Episode 75 // How do you create INTERESTING marketing content (Part 2)?

Jun 5, 2024

In part two of this episode of the Remarkabrand Podcast, co-hosts Mike Jones and Sam Pagel delve deeper into the strategies and tools that can make your marketing efforts not only effective but also genuinely interesting. They emphasize the importance of authenticity and staying true to your brand while leveraging creativity to capture your audience’s attention.

Mike and Sam discuss various tools and techniques that can help elevate your marketing game. They recommend using storytelling as a powerful tool to create engaging and relatable content. By sharing real stories from clients and team members, firms can build stronger connections with their audience. The co-hosts also highlight the importance of maintaining consistency in brand messaging and visuals, ensuring that all marketing materials reflect the firm’s core values and personality.

The episode also covers practical tips for making marketing more engaging. Mike and Sam explore the use of visuals, humor, and memorable experiences to create a lasting impression. They stress the value of human connection in marketing, encouraging firms to showcase the personalities and expertise of their team members. By doing so, firms can create a more relatable and trustworthy brand image.

Additionally, they discuss the potential of unique brand positioning to differentiate your firm from competitors. Whether through industry focus, service delivery style, or geographical ties, finding a niche can make your marketing efforts more impactful. Mike and Sam advocate for leveraging your firm’s unique voice and persona to make marketing materials not just informative but genuinely engaging and memorable.

In conclusion, this episode provides actionable insights into making your marketing messages interesting by blending creativity with authenticity. By focusing on storytelling, unique positioning, and authentic engagement, firms can create marketing that not only stands out but also truly resonates with their intended audience.

Contact: Mike Jones mike@resoundcreative.com

Discuss at https://www.linkedin.com/company/resoundagency

The show is recorded at the Resound offices in ever-sunny Tempe, Arizona (the 48th – and best state of them all).

Show Transcript

Mike Jones (00:01.264)
Hey everybody, welcome again to another episode of the MarkerBrand Podcast. I’m your co -host, Mike Jones with…

Sam (00:07.342)
Sam Pagel.

Mike Jones (00:08.912)
Thanks for being here again, Sam. Yeah, I know. It’s like you got a lot of choice though. You have to show up.

Sam (00:10.67)

Sam (00:14.286)
Yeah, yeah, I made the hard choice and I’m here.

Mike Jones (00:18.)
I appreciate it. Anyway, for everybody that’s tuning in, maybe you caught last episode, we talked all about how to make your content how to make your marketing interesting. We covered all sorts of stuff we covered things like how to like have a point of view, how to have a personality in order to infuse your marketing with some interesting aspects of your culture from your firm. We talked about even mascots.

how to tell us a great story. We talked about some of the storytelling principles and how that helps to make your content and your marketing more interesting. Thinking about your audience’s point of view. And then we talked about all sorts of different like medias and channels that you need to be considering that will help to inform and really make your content more interesting. I think particularly we talked about events, but I don’t think we even got a chance to talk about video and audio at all, which is hilarious.

that we didn’t get to that. We have so much more we wanted to unpack and that’s why we’re doing a part two today of how to make your marketing interesting. So before we do that, before we get into that and unpack some more ways you can do that, Sam, have you got to name 10 things for us?

Sam (01:30.51)
I do. Mike, we’re gonna name 10 marketing tools that are going to come back from the grave. How about you start us off?

Mike Jones (01:38.)
I like this. Well, every classic carrier pigeons got to bring them back. Yep. Yep.

Sam (01:43.822)
Yep, yep, yep, yep. Yeah, so zombie carrier pigeons is gonna be, that’s gonna be fun.

Mike Jones (01:49.296)
Yep, zombie carrier pigeons that eat each other, suck their brains out. That’s great.

Sam (01:52.206)
Yeah, because they’re back from the dead. They’re back from the dead. I’m going to say Flash. That was a fun time, wasn’t it?

Mike Jones (02:00.112)
Hmm flash animation flash websites. It was a fun time. Yeah If you say so I Remember having to do a whole website and flash and Being like this is ridiculous. Why why are we doing this?

Sam (02:06.734)

Sam (02:15.118)

Yeah. Yep.

Mike Jones (02:21.488)
Okay, I guess it’s my turn. I’m gonna go with the obelisk. You know, that was a big marketing tool back in the day kind of like prove your you’re the big man. You’re the big shot. And I think it’s coming back. I think brands should really be investing in obelisks. Yep.

Sam (02:21.518)
All right, that’s two. It is.

Sam (02:28.67)

Sam (02:40.782)
That’s a great idea, Mike. I’m gonna go with, you know, I wasn’t there, so I can’t confirm if this was a thing a thousand years ago, but the sailboat sail marketing, so like you would put your logo on somebody else’s sailboat. Sometimes maybe that’s a pirate ship, sometimes that’s maybe like the British Navy, but kind of that, you know, guerrilla marketing out on the seas, out on the seven seas.

Mike Jones (03:04.848)
Yeah, I think I like that. I have found that there’s this universal symbol for marketing that everyone uses. It’s a megaphone, which I don’t think anyone has ever actually used in their marketing activities. So I think it’s time. I think it’s time to bust out the megaphone, get out on the street and just start yelling at people.

Sam (03:13.23)

Sam (03:19.182)
Time to bring it.

Sam (03:23.918)
That’s a great idea. That’s a really good idea. We should try that today. We should try that today. I think I still see this from time to time, but I wanna see it more, and that is, Mike, next to the megaphone guy on the street is the sign flipper. We gotta get more sign flipping. Yep, it’s just an easy way. Yeah, it’s an easy way to build your brand. All right, that’s six. We got four more.

Mike Jones (03:28.88)
Ha ha ha.

Mike Jones (03:40.848)
yeah, we got to get more sign flippers back out. I see him every once in a while. Yeah. Yep. Unfortunately, this one still happens, which is you tape the or rubber band the flyer to a rock and you chuck it at people’s houses.

