Episode 74 // How do you create INTERESTING marketing content?

Mar 21, 2024

In this episode of the Remarkabrand Podcast, co-hosts Mike Jones and Sam Pagel delve into how to invigorate marketing messages with creativity, particularly for professional services firms like accounting.

Their conversation highlights the importance of understanding the firm’s audience and aligning marketing messages with the firm’s core values and personality. They suggest leveraging real stories and experiences, both from clients and the team, to build authentic connections. Mike emphasizes storytelling as a vital tool for engaging content, suggesting that marketing should craft compelling narratives where the client is the hero, supported by the firm.

Furthermore, they explore the potential of unique brand positioning, whether through industry focus, service delivery style, or geographical ties, to differentiate a firm and make its marketing resonate more deeply with its target audience. They advocate for leveraging the firm’s unique voice and persona to make marketing materials not just informative but genuinely engaging and memorable.

The podcast also touches on the tactical side of interesting marketing, including the thoughtful use of visuals, the strategic application of humor, and the creation of memorable experiences at events. Mike and Sam stress the value of real, human connection in marketing, encouraging firms to showcase their team’s personality and expertise genuinely.

In conclusion, the episode provides actionable insights on making marketing messages interesting by blending creativity with professional services’ inherent integrity and value. 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 (00:08.682)
Welcome everybody to another episode of the Remarca Brand Podcast. This is your co-host Mike Jones with my co-host. Yeah. And we’re here to talk about more in this series that we’ve been doing really about how to think about your marketing from an inside out perspective. We’ve looked at kind of understanding your audience, creating your message. We’ve talked about channels and media, how to select those. And then today we’re going to be talking about how do you make it all interesting? It’s kind of like the creative side.

Sam (00:15.509)
Sam Pagel.

Mike Jones (00:38.35)
to your marketing process. And particularly we’re gonna be talking to professional services firms, especially you accounting firms, because we love you. But before we do that, Sam, do you have a name 10 things, a little game for us? Sweet.

Sam (00:53.037)
Absolutely do, Mike. And this is a really fun one today, because we’re going to brainstorm 10 campaign slogans that might actually work for professional service firms. I should say 10 risky campaign slogans that might actually work for professional firms.

Mike Jones (01:10.802)
Risky, okay. All right, well, I gotta get it out of my system because you’re accounting on us.

Sam (01:19.489)
Oh, that’s good, Mike. That is risky, but that just might work, okay? I’m gonna go with the things you wish you knew before prison.

Mike Jones (01:25.059)
counting on.

Sam (01:32.749)
That’s a good one, you know? Could apply to accounting, could apply to lawyers, you know? That could be a real good one.

Mike Jones (01:34.091)
white collar version.

Mike Jones (01:41.039)
Oh man. Risky.

Mike Jones (01:48.558)
Did we just say tax evasion? Hmm.

Sam (01:53.555)
Yeah, that’s a good one.

Mike Jones (01:56.03)
All of our accounting firm friends are just like, oh, this is so stupid.

Sam (02:00.485)
It is. But hey, there might be a gem in here. And if you steal it, you steal it, it’ll be OK. I’m going to go with Let’s Play a New Game Double Jeopardy. These are all like criminal based ideas.

Mike Jones (02:03.358)
might be. Let’s see what number 10 is.

Mike Jones (02:14.007)

Mike Jones (02:19.218)
Uh, I want like an anti-Uncle Sam campaign. Yeah. Down with Sam.

Sam (02:24.649)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Down with Sam.

Mike Jones (02:29.142)
dual purpose, you can also run it against you. It’s great.

Sam (02:33.013)
Yeah, I won’t take it personally. I know that’s just an idea. That just, you haven’t, it’s just an idea. I won’t take it personally. Let’s go with, I’m trying to think of like a cool, you know, pricing one where it’s like, pay more for less. That could be interesting.

Mike Jones (02:38.93)
It’s just an idea.

Mike Jones (02:50.595)

Mike Jones (02:55.141)

Sam (02:56.753)
You pay your accountant more to pay less taxes. Boom, Mike. That’s brilliant right there. Pay more for less.

Mike Jones (03:00.713)

Mike Jones (03:05.436)

Mike Jones (03:09.618)
advising you since 2024.

Sam (03:13.441)
Ooh, a little startup project you got going on there. Yeah. That’s good. OK, I think we’ve got three more. Let’s go with, when numbers don’t matter, we’ll make it count.

Mike Jones (03:17.877)
Yeah. It’s risky. But you know what? Might just work.

Mike Jones (03:32.174)
make it count. I like that. A whole campaign, everything’s Cran drawings. And we go, come on, it’s not that hard.

Sam (03:41.674)

Sam (03:47.933)
That’s good. Short playing the services that they offer, that’s good. That’s great. I like the crayon ideas too. Yeah. That’s foreshadowing, because we’re gonna be talking about having a writer and a designer working together, so that could work really well. Yep.

Mike Jones (03:55.816)
Your kid could do it, right? Your kid could do your taxes, your tax return.

Mike Jones (04:05.206)
That’s how you do it. You get one kid who’s really good at drawing and you get another kid who actually can spell and you’re good, you’re good to go.

Sam (04:10.205)
Yep. I’m gonna finish up here, Mike, with I think a revolutionary idea that we might start seeing in the industry more in professional services marketing, and that is homing pigeons, okay? I’m picturing some kind of really cool scroll-like paper rolled up into a tiny little roll that just kind of shows up on your window seal. So clients, you know, make sure your windows are open, make sure you get that spring breeze through the windows, and you never know if this…

Mike Jones (04:17.998)

Mike Jones (04:32.117)

Sam (04:39.585)
a homing pigeon might show up and deliver a really cool secret message from your accountant.

