UnMarketing Your Marketing With Alison Stratten

Alison Stratten of UnMarketing visits the show this week to talk about brand stories, brand lessons and the idea of UnMarketing Your Marketing. This episode touches heavily on Branding and the idea of Unbranding (Alison’s new book with 100 examples of brand stories and 100 brand lessons that can help businesses to brace themselves and grow their companies). So get ready to get out of the tactics and trenches for 20 minutes and think big picture with us for a bit.

Hint: Scroll down to see a video clip of Scott Stratten in a state of excitement similar to the photo that Mat captured.

For more awesome photos by Mat check out his Flickr account.

Episode 22 Mentioned Resources & Links

AI Attempt at Transcript

The transcript below is not 100% correct and I am willing to bet it is only 80-90% if that but we thought we would test it and see. In fact the AI thought there were only 2 hosts when there were actually 3 so yeah – consider it a test and nothing more!

Hey everybody Mat Siltala here alongside Dave Rohrer looking for coming to or giving you guys another one of these businesses digital podcast episodes and we have a special guest today Allison Stratten. Allison welcome.

Thank you. I’m very happy to be here. I’m so excited that I got to be a special guest but I think you might say that to all your guests.

Well anyone that wants to be a guest on our show is special you have special deal with Dave and I am feeling.

I think I’m up to the task so we’ll see we’ll see how it goes.

Awesome. So again we are excited. You know we’ve been talking a little bit about where we’re going to go with this episode but we’ve been talking about just some of the books that you guys have. And I say you guys you and your husband Scott have put out. You have a new one coming out pretty soon so why don’t you go ahead and kind of tell us a little bit about the new book that’s coming out. Well we’ll jump into what we’re going to talk about today.

Sure. And so our new book is called branding and it’s 100 branding lessons for the age of disruption which basically means we read and researched the really thousands of brand stories and distilled them to 100 brand stories and 100 brand lessons that we feel are different marketers and companies and entrepreneurs and employees can use to kind of brace themselves grow their companies in this world that we live in where everything’s changing all the time. Internet and technology is kind of running on us and the world is moving so quickly and so how do you really set up your company or the company you work for or companies you work with for success when everything is kind of moving at the speed of light around the home business.

I love that. I mean you are ready. I have here I have your other books but you were sold me on this one. I just I love her. You know just trying to what you said you have a hundred different case studies and like that. That’s awesome I can’t wait to read it. I love I love the branding side of it. You know we know we do a lot of with branding in media and so that’s something that’s pretty fun. I can’t wait to read it. And so I appreciate you coming in and chatting about this but something that you said that maybe we could dive into a little bit and let it go. You know one of the things that we were that day when I was young. Hi Dave. I’m here. We have Dave here. But one of the things that you know we were the direction with this podcast was marketing your marketing and so one of the things that you did say though is you know when your time when you’re talking about the book was just how rapidly things are changing. And so you think about all the different ways that that marketing has been done. But you know I think about our industry and the search marketing industry how forever it was run by Google. KAYE It was you know again obviously there was there was you know those search engines before but really it was just nothing but Google. And then you know that’s kind of evolved to. You know there’s a lot of people that are just marketing and are you know you don’t just go to google anymore you search for your products on Amazon and even more so than just Google anymore.

It’s a lot of the branding of the mentioned Getting known is on social media and so again it just gets me thinking more of just how things have evolved and how things are going. So when you’re talking about branding when you’re helping people with with the marketing side of things how are you helping them you know figure out where they need to be what channels they need to be using. I mean you know do I still be you know what should I be doing with Google what should I be doing with the different social channels that are out there. Should I be on. Or should I be you know where does it make sense for me being with Amazon. How does it all fit in. I know that that’s a lot that I’ve asked but it’s just when you started talking about how things are evolving I think about that and how things have evolved with what we deal with. You know it was very easy when someone wanted to market with us and we could just get it right on Google but now we’ve got to think about what we do with them on social channels. What we go with them on Amazon and other big places and so I don’t know just when you think about that Allison or just some thoughts there.