Sam (03:58.382)

Sam (04:02.03)

Mike Jones (04:02.064)
They’ll still show up on my doorstep. I’m like, what are we doing?

Sam (04:05.774)
Yeah, that’s a good one. Sometimes they make it inside your house, hopefully not through your window. But that’s a really, that’s a great idea. I’m gonna go in a similar vein. The paper airplane throw. Just kind of like chuck it and see who finds it, you know?

Mike Jones (04:12.208)

Mike Jones (04:20.656)
I like that.

Mike Jones (04:25.2)
Yep. Yep. Ice sculptures. We need more ice sculptures in our lives. And I think this is the time.

Sam (04:29.294)
That’s good. Yeah. Mike, I’m just kind of piggybacking off you because that really in my head just made me think of the bush trimmers that make bushes into really creative shapes. That’s always fun and always just a really good way to kind of etch something into your brain. So.

Mike Jones (04:44.368)
I’m sorry.

Mike Jones (04:48.528)

Yeah. What are we at? Was that, that was 10. I got one more. I got 11 bonus bonus round. the Mount Rushmore effect. I think every brand should have their own mountain, you know, carve that logo right in. And, I think that would, that we gotta bring that back, you know, work for Teddy to work for Teddy Roosevelt. Why not? Why not make it work for you.

Sam (04:54.03)
That’s 10. That was it. Yeah. Okay. All right.

Sam (05:06.606)
That’s a really good idea.

Sam (05:16.302)
So if you’re out there and you’re listening to this and you own a plot of land with a mountain on it, just hold onto that because those are going to go way up in value. Corporations are going to be coming hunting for those. Yeah, you’re welcome. You’re welcome.

Mike Jones (05:24.4)
Yep. Yep. You’re welcome. You’re welcome. Yeah. I only charge 1%. Yep. I’ll take that. It’s a steal. It’s a total steal. Every logo mountain ever made from today forward. I get 1%. Yeah.

Sam (05:32.494)
What a steal. So generous.

Sam (05:41.614)
1 % goes to Mike Jones. Well done, Mike. Well, those are some very, very interesting ideas. But maybe we should talk about some real interesting ideas for marketing.

Mike Jones (05:52.656)
Yeah. So I think we should talk about kind of some process. We talked about a lot of like kind of tactics and strategy, but we didn’t really talk about a process last time. And I think that’s what I want to start out with today. So I was thinking about this. I think everything for me always comes back to the first step in making things interesting is to write it down, right? We start with content first. We get ideas out in words.

Some of that’s just that it’s easier, it’s more efficient. You can write words way faster than you can draw things for most people. Most people are not artistic either. So it’s like, you know, hey, I’m not comfortable drawing things. If you’re more comfortable drawing, I guess you could start there. But even when I think about, you know, my career as a graphic designer and you know, back when I was doing a lot of logo designs and stuff, I’d always start with words first. I felt like I was able to like chase down a lot of ideas and kind of see how far I could take them.

before I would start implementing them in visuals. And I just found that to be a much more efficient process. So I do recommend that everyone starts with writing things first, but not just writing anything, writing it right. And what I mean by that is having the right concepts first. And sometimes that takes some time, right? You got to like write it out a few times, maybe try some different ideas if you need to do like a mind map.

idea, you know, start with an idea in the middle, there’s maybe some word or phrase that kind of is a central idea. And then let’s see where we can go with that. What are related avenues we can take, see what branches off from that main idea, and see how far we can take it. But we’re always looking for like, okay, no matter how far we take all these ideas, and making it interesting, we want to make sure that they’re actually still telling that story. So the storytelling process we talked about last time is really critical.

Because if we don’t know what we’re saying, if we don’t really know what’s actually true about our brand, about our products and services, about the people that we’re trying to talk to, then we can’t actually have a meaningful conversation that is both interesting and right. And the first thing that makes things interesting is that they’re true, right? We want we want true stories, we want true aspects of our brands, people want to interact with marketing that’s actually telling the truth. Nobody wants line marketing. We might.

Mike Jones (08:14.096)
I think be tempted. I think that’s I see this a lot. We’re tempted into thinking, interesting means I need to push the envelope of what’s true. And I think that’s actually a very faulty and short sighted way to think about how to make your marketing more interesting. Don’t stretch the truth. The goal is actually just make your truth more true by saying it more clearly in an impactful and creative way.

not by stretching it or making it untrue.

Sam (08:45.518)
Yeah. And I think another element too is who is it interesting to like who is the interest in party? Cause you could take some internal ideas at your firm or your company, things that you all understand inside of your firm and no one else is going to understand those. And you might think it’s, you know, maybe there’s an inside joke. Maybe there’s something that a term that you use all the time that means something to your team, but then you throw it out into the world and your marketing it’s.

Mike Jones (08:51.28)

Sam (09:15.246)
It’s just false flat because nobody understands it. So you really need to think about your, your audience. Like what’s interesting to my audience. Hey, if it’s tax returns and let’s figure out a creative way to talk about tax returns to the right people. That might not be interesting to the 15 year old sitting at home looking for a YouTube video, but it might be super interesting to the CFO at a restaurant group who’s like looking for that specific thing. So you re you have to.

forget about like, okay, what’s hip? What’s everybody talking about out there? No, you gotta think about what is my audience looking for? And once you figure that out, you’ve got your own unique way of talking about it. And then that’s where you start to kind of build these layers of like interest, what you said Mike about like, make sure you keep the foundation of truth. But then you can start to like kind of stretch the envelope a little bit about how you talk about it.

the media you use to talk about it, where you’re finding that audience.

Mike Jones (10:15.088)
Yeah, and even the inspiration for like, okay, well, how do I take this true statement or these true facts, these true answers to people’s questions? And how do I make them interesting in a way that grabs their attention? I think that even goes back to what you just said of like, if I really understand who I’m talking to, if I am like, so absolutely clear, like I can get in their head, right? Let’s say you’re talking to like restaurant.

owners who a lot of them tend to be chefs, right, or from a chef background. So if you include like, food imagery, and maybe some jokes that have to do with food or with cooking, or just the experience of running a restaurant, like all of the ins and outs of dealing with customers and dealing with staff.