Mike Jones (04:45.31)
These are so bad. I love them. Yep. I can’t wait to see the swag that comes out of these. It’s gonna be great. Little foam stress pigeons. You squeeze them.

Sam (04:48.957)
I expect to see one or two of those pop up here or there in the industry.

Sam (04:55.721)
Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Jones (05:02.134)
All right, enough of that. All right, we’re gonna jump into how to make your content interesting, how to make your campaigns, your marketing, really all of your marketing interesting. I think that’s a very hot topic right now. Probably has been for a while. But especially for professional services firms, I think a lot of firms are known for being a little stodgy, maybe a little dusty. And so a lot of firms are working on trying to make their.

their marketing, their content, all the things they’re producing out in the marketplace make them a little bit more interesting, a little bit more creative. How can we kind of push the envelope? While at the same time, I think this is the big trick, so many firms still wanna remain building that professional kind of reputation, right? And obviously that makes sense. You’re dealing with, on the accounting side, you’re dealing with people’s finances, their money, their taxes, their business.

And if you’re talking about other professional services, you’re dealing with legal risk, and you’re dealing with the performance of their business, the performance of their organization, if you’re consulting around that. And so there is this need to remain professional while at the same time cutting through and really being interesting. Which kinda is the first part of this, I think that we need to talk about Sandwiches, why even be interesting? Maybe it’s just better to…

Sam (06:01.569)

Mike Jones (06:21.302)
just stay stodgy and, you know, buttoned up. Maybe that’s the real answer here. What do you think?

Sam (06:26.461)
Yeah, well, because it’s easy to be boring, right? And especially nowadays with all these different tools coming out to help you in your content creation, Chat GPT is really good at being boring, super duper good at being boring. Every tool like that now is just built, I mean, it is what it is. It’s spitting out other content that’s probably also boring. So why is it important for your content to be interesting?

Mike Jones (06:42.446)
So true.

Sam (06:56.809)
Well, I guess there’s a question there of, do you actually want people to read or view or listen to the content you’re creating or are you just trying to fill a void? You’re just filling empty space with stuff.

Mike Jones (07:11.466)
Well, I know Sam, for me, I really, I produce content because there is a void in my life and I need to fill it. So I appreciate you making that point. I needed to hear that.

Sam (07:18.316)

Sam (07:24.786)
That’s why we’re here, right, Mike?

Mike Jones (07:26.478)
That’s why we’re here. That’s why we do this podcast. Because I don’t have any friends, Sam. And I need a friend. Oh. No, hopefully that’s not why we’re doing this. We’re hopefully doing this because we want to help people. And I think we can. So yeah, I’m with you on that.

Sam (07:31.639)
Yeah. Yeah, well, yeah.

Sam (07:44.317)
I think there’s, in the age of now, SEO. SEO for the last 10, 15 years has been the greatest thing ever, and it’s like the ultimate achievement to create content that achieves really good SEO for your brand. And now we’re starting to see that instead of just putting a key phrase on a page 30 times, that doesn’t work anymore. And

the algorithms are getting smarter and they actually are built to boost up the best and most interesting content. Because don’t forget, Google, Mike, I don’t know if you knew this, Google is not a nonprofit. Google is a for-profit company and they want to make money and so they want to treat their customers in the best way possible and deliver the best results in those search queries to their customers, the searchers.

Mike Jones (08:33.026)

Sam (08:42.985)
So they want to deliver the best content at the top of those search results for what people are searching for. And that used to be, oh, this website has the key phrase that this person searched for 30 times, let’s deliver that, no longer. And it hasn’t been that way for quite a while now. Now, Google and other search engines want to deliver the best possible content. Content that’s interesting and that people actually wanna view and read and listen to.

That’s why it’s important.

Mike Jones (09:12.342)
Yeah. And there’s like so many opportunities for people to be kind of pushed in front of messages. Right. So you think about like how many different marketing messages you experience every single day. There’s kind of this overload that people have. And if it’s not incredibly interesting, they’re just going to tune it out. Right.

And so one of the ways that you actually get in front of the people you want to get in front of, yes, be in the right place, right at the right time with the right message. Those are really critical foundational elements, but you also have to make that message actually interesting. You need to make the supporting visuals actually interesting to the people you’re trying to reach. And we’re going to talk about some of the ways that you can do that and have the best chance at being.

you know, that one that sticks out and people are like, yes, that’s what I need. Some of that actually is having the right message, right? It’s actually identifying like, what is the core problem that your audience is having that you can uniquely solve for them? And we’ll talk about that. That’s your story. You gotta have a great story. But then you gotta think about like, how do we actually make it interesting beyond that? Like, how do we maybe flip things on its head, maybe surprise people, make them laugh, make them think, right? These are ways that…

you can really start to take what seems like maybe a boring message, right? It’s like how many different accounting firms really just kind of are saying the same thing, maybe with a little bit of nuance. But you can start to make it more interesting by just the way in which you approach the story itself, the kinds of examples that you use, the way in which you tell the order of the story. Maybe don’t start with the beginning, maybe start with the end, something like that.

how you include anecdotes and personal experiences in that. So we can talk all about that. But I think that’s a really key part of this is really understanding why. Why are we doing this? It’s not just to be funny for funny’s sake, right? Or entertaining for entertaining’s sake. It’s so that people actually that you want to reach, the people that you’ve identified, and we’ve already talked about this in a previous episode.

