The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Crafting an Outstanding Experience for Global Brands w/ Kyle Duford


You have your ideal customer persona nailed down. You know the problems they have and why they should choose your company over your competitors to solve them. You’ve spent a great deal of time learning what they think about your product.

How much time have you spent learning how they feel?

My latest guest, Kyle Duford, as Executive Creative Director of The Brand Leader, has spent his career learning about it. He joins the show to simplify the intangibles of brand into something you can master, too.

We discuss:

  • What most people get wrong about brand
  • The experiences that make for a memorable brand
  • How the pandemic has affected branding

Now that you know how to craft your brand, are you ready to learn how to establish a repeatable sales process or build the right team? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

You're listening to the BDB 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 BDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about what it really means to craft outstanding experience for Global Brands, how each team member can contribute to that experience and how ECOMMERCE trends and tactics, branding, positioning and design all come together to contribute to this thing everybody seems comfortable labeling, quote unquote air quotes intended experience to help us. We have with this Kyle Duford, executive creative director of the brand leader, and he focused on turning rapid growth companies into unforgettable, strategically position brands. Kyle, thanks for taking the time and welcome to the show. Yeah, thanks, man. It's good to be here with you. So we always like to start with a random question, just so our audience gets to know you a little bit. Better and everybody has, you know, digital personas and work life and all that stuff. Kind of curious to know something you're passionate about that those that only know you through work might be surprised to learn. Well, yeah, if it's from the war, really lots of things that are surprising it. But I'm married to Billy Graham's granddaughter, for example. You know those are fun things. His his grandson works here with us. But folks that would know me from work would tell you that it takes an act of God to get to me, get me to the office before like ten am. So that's kind of you. I mean you'd be lucky to see me roll up around that. So it's that's kind of my thing and it's so definitely a night owl. No, not at all. I'm in bed by like thirty. It's it's crazy. I'm I watch day line with my wife. We crash, but I get up early to work out and then I find if I do that for least an hour or so, I can I do my best thinking in the morning when I'm running her or cycling by myself, and then I'll typically do an hour or two of work at home before I come in it's just kind of an unmitigated silence, so, which I like perfect. All right. So for context, tell us about the brand leader and how you came to be there. What's the story there? Well, the brand leader, will we say we are a branding agency that specializes in strategy and design, and by that I mean we, and you said it in the intro. You know, we help companies turn their brands into unforgettable ones. We primarily focus on rebrands or new brands, but we do a lot of different kind of brand new work. Typically, though, we say strategy and design because, you know, we're not a marketing shop. We do do some marketing, we're not a development shop. We do develop the things we design, but we focus on helping brands understand what what a brand means, exactly what we're talking about today, and how we can position them better, how we can give them a voice, how we can help them decide who they are. And if you know who you are, then we know that we can talk about yourself better and then you go also know who to attract. So that's kind of what we focus on. I know that's a little bit of a kind of a weird answer, but it's kind of branding period. Okay, and so when we talk about branding, that's a word that you hear a lot of people kind of kick around, right. Everybody has a tendency to use that word. Many seem to think they know what it means. I'm curious to know from your perspective, when we say branding, what does that include? What is that? What does that look like just from contextual standpoint? Well, you know, you're right. Everyone talks about brands as if they know what they are and a lot of people say they're branders and and I don't want to disagree if they are, but there's a lot of folks who don't understand what that is. You know, we all watch mad men, right, and we understand what the advertising world is like and in the s the famed kind of Ad Man of the time, David Ogilvie, said that a brand is the intangible sum of its parts. Basically, what he means is it's all the things that you can't touch or see necessarily. It's the intangible qualities. We like to say a brand is the emotional connection between a consumer and your business, product or service,...

