JUST Branding Podcast – Best of Season 3 (2022)

JUST Branding Podcast – Best of Season 3 (2022)

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Over the past year, my bearded co-host Matt Davies and I interviewed 21 guests for the JUST Branding Podcast.

We heard branding insights from creative minds such as David Aaker, Carol Pearson, Alan Weiss, Anneli Hansson, and many more.

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Matt and I reminisced on the past year and compiled our favourite nuggets from Season 3 into our Best of 2022 episode which sadly will be our last episode for the year.

We wanted to take this time to say a HUGE thank you for listening and for all your 5-star reviews!

  • E19: Supercharging Innovation & Creativity with Hussain Almossawi
  • E9: Agile Swarming with Dennis Hahn
  • E20: Brands VS Blands with Ariadna Navarro
  • E11: Debunking Branding Bull with Austin Franke
  • E13: Million Dollar Consulting with Alan Weiss
  • E18: Brand Positioning with Ulli Appelbaum
  • E4: The Future of Brands with Anneli Hansson
  • E3: Global Brand Strategy with Jan-Benedict Steenkamp
  • E16: Archetypes & Stories with Carol Pearson
  • E17: Disruptive Innovation + Purpose-Driven Branding with David Aaker
  • E10: Corporate Branding from The Inside Out with Meg Kypena
  • E1: Designing Company Culture with Josh Levine
  • E7: Web3, NFTs & The Metaverse with Konstantinos Kolias

Podcast Stats

Below are a few stats from the show:

  • 4.9 Star Rating on Apple Podcasts
  • 70+ 5 Star Reviews
  • 21 Episodes in Season 3
  • 69 Total Episodes
  • 13,500+ Monthly Downloads
  • ~6000+ Listens per episode

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Transcript (Auto Generated)

Hello, and welcome to JUST Branding, the only podcast dedicated to helping designers and entrepreneurs grow brands. Here are your hosts, Jacob Cass and Matt Davies.

Hello, folks, and welcome to the best of, I can’t believe it, Jacob, it’s season three, the best of season three with Matt Davies and Jacob Cass.

How have I put up with you for this long? I don’t know.

Mate, I don’t know either. It’s a mystery to us all, but we’re here and what a great season it’s been. It’s been such an exciting season.

We’ve had some amazing guests on. And what I love, Jacob, about doing the kind of this best of episode, kind of at the end of our seasons, is we get to look back at some of the amazing things that we’ve learned, some of the real nuggets of gold, if you like, that we’ve discovered. And also remember some of the fantastic people we’ve had on, because ultimately that’s what we’re doing.

We’re picking the brains of some of the best and brightest minds in branding. What’s your kind of overall kind of impression of what this season has been like from your perspective?

I must say it was pretty difficult to choose some of these clips and going through all of these episodes and just getting little soundbites. It was challenging, but we found some really good ones and we’ve kind of put them in order for you guys in some of our favorite clips. So it was a really, really awesome season.

And that’s why we’re still here. And again, to pick the brains, as you said, of some amazing leaders in the space. So we’re excited to share this with you and share some of our favorite clips.

We have about 20 of them and we’ll have some comments along the way. A bit of a laugh, maybe, we’ll see, we’ll see very close.

I think before we do that, Jacob, we should, in fact, just say thank you to everybody. Thank you to all of the people that have been involved in the podcast. We couldn’t give clips of absolutely everybody.

Obviously, all the episodes are there for anybody to look at at any given time. But hopefully we’ll just give a high level overview today. But we also want to thank you, our listeners.

I think the podcast is getting more and more, and surprisingly, from my perspective, popular. And particularly, thank you to all those that have reached out to Jacob and I personally, like to share the content, yada, yada, yada. We really do appreciate it.

So without further ado then, who should we kick off with, Jacob?

We are going to kick off with Hussain. That episode was based on Supercharging Innovation & Creativity. So this little clip is an insight on how to be innovative and think differently.

So this is a little exercise that you can use straight off the bat. And I think this is a great way to kick this off is just how to think differently. And that’s what this podcast is about.

How do we actually create brands that endure and stand out and actually think differently? So let’s get into our first clip. I was browsing your site and one of them was like the what if question.

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It’s like, what if Elon Musk was going to design this or what if someone else was going to bring out this product? I thought that was a really, you know, simple way to actually think differently.

Absolutely, absolutely. So that’s actually even one of the exercises that I give in my workshops. Like what if the Pope was to design the next, let’s say, car of 2020 or 2026, 2030?

What would that look like? So you look at things in a much different perspective. What if Superman was to do a store that sold this and that?

So it really changes your mindset and it shifts it. But yeah, to answer your question, like other things that I would do or that I did observe, for example, let’s say again, let’s go back to shoes, just because I’ve worked on a lot of shoes. I want to do a shoe that is lightweight and it’s durable.

So when I started out designing, I would take that shoe and I would just come up with different different ideas and sketch and think about the best shoe possible. Being laser focused is really key. So what does the lightest shoe on earth look like?

I’m just going to look at lightweight. I’m not going to look at anything else. And then when I just design for lightweight, just design for durability, just design for comfort, then I have a mix of different ingredients and these different buckets that I can eventually start to mix and match.

So it’s much easier to do that rather than, okay, it’s lightweight and it’s durable and it’s comfortable and it’s this and that. It just confuses you. So just breaking things down again and targeting and being laser focused on each, it’s super important.

So that’s one thing. The what if is another thing. I do lots of concept projects.

For example, what does a Tesla football boot look like? What does a Mercedes Benz running shoe look like? So trying to mix these irrelevant things together and bringing them together, that also always gives birth to different kind of innovative ideas.

Mindset was a key point that Hussain mentioned. And I love that. And it really is about mindset.

How do you think differently? How do you get into a mode where you can focus and come up with new innovative ideas? And the what if technique is really, really powerful.

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Hussain also has an incredible book by a similar name. Supercharging Innovation. Matt also has it if you want to learn more about it.

But yeah, one of my favorite episodes. What are your thoughts on that?

Well, I was going to mention that his book, Hussain, was absolutely fantastic in that episode. And his book, The Innovator’s Handbook, is a really cool little book if you can get your hands on it. And in that book, he has a really cool quote from Dr. Albert, I’m going to probably say it wrong, Sinead Goyorgi.

And that quote is, innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. And I think when we’re building brands and we’re thinking about creating something distinctive that people want to come back to, that they want to experience and they want to kind of gravitate towards, you’ve got to be different. We’ve got to be unusual.

And that isn’t just in the way we present ourselves. But as Hussain rightly points out throughout the episodes, it’s actually in what we create for customers. And that episode is, if you’re into brand building from a very strategic level, I definitely suggest you get a hold of that.

You talk about mindset. And we also have had another guest on called Ezekiel Abramson, ex-Disney executive. He was amazing.

We’ve not got a clip from him now. But again, that’s another really interesting episode if you want to kind of dig into the mindset of your team as you’re building your brand. Really, really kind of valuable stuff.

And I also think, Jacob, like following on from that episode, we had a great episode with Dennis Hahn of Liquid Agency, because if you say, okay, well, how do we… It’s all well and good having this concept of thinking differently and innovating, and building brands. But how do you do that with a team?

And so what Dennis did is he shared with us an amazing technique that he’s been kind of pioneering called Agile Swarming. And perhaps we could listen to what Dennis has to say about that now.

Agile is a buzzword, right? We like to work with clients in real time. We co-create strategy together.

So you might be familiar with workshops, where you run workshops. It’s very, and workshops can be very static in a way, where you like you say, okay, go do this, the clients go do that, and then they report back and then you kind of move forward. But with swarming, it’s really you’re working together to co-create the strategy in real time, and you’re kind of working without a net.