Sam (11:19.957)

Mike Jones (11:30.474)
There are people that you want to reach and you need to be really specific about who those people are the more specific You can be actually the more interesting it’s gonna be But you need to reach them you want to reach them and your goal is to help them, right? That’s ultimately the goal you can’t help them If what you’re putting out in front of them just is not interesting at all If it sounds like everyone else, it looks like everyone else. It feels like everyone else

it’s really not going to produce any effect for them. I was thinking through kind of some principles behind what makes things interesting. One of them is it’s memorable, right? It’s something that I watched or I engaged with, I read, I listened to, and I walk away and I still remember it. Well, what makes that memory stick? One of the things is that it’s interesting. It made me think for a moment about it.

in some way, shape or form, either because it was an idea I’d never thought about, or it was phrased in such a way that it kind of like was sticky, right? It kind of caught my attention, or it was funny, right? There was an emotional element to it in some way, shape or form. And of course, obviously, the other part of that is you have to put that in front of people enough times. You got to keep telling that message, maybe in different interesting ways, but you got to keep telling that message over and over and over and over and over again.

That’s what makes it sticky right? I think you can an example. I love to use is the FedEx logo, right? So the FedEx logo kind of on its own. Is it that interesting? I don’t know the colors. They’re bright. Okay, that’s cool It’s simple. So I guess it you know somewhat recognizable. It’s short five letter name But they did this interesting thing where they created negative space between the E and X and in the X part the FedEx

part of their name. And it’s a little bit of a visual puzzle. It creates this negative space that actually has an arrow in it, right? Pointing to the right. This idea of like moving forward, stuff moving, right? It’s very much tells the story of FedEx visually. And if you see that negative space, the arrow that it creates, people don’t unsee it. And that actually is like a lesson in what makes something interesting is a puzzle, something that someone has to think about.

Mike Jones (13:53.762)
kind of visually solve the puzzle or verbally solve the puzzle. That’s why people remember puns as much as they don’t like them. It’s because it’s a verbal puzzle. And once you unlock the puzzle, you actually create a memory. And it’s a little bit stickier than maybe just a word or just a visual that doesn’t really have any deeper interest to it. So just a little, like some random ideas there. But so what are some other ways, Sam, that we can make things interesting?

Sam (14:19.146)

Mike Jones (14:23.444)
How do I even approach this?

Sam (14:23.541)
Well, yeah, I think everything you said, Mike, was really good, and I think there’s a tendency to kind of get overwhelmed with a list like that and say, okay, now I gotta take that and gotta look at my own brand here, my accounting firm, my law firm, my architectural firm, and now, how do I do that? Do I just sit down and start writing out funny jokes? Do I think of industry puns? I think there are some…

Mike Jones (14:32.822)

Sam (14:52.797)
more foundational level things that’ll actually make this more of a framework and a little bit more structured. And you want to always start, no surprise here, at the brand level, okay, inside out marketing and start with, you know, if you’ve gone through a branding exercise and you have your firm has a clear set of values or beliefs, start there. Look at that core set of values and beliefs and try to apply that to…

Mike Jones (14:59.122)

Mike Jones (15:03.614)
Inside Out.

Sam (15:21.365)
the everyday life of your firm. How do you go about your services underneath those values? How does that differentiate you from the firm next door? Look at those beliefs, try to extract out how that gives your brand a different point of view on life, on the clients, what they’re dealing with, their struggles.

and start to talk through that lens. That’ll kind of give you some instant differentiation because there’s probably a lot of firms that have similar values, but not all firms are going to have the exact set of values that your firm does, especially if you’ve done a good job at the brand level. And once you’ve kind of done that, now you can start to sprinkle in some of that brand personality, okay? That brand personality that hopefully you’ve taken time to develop.

Um, from a brand level, your brand can now speak in a certain way consistently. And hopefully that makes it really interesting. Now, not every brand is going to be the jester or the jokester or the funny brand. Not every brand is going to be the caretaker, the brand that just loves and wants to cuddle you and coddle you and just make you feel safe. Not every brand is going to be, you know, like the Harley Davidson rebel, right?

So you gotta figure out what is your brand, how does your brand speak, how does it talk, and let that fuel personality in the content that you’re creating so that it doesn’t just sound like a monotone robot talking and speaking about, we do this and we do this, and this is, we’re all about our people, and we’re more than just accountants, you know? Like, figure out how to say what you wanna say in the unique way that your brand speaks.

and from the core set of beliefs that fuel everything you do.

Mike Jones (17:20.074)
I mean, even just the idea of like, let’s say your persona is basically a robot, right? That’s like your brand metaphor. Lean into that. Like make that like so extremely obvious and like so consistent across everything you do. You might actually find that becomes actually interesting, right? There’s a way in which to like own almost any type of persona for the personality of your particular firm. As long as it’s one, it’s true, right?

Sam (17:39.211)

Mike Jones (17:49.866)
So, you know, it’s gotta line up with the culture that you have. Maybe there’s particular aspects of your culture that you need to like lean into even further. And then don’t try to be every type of persona. If it’s like, hey, we’re not the every man. We’re like kind of stuck up and we’re a little bit, you know, stuffy and we’re a little bit arrogant. Okay. There’s a way to take that and run with it really far and really be pointed with it.