...and I just heard the other day somebody say a brand doesn't exist in reality, like you can't buy one, you can't like hold it, you can't smell it or taste it, and that's why you kind of exists out in the ether somewhere. And so a brand is not a logo. A brand is not your business name. A brand is you're, the feeling you have when you think about Nike, when you think about apple, when you think about starbucks. It's what you think about, it's what you feel. It's kind of the that intangible thing, which is why I can't even describe it. But a brand, a brand is, is that you know, it's it's kind of it's your personality, as your makeup. It's your aura of that business, product or service, and I think that's a great summery in description of it. I mean the one that comes to my mind, just because I am a brand fanatic, for the for the Companies Harley Davidson, and I ride Harley's. I can't I mean, I know there are the motorcycles that are more mechanically sound. I you know, I get all of that, but there's something about that brand that I probably can't describe either, that keeps me coming back right, keeps me in that right in that click of people. But a part of that, from from what I've seen, is this concept of the experience and how does he experienced play into that emotional reaction that somebody has to the brand? And I get to use my air quotes again here, and people banter around that word experience all the time. Right they say, oh no, we're going to work on the experience for the coming but I again, just like branding, I don't think a lot of people know what that means and so I again from your perspective, would love to hear, when we talk about brand experiences or more crafting those experiences, how do you kind of approach it or see that as part of the overall yeah, well, I mean you kind of hit it on the head. Would you talk about Harley? You know, Harley is an outlaw brand. If you're talking about you know, brand archetypes, they're the ones to do things a little differently. I read myself as well. I don't write a Harley because I'm not part of that tribe. But if you are part of that tribe, you know there's a certain sound to Harlem scholars. You know there's there's something about when you start up that ignition for the first time that you know you're on a hog and you're not on a Dukati or not on a Yamaha. There's there's something about that. You know. It's kind of like the jeep wave. When you pass on the jeep, you wave to them, and there's something about Harley guys or Gals who, when you're next to each other at a stop light or when you see each other at a bar, when you just see that emblem someplace. You know that's the experience that we try to go for and a lot of people do kind of conflate those kind of like how you said air quote experiences with actual brand touchpoint. Experience is because there's brand activations, there's brand events, there's things you can do with a brand. You know, Nike can have a inner city basketball tournament, just sprout up a three on three in the middle of nowhere, and that could launch a new shoe and that's an activation. That's activating the local crowd, the local consumer base to experience your products from. How when we talk about experiences, we talk about again, how is your brand received by the person you want to touch? And you know, I'll pick on Nike for a second, and I said this a billion times and I always typically say people probably sick and me saying this, definitely in the office here, but if I told you to imagine Nike and I told you that they just announced they're going to start the new airline, Nike Air, which is I just think is funny. Nike Air, Nike Arelyn. But anyway, so they start this new airline and and I said, Chad, close your eyes and tell me, or the listeners out there tell me what you see. What kind of food a they serving? What does the plane look like? What are the flight attendants wearing? What's on the TV's? And you're probably going to come in with, you know, plus or minus two or three percent of everybody else who answers that who knows Nike, and it's going to be you know, there's probably going to be a swosh on there. There's going to be orange somehow on the tail fin. The flight attendants can be wearing obviously trainers and they're going to be wearing probably some quick wiking fabric and you're going to see ESPN on the TV and probably have some nutritious meal on your plate. That whole thing, the fact that you can do that and I can do that. We're all going to come with some kind of very small margin of error from one another. That's the brand, that's the experience, because we've all experienced what they do and how they do it.

