Episode 18 // Adam Pierno on Strategy and Branding

Aug 24, 2018

Adam Pierno Discusses Brand’s Relationship with Strategy

Summary: Mike and Chris interview Adam Pierno, Chief Strategy Officer at Santy, who talks about the two primary attributes an Arizona brand needs. 

A highlight from this episode: “Satisfaction was a common measurement device before brands began designing delightful experiences. Just satisfying customers means losing them soon. Design programs to overachieve and measure more significant indicators to prove success and brand growth. Satisfaction is now meaningless. Aim higher.” -Adam Pierno, author of Underthink It: A marketing strategy guidebook for everyone.

Contact: Adam Pierno at www.santy.com. Chris at chris@chrisstadler.com and Mike at mike@resoundcreative.com

Discuss at https://www.facebook.com/azbrandcast/

Recorded at the enviable MAC6 coworking space in ever-sunny Tempe, Arizona (the 48th and best state of them all).



Chris Stadler: Phase three post [inaudible 00:00:21]. So I’m … for anybody who is listening, I am thumbing through our guest book called Under Think It, which, I think that’s what everybody wants, man. You know, everybody like simplify it.

Adam Pierno: I think everybody says they want it, but nobody really wants it. People want to. People sound like they want to under think it but more often than not people … when they put in 89 PowerPoint slides to show you how unthoughtful they are.

Chris Stadler: It’s almost like we all have this idea like, “Oh, yeah. We’re no nonsense.” So we want to undertake it and just get it done but then we’re talking to people and it sounds like it’s super complicated [crosstalk 00:01:02] how smart we are.

Adam Pierno: Right. Yes. I mean when I started doing strategy which was as full-time, a lot of that was from insecurity. I was trying to prove what I was saying, “Well I’m going to present this to this brand and I want to make sure they know how I got here. So here’s 18 set-up slides to get the one inside.” Like Jesus man, I’m boring them to death before I even get to tell them anything useful. It’s like, “Here’s a slide full of data points. “How came you’re not applauding. Why they not …? They don’t understand what I’m even telling them.

Mike Jones: It’s like sometimes you get so stuck in the craft that you forget that some people don’t want to know how the soup is made or at least not at that level.

Adam Pierno: Absolutely.

Chris Stadler: Or maybe the sausage.

Mike Jones: I mean, I just don’t care how you chop the basil. I just don’t care.

Chris Stadler: And nobody wants to be bored, period. So if I have your time for an hour or 30 minutes in a meeting, top of the list is just make it engaging and interesting and look at the slides that way or look at your conversation you’re about to have that way. But if it’s that many slides of set up, that’s not good. That’s not under thinking it.

Chris Stadler: Do you then prescribe to Guy Kawasaki’s 10, 20, 30 rule.

Adam Pierno: I don’t know it. I’m not a reader of his.

Chris Stadler: So it’s a 30 point type, right? The thought. No more than 10 slides, no more than 20 minutes long, right? Is that what it is?

Mike Jones: That feels right, but I don’t remember. I can never remember what the actual number slides are up to.

Adam Pierno: I like the idea of it. It sounds great.

Mike Jones: It’s a nice little rule set for how to limit your presentation so you don’t end up with 80 slides.

Adam Pierno: It’s very blue sky, very blue sky. I just did a presentation to the agency on how to do better presentations and so the whole thing was very snarky. I think it’s on Slideshare.

Mike Jones: I saw it.

Adam Pierno: Well it has to be because you’re presenting [crosstalk 00:02:56].

Mike Jones: How it came up … you might have posted. I think Dan posted on LinkedIn.

Adam Pierno: Oh. Okay. Yes. I know it’s floating around the internet. There’s things like, you know, three bullet points, three to five words max, and stupid things that you don’t even think of where in a presentation you have a whole chapter that’s about Campaign Analytics, and title of every slide will say Campaign Analytics. 10 slides in a row and you have to come in then step back and say, “Well, what if they only read that headline?” They’ll say, “Oh, you have the analytics? High five. Make that mean something so they don’t even have to read all those equations that you have underneath those. That’s ridiculous. Why are we making people work so hard.

Chris Stadler: Yes. That was one thing that gets drummed into your head when you are grading student work, you know. Like as campaign’s plan book, their saying like, “Oh, we do this research.” And they’re trying to convince you that they did research and they’re so bad at it because they’re young. But you’re like, “Oh crap. This is what I do and this is what a bunch of people. So you start realizing because you have to tell them like, “No, tell me what it means in the first sentence or paragraph. Be clear and concise so I know what I’m reading. Don’t make me draw conclusions,” because I won’t know because I only have a little bit [inaudible 00:04:11], right?.

Adam Pierno: Make it easy for the reader. Yes.

Chris Stadler: And now I can critique you and move you forward because I know what you’re trying to say.

Adam Pierno: That’s a rookie problem. I’m going to explain a lot to get you to the point that I want you to understand versus here’s the point I’m going to make and now I’m going to support it, right? I guess it just takes a little bit of courage, a little bit of confidence to do that. Let’s lead with the points especially the more impact the better that it gets someone’s attention. Going to snap up.

Mike Jones: So, in line with that, we did not lead with our point, which is who is Adam, and what does he do, and why is he on podcast. So let me do a quick little intro.

Adam Pierno: Sorry guys. We’re just so ramped up to go.

Mike Jones: I know, and we kind of like it that way. That’s how we do it here.

Chris Stadler: Yes, that’s cool.

Mike Jones: This is AZ Brandcast for all you listeners who are jumping on. We talk brand strategy, how to build great brands here in Arizona and also try to uncover what does it mean to be Arizona. What does it mean to build the brand of Arizona as a community of businesses and organizations. Today I’m really excited. We have an awesome guest on. We’ve got Adam Pierno from Santy. We’re just talking about his book.

Adam Pierno: Thank you guys so much for having me.

Chris Stadler: Looking at him.

Adam Pierno: Yes, this is awesome.

Chris Stadler: Yes. Thank you so much for coming on Adam. We’ll handed it over to you for a minute here and just kind of give us a little background of what you do, and who you are, and what you been up to.

Adam Pierno: Sure. Well, I’m Adam Pierno. I’m the Chief Strategy Officer at Santy. Santy’s been in the Valley since 1991. That’s when it was founded by Mr Dan Santy. We are a full service agency and our whole point, our whole mission is to wrangle change for our clients. So even … especially today, but as far back as ’91 everything is changing every day for our clients, from technology, new platforms, media behavior, markets, competitors.

Adam Pierno: Everything’s influx and we just try to stay one step ahead of that and come back to our client’s and say, ” Hey, we’re seeing this is going to happen, you know, next quarter, we should do this to address,” or “We’re reading a lot about this thing that’s happening in media, you can ignore it. You don’t need to worry about it.” That’s actually really-

Chris Stadler: This Myspace thing? Not worth it. Not worth it.

Adam Pierno: Yes, right. There’s a lot of stuff that’s like … Hey, you know one of our kind is Peter Piper Pizza. “You know, Bitcoin, don’t worry about it guys. You’re reading a lot about it, it’s not-

Chris Stadler: Oh, there’s not going to be a Peter Piper ICO anytime soon?

Adam Pierno: I don’t think Bob [James 00:06:29] is going to affect Peter Piper yet.

Mike Jones: I would have bought into that.

Adam Pierno: So you’d be surprised how match telling people don’t worry about that or that thing is not going to help you, it’s not relevant to you, that helps focus people. So that’s part of our change mission. It’s just …

Mike Jones: Focused change. It’s good.

Adam Pierno: Yes. We figure it out and we bring it back to our clients and help them stay focused and give them new ideas but also tell them, “Look, you don’t have to worry about this one over here. You can put that on the back burner.

Mike Jones: Yes, that’s so cool. I can think of so many people have talked to over the years that just get so distracted and burnt out chasing all the latest and greatest trends and not knowing what’s right and what’s wrong.

Adam Pierno: And is never going to end. So we’re lucky because we have really smart people in their disciplines and I’m pretty blessed that I can just walk over to somebody and say, “Hey, I haven’t been paying attention to this, tell me about Facebook’s new ad. They have new ads or something.” Oh, yeah. Let me tell you. Sit down. You have 3 hours?” [crosstalk 00:07:28].

Mike Jones: No, I have an hour. You get 40 slides, go.

Adam Pierno: 30 slides.

Mike Jones: 30 slides.

Adam Pierno: 30 minutes. No, 10 slides, 30 minutes.

Mike Jones: Kawasaki somewhere is-

Chris Stadler: [crosstalk 00:07:43] is going to look up … yes, Kawasaki’s rule’s [inaudible 00:07:45].

Adam Pierno: A single tear just rolling down his face [crosstalk 00:07:48]. He’s just like, “I’m not sure why I’m so sad.”

Mike Jones: He’s posting the Michael Jordan sad face GIF, right now.

Adam Pierno: Yes. Absolutely. Well, yes, I don’t give them usually two hours to tell me, but it’s nice to have those people that are out in front of it so I can just quickly get the answers I need. It makes my life a hell of a lot easier than it was, that’s for sure.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: That is interesting because I’ve been at places where I’m expected to know a lot of stuff and I’m not the guy who knows a lot of stuff that’s going on. I’m more, you know, I mean, isn’t it kind of cool to be able to say, “Nothing really changes. I’m going to focus on the things that don’t change.” It that kind of like …

Adam Pierno: I mean, well, as it relates to that brand strategy that’s a lot of it because there’s a lot of things that change around marketing but what you’re trying to do is set up a brand that is steadfast and can survive all the catapults and things that are flying into it and can withstand any kind of challenges or … If your brand is built on a media format that’s not a very good brand unless you are a media company. So that’s we’re trying to create that almost in quicksand. Can you keep it afloat or keep it stable and in the book it’s the foundation of things of marketing. So, yes, it was all that for a reason.

