The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 2 months ago

Creating a Brand Story with Bobby Gillespie

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Brands aren’t created out of thin air. They already exist. 

It’s all about finding Michelangelo’s David in the stone; chipping away at what a client thinks a brand is to find out the true story without focusing on the gimmicky hacks. 

Today’s guest, Bobby Gillespie, Founder & Principal at Propr Design, talked about how Propr helps their clients get the reputation they deserve, not necessarily the reputation they want through strategic brand building and storytelling.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Why having a brand strategy focused on future customers is essential
  • What to avoid when building a brand story
  • How to measure a brand for an accurate return on investment

Now that you know how to conduct killer marketing tests, are you ready to learn how to hone your business’s competitive edge or use data to prevent revenue leaks in your business? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for B2B Revenue Executive Experience in your favorite podcast player.

You're listening to the B two B revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two one. Welcome everyone to the B Two b revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Carlos Snow Che, and I'm joined by my co host, Lisa Shanna. Say Hello, Lisa. Hi Everyone, thanks for being here today. We're talking about building your brand, which is a big question for B two B organizations, but also for individuals these days. How do today's B two B organizations really implement a strategy to scale through better positioning, messaging, design, Web Marketing? And to help us out with this subject today we have Bobby Gillespie, also affectionately known as Bobby G, who is the author of the upcoming build your brand. Like you, give a ship and founder and principle at proper design, which advises and develops your brand's positioning, messaging, architecture, identity and design to empower growth and scaling. Bobby, thank you so much, for being here today and welcome to the show. Thank you, it is my pleasure. Absolutely all right, bobby, here's the question we'd like to start every episode with, and it's a great way to get to know you and for audience to get a feel free a little bit better. And that is what is something that you are passionate about that those that only know a few business might be surprised to know. You know, this is a great question and I've thought about it a lot and I've been asked it before. So I would think for me, is testing my metal and that means getting into very uncomfortable situations and feeling alive during those situations and then getting out the other side.

For example, a couple of years ago I decided to do the Maryland Challenge, which is hiking the forty two miles of the Maryland length of the Appalachian trail in one day and we got dropped off at the Mason Dixon Line at midnight. It just happened that it was midnight. It was just kind of serendipitous, and then we hiked south to West Virginia all night and I'll tell you what, it was excruciating. It was painful, but it was amazing because I was alive the whole time and I knew I was alive because every step hurt, and coming out the other end it's like really a proud moment to be able to say, like I I conquered, that I did it. I never had to do it again, but I did it and it's a great story and it's a eight accomplishment and I think it's sets a great example for folks who are feeling that they can't do things, but they can. If I can do it, anyone can do it. Yeah, well, it's a great way to like celebrate your physicality as well as, like you you're healthy and fitness level is enough to be able to complete these tasks, which is something I think we should all be grateful for every day, because not everybody is in that position. So it's a great way to sell what you can do. Amazing, Bobby. Um. So, jumping into business a little bit, can you tell us a little bit about proper, what you do there and how you arrived at this point in your career? M remind me if I go get a little track here and there's a lot to unpack. So proper is essentially we take a consultative role with our clients and help them really build a brand foundation that's going to empower them to to sustainably grow and scale the organization. It's really built on. You know, the the entrepreneurial bug was bitten by was, you know, there's always...

...the idea that there's a better way to do something and throughout my career of working at agencies in house, you know, across across the spectrum, I just felt that working in your client's best interests was something that was a little bit scarce. Working in your your team's best interests equally scarce. So I hedged my best and said, listen, you know, we can really deliver a lot of benefit and value to our customers by giving a crap and doing what's right and not not taking advantage of any situation. So what we did was started the company in two fourteen after leaving another agency, and we've just kind of been rocking and rolling since then. I'm a terrible employee and that's why I found myself in this predicament to where I can create a culture to, you know, empower our team and give people autonomy as and how are said put, you know, leaders put people in a position to be successful. They don't tell them what to do, they just give them their lane and let them, you know, work it out. So we're very entrepreneurial in that respect. But what we really do with our clients is, I believe, unique, is taking a very holistic and deep look at what their situation you know, our clients are primarily B two B tech brands and you know, you have engineers, you have data scientists, you have these brilliant folks who know their game, but there they struggle with how to contextualize that to a non sort of geeky person. So kind of kind of aligns with my sort of passion for the strenuous life, as some call it, is that we love to learn so much about our clients. We love to, you know, Rob Elbows with these brilliant folks and then help, you,...