That's what builds that brand equity over time to the point where it means something to say you're going to wear a pair of Nikes. Now I'm not I'm not advocating nikes over adidas or anyone else, but just saying you can do that with so many different folks. And if you take your hardly example, and I said okay, close your eyes and Pitcher Harley Davidson, you can probably smell that kind of oil gas mixture and you can, you know, hear the sounds and and that's the experience you want. Now that could be a little bit more tangible. If you talk about brands like Zappos, who you know, you probably had the customer service experience, which is pretty good, or home depot when someone comes up and ask you in an aisle what's going on. All of those things can amount out to a great experience. Great experience is positive. Experiences only go to help serve the foundation of a building brand or rebuilding brand it well and then it created can create challenges for the companies, right because the minute they stray from what the faithful believe to be the brand from their perception, it can sometimes create friction between my experience with the brand, so we'll keep going with the Harley one. When they first unleashed project live wire, they're electric bikes and you many many people that I know that were like, what in the world is going on here? This, this can't be happening. That's not part of the GIG. It's the sound, it's the leather, it's the oil, you know, it's all of those things. From my perspective it made sense. The brand of Valls. It has to evolve, but some peopody stuck, you know, very connected to the brand and I think does that sometimes create a challenge for the companies to stay true to that as they evolve and change over time, and how do they deal with that? You're absolutely right, and I had to give a shout out to my good friend John Becafee, who's the gem of brand at Harley, and I remember when I saw that first you McGregor documentary about it. It was a long way up and they introduced this, and that's the first time I saw it was I'm like, what in the world, and even the guys who are in that documentary were like Harley and batteries, like how does that even mix? But you got to give a shout out to these guys because what they did was they said we're going to pivot, we're going to move because we have to. This is what's coming down the pike. Everyone's going to be more sustainable and forward thinking and this is the next evolution. How do we do that to our tribe? How do we present this? And also they want to grow, so I'd like everyone. So how do we introduce a new audience to Holly Davidson? And you have to give them credit for how they launched that thing. They launched it with this epic Harley Davidson feel that went viral. So not only got a younger audience but also still incorporated they're tried and true customers without alienating them. They didn't make a big right turn and say we're not going to do that anymore. Guys, sorry, if you've got an old hog, you're stuck with it. You're no longer part of us. Not what they did. They incorporated everyone by releasing something in the same way they have four years and years and years, by doing it with people, doing as a public event, sharing it with folks who love Harley's and a lot of riding experiences, having little events across the country where people can come and literally touch this thing and go wow, this feels like a hog. Now it might not smell like one when I smell you fire up that engine anymore, but it feels like one now. It doesn't sound like one either. so that's the trick. But helping people bridge that gap is huge. Now, if it comes the other way, if customers impose brand meaning to you that was unintended, that's where I can go awry. So it's really important if you're going to take a pivot. I mean starbucks introducing Tazoti and say we're going to be t company as well. That I mean, that can people whoa Hey, I'm I'm into hard coffee guy, I went to hard starbucks guy. That can totally alienate folks. So again you have to incorporate them. It's through experience, it's through hey, so the same lens we look through things and this is where your brand vision and mission comes to play your core values and your attributes. Harley probably never said in their mission statement, and I've got a written down somewhere, I'm sure, but they never said we're going to be a gasoline powered motorcycle for years. I'm sure it's about a...