Chris Stadler: So you guys are doing kind of both, right? You guys are looking at what will never change and then there are all these new things. What’s noise? What’s just salient but not important and then applying it to some of the business that really understand their business at the most fundamental level. You know what they’re really saying. You know what they’re really about. You know what they really need to respond to that’s really going to affect them.

Adam Pierno: Right. Absolutely. That’s the job and the with being full-service, as you guys know, I would like to play around with brand all day. A lot of times clients don’t even know what the hell … they say we could come in … A new client would come in and say, “We need branding.” Sometimes after talk to them for 30 minutes I realize, “Oh, they need packaging.” They think a logo is branding and, it is, it’s part of the brand. That’s a critical part.

Mike Jones: Part of it, yes. Absolutely.

Adam Pierno: It’s a critical part, but I would love to have all the time in the world just to carefully carve away and create this beautiful brand promise and work with them. Usually they’re like, “I don’t understand the value of that so could you just do that in eight hours and …” You know what I mean?

Mike Jones: That doesn’t sound familiar at all.

Chris Stadler: We were just talking about this yesterday.

Adam Pierno: How do we get the value across. As an industry we really have to start cracking the pill on that because … and that’s part of what’s in the book. It’s, “Hey, this is why it’s important, you know.” This is why keeping it simple is important. We use these jargons and these big words and we take ideas from academia. We take them from published papers. We take them from psychology. We take them from behavioral economics. So these really smart people and then I want to sound too smart too, so I use these ridiculous dumb ass words that go over people’s head and they’re like, “I don’t know the buses sounds smart but I can explain it to my boss so I’m not paying for it.” That’s not good. That’s not … I don’t think it’s going to help companies stay afloat [inaudible 00:10:48].

Mike Jones: No. It’s not. It has to be tied out comes too. You so many of those conversations where it’s like, “This work is important but only inasmuch as it produces and outcome.

Adam Pierno: Well have you tie branding to an outcome? How have you been successful doing it?

Mike Jones: I mean, there’s probably … There’s is a laundry list of outcomes that we tie back to and they’re soft, right. A lot of them don’t have hard metrics. Each client’s a little bit different in terms of the core problem that they are trying to solve at that moment, and what we can tie to that. But there’s some key ones. One is differentiation, right. How able are your potential buyers and your current customers able to say that you differentiate from your competitors. That’s a really big one. Especially in professional services where-

Adam Pierno: Do you do post brand surveys or is it …?

Mike Jones: Yes. It’s a lot of it is through surveys and qualitative data.

Adam Pierno: That’s great.

Mike Jones: Another one is, you know, how clear are your employees on your own position.

Adam Pierno: That’s huge. Yes, internal communication …

Mike Jones: So there’s an external qualifier to it and there’s an internal qualifier. Then how bought in is everyone? How expressive are they of the brand. And some of that a … You know that’s one on one engagement kind of like, “How do you … Is your particular culture authentically lived out these promises that you’re giving to your customers. Let’s start putting actions into place and implementation plan, and then measure against that implementation plan and do check-ins.

Adam Pierno: Got it. That’s really interesting.

Mike Jones: So that’s some of it and, you know, every client’s a little different in terms of … A lot of them are very marketing focused with their brand issues and so a lots of it’s just, “Hey, let’s clean up your communication. Let’s make sure that it’s really clear what you’re offering, and who you are offering it to, and why.

Adam Pierno: Sometimes it’s just an editing job.

Chris Stadler: Yes.

Adam Pierno: Yes. It’s editing. It’s clarifying.

Adam Pierno: You’ve got all of these things. Just give us a week and we’ll just send it back to you. We just did this for client that … it’s a global company and they had their global headquarters data project with a university professor from their headquarter niche and then it came back and it’s not that it’s wrong or right or bad work . It’s translated or English is not the primary language of the person who wrote it and so they said, “Hey, can you just look at this and help it. Just help us make a little bit tighter sensitive of it. And so, there’s editing and sending it back and forth and just making sure everybody could read it and get on board and understand it. But ultimately it ended pretty similar it was just kind of taking the [inaudible 00:13:23] cutting off some chunks.

Mike Jones: Yes. Another measurement that we’ve used in the past too is loyalty. That one’s a little bit harder of a connection, I think, for a lot of businesses to say, “All right, this front-end work that we’re going to do in a two to three year span is going to result in a higher loyalty for my customers.”

Adam Pierno: Yes. It’s hard to put chips on that up front. Yes.

Mike Jones: But that, I think, is … for me, that’s one of the fundamental metrics of great brands is loyalty. I think honestly in an ideal … I mean, yes, there’s an acquisition metric for brand strategy for sure. But I think the loyalty is where power is with taking the time, putting the investment in and really crafting a unique and compelling brand promise and all the execution like the logos and the packaging and all the other messaging material that comes out of that. That’s somewhat of an acquisition play but you can acquire customers for a lot cheaper without investing in that. But what you won’t have is loyalty and the evangelism and the referrals that come from that.

Adam Pierno: That’s interesting, yes. I’m working on something that is about how acquisition is kind of dying in the digital age because with the exception of your direct to consumer subscription box type product, but for CPGs and those other products that are looking at a dashboard, it’s just more about, “Hey. Oh, this content got this much reaction, this much engagement. Let’s create more of that same thing and you end up in that talking to yourself mode where you’re just serving up things that your existing customer already like. So maybe, and I’m thinking out loud, maybe it’s the brand exist for loyalty and the marketing should exist for acquisition and those things should be feeding each other. So once they get pulled in and they experience the brand is like [crosstalk 00:15:23].

Mike Jones: I’m totally on board that philosophy.

Chris Stadler: And you were also talking about that. When you’re getting that when you feedback, you’re only doing what you have already done. You’re not actually creating anything new so you lack that membership, you know. So you’re not imagining anything forward as a band. You’re just kind of following what we’ve already done and it’s a little bit lazy. It’s unambitious.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Adam Pierno: You know what’s so funny about the word unambitious, it’s not … it’s protective. It’s playing defense which is so messed up because you want to grow and you can grow if you’re just sitting in front of the goal playing [dead 00:16:00]. You’ve got to get out there and run. So, yes, I don’t know if it’s … I think they think, Oh, we’re looking at the numbers, using that trick so we’re being smart, we’re database marketing. That’s real good.” “Right. Yes, you’re talking to yourself.” At a certain point you’re not evolving, you’re not innovating, and somebody like Method is just going come up and blow you away.

Mike Jones: Yes. You’re going to get bit. You’re going to get bit.

Adam Pierno: Right. Or not even see someone coming like [inaudible 00:16:24]. “Wow, what the hell? Where’d that come from?”

Mike Jones: Oh, we’re just buying them up.

Chris Stadler: Well, not everybody can do that but, yes, you work for them.

Chris Stadler: Oh, Mike, we don’t have an icebreaker here.

Mike Jones: I think we had plenty of icebreaker right there.

Adam Pierno: I feel broken. I feel like the ice is …

Mike Jones: Yes. I think it was fully broken. We’re like swimming up to our necks in freezing cold water.

Adam Pierno: I’m sorry, I didn’t bring any talking points here. I’m really cold.

Mike Jones: Wink.

Adam Pierno: Just try and shut me up.

Chris Stadler: Yes, I was just trying to think of one, but I guess we can go to the questions and we can do the icebreaker later, if you want.

Adam Pierno: Okay.

Chris Stadler: If you feel like it.

Adam Pierno: I’m game. If you have an icebreaker you want to try out.

Chris Stadler: Circle back and do a icebreaker. Let us know. Yes.

Mike Jones: It’s okay. I’ll think. If you want to switch us into the next topic.

Adam Pierno: Phase two.

Chris Stadler: No, I think I’ve got one. SEGA or NES?

Adam Pierno: Oh, NES all day.

Chris Stadler: Yes?

Adam Pierno: Yes. NES all day. Although SEGA … now I start thinking [inaudible 00:17:29]. Well, you know what’s so funny, I mean, SEGA had NHL.

Mike Jones: Oh, they did. I forgot about that.

Adam Pierno: Yes and NES never had that. They had that crappy ice hockey game and Blades of Steel.

Mike Jones: Terrible games.

Adam Pierno: Yes.

Adam Pierno: Fighting in Blades of Steel?

Mike Jones: Yes.

Adam Pierno: Oh. So NHL … right? That was SEGA.

Mike Jones: Yes, that was SEGA. That was definitely SEGA.

Adam Pierno: I remember in my dorm NHL 94, yes. I remember that.

Mike Jones: I’m a second Genesis.

Chris Stadler: I had that for PC.

Mike Jones: Oh, it was Genesis though.

Mike Jones: Yes, It wasn’t the original.

Adam Pierno: It wasn’t the original SEGA. No.

Mike Jones: No.

Chris Stadler: Okay.

Adam Pierno: I can’t even think of a game [inaudible 00:18:03] and then there was … Sonic? There was a Sonic, right?

Mike Jones: There was a Sonic which … Sonic drove me nuts. I was such a Mario fan. It’s so classic and just so simple. And the speed at which Sonic played just kind of messed with me. I was just like, “I feel like I’m just button mashing at this point.”

Adam Pierno: Yes, you kind of are. It was more timing than … with Mario you have to think a little bit more.

Mike Jones: And I suck at timing with those things. So, yes.

Chris Stadler: You said button mashing?

Mike Jones: Button mashing.

Chris Stadler: Alright.

Mike Jones: I’m a Nintendo guy. I’m with Adam on the lion that is Nintendo all the way.

Chris Stadler: Did you guys do this instead of this with your thumb.

Adam Pierno: Sometimes. It depends on the game.

Mike Jones: No. No, no, no.

Adam Pierno: It depends on the game.

Mike Jones: Yes. Like Tyson’s punch out.

Chris Stadler: See, I remember playing a different boxing game but I was in Panama. We played a lot of soccer. So I didn’t say a lot of games here at that time. So I was going to go Atari.

Adam Pierno: So you were outside that?

Chris Stadler: Yes. I was going to go like Atari or then I was like [crosstalk 00:19:04].

Mike Jones: Oh, that’s going way back.