...i. really clarify their positioning and messaging and values and personality to be able to build a brand that that authentically reflects who they are and makes real, you know, connections with their target audiences. So, you know, it really impacts every aspect of the organization, from recruiting to marketing to business DEV HR. Everything is integrated into the core of your brand, and that's what we start with. We identify that, we clarified in a practical way and then we use it as our guide to create, you know, the critical assets any brand needs to properly scale. I love that. And is that where the proper simplicity mindset comes in. Confucius said, you know, nature is simple, but we insist on making a complicated. And you know, two thousand years ago he recognized that. And today, to this day, why? Is More complicated than it has ever been. You know, and we really look at outcomes razor, as you know, Short outcomes. Razor doesn't really apply to branding unless you think about it from a different perspective, and it's really the simplest solution is the most appropriate solution, right. So, you know, the simplicity mindset. Really it's about getting the excess out of the way. You know, I use a metaphor, or I use a story, unverified story, of Michael Angelo. He was asked by a reporter, you know, how did you create the statue of David, this masterpiece? And he said, essentially, it was easy. He just chipped away at the stone that wasn't David. And that's how we look at brands. You know we're not creating a brand out of thin air. It already exists, right. So when you're seeking simplicity, practicality, tactical nature, right things that people can be all in the same page age and unified working...

...towards a common goal. You can't have all this clutter in the way, right. We can't have pig pen from peanuts leading the way. We need something that's crystal clear and you can grab, grab your hands on it and put everybody in the same page. So the simplicity mindset is really a call to Action for folks to dedicate and commit to achieving a simpler environment. And you know when you when you think about, you know, managing umbrella brands or brand architecture, you know where you're scaling creating new products and services. Folks are looking at sort of the mega brands as the example to emulate, but that causes too much complexity and, as we all know, complexity doesn't scale and a lot of times that's what's holding the brands back, where they have too much, too many moving pieces, and we could strip it down to something that is not boring and simple, but simple and elegant, and that really empowers all aspects of the growth and internal teams to be able to, you know, really be empowered to make a difference and scale. Alright, talking about stripping it down, what might be some of the things that we should be avoiding or you don't recommend in trying to initially build that brand? Gimmicks, hacks, overnight success, right, we we the media, the books, Higher Ed it's all full of Hey, you know, look at look at these guys. Overnight success is right, but only talk fifteen years and three million dollars to be overnight success. Right. So, you know, I've I've worked with entrepreneurs. I'm an entrepreneur. One thing that we have to keep in mind is nobody knows what they're truly doing. Right. So like that perception that you're looking at other people and comparing yourself to you know, the usual suspects and say look, they got their ship together, but they don't. Right, we're all figuring it out and when you know, you're thinking about how to uh, you know, the goal is...

...growth, the goal is higher profits, larger margins, better recruiting, whatever those goals are. There's always some cross the spectrum goals and initiative that that particularly two B brands are struggling with, and you know it's going through an authentic approach to that is going to be gets you the results you're looking for. You know, for example, you know pushing a false narrative, right, like using gimmicks in your marketing advertising. What is that really saying? Is that helping or hurting your brand? And what when you think about what your brand is, it's your reputation. And we, you know, we're not looking at brands as logos or products or services or features. When you look at your brand as those things, and you're marketing a commodity, and we all know what the commodity world is is you want the most for the least, right, and they're not really thinking about the value, which I think aligns perfically with your approach to selling. And we want to we want to really convey the value and benefit of our the brands we work with and really developed their tone of voice and point of view on things so that when it's time for the conversion, the connection to be made, the conversations to be had, that they're going to lead to a sale. There's already rare, poor developed. There's already relationship that's being fostered right, and you know, my parents always instilled on me that. You know, the most important things in a relationship are trusts, honesty and communication, and that's what we want to lead with when we're building a brand, we're when we're doing outreach, when we're marketing, when we're making connections and, you know, connecting and communicating and even competing on your core values, right, which is really popular these days, which I'm really excited about that, because that's where we...