And so the reason we like doing it that way is because we get much more powerful ideas from our clients, they’re participants in the strategy making, but they’re also coming along on the journey. So they’re being socialized into the strategy, they’re agreeing to it as you’re developing it. So you don’t have to like sell it in down the road.

So, and I think it creates it more powerfully and much quicker.

Yeah, no, and I was sort of playing a bit dumb to really kind of tee up the questions. I think Jacob and I are quite familiar. I’ve run Agile Strategy Sessions.

I did a week, I think back in the last year with a client. And you’re right, it’s just such a great way of connecting clients to the thinking and also leaning on their knowledge and folding all that together into this kind of really, really complex kind of way of doing things, but yet such a productive way. What would you say the main kind of problems are solved?

What are the main problems that this solves if you get everyone in the room and get everyone swarming in the way that you’ve described?

Yeah, I think there’s a few really key benefits of this. The big one is it breaks down organizational silos. So a lot of people, they’re responsible for parts of the brand or parts of the customer experience.

They’re sitting in different parts of an organization and they often don’t come together on their own to problem solve. They don’t know how to do it. They’re not trained to do that.

So really, this is bridging that gap and bringing these different groups together. And I think that’s, and it allows them to get to somewhere they wouldn’t have gotten to independently. So I think that’s the first.

The second is it allows all voices to be heard. So when you think about swarming, usually if you’re just getting people in a room to brainstorm or what have you, or whatever method you use, there’s always that loudest voice in the room driving the conversation, hogging the ball, so to speak, right? And a lot of people just shut down the introverts and things.

So we have a method which allows everyone to get their thoughts out, people work individually to start, then they get into a sharing mode so everyone’s hearing from each other, they’re considering things maybe they didn’t come up with, and then they’re eventually they’re moving into a motion around co-creation. So I feel like that’s really important. And then it creates the buy-in like I mentioned earlier.

So all the stakeholders are buying in, whether their specific idea was used or not doesn’t matter because they’ve contributed to the thinking. So there’s this idea of ownership transference where they feel like I own part of this outcome. And that’s powerful, right?

Because now I don’t have to be sold because I was there. I was part of it.

That was a really interesting episode with Dennis. And we could, I know that clip was quite long, but he had loads of kind of nuggets to share around this concept of Agile Swarming, getting lots of people in the room, setting a very tight time scale and getting people to focus in on what’s next. And I think that ties in really nicely with what Hussain was saying around thinking differently and kind of doing that in a collaborative way.

What were your thoughts on Agile Swarming?

Yeah, there’s a few key words in there that he mentioned is collaboration is key, as you mentioned from Hussain, like not doing it in a silo, working with a team, you can do really amazing things. And to get into this further, a book, Scramble by Marty Neumeyer, was the first time I heard about Agile Swarming and how that worked. If you want to learn more about it.

It’s a great book. It’s kind of like a fictional book that walks through a team, trying to build a project together. So just seeing how people connect and co-create together and how they overcome obstacles, that happens in the real world.

It’s a really useful tool to use to you.

Scramble is phenomenal, Jacob. It’s an amazing book, because it puts you in the kind of, it’s like, as you say, it’s like fictional, right? But it’s around like a CEO whose business is kind of going to basically die unless he kind of innovates and repositions the whole business.

And it kind of puts you in that mindset of the stress of being a CEO and having to rethink that. Little claim to fame, Jacob, I’m just going to put this out there, that I actually helped Marti proof that some years ago. And I think like literally one tiny idea of mine made it into the book.

So I’m just going to claim that, claim a tiny, tiny little, little, little minuscule bit of credit. And the only reason that I do that is because basically I said, I can reveal a little bit. I said to Marti, like, the thing is, Marti, in this whole manuscript, because he sent me the early manuscript, I said, there’s nothing here about anyone moaning about costs.

Because at the time I was constantly coming up the barrier of people refusing to pay for brand strategy. So there’s a little bit of kind of tiny, tiny, like side point in, in one of there where somebody who’s very negative moans about the cost of this exercise. But there we go.

So I can’t really claim anything really, but it was a bit of, I’m not really, I mean, I like to think about it sometimes, but you know, let’s, let’s not worry about that. Let’s move on swiftly anyway.

You’re blushing man, you’re blushing.

Where are we going next?

We are going into Blands VS Brands. So I think that’s a good follow on because, you know, these, well, you’ll hear from Ari, but we talked about the differences between Blands and Brands. So we’ll just play this straight off the bat because she’ll get straight into it.

Blands are basically a group of brands, mostly coming out of Silicon Valley. So startups, that all look, feel and sound the same. And when you look at these, whether it’s a new toothbrush, like Quip, or whether it’s even a trading app, like a Robinhood, or whether it’s a mattress, you know, like Casper, they all present themselves in the same exact way.

So I understand how this happened, right? You had all the innovation that started to happen, maybe 10 years ago, was sort of a reaction to the corporate world, a reaction to how, yes, the P&G’s and the Colgate’s of the world were kind of pushing these very corporate entities and these very big portfolios that consumers didn’t even know they wanted or they needed. So these brands that were sort of coming up, or these startups, were really sort of solving human needs.

They were business model innovation. It was like, how do you order a better car? Here’s Uber.

You know, how do you buy a mattress without all the BS? Can you curse here on the show? Let’s say BS.

Well, you know, without all the BS and like the jargon of it, like, who knows? I mean, have you bought a mattress? It’s impossible, right?

It’s an impossible purchase. So Outcomes Casper simplifies the process. So in this doing, in this trying to simplify the human experience and trying to simplify the product offering, and trying to simplify how they were coming across, they ended up creating templates.

And they ended up creating sort of this lookalike of a brand that didn’t really have to do the hard work of figuring out who they were. You guys are in this business, right? Branding is hard.

You have to do a lot of soul searching as an organization to understand who you are and what meaning you’re really bringing.

Yeah, that final sentence about the meaning that you’re bringing, how do you bring some soul into your brands? I think it was a really good question to ask yourself as you’re building brands. So, what are your thoughts on bringing meaning into brand?

I know that’s a big topic you bring. Can you talk about that?

Yeah, well, I mean, long-term listeners to this will know that that phrase meaning, you see, for me, that is what a brand is. It’s the meaning people attach to you, your organization, your product or your service. And that’s kind of how I like to speak about it.

And I like to present it that way to leaders. And we can do that, as Ari says, in a very bland way, in the way that everybody else in our space is doing. And it feels safe.

But the problem is, it actually just kind of commoditizes usually what that brand is offering. And so the kind of the alternate to that is kind of scary, right? Because what you’ve got to do is take a bit of a risk and say, no, no, we’re not going to stay with the pack.

We’re going to stand out. We’re going to become a brand. We’re going to manage that meaning.

You know, we’re going to enter this kind of discipline of branding. And that’s kind of really difficult initially, I think, for leaders who are used to kind of running with a playbook, but absolutely essential if you’re looking to kind of create more value, you know, hold on to your customers, create more customers, recruit top talent. It’s absolutely crucial.

Meaning is everything. I don’t think I don’t think there’s a huge place. There is a place for commodity brands.

But, you know, frankly, it’s a race to the bottom. So I think in the global society that we live in, and the global businesses that we live in, I think it’s a sure way to lose, you know, the best way is to create a brand and not be bland, which was what that episode was all about, which was why it was such an exciting and useful kind of episode for us to be involved in.

Yeah. Well said. And our next clip actually talks about how you can do this.

How do you actually differentiate? How do you make your brand distinctive in the marketplace? And we had Austin Franke on the show to debunk some branding BS or bull, which was an interesting episode.

We had a few punches thrown around and we had a good debate. And that’s what we love about this show. We can get different minds, get different thinkers in here and to have a discussion around it.