And I think that’s really the point is like, whatever you believe about your industry and the work that you do, this point of view, and this personality you have, they need to be really specific. And if you can run with those and stretch them as far as you think you can while they’re still remain true for you and your firm, you have a much better chance at like, everything you create becomes that much more interesting. And it’s because you have a unique point of view and you have a unique persona.

that is very specific. So I love that.

Sam (18:51.325)
For you marketers that work for these professional firms, to Mike’s point, see how far you can take it. Like how far can you go until, and you gotta be careful, you don’t wanna ruin a brand by taking things too far, but how far can you take some of those, maybe those tropes or those interesting little things about your firm if you know like, oh man, the partners at my firm are just, they’re like the smartest people in the world.

but you know, it’s just not great at the, you know, the social side of things. Well, hey, maybe lean into that because I bet a lot of your clients actually like that. Hey, my accountant, like, I don’t really need to talk to him but man, he’s dynamic. Like he will get me every single, you know, little point on my tax return, all this stuff. So figure that out.

Mike Jones (19:40.33)
I mean, I’m just, I’m thinking like ad campaign right now, like, you know, the client at like a party, right? And they’re like having a great time and everybody’s like joking and like having fun, playing ping pong, drinking beers, whatever. I don’t know what this kind of party is, but it’s a party, right? People are having a good time. And there’s like Joe, the accountant in the corner, like, I don’t know, counting the peanuts out of the bowl.

Right? And it’s like, obviously, total tropes, total stereotype. But then you show him like in the next scene, like counting the peanuts on the factory floor at the client’s like manufacturing facility or their like production facility. And it’s like, you don’t want Joe at your party. You want Joe running the numbers. Right? Like, it’s like, I don’t know, there’s a way to like pose that and be like, it doesn’t matter. Like, we want him like stuffy and nerdy and, and maybe a little

like in this case, probably a little dorky. Cause like that’s what he’s, that’s why you want him, right? So anyway, there’s a way to lean on that. Obviously not every firm hopefully has that persona. I know lots of firms who think that their people are really friendly and really fun and really interesting. And it’s like, great. Find what makes that specific to your firm and really lean into it. I think this leads us to our next.

Sam (20:42.345)
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Mike Jones (21:02.926)
The point of what makes it interesting is you have to be telling a story in everything that you put out. It has to be an interesting story, it has to be a compelling story. Start with what’s true, right? Tell your story as the brand and it needs to have those pieces. I know we’ve covered this many times before in other episodes and articles. We even wrote, I think it’s like a whole chapter in our book about storytelling. You got to have characters, right? You got to have the right characters.

You as the brand are not the hero of your story. You’re actually the guide and the client is the hero. So especially in professional service, I think that’s pretty straightforward. Most people get that. And then you need to have an arc to your story. It’s gotta start somewhere, it’s gotta go somewhere, it’s gotta end somewhere. You need to tell the problem that your clients are having. You need to tell how you bring a solution to the table and you have to have a happy ending. You gotta have like, what is that outcome for them? You gotta paint that picture for them. Now, that’s a…

pretty like archetypal story format with those pieces. So then you can start to think about like, well, how could I invert this story? Maybe start with the end and go to the beginning. You think about like a lot of the, find inspiration from TV shows, from movies, from novels, how they write stories, the process in which they tell the plot can be a really great way to like kind of go, oh, there’s another way I could spin this. But as long as it has all those pieces, you have a story.

And now it’s up to you to kind of string them together in the order that you want to put. But you have to have all those pieces. I think that’s a really key piece. If you don’t have a great story, like if you’re not telling the story, if you’re just putting out information or little bits that don’t connect to one another, then it’s not interesting.

Sam (22:43.497)
Yeah. Right.

Sam (22:50.725)
Yeah, don’t communicate to the algorithm. Communicate to people, and specifically the people that you wanna be communicating to. Don’t forget that audience component when you’re creating content, when you’re creating marketing. And this can really come into play and really make your campaigns stronger. So if you have specific campaigns to specific verticals.

Mike Jones (22:59.042)

Sam (23:13.705)
you should know the types of people that you’re speaking to and make that campaign, whatever it is, maybe it’s just a banner ad, or maybe it’s a newsletter, maybe it’s a podcast, make sure that you’re speaking in the ways that those people can understand and speaking to the pain points and problems that they need solved and do it in an interesting way. The interesting part of that, the interesting part of that is it should come from your brand. So you shouldn’t speak.

like your clients speak, or your potential clients speak. Speak like your brand, speak like you. But talk about the things that are interesting to those people that you’re trying to reach.

Mike Jones (23:53.506)
Yep. Yeah. And then understanding like where they’re coming from, right? What’s the context that they’re in? How do they even perceive themselves? Put them in the story, like show them actually in the story. So when you think about like supporting visuals, right? Showing actual clients, showing real people, showing people that look and talk and feel like your clients when you’re telling that story can be really helpful and really interesting.

Sam (24:17.452)

Mike Jones (24:22.474)
Obviously using humor, using emotional appeal can be a really helpful way of like infusing your story with another layer of interest. I know we’ve talked about this before on another episode, this was a while ago, but like, you know, including other types of media in your storytelling process. So okay, write it, right? Okay, we have the written version. All right, now let’s like show it, show and tell it through visuals, maybe use some charts and graphs and some pictures.

Maybe can we animate some of those, put some motion into it. And then like ultimately, like can we produce the, you know, video content that really captures all the senses. The more senses you can put into your marketing, the more opportunity you have to make it interesting. People love content that is, has motion, has verbal audio aspects to it, has some music, has some emotional drama built into it.