Like imagine if you actually had that experience or you had people on your team that have restaurant experience or you just go talk to a lot of people in the restaurant industry and try to like really grab every last little nuance that’s interesting about the context of that, that kind of target prospect lives in breeds every day. That’s going to make your content super, super interesting because you’re going to be speaking to their world and.

their context and what they find, you know, really interesting. You think about even just like, you know, big name TV shows that people love, right? You think about like, go back, people love The Office, right? Well, one of the reasons why The Office worked is because they found things that were funny, obviously, like there’s comedic writers, and there’s comedic actors who are acting this out. And they’re doing it really well, right? That’s part of being interesting is doing what you do really well and talking about it really well.

part of what made the office really interesting was that it touched on experiences that a lot of people have, right? The ideas like of working in an office working for a boss, working with co workers, a lot of the storylines had very little to do with the actual work happening in the office. And more about all the relationships in the office, and even relationships between co workers outside of the office, and the conversations that have and those are all very relatable to people. So,

Mike Jones (12:32.72)
If you’re honed in on a specific industry, or maybe you have a few different verticals, one thing that’s gonna make your content and your marketing really, really interesting is if you can get really relatable to those people, and the context that they find themselves in, even thinking all the way down to like, you know, for every every single prospect that you have within your firm, think about the goals that they have, the objectives and the values that they’re trying to live out within their job.

Sam (12:43.694)
Hmm. Yep.

Mike Jones (13:02.576)
Whether that’s owning the business or working within the business and reporting up to people. A lot of times what you find is that they actually have more than one need, more than one layer or level of need. We’re just talking about this with a client just like an hour ago. I’m like, there’s these organizational needs, right? I think that’s what a lot of business marketers kind of like when we’re talking B2B, we really understand the organizational needs.

We understand, okay, their organization needs us to do this because it’s going to deliver X for their business, usually something like growth. But then also think about like, what are the personal needs that each of my contacts at that organization or each of the roles within that organization that I’m going to be working with? What did they need? Sometimes they don’t just need the organizational problems fixed. What they also need is like, Hey, like I

I report up to the president of the company. Like maybe you have one of your key contacts there reports to the president of the company and looking good in front of the president, looking like an expert, looking like someone who really understands the business, understands the problems that that president is encountering, understands how to solve them in ways that really like hits the objectives that the president has laid out in their vision. That’s going to make them

look great, right? And that’s one of their personal goals. So understanding like personal as well as organizational context is gonna be really, really important for making your content interesting. It’s so funny how like, you know, I’m thinking back, we’ve already done an episode like months ago about really understanding your audience. And we keep coming back to that we keep coming back to like great storytelling principles throughout all these episodes. It is

keeps hitting me like how all encompassing and kind of interwoven marketing is you can’t just break it out. We’re trying to break it out into these like very discrete, distinct sections and yet we still coming back to same principles that we’ve already talked about in episodes past. So just a good like reminder for everybody of like, don’t leave the fundamentals.

Mike Jones (15:22.736)
You never really graduate from everything. You just got to keep coming back to the same principles and keep working them into your marketing All right. What’s next in the process Sam?

Sam (15:33.902)
So I think a big part of this is just, like you said, my kind of learning how to talk about yourself and your brand. Sometimes you do kind of need an outside perspective. Now, sometimes that can be done through surveys. So you can kind of ask your clients. You can ask your team members. You can ask your parents, whatever, about, hey, how do you view us? This is what we think, but.

Is this true? Is that what you actually think about? And then, you know, because there’s a lot of times where, like I just mentioned, you talk about things internally and everyone thinks they’re on the same page and then you take that out into the world and nobody knows what you’re talking about. So it is helpful to kind of bring in those outside perspectives. And when we’re talking about making your marketing interesting, Mike, you and I kind of have a similar background where we have kind of that design background.

it is in any form of marketing, whether that’s design, photography, video stuff, podcasting, it is always so much easier. And the end product is so much better when you have it written down, when you have the, the written form of that, whatever it is. And sometimes it is just a blog post or sometimes it is.

a video script or whatever, but when you have that baseline of the content defined, well defined, the end result of the creative, the end result of the marketing itself will be stronger, because you’ve got that foundation. So I’ve been, you know, we’ve probably both been in both scenarios, right, where it’s like, hey, we want this ad, we need this ad because we want to sell this product. Okay. You got any other information? No, you guys are the experts. Just go do it. We just want it to work.

What? Okay, that’s not gonna work. And then it’s like, hey, we’ve got this specific niche. We wanna really spin up our government agency accounting. And we’ve got, this is why we’re unique and this is why we’re different. And that is like, okay, we’ve got something to work with here. This is gonna be great. We know exactly what we’re doing. So if you are in a marketing position and you’ve had some pain points around like, I just can’t find a good graphic designer,

Sam (17:59.022)
Maybe look internally a little bit. Are you defining what you’re trying to do well enough to set up those different parts of your marketing team for success? So that’s just a little tangent on how do we get there? How do we get to the end result that everybody wants of, hey, people are talking about that latest ad that we did, or people are really loving the YouTube video we put out. Obviously, Mike.

Mike Jones (18:19.216)

Sam (18:25.166)
You can’t do that without specific tools. I’ll segue into kind of our tools section of what are the tools you use to build interesting marketing? And there’s probably a million out there, or maybe a thousand. There are some specific ones that we have found to work really well in kind of the collaborative space. I’ll throw out a couple.

Mike Jones (18:35.504)

Sam (18:52.142)
Canva has, Canva has quickly grown as like the, I’m, you know, I’m even starting to use it for some video content. when you think about like two or three years ago, Canva kind of emerged and I was just like, this is lame. Like it’s kind of like designing in PowerPoint a little bit. It’s clunky. And now it’s like, man, if we’re designing social media posts or if we’re doing like a series of, you know, quick social videos.