And I think learning from different perspectives and different minds is really what makes us better in the long run. So here are some thoughts on differentiation and distinctiveness.

A lot of people, when they practice differentiation, for example, they’ll kind of say, well, we’re different because of our tone of voice or our personality, or we own this particular attribute. So let’s say it’s Volvo equals safety, Apple equals innovative, whatever the case may be. And the attempt is to really kind of own that one attribute.

And what category entry points this idea actually proposes is that what you really want to do is you want to be there for all of those different situations consumers find themselves in, as many as possible, especially the most common ones, not the different unique ones. And the reason why the Ehrenberg Bass Institute comes to this point is because they’ve done research to study large brands, and all large brands have more category entry points that consumers link to them, so more cues that are linked to their brand when consumers enter into a category. And they’re all pretty equally linked depending on which one is the most common.

So, you know, sweetness is probably Coca-Cola’s most common, so that’s going to probably be the most common association that consumers link to it, and then maybe there’s thirsty, and then maybe there’s a hot day, and then maybe, you know, whatever those might be. What they found is that larger brands, if differentiation is true, then larger brands should be really strong with one category entry point that other brands aren’t owning. And that’s not what’s found to be true.

The bigger the brand, the more category entry points that brand owns, not the more refined those category entry points are.

So that was Austin’s views on differentiation and category entry points. So I do recommend listening to more of that episode, episode 11, I believe, on season 3, about category entry points and how the more you have, the greater the chance of your brand growing. So yeah, it’s a bigger topic, but I’d love to hear your points of view, Matt, on differentiation.

It was a really interesting episode, wasn’t it, Jacob? And I didn’t always see eye to eye with Austin on the episode, as you’ll see when you go through. And that one on entry points is very, very fascinating because I think that was systematic of that episode.

Austin was backing things up, obviously, with research and stuff. And I think there’s huge credibility in what he has to say. But also, sometimes I felt, and this is me being critical, that he obviously was looking at things from big brand perspective.

And I think that’s absolutely fine. So if you’re a big brand, like he was saying, own as many entry points as you can, keep developing that. But where I think it becomes interesting is, well, how do you get into that?

Off the bat, do we have to suddenly, if we’re starting a new brand or creating a new product or service, do we have to try to own tons and tons and tons of stuff? I would suggest probably not. Start small, start focused, like we heard from Hussain.

Focus and then build out. So it’s not that I think he was wrong. I just think we’ve got to, my personal view is we need to be cautious as to when we deploy these strategies.

And that’s just something that I would say. But overall, it was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal episode. Definitely made me think, definitely made me frustrated, which, you know, Jacob found very exciting.

Well, boxing, you know, I’m a nice guy, but yeah, you know, I think it’s, as you say, it makes us, I always like it when guests come on and challenge us and challenge, you know, kind of current thinking, because what it does is it makes us think and definitely we learn something from all the guests, but I probably learn more from guests that come on with a bit of an edge and like to kind of, you know, challenge the norm. That’s, you know, we love the rebels, you know, me and Jacob, we are kind of rebels deep down. So, hey, bring them, bring them in.

We’re in it.

I think something else you could probably align more with is the distinctiveness, right? Versus differentiation. So we do have a clip on distinctiveness.

So we’ll get into that one just now.

Brand assets can be a bunch of different things. If you’re really curious to see distinctive brand assets done really, really well, look at Geico, look at State Farm, look at Progressive. Those guys are like by far the best I’ve seen out there in terms of reinforcing really distinctive design.

And I want to add to with distinct design a very important point. Meaningless design, so design that’s not packed with rich meaning is more effective than meaningful design, meaning that’s packed with rich meaning. And the reason for this is because, you know, let’s say you are a coffee company and you want to pack your logo design and communicate some message about your brand, you’re probably going to end up communicating something with some earthly tones, some sort of coffee beans, some sort of coffee cup, you’re going to probably communicate something that’s really common in the market.

And even if you do some communicate something that’s unique, but are unique in the market right now, but is really commonly associated with coffee, for example, someone can then easily come along and copy you in the future. Meaningless design, like the Geico Gecko, who has nothing to do with car insurance whatsoever, is a much more effective way because no car insurance company is going to try to come up with their own Gecko. It makes no sense.

It has nothing to do with car insurance. And there’s different levels of that as well. But I’d say also that industry is really good at making sure distinctive assets are incorporated into the storyline of their ads and are present throughout.

So there’s really no mistaking who’s being advertised.

Well, there you have it, distinctive or meaningless. I’m not sure I’m a big fan of that phrase, but I get where it’s coming from. Meaningless, right?

So some other examples that come to mind is like Heinz, for example, the symbol behind the label is a distinctive shape. And that’s a distinctive brand asset, just like the Geico Gecko, also incredible. It’s totally meaningless, but it’s memorable and it works for the company.

So I think there’s some good little nuggets in there to get you thinking about how differentiation and distinctiveness can work together for a brand. There’s different approaches. And like we’re just talking about before, learning about the different approaches, whether or not you’re in the Marty Neumeyer camp or the Byron Sharp and Mark Ritzen kind of camp or a combination of both.

I think it’s about having a breadth of knowledge and understanding of both worlds and seeing what works for each particular example for when you go in that building brand. So what are your thoughts?

Yeah, I completely agree with you and I think what was said then by Austin was really interesting and I agree the phrases I would perhaps also shy away from that. But I think what he was kind of saying is, don’t try and… Here’s another thing I see loads of people do when it comes to brand identity is they try and pack everything into every tiny little thing.

And Jacob, I know you’re a fantastic logo designer and I look at some of your work and I think what Jacob’s done there, he’s simplified that right down, right? And so it isn’t meaningful. In other words, it’s not shed loads of meaning and loads of bells and whistles and tons of stuff.

You’ve kept it simple. It’s recognizable. It’s understandable.

It’s a label, if you like, for the richer meaning which is behind it. But the actual asset is succinct and to the point. And I think that’s definitely something that I learned from Austin in that.

And it was an excellent kind of point that he made. And I think the other thing is when we’re thinking about brand building, brand positioning, and also the work that we do, whether we come from an agency, whether we’re freelance, whether we’re a designer, whether we’re a copywriter, whether we’re moving into design, one of the things that I think is absolutely crucial in any of the work that we do is this idea of building trust. And the episode I wanted to kind of segue into was that one that we had, Jacob, with the guy who wrote Million Dollar Consulting, Alan Weiss.

And what was amazing about, I mean, Watson, I always love Alan. I think he’s very provocative, very aggressive. And he comes from a different world to us.

And I think he comes from more of a kind of a consulting world, more of a sales consultant for businesses. But the reason why I wheeled him in is because the principles that he operates under from a consultant perspective hugely influenced my business. And I felt that our audience, you know, you lovely listeners would benefit from his thinking.

And he talked to us in his episode about how we build trust so that we can give the advice that that’s required to build brands, as we’ve heard from some of the previous guests. So do you want to hear that clip now, Jacob?

You develop trust in several ways. The first is that you have to provide value early. You can’t go skating around on, you know, conceptual niceties.

You have to establish value early by citing social proof. So for example, I’m telling people, look, there was no great resignation. It’s really an existential jailbreak.

And the social proof is that people don’t leave companies, they leave people. They leave bosses. The problem with consulting is that a lot of people who go out on their own get a tougher boss.

And they suffer, right? The second way you develop trust is you have a wide-ranging vocabulary. These are our tools.

Language controls discussion, discussions control relationship, relationships control business. That is an immutable sequence. So, a wide-ranging vocabulary and never dumb down.

Anybody who tells you to dumb down your attire or your language or your experiences, just get them out of the room. I mean, leave. Powerful people want to hire powerful people.