Sam (25:01.173)

Mike Jones (25:20.706)
through those kind of attributes. And then put some motion graphics in there, tell the story. If you’ve got a lot of data, that can be really helpful. So, I love all that stuff.

Sam (25:30.185)
Yeah. Real people, real people. That’s why case studies testimonials are so powerful because they are from real people and they’re from real people that are typically like, if you’re putting out a case study, you want to work with other people like the person you just helped. So for other potential clients in that industry, I remember Mike, I think a couple of years ago we were working with a bank and they were trying to create these video testimonials or these video case studies, which are really powerful.

because they’re showing the farmer who’s out at their farm and they’re getting up at the crack of dawn and they’re milking the cows or they’re moving the chickens or whatever it is, but they’re talking about this kind of in an emotional way of how the bank helped them scale up or they helped them do this other thing. And it was really powerful and I remember that to this day and I don’t even remember the bank’s name, but we see stories like that and I’m sure for…

you know, another farmer or someone in that industry who sees that it’s just such a powerful thing that you don’t really forget, especially if it’s done well. And if the story is there and you can kind of bring it back without being overly salesy, but you kind of bring it back to how your brand was the guide for that hero in the story, the person that you helped. So those things are super powerful. They’re hard.

to create sometimes, it’s hard to go out and get real people. It’s a lot easier to just find a stock image of somebody and make something up. But real people are really interesting. Imagine that, Mike.

Mike Jones (27:02.995)

Mike Jones (27:07.498)
Yep. Yeah. Real stories, true stories, right. Things that have actually happened with real, you know, businesses that you’re working with. You know, and I think even like thinking through, you know, how do how do you prove that? You know, that’s part of it is just showcasing those people, those actual businesses, and then showing the numbers behind it, the results that you had. If you’ve got

industry expertise like you need to prove that through lots of data reports You know talking about what’s happening in the industry That can be a great opportunity to kind of take it beyond like a written or a static image and say hey Let’s add some motion to it. Let’s maybe do it in a video format the other part of it that I think is really important is

putting real people on your side of the firm, your side of the organization, as the ambassadors in your content. So wherever you can show real people doing the work or talking about the work, showcasing the expertise, you have a much greater opportunity to really make it interesting and connective, right? That’s why, even in mass consumer brands, that’s why mascots work.

Mascots humanize the brand in a way that the logo can’t do, right? The logo just can’t do it. And even the product or the service can’t be humanized. But when you put a mascot or you put kind of a representative of the brand and I would, you know, I know, I think a lot of B2B organizations kind of like, we don’t do mascots. It’s like, well, that might be true. You might think that’s true, but in reality, B2B brands, great ones also have mascots. A lot of times it’s.

their CEO, right? It’s an executive at the highest level who represents the brand and goes and speaks on behalf of the brand. And even their personality either becomes more of the brand’s personality or vice versa, the brand kind of infuses its personality into that person. You know, I love to use like Apple as a great example of that. Like really the embodiment of Apple for many, many years was Steve Jobs when he was alive, leading the company. And they saw like how much detriment it was when he walked away from the firm.

Sam (28:54.059)

Sam (29:15.198)

Mike Jones (29:22.49)
when he walked away from the company, kind of was forced out, he didn’t really walk away, for a time, and then they brought him back. And obviously you can maybe credit that to some of his ideas and his innovation, but really a lot of that came back to like, they just needed a personality that people could latch onto. And Steve Jobs was that person for them. And even to this day, like, you know, dead and gone, not there anymore, but he still represents the brand probably at a deeper level than almost anyone else has.

And so like his image, his face is still kind of iconic to Apple. And you can think of other brands like that, even, you know, like a Kentucky fried kitchen or a Kentucky fried chicken. You know, they brought the Colonel back. You know, he’d been done and gone for a long time and they hadn’t really used his image for a long time. And then eventually like he became the logo. You can think about like the NBA, right? What is it? Jerry West is the logo, right? There’s a person in their logo.

And so like you’ll have to decide kind of what that means for you and your brand but put people put real representatives of your firm in your content, right use their image use their likeness use them in video use the user voice and audio And start utilizing the individual Personalities to build the larger personality of your brand and make it more interesting more connective Really? That’s what we’re saying is it’s more relational because people want to connect with real people

Sam (30:33.74)

Sam (30:44.149)

Mike Jones (30:48.308)
That’s kind of the end story there.

Sam (30:49.941)
There are simple things there too about even just on your website. Like don’t settle for stock imagery.

Mike Jones (30:57.154)

Sam (30:57.373)
I was looking at, what was it? I think it was maybe a law website. I think it was a lawyer’s website yesterday. And I was looking at it with a client of ours. And we were trying to figure out, is that the lawyer right there? Oh no, nope, that’s a stock image. Oh, these are all stock images. And it’s like, that guy kind of looks the same as the other guy in the other picture. It was like, this is all stock imagery. There’s no pictures of real people that actually work at the firm.

And it was just, I mean, it was a real turnoff. I’m sure like 10, 15 years ago, that website would have been like, Whoa, this is really nice. This photography is like really nice and professional. But now everyone’s so ingrained with what stock photography is and kind of the joke that it’s become that websites like that or anything like that, that’s just littered with stock imagery of people that really aren’t real or have nothing to do with the firm, you know, that you’re, that you’re working for.