Adam Pierno: Coleco was the competitor.

Mike Jones: ColecoVision. ColecoVision was it?

Adam Pierno: Yes.

Mike Jones: I never played that one. I just played the Atari.

Adam Pierno: We had it. It had that weird paddle. Coleco and Intellivision had those weird paddles.

Chris Stadler: Yes. Intellivision, yes.

Adam Pierno: Yes. I’m old.

Mike Jones: I have a nerdy friend in Middle School, in Elementary school. We had like 3 Ataris. So every time we’d go to his house it was like …

Adam Pierno: Why did he have three Atari?

Chris Stadler: Because of the networking.

Mike Jones: Because he’s a nerd. He still is. He works for Microsoft. He built his own computer when he was like 12.

Adam Pierno: It paid off.

Mike Jones: Yes. It totally paid off. Somewhere Zack Stevens is listening, maybe. Well done, man.

Adam Pierno: I never built my own computers. That’s all.

Mike Jones: Yes. I didn’t either.

Chris Stadler: I remember one time, my friend had a game where are you actually put in a cassette tape and the [inaudible 00:19:51] loaded off the cassette tape and it was just the oldest old school game I’ve ever …

Mike Jones: Cassette tapes?

Chris Stadler: Yes.

Adam Pierno: What was it? What was the system?

Chris Stadler: I can’t remember the system but it was like [crosstalk 00:19:59] playing off.

Mike Jones: I don’t remember a cassette tape.

Chris Stadler: The media was a cassette tape.

Mike Jones: That’s crazy.

Chris Stadler: I’m telling you man, it happened [inaudible 00:20:04]. It was right after the cards [crosstalk 00:20:10].

Mike Jones: We’re [crosstalk 00:20:10] Googling.

Chris Stadler: It was right after the card deck you had to keep. Remember those?

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: You ever hear about those?

Adam Pierno: The punch cards?

Chris Stadler: Yes. And if you dropped it your program would so be out of order because that was your program. Those are your [byte site 00:20:19]. Each card was a byte or some like that.

Adam Pierno: I had a Condor 64. So I had floppy discs. Five and floppies.

Chris Stadler: Five and a quarter.

Adam Pierno: Yes. And played Moon Patrol. You guys know what I’m talking about?

Chris Stadler: Yes, I do. I totally do. Come on, I was the guy who brought up the cassette tape. Of course I know what you’re talking about. All right. Cool. So our first … Can we get into questions?

Adam Pierno: Yes.

Chris Stadler: You guys? Yes?

Mike Jones: I’m done. What if I said no.

Chris Stadler: Well, so we talked about what you guys do at Santy, but how is has it shaped … So you’re working at Santy? That is where you are?

Adam Pierno: That is where I am.

Chris Stadler: Yes. How has that shaped your view of Arizona brand? So first of all, have you always lived in Arizona?

Adam Pierno: No. I am originally from Long Island, New York. Beautiful scenic Long Island, New York. I lived in Boston for 10 years.

Chris Stadler: Are you being sarcastic? Yes.

Adam Pierno: That’s the only way to be. Yes.

Chris Stadler: Because he’s from New York.

Adam Pierno: Yes.

Mike Jones: This is why Adam and I get along.

Adam Pierno: Yes, sarcastic.

Chris Stadler: I saw a little like micro expressions smile. [inaudible 00:21:16] smirk.

Adam Pierno: I was like, “Why isn’t this guy laughing? I’m hilarious.” I lived in Boston for 10 years and then moved back to New York, met my wife, who grew up here in Scottsdale. So when we got engaged about a year and a half, two years later, we moved back here. That was in ’05. We lived in Cape Creek for from ’05 to ’11. Then we moved to Atlanta for two and a half years. Tried to do something out there and then we came back in ’14.

Adam Pierno: So we’ve been here for, I don’t know, 12 … 10 of the last 12 years roughly. When we moved to Georgia, about 3 months in I was like, “Oh, Scottsdale’s a really easy place to live.” It started to click for me that, “Okay. There’s like no traffic and everything is designed around people and the way they actually live their life.” Getting around Arizona is great. It’s nice.

Mike Jones: It is nice.

Adam Pierno: Yes. It’s not an old horse path that’s turned into a road that’s supposed to accommodate six million people.

Chris Stadler: Yes, it’s kinda like packed incrementally rather than like built to be …

Adam Pierno: No. It’s nuts. It’s nuts. And I really liked …

Chris Stadler: It’s like the original [inaudible 00:22:28], right.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Adam Pierno: Yes, they just keep on building there. I liked it a lot in Georgia. I liked Atlanta but …

Chris Stadler: So it was Atlanta?

Adam Pierno: It was harder to … Yes. It was harder to … just like if we run out of milk I could just watch the color drained out of Amy’s face and she’d be like, “I’ve got to go to the grocery store. This could take 40 minutes.”

Mike Jones: For a gallon of milk.

Adam Pierno: It was nuts. It was just crazy. Different world. So, yes. We’ve been back for since St Patrick’s Day of 2014, was when we came back.

Chris Stadler: So you have an outsiders point of view?

Adam Pierno: I have both, yes. But I definitely … I started my career in Boston and then worked at an agency in New York. So when I came here, I mean, it was just like, Oh we’re going to get engaged and we know we don’t want to do the commuting lifestyle in New York City so we just jumped in with both feet said, “Okay, we’ll just move.” It’s all on my brain I was an art director. I thought I’d just bring it with me and we’ll do it. [inaudible 00:23:31].

Adam Pierno: Then you get to a new town and you say, “Oh.” I’ve got some freelance work and I went to the first agency. That was McMurray and they were the first guys to bring me on for a couple days. I was like. “Holy shit. I’m in a different universe and it’s not better or worse. Just different. Just the pace and the type of products, projects we were working on. The way that things happened. I was really starting to say [inaudible 00:23:57].

Chris Stadler: So tell us about that.

Adam Pierno: I mean, it was like … I’ve never golfed. I’ve never swung a golf club.

Mike Jones: That’s impressive.

Adam Pierno: I just went to a golf club at my son’s golf left lesson for the first time a few months ago actually. I drove three balls or something. But before I hadn’t and they got me in and they said, “Oh-”

Chris Stadler: Was it like Happy Gilmore?

Adam Pierno: It was a little bit like that except I didn’t make contact with the ball at first. I wish I would have slugged that but I didn’t.

Chris Stadler: Take a couple of steps back and like …

Mike Jones: Run up to it.

Chris Stadler: Like a slasher.

Mike Jones: No. I mean, the coach was like, “Oh, pick up the club.” I was like, “Oh, all right.” So I just, I don’t know, I just stand over the ball and he is like, “Oh, no, no, no. Straighten up. No, no. Bend over. No, straighten. Bend, bend. Your hips now. Your hips, your hips. Your knees, your knees. Your elbow.”

Chris Stadler: Oh no.

Mike Jones: And I was like, “What you doing? I haven’t even swung the club yet.” So then I said, “I don’t want to play golf anymore. He talked to me into anD out of it and like three minutes. But the assignment, the reason I mentioned golf is the first assignment was for a Golf Resort or maybe a Course or maybe a community that had golf for the summer, and they were like, “Well you’re the New York guy. You guys must have some great ideas.” And they’re all looking at me.

Mike Jones: I’m quite sure.

Adam Pierno: I don’t know anything about golf. Let me go think about it. I’ll go do some research but I don’t know anything about it. Yes, it’s just a different pace, different everything. But we had two days to do four campaigns or something like that. And I was coming from [inaudible 00:25:27]. Weeks and lots of resources and art buyers and all kinds of, “Oh, I want to talk … I have this idea. Let me go talk to our research team.” You’re the research team, you know. In a smaller agency you are everything so you just have to start figuring it out. So that was when I said, “Oh, Okay, I’m going to have to attack it the New York way. More skills and just being like that. You just have to wear a lot more hats in the smaller shop.

Chris Stadler: That’s describes kind of me a little bit because when I was a copywriter, I would just kind of play around and stuff. And I was kind of naturally had [inaudible 00:26:02]. You know, I was good at some of the things, right. Then, you know, people are like, “Oh, it has to sell. Call to action. Call to action. Come on [inaudible 00:26:12].” So above that, right call to action and they’re like, “We have to sell.” I’m like, “Okay. Well, I guess that makes sense. So I started asking strategy questions and pretty soon nobody could answer any of the strategy questions, I was just like, “Man, the world needs more strategists.”

Adam Pierno: [crosstalk 00:26:28] Yes. I’m more of a … you know, the reason that I was not a great creative director, ultimately, was some guys, some people that do that job, they get a brief or they hear about … clients says, “Oh, I have this business problem,” and they jump to a vision of how to solve that. When they get a creative idea, it’s just like, “Oh, and it’s going to be like this and I want cast this kind of person. I want to work this way.” My brain doesn’t work that way. I think more in stages. So I can get from a brief to a concept-

Adam Pierno: So I can get from a brief to a concept and then from a concept to executing and then from executing to how it’s going to leg out. And I have a thread that goes through it but it’s more like I need to see the next part of it and help shape it.

Mike Jones: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Adam Pierno: And I think, when you see a great work, usually it’s somebody that’s an author of it that is at God view, that knew all along how it was supposed to come about and I didn’t have that kind of vision, it was more organic for me.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: “And we’re gonna edit it and we’re gonna see how it turns out,” versus “This script is exactly what it will be.”

Mike Jones: Right.

Adam Pierno: It’s a different paradigm.

Mike Jones: That’s really, yeah, it explains a lot.

Adam Pierno: About my work?

Mike Jones: Explains a lot. I mean it’s just a cool, useful way to look at it. I think a lot of our experience in the creative world. Because a lot of times I feel like, “Man how do they know so much about what this has to be? They don’t have the information.” And so I’m like, we need to do a brief or find out the problem we’re solving and understand it really well and then the people are like “No we don’t, we just need to do this, this, this and this and then …” Because they have it in their mind [crosstalk 00:28:09]

Adam Pierno: Lets do this much and then we would talk to somebody and say “How is this going this far?” Some people just say “No, no, no.” They just cast it all the way out, know what it’s supposed to be.