Smart people want to hire smart people, okay? If you’re intimidated by my vocabulary, we’re not a match. And then the third thing is you have to have energy and enthusiasm because they’re contagious.

And so, you can’t sit there, you know, wondering about the fourth paradigm of your model for sales excellence. You have to be able to show that you’re excited, I can help you. People, not enough consultants say, I can help you.

They’re afraid to say, I can help you. And then the final thing is you need a very well-developed sense of humor because humor reduces stress and helps people to learn and to listen. And it also gives you perspective.

You know, when I go into a buyer’s office, it’s a challenge, a game for me. Okay, this is going to be fun. Let me see how I can maneuver here.

You know, so a buyer says to me, listen, Alan, this firm’s never hired an outside consultant and I don’t intend to break that streak. And I say to them, you’d be surprised at how many of my current best clients started the conversation the same way. So now I’ve reframed that from he’s an outlier to he’s one of my family.

So this to me is fun. That’s why you need command of the language. And you have to understand nobody’s shooting at you, right?

You can’t walk out of a buyer’s office poorer. The buyer won’t take your money. But we’re very afraid of our egos being bruised.

So those are some of the ingredients to develop trust early. And you have to be highly assertive. They got enough yes people around them.

They don’t need another yes person.

Yeah. I just thought that just shows you how Alan is. And I just got a load out of that episode.

And particularly, I was thinking, as we are brand building together, as we were kind of framing strategic thoughts, as we’re pulling on experts around, as we go about our daily business within the business, if you like, within the business of branding, it’s a great episode just to kind of get a mindset, get some thinking. And what Alan said there around developing trust, particularly early, adding value early was a huge thing that he advocates for. And when he said, I can help you, how many of us can say that with confidence to customers?

We always get this kind of imposter syndrome. We worry about what we’re about to say, but we’ve got to believe in ourselves. We’ve got to believe in the systems that we’re going to bring to bear in businesses.

And I think that was a super episode. How did you get on with that episode, Jacob?

I love his tenacity, right? And he’s proofing the pudding, right? He does all those things.

He’s like provocative. He has energy. He has that enthusiasm.

He’s got the confidence. And that just comes through perhaps boarding on, I don’t want to say arrogance, but it’s like it’s there and you can get that trust, right? And who cares if they’re a little bit arrogant?

If they’re going to get the job done and you can trust them, like that’s what you’re looking for. So I think he has the proof in the pudding and apologies if you’re listening.

We just love to offend all our guests before they come on. He’ll never come on again now, Jacob, but hey, we had a good time. But no, no, I think you’re right.

And I don’t know what Alan would say if we put that to him. I think he would say it’s not arrogance, it’s confidence. And there’s a fine line between those two things.

And I think definitely for a British kind of culture, some of the way Alan would come across might not be deployed particularly, might not come across in the way that he would intend in our culture, but perhaps in Silicon Valley and some of the more aggressive parts of America, New York, et cetera, where Alan’s used to playing. But definitely a great episode if you want a kick and a bit of a boost. And also if you want some ideas on how to transition a little bit more into consulting, rather than being a pair of hands, being a brain, being hired for your thinking.

And one of the key things that I know we had at the start, Jacob, when we started this whole JUST Branding kind of project was this ability to try and add value to designers. One of the key audiences were designers who were trying to get into strategy. Also business people who wanted to understand brand strategies to deploy it to help them add more value into their businesses.

And Alan Weiss definitely has a great load to say on adding value and doing that from a consulting perspective.

Yeah, and moving on from trust is we’re going to get into positioning, right? It’s one of those topics that everyone talks about, but don’t necessarily always execute on well. So I think we did have a brilliant guest on the topic of positioning.

He has a workbook on this, on positioning, has 26 exercises in it. It’s called Brand Positioning Workbook. It’s by Ulli Appelbaum, and we have two clips from him today.

One is on what is positioning. It’s something we often talk about, and it’s so broad and vast, kind of like brand. I think he has a very simple approach to it, and he comes from decades of experience.

So this is a really great clip, and then after that, we’ll get into what makes a good position.

You know how it is, right? The more experience you get something, the simpler your definition becomes, right? And I remember a few years ago seeing on slideshare sort of like a whole presentation of 40 definitions of what a brand position or what a brand positioning is and what a brand is.

And you go crazy when you have that, right? So my definition is very simply, it’s the sum of the associations you want to create with your offering amongst your core, call it more valuable consumer segment or desired consumer segment. So it’s really about identifying the two or three associations that you want to create with your offering that will make you relevant, that will make you stand out, that will create a value perception that people will be willing to pay a premium for your brand.

It’s really at the end of the day, two or three, maximum four associations that you need to define and then build through your marketing plan and marketing program. So that’s really the simplest form I’ve found to describe it.

Yeah, I love how he just mentioned two or three associations. Often we try to pack in so much to our brands and it can get, you know, you can send mixed messages and that dilutes the brand. And kind of like what you were saying about logo design, I think this is a purest version of this in a graphic form.

It’s like you’re trying to encapsulate the whole spirit and soul of a brand into a flag or a symbol, a mark. And, you know, that’s what brands need to do, but in a more complex way. So he also talks about value and relevance, also some big words, also the pack of punch, value is another big topic to talk about and love to hear your thoughts on value and positioning.

Yeah, I think what he said was absolutely spot on. I think for me, positioning is about, you know, understanding first of all your customer, the mindset they’re in, what they’re trying to achieve or become or solve. And then consider that from what I would suggest is like a category perspective.

So in other words, so I don’t know, I’ve hurt my thumb or I’ve got a cut on my thumb. I think I need a plaster, right? So I’m going to go, we would call it plaster, I guess you’d say in the US, a band-aid, right?

Or I don’t know what you’re saying.

Yeah, right.

So we’d say plaster in the UK. So I’m now shopping for a band-aid or a plaster depending on what part of the world I’m in. And then that’s the category, if you like, that I’m looking at.

Now, within that category, say we were trying to launch a brand or position a brand in that category, it’s why would I choose brand A over brand B? Why would I choose your brand over others? And so for me, it’s kind of thinking about it first from the customer’s perspective and then looking at it from how do we then position ourselves effectively for the right customer?

You know, so for example, I can’t remember the name of the brand, but there’s an amazing brand here in the UK and I can’t believe this has not been done until recent years. But there was a band-aid brand, Plasterbland, that actually was developing different skin tones of plaster, right? Now, I can’t believe in the 21st century that that is something that’s only just being done.

But what a fantastic, you know, and thoughtful way of repositioning your band-aid brand other than to offer it to actually probably a large proportion of your customer base in a more relevant way, the same product, but more relevant. So that’s an example of positioning in a way for your customer base. Obviously, if everybody then starts to do that, you might need to think of other ways.

What is it? The quality? Is it the standard?

Is it how you present it on the shelf? What is it? So, you know, and that’s in kind of a quite a consumer brand situation.

So positioning is crucial to managing meaning and to understand your customer, understand your category, understand why your customer should choose you over the others that they’re in their category. That’s easy to do, I think, when it’s kind of a consumer brand. Much harder to do, I would suggest, perhaps in more of a B2B setting, you know, business to business setting, where it’s not always easy to go, right, OK, this is our category, right?

Because it might be much more complex than that. But still, the principles apply.

Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned the three C’s there, you know, simple model for positioning the customer, the consumer and the category. I do love it.

I’m all about simplification.

Say it slowly, because I just can’t across you. But I was just going to say, folks, Jacob loves this. This literally is in his brain all the time.

Go for it.

That’s how I think about positioning. It’s like literally the blend of those three things. But anyway, we’ll get into what Ulli has to say about the best positioning.

So here’s another clip.