...start. It's really popular for a good reason, because people want to engage with brands that they can relate to. And Full Circle, right, they're not relating to your products, your services, your features, your ingredients, they're relating to your purpose. They're relating to what you give a crap about, and that's what we really want to do is say, Hey, what do you guys give a crap about? And, by the way, what do you actually do and who do you do it for and how do you do it different and when you put those things together, you have a really genuine positioning that is going to make sort of all the back end conversion stuff, hiring sales, all the marketing metrics a lot more easy to accomplish and it's more sustainable. Right, if you're pushing a false narrative, well, you better have a huge PR budget, better keep everybody on track. Why not just keep it real? And it's a lot easy here. You talked about measurement. Are there certain things in building your brand that we should be measuring and what types of outcomes have you seen? So, when we're in the brand foundation, so we we've created a you know, everybody wants to product size their services and it's a great idea. So you can have good conversations and be consistent. So we've broken down our process into two and a half frameworks. The first is what we call brand clarity, and we have a workshop or we can do it as part of a bigger engagement. What you want to measure there is your gut. Does it feel right? Do you get excited about this? Yeah, because we're working with the senior leadership with these brands, you know, growth leadership, founders, CEOS, you know the C suite, and we want we want them to wake up with the next morning and feel more energized than they did when we're going through the exercise. Or we want them the way a gup and cold sweat and fields...

...horror and say no, it's wrong. Right, and then we want we want that. We want people to trust their gut. When you get into brand activation, where you know, which is informed from brand clarity, and our point five framework is enablement, and we'll get into that later. But when we get into activation, we're building the website, rebuilding the website or transforming the website, whatever channels and templates and core items that the sales and marketing folks need to do their job. What we want to measure their are the typical marketing stuff, engagement, conversions, revenue and that, you know, that's where we see the biggest impact. And the reason that the catalyst for creating this approach was before I started proper we I worked at an agency that did enterprise e commerce sites and the common roadblocks to success to be able to truly deliver and bring amazing value to our clients was them themselves, their egos, their whims, their insecurities. So I decided, I was like how, you know, I'm a problem solver, you know I have a little bit of a scientific mind as well as this creative madness, and I said how is how can we take their whims and ego out of the equation and make it about what's best for their brand and what's best for their future customers? And that's the North Star. We have it proper is that? That's the question we want to empower our customers to ask and answer. Having the clarity to be able to answer that validates everything you're investing in growing your brand. Is this what's right for our brand, which include your people? Right, is just what's best for not our current customers, because we're already doing a great job with them, our future customers. Right, and that...

...really empowers things to take a brave approach, to say like, okay, let's commit to doing what we need to do to be able to answer that question and then get the whole team on the same page, and it really really aligns everybody to come from their unique place and perspectives and insights to contribute to the success of the company. Look of it as like a dotting horizon line. We don't want your team to line up in single file or be clones or automatons were walking, you know, marching away to the distance. We want them to be across across the board. Right everywhere, but we want them to be marching towards that common goal, and that only starts being able to clarify who the hell you are, what you give a shit about and why do your customers care, and that really lets us to really align our purpose with our deal clients purpose, and all the conversations on the back end are pretty easy. Great insights. There probably M in red in your background. One comment that came to mind was everything is marketing because everything you do sends a message. What do you mean by that? So everything is marketing, is Seth Godin. So thank you, seth, but I wanna take I'm gonna add words, which is unusual. I like to strip things down, but I'm gonna add words. Everything is marketing because everything sends a message, right, everything you do, the way you answer the phone, for logo, your messaging, the performance of your your products and services, how your team interacts with other people, right, how you drive into the parking lot at the office, that's all sending a message, right, and that message and how it's received is your brand. Right. So your brand, again, is not anything else but your reputation, and that's why it's so important to have it consistent across the board, right, because you've want...

...to get the reputation you deserve, not necessarily the reputation you want. M H, great point. Since sales are a key part of our brand, as you know, you get sales professionals engaging with buyers. How does that affect your brand strategy? Where do they come into play? What advice might have there? Uh So, most of are the folks were engaging with. Um, not necessarily the decision makers in terms of hire us, but they're, they're most they're they're the champions that we work with. It's marketing leadership, sales, growth leadership, people that are responsible that. You know, a cml used to be the person who managed marketing and set the goals. Now they're in charge of growth, right, it's as crazy. So it's all integrated. So we're working with those folks. Where your challenges? What are your what are your desired outcomes? What success looked like to you? You know, worse, it hurt, and we want to take a holistic look at that stuff because we don't want to just address the symptoms. That's why we started the foundation. We want to address a cause. All right, so we're like, oh, we're not getting enough engagement. We're not having enough conversations. Our pipelines a little weak, right, we only need three customers a year, new customers a year, but we're not having any fruitful conversations. Right. So we're vising around that, right, like well, let's take a look at what you're doing and assessing that and then benchmarking against what we've seen with our other customers, what their competitors are doing, and say, all right, here's your opportunity, here's your advantage, let's leverage that and let's get you more fruitful conversations with your ideal customers and stop talking to these folks. I know we've been talking about B two B, but you know, I kind of feel like, you know, sometimes even within an organization, individuals are trying to kind of establish their own brand, and we talked about it when we you know, all the way from B drs trying to, you know, create their own brand online so when they engage with other professionals, it's not about just the brand I represent, it's...