Mike Jones: I have so much respect for those people.

Adam Pierno: It’s an amazing skill. And I know why they’re always pissed off, because nobody else can get there with them and they’ve …

Mike Jones: That community problem.

Adam Pierno: That must be hell.

Mike Jones: Well it can be a leadership problem too right? Because then …

Adam Pierno: If they can’t communicate.

Mike Jones: If they can’t get people to follow them. You either have to get someone to follow you and be able to understand your instructions and be a good communicator that way, because you’re not showing them the why. Whereas you, as a strategist, are probably able to show pretty much anybody the why, at least everybody will understand why.

Adam Pierno: That’s it. And I just focus on the why and if I see great work now I have the luxury going in and figuring out “Okay, let’s go build the why, tell people how this idea makes sense and how this idea is going to sell.” Yes, I’ve come full circle and the art director was like “Do you really even need a logo? I think people are gonna get it. I used your brand color, blue. Everybody’s gonna get it.”

Chris Stadler: They need to know the company? No.

Adam Pierno: But my first [crosstalk 00:29:19] [inaudible 00:29:20] a website.

Mike Jones: You don’t need to call that [inaudible 00:29:23].

Adam Pierno: I don’t thiNk websites were that ubiquitous, the first ad I ever I did, pretty sure it didn’t have a URL or anything on.

Mike Jones: Nice.

Adam Pierno: Those days are gone.

Mike Jones: That could be because you’re [inaudible 00:29:31].

Adam Pierno: Yeah, it was …

Mike Jones: [Comadore 00:29:33] 64?

Adam Pierno: 1990 something yeah. Still tried to put a QR code on it though.

Mike Jones: It just won’t die. They’re like the cockroaches of marketing.

Adam Pierno: They’re coming back.

Mike Jones: They are.

Adam Pierno: In Asia they’ve never gone away.

Mike Jones: That’s so crazy. But they’re native on a lot of their phones there though.

Adam Pierno: That’s right.

Mike Jones: And I think that made a huge difference for adoption.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, the camera just recognizes it without having to download software.

Mike Jones: That was always a huge killer here.

Adam Pierno: That’s everything.

Chris Stadler: So …

Adam Pierno: Did I even answer your question?

Chris Stadler: That was super … I don’t even know, that was just super interesting.

Adam Pierno: Fantastic. Your question was perspective on Arizona. It’s just a different pace. Different pace, people want to move here for the lifestyle and I don’t know that everybody understands how different the business environment is here.

Mike Jones: Especially if you’re … At least from my experience, a lot of people I’ve worked with or worked under who are from the East Coast and have worked in agencies on the East Coast, like, the culture here just in general is so different. You said pace, I think that’s a big one, the pace here is just … It’s totally different. Sometimes it’s not as fast paced, it’s interesting, it’s like … I think your story-

Adam Pierno: Deadlines I feel are faster but pace is slower.

Mike Jones: It’s like the pace is slower but the deadlines are shorter. It’s like “Alright, work at half the speed but be done in half the time.”

Adam Pierno: Yeah, budgets are a lot lower so … And that’s not … I was working at J Walter, working [inaudible 00:31:05] so those are clients that had deep pockets and big budgets. So they could have six teams working on something, when I worked on Dominoes there was four teams working on it. We don’t have that luxury here. If you can invest and put four teams on something that’s fine but you’re probably taking out of your own margin at that point.

Mike Jones: There’s also a different leadership style I think, to some degree. At least here in Arizona, it’s a little bit more of a West Coast style.

Adam Pierno: Much more relaxed.

Mike Jones: I remember, I had one boss who had come from, and it wasn’t from the East Coast, he came from Nashville but the company that he was at was very East Coast in its style. And I remember within about three months of coming to our company he came to a bunch of us and was like “Hey, I’ve come to a realization, the way that I lead and that I’ve been taught to lead, doesn’t work here.” He’s like “It’s not a company issue, it’s a whole culture of different style of doing business in Arizona.” He’s like “I’m gonna try hard.” He did, he worked really hard to change his style and adapt.

Adam Pierno: Takes some getting used to, nobody throws chairs here.

Mike Jones: No, nobody throws chairs.

Adam Pierno: In my earlier career.

Mike Jones: There’s a little less of beating people up to get the deadline accomplished.

Adam Pierno: Which is good.

Mike Jones: Yeah, there’s some good things in that, like everything, it’s a balance, we gotta get stuff done.

Adam Pierno: There’s less … If you’re at an agency in Boston, at [Hill 00:32:43] holiday where it was treated like a craft, those people were some of the nicest people I’ve known in my life. They’re great people that were my bosses or senior to me. There was a guy there, Dave Gardener, super awesome guy. Great guy, fantastic person. But when it came to the work, not mean but 100% direct, like “What are you doing here? This is so wrong, I can’t even believe it.” Not mincing words and just being direct and hurting your feelings but not … In service to the work, in service of the craft of our direction or his job as a [CV 00:33:16] to be direct and to tell you and when you get into a culture … Because we have so many people come in from out of town, I don’t think people know how to translate laid back, West Coast style but still being direct and getting results and that is a hard line to walk for a lot of people.

Adam Pierno: If you came from the East Coast, your loss like the guy you’re describing, or if you’re in a place and you’ve never had to experience that, you just … You run into a wall really, I don’t even know how to get these people motivated, because everybody is real chill but we still have all these crazy deadlines and I wanna do great work.

Chris Stadler: And I’m not allowed to just be direct and just tell them like “You get the stuff done.”

Adam Pierno: It’s more of a question mark, I think people feel like “Am I allowed to be direct?” Or “If I’m being direct, am I being a dick?”

Chris Stadler: Right.

Adam Pierno: You have to, you just have to figure out how to take things on, you gotta figure out how to communicate to each person individually that drives and gets the extra … Nothing ever good happens on the first comp.

Chris Stadler: No.

Adam Pierno: So you gotta be able to figure out how to tell them “Do it again.”

Chris Stadler: Here at the University of Oregon we had to import someone from New York just so we could get someone to tear our work up for us. You know what I mean? You always hear those stories about “Yeah, at my portfolio program they tore your work off the wall if you weren’t good enough” that’s kind of like a badge of honor, and yeah “I’ve been through the fire you know?” So we had to like … We couldn’t find anybody there that wanted to do it so, we got a great guy from New York-

Adam Pierno: He came in just like, peed on the wall?

Chris Stadler: It was awesome because-

Mike Jones: What’s your job title? Official pee-er.

Adam Pierno: Got on the wall.

Mike Jones: Wall pee-er.

Chris Stadler: It was cool because I was on my way out, I was on my last year and he was coming and so we spent a year working together, we had some of the best conversations and it was awesome because he was just like, black and white and I’m on the strategy side, I’m like, black and white. So it was awesome. I was sad … Made me want to stay.

Mike Jones: Do you … Adam, I want, from your experience here in Arizona, working with an agency. Do you feel that the talent pool is a contributor to that? And maybe I’m making an assumption about New York or Boston but it seems to me that there’s such a huge talent pool, of young, very hungry and-

Adam Pierno: They’re not only … So number one, just total … It’s a bigger population, there’s more people there, there’s more companies and competition there so there’s more people churning into the careers and moving there for that reason. Plus, if you’re in New York, you’re in Boston and you call somebody through a recruiter or I call somebody in Nashville or Dallas “Hey, you want to move to New York? Do you want to move to Boston?” Sounds a hell of a lot more enticing for a lot of people than “Do you want to move to Phoenix?” If you’ve never been here, don’t know what the city is, it’s like “I don’t know? Do I?”

Chris Stadler: No, no, you say Scottsdale. Even if you’re [crosstalk 00:36:18].

Adam Pierno: I don’t know, a lot of people when I say “Scottsdale” to my friends and people I talk to out of town, they’re like “Is that near Phoenix?” So I think they know Phoenix as a place on the map.

Mike Jones: Phoenix is still kind of a defining city of Arizona.

Chris Stadler: I just think, make it sound more like a resort.

Adam Pierno: Totally, we just [inaudible 00:36:36] all day. Mimosas till noon.

Mike Jones: It’s not?

Adam Pierno: No. I wish it was.

Mike Jones: Man, Chris, we’re gonna have to change some things.

Chris Stadler: We have to, we’re gonna change our goals.

Mike Jones: Mimosas only until ten.

Adam Pierno: Oh yeah, that’s much better. Everything is crooked at [inaudible 00:36:54]. I don’t know. It’s off, everything is off for registry here. So yeah, people are more likely to move there. So here you’re kind of held captive to the talent that’s here, there’s super talented people here.

Mike Jones: There are.

Adam Pierno: It’s not a knock on people that do the job here, but the job is different here than it is there I think, and there’s less people, less competition for jobs so once you get into a job I think that could also … Part of what drove me when I was an art director was completion to … I had to really claw to go from junior art director to art director I had to beat other people I felt like, I don’t know … But working on things I would throw two, three teams on it. At J Walter, like I said, they would throw four, five, six teams on projects to build up that competition, but agencies here. What’s the biggest agency here? Evie Lane? Or [inaudible 00:37:47]

Mike Jones: I think Evie Lane now, or Lane [Terry 00:37:48] [crosstalk 00:37:48]

Adam Pierno: They 70 people?

Mike Jones: I think they might be at 100. I can’t tell.

Adam Pierno: Not huge, not big enough that I bet they don’t have multiple teams they don’t have gang bangs on things like-

Mike Jones: I doubt it.

Adam Pierno: So it’s just a different … Competition really helps that drive that and drives the work, you look at the widens of the world in your own stomping ground, you’re getting that kind of competition even indirectly if Old Spice is doing great work, then the guys working on KFC are saying “Well, I gotta do something killer too because I got to fight with that guy to get the next promotion, I want to be the next [ACD 00:38:23]”

Mike Jones: You’re the guy riding a horse.