I swear to God, if someone comes to me and asks, how does positioning change in the metaverse? I want to slap that person. You know, I’m going to get physical.

But you see this.

Because he loves it.

I’m getting into the metaverse.

Why would you say such a thing?

Nothing against the metaverse. But the point is, I don’t want to. I think the best strategies are the best positionings.

I’m not the one that follow belief system. So if you start a project thinking like, you know, I’m selling chemical fertilizer that’s going to, you know, be transferred into food product. But I would like to develop a brand purpose for my chemical.

No, you don’t, you know. Or everyone wants to be relevant culturally. So cultural branding is a big trend we’ve seen over the last 10 years.

And nothing wrong. Brand purpose, cultural branding have their place with the right brand in the right context for the right consumer segment. But going from the get-go and saying your solution is going to be a purpose.

But you know, my chemicals, I don’t want to talk about them because they’re illegal in half the states. You know, it’s the wrong approach. What I want to show you is there is way more richness in positioning a brand beyond these sort of like superficial mainstream beliefs.

That really, and that’s for me the key to success, right? Is not have I positioned a brand successfully around the purpose or did I do some great cultural branding? No.

Did I carve out a unique position that is relevant to a consumer segment that gets my client’s brand to grow? That is my benchmark. So really, there is a richness in the book that allows you to go beyond this superficial thinking.

Now, if you guys, sorry, I listened to some of your podcasts, but I didn’t see the section that said we only do brand purpose. If that’s sort of like your motto, the book might not be that much for you. If that’s your mindset, the book might not be for you because it gives you way more options to position a brand in a relevant fashion.

So that’s my little crusade against the superficial thinking in the industry. I stop my rant now.

A little crusade. So yeah, you can see the pattern coming through with how he approaches positioning. And I think Anneli had a good clip on purpose as well, which we’re going to play a little bit later about greenwashing and purpose washing and so forth.

But positioning, we couldn’t leave that out of the best of. That was a brilliant episode and something that definitely needs a lot of attention when building a brand.

Yeah, it’s interesting. This idea of being superficial, I think is absolutely spot on. And I think something that came up in the season time and time again is this question of genuineness.

So from my perspective, I don’t see any issue having a clear articulation of a brand’s purpose. But it has to flow through everything. If you’re going to go out and say like, you know, our purpose is for X, Y and Z, then you need to see that show up in all aspects of your brand, not just in what you say, but actually in what you do, in the experiences you create, in how you treat your staff and so on and so forth.

So I think it’s interesting. And I would just sort of add one additional thing. And I always mention this whenever purpose is, you know, slightly criticised.

And I think often people do it from the perspective of looking at it from a customer’s perspective. So when I come to buy a, I don’t know, a coffee mug, right, do I care about the purpose of the brand that’s creating the coffee mug? Probably not.

I’m probably buying it because of what’s on the coffee mug, right? But if, so that, so I can understand some criticism from that perspective. It might not coming into the customer’s buying decision, the purpose that company, you know, purports.

But what I would say is if you flip this, if you try and do anything as a business without a clear articulation of a purpose from a kind of a uniting your people perspective, so from an internal culture building perspective, it becomes very hard. Everything becomes disjointed. Nobody really knows what their kind of role is laddering up into.

And so I think we’re going to talk about culture and employer branding a little later. But I would say don’t discount purpose from that perspective, even though, you know, the science might tell us that it doesn’t always factor. Probably definitely is very low down on the factors of a customer buying from you.

You know, I think maybe we play Anneli’s clip now instead of the end, because I think it kind of flows on from purpose.

Let’s do it, Jacob. Let’s mix it up from what we planned earlier. Folks, folks, this is what he does.

This is what he does. And he says that I’m the real. What is going on?

Right. Come on, play it now.

This is for Anneli. This is Anneli Hansson, a Swedish brand strategist. And I love her approach.

And she has a huge background in sustainability for the past 20 years. She’s worked in that. It hasn’t been more recently been a trend.

And she has come from, you know, that history. So here’s the clip on her thoughts on purpose.

I’m just really keen on that companies take responsibility and not just do green washing or I also call it purpose washing. Like there’s so many people just today that want to talk about it. And they have all their like communication and things around sustainability.

But you actually need to do things first and then you can talk about it. So for me, it’s really important to not just I call it like put lipstick on a pig. I don’t put lipstick on pigs because I don’t think you can put makeup on and that makes you a good brand.

You really need to make a difference and in order to make a difference, you need to know what kind of negative impact you have on the world. Otherwise, you can’t really do it in a responsible way. So that’s important for me when I start working with someone.

I want to know, do you really want to make that, if you call it transformation, do you want to make this journey? Then we need to start from the beginning to see what is your negative impact. You know, you have the Sustainable Development Goals as well, and you can connect your development to the goals if you want to and see what are the goals that are most connected to us and our business.

So for me, that is important. Like start doing something and then you tell people about it. So you really live your brand.

I love Anneli. She is such a sweetheart. Amazing.

Such a really smart lady. And that episode, I think, was fantastic. She gives loads of thoughts around the future of brands and how brands and people that run them need to start thinking to make sure they’re relevant going into the future.

And obviously sustainability is like kind of a core aspect of any brand in the modern world wanting to make sure that they retain relevance, I think.

Yeah, absolutely. And it kind of ties on with what we’re talking about having the soul of the brand and having it, not just talking about it, but actually doing it and having it from or building a brand from the inside out, right? And not just having lipstick on the outside.

So yeah, I think it was a good follow on. Let’s get into the global brand strategy.

That’s the next one. Yeah, we had a couple of episodes where guests touched on this. And I think it’s a fascinating kind of area, one that I’m personally quite involved in a lot of my work, which is once a brand starts to do well in its local market, it often goes for investment or whatever.

And one of the things the investors are keen on is kind of expanding it. And that often drives kind of an initiative to go global. So there’s one aspect.

But the other one is if you follow on from purpose, right, if you have a genuine purpose that’s really working well, from the purpose of the brand, often you want to kind of expand beyond the borders that you have initially kind of launched the brand into in order to kind of further, you know, make more of an impact on the world and make a dent in the universe and so on and so forth. So we have had a few guests on. We had an amazing guest on called, and I love his name, right?

He’s a Dutch guy called Jan-Benedict Steenkamp or JB as we tenderly called, you know, called him. And he had written a book that I’d read on global brand strategy. And this is a clip from what he had to say to us about that.

I’m old enough to remember a time when in Europe, brands were really exploding. We are talking about, say, the 60s. Brands are a little bit older phenomenon already in the United States, where in the 30s, brands were really starting to move up.

But of course, everything accelerated also in America after World War II. In Europe, it came a little later. So the explosion of brands came in the 60s and later on.

So we now live in a world where actually, even if you go to the countryside in Africa, India or so, you see a lot of brands, not as many brands as you would see in the United States, but you see brands everywhere. So I believe that one of the really the actual principles of our day is branding about everything is branded. Soccer, football clubs are branded.

There is bananas are branded. Of course, smartphones are branded. So essentially, what is not branded?

So this is really that we live in an age of branding and that age and brands are now worldwide phenomenon. So managers have to grapple with the challenges of brands are important. For many of us, the global marketplace is much bigger than the local marketplace.

In the United States, that’s a little less the case than in most other countries. But the relative size of the US market versus the non US, the overseas market has shifted towards the overseas market, meaning that for any country, the overseas market is huge. So how to deal with that?

That’s what the title is about.

And it goes on in the episode to give you tips on how brands need to consider going global and the benefits, I think, of a brand thinking globally. And he really encourages that kind of really kind of a wide mindset in relation to the brand building. How did you find some of the things that JB talked to us about in that episode, Jacob?