Um, that’s a detriment. So even a simple thing like, Hey, spend half a day, get some good pictures of your team and start integrating those into your website and your ads, maybe your social profiles, um, and kind of like you said, Mike, relationalize it a little bit.

Mike Jones (32:13.706)
Mm-hmm. Yeah people want to connect with people and I know a lot of firms understand that they know that like their partners are really the Ones that drive, you know a lot of their business development right because people want to connect with them It’s why you know their staff, you know The directory of people on their website is so critically important for so many professional services firms

is because, you know, at the end of the day, the client wants to actually understand who they’re working with, who are the actual people that are working with me, consulting on my business or performing services and activities on behalf of my organization. I want to see who they are. I want to understand who they are. That’s why the bio is so important for every, you know, partner in your firm. But I’d say like, take that to the next level, give it more personality. So the bio is fine. Obviously, I’m sure all your partners want to look professional and give all their accreditations and all their accolades.

Okay, fine, but maybe like put some human elements into it. What makes them a person, right? Not just a professional, but what makes them a person? What makes them an individual? Talk about like some of their passions, interests, hobbies. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little taste of that can be really helpful for personalizing and making your content more interesting. And then take that another step further, find other formats to do that in, maybe like a video interview for their bio.

can be a fun, interesting way to do that. You know, you can do the little like on hover, like something changes with the photo, the little photo there. You know, just give it a little bit of interest. I don’t think you have to make that silly, right? It doesn’t need to be ridiculous. A lot of marketing firms tend to do that. But like, you know, you can still create seriousness while still being personable and human. And I think the reality is,

What’s really interesting, I think, is that as the professionals that these professionals are working with, so the clients, the client personas have changed. I think maybe 30, 40 years ago it was expected everyone’s going to be in a suit and tie, we don’t show personality, I don’t connect with people on a personal level. I don’t think that’s even really that true. I think we’ve always done that. But maybe that was the perception.

Mike Jones (34:25.622)
The people that you’re working with today more and more want that personal relationship probably because they’re not getting it in the rest of their life in our very like digitally fractured, discommunicative society that we are all jumping into here. But yeah, like bring some personality to those bios and then put your content out in a way where it’s clear it’s coming from an individual within the firm. So almost every like social post, like can you provide like a level of

personality to it from someone in the firm. Again, it needs to all ladder up to the personality of the firm. But, you know, leverage those individual personalities as well. Don’t wanna get too far down that road, you’ll get split personality disorder within your brand, but, you know, there’s a way to layer that and really make it interesting. Again, we’re talking about how to make it interesting. So that’s one way to do it. What’s another way, Sam?

Sam (35:16.321)

Sam (35:20.265)
Oh, you know, we could kind of get into headlines, taglines, slogans, that kind of thing, Mike. Sometimes that can get a little cheesy, but sometimes cheesy isn’t bad, Mike. I would argue. Yeah, sometimes you got to milk the cheese, even if there’s holes in it.

Mike Jones (35:26.733)

Mike Jones (35:30.574)
Mm-hmm. Sometimes you need to milk it.

Mike Jones (35:39.141)

Sam (35:40.613)
I would argue Mike, like even an eye roll is a good emotional response. If it’s the right kind of eye roll. If it’s like the dad joke kind of eye roll of like, oh my goodness. Yeah, it could be a really good experience. Don’t Swiss the topic on me, Mike. Here we go. Puns, puns are a great way. Great way. Puns are fun.

Mike Jones (35:46.61)
Yeah. It could be a Gouda experience.

Mike Jones (35:56.874)
Oh, yes, puns are fun. And they have their place, again, like adding a level of humor into your content, adding a level of like kind of punchiness with maybe beyond buzzwords, right? So maybe find some words that are like unique to your firm, maybe some slogans and mantras that you use eternally and start to infuse those into your content. They might not speak.

to your industry expertise, but they speak to your personality and your culture as a firm. Even like layering in like your values, your beliefs into your content, putting that in various places within, you know, whether it’s on your website or in your proposals or, you know, in whatever other content, maybe you’re producing a video. You know, I’m a huge fan of slogans when they’re done well and done right, and they’re done for the right reasons, like putting together a tagline.

Make that tagline actually say something interesting The more you can make it speak to your audience and their goals and values the more powerful that Slogan is gonna be not just a descriptor of like what you do You know, okay. There’s time and place to be like we’re accountants and advisors, right? And that’s our slogan. That’s our tagline Okay, it’s not gonna get me excited. It’s not interesting It certainly tells me what you do

We get that point across really quickly. But if you wanna make things interesting, you gotta draw people into like, what’s the final outcome that they’re gonna get from you? What is the value or the goal that they’re chasing that you can help them achieve? And if you think about like Nike’s Just Do It campaign, that tagline says nothing about the products that Nike offers. It doesn’t tell me at all what industry are they in. I don’t even know what they do.

doesn’t even say athleticism, but what it does say is achievement. And that’s at the end of the day, everything that every Nike customer wants at some level is achievement, right? Achievement in their athletic life, it’s a little more specific. And obviously, you know, that tagline or slogan is not the entirety of all your marketing. Hopefully you have some visuals to go with it, you have some additional content. But if you really wanna like hit a home run with a tagline, you know, you got…

Mike Jones (38:21.366)
one second to get a point across, get the most important point across. What is it you achieve for people? Not what you do, right? But what do you achieve? So that’s my…

Sam (38:31.337)
Yep. Yeah. And I think you could even explore, Mike, making up some of your own words. It can kind of be a fun exercise. Take, you know, a service of yours and then how you do it and like mesh those into your own term that you start to kind of toss around a little bit. Yeah. Kind of toss around a little bit, put it in some slideshows, start to, you know, throw it out around the office, around the water cooler and, uh,

Mike Jones (38:38.312)

Mike Jones (38:47.822)
It’s a category term. Yeah.