Mike Jones (19:00.432)
That’s crazy.

Sam (19:22.126)
Canva is just so easy, especially when it’s like, we’ve got the client who’s already using Canva. We can go back and forth. We can send that over. They’re jumping in it. It’s this collaborative thing now that’s just, they’ve almost made it too easy not to use it. And it is easy to use, which is great because we’re finding more and more, Mike, where like we’re a creative agency. We’re a branding agency, but our clients want to own a lot of this content.

They want to own a lot of the content that maybe they’re hiring us to come in and start or help create, but then they want to run with it. And absolutely they should do that because it’s easier than ever to go create a minute long video. It’s easier than ever to go design a good looking social media post or a video thumbnail or whatever it is. So a lot of the tools that we’re starting to gravitate towards,

Are these collaborative tools like Canva, even Adobe’s starting, and they have been for years now, starting to integrate a lot of that collaborative functionality into what they’re doing in their space. What are some of your favorite tools, Mike?

Mike Jones (20:34.488)
Yeah, I mean, AI is definitely growing on me. We’re using it more and more, particularly chat, GPT. And then I’ve been using Claude quite a bit and tropics content generation kind of AI engine, particularly on the content side that I think that’s where you’re going to probably see the most opportunity there. I know you’ve been using a lot for imagery. I’ve I’ll be honest, I am still learning how to get it to do what I want on the imagery side.

It’s still a little hit and miss for me, but you’ve been able to get some really great results of like how fast you can generate images that would have taken like, I mean, I’ve done a few where I’m like, man, that would have taken me like 30, 40, maybe even 60 minutes to go hunt down a stock image. And I can like plug in a couple prompts, maybe run it through like a couple different like rounds of revisions. And within 15 minutes, I’ve got really good image for what I want. I’m

Sam (21:11.182)

Sam (21:20.398)
Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Jones (21:32.88)
got kind of in my head. There’s definitely some downsides like the fingers aspect, the hands thing, it just, I don’t know if that’s on purpose now. I feel like maybe that is just like this is garbage. But I mean, that’s a big one. Even when it comes to like, if you’re just sourcing images, Unsplash is just still my go to. I love using Unsplash. There’s plenty of other like more, you know, premium,

Sam (21:45.198)

Sam (21:57.002)
Yeah. Yep.

Mike Jones (22:02.832)
Stock imagery sites are filling for stock vectors stock icons all sorts of great resources out there I Think I was also thinking about just how much like we use figma I was realizing like that’s a that’s a growing tool in our toolbox Everything from like Chris on our team uses it for like sketching out notes. It does a lot of visual note -taking We’ve done it for mind mapping

Sam (22:03.118)
Mm -hmm.

Sam (22:18.574)
that’s a… Yep.

Mike Jones (22:30.672)
We’ve used it for like even running workshops with like kind of post it note, idea generation, brainstorming exercises. It’s a fantastic tool. I really recommend that people check that out.

Sam (22:38.798)

Sam (22:43.214)
Yep, we’ve started that’s kind of augmented our Adobe suite a little bit because we’re using that now for web design. We’re using it for even some print design. We’re using it for digital design. There are certain brands we work with to where we’ve built out so much in Figma. We just have everything in there and it’s so easy to kind of just copy and paste different elements across different boards, different applications in there. Figma is great.

And it’s got that great collaborative element too, because I can send it to the client. We can look at it together. They can be in there. I can send it to other designers. They can jump in and everything’s already in there. And they’ve just made it really easy to do that. That’s a good, that’s a good one, Mike. I’ve, I have grown, Figma has really grown on me in the last year. Again, it was like, I just love the Adobe suite. I know how it works. And then Figma just like, I can copy and paste from this program into Figma directly. Okay.

Mike Jones (23:33.36)

Sam (23:41.134)
Alright, Figma’s this is good, I like this.

Mike Jones (23:43.472)
Yep. I think there’s like a lot of tools out there that I don’t think I always realize are like creative tools. One of those is just like I use Google Drive and on the Google docs PowerPoint or their version of PowerPoint. You know, I don’t know that like it’s necessarily better than Microsoft using that. It’s just what I’ve gravitated towards. I love the collaborative features of those tools though. And I think that’s one thing I think Google does do a little bit better than Microsoft within their like,

workspace tools is a collaboration aspect. It’s really easy to share and work. I mean, I remember even working on like live docs with back in the the partnership days of the business before you were a partner Sam, like David, Jeff, and I would be like, working on like strategic documents for resound like our own marketing and our own strategy, our own marketing plans. And we’d all three be working in a shared Google Doc at the same time.

and using almost as like this this brainstorming recording of ideation tool. I think my might be a little bit better for that kind of process, but I still come back and use Google Drive a lot. And then I’ve been using funny enough, I use Apple Notes all the time to just keep track of little notes and stuff. And one of the things I really like about it,

Sam (24:46.734)
Mm -hmm.

Sam (25:04.878)

Mike Jones (25:09.457)
is that I’ve got an iPad with the pencil, like the drawing tool on my iPad, and you can do handwritten or drawn, if you’re doing visual note taking and that kind of thing, in Apple Notes. And it syncs with all my devices, so I can go find that note anytime. I can also type in notes in that same note, so I can go back and forth if I wanna do that, have some that’s like handwritten or visual, like sketch out some ideas.

I found that to be a really, really good tool for ideation and for just taking lots of notes, coming up with ideas, maybe like sketching out a few like visuals to go with it all at the same time. So that’s a favorite one.

Sam (25:50.51)
helps you sleep too, right? I’ve used the Notes app late at night when I’m like trying to go to sleep and I’ve got something running through my head and like, I know I’m gonna forget this. Okay, just let me plug it in here real quick. I know I’ve got it somewhere. And then, you know, the next day or the next week, I’m like, yeah, I’m gonna go find that again. There are a lot of multimedia tools too. Like we love videos becoming increasingly easier to create.

