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Brand Land

How do you build a strong and lasting brand?It’s the question every marketer asks themselves at some point. And it’s the question we set out to try to answer with Brand Land. Each week, we hear firsthand accounts from leading marketers and creatives who share their experiences and insights to, in turn, help you build a stronger brand.Each episode features an interview with a bonafide brand builder, where we discuss and dissect topics such as brand management, customer experience, design credibility, virality, content creation, marketing and sales alignment and in-house brand development.

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54. Disrupt yourself: Marketing like a startup w/ Pablo Marvel

The excitement of a new product or service, the tingle of uncertainty, the ambition that makes you throw caution to the wind — these are all parts of what make up the thrill of marketing a startup. But can you use those same things to drive the marketing within an existing company?  It was this idea that inspired Pablo Marvel — who was fresh from a startup — to take on the role of Chief Marketing Officer at legacy real estate company Brown Harris Stevens. This week Pablo shared how he used his startup mentality to shake up the marketing at the 150-year-old company, taking it from stuffy and dated to a modern classic.  What we discussed: - Why internal buy-in is essential to pivoting a marketing department, and how Pablo achieved that buy-in - What Pablo did with a limited budget to create more engaging content for a digital marketplace - Why it’s okay — and even essential — to try lots of different marketing tactics before settling on a strategy - The role that “radical optimism” plays in a startup mentality - Why Pablo believes that forward motion can be more important than aiming for a specific goal - The importance of bringing humanity and personality into your brand, especially in today’s world


25 May 2021

Rank #1

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53. Planning your brand story post-lockdown w/ Megan Fink

The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic pulled the rug out from pretty much every business in the world, and brands had to quickly learn to adjust. Some adjusted well, and others, sadly, were unable to ride the coronavirus wave.  We wanted to know what strategies might have made a difference between the brands that survived and those that did not, so we sat down with Megan Fink, the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Palmetto Goodwill in Charleston, SC. Palmetto Goodwill managed to ride the wave and come out on top, and Megan shared with us the things she felt most contributed to her company’s post-lockdown success.  What we discussed: - How Goodwill’s core brand story impacted the approach Megan and her team used to reopen stores - The sources Megan’s team used to gather necessary information for creating a reopening plan and cohesive reopening campaign - The importance of establishing high-level goals with specific, measurable objectives in times of uncertainty - The “paid, earned, social, owned” strategy that helped Megan’s team reach a wider variety of media outlets more effectively - Why Megan believes in the power of planning, even when the future is uncertain


18 May 2021

Rank #2

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52. Setting yourself apart in a saturated market w/ Liz Comer

As good as your product and messaging might be, the truth is that there will always be other brands competing with you to sell the same product (or similar products) to the same audience. So what can you do to stand out from the crowd? Liz Comer, Director of Marketing and Communications at Silvercreek Realty Group, knows what it’s like to operate in a saturated market. But despite facing a sea of competition, her company is ranked as one of the top 40 brokerages in the country, making her an ideal person to talk to about this challenge.  What we discussed: - The impact and importance of passion on building your brand’s reputation  - Why focusing on your customers’ needs is more effective than worrying about your competitors - How to create unique solutions by recognizing weaknesses in your company and your industry - Why it’s essential to get your marketing and sales teams on the same page - What you need to do to prepare for unexpected brand building opportunities


11 May 2021

Rank #3

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51. Keys to more collaborative design consultations w/Sadie Koehler

When someone from a technical discipline needs to collaborate with someone from a more creative discipline, it can be a challenge for both sides to communicate their needs and ideas in a way that moves the project forward. This week we sat down with Sadie Koehler, Associate Creative Director at Principal Financial Group, to discuss how to bridge the gap for more effective design consultations.  What we discussed: - How Sadie’s experience as a designer in a large corporation differs from her experience as a freelancer - The most common barriers that lead to discomfort between designers and their clients during consultations - How to use reflective listening and other communication techniques to make sure everyone is on the same page - The best approach to prioritize a client’s needs while still managing expectations on a project - Why it’s important to communicate the rationale behind the design process and leave space for criticism


4 May 2021

Rank #4

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50. Leveraging the power of packaging with A/B testing w/ Michael Keplinger

Whether you’re working with digital products or physical items, packaging matters. In fact, your packaging may be the only interaction a customer has with your brand, so it’s important to make it count. But where do you start? This week we sat down with Michael Keplinger, Director of Strategy and Managing Partner at SmashBrand, to learn more about how his company helps clients optimize their packaging through a strategic, data-driven process. Michael’s unique background in engineering and consumer psychology helped him design a specialized approach to A/B testing that has helped drive sales for a variety of brands both on the shelves and online.  What we discussed: - Why A/B testing is essential, and why it’s worth the investment - The main objectives of packaging, and why it’s important to get it right - The key factors to measure when undertaking A/B testing - How A/B testing a physical product compares to A/B testing a digital one - The SmashBrand approach to A/B testing and why it’s effective - Real-life examples of A/B testing and its impact on brand sales


27 Apr 2021

Rank #5

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49. The keys to aligning your brand and customer experience w/ Christopher Wallace

In past Brand Land episodes we’ve talked a lot about the importance of communication and consistency within a company, especially when it comes to marketing messaging. But what exactly should you be doing to ensure that the actions and speech of your frontline employees are aligning with corporate marketing goals?  Fortunately, we found an expert on that very topic. Christopher Wallace is the Co-founder and President of InnerView Group, a marketing consulting firm whose services help companies “effectively transfer their brand messages to their employees and partners on the front lines.” We sat down with Christopher to learn more about how he aligns customer experience with brand messaging. What we discussed: - The monetary and intangible value of providing a customer experience that is consistent with company messaging and culture - Why it’s important that front line workers not only know the message but believe in the message - How to create messaging that both aligns with the brand and resonates with frontline workers - Why marketers are in a unique position to make a difference in the behavior of frontline workers - How to get valuable feedback from frontline workers that can create a more effective corporate marketing strategy


20 Apr 2021

Rank #6

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48. Reaching the unreachable with targeted marketing w/ Colin Jeffries

Marketing is all about using the right tools to reach your ideal customer. But when your ideal customer is transient, unemployed and has no transportation — what tools do you use then? This week Garrett and David sat down with Colin Jeffries, fellow podcaster at Take5 and Director of Marketing & Communications at addiction recovery center BrightView. Colin talked about the unique challenge he faced in connecting to a vulnerable, hard-to-reach population, and we discussed how he came up with some outside-the-box solutions to meet that challenge.  What we covered: - Why marketing can’t — and shouldn’t — be confined to a single department within an organization - How BrightView used customer service to increase patient retention and recovery, differentiating itself in an industry notorious for bad customer service - The debunked myth that helped BrightView start focusing