Sam (38:58.705)
And sometimes those things can really catch on. And then you kind of own that. You own that phrase. You kind of start owning that service. And the way that you do it, and that could become trademarked someday. And then you’ve got a book on the way. And there’s just so many things, Mike, that, you know. But that.

Mike Jones (39:03.204)

Mike Jones (39:14.894)
And that is interesting. That is actually interesting. I think maybe that’s not counted enough when people consider what makes our marketing more interesting. Again, have that unique point of view. Do you deliver your service in a particular way? Do you have a unique point of view, a unique philosophy? Do you have a unique perspective from maybe an industry expertise or a background, whereas our

Our founder was a business owner in the dairy industry for 30 years and then pivoted into accounting. Okay, that’s interesting, right? Does that help you? Obviously it needs to help you have a better way to deliver for your clients. Maybe you’re very focused on the dairy industry and that’s really powerful. Can you put some terminology around that? Can you create maybe a new term or…

Sam (39:52.215)

Mike Jones (40:10.082)
put a couple terms together that kind of becomes a unique point of view to what you were already saying. But I love that. I think the other thing you can do too is like lean into your location. If you’re very geographically specific and where you serve, let’s say you’re, you know, we’re the Boston legal firm, right? We only work with Bostonians and we’re all about Boston. Own that, like make that a part of like every single thing you do.

Sam (40:37.067)

Mike Jones (40:37.854)
Yeah, maybe you’ll get tired of the shamrocks. That’s fine. But like, and maybe there’s some less cliched ways that you can tell that story. But like own it. Like I’d say like, you know, even all the way down to like, if you’re the Boston firm and you don’t have like a Bruins day or you don’t have a Celtics day or you don’t have a Red Sox day in your firm, I mean, maybe you have like every other day or something. I don’t know. Like maybe every day of the week is a different one. Like, like own that.

Sam (41:04.235)

Mike Jones (41:06.294)
Like maybe you’re the Boston sports firm, right? Like we’re all about Boston and the sports of Boston. You know, or, you know, do something where it’s like, we’re the, I don’t know, this is super cliche, but we’re like the Irish pub firm, right? Out of Boston, and we just own it. But then it also like goes to like, okay, what are the partnerships you build? What are the community activities that you participate in? What do you say on your website?

Sam (41:09.421)

Sam (41:12.778)

Mike Jones (41:33.538)
Like every bio on your website better have some connection back to Boston even if that person like isn’t originally from there. You know, like I would, I, man, I think there’s so much opportunity for professional services firms. It’s, it’s interesting because the location aspect of firms branding I think has maybe kind of been pushed to the side a little bit because it’s now really easy to work with clients all over the place.

I think that’s actually opened up an opportunity for some firms who can really own a location, maybe a city specific strategy and just go all in and be like, we are the Boston restaurant firm. We love the restaurants in this city. We support the restaurateurs and the chefs and the employees and the staff and the servers and everybody who works in this industry. And we are all in on it.

And it’s this specific, it’s this city and it’s this industry. And it’s that specific. It’s that tight. Um, you know, and obviously that needs to fit into your larger strategic plan. You know, maybe there’s like a cap to how big that market is, but man, like you could own that market. Uh, there’s probably a way where like there, you’re working with half the restaurants in your, in your city. Uh, and maybe that’s enough to like, kind of hit those financial goals. You’re all aiming for, but, um, you know, I think that would have so much power.

So I think that’s another aspect is just think about your positioning. Maybe geography is a part of your position or should be more than maybe you thought it should be. And if it’s not geographic, think about industry positioning. Think about, you know, a unique point of view and unique way that you deliver your service or maybe there’s certain kinds of organizations or certain kinds of businesses, maybe not industry specific, but they’re operated in a certain way. I’ve seen, you know, some firms do really well when they say like.

We only work with family owned and operated businesses. Right, it doesn’t really matter what industry they’re in, but there’s this unique way that they’re managed, there’s a unique way that they grow, there’s a unique way that they deal with things and the problems that they encounter as a business like that. And we’re just, we know that, we know that inside and out. I hope you can prove it. You need to prove that really clearly.

Mike Jones (43:50.698)
And then be really specific about it. Don’t get distracted. You might have other clients in other industries or that don’t fit your positioning. You don’t need to tell their story. Just tell the story that matters to that position that you’re really trying to own. And you’ll find that you become very interesting. Very, very interesting as you tell that story over.

Sam (44:10.058)
Yeah. And we could get into the graphical side of this, too. We’ve talked a lot about the message. But I think the graphic side, the design side, becomes really easy when you’ve got a really strong message. And so the message comes first. Let the message fuel the imagery that you need to produce for whatever you’re doing. And make sure it’s on brand. Make sure it is interesting.

Mike Jones (44:22.443)

Sam (44:37.141)
but let that message kind of fuel. I know, I’m a designer, Mike, you kind of have a design background. I know, and there’s a strong framework, a strong message to design from. Designers are just, they’re just in heaven. It’s just like your job becomes so easy, your work becomes better, because you’ve got this strong message. If somebody comes to you as a designer and says, hey, we wanna create this really cool thing, we need it to go viral, can you make something? And it’s like, well, what do you wanna talk about?