Mike Jones (26:06.768)
Yep. Yep.

Sam (26:18.189)
there’s a lot of tools now on your smartphone that, that didn’t exist 10 years ago that just like, I, you know, I have a rich history in video and when I have the time and the desire, I’ll, you know, throw it onto my laptop or my iMac and really like pour into it. But sometimes like, and I do this a lot in my personal life with my family, like a soccer highlights for my kids. Like I’ve got some good clips from their game.

And I’m like, I don’t want to sit down for an hour. Like, I’m going to just throw this into iMovie on my iPhone, stitch it together in two minutes, upload it to YouTube, and share it with the grandparents, you know? Like, just little things like that where it’s like, do you need to spend an hour on it, or do you need to spend two minutes on it? And there’s a lot of tools out there too, like outside of video, to where I’ve had to constantly remind myself, like, okay, I’m trying to build this thing from scratch, or I’m trying to build this graphic from scratch.

Mike Jones (26:59.952)
Ha ha ha.

Sam (27:12.078)
I bet somebody’s already done this, that I can go purchase it for $3 or whatever and just tweak it, change the colors, whatever. That’s where a lot of subscription tools come in handy. You can subscribe to image and graphic design galleries of like, we use freepick .com, it’s freepik .com. They’ve got millions of stock photos.

Mike Jones (27:33.552)
I think. Yeah.

Sam (27:40.238)
vector files that you can download on demand. I think they’re starting to do video clips and audio stuff. It’s like 20 bucks a month and I use that almost every day. If I need an element, if I need an icon, I’m not gonna go spend 45 minutes developing my own smiley face icon. I can go get that in 30 seconds on a website like that. So just little tools like that that you kind of find that fit into your workflow, that make your life easier.

that enhance what you’re creating too, because you’re able to do more with what, you know, the time and the constraints you have. So we’ve got several different tools like that that are go -to for us for sure.

Mike Jones (28:23.568)
Yep. This is not on my list here. I’m going to jump off script a little bit, but this isn’t necessarily a tool, but just a, maybe a little sidebar to talk to a lot of professionals in their firms, right? You know, you’ve got accountants, you got lawyers, you got engineers, even like beyond that, like if you’re going to manufacturing or somewhere else, all the people actually doing the work.

not always necessarily thinking that their work is very creative. And I think sometimes forgetting like the, the, the space that’s needed in order to be creative. And I was talking with a marketer in an accounting firm recently, actually just put out an article that talked about this with them over at capstan. But from their accounting firm, but just giving creatives time and space to be creative.

So like there’s so much demand on marketers and their creative teams to just execute and pump out tons and tons of content. And I love all these processes and tools that are gonna make that more efficient and get you to get more content and get more ideas out. I’m all for that. At the same time, I think it’s really important that you allow your creatives, especially the creatives, to have time and space to work on things that are maybe a little bit off of the day to day.

So whether that’s creating like an opportunity for them to work on something that’s a tool that they don’t normally get to work with, right? So maybe it’s like, hey, I love motion graphics, but we just don’t really use that a lot in our marketing. Maybe find a project to allow them to exercise that kind of application of creativity. Or it might be like, hey, let’s run a little pro bono project for a nonprofit that we love. And let’s give them a set amount of time from our marketing team.

to help them with a campaign or something that they’re working on and allow your creatives to kind of flex and exercise their muscles in a different way when it comes to their creativity. And then the other part of it is just like giving them enough time to work on the things that really need to be maybe more interesting. So like, you know, are you gonna give people a lot of time to work on the next social posts? No, like that’s just, that’s not worth it, right? The value isn’t there, but you have a big campaign coming out or maybe you’re gonna go,

Mike Jones (30:43.664)
do a new vertical launch, or you know, you’re actually maybe gonna rebrand or do a refresh to your branding, making sure you build in enough time for the creative process in that and allowing people to like chase a lot of different ideas and kind of see where they go. I think there’s a general rule of thumb in like logo design that you for every final logo, right? So like, here’s the logo that got launched that.

went with the brand and everybody gets to see it and everyone loves it and it looks great. How many different logos did it take to get to that one? And a lot of times if you’re working with an agency, you’re not gonna see all the options that they’ve come up with. In fact, I would argue you shouldn’t. You’ll probably get kind of logo overload and you’ll have decision paralysis if you’re the client. But on the creative side, when you think about how many different sketched…

options and ideas got sketched out all the way through to like final like actual like worked them out in Adobe Illustrator and some kind of design tool and brought them all the way to like color, you know, color version and it’s like really finely polished, right? If you think that entire process from rough sketches all the way through, my guess is at least at the very least over 100 ideas, right? At least if you’re working with a

good team, whether that’s in -house or externally with an agency or consultancy. But a hundred ideas, right? And that’s what it takes to come up with really good ideas is to allow creatives the opportunity to chase down as many different paths as possible that are still right, right? Going back to that principle that we talked about at the beginning here, but really just making sure that you’re giving them time. And so I would put that in your tool set time.

Time is one of the biggest tools. Now, you don’t wanna give them endless amounts of time, just like, you know, endless amounts of paper for a writer is never a good idea. Constraints are helpful. Give them a budget, give them a time constraint, give them deadlines, absolutely. But making sure that there is enough time built in for them to try some different ideas and be willing to sit through a lot of ideas, right?

Mike Jones (33:03.76)
you know, good experience creatives will get to good ideas faster, they will. So if you’re working with people who are less experienced, give them more time. And maybe pair them up with some people who are more experienced to help them refine their ideas a little bit faster. But also like just know that even the best designer, the best writer, it takes iterations to get to something really, really interesting and really creative.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not going to be the first option necessarily. Sometimes it is. But even in that, like coming to realize that that’s the best option that that first one was requires you to go through a few different iterations. So I would just be my little sidebar, side tangent. Really encourage people to like make sure you’re building in enough time and enough space for the creative process to really work.