I love his accent. Just listening to that, it’s so engaging. But the global brand strategy is a topic I’ve not really talked about too often.

And he even said this. He was researching how do brands go global and there was no resources available. And that’s how he ended up writing a book on the topic.

So for me, it was a totally new topic to hear about in so much depth. So it was really, really fascinating to see how, well, first off, the benefits, as you mentioned, like the benefits of growing global and how to actually do that and some of the strategies behind it. So for me, it was a fascinating episode and I’m glad you included that one in here.

Yeah, no worries. I think another for superstars was, I would suggest, was Carol Pearson. Now, we’ve had familiar listeners to the podcast will know that we talk about archetypes quite a bit.

If you’ve not come across that phrase, what are we talking about? We’re talking about patterns of human behavior, archetypal patterns, which kind of show up in stories. And we often quote 12 key archetypes that really kind of are amplified in storytelling.

So for example, the rebel, which we’ve mentioned today, or the sage, or the explorer, or the jester, or whatever it might be. And there’s usually 12 of these cited. It’s quite a common kind of tool, but it wasn’t always a common tool for the strategist to think in those ways.

And the reason that it became popular is because of the work of Carol Pearson and her co-author, Margaret Mark, who wrote the book The Hero and the Outlaw. And they kind of launched it, I think it was around 2000, Jacob, and that kind of had a huge impact on brand strategy and the way kind of we conduct ourselves in trying to see brands almost as characters that show up for the customer. And so I thought it was a massive honor to have a conversation with Carol Pearson.

She’s incredibly intelligent, incredibly wise, and she said some really interesting things. So we’ve got a couple of clips just to kind of remind ourselves of that episode and to kind of really kind of dig into what she was saying. And one of them is a really nice segue from what we’re talking about in terms of the global sort of strategic appeal, because archetypes, of course, are kind of global in their appeal.

So let’s hear what she has to say in this initial clip.

You may have to, if you were using a particular archetype in another country, you may want to see the difference between the stories they tell within that archetype and the figures they use, like the difference between a European or American soldier and a Japanese samurai. You know, you’d have to, you have to pay attention to the cultural differences, but underneath the cultural differences they hold. Now, I think that is really cool.

So powerful. Yeah.


Cross-cultural and cross-time.

Cross-cultural and cross-time and easily recognizable. And which is, you know, some of the best companies are really able to, to get incredible loyalty from their customers because that brand has connected with something in them.

That was, you know, such an amazing thing. You know, she was saying that if you are thinking of, you know, going global, if you are thinking of managing your meaning, archetypes are absolutely brilliant for doing that. And I’ve got a clip in a minute where she talks a bit about that.

But I thought it was interesting what she was saying that if you do see your brand as kind of an archetypal character, if you go global, you need to think about how that archetype shows up in different cultures. And then you need to kind of think about the fact that you could tell that story through the lens of that culture, but still remain true to your kind of core being, your core archetype, which you’re using to manage your meaning. What are your thoughts on that, Jacob?

In general, archetypes, when I first heard about them several years ago, I was blown away at being in branding for so long and had never really come across this. And now that you’re aware, well, now that I’m aware of it, you can actually see it in so many different brands and you can see how they’re using these archetypes. You know, and sometimes combining different ones as well, but it is such a powerful tool.

I loved hearing firsthand from Carol, her approach to it as well, and just the intricacies behind it. Because I, you know, once you learn more about it, you can also see when it’s done well and when it’s done poorly. I think that it’s getting a bit saturated now and people are kind of misusing the tool.

So to hear it from her, just the differences between it and how to approach Archetypes and how to use it in brand, it was a really, really powerful episode. So love to hear your next clip.

Yeah, I’ll get into that in just one second, because I wanted to pick up on something you said, which is really interesting, because one of the things I found was fascinating about that episode is she was almost like slightly taken aback about the popularity of the thinking, firstly. And then secondly, she was really like perturbed by the fact that people in her view had taken her framework that she developed and were deploying it incorrectly. And by that, I think what she meant was they were being fake about it.

They were taking it. They were kind of using it as a sort of a veneer, as I like to say. But then behind the scenes, they weren’t really working archetypally on all the customer experiences and the products and the touch points.

And I kind of feel like that was an amazing insight into her mind and her work. So if you do use archetypes, folks, definitely tuck into that episode. I think it was episode 16.

Let me get the other clip that I’ve got there because it’s quite a beautiful one. So listen to this.

Archetypes, because they are as big as they are, have infinite potential for telling different stories about them that are all reinforcing that same construct of meaning. And you don’t have to be this brand, this minute, and that brand the next minute just because something else is cool. You could just find the cool side of what it is that you are saying you are.

So we’re back to managing meaning, you know, and archetypes being an absolutely brilliant tool to begin to do that. So as I say, folks, check out that episode. You’ll find loads more insight over there.

Well, it’s the consistency, right? If you have, if you know who you are, you know how to show up, but it’s when you’re changing and mixing and, or if you just have that veneer, as you said, it can actually damage your brand as well. So we’re talking about innovation in the next clip and purpose-driven branding.

We had David Arka, another huge name in the industry, more in the business space, but in this particular episode, we talked about disruptive innovation and purpose-driven branding. And in this clip, we’re talking about how to own subcategories and how to actually use innovation to own these subcategories. So we’ll play that clip now.

Well, let’s get into these must haves. How do you actually own a subcategory? How do you have a breakthrough to become one of these?

Well, that’s a really good question. And I have some chapters in the book on how you find subcategories. And the general answer is there’s no formula and there’s no one path.

You know, there’s at least a dozen paths. And they divide it into two categories. One is you sort of start with your offering and your relationship to customers.

And you say, how can I add something that’s going to be so important that will be a must have? We’re not talking about marginal innovation here. We’re talking about transformational innovation.

Or at least substantial innovation. So, again, it can be product oriented. It can be hardware oriented.

But it can also be service oriented. It can also be brand personality oriented. But it means that, you know, I’m comfortable with Patagonia because they share my value.

And so I just feel better in a Patagonia store. And that would be, they can create there for a subcategory. So the other source of must haves is the marketplace.

So you look at the customer experience and you examine it. And, you know, Matt, you’ve done this dozens of times. I know.

And you find out source spots where the customer is frustrated. It’s not a good experience. And if you can correct that, if there’s some way uncomfortable with you or your product, then you try to correct that.

And that can lead to must haves. So that’s sort of the marketplace driven source.

There you have it from David on how to earn a subcategory. So what I found interesting there was how you approach it right through the lens of the customer, solving a bit of a customer’s problem, more or less, and innovating around that. So, yeah, that was a brilliant episode worth listening to, especially when it comes to innovation and purpose.

Yeah, really smart. I love his concept around must haves. That’s a big question I think everyone should kind of ask, like how could we create something that our customers must have that no one else has, right?

They must come to us for a really smart way of looking at it. And David’s obviously an absolute legend, written loads of books. I think he’s been dubbed the father of branding.

So if you want to kind of get some insight into someone. And what I think is amazing, Jacob, is he’s constantly thinking of new strategies, of new ways of thinking, he’s sort of involved in his own agency called Profit. And he’s constantly kind of reviewing and working with his team over there.

So he’s got a new book out, I think, just this year. He has a new book every week. Yeah, for sure.

There’s not many people have written as many books as he has on branding. So definitely check out that episode, folks. Fantastic.

And I think one of the things that we found in this season is a couple of, at least a couple of episodes, but quite a few episodes touched on it, but too focused on it. This concept of culture and the relevance of that in brand building. So I’ve got two guests that I kind of want to bring to everyone’s attention and highlight.

The first one is my good friend Meg Kapina. And she has some amazing things to say on kind of managing corporate brands from the inside out. So she kind of gave a lens from how to manage brands as a corporation and how that worked internally.