Well I think there’s two different parts to answer your question. We focus on two different things when we’re talking to people. So first is the why. So let’s say you’re living in and like what you’re talking about so you’re looking for different options for optimizing search and you are surrounded by all these new platforms all these new options and you just feel like you need to be everywhere. It’s too much. And so the first thing you need to ask yourself is why why do you want to be there. Why do you feel you need to focus on snapchat for example or why do you think you need to focus on you know focusing on Amazon’s search like you were talking about and a lot of people skip right past the why and just run right they just ran everywhere. They try to use tricks and automation and all kinds of things to make it seem as though they’re on every single platform in every single place that they can be. And they never really ask themselves why. And so one of the things we talk about a lot is that if you ask yourself why you want to jump into a new space let’s say for your marketing. And the answer is because we want to seem cool or because millennials you know are because whatever your answer might be then you need to stop and really rethink why you’re doing something because you can’t possibly be everywhere at once. You can’t seem cool you can’t seem innovative you can’t do it you can’t fake any of these things you really need to think about are your customers there. Is this platform the right platform for you. Do you have the resources to spend you know making sure that you’re doing each of these different spaces in the right way.

And do you have the kind of content where the kind of product or the kind of service that really belongs in all of those spaces. So that’s really our first point is you know answering why and then the second point is focus. So once you decide that you do want to look at a certain you know kind of platform or certain type of media or some new digital you know tool that you want to use then you need to think about focus and really focusing we’re very bad at that and saying OK so not only am I going to do X Y and Z but I’m going to do them properly and I’m going to allocate the right resources I’m going to outsource to other companies if I need to or outsource to contractors and do hiring to make sure I have the right people. You know if you like filling up a warehouse with a hundred telephones and not having anyone there to answer that you don’t get to say you have a call center. No one’s answering your phone so you can’t just pretend to be places. So those two things the why and the focus will really help you kind of navigate which different direction that you want to take. Like the answer can’t be because our competition is doing it. The answer can’t be you know because my you know 13 year old thinks that I need to end it. It needs to be practical. It needs to be right for your business and then you need to allocate the right resources to make it happen properly.

I love that you use a little bit of time in here because one of the things that Dave you know I look at when we look at it for one of the main things that we could avalanche media is a lot of the visual content whether it be full graphics you know interactive graphics. So she swept all that kind of stuff. Anything visual. But that’s one of the things that we’re always telling our clients. You know when they come to us or when just a random whatever person fills out a form is like I want to nymphal graphic that we have to like really dive into exactly what you just said. Why do you want to be a graphic like what is it going to do. Maybe it’s not the best thing for you maybe an e-book is better or maybe a white or associate is better and so like a love that you said that. But one of the things that the reason I wanted to turn this over today for a bit is because all the things that he is always talking about would we do a lot of content creation presentations together. You know that’s one of the things that he’s like you may not be and infographics. Maybe the worst thing for you or it may be you know sort of know just what your thoughts on that day because I know that you talk a lot about this specific stuff whatever else and was training you can get a lot of the fluff.

The whole goal was to try to get if you have a project it’s a digital project and you want to get this site redesign done. You want to get this in for graphics. You want to get your pod cast do you want to create a video you want to create this campaign of whatever it is. I didn’t really say why but the first couple of things I talked about are all the stakeholders that could possibly be in it who are all the different teams and different groups within a company that could be impacted and also might have resources that. And I didn’t actually think about the why but I kind of talked and tried to get people to think about who are all these champions that could possibly help you and a smaller company. It’s always you know the owner he just wants it or she just wants it. But in a larger company or even a mid-sized company the y I guess could actually be the you know you watch your bonus. Let me help you get there. And maybe Allison you can talk to a little bit. What are some of the pushbacks or the reasons I made the funniest ones that you guys have come across about why they didn’t do something whether it was good or bad to send over something. Is there any kind of crazy ones you guys have come across.

It’s almost over and over always about some huge company doing something right. I think as entrepreneurs and I’ve run a small company as well and as entrepreneurs we’re very kind of we have this brand envy right. We want to be you know Apple we want to be like we just we see big companies doing things and we want to be able to do them but we don’t think about all the things that go into them. And then at the same time we’re not looking at our own strengths like big companies or are feeling trying to emulate what small companies are able to do because you don’t have to have like you know 20 100 to 100 meetings before you change something you can just act and you could be really agile so I think this the funniest things we see are always like well you know some huge company is doing it so I need to do it or you know they see it you read an article about a new social media platform and all of a sudden we have to be there before we even understand what the platform is going to be. Who’s going to be using it. Or like why they why it has to be there. And I think what we try and focus on a lot in marketing like when you said that on marketing your marketing is we focus a lot on trying to take marketing out of the traditional push idea and think about that what you should be doing as in marketing and in branding is creating great stories and experiences for then your market to go out and share for you like how much more powerful it is today with social media when we see a story or an experience or a view from a customer and that we trust because we happen to also have other connections to them.