Sam (33:49.038)
Yeah, that’s great.

Sam (33:56.814)
Yep. And I think there is a, you know, for, for people outside of the creative world, there, there sometimes is a temptation to say, we want this to be good, but we don’t want you to spend any time on it. And so don’t do that. Please don’t do that to your creative team. We, we, we want, we want something produced well. It’s, you know, it, it might be like a little bit like we want our tax return to be accurate, but.

Mike Jones (34:16.912)

Sam (34:25.966)
Can you just spend half the time you did last year on it? That’s not gonna work. That’s just not gonna work. Mike, what do you do? Go ahead, go ahead.

Mike Jones (34:32.944)
Well, even yeah, I don’t want to over overstate this or beat it up too long. But even if you think about like in the accounting profession, right? If you’re an accountant, and let’s say beyond the tax return, right? Beyond just like filling in the numbers, you’re helping your clients solve real problems in their business or in their, you know, personal finances or something like that. If you don’t have time to dig in,

and really understand what’s going on in their business. So you’re working with a business, really understand their financials and even research what other businesses like theirs are doing. Maybe see like who’s kind of on the leading edge of, you know, taking advantage of different regulatory options that are out there, different like financial like models. Like if you’re not researching and you’re not

listening to your client and you’re not spending time digging in and analyzing their particular financials, you’re probably not going to have really sophisticated, really good solutions for them. You might be able to come up with some best practices that you know from every other client you’ve worked with, but you’re not going to know like their specific context and really come up with like the best solution. That’s very much similar to the creative process, right?

If you don’t allow for that time to do the research, come up with ideas, iterate, talk to others, get feedback, it’s just not going to be as good. So yeah.

Sam (36:06.254)
Yep. So Mike, what do you do when you’re sitting in a meeting with maybe a partner or two or three at your firm and they said, Hey, did you see what firm X, Y and Z did? We got to do that. That’s cool. And you’re sitting there and you’re like, that is totally not us. How do you make sure that your marketing while you want it to be interesting stays on brand?

Mike Jones (36:34.16)
Yeah. No, that’s a fantastic question. Cause I am sure that that scenario never happens ever. Never. If ever, maybe like once every three years.

Sam (36:39.662)
Probably never happens. Never. Yeah.

But in the off chance that it does in the future, what do you do?

Mike Jones (36:48.304)
Yeah. So first of all, we’ve talked about this already, past episodes, you have to have a brand and you need to define your brand, right? What do you stand for? What are your values? What’s your personality? What are the traits of your personality? What’s your story? What are you trying to do? Right? What problems do you help people solve? How do you solve them? What does that impact have on them? Beyond that, like even like vision and mission, where are you headed? What’s the trajectory you’re on? What’s the strategy by which you’re going to get there? What’s your three year plan?

Those things have to be in place and they have to be documented in a way that everyone knows what they are and can refer to them so that when someone does that and they go, shiny object syndrome. Look at that thing over there. Right. You can go hang on a sec. This is who we are. This is what we stand for. This is what we’re doing. This is the plan. It doesn’t mean that you can’t.

acknowledge their idea and even say maybe there’s a place for it. But we don’t blow everything up just because one shiny object shows up over on the horizon over there. Right. And so I think that’s the first step is you must document and you must well you have to define your brand you have to define the attributes of your brand. And then you have to document them in such a way that everyone goes yeah we see that all the time. So things like having a handbook.

making sure that everybody actually has a copy, making sure everybody has actually been guided through it. Not just like, here’s the copy. It sits on my desk, but I have no idea how to use it. I’ve never really looked at it, or maybe I looked at it once when it was handed to me, or it was emailed to me. It’s this digital thing, and I don’t know what it is. I don’t even know what’s in there. Have they been walked through it?

Do you come back and revisit those things to reinstill them? I think you know your values is a big one Talk about your values all the time talk about your story all the time come back and go hey How are we doing on these things? Are we staying on point? That’s gonna alleviate a lot of these issues of like hey so and so is doing this over here We should probably be doing that now tactically That’s where the things get a little bit harder when the next person that jumps up and says whoa

Mike Jones (39:11.184)
competitor, a Y, you know, ABC over there is using tech talk. We should probably have a tick tock channel too. Or my latest favorite is WhatsApp. Accounting firms need to be using WhatsApp. I mean, maybe, but again, like this is where I go. Why would your firm need to use WhatsApp? I wouldn’t necessarily like, yeah, be paying attention to what your competitors are doing. Maybe they’re doing something that you don’t, you shouldn’t miss out on, right?

a valid thing to be doing. But every single thing you see them doing that you’re not doing, you should then run back through and go, is this us? So one, does it fit our brand, who we are? And number two, is it our clients? Right? So just because your competitor is using a particular tool or certain tactic in their marketing, that may be because they’re talking to people different than your people, the people you want to be in front of.

So like consider that. Just because everyone else is doing it or just because one other player is doing it does not mean you should be doing it. Is it something you can consider? Sure, absolutely. Write it down. Think about it. Have a conversation. But those are the questions I’d be asking. Is this us? Is this the people that we’re really trying to reach? Do they care about this? And then if so, if the answer is yes to those things, then.

The question I would then have is how can we address this, whether that’s a particular channel that we need to be on, or it’s a particular topic we need to be talking about that’s new, right? So AI is a big one. Everybody apparently wants to be talking about AI now. It does not matter what profession you’re in. I can’t wait for McDonald’s to have an AI commercial. They’re going to have one. They’re going to talk about AI. And I’m like, what does that have to do with your food? I have no idea. No idea. Right.

Everyone wants to talk about, okay, let’s say you decide this is us. We do need to talk about it. And yes, our clients care about this. So we need to talk about it. Then the next question I would say is, how can we talk about it in a way that reveals that we have a unique point of view on it, right? That this actually matters to us at a deep fundamental level, and we see how it matters to our clients. If you can’t answer those questions, don’t talk about it.