...driving writing experience for rebels who want to explore the countryside or something like that. Does that new Harley, the battery powered Harley, fit in that mission and their overall vision? What sounds like it does. Sure, you know. So it's like that fits. They're not going to say we're going to introduce a, you know, helicopter, because that doesn't help people. You engage the road through freedom of motorcycles or again, whatever their their mission might be. But doing a battery potter, one of that doesn't really offend the brand, so it shouldn't offend the people. So let's deliver it to them in a way that we can really crap that experience so they can understand it. That's where they did. You know, a Harley's an amazing thing within that roll out. I love the public events. I did. I went and rode one to check it out, but they did something to connect to that. Hey, that doesn't sound like a Harley feeling and that was by messing with the sound on the electric byte to turn it into some called it sound like a Jett endine taken off or whatever, but they had messed with that and taken that same sound component, which was some thing that the people that I, you know, ride with who can't even wrap their heads around it, could at least connect to that. So hats off your right to the to the individual right. It came up with that. And so now we get into this. Okay, we just we're in the middle of a pandemic or maybe hopefully towards the end of a pandemic, and I'm just I'm kind of curious over the last year, how have you seen what we've been through impact the ability and or focus of companies who have to develop or evolve the brands in this kind of weird atmosphere, weird situation that we're all in? What what have you seen change or elements of the brands that now get thought of that maybe hadn't been thought of before? Yeah, great question. We've seen a lot of folks come through and through our agency or just through thought leadership and talking with some colleagues and our brands and clients themselves. A lot of people panicked right away, and once that we all did right when we're all under extreme lockdown, like the stayathome order, depending what state you're in, depending on how how long you were there. But a lot of brands were like, okay, here's our opportunity. How are we going to emerge from this? The smarter ones looked at things like infrastructure and supply chain and they knowing the retail stores were closed, how can we adapt? How can we sell things? You saw this, you know, play out first and foremost through bars and restaurants and and, you know, doing take out and cities allowing take away alcohol and things like that. I mean you saw that really cool out of the box thinking happened right away from those folks who are affected them most. As brand started thinking about them, you started to see, we're going to change up our omnichannel structure, we're going to allow things from home, different marketing experiences from home, introducing AI or something through their mobile experience. You know, you saw this happen through Netflix and Hulu and just the proliferation of quick access to everything. Like everyone's come out with new shows or new experiences or mobile or emails, whatever it might be. One you had a captive audience, which totally disrupted, by the way, how people thought. People were shopping more. There was more shopping during the business hours than there ever was, which makes sense. But the smart ones actually said, let's take this time and to see if our position is right. So when we come out of this thing, how do we look? How do we emerge? What is this brand look like? And you saw a lot of major brands, you know Kia for one, Burger King for another, go through a major rebrand and took that time, almost that downtime, if you will, to really think. It's like that, that piece and quiet that I have every morning whenever to my bike or go for a run. During that time I get to think, and that's what it was like, this collective consciousness for brands. Okay, let's take a pause. How do we want to be seen? When we were re emerged, and it was a time that we might never see again, hopefully never see again, because of the situation where almost everyone, unilattery, you know, so I can't speak today, unilaterally, had the opportunity to to do what they've never had, which is stop and say, do we want to be known for this or that and if we don't have can we pivot? How can we turn? And a lot of those rebrands kind of emerge now that the...

...trends that we saw were all over the place. There were, you know, retail trends and a lot of social conscious trends. A lot of brands came out during the black lives matter movement early summer taking a position which we've never really seen to this extent before, and involve that into their into their brand. You know, we are now going to support this cause or that cause. And you know, let alone the election, that kind of played in as well. So there's a lot of things that change. It gave opportunity to brands and their leaders to think about who they who they were individually and who they wanted to represent from a brand standpoint, and I think you saw the ones who took the time to think about it are merge a lot better than they were when they went into it. Absolutely it was an opportunity for those that didn't panic to use the change in the velocity of business and the velocity of individuals to do those things, to pivot, to find the new opportunities to realign with the phrase, with the new reality. Right as this all unfolded. Change is the only constant we all have. This was a huge change. It was global for a lot of us. So we actually trying to find US silver lining in the pandemic. We all, for the first time that I can remember, have a shared human experience around the entire globe to impact totally differently, right, but it is. It's kind of brought the awareness to the forefront and so people got through it. Now the question is, where do they go? So I'm curious when you look at, you know, the next twelve, eighteen months, I can remember back in there when people used to say you have a five year plan. I can't even imagine like a twelve month plan at this point because you never know what's going to happen right right, when you look out twelve or eighteen months, what do you think brands and companies are going to need to be aware of or keep their eye on as this environment of change continues? Well, I mean this goes back to what you asked about earlier and experiences when we're all coming out of this. Now you can start seeing this locally, you can see this from national brands. You can see this at grocery stores, which is pretty amazing. We have a heat, a deep human need and desire to be with people, and you could see through, you know, the mental health profession and what's going on now. A lot of people are finally coming out being able to speak to people. But because of what happened, we were all sequested our own way and we all started internalizing things differently. Now that we're coming out of it, the one thing has been constant, and I've talked about this a number of times before, I believe a human connection is so desired from people and brands are the vessel in which to allow those connections. So now that we're coming out of these things, you can talk about Harley again, those events where they were allowing people to come out. They could have been the first time or the first event that people came to, and it allowed them to meet with people who were like minded or like themselves, you know, a tribe, if you will, in a new, cool way. And so I think what you're going to start seeing this a lot more, a lot more focus on on in person experiences, on if we have a captive audience in front of us, let's not waste it. Let's make sure we give them a really tailored message and I think it's going to be a little softer. You know, this hard cell. We we do a lot of work with people in Europe and one of the big differences that we see constantly is in the US it's a hard cell, it's by this, it's discount now, it's you know, get it right away, you get this in your car, you're going to miss you know, miss out. And in Italy and in Germany and France and Spain and so forth, a lot of it is based on here's the value of our product. Do you like it or do not? Because if you like it, come on, let's we've got something for you. And it's not this harsh. This not harsh push, you know, to ever to get a sale, to drive in the bottom line. I think we are all so conscious of what happened and the people who lost their jobs and, unfortunately, their homes and the way of life, that we're not doing the hard cell as much anymore. From what I can tell from the few brands that we work with, it are in the e commerce of space or selling online or, sorry, in stores. We're seeing a lot of people going hey, we're just glad you're here. Here's what we can offer you. And you see this a lot with, in a small way, just offering people a an opportunity to shop from their mobile phone, or having hand sanitizer...