Then if the company has kind of like pushed it out on to us and so that’s what we try and get people to refocus on instead of thinking about you know I need to have like you know some snap chat thing or whenever whatever is going to be where my kids are texting their friends platform is is that’s not necessarily the right thing to do the right thing to do is create a great experience that if your user base are on that platform they’re going to share those stories for you. And they’re going to have these great experiences and pictures of great products and you know good helpful information like maybe if the info graphic is the right thing someone’s going to see it and be like this really helps my customers. This is really important information put across in a way that I can understand that helps me. And so they want to share for you as opposed to you thinking about what are the ways I can trick people or you know try and seem like I’m innovative so I’m going to be everywhere pushing it out.

I love that that is just perfect along the lines with so I’ve been thinking lately in a lot of that stuff that I’ve been talking about you know I’ve really been trying to push this whole document in content versus just creating content. And exactly what you said. Having everybody in your company or anyone that’s associated with they’re all part of the overall story of your of your brand. They’re a part of you know essentially they’re a part of your company you know. When you said that it made me think of we share this on the podcast before but we got my son involved with a project called Tinker cap and we kind of just documented the whole process and what was pretty neat about it is one of our clients they actually they were one of their products is Tikker can we heard the story and they loved it and they wanted to like make a make a video of it of just kind of what my son was involved with this project. And so that right there paid attention to just kind of what’s being said about about your brand and who all is involved with it and just documenting those processes I think is huge. I like how you said you know get that get all of everyone involved in. I think that’s what a lot of people are missing opportunities just getting you know hope and hope and everybody on the team understand that they can be a part of the real world brand of the story if that makes sense. What I’m saying.

It does and I mean human resources is the most important branding department that you have. I mean there is no way to escape that. Who you hire and who you choose to be the faces of your company every point of contact that they have is branding and it’s the most important brand. Exercise is when you’re hiring people and who you hire and how you treat the people that you have working for your company. And it’s no secret that many companies that have trouble with the way that their employees deal with the public is that they’re not treated well they’re not given any kind of you know respect are they’re treated like they’re important or they matter to the brand and yet they’re the face of the company whether it’s on the song whether it’s making the products whether it’s shipping the products like this is the most important branding tool you have and it’s often the people who were completely ignored when we’re talking about marketing. It shouldn’t be a commercial or Orap campaign it should be about how do we treat our employees who are talking to our customers on a daily basis.

And why wouldn’t you get them involved because like you just said they are the ones talking to the customers on a daily basis and they’re going to help you even understand like we go back to do I need an involved. You know like keep using that example that you don’t talk to those people talk to those ones that are on the front line so to speak and they’re going to be the ones that help you understand what kind of country do you need. How can I help you do your job better. You know what if I created a video on this topic what are some of the questions that people ask you the most like they’re going to know those answers they’re going to be able to to help you come up with that better content that you can make their jobs easier. But like you said if you’re not giving them the respect that they need or that they deserve for being on the front line so to speak you’re never going to know you know what kind of your memory all that stuff and it’s going to be hard for you to create that content. Do a better job. So I love that you said the. So anyway. Dave I know that you’ve been a little bit quiet. Well I think if anything I want to chime in here there there’s some questions how are we going to use this. What are we going to use this for. How does it fit into the overall brand. How does it fit into the overall scope and the projects and the you know whatever our goals are. Where are we going to use this and start asking questions whether you know you’re doing huge commercial or video. You know who is the target audience. A lot of times I spend more time now telling people to stop writing content and start creating something awesome or think or you know usable informational you know not just like you know content for the content I think essentially what you’re doing is working right now intensely.