Mike Jones (41:34.992)
don’t just stick keywords in just to stick keywords in. One, that’s not interesting. It’s confusing. It’s really confusing. And number two, it doesn’t actually differentiate you. Right? You actually look like somebody who’s just a sheep following all the other sheep. That’s what it looks like. And it just screams desperation. In my opinion, that that part might be my opinion, but the rest of it all. I’ll back up is less than opinion and more like fundamental.

Sam (41:51.79)
Yep. Yep. Yep.

Sam (42:02.318)
Yeah, yeah. When you’re when you’re crafting messaging, crafting creative, especially if you haven’t done this in the past early on, keep those guidelines close by like print them out. Maybe you’ve got them in a book or maybe just print them out on paper and staple them together. I’ve found that really helpful when we’re either starting a new engagement or we’ve done a rebrand or.

whatever that is, but like having, you know, we create brand handbooks and having that, you can flip through the pages. Okay, what did they say about this element of their brand? What can we not do when we talk about this? Or when we’re using this specific platform, what do we do over here? And hopefully that’s well defined so that you’re not having to make those guesses during that creative process. You’ve already got it documented. And then Mike, you touched on it, but.

making sure and hopefully this is coming from the top down in your firm, but making sure that those brand guidelines are not a surprise to anyone inside your firm. Hopefully those are being talked about in all team meetings, you’re touching on them and that could need to be you as the marketer in some instances like, hey, we’re gonna do a little presentation on this or I’m gonna go to one of the partners and talk through an idea.

Mike Jones (43:14.352)

Sam (43:28.91)
I’m going to bring up these guidelines that we have in our brand handbook. So keeping those top of mind so that when you do have to kind of reference back to them, when there is a request that kind of goes outside of who you are as a brand, you can be like, Hey, do you remember that? Do you remember what we put in our brand guidelines? That doesn’t fit. And it’s not like, what are those? I’ve never seen those before. Like, hopefully those are like, yeah, you’re right. You know, we shouldn’t do that. So.

Hopefully those are top of mind. Hopefully those are not a surprise to anyone inside of your firm. Those should be used frequently, not only in the marketing, but really throughout the organization. There’s another element here, Mike, that can kind of fit into staying on brand, and that’s just, that’s consistency. Being consistent in your marketing, not changing up the campaign.

or the feel or the look or the creative every month, like being consistent. And I’ve heard you say this a bunch, Mike, if you’re getting tired or bored of your brand and your marketing, you’re doing it the right way.

Mike Jones (44:38.704)
Yeah, I do say that all the time.

Sam (44:43.566)
But it’s true. Like you are the one, if you’re creating, if you’re the marketer, you’re probably going to think at times like, this is, are people getting tired of this? Are people getting tired of hearing this? Are people getting tired of seeing that? That color we use all over the place. Should we find a new color? Like you’re going to be tempted to do that if you’re using your brand in the right ways, because you’re the person who’s going to see that the most. You’re probably going to see that more than anyone else at your firm. If you’re the marketer.

But don’t forget that consistency is really important when it comes to brand. Think about the commercials you see on TV or the radio spots. If you listen to a certain radio station and you’re like, really again, that’s like the 30th time I’ve heard that commercial about windows. Like really guys, like I’m so tired of this, but Hey, when you need new windows, boom, the window company is top of mind. Cause you’ve heard about them 30 different times. So consistency.

is still really important when you’re thinking about creating content. Consistency is important when you’re thinking about how to make it interesting and not just like, yeah, we post every day or yeah, we’re posting social media posts like twice every day. We’re talking more about just the consistency from a brand standpoint. Are you keeping things consistent with who you are as a brand?

Mike Jones (46:10.992)
There’s a great kind of real world example of this happening right now. So State Farm has had this character in their ads. Jake, I think most people are familiar with him. And they’ve done a fantastic job with the ads, right? Over the end, been several years of using this character. Always played by the same actor over and over, right? So there’s a lot of consistency there. He’s always wearing a State Farm shirt in every ad, right? And obviously the rest of the ads is very consistent. The logo shows up.

The messaging all that fun stuff. What’s been really interesting. I was just reading an article I think yesterday or the day before that State Farm is now Having that actor go out to real events so like putting them at basketball games putting them at like sporting events put them at concerts and Sometimes not even like in a performance type Aspect but just like hey, we’re gonna go buy him a seat

Sam (46:54.638)

Mike Jones (47:08.304)
at the basketball game on the floor. So you know, very visible, right? It’s strategic. And he’s just going to show up like a regular human being. And he’s got, you know, multiple social media channels that are his. And he doesn’t hawk State Farm. He talks about like normal everyday things, and has normal everyday interactions with people and celebrities. And he’s just he’s like a person. He’s like an embodiment of this guy, Jake, who just happens to always wear a State Farm shirt.

Sam (47:10.702)

Mike Jones (47:37.872)
Like he’s just always on brand with the shirt. But I was I was like, the only reason that works. And this was interesting in the article, they were trying to claim of like, this is more effective than advertising, right? That like, the ads are not as effective as this like real world character. And I’m like, that’s sort of true, right? Because people will relate to this guy, Jake Moore, at this level of like a real human being that shows up at random events and has like,

his own social media channels as Jake, the State Farm guy. But the only reason that he can exist like that as a character in real life is because they ran ads with him over and over and over and over and over until people were just like, Jake, State Farm, State Farm, Jake, this guy who plays Jake is the Jake State Farm guy.

Sam (48:11.726)

Sam (48:20.654)

Mike Jones (48:31.952)
And so when he shows up in real life in public and has these social media channels, putting out content, little videos and stuff, it’s all like it works because they’ve created the character already through the ads. And that kind of like reinforced for me of like these baseline elements, your brand elements, your tagline, your logo, your colors are kind of like Jake from State Farm. And you can take it further. You could create your own character if you wanted to.

Sam (48:42.646)
Yeah. Yep.