And then I want to play some clips in a second from the wonderful Josh Levine, who’s written the book Great Mondays and how he deploys kind of culture design and how that links to brand strategy. So here’s first of all, one from Meg.

Well, a lot of the questions are, you know, what is this going to solve? Like, you know, internal branding, isn’t that something that like HR does, you know, or, you know, what have you? And the three big huge things that internal branding solves is alignment, right?

A clear message, okay, that’s much more on brand and consistency in its execution.

So that was a quick one that I thought I’d mention, you know, this idea of alignment, clarity and consistency, really crucial to thinking about brands both strategically and from an execution perspective. And Meg’s episode goes into that really, really well. And that really kind of segues into this concept of culture.

So I’m going to just play a couple of clips from Josh Levine. And then perhaps I’d love to get your thoughts on it, Jacob, as we go through. That’s kind of ideal.

Give that episode justice. That was too short. I know.

Well, you know, we’re running out of time. Sorry, Meg. But, you know, we’ve got to squeeze things in.

But yeah, no, it didn’t. And you’re absolutely right. You know, Meg has a load of insights into kind of how to manage a brand from the inside out and how crucial it is.

And what I think is amazing about Meg is she works with some really big organizations and big corporations globally. And, you know, her insight into the complexities of that and how she kind of goes about things is just super interesting. But it is about building a culture around your brand and making sure that comes out.

And so this is Josh Levine now on the benefits of thinking about culture in relation to brand building.

Well, like I said, in order to deliver on those brand promises, those big aspirations, the incredible logo that is imbued with meaning and the messaging that makes us want to pay attention, we need to make sure that all of our, all the people in our business understand that as well. And that’s not, that doesn’t just happen by handing them new business cards. That was, that was sort of the first step, but we need to take it a little bit further now because customers have the, are more likely to be interested and get, be able to have access to what happens inside the company.

So if you have a bunch of unhappy employees, you can’t advertise your way out of that. And so what you need to do is really instill this inspirational message. And just like you said, we start with purpose.

Purpose is the center point. And you start, you go out from that, that’s brand, you go in, you go inward, that’s culture. And so that’s the starting point.

Purpose is the inspiration of that. And that is ultimately what we, what we’re hoping for. And I was thinking culture is the, when you think of this concept of culture and its practice of culture, it’s really the vessel for, in which we start to add different ingredients that we can begin to see how we want that, like what, what is it that we want our people to do?

And ultimately when you think about like the one thing, why is culture important? The one thing to understand is that culture is all about choices. So like I said, definition, cause and effect of every choice that we make.

It’s all about behaviors. So here’s a system, here’s a vessel that’s going to allow you a way to understand, define and then help the people inside your organization choose to make better decisions.

I think Josh is a phenomenal, phenomenal force to be reckoned with. You know, this whole concept of culture being the cause and the effect of all the decisions that’s made and that should be centered and landed into the brand and the purpose of the brand, I think is really, really clever and, you know, in a second I’ve got a clip on his framework because I think it was so useful to just listen to him run through that. What were your thoughts on that, Jacob?

Because again, I don’t think that’s the sort of something that many sort of people focus on when they think of branding. They think of, you know, the outward appeal from a marketing perspective, if you like, or from a positioning perspective, but culture came through in some of the episodes of this season. Any thoughts on that?

Yeah, I liked his approach with when he said inspiration, the purpose being the inspiration to get the culture moving. And I think that lens is a good way to look at it. Like, how can you inspire the culture and how do you get people on board?

And that’s what purpose does. That’s how purpose works. So, I think that was a great lens to look at it from the inside out, kind of like what Meg was saying as well.

And when he said cause and effect, I just think about that, not just in culture, but in brand building in general, like everything you do and not do as a brand affects your brand. So, you want to make the experience as best as possible on all the different touch points, both internally and externally, to create a powerful brand, you know. So, that’s my thoughts.

So true. Let me play a second clip from Josh, because, you know, as I say, his framework was really interesting. So, just wanted to kind of just highlight that.

So, it’s a system, it’s a cyclic system, right? It’s a cycle, purpose, values and behaviors, recognition, rituals and cues. So, let me break it down for you.

The first three are about the design aspect. So, if you have a map on the wall and you say we want to go here, that is the definition of where we’re headed and that’s what you got to do first. You got your purpose.

So, I’m sure you’ve talked ad nauseum on this podcast about purpose. Purpose is that big aspiration. It’s an inspiring statement.

It’s so big that you will likely never achieve that goal, but it’s the thing that’s going to rally everybody, the cause and motivate, give you that energy to get there. The values is the next thing in the system. The values are your guardrails for what is most important and how you’re going to reach that goal.

So, the other metaphor that I’ll use, another sort of geographic journey metaphor will be the mountain. So, the peak of the mountain is purpose. That’s your inspiration.

That’s, hey, everybody, we’re going to go there. That’s amazing. If we ever got there, I’m incredible.

That’s such a, so high, right? That’s the view must be incredible. Yes, absolutely.

Now, you got to keep your team safe and you got to say, look, here’s how we’re going to get there. I’m going to describe that path to you. And I’m not going to, I’m not going to say it’s exactly here, here, here and here.

I’m going to give you a wide berth, but I’m saying don’t go over here and don’t go over here because you might fall into the crevasse or you might cheat and take the gondola to the top. We don’t want to do that. So, values are the key and you have to have a limited number.

The whole point about values is that it’s an exercise in privatization. So, you’ve got to have five values, but I’m trying not to go too deep in that. All right.

So, values are the garments. And then the center point, we talked about behaviors. We define values through behavior.

So that’s the first part. What kind, where, why are we going? How are we going?

And what does that mean for me as an individual? Now, just because we define that doesn’t mean people are going to go, okay, I’ll do it. Or, okay, I’m there.

I’ll just think real hard and I’ll teleport to the top. So the second three are brought the activation or operationalization of your culture. So that’s recognition, rituals and cues.

So it goes on in the episode to go through all of those things. Really interesting, fascinating chap, as I say, brilliant author of Great Mondays, the book. And if you really want to level up on your strategic work and really kind of leverage the culture and do it inside out, I definitely recommend checking out Josh Levine.

Absolutely. And he was talking about culture design, but so many of those elements relate back to brand building, right?


Design, purpose, values, they’re all integral to building a brand inside and out. So yeah, it is a really brilliant episode. We have one final clip for you.

It is a bit of a left field one. It is from an episode focused on Web3, NFTs and the metaverse. We had a little teaser from the metaverse before.

We had Costas Collius as a guest with us to talk about NFTs and Web3 and so forth. And NFTs aren’t going anywhere. They are here to stay.

They are going to be more subdued into culture, but they are here to stay. The crypto at the moment is getting a bad rap and is at a big dip right now. But I think it is important to consider for brands and the future because NFTs are going to be integrated into them in the future.

So this little clip talks about the benefits of why people buy NFTs and why it is important for brands as well to consider. And that will be the final clip for our Best Of season. It is just to think about the future.

I think we have looked at a lot of different things from innovation to Agile Swarming, positioning, history of brands, archetypes, subcategories, culture. So we have covered quite a lot of ground in this season. It has been incredible.

And let’s get into this last clip to understand why NFTs are important for brands.

There are five reasons and the brands understand those reasons why people buy NFTs. There are five reasons. So let’s go with the first.

It’s people who appreciate creativity in art. I mean, somebody who doesn’t understand design or creativity, they wouldn’t be able to understand how to buy a board or a crypto bank or something of design. They don’t care.

So you have to appreciate the creative aspect of the art. It signals status. It’s very strong.