Adam Pierno: Always.

Mike Jones: Always.

Adam Pierno: Always. I’m the colonel. Loving that colonel style.

Chris Stadler: I don’t think anybody can be the colonel now right?

Mike Jones: I think that’s the new role.

Adam Pierno: That’s what’s so genius about it.

Mike Jones: Anyone can be the colonel.

Adam Pierno: I spent half the spots, now I go right up to [crosstalk 00:38:41]

Mike Jones: Who is it?

Adam Pierno: I’m trying to figure out who it is. I pay such careful attention to every spot. Sometimes it’s not even a celebrity, I’m convinced, now they have a standard.

Chris Stadler: They have an interim.

Adam Pierno: It’s a one off. I don’t know.

Mike Jones: Oh man. We should talk about that some point here.

Adam Pierno: About talent or about the colonel?

Mike Jones: The colonel. I don’t wanna talk about talent.

Chris Stadler: The colonel. So much has been said about the colonel.

Mike Jones: He’s been a hot topic. He’s come up a couple of times in the last couple of weeks.

Chris Stadler: [inaudible 00:39:14] he’s just one of the most interesting archetypes or-

Mike Jones: That’s the brilliance of what they did when they brought him back, right? Because they didn’t have a mascot for 20 years I think.

Adam Pierno: He was a static icon but no, he was not- [crosstalk 00:39:29]

Mike Jones: I don’t think they even had that. Like it was in the ’80s that they brought … He had passed away, like the original founder and then they didn’t use him I think for a really long time.

Adam Pierno: Really?

Mike Jones: I might be getting my story a little wrong here. Somebody fact check me.

Chris Stadler: That’s like culturally though. [crosstalk 00:39:45]

Mike Jones: Fake news.

Chris Stadler: You look at “So I married an ax murderer.” The dad hated the colonel.

Adam Pierno: He wrote a conspiracy theory about him right?

Chris Stadler: Yeah, the [inaudible 00:39:53] he’s the part of the [inaudible 00:39:58] of this society.

Mike Jones: That’s what I’ve always felt about Ronald McDonald.

Adam Pierno: You really [inaudible 00:40:02].

Mike Jones: I was just at Mcdonalds the other day with my kids and they had this mural in the play room and it’s got this very like, realistic painting of Ronald McDonald on this garden path, prancing through it but his face is just like, it’s like legit clown paint.

Adam Pierno: It’s too much.

Mike Jones: It’s too real, it’s like, I need him to not step into my world.

Adam Pierno: You take your kids out of there and run?

Mike Jones: Well thankfully we weren’t even in there. I could see it from where we were sitting and every time I’d like over I’d look at my wife and go-

Adam Pierno: His eyes are moving?

Mike Jones: “He’s creeping me out.”

Adam Pierno: His eyes were following you.

Mike Jones: Ronald’s creeping me out.

Chris Stadler: Did you see a pyramid with an eye in it? Hidden somewhere?

Mike Jones: It was behind the bushes probably, had to be.

Adam Pierno: Some Ronald McDonald illumanti action?

Chris Stadler: Exactly.

Mike Jones: There was this creepy bird hanging out in the tree. It was weird. I haven’t seen one quite that weird … It’d be like if, what’s that guy that paints the houses with the light?

Chris Stadler: Cater of light? What’s his name? It’s Thomas.

Adam Pierno: Kinkade.

Mike Jones: Kinkade, it’s like if Kinkade painted Ronald McDonald.

Adam Pierno: Oh it was that?

Mike Jones: It was that like-

Adam Pierno: Oh man.

Mike Jones: It was a little weird. I was like “I don’t know what’s going on here.”

Adam Pierno: That’s super weird.

Chris Stadler: So if Ronald McDonald was an Arizona brand, just kidding- [crosstalk 00:41:17]

Adam Pierno: That was well done. Well done.

Chris Stadler: So in that experience you talked about right?

Adam Pierno: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: So you talked about the difference of working in New York, working here. What about the brands that are here? Have you noticed a difference in the brands themselves? How they come across? How they relate to people?

Adam Pierno: They have to be more thoughtful. The brands that are based in New York, most of those brands, global brands can just throw money at it. And try a little bit of everything and see what sticks and then optimize to it, so brands here have to just be a little bit more careful. Be a little bit more shrewd and think more strategically about what they’re going to do because they don’t have endless deep pockets, working on … Cadbury Adams was a client, so a bunch of brands from there and a bunch of brands from [Diaggio 00:42:10] … Don’t say “Oh lets do this crazy thing.” “Alright.” I mean it wasn’t endless money but they could take some …

Mike Jones: They could try a lot of things.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, they could wing it. Sometimes. But brands here, they have to just be a little bit more careful and really pay attention to what they’re doing and have to be a little more forward thinking about how what their return is gonna be. So I think that’s part of that.

Chris Stadler: Interest [inaudible 00:42:36] that makes me … You said it, strategy. It’s like, I wonder these days with all we can do with digital and all the testing, the split testing, everything we can do. I sometimes wonder if strategy is on its way out, you know.

Adam Pierno: That’s interesting. Lets hope not.

Chris Stadler: Well how can it be? As long as it stays a-

Mike Jones: I think there a stories that prove that is a false methodology. Google was that way for a really long time. They were like the masters of split testing, they’d split test down to like what’s the color on every single called action button on every single product?

Adam Pierno: Heard the urban legend about 64 different shades of blue.

Mike Jones: Yeah, and at some point what actually happened was there was a riot in their system. Who said “Look, we come with experience and intuition based on experience and we can actually get you to an answer sooner and just as accurately through intuition than you can with constantly running everything through a data test.”

Adam Pierno: At least let us get you to two colors, we don’t need to test 64 shades of blue, give me a break.

Mike Jones: What they saw was actually that when they finally acquiesced and it took their design director leaving the company to force them to do that. And that’s actually the big shift that you started to see, and it culminated in their logo re design, from two years ago. But it took a few years to get to that point but basically they saw a huge shift in their cultural understanding of the importance of design. And in some aspects for me as a designer, design is strategy. Design is having, who am I talking to? What is the goal that I’m trying to achieve? And how am I gonna get there? Based on all the parameters that are involved. That, intrinsically is design thinking which is strategy. Lets put another label that designers like to claim that they own or something.

Mike Jones: But it’s like, when they started to realize like “Hey, we can’t exist as this behemoth of a company with our hands in so many different pies if we’re not willing to invest in design.” And in order to invest in design doesn’t mean that you give up metrics and you give collecting data and testing, but it does mean that you start to move in a more strategic … With a more strategic mindset on initiatives where you go “Lets think about this, lets put a plan together that’s based on objectives and goals and lets think about the context in which we’re gonna do that and write a plan. We’ll test parts of that plan, for sure, but at some level it’s like, you’re gonna iterate yourself into the ground.

Adam Pierno: Right, and they would slow progress down to a [crosstalk 00:45:30]

Mike Jones: Exactly.

Chris Stadler: Kind of like what we talked about earlier, right? We talked about that earlier with a lack of leadership, just dumbing things down to the point where we’re just kind of … We’re only testing what we’ve already done and we’re just testing different versions of that to point where we’re not really boring, we’re not providing much leadership. And it’s almost like strategy and leadership now kind of become two different, important components, because the leadership says “Hey, we can imagine what’s possible.” And the creative directors were saying “We can imagine what’s possible and we still need to test it but we can imagine it, right?” And the strategy might say “Why is that important?” But the leadership, the imagination has [inaudible 00:46:16].

Adam Pierno: Yeah, I think the other part that Arizona brands need to have is commitment. And really stay true to a plan and understand themselves who they are which goes back to the very beginning of this chat, why is brand strategy important? Because you gotta know who you are, so that everything you do reflects that and plays back to it and if you’re not sure who you are, then you’re gonna be all over the place in the eyes of the consumer who sees you three different places looking like three different [inaudible 00:46:51]. I just saw this ad for Makers Mark which is not an Arizona, forgive me.

Mike Jones: You can bring non Arizona brands into this conversation.

Chris Stadler: Are you gonna rip on them? Are you gonna say good things?

Adam Pierno: Well I like the product. I love Makers Mark. But the ad was an animated ad.

Mike Jones: That’s not dumb.

Adam Pierno: It was just weird, it was a holiday ad I was saying “Okay, I get it.” But it was 2D animation, it just didn’t make sense to me at all. Also it was airing at maybe 6:00 AM, that’s a different thing, maybe that’s a new call. But I was thinking “Who on that knows the Makers Mark brand?” You guys just started laughing so you had the same reaction I had, right? I only know it from drinking it, I never worked on it. I saw the ad, I was just thinking “Who that worked on this brand thought “Yes , that aligns with who we are?”” No way. So I wonder if the SPM produced it for them or something or some third party did something.

Mike Jones: They outsourced it.

Adam Pierno: Something, something went wacky.

Mike Jones: That’s interesting. So thoughtfulness-

Adam Pierno: And commitment.

Mike Jones: Is a key attribute and commitment of Arizona brands. Those are good, those are really good, I’m gonna have to continue to churn on that.

Adam Pierno: Ponder?

Mike Jones: Ponder.

Chris Stadler: They kind of make sense together. Because the commitments, you can’t just see something shiny and change your approach every time you see something shiny, that’s an indisputable-

Adam Pierno: Absolutely. And it’s tempting to do that, right?

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: And that’s part of what we offer and at [Sampi 00:48:27], that’s our whole change mentality is hey, we know you’re seeing that. But guys, we’ve got a client that’s a CPG company that’s for the core audience is wealthy older females. And the client said “Hey what about Snapchat?” We said “Well, we would love to do Snapchat stuff, we could do some crazy stuff but if that … Your audience-”

Mike Jones: Your audience isn’t there.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, they’re just not there. They’re just not using it. So lets save that money and do something better, something more effective with it.

Mike Jones: So you did a direct mail campaign, right?

Adam Pierno: Exactly. Sky writing.