...stations when they walk in or anything that can can say hey, we're taking care of you, but we're still here, and I think that's going to be continued the next eighteen, twenty four months. Yeah, we see it a lot actually in beatb brands as they pivot and have to it, you know, have their sales force go from what many would have thought would have been a hard push before to really training their teams to be able to connect to another human being and understand what that other person cares about, what they find valuable, and connect to that rather than attempt to say hey, I got this black box, really want this black box and everything that's in it. It really is how do I train those organ of those those individuals to consistently have those those conversations, and I think that human connection, in that authenticity, at least in what we do, we're seeing it a become even more critical than it was before. It was almost an accelerator for it so completely and it's what's welcome. It isn't. It isn't like a nice Oh, it's a nice change care how, you know, especially like on Zoom, I'm glad to see the data catching up on virtual meetings where the virtual backgrounds need to go because they're annoying. Is Crap and people want it. You know what, I don't care if I see your laundry or, you know, the cat walks by and I see the cat, but that's life right like, that's that's authentic, that's more human. So that focus on I think, is very, very, very welcome for many people, myself included. And so when you think about over your career as XCD at the brand leader, if there was one thing you could change, you know, one thing that that you wish you had done differently. I'm not saying necessarily mistake, but just you look back and go out, that was good, but I could have made it better. Kind of curious what that would be. You know, I'll be honest with you, I thought about this question quite a bit, and not just because I knew you were and asked, but because I think when you get to a certain age, when you get to a certain point of your career. It's incumbent upon us to look back so we can look forward in a better way. And I've got a lot of people here who I'm responsible for, for their paychecks, for the livelihood or just doing great work, and I look back and I just I wish I listened more and I really wish I was kinder to people, because I had an unbelievable opportunity at almost every job I had to work for somebody who took a chance on me and let me do things that they probably shouldn't have let me do and allow me to fail and allow me to iterate and allow me to make a fool of myself, and I wish I would have known the impact of that in my life rather than try to hide behind something in authentic and kind of cover that stuff up with, you know, pride and maybe that's just growing up and that's just kind of the bruises you have to take as you get to be an adult. I'm not saying to have the answers now, but looking back, I wish I had that opportunity to either apologize to people or just know that I could have been kinder, because that's really, at the end of the day. And maybe it's the pandemic speaking and maybe it's just, you know, like I said, getting older. But at the end of the day, I mean I don't care or only how many brands we've helped grow. It's it is that emotional physical connection with people and that makes life worth living. Absolutely, absolutely right. So let's Change Direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests who standard questions towards end the reaching right. First is simply as a revenue executive, that makes you a prospect for a lot of people out there. So a lot of people probably want to get in funny and sell you something and in and I'm curious to know for my guess, when somebody doesn't have a trusted referral in somebody who says hey, you really should talk to this person, I think they can be had some value. How does somebody capture your attention and earn the right to time on your calendar? Man, if that is hard, and I think this isn't just an ongoing battle for everybody, it's really difficult to do that. When I was a Dr Martin's I would get hit up three, four or five times a day from people, even to the point where someone found out what I was really into, and I've said already, you know, cycling and running and so forth. They found somehow the pair of socks that I liked, Fedex me a couple pair and said take these on your next run and let's set up a time to chat. And I was so creeped out by that I was like, I'm not gonna I took the socks. Don't, don't. Don't get me wrong, I ran in the next day, but yeah, it's really hard. You know, we all get the Linkedin, you know, Batan switch, we all...