...about me as a professional. Any advice there? It's all the same, right, just keep it real, be yourself. Um, you know, I've I grew up in Philly and I went through sort of the city education system where they're preparing us to be factory workers, where all the factories were gone. So they wanted us to just take orders. And Man, I cause a lot of friction. I got a lot ideas right and I bore easy. So, uh, I've always, you know, thanks to my parents and and and great, great uh mentors and influences throughout my life, have always felt confident to be myself. And when you're your true, authentic self, as novel Ravticant said, you don't have any competition because no one can compete with you on being you. All right. So, like just do what you do, be who you are. You know, constantly seek improvement, learn new stuff, be interesting, read stuff that you know. This out of your your normal genres. Uh, you know, listen to something that you don't like and that we take the same approach to, you know, brand development and marketing, all this growth stuff. We we help with. Like the best ideas aren't dogma. The best idea has come from so many different places. I read a ton about anthropology. Humans are so fascinating. Right, where we came from, where we're going. Wow, right. But that informs so much about how we interact and how we live in societies and cultures and communicate throughout throughout the you know, the thousands and thousands of years. Like that can there's great ideas that we put into play there that really move the needle for our for our customers, and the same goes for you as an individual. Right, you want to talk to people that have something interesting to say. Right, you want to relate to somebody. You know, your dogs, you're in the cars or music and all that stuff is fascinating, right, and it makes us interesting creatures. And...

...you know, don't you know, we all hear this. Right, and I'm I'm I'm the revenue executive at my company. Somehow I found myself in this predicament, but I kind of like it because I like to have conversations with people, but I don't want to sell to anybody. Right, it's like, what's the benefit of what we can do for you? And this is a right fit. Like are you good for us and are we good for you? And we only know that by being authentic and keeping it real, not hiding your tattoos or not trying to cover up your accent and all this stuff that like makes me this east coast. Like you know, rebel is also what appeals to the right folks and the ones who don't like it, you know, cool, like we don't have to bother each other. Yeah, I love that. I talked, we talked to a lot of particularly str is, the ones who are cold calling, they're grinding the phones, and it's just like, if you're not authentic and truly enthusiastic about what you're selling, um that comes across and big. Yeah, if you can't connect to some kind of passion around that, then the person on the other end is not going to connect to it. So our tone and the ripple effect of all of these factors that you mentioned are it's so powerful. So I really love that, bobby. It's awesome. So think about it. No, I mean one thing they're thinking about from the top down. Right, if, if, if the senior leadership is not enthusiastic about the brand, about initiatives, about goals and setting vision, like everyone else is not going to be either. Right. So, you know, like that connection, that passion, that excitement, like it's infectious. Definitely. Yeah, and we've all been at that organization where they weren't and it wasn't. So yeah, very, very important. I love all these points and I wish we could talk all day. But we're going to switch gears slightly here, because we ask every guest a couple of questions at the end of every interview,...

...and one of them is that that you just mentioned. You are a revenue executive, so you get prospected to on the regular basis. What is it that stands out to you that actually has you, Piques your interest and build a little credibility that might actually have you respond to a cold, cold prospecting outreach? If someone tries to bullshit, may I immediately pick it up. So like don't even right, and if they try to sell to me, immediately go away, right. There's has to be an authenticity there, right. And you know, Um, I got an email today proper is a great fit for us, and I'm like, what's in it for me? So think about what your customer wants, what your customer needs. Do a little research, right, you know, people can can spend a few minutes and look at my linkedin and understand what the heck's up, right. But you know, we don't need a phone system right, like now, you know. So, like do a little bit of research understand who that person is. Empathy is truly an incredible thing and I'm an empath. Like things make me cry all the time. That that because I'm just so like, emotionally connected to this world and understanding your customer and their pains and their their desires and how they measure success and what's important to them and how your purpose can align to that. I got, you know, we get millions of emails. There was one that I said, Yeo, I'm going on vacation. Hit me back in a month like this interests me. It's because there was just, you know, the brand looked apart, you know, the aesthetic, the design. Like I'm, you know, crave director, designer by by trade, so it's gotta looked apart. It looks like crabbinger's comic sands and all that stuff. I go away, but you know, it's that it has to start it from an authentic place and they had to...