Mike Jones: Sky writing, yes.

Chris Stadler: The forgotten medium.

Mike Jones: Bringing it back.

Adam Pierno: It never went away. We’re actually a full service sky writing company [crosstalk 00:49:09] promo. No, I would love to do Snapchat campaigns all day, they’re fun but it just wasn’t the right place and time so it takes as much discipline for the agency as it does for the brand and sometimes more because would the people that work on our social content like to do Snapchat? Probably more than anything in the world. Right, and so we asked them, and they said “That doesn’t really make sense.”

Mike Jones: That’s a good sign.

Adam Pierno: Good discipline. If they would’ve said they wanted to I’d have been like “Hm, this might be self serving.”

Mike Jones: So look in our portfolio.

Adam Pierno: Exactly, would it … When you see a portfolio with something like that, Makers Mark or Snapchat creative for something that …

Mike Jones: Well see, unfortunately I think there are potential clients out there who are not sophisticated enough … Right so I think one of the keys to that question, should this … Would this serve our portfolio? And if the gut reaction is “Well, it’s fun and it’ll look good.” Then I question who are you trying to get as your client? And if you have stunned, if you’ve been thoughtful and you’re committed to working with clients who aren’t sophisticated and not thoughtful, then put that in your portfolio.

Adam Pierno: You don’t give a crap, you just want to show that-

Mike Jones: If you don’t give a crap and you just want …

Adam Pierno: Right, “We did stuff for Snapchat.”

Mike Jones: And to be honest, like I see agencies do that. I see a lot of agencies do that where it’s like, the end product is the goal and how it shows-

Adam Pierno: Versus the effect.

Mike Jones: Versus the outcome.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Mike Jones: And unfortunately I think that’s repeated over and over with so many agencies because there are clients who buy based on that. They go “I see pretty pictures and that’s what I want.”

Adam Pierno: There’s also the clients we’ll call and say … They’ve already met about it for three weeks at different meetings, it’s not just coming out of the sky but the call the agency gets is “Hey, we need a print out.” Or “We need a TV campaign. We need to re do our website.”

Mike Jones: We’ve already done the strategy.

Adam Pierno: “We need an app.” And the agency, what do you do? Where are you with your hours? Where are you with timing? Is it due today? There’s so many things that influence somebody who gets that call, or that email to say “Okay, we’ll do it.” Or “I’ll go get a team on this, hey guys we’re doing a print out, go.” Versus “Whoa, what do you want the print out to do? Well that sounds like maybe you need a direct mail piece or maybe you need a landing paid, maybe paid search” or whatever the thing is, and part of it is the speed of business and needing to make an impact and coming to you with a solution because they’re trying to solve the problem and they think they’re helping.

Mike Jones: “Well our competitor down the street just did a print out so we should probably do one too.”

Adam Pierno: That drives me crazy [inaudible 00:51:58]. Well … Don’t.

Mike Jones: But just don’t.

Adam Pierno: That’s a big one too. “Our competitor did that so we want to do it.”

Chris Stadler: What a great way to use your skywriting side business.

Adam Pierno: Exactly.

Chris Stadler: Sponsor [inaudible 00:52:12].

Mike Jones: I’m totally gonna go get a pilot’s license, just so I can sky write.

Chris Stadler: Buy a resound blimp.

Mike Jones: A blimp.

Adam Pierno: You could buy a drone.

Chris Stadler: Throw it all in there.

Mike Jones: Oh, I like this.

Chris Stadler: That’s true. Sky writing drone.

Mike Jones: MVP, minimum viable product.

Adam Pierno: I think that it exists.

Mike Jones: I’m sure it does.

Adam Pierno: On Amazon. Your favorite-[crosstalk 00:52:34]

Mike Jones: Yeah, so I saw you’re coming. Adam’s tired of me ranting about Amazon.

Adam Pierno: It never stops.

Mike Jones: It just never stops.

Adam Pierno: Oh you’re not done?

Chris Stadler: I’m not tired.

Mike Jones: No, my problem is that they’re-

Chris Stadler: [crosstalk 00:52:44] hate Snapchat.

Mike Jones: They’re so prolific in the media right now-

Adam Pierno: There’s no shortage-

Mike Jones: I can hop on my news app and it’s guaranteed I’m gonna see three articles about Amazon and I just pick whichever one I like the most.

Adam Pierno: That’s funny. Or don’t like the most.

Mike Jones: Or don’t like the most, and publish it. They’re an easy one to bag on. That’s more of it coming into it-

Adam Pierno: Well part of it too, we’ve talked about it before, there’s so much Amazon stuff that no person outside the company can make sense of what it is, it all seems very obviously wrong or [inaudible 00:53:19] a great idea but I have no idea. They’re buying this for some totally unforeseen reason that I’m not privy to the data.

Chris Stadler: There’s a strategy in the black box.

Mike Jones: There is.

Adam Pierno: I’m sure there is somewhere.

Mike Jones: I’ve talked with employees and-

Adam Pierno: Yeah, they know what they’re doing.

Chris Stadler: Well, people aren’t pouring money in there for no reason, right?

Mike Jones: That’s a whole other debate for another-

Chris Stadler: It’s like-

Mike Jones: I don’t want to turn this into the same podcast episode that we’ve already had.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, thank you.

Mike Jones: Because Adam has his own podcast [crosstalk 00:53:48] in fact you have a couple. But-

Adam Pierno: I do. We did not, we didn’t talk about it, we can though. It’s called “The strategy inside everything.” And what we try to do, we talk about strategy, but we don’t come at it directly. So I invite my guests, like Mike, to think of a topic that they’re passionate about or interested about-

Adam Pierno: Like Mike to think of a topic that they’re passionate about or interested about that is really … it doesn’t have to be marketing-related. We talked about Amazon and Whole Foods and the culture contamination and how that will play out. Then we talked about the strategy that goes underneath that, but we’ve had people … guests have come on and talked about the band Phish and their-

Mike Jones: Ooh. Awesome.

Adam Pierno: Customer loyalty tactics and talked about how broken the polling process is in political polling, so just a really wide array of topics. I like it. I do the show essentially so I get to have those conversations that I don’t really get to have as much when I’m working all the time, so it’s a nice way for me to-

Chris Stadler: I think that’s how we started.

Mike Jones: That’s how we started because Chris and I hang out at coffee shops for two hours at a time talking strategy and branding and marketing. We’re like, “Why don’t we just record this?”

Adam Pierno: I know. I love getting together with smart people and having these kind of exchanges of ideas. I mean, you don’t really have the space in your day to do it unless there’s a … now it’s a podcast, so it’s a thing I can do.

Chris Stadler: And you can’t just have this conversation with just anybody, right? I mean, you’re not going to walk out of your house and have it with your neighbor. There is few people who are as nerdy about this as we are.

Adam Pierno: Absolutely.

Mike Jones: Strat nerds.

Chris Stadler: You’ve got to get your fix when you can.

Mike Jones: So it was a strategy inside everything.

Adam Pierno: That’s it. It’s on iTunes. It’s on Google Play. It’s on Stitcher.

Mike Jones: Stitcher.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, you find [inaudible 00:55:28]

Mike Jones: I love Stitcher.

Adam Pierno: I don’t use it, but it’s up there.

Mike Jones: It’s a cool place.

Adam Pierno: There you go.

Chris Stadler: I heard it’s the Snapchat of … [inaudible 00:55:34]

Mike Jones: It’s the Snapchat. That’s Overcast.

Chris Stadler: I use Overcast.

Adam Pierno: Okay.

Mike Jones: I use Overcast for all my subscription, like the subscriber stuff.

Chris Stadler: I’m a big Overcast guy.

Mike Jones: Also because I listen to everything at like 1.2 times speed.

Adam Pierno: Oh do you?

Mike Jones: Oh yeah. I’m that guy.

Adam Pierno: I’m pretty careful about what shows I do that with.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: When there’s a lot of pauses I do that.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I listen to a lot of NPR or NPR esque shows.

Adam Pierno: Oh yeah, me too.

Mike Jones: And they all talk like this.

Adam Pierno: Very methodical.

Mike Jones: Very deliberate and thoughtful. Which is fantastic except that I got to get through 80 minutes worth of podcast in a 30 minute drive so, lets go guys, lets go.

Adam Pierno: Very nice.

Mike Jones: I’m all about quantity over quality, come on guys.

Adam Pierno: You wanted to get to that Blue Apron commercial faster.

Mike Jones: They’re seriously on everything right now.

Adam Pierno: Them and Squarespace.

Mike Jones: Oh, Squarespace.

Adam Pierno: It’s unbelievable.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: So, speaking of Squarespace.

Adam Pierno: Yes.

Chris Stadler: Actually, not speaking of Squarespace.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, I knew it, we’ve got another genius segue.

Chris Stadler: Totally blatantly obvious segue. What’s a Arizona brand that lives out its values?

Adam Pierno: Well, I have two. I told you that I have zero, but I have two.

Mike Jones: Ooh.

Chris Stadler: That’s pretty nice.

Adam Pierno: I would say Tuft & Needle, but I’m sure you guys have already talked about Tuft & Needle. So instead, that’s one, I would say Peter Piper Pizza.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: Is a brand that I have been exposed to since, I think we started working with them in 09.

Chris Stadler: Is it wrong that I didn’t know that they were an Arizona brand?

Mike Jones: They hide it well.

Adam Pierno: They are founded here.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Wow, okay. Are they still headquartered here?

Mike Jones: There’s a lot of companies that are like that.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, they’re headquartered here. They’re headquartered in Phoenix. They were up off the 101 for a long time but they moved down to the Biltmore area. A year and a half ago. And watching, being exposed to the way they train, to the way they run stores, to the way they think about guests and the way they think about guest experience. They really live it, they really mean it. It’s not a corporation where you walk in and they’re just counting money and filling machines with tokens.

Chris Stadler: Right.