And we talk about when we were looking at that looking at those brand stories those hundred brand stories you know we were talking about sort of like OK so who we are. A lot of the stories are you know kind of some of them are funny and some of them are screw up stories but a lot of them are about companies who really navigated disruption well so companies who’ve been through all kinds of different changes and cultural changes in technology technological changes and have done really well. And so what made those companies different was that they had this focus on loyalty. Right. So this idea of that loyalty is kind of the antidote to disruption. Loyal customers don’t need to go somewhere else they don’t want to go somewhere else they’re happy and they they look inward towards you. And so we kind of broke that down and a lot of those questions you were talking about about what the marketing needs to do have to do with that. You have to basically convince people in your marketing that you’re going to solve these problems for them which is going to keep them loyal to you. And every single brand interaction whether it be an interaction that happens directly to a person like when I go to a store or if an interaction happens that it’s not Drac’s I hear about somebody else’s experience on Facebook let’s say or somewhere those all of those are all those interactions change how I feel about a brand. It’s never static it’s constantly kind of evolving and going up and down. And the bigger the differences between my experience and my worst experience with the brown the more open I am for kind of competition to jump in and that’s when you see brands just kind of running around in circles. And instead of focusing on the loyalty things the simple things that make a business a good business they’re focusing on having a new you know campaign or something on some platform that maybe no one will ever see. So it’s just a waste of resources we think and not really what good marketing is about. That reminds me of

One of the favorite shirts that your husband wears that I always love that you know I’m fairly. What does it say I’m fairly famous old.

So I’m kind of on a big zero on a fairly web website that inflates my self-importance. Are you saying that it does have a good start like that. That reminds me of the song. I wish I could remember exactly what it says. A long time. It’s sort of like it was he. He went to a to a South by Southwest years ago and his picture was taped on Amazon Reddit and stuff. And so that’s like the famous shirt. I don’t even know if he owns it anymore. I would delighted to find it. So yeah. What he did he did have that.

Well. So when does it come out again on branding.

It’s out this month I think that late the 20th or something is the actual date. So in October you can preorder it now. And so we have a like a page on the marketing site where you can see all of our books and order them and stuff. So if anyone wants to check it out. And yeah it’s a really fun one I love case studies and like my favorite kind of books to read so it was pretty fun to write one. And yeah I think people get some good stuff out of there. It’s a lot of fun.

I’m really excited. Like I said I on the other ones that you guys have done fabulous heartily recommended and so I’m really looking forward to this one though because when you start talking about all the different cases it’s like that’s the kind of stuff that I just eat up so I’m looking forward to reading it like I do appreciate you being on the show. Any last minute words of wisdom for wrap this one up.

I don’t know. That’s a lot of pressure. Last minute words of wisdom. I don’t know. Oh gosh. When it comes to you know a little bit for you. All right.

Any last minute words of wisdom. Yes. One word. If if if someone does listen to this. They’ve never. They don’t know. You never heard about marketing or anything like that. Or branding What’s one bit of advice that you would give them if they’re in the digital space. And like what. Well one bit of fool like.

Yeah I would say just not to get to be aware of kind of bright shiny object syndrome and be careful about running around after what’s new and what’s next and try and make sure that you’re really doing what’s being done properly now. Well because I mean sometimes we see a lot of companies who are chasing after what’s coming what’s going to be the next big thing. And like their Web site it still isn’t working. You know their app isn’t great are they. You can’t buy something off their web site without jumping through 100 hoops are the basic things that make it nice to try to purchase a service or a product need to be in place first before you go chasing after whatever the new shiny thing is so focus on trying to do things and all that you’re doing now better before jumping along to that anything that’s coming up. Scott it’s coming right you know it’s this if you if you can’t if I can’t go onto your site properly from my phone which some sites you still can’t do and purchase a product from you or find out more information about your company easily then then virtual reality is going to do nothing but make that worse.

You know they did just enough to build confidence and be super slow to play. And Joe Renning going to get caught before the page loads. Perhaps you should take a look at some things on your site.

Yeah if you if you’ve never ordered anything from your own site or tried to fill out your own contact me page or whatever it is at. Don’t go into that before you start jumping into you know virtual reality. You may find that it’s a lot harder to buy from you than you think it is.

Plus when you’re a kid when I think about with what you just said if I can send a text with a pizza emoji and get a pizza delivered to me. Come on man you guys got to make it easy for me like this is words Come on Anyway. Well for Allison Stratten, Dave Rohrer and Mat Siltala I appreciate you guys tuning in and taking out the podcast today and looking forward to any kind of comments that you have any questions we’ll keep an eye on and we’ll get you guys up on the next podcast. Thank you guys. See you later.

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