Sam (48:59.79)

Mike Jones (49:00.944)
And we did talk about that, I think last time around, like mascots for B2B brands, they do exist. You maybe need to think about them a little bit differently than you’re thinking like Michelin man type guy. But no one needs to look like a marshmallow. But you can, those elements of your brand, the reason they have life down the road is only because you’ve been really consistent with them over and over and over and over and over and over again, right?

And so like they bring on, they carry more meaning the more you use them consistently. If you think about Nike, Nike is a great example of this. That swoosh stands on its own. Now you put that on anything, almost anywhere in the world and people know exactly what it is. They’re like, that’s Nike. They don’t have to use their name. They just have to use the swoosh, right? But that’s only because they’ve been so consistent at using that swoosh.

early on with their name. The original logo was Nike, the name with the swoosh underneath, and they used it all the time that way. And then they use the swoosh very consistently on every product, specifically the shoes, right? That swoosh was on the side of every shoe. And I’m sure somewhere in there, someone along the line, some designer in their, in their company was working on the shoe designs was like, do I have to put a giant swoosh on the side?

We’ve done this for so long. Can’t we just like move it somewhere? Can’t we make it smaller? Can’t I like put it just on the bottom of the shoe? Won’t it be cool? And the answer is no, because it has to be consistent in order to build that meaning. Now they can put it anywhere, right? On anything and it means Nike, right? And it’s their stamp of approval on everything that they do. So just to reinforce that, consistency is really, really important.

Sam (50:48.014)
Yep. Yep.

Mike Jones (50:56.432)
in this process. So part of what makes things interesting is, is like the fun side of it, right? Like being crazy and coming up with something off the wall or combining ideas that you wouldn’t naturally put together. That is part of creativity. That’s part of making things interesting. Other part of being interesting is being true consistently, right? And just using these creative tools, make them interesting over and over and over and over and over again. there’s a time and place to like,

Sam (50:56.846)
Yep. Yep.

Mike Jones (51:26.48)
mix things up a little bit. You know, like, hey, make sure your color palette has enough colors in it, that you’re not like beating your head against the wall in six months, because you only put purple and black in the color palette. And it’s like, we are just dying over here because we can’t our limitations are so great. We have so many constraints on our brand that it’s just like, really constricting. Be careful of that, right? Or know what you’re doing when you say it were purple and black.

And that’s it. Right. Now there’s power in that. There’s a lot of power in being really, really specific in your visual elements. So, but just know it, does that fit us? Is that our culture? Are we willing to stick with something that is that, that duo tone color palette for a really long time? And then when you do add a color, there better be a really good reason that you’re adding a color. It can’t just be overboard. It needs to be like, no, it stands for something. It means something. It’s really impactful to our business.

Sam (51:56.718)
Mm -hmm.

Sam (52:24.334)


Mike Jones (52:28.08)
yeah, I think we’ve covered all Sam. This was like, this is what I was hoping for for this episode. I love it. So many great ideas here. So many good processes, tools, maybe a little bit of preaching in there too.

Sam (52:36.27)

Sam (52:43.822)
Little bit. It is so fun though when you figure it out, when it kind of clicks of like, this is who we’re talking to, this is what we’re going to say, and this is what it’s going to look like. When you kind of figure those things out and it clicks, it’s like, this is, yes, let’s go. Let’s, let’s go. I’m super excited. As opposed to like, what are we doing? Like we’re supposed to be doing this. A partner wants this. Like I don’t believe it. Whatever. Like when you’ve kind of built.

you’re marketing the right way and each layer has been set in the correct place. It can get really, really fun.

Mike Jones (53:19.152)
Yep. I’m going to go back to one final point and it’s something I’ve already made, but your constraints matter and what constraints you put on the project are going to have an impact both negatively and or positively to your creativity, to the interests that you’re going to develop. So one of the things I’m going to say again, build in enough time and also related to that building enough budget, whether you’re paying people in house, you’re bringing in outsiders to do help help you with your creativity and, and putting out your content.

If you don’t pay, if you don’t have enough budget in there, if everyone is feeling this like really tight pinch all the time of like, we don’t have enough time, we don’t have enough budget, and the deadlines are creeping up and we got to put out more content, I guarantee you nothing will be interesting. It will all default to lowest common denominator. It will be whatever AI generates without any edits from a human being is what you’re going to get. And it will not be interesting. It will be what everyone else is already saying.

It’s what everyone else is already doing. It’s going to look cookie cutter. It’s going to look like everything else because when all of those constraints are put on and there’s no freedom, right? Whether there’s budget, there’s no time freemen freedom. There’s no space in that project to be creative and chase new ideas. Then everyone’s going to default to whatever is easiest and whatever is easy is going to be cliche. It’s going to be lowest common denominator. It’s going to be, you know, generalized.

It’s going to look sound and feel like everything else that’s already out there. That is what’s going to happen. And more likely than not, you’re going to find your team actually just going, Hey, that that firm over there, just make it look like them, but use our colors. That’s what’s going to happen. It will not differentiate you in the market. So my last final little mini sermon there.

Sam (55:11.79)
Good. Preach into the choir, Mike.

Mike Jones (55:14.864)
Yeah, I know. That’s the problem. We’re preaching the choir. But if you’re listening in and you’re a partner of a firm or maybe you oversee some creatives, please give them a little bit of freedom. Give them a little bit of runway. Not too much though. Otherwise they’ll go crazy. Yeah. Thanks everybody. We appreciate you listening to another episode. We will be back next month. And I think we’re going to be talking about how do we get all of our marketing to

Sam (55:32.462)
That’s too much.

Mike Jones (55:45.968)
How do we even know if it’s working? We’re talking about metrics. So I’m really excited for that.

Sam (55:50.784)
this stuff actually has to work, Mike?

Mike Jones (55:52.496)
Yeah, probably. Just probably do something. All right. See y ‘all.


AZ Brandcast - Subscribe on iTunes