Adam Pierno: They really want guests to have a great time and they really want people to get that 90 minute family time that gets compressed into that visit that you make to your restaurant. So it’s nice to go meet those guys and present ideas to them because you know they’re really into it and it’s not just cashing checks. Although they do okay as well.

Mike Jones: You guys spearheaded the rebrand a few years ago, right?

Adam Pierno: We did. So we’ve been working with them since they were with another agency here and they had a new CMO come in and he came to town and decided to try to kind of turn everything upside down. So he made some personnel changes on his end. He did a tour of the agencies around town and then we started working with him and it’s funny because I had thought, when I got to town and started working and just kind of learning the lay of the land here. I had worked on Domino’s, I had worked on Dunkin Donuts, so I really like the multi unit restaurant world, I just understand it. And when I got to Santy Dan said, “What’s a brand that’s local here that you would like to work on that you think we could do something good?” And I said, “We could crush Peter Piper Pizza, we could help them so much.” And sure enough, Charles came to town and came to the office and we had a meeting and kind of hit it off, got along.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Adam Pierno: He’s since moved on, when they made some changes on their end, but Jason, who’s been there as now their CMO, he was there as I think the VP of marketing. We have a great relationship as an agency with that brand and we really have insight into what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and it’s just refreshing to see how they run the business and give a crap what’s happening and what’s the product they’re putting out for their guests.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: It’s cool.

Mike Jones: Yeah, I mean, kudos to them and you guys. Especially, I think I’ve been more cognizant of changes there since the rebrand. The experience all the way through has just been an increasingly better experience.

Adam Pierno: Oh yeah.

Mike Jones: You know, growing up I don’t think I had a high opinion of Peter Piper and some of that’s probably as a kid at some point you kind of reach that point where food matters more than the games, and that was never their sweet spot. The food was just there.

Adam Pierno: It’s okay food.

Mike Jones: But they’ve actually improved it.

Adam Pierno: They have, they did a lot of work there, they’ve done a lot of work.

Mike Jones: It’s a place that I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll take my kids there and I know we’re going to have a decent slice of pizza and they’re gonna have a great time.”

Adam Pierno: Yeah, and that’s what I mean. The reason that you thought that it was not a great place is because the stores were old. They didn’t age very well. They were maintained, they were clean.

Mike Jones: Sure.

Adam Pierno: But they weren’t updated very frequently, but now I’m sure you’ve been into some of the new stores, they have 2.0 stores which are the ones that were redone going back about 4 years and now they have 3.0 that have more of a carry out focus and a little bit smaller which is better for me, I can see my kids all the way across the restaurant which is a little bit nicer. Some of them…

Mike Jones: A little bit more secure.

Adam Pierno: …9000 feet you kind of lose sight line.

Mike Jones: Yep.

Adam Pierno: It’s a warehouse essentially. But they’ve really been thoughtful about the experience and winning people back who liked it, but didn’t love it, or people that would come once every 6 weeks, it’s what can we do to make them like it enough to come again and it’s not all trickery and couponing. Let’s make them like the experience, give them more of what they like. How can we innovate in food to make it something better. And the pizza, they did what Domino’s did first, and I don’t even think they get half the credit for it because, we put in our ads, we don’t come out and say, “We redid our pizza.” But it is, it’s all from scratch.

Mike Jones: Yep. No, it’s markedly improved over the years.

Adam Pierno: I’m a pizza snob and I’ll go and crush 18 slices if I get around it. [inaudible 01:01:42] Ate five slices after I just had Chipotle. [inaudible 01:01:45] Bottomless pit.

Chris Stadler: That’s awesome.

Adam Pierno: Sort of. My doctor disagrees.

Mike Jones: We were talking about gut clogging earlier.

Adam Pierno: Yeah.

Mike Jones: That’s one way to do it.

Adam Pierno: I was working on it.

Mike Jones: Yeah, you were working on it. Hitting those goals.

Adam Pierno: Making gains.

Chris Stadler: So, they asked you what brand could you just crush right when you got here. Now, actual segue.

Adam Pierno: Oh, we got a real segue.

Chris Stadler: What brands that are out there in the United States, lets say, would Arizona crush were they to move to Arizona.

Adam Pierno: I don’t even know how to answer that. Arizona is such an interesting place. Entrepreneurs do well here. Just the people that I’ve met who have a different… A lot of my friends have jobs, either they started their own business or took a business that they were doing and moved here and just reformatted it, and the positive and the negative is that anything goes essentially. So, I know a guy who’s in the mortgage business, but he’s in this other weird iteration of it and he just said, “There’s the opportunity, I’m gonna go do it.”

Adam Pierno: I have a bunch of friends who started their own law practice and it’s like, what kind of law do you specialize in? And they have this really weird, well, I specialize in this specific thing that’s way over here totally working for them and Arizona is about those people coming here. I don’t know that I would have gotten a job in strategy if I had stayed in big marketing because you get put into a hole. So I think the brands that come here that can succeed… You know, I mentioned Tuft and what’s the electric car company that’s based here? Echo? There’s another one here too.

Chris Stadler: There’s the one down south.

Mike Jones: Lucid Motors.

Adam Pierno: Yeah maybe it’s that. There’s another one too.

Mike Jones: They have a plant. I don’t know that they’re headquartered here.

Chris Stadler: Because I mean, Local Motors has…

Adam Pierno: Oh yeah, those guys too. So if you look at local motors, you look at Tuft & Needle, I don’t know that they were the very first but they were in that curve of, “Hey, we’re gonna blow up mattress.”

Mike Jones: Yep

Adam Pierno: That feels to me like a very Arizona thing. Somebody just saying, “I can do that. Costs are low enough that I can invest just in these very specific ways and make this happen and watch it all come to life.” And that’s amazing. Any specific brands, I don’t know, probably not in beverages. We live in the desert. So please don’t come here and deplete my water supply.

Mike Jones: That’s a good point.

Adam Pierno: But brands that already have an innovative idea and are pinned in in a major market where they have trouble executing it or brands that are new, entrepreneurial ventures. Where people are looking for a new approach and people that will gather and rally around an original idea, which I don’t think happens everywhere in the Silicon Valley it only happens around tech.

Chris Stadler: Right.

Adam Pierno: I think here it can be around anything.

Chris Stadler: It’s almost like in San Francisco it’s like, “Oh, that’s off brand.” You know, if it’s not tech.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Chris Stadler: It’s like not really what we do, right?

Adam Pierno: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Where here it’s an asset and a liability maybe that we’re kind of like, we’ll try anything.

Mike Jones: Yeah, some of that…

Adam Pierno: Yeah, we don’t get known for anything.

Mike Jones: Yeah. That’s the downside.

Mike Jones: It’s too diverse almost for it’s own good at times.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Mike Jones: Yeah, I would definitely agree. I would just echo all of that. I think, as you’re saying it I’m just nodding my head, like, yeah, we’re not… Yeah, we’ve got some different industries that kind of have some emphasis here.

Adam Pierno: What are we known for?

Mike Jones: We’re not really known for any one particular… I think there’s one that maybe through a lot of political maneuvering and they’re attempting to make known and that’s the autonomous car industry.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, that’s true.

Mike Jones: And I think that’s somewhat driven by lack of regulation here. I think Google’s first choice I think was LA to start the Waymo program but we got it because LA was unwilling to change their…

Adam Pierno: And we’re so much cheaper. It’s so much cheaper here.

Mike Jones: Yeah. But we’ve talked about that in that that’s not necessarily a great attribute.

Adam Pierno: Being cheap?

Mike Jones: Being cheap.

Chris Stadler: Right.

Adam Pierno: No, it’s terrible.

Mike Jones: And it’s one that doesn’t always stay. Right? You can’t bank on that for 100 years.

Adam Pierno: Yeah.

Mike Jones: You can bank on that for a few years, maybe a decade or two or three.

Adam Pierno: Well, somebody will come and undercut you eventually. A TV production Vancouver and now it’s in Georgia and where will it go next, whoever cuts their rates, whoever offers tax rebates. So somebody in Arkansas will say, “Oh, look what they’re doing in Arizona, we better [inaudible 01:06:38]

Mike Jones: There are cheaper cities now. Far cheaper. You know, a lot of the Midwestern cities have capitalized on that more recently and gotten a lot of investment that way.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, just trying to figure out incentives.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: So, I’m gonna…

Mike Jones: You’re gonna hit your mic.

Chris Stadler: I’m gonna stab the microphone. I’m gonna run to the bathroom. You guys are gonna need to talk. [inaudible 01:07:02] I’m over hydrating.

Mike Jones: You were over hydrated. Alright.

Chris Stadler: BRB everybody.

Mike Jones: Was there another question on the list?

Chris Stadler: We had…

Mike Jones: Because we could switch to that.

Chris Stadler: It is the ideas for Arizona to take action in line with it’s values.

Mike Jones: Alright.

Chris Stadler: What are the ideas.

Mike Jones: And I think this is the last one.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, it’s more of a brainstorm, kind of a discuss amongst ourselves.

Adam Pierno: We got it. We’re on it. I asked you when I heard this question. Are there values that you’ve established or is it still kind of open ended?

Mike Jones: I think we’re still kind of open ended. These conversations are part of that process of getting to a point where we can establish some.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Mike Jones: So I think every episode, we’re kind of highlighting, you talked about commitment and you talked about thoughtfulness. And that was interesting to me. Those are maybe attributes of Arizona but at least attributes of brands that are here.

Adam Pierno: I mean, what would Arizona commit to?

Mike Jones: I don’t know. I think that’s the question. What do we have to commit to? Where can we prove leadership as a community of communities?

Adam Pierno: Well, that’s part of the challenge. There’s not just Arizona, there’s a lot of communities that sort of squabble. So maybe part of what they would need to do, what those individual communities would need to do is band together so it’s Phoenix versus Glendale versus Scottsdale for different resources, trying to sell them different packages. Jesus, every time the sports teams [inaudible 01:08:31].

Mike Jones: Seriously.

Adam Pierno: It’s nuts.

Mike Jones: And it never ends well.