The status thing is very strong here, you know, because once you find a big project in the NFT world that you can relate to for your own reasons or for the market reasons, say, I need to be a part of this. And once what it means like I’m going to get this artwork and I’m going to showcase it, then I’m going to feel good. Status.

Boom. Make a profit. It’s one of the elements why people buy NFTs, you know?

So the brands are for profit. They’re not non-profit. And also the brands, they’re just not showcasing things.

People in the NFT world, they buy and they’re flipping, they’re reselling, you know? So the profit is huge here. It’s huge.

But another interesting element, so we have three right now. We have the appreciated creation and creativity and art, we have the signal status and we have the profit making, make profit. The fourth one, I think it’s a beautiful one, is support the cause.

Supports the cause or a creator, you know? So let’s say somebody, he has aspiration, has a big project or he wants to like to sell the NFT so he can build shelters for homeless, right? So he wants to do this money.

People will say, you know what, that’s a beautiful thing. And because the transactional elements here are so transparent, there’s no shady things here. You know, you put the money and those money are going to be allocated exactly for the cause you have assigned the money to go to through decentralization, all right?

Through the blockchain. So, or support the creator, you know, because the creator say, guys, let’s say I’m broke, please help me, you know, and I’m a friend of yours. So, yes, we create any kind of cause, any kind of possible thing you can relate to.

So that’s a very big part also why people buy NFT. And the last one, the last one, there may be more, though, but these are the ones that I have identified, is to join a community. Join a community with other people who like board apes, join a community who like the specific art that they like.

Connect with the people based on the similar, you know, variables and the similar traits of the world, you know. So that’s how we connect with each other. We need to have like a connecting tissue element.

Otherwise, there’s no reason to connect with somebody who has different ideas. I mean, we can say hi, we’re going to be friends, but there’s no reason to connect further. But the people that they’re in the same like the community, that’s a big factor.

Join a community is huge in the NFT world. So everybody, when they try to build NFT project, they try to build a community around the project, around themselves, the brand, the cause. So everything is interconnected.

Yeah, so understanding why people buy NFTs, the love of art, creativity, status, profit, support and the community, five big things. The one that stands out for me, there is status, because, you know, often we do, we’re rational creatures and we buy based on emotion and feeling. You know, it shows our identity.

And that’s why we often buy things, you know, everyday things, it’s a symbol of ourself. So, you know, NFTs are a big part of that. And I think, you know, as brands grow, that’s just going to be, you know, that status symbol is going to be a big part of that as well.

From the other lens, you know, if you’re creating NFTs or integrating them into your business, that profit side of it and having a greater connection with your community, even having, even supporting a cause, right, there’s smart contracts. So we recently brought out a Web3 brand called The Forest, which had NFTs in it. But whenever someone brought out NFTs, when they bought it, it automatically planted or donated to a cause where they would plant trees, right?

So it’s in the smart contract. So those sorts of things, the technology behind it on the blockchain is what’s really, really interesting. And that’s something brands should be paying attention to.

How can they integrate into Web3 moving forward? And for all those reasons, the community is a big part of that as well. And try building and all of that.

There’s so much interconnection with brands and NFTs and Web3. It’s just a new exciting space that I’m really passionate about. So I know, Matt, your head’s kind of blowing up.

I mean, I can’t pretend to understand every aspect of it, but some of the kind of the key principles that I kind of think came out of that episode were fantastic. And you mentioned you met and I see the relevance, I guess, is what I’m going to say going into the future, right? I definitely don’t think we’ve seen the end of it.

I think where I’m finding it really interesting is where NFTs kind of impact normal life, if that makes sense, like reality. So there’s kind of this idea of trust is a big thing for me. So if I buy something physical and then NFT kind of connects with it, I think in terms of a certificate or something like that, what do you call it?

A wallet or something? I don’t know. A wallet, yes.

Someone slapped me. I feel like a granddad. But the point is that as a consumer, I can see the trust coming.

The blockchain builds some trust in that whole process. No one can edit or change things. And the ownership idea that comes through with that, I think is really powerful.

My view is, if you’re interested in it, it’s early days, right? Brands that are getting into this right now, all the top brands are getting into this because they all know that, yes, today, it doesn’t bring much impact to the average kind of person, but they’re early to the market. And by the time this kind of becomes mature in maybe five, ten years, they’re going to be there.

So if you are brand building and you don’t get into the NFTs, I think it’s something that you need to kind of start thinking about. And Jacob, your work on The Forest, I think is phenomenal for folks who want to kind of get an understanding of that. And if I had the inclination, I’d definitely be signing up for that.

But frankly, my brain is too full at the moment of other stuff. But I do advise my clients, get into it, particularly if we can see a strategic reason to start investing in that research and start bringing NFTs into the offering and to work out how you can make NFTs work for your brand. Status is one, as you say.

But I think linked with that is this kind of democratization of information and the trust aspect, which for me, I think, is the key driver for the future of NFTs. So, any thoughts on that, Jamie? Am I in my naiveté?

You summarized it well. You’re learning fast. It’s great.

You’re completely right. The trust is a big part of it. And I think that greater connection with your customer and showing up for them in new ways is incredible.

And you’re absolutely right. It’s super early days, but you don’t know what you don’t know. And if you’re unaware of the possibilities, then you just won’t go there.

So, if you educate yourself about the possibilities, ideas start happening. Because you can see how it integrates with your business and the potential. So, yeah, at minimum, educate yourself on what it is and how it could benefit you.

You may not be ready to act on it now, but it’s definitely good to think about.

That’s basically where I’m at. I’m not buying wallets and doing all that stuff. I think the access to it is actually quite complicated, which is why you set up The Forest.

You’ve got great tutorials which lead people towards it. But I think once those barriers to entry into that kind of marketplace come down, whilst brands innovate with it, make it more and more relevant, it’s going to be the future. And something tells me, Jacob, that if we can pluck up the courage to do a season four, we’ll definitely have some more insights and guests to come and speak to us about that next year.

So I guess we’ve got to wrap things up. What an amazing array, though, Jacob, as we were listening to it. I thought an amazing array of really talented guests that we’ve had on from all across the world, right, from across America, across Europe, from the UK, where I’m from, from Australia, where you’re based.

Amazing that we’ve had such a global kind of approach. So, you know, thanks again, I’ll reiterate it. Thanks to all our guests that have come on.

If we haven’t had a chance to kind of summarize your episode, it’s not, you know, it’s nothing personal. We’re just really grateful for all of the great insights that have come. And these were just the ones that came to mind as we kind of summarized.

Thanks, listeners, for your input. Please do like, share, you know, and connect with us. We really, really do appreciate it.

You know, we’re getting a lot of traction. We’re having folks approach us to go on the podcast, which is always interesting. And we’re always open to kind of any, if you feel you’ve got something to say, you know, come and let us know.

But ultimately, you know, this podcast is all about helping people get to grips with brand strategy, business strategy, repositioning and creating meaning in a market. So keep listening. We’re going to have some more.

Hopefully, we’re going to do season four if Jacob agrees to it.

We are. We should stop teasing. We are going to do season four.

We’ve already booked people for season four.

I know, but you know, you never know. It’s not that reliable sometimes, folks. So, you know, but no, we are going to do season four.

So keep tuning back for next season. We look forward to seeing you. Hopefully then it’s been an absolute honor to be part of this.

Also, huge thank you to Marco, our editor, without whom basically me and Jacob would go crazy. So thank you to you, Marco, and to everybody involved in producing the podcast. And I guess, Jacob, from me, thank you to you for, you know, joining forces and doing this with me.

It’s been a great, great, great year and a good fun to do it with you.

Yeah, absolutely. I second that, Matt. So thank you to our listeners and yeah, I won’t say it all again.

But yeah, truly from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. And we’ll see you next year in 2023.

See you folks. Folks.

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