...get we all get that and I would say it's just it's relationships, it's earning the right to be heard. I would much rather have somebody right me and say look, I know I don't know you and this might come off as a cold call, but you guys are in this space and we're in the space and we're just trying to see if we could be a fit and if not, cool, but I just want to get our name out there. Man, I would respond to that in heartbeat. It's the ones who just assume that you know, you are, you know, a free game, that you don't have a busy schedule or that the ones who actually just sent put something on your calendar because, you know, they think they can and somehow they, you know, get a link to your scheduling calendar. So those are the things that I think are all goes back to this kind of you know, connection. You know, make a connection first, build a relationship and earn that right and then, man, I'll do anything. So the serious I'm and we tell this too, brands who who are struggling with what they need to do or might not be able to afford us, I'll tell them, I'll I'll give you my time. You know, you want an hour, you want forty minutes of ask me anything you want like. I'll totally tell you what you need, whether you go with us or somebody else, because again, that happened to me. People were gracious enough with their time. I'm happy to do that for anybody you're listener, anyone else, and and I really truly mean that, because I mean you might not go with us, but I don't care if you take whatever I told you and make a million dollars off it, or more like, good for you. You can't have the thoughts in my brand and how I got to that right and but you know, you can own the painting at the end and if you want to take that with you and resell it, you know, great. So I think we're missing that. We're missing especially in the sales world where everything's digital. And I don't blame these guys. You mean they're you know, they're they have a quota and they don't know what to do. And how do you connect with people? Especially during the pandemic, it's hard. I get it. So just be honest, you know, just right, and say, man, I'd love to work with you. How do I how do I get noticed? I think that's the best way to go. I love it. I love it all right. So the last question. We call it our acceleration in sight. If there's one thing you could tell sales, marketing or professional services people, one piece of advice should give them that you believe we would help them hit or exceed their targets, what would it be? And why? Easy, believe in your product. If you don't believe in the product you're selling, whether it's a service or an actual physical product, you're never going to hear your target and if you do, it's, you know, luck, your dad through. Yeah, yeah, lucker lies. I was going to say, you know, we only work with brands which we can get behind. I only worked for companies and brands in my previous career that I used myself. If I didn't believe in the product, then I can't in good conscious work there. So I would say, you know, just just really believe in what you're doing and if you do that, then it's, you know, conviction and just pure desire and I think people read that. I think people read that with authenticity. So and don't give up. I mean just persevere. I mean this will we all have to do excellent acts like I can't thank you enough for taking time at times of one asset nobody can get back. I really appreciate you sharing some of it with us today and I'm appreciate your being on the show, of course. Yeah, this was my pleasure. Thanks so much. All right, everybody that does of this episode, you know, the drill be to be REV exactcom share with friends, family co workers. Feel like what you hear, leave US review on itunes. Until next time. We have value selling associates with you all, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB Revenue Executive Experience to ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening, until next time,.

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