I don’t know, just figure it out and like make it good. And it’s like, oh, what? What are you even talking about? Like that’s where it becomes really difficult. So have that message first, that core message. What are you saying? And then the graphics and the imagery and the design should flow out of that. And Mike, we can kind of move on to, it’s 2024, Mike. And live events are a thing in 2024.

Mike Jones (45:34.07)
They are a thing. They’re a thing again. Yes.

Sam (45:36.393)
They are a thing again. Events, there’s a lot of digital events too. I mean, there’s live events are coming back. Digital events are still very much a thing. It was kind of birthed out of the pandemic four years ago. Conferences, I mean, people are itching, I think, to get back out into some of these live events, industry conferences. How do you make that interesting, Mike? I’m sure, you know, we could talk about if you’re…

sponsoring, if you’ve got a booth, if you’re speaking. How do you make that kind of thing interesting?

Mike Jones (46:06.722)

Yeah, I mean, beyond the like, have a unique point of view, right? I mean, I think I’m just gonna keep hammering that over and over. Have that unique point of view, have unique positioning. Those things make every other opportunity to get in front of people that much easier to be interesting. All right, like when you have a talk you’re presenting, and you have a unique point of view to your industry, like, man, that makes the conference super easy. Right?

But beyond that, I would think about like, what are ways that you can really build connection in that experience? How can you allow people to connect with you? How can you create something, opportunities, little moments, whether that’s through swag, whether that’s through like a giveaway, whether that’s through like, what’s happening in your booth itself. But how do you like, actually make something that’s

Different than what everybody else is doing. So when you’re thinking about your swag, don’t do pens I mean maybe have some pens if you really want them But like do something that no one was expecting and then have it tie in to your larger campaign So having something beyond just like don’t start with the swag start with a campaign. What is the message? We’re trying to tell What is it? We’re trying to achieve maybe have a particular service or industry or product that you’re really wanting to push and then

find swag, find interesting promo products, create an experience around that in the booth or at the conference that will really get people excited. And then think about ways that you can do that outside of the standard parameters. So like for instance, we’ve done something at a conference every year where we actually, we host, we co-sponsor, we co-produce some podcasts, some like lightning podcasts.

Mike Jones (47:53.822)
episodes where we’d like to do quick five minute interviews of you know, just people that are there at the conference we just pull them in and say hey come talk for five minutes about something that is challenging you or that you’re excited about in the industry right. That kind of breaks the mold of the standard trade show where you just stand behind the table and someone walks up and says, what do you do you know like people don’t really want that anymore. Right so create an actual experience where you’re delivering value to the attendees through whatever it is you’re doing there.

Or think about breaking the entire experience and being like, hey, we’re doing a, we’re sponsoring a after hours happy hour. It’s not actually sponsored with the event, but we’re handing out these little secret tickets. And if you talk to us, if you just start handing those out and people start to talk about it, it goes a little bit viral. I don’t know, I hate that word. But people at the conference are like, hey, are you going to that after party that firm’s putting on? That’s pretty cool.

and then think about how you can make that interesting. Don’t do the bounce house, that’s weird. But like do something interesting, do something different with it, right? Think outside the box, think outside of what’s normal, but that actually delivers value. I know I was at a conference last year, fantastic, one of the breakout sessions was actually during lunch, and it was private invite only, and it was specifically for people who were using, I believe it was Salesforce.

And this sponsor who was putting it on, it was very clear, they’re like, I only wanna work with people that are using Salesforce. I’m putting on this private lunch. He sponsored it, he paid for it. It was different than all the other conference experience. And then it was privately, there was like 20 firms that were privately invited to come and participate. And I was like, that is a brilliant idea. You can either do that outside of the context of the conference or you can do that with the conference organizers and say, hey, this is part of my sponsorship.

I want to create this experience. I want to be really selective with it. Selective experiences are really, really powerful. So I don’t know, that’s a few ideas. I’m sure there’s a lot of ways that you could take that and run with it. Sam, we have like so much more we want to talk about here. I’m like looking at our outline of things we wanted to touch on. And I think we have like a whole nother episode. So what do you think about, why don’t we break here and we can create something else. We can follow up and do another episode where we kind of talk more about

Sam (50:05.621)

Sam (50:12.865)

Mike Jones (50:18.678)
What are some of the tactics, the tools, the process for making things interesting? I think we talked a lot about principles today, but we can talk a little bit more about in the weeds, the tactics of making things creative and interesting.

Sam (50:21.153)

Sam (50:31.237)
Yeah. Yep, I love it. And I’ll just kind of wrap everything up. I was thinking about this as you were talking about kind of the live event type of thing. Don’t forget that in your marketing, you should seek to build relationships. So whether you’re at a live event, whether you’re creating a banner ad, whatever you’re doing for your marketing, seek first to build relationships. Don’t seek the sales, seek the relationships.

Mike Jones (50:45.614)

Mike Jones (50:55.054)

Mike Jones (50:58.93)
That is such a great summary. Thanks everybody. I hope you check back for the next episode. If you’ve got any questions for us, please reach out. I’d love to talk with you. Just understand what you’re doing and if you’ve got ideas for us for these episodes, we’d love to include those. And if you’ve got a really unique story about how you are bringing your brand to market, I would love to hear from you. Mike at resoundcreative.com is my email. Please reach out. I would love to hear from you. Maybe you can actually come on the podcast and share that story with everybody else.

Sam (51:32.086)

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