...be genuine and, like you said, they had to be excited about it, interested in me and us, not just looking for the next transaction or conversion. Excellent. Hey, one last question. We call it the acceleration insights. What might be one thing you would like to share with our listeners that would really help them in achieving their own targets. Right, you know, that one big takeaway that you want to leave behind. And they believe me why you would even bring that one up. Wow. Okay, so there's so many little things. Um, I could offer a little fun exercise for marketing and sales teams to align consistency in terms of tone of voice. So try this, you know, put your team together, however your team is structured, virtually in person, and start identifying who famous people, whether real fiction, best represent into your brand and would be like the spokesperson right where you're here, your message read by, you know, Bill Murray or something, Sam Jackson, right, you know. Is it Sam Jackson? No, it is Bill Murray. Closer, is it, you know, hellamereum or Um, you know, go on and go through that, yes or no, and you'll end up putting parameters around what's appropriate for a tone of voice. And that doesn't mean that everybody talks like Samuel Jackson, which would be pretty hilarious if your whole company did, but it puts the parameters in place right, because you think about creativity, creativity is the ability to see a solution to a problem or a future state, right, but without parameters, the potential solutions are infinite. So you put parameters around what's appropriate and that allows you to innovate, innovate in this space. And it applies...

...like this is stuff that applies to so much different aspects of business and production and and and development, but we apply it to brands, right, because we want to be in this space, we want to be to be awesome in this space, and putting parameters around how we talk to our customers to best reflect who our brand is makes you're really approachable and but it also makes you consistent, right. So, like we love Anthony Bourdain, right, with all his flaws and everything. Right, he's a he was a real person, but he was a master chef. But it wasn't about the chefery, it was about the relationships, the story, the conversations he experiences, all those things, you know, feed our soul here. And he's imperfect, right, and that's okay, and we want to remind ourselves constantly that that's okay. So putting Anthony Bourdain as close your eyes and say he is sort of the personification of the proper brand really allows us to do know what's right in our gut, versus saying like, Oh, this is strict guidelines around this, but like, you feel it right and we go through. That's part of our clarity exercise and I think that it's a lot of fun for folks to do. And if you're struggling around like saying the right thing to the right person in the right way, personify, put somebody at the front of it, you know, uh, and have some fun with it. RIGHT IS OPRAH? Is it? Is it Mike Tyson? Right, like wh right, and then, but also who isn't it? And you know, that's that's a pretty good time that. I love that, bobby. That's awesome. So if one of our listeners wanted to talk to you more about the topics we covered today, what's the your preferred way that they get in contact with you? I mean, you can always hit me up on Linkedin. Just drop a note that you heard me here, so I know who you are and, Um, I can give credit where credits due to my new friends. Um. So, my my linkedin is just a usual linked in, but it's th ch a t bobby G that Bobby G...

U. It's a handle I use Um, not this bobby g, but that Bobby G. and you could also check us out on our website, proper design dot com, proper spelled uniquely P R O P R design dot com. And did you want to say anything about your book coming out? So I got this book right and it goes back to if I can do it, anybody can do it. I got inspired to write a book last year. It's coming out this summer. I hope it's in design now they don't get into production and all that stuff, but it's called build your brand, that you give a ship, embrace your purpose, to unleash your potential, and it's what we're seeing across, you know, the last eight years of running proper and my twenty something in your career, of starting with. You know what you really care about? What's your purpose beyond making money and using that? You know what? It doesn't have to be saving the rainforest. It shouldn't be destroying the rainforest, but it should be something that empowering your customers to succeed. It could be, you know, making their life easier. It could be making better, you know, helping them communicate better. Whatever it is right use that as a means to lead your organization, to unify your team, and that's what the books all about. You know, I really feel that some of the open source mindset. You know, I don't want to go to the grave with all these ideas and information and experiences and stories in my head. I want to contribute to the human narrative and I think that book is going to be Um something that hopefully, is helpful to a lot of folks are struggling with the same stuff that I and many other brand leaders have experienced. We both loved the title we're talking about yesterday, so it's really can't. I can't. I can't wait to read it. Honestly, I'll be watching for it. So so, thank you so much, bobby g. It was it was wonderful having you on the...

...show and I can't, can't thank you enough for taking the time to talk to us about this topic today. My pleasure. It was an honor. Thank you, flatter to be here. Awesome. Well, everyone that does it for this episode. Please check US out at www dot B two b REV EXAC DOT com. Share the episode with your friends, family, your kids, all the people in your life that could use an interesting topic to listen to today and maybe turn off some screens for a little while and, if you like what you hear, please throw us a five star review on Itunes as well. Until next time, we have value selling associates. Wish you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the B two B revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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