Adam Pierno: No, I mean, Glendale, come on. What are you guys doing? It’s a nice stadium but move it to where I can get to it.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: Sorry Glendale. [inaudible 01:08:46]

Mike Jones: I’m not gonna apologize for Glendale.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, it is a nice stadium.

Mike Jones: Yeah, you’re talking about the arena, or the stadium for the Cardinals?

Adam Pierno: The Cardinals. But I don’t want to drive an hour out there, that’s for sure.

Mike Jones: Yeah, and we won’t even mention the Coyotes.

Adam Pierno: Don’t you wish you could just go see a hockey game?

Mike Jones: I would love to go see… I would much rather go to a hockey game than a football game and…

Adam Pierno: That parking lot too is a disaster.

Mike Jones: Well, everything about it. The drive, the parking lot, and the fact that they just can’t figure out a way to get out of there. Like, Glendale doesn’t even want them.

Adam Pierno: I know it.

Mike Jones: And they can’t get rid of them.

Adam Pierno: I thought they had worked out a deal to come back to Tempe.

Mike Jones: They were very close. I can’t remember who killed it. I think ASU killed it because it was going to be on ASU land.

Adam Pierno: Oh.

Mike Jones: And the city and the Coyotes were really close on it and then ASU at the last minute was kind of like, “No, we’re not doing that.”

Adam Pierno: Yeah, well, I think, so part one, communities need to rally together and become one voice if we’re competing with other metro areas. But it is confusing. If you come from out of state it’s confusing to go, oh that’s Mesa.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: That’s not Phoenix.

Mike Jones: You think it’s all the same and yet once you’re here you realize that there’s all this regionalism.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Mike Jones: And even between like the Phoenix metro area and Tucson.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, well that’s…

Mike Jones: It’s huge. There’s academia reasons for that, sports team rivalries and all that fun stuff, which is fun, right? Sometimes those things are fun internally, but I think externally, I think that’s a great point.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, thank you.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, so that’s number one. Getting the communities all on the same page and united in their mission and not squabbling. I don’t know what number two is.

Chris Stadler: What about friendly rivalries? Are they on the table?

Mike Jones: Friendly rivalries? We don’t really have… Well, I mean there’s kind of a…

Chris Stadler: Rivalries that make sense rather than rivalries that are just, we’re not them.

Adam Pierno: Territorial.

Mike Jones: Yeah, us not them.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Well, and in some sense I think, yeah, I think it’s just more of like a, at what level does that rivalry live? Right? Is that a state wide thing? Well then that becomes a part of our persona as a community of communities.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Chris Stadler: Or does it create identity? Or does is it just reactive? Does it actually have substance, I’m responding to something because of what my community is rather than because I’m not that…

Mike Jones: Because I went to U of A or I went to ASU.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I guess that’s the example I’m thinking of but…

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: Well, we’ve got to be able to put those things aside. We’re going to lure companies or get entrepreneurs to invest, plant roots here, they have to be able to… If part of my property ends up over in Mesa, that’s not going to be the end of the world and I don’t have to start [inaudible 01:11:39]…

Mike Jones: Well, and that’s a huge issue right now between the city. If you have a multi city company. I’m sure Peter Piper’s facing that every day.

Adam Pierno: Well, they’re retail, so they have to deal with different rules in every different metro that they’re in. Challenge.

Mike Jones: Yep. That’s interesting. So, a united front.

Adam Pierno: It doesn’t hurt.

Mike Jones: No, it doesn’t. Especially if we’re gonna call it Arizona, if we’re gonna have a brand.

Adam Pierno: Well, isn’t that what you do when you have a brand session? You get all the stakeholders in the room? Get all the stakeholders in the room and say, “Guys, what do you want to do? Do you want Intel here or not? Do you want Amazon here or not?” Where’d they go? They went to Boston?

Mike Jones: I don’t know if a final decision’s been made. I know Boston’s pretty high on the list.

Adam Pierno: Still up there?

Mike Jones: Yeah. Well they already have like a thousand employees in Boston.

Adam Pierno: That it?

Mike Jones: A couple thousand? I don’t know. But yeah, they’re gonna drop 20,000 employees wherever they end up.

Adam Pierno: That’s nuts.

Mike Jones: I’ve also heard Dallas or Austin. Wherever Whole Foods is.

Adam Pierno: No, they’re in Austin.

Mike Jones: I think they’re in Austin. So I’ve heard that also.

Adam Pierno: That would make sense. If they have the land for it.

Mike Jones: I don’t know.

Chris Stadler: Can I ask one last question and kind of tie it up? So you wrote a book called Under Think It.

Adam Pierno: I did, thank you.

Chris Stadler: You kind of were talking about that a little bit at the beginning, but can you tell us why you wrote that book and what you were hoping it would accomplish?

Adam Pierno: Yes. I wrote the book because I was trying to put together some training curriculum for my strategy team and, being the strategist that I am I went to Google and I said, “I’ll just find a conference, I’ll find something.” This exists. Somebody’s already done this. Somebody has a curriculum that we can do. Couldn’t find one so I started pinging strategists, people planners, people from all over the country. “How do you train your teams?” And they all responded back with[inaudible 01:13:37]. Most were good and said, “Hey, when you find it, tell me, we need it.” So you couldn’t find it. So I just started collecting links and articles and books and podcasts and just piling them up and before I knew it I realized that the Google doc I had assembled was the outline for the book. It really hasn’t changed since I started, I’m thumbing through it now, the outline, if you look at the index of the book, was how I started organizing the links except that I added an introduction.

Mike Jones: There you go folks, that’s how you write a book.

Adam Pierno: I mean, it’s really not that complicated.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: So, I did thumb through it and the chapters made sense, and furthermore, they seemed very interesting.

Adam Pierno: Well, I’m glad to hear that.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I think that a lot of people would find it easy to access and would probably start them down a really good path.

Adam Pierno: It’s meant to be… It’s called Under Think It, I think it’s obvious that it’s meant to be accessible. It’s meant to take the piss out of the big word, five syllable strategy language that a lot of people use. I’m guilty of it too a lot of the time. In fact, I’m going to look for an example of this while I explain but, what I challenged the editors to do was find instances where I used a word that was too big and use strikeout text and replace it with a smaller word.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Chris Stadler: In the book it’s struck out.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, I kept it in there to keep me honest.

Chris Stadler: It’s struck out in the… nice.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, so I used the word vector and they replaced it with the word area.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: That’s great.

Adam Pierno: So they really held me to the idea of under thinking it because we were talking about before we recorded that so much of this shit comes from academia, comes from published papers, it comes from psychology, economy, it comes from all these disciplines where there’s a lot of big words that are used to be very specific in those places.

Mike Jones: Right.

Adam Pierno: And then, I want to stand up in front of my clients and sound like a smart person and I want to get credit for understanding these big words, but then I put them in a place where they can’t co explain it to [inaudible 01:15:40] and so that’s not a good place to be if you’re trying to help them, you’re pinning their arms behind their back at that point.

Chris Stadler: They’re impressed that you’re smart, so if that’s your goal, mission accomplished, but at the same time, if your goal is to help them, give them something they can keep and use…

Adam Pierno: You’re not helping them.

Chris Stadler: Right.

Adam Pierno: So, dumb it down or don’t dumb it down, just explain it in a language that people can understand.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: Right?

Chris Stadler: Well, I think one of the things…

Mike Jones: That’s what we tell our clients to do all the time.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, explain it to the audience and they’ll get it and be moved.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, I mean, the other thing to is that there are a lot of people out there. I’ve talked with a lot of planners, planners who are very high profile and were guest speakers at high profile places, right? And then you talk to them and they’re not always really strategists. A lot of times they’re just researchers with experience.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Chris Stadler: And not strategists. And you ask them how they did what they did, why’d they make those decisions and they don’t have an interesting answer. A lot of times talking with those people and then reading what they write isn’t helpful even if you do understand the technical terminology, assuming they’re even using it right.

Adam Pierno: Right.

Chris Stadler: Right? What’s nice about this is that, by not using that terminology you’re ensuring that people are going to understand the real use of it, the real idea, what’s really the mechanics of it. Right?

Adam Pierno: Yep. That’s what it’s all about. It’s trying to get to the root of why this is a valuable tool, and I say right in the first chapter of the book, “I didn’t invent these tools.” The creative brief in there our creative brief that we use at Santy and there’s an example of a brief but everything else, these are just tools that we use that are classic business tools that anybody can use, I’m just organizing them into a way that… How I hope people will use the book is read through it and then bookmark some pages and if you get stuck on a project you’ll keep this book handy and go thumb back through it and say, “Oh, right, right, right, I want to use this tool on this thing.” Or, “I’m stuck so I want to try this idea.” That’s really what it’s all about, that’s why it’s called a guide book.

Chris Stadler: That’s awesome.

Mike Jones: Nice. Under Think It, by Adam Pierno.

Adam Pierno: That’s it. You can get it on Amazon.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome.

Adam Pierno: That’s a book store. You’ve probably not heard of it.

Mike Jones: I have not heard of this book store.

Adam Pierno: Yeah, you should check it out.

Chris Stadler: A store.

Adam Pierno: The everything store.

Mike Jones: The everything store.

Adam Pierno: I’m gonna leave this copy here for you guys to rifle through.

Mike Jones: Really?

Adam Pierno: Yeah, I want your feedback.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: I want your notes.

Mike Jones: That’s awesome, thank you.

Adam Pierno: Thank you guys very much for having me.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Adam Pierno: I have to get back to the office or they’re gonna can me.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: Alright.

Mike Jones: I should get back to the office too.

Adam Pierno: You’ve got a long way to go.

Mike Jones: I’ve got a long ways to go. It’s a long commute.

Chris Stadler: Alright Adam, and if they want to know more, other than looking it up on Amazon, the book Under Think It, where would you send them to learn more about the work you’re doing?

Adam Pierno: Oh, if they just find me on Twitter, I’m @apierno on Twitter, and you can also find me on Santy.com and catch up with me there.

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