yeah,¬†advertising is important, but we need marketing to be able to tell that internal story as well. Nuggetx2

And one of the things I do with clients is I call it the mission statement exercise, and it’s just why do you exist? What’s the benefit you give to the world? Forget product for a second. What’s the reason you exist, and can you articulate that story? And the companies that can’t show ROI to marketing, also haven’t articulated that story. There’s a total correlation between the two.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right, I believe it, and we gotta get our crap together. I’m figuring this out as we go along. Thank you for lending your consultive mind without me having to pay you. I appreciate that.

Michael: Yeah, no problem.

Johnathan: So what am I not asking in regards to that, because it’s such a foreign topic to me. I think very tactically, and that’s my problem. I have a very good friend named Drew, I call his BS, I’m like dude, you can do the brand storytelling, but in addition, even if you do that correctly, and you don’t know how to tactically execute it, then you also have a problem.

Which is not the point of this episode right now. What am I not knowing or asking you that you think is important for our listeners to hear?

Michael:¬†Yeah, so I’ll give you two quick tactical exercises that I think can make this real. The first one is, it’s the mission statement exercise I do with clients. And I had CMO tell me it was like the waiting room to Hell. Cause’ you know, you can get into semantics and people disagree, but the point is I try to get to it.

It’s three simple questions. Who are you serving? What problem are you solving, and what’s the benefit you give to them?¬†So my first tactical tip to you and your audience is answer those three questions, and you’ve just defined your brand story.¬†Nuggetx2

Johnathan: Okay, okay.

Michael: Now, how do we take that and apply that in the marketplace? And four simple questions. What keywords is your audience using? And the answer to question two in the previous exercise is the keywords you wanna use. Every one of us can go to Google autofill, or Buzz Sumo, and answer the public.com, and figure out how to create a customer focused content strategy. Or brand storytelling strategy. Nuggetx1

The second question is what content are they engaging with?¬†Buzz Sumo, buzzsumo.com, if people don’t know it, you can type any keyword into that tool, and it will tell you here’s all the most shared content, organically shared content on that topic.

You can use the same tool for your website or your competitors. Basically you can get a picture with free tools on how well you’re part of the conversation that you need to be a part of. Nuggetx2

And then the third and fourth steps are just really, are you converting that engagement to sales? And probably, I call it the lost, bastard child of marketing objectives is retention. Are you able to retain those customers? Nuggetx2

Johnathan: Oh I fricken love that. Yeah, but that’s another episode we’re having upcoming.

Michael:¬†It’s like we forget. Yeah, the data and the math is so clear that keeping customers in any, whether it’s B to B or B to C, any industry is easier than finding new ones.¬†And we just, we never think about that. We always think about just acquiring new. Nuggetx1

And so that’s the four steps. So three questions on the mission, four questions or steps on the execution, you tie those two things together and you’re done.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah, frickin love it.

Michael: Easy.

Johnathan: We’re done.

Michael: Easy.

Johnathan: I appreciate your time so much Michael. That was awesome. Very great topic.

Michael: Thanks so much. It’s my pleasure.

Johnathan: I’m gonna give you the biggest cluck that we have. Sounds good, we’ll get this published. I wanna pick your brain on a future episode, so be ready for my email. This is super fun. Thank you.

Michael: Yeah sure, yeah no problem. Yes that was good, thanks for having me.

Johnathan: All right, talk soon, bye.

Brand Storytelling Mastery With SJ Petteruti

SJ: This is SJ.

Johnathan: Hey, SJ! Jonathan over at BoostSauce. How are you?

SJ:¬†I’m good Jonathan. How’s it going?

Johnathan: I’m doing really well. Super productive day so I feel on top of the world right now.

Real quick for our listeners, SJ, you’re the Vice President of Marketing over at Sellpoints [now Syndigo], and you guys have a ton to talk about and data to support what we basically are talking about today which is brand storytelling and the importance of that too.

So do you wanna let our listeners know like the intro version of the importance behind it and things like that?

SJ:¬†Yeah, absolutely. So, at Sellpoints, we are a product page optimization solution. But that’s really not the story of who we are. And we’ve really put a lot of thought into what is our narrative and where are we going to establish ourselves as a thought leader.

You know, in today’s day and age, more and more customers are doing more and more research around the clients and the brands that they work with. They wanna know that the company has more than just the product but it actually has a mission and that they can build loyalty and take more from it than just the product that they’re sold.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ:¬†So when we started out thinking about what’s our narrative? What’s our brand? And how are we gonna tell that story? It made me think a lot about screenwriting. And I think in screenwriting, you’re always asking, you know, okay, what’s the story about?

But then, what’s it really about? So I take No Country for Old Men, for example, one of my favorite movies. It’s truly just about a man trying to keep a briefcase that he found that’s full of money, right? And Javier Bardem was chasing him.

Johnathan: Dang it! Now I can’t. I can’t watch it now. Now it’s a spoiler alert.

SJ:¬†Sorry, sorry, spoiler alert. Well, I won’t tell you how it ends.

Johnathan: All right, cool.

SJ:¬†But, you know, that’s not really what it’s about. What it’s really about is. What the Coen brothers are saying is it’s about how to, to really live in this world you have to learn to risk everything and that’s the core of what that movie is about.

At Sellpoints, we’re not just about product page optimization. After some thought and some exercises, we really discovered that we’re about helping brands create experiences that inform, inspire, and engage.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay.

SJ: And when you start to think about your company and your mission in the deeper concept like that, you really open yourself up not just in terms of marketing and communications for brand storytelling, but even in product development. Your product roadmap can start to get informed by that deeper mission. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: That’s cool. That’s awesome. And so how do people take advantage of that? Like how do they start?

Like, when you said exercises and things like that to figure that out and also, is there a way to actually measure that? Like the impact it has? Or is it kinda like, does it have like a ripple effect over time and it gets bigger and bigger and more and more important?

SJ:¬†Yeah, I think branding has always been hard to measure. It’s always hard you know when you’re just talking about some brand awareness.

Johnathan: Right.

SJ:¬†Which is really hard to talk about I need considerable ROAS that’s actually real. And I think fortunately a lot of companies now have started to understand that there are more intrinsic things that they need to be doing that can’t necessarily be measured but are still very important.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Mm-hmm.

SJ:¬†We’ve been looking at brand storytelling serving both internal and external customers. From an internal perspective, I think that it’s a really important way of keeping teams aligned and of keeping people motivated.¬†You know, people they show up when they go to work. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: I like that

SJ: They go to work for a company. Thank you, thank you. But they go to work for a company not just for the paycheck.

They’re going because they have to believe in what they’re doing. And without a really solid story that you’re telling, that is rooted in mission. It can be very easy to start to lose people because they just feel lack of motivation and lack of direction.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right.

SJ: And so I said that you can look at your customers or your employee retention as a way of saying is our brand storytelling working? Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right.

SJ:¬†The other thing I would actually measure is just how many different channels are you telling your story through? And that’s one of those things that, when we get to like, all right, how do you go about activating a brand storytelling plan? Nuggetx1

The channels that you’re going to be disseminating that story through are super, super important.¬†And so, if you’re only out there with a blog or you’re only out there with just a Twitter account it’s probably not multi-channeled enough to really be reaching your audience properly. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay.

SJ:¬†So I wouldn’t really necessarily even look at my numbers and what’s my readership what’s my subscription, how many subscribers do I have? I’ll be looking at, in the beginning, just raw numbers. How many different ways am I getting this information out? How often am I telling my story?¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay. Got it. To like make sure that obviously the, is part of that because the consistency concerns as well? Or because I know like when other people, like I don’t, I know, I feel like I know the brand very well too. But if I don’t share that.

And I was actually really reluctant to have a mission and a vision statement too for the company. Because I’m like, I know where we’re going. Why does everybody else need to know? But what we then saw was when I can’t be in charge, like the Instagram account, the Twitter account, the Facebook account and other people have to do it, like, people started doing things differently.

And so it kind of like you said helps align people. People have a certain measurable scope that they’re looking at things through like a lens. And that makes it a bit easier. Even though you obviously still need to teach and help people learn stuff. Is that what you’re alluding to?

SJ:¬†Absolutely, yeah. You can create the story in your own head, but unless you’re sharing with others and you’re sharing it on a repeated basis, that story is always just gonna stay inside of you. Nuggetx1

And it can happen a lot in companies where an executive team of 5 or 6 people might get together and say, okay, and they’ll put a lot of thought into their mission and then they’ll put a lot of thought into their vision statement. But then they’ll just kinda keep it on a Google Doc. And they don’t really share it with their company. And even that’s not enough.

Even if you have it plastered up on the wall, then everybody gets together and after they‚Äôve said the Pledge of Allegiance, they recite the mission statement of the company. That’s not even good enough.

You have to activate your mission statement. You actually have to take it and put it into use. Nuggetx1

And I think that’s what branded storytelling can really help you do. It’s an embodiment of your mission and it’s an embodiment of what you want to bring into the world. Not just in terms of the product that you’re selling. But in terms of the value you’re creating through your own thought leadership content. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay, So let me.

SJ: And

Johnathan: Sorry, go ahead, go ahead

SJ:¬†I was just gonna say real quick, with regards to when you’re actually looking at measuring yourself and measuring your numbers.

Again, the amount of people who are subscribing to your podcast. Or the amount of people who are reading your blog. The amount of opened links your getting for emailed newsletters. Those are important numbers to be aware of, but be careful about living or dying by those numbers. Nuggetx1

It would be the equivalent of, it’s Game of Thrones, I guess they could’ve probably put…

Johnathan: Spoiler alert

SJ:¬†…a little bit more fan feedback.

Johnathan: Just kidding.

SJ:¬†You don’t wanna necessarily change the narrative of your mission of your branded storytelling based on the metrics that you’re seeing in the beginning.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay.

SJ:¬†Especially in the beginning. As you get a little bit more established, and you can start to see maybe there’s types of content that resonate better with your audience. You gravitate towards that.

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ: But you put a lot of thought into what is our story, what do we stand for, how are we gonna tell the story.

Don’t necessarily waver from that in the first 3 to 6 months just because you’re not seeing the type of open lights you think you should be seeing or even if you’re starting to see a decrease in trends.¬†It might just be that your consumers and your customers are starting to really settle out into who’s gonna be your real loyal customers for you. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right.

SJ: And who maybe isn’t a great fit that’s using your product. That might be a customer that will turn, but you want to have a more loyal audience anyway.

And you’re gonna be learning to say, this is who we are, this is what we’re gonna stand by, this is the story that we’re telling, and those who are interested, come on board.¬†Those who aren’t, you know what, hopefully you find your solution that you need somewhere else. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah. I mean obviously it could be something completely unrelated to that fact too. Like a person may not even know that you decided on putting a mission statement together and now live through that as a prospect or a potential customer.

So don’t, like you said, don’t get too worried about it. Question for you, so, like I said before, we were, or I was against doing this because I’m like I need to know everything at all times. But also, know what I’m focusing on for the business, but I didn’t communicate that very effectively to everybody else.

So we did the mission statement. The vision statement which, to this day, I have a hard time knowing the difference. But then we also put together what I think, more importantly, are our values.

And one of those values is we push ourselves. Meaning we push ourselves professionally, physically, emotionally, and through the clients too obviously. We wanna be able to see what can we do differently to get them better performance.

So my question is, are we living your, you know, your recommendation right now? Because what we did was we had our VP of Client Services she loves to do her Spartan races. And pretty much none of us have ever done that before. And so we kinda got curious and then all of a sudden more and more people got interested in doing this.

We then ended up being 20 signing up for, out of 60 that we are in the company, for the Spartan race and now have gotten like 35 because of the fun that we had on the first spartan race. Is that a proof that we’re on the right direction like living that, that we’re trying to be like our brand as well?

SJ:¬†Absolutely, yeah, I mean I think that first off, if you’re getting 35 people in your company that are all getting in Spartan races, you’re a damn healthy company so congratulations!¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: We’re trying. Yeah. Thank you. I’ll give myself a cluck for that.

SJ: There you go. I think when it comes to, you know. You talk about kind of how do you branch your mission and your vision statement into the content strategy that becomes your branded storytelling.

When we started doing that, we worked in three different places. And one of the places that we looked about was the most obvious which is, what is the problem that we’re trying to solve? Why are we here? Nuggetx1

For us at Sellpoints, we realize that, you know, literally the problem we’re trying to solve is how do we make retail Ecommerce shopping better for the consumer? Even today, we know that there’s a big discrepancy between when you go into their Nordstrom and the level of service that you get from their staff. Versus when you’re just on a website trying to understand a product.

Johnathan: Right

SJ:¬†The National Retail Federation just came out with a report a couple of days ago that said, “37% of shoppers feel frustrated by a lack of information regarding product features, comparisons, and reviews.” So 37%, that’s a big number of people who aren’t getting the type of content that they need.

Johnathan: That’s high.

SJ: Yeah. So you know, Ecommerce shopping has a long ways to go. You can see that looking at the revenue numbers between Walmart and Amazon. I mean Amazon dominates Ecommerce. But, they’re dwarfed by Walmart in terms of overall revenue numbers, because people still like that in store experience. And that’s just one part, that’s just one part of our story, right?

The other part that’s really important is what you alluded to with your company, in doing those spartan races. And that is, what are your company’s internal values? And that is where you now start to bridge the problem you’re trying to solve with the way that you’re trying to solve it. Nuggetx1

And the way that you’re trying to solve it will be most successful when you’ve looked inward and you understand the values of your organization.¬†And then you start to make that bridge between now knowing the values that we have, how are we gonna solve this problem? Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ:¬†So, for you guys, it’s about obviously having that active lifestyle, it’s about taking care of mind, body, and soul.

And you know, for us at Sellpoints, we’re a very customer-centric organization. Our people, and I know a lot of companies like to say that, but really, when you look at our reviews on Capterra, you know, you look at our customers and customs, they’ll always talk about the level of customer service they get.

Johnathan: Yeah

SJ: From our support staff. And we really pride ourselves on that.

And we also are very measurable. So, every product that we sell, we want to be able to show the incremental list, that that solution is driving on the product page. And not just saying you’re gonna see an increase. But actually being able to measure the incremental lift of that increase.

And so, with those two values in mind, we started thinking about okay, now how do we attack this whole issue of, you know, the consumer’s not getting the type of information they need online.

And that started to open our minds up and started to think about, okay, if this is who we are and this is the problem we’re trying to solve, then really we’re about education just as much as we are about trying to sell a solution.

Johnathan: Right.

SJ: What we realized is our solutions are really tools. But with this very customer focused staff of people that we have here we need to do more than just selling the tools. We need to be teaching people how to use them.

And that’s what started our webinars, around product page optimization. That’s what started our newsletter, talking points where we’re talking about, you know, emerging trends in the retail and digital media industry.

And it’s really, what started our product roadmap, to be focused more on not just product page optimization. But also digital media campaign management. And tying those two pieces together.

Johnathan: Okay.

SJ:¬†And that really probably would not have come out of just thinking about the problem we were trying to solve. You need to have that different aspect and that different lens that you’re looking at when you’re thinking about your branded storytelling. Nuggetx1

It’s the internal piece of who your values are as an organization. And then it’s the external piece of what is that problem you’re trying to solve.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Okay. So like the way that I’m like, my brain with the monkey with the cymbals in his hands. Its clapping right now. That could be wrong. But basically, when you nail down your values, your mission, and you truly understand that and you then act upon it.

It becomes, it makes things so much easier for everything that you’re doing in the future and then dictating new things and new endeavors from a prioritization standpoint too. Is that correct?

SJ: Absolutely, yeah.

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ: And one of the ways to kinda keep that monkey with the cymbals banging in sync with the rest of the organization is to¬†make sure that you’re putting this down and that you actually do have a bit of a, we call it a, product brief.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ:¬†But you know, it’s got all different terms. But it’s basically the document, more than just your mission, more than your written statement. It’s really the document that allows anybody in the organization to understand what is the story that you’re telling to the market and how are you telling that story to the market?¬†Nuggetx1

So it should include everything from your mission and your vision statement to things like. What is the tone of the messages that you guys put out there to the market? Are you a very formal organization? Are you casual? And why are you speaking in that manner?

So that you don’t have to be the only one on Instagram or on Twitter or on the blog. So that it can be repeated across different channels by different individuals. Nuggetx1

You’re also gonna wanna be putting in, you know, kind of a high level look at the product roadmap. How is that tying into the narrative that you wanna sell? Nuggetx1

And then also look what’s the content calendar look like? What are you gonna be talking about in 2 2? What are you gonna be talking about in 2 3? I mean there’s an entire other conversation around how do you arrive at those content subjects.

But having all that information, centralizing it, and keeping it high level, so that the company, anybody in the company, can go in there and say, “Oh, I understand what the narrative is that we’re telling. I understand why we’re telling this. And I’m motivated by being part of that storyline and tell that.”

In every aspect of an organization, there’s an aspect of storytelling.¬†Whether that is the product from the engineering team, or it’s the customer team, or it’s the marketing team, or it’s the finance team. You know it’s all tied together under this one common theme of who your brand is. Nuggetx2

Brand is so much more than just the logo. And it’s so much more than just a tagline these days. It really is kind of the mission and the engine, the thought leadership, that’s driving the organization.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Like, usually I have a good understanding before I get on these shows and talk to people. But I have to admit, everything you’re saying right now, it’s so crystal clear and makes so much sense.

But I’m also completely mind blown at the same time. Have you had that happen to you? I don’t know it doesn’t happen that often but I wanna thank you for that. That’s amazing.

SJ: Oh no, I appreciate it.

Johnathan: What other things should people know? I don’t even, because I’m such a novice in this world I don’t even know where to guide the conversation. What’s next?

SJ: Well, you had actually mentioned mission versus vision statements.

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ:¬†And I thought that was interesting because I also get confused about what’s the difference between the two of them. And I think that sometimes there are different even definitions for them. If you read Bane versus Forrester they’ll give you two different definitions of what those two things are.

But, I think the important thing when you’re thinking about branded storytelling, when you’re thinking about your mission, when you’re thinking about your vision statement. Is that there’s like, going back to what I said earlier, what’s the story? And then, what’s really the story? Nuggetx1

You can think about your vision statement as being sort of the what’s the story. This is where we’re going in the next three to five years.¬†Nuggetx1

We wanna, at some point, get really good at optimizing product pages. We want every brand whose selling online to be thinking about the content that they’re putting on the product pages. On retailers that they’re selling on. But on their own product pages that they’re kinda selling their direct to consumer products.

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ: But we really want them to be thinking about content. We want them to be thinking about developing video. You know the cost of video now, to produce, is so much lower than it used to be. That barrier has been lowered significantly.

And if you’re a brand that’s selling a product you probably should have a video that talks about what that product does. Especially if it’s a higher price point product. We want people thinking about product comparisons. We want people thinking about reviews.

These are really, really important pieces of information that consumers are dying for. And we know that when we provide this information to consumers when we put it out there in an optimized way that makes it easy to be accessed. People are more likely to buy.

The more information you’re giving to people, the more faith that they’re gonna have that what they’re getting is the right thing for their problem.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right.

SJ:¬†And that’s been our vision statement. Really three to five years. That’s what we’re focused on. We really want people to understand the value of content.

But our mission is going back to that whole idea of bringing out experiences that inform, inspire, and engage. And that is something that we don’t see changing over the next three to five years. We don’t see it changing over the next ten to twenty years. Nuggetx1

So as long as we’re an organization that is in business, we would like to think that our mission statement will be unchanged.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right.

SJ:¬†And so that we’ll always be focusing on experiences that inform, inspire, and engage. And that’s a really broad trend, Johnathan. I mean, we could end up getting way beyond product pages.

We could be talking about experiences that inform, inspire, and engage. That could be a space corps. Going out to the moon and informing you about how the lunar systems work. And inspiring you to want to go study more. I mean that’s the type of experience you could have. It probably isn’t where we’re gonna go.

But you know a mission statement can be broad enough that it allows you to move into different types of sectors. It allows you to take your product into different places and evolve it.¬†You could do new things that might be completely unrelated to what you’re currently doing. Nuggetx1

But the difference again is that your vision statement is more of a short term direct, this is the problem we’re trying to solve kind of thought.¬†And your mission statement is this is the real purpose for why we exist. And that’s something that is long term that probably won’t change.¬†Nuggetx2

Johnathan: That’s amazing. Now my simple mind can grasp it. Thank you. It literally sounds like the vision is almost related to like a goal with a certain time frame on it like you said.

Because it can be updated, it can be increased. It also sounds like you gave us a little bit of a sneak peak on the product roadmap for Sellpoints year 3017. That’s exciting.

SJ:¬†Yeah, you know. We think it’s an open market right now. Virgin Galactic merging with that other space company. So we think there might be an opening.

Johnathan: There is an opportunity for sure. Cool. Anything else that I’m not asking or that we should discuss or cover?

SJ: The last thing I would say about all this is something that I think is important in many different levels of business. And that is, you know, really to get buy in from your team. Nuggetx1

You know, it’s not just a conversation that should be had amongst executives. Or that should be something that you think of while you’re in the shower one night. And you’re trying to figure what’s the driving force of the company.

I think getting your employees to participate in these types of conversations can get them to think about branded storytelling. From a mission to company value. Nuggetx1

And then the last part is to understand the channel that your customers are in. And there is value to be gained from every level of your organization. And you can have a simple conversation. You can put an email out, asking people for their feedback. Nuggetx1

But the more that you can involve everybody in your organization that’s participating, the more people are gonna wanna buy in to helping tell that story.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Right.

SJ: Because it then becomes their story too.

Johnathan: Yeah.

SJ:¬†It’s much easier to get buy in when you actively involve people in the development of a new idea than it is to just give them the new idea.¬†And say this is our new story, this is our new webinar, now go promote it for our customers. Or, now we need this information from you so go pull me this data. Nuggetx1

If they feel like they’ve been helping to actually craft that narrative, they’re going to be a lot more enthusiastic about advocating for it. So try to get your individual employees as involved as possible.¬†Nuggetx1

Johnathan: You just gave a little insight into what I would call servant leadership. You know, getting other people to come to the same conclusion with you.

And you also made me decide that I wanna now make a mural in the office of some sort. You recommended against, but I think we’re decent at living it through too, so that’s awesome.

SJ:¬†That’s awesome.

Johnathan: SJ, this is unbelievable, it’s so cool. I’m so, so thankful to have you on this show my man. And if anything happens in regards to product page optimization we‚Äôll also have you back for a second episode so we’ll definitely keep that in mind. But thank you so much for your time.

SJ: I appreciate that Johnathan. Hey, do you mind if I do a shameless plug before I go?

Johnathan: No, please, please!

SJ:¬†All right, well¬†if you’re interested in learning more about product page optimization, about what’s happening in the reselling industry with digital media or Ecommerce, you can go to Sellpoints.comnewsletter¬†and you can sign up for our weekly newsletter. Nuggetx1

We call it Talking Points. It’s written by yours truly. And I do try to make it interesting but I also try to make in insightful. Something that will allow you to for fifteen minutes get the type of information that takes me a couple of hours every week to put together. So, sellpoints.comnewsletter¬†to subscribe. Nuggetx1

Johnathan: Awesome, yeah, you guys should do that. And that was just like the same version of what you just did for me, the audio version of that. Like, all the experience that you have, you just like zoomed it down to twenty minutes. And now I feel so much smarter.

So, cool, well thanks again. And we’ll be in touch.

SJ: Awesome Johnathon, take care.

Johnathan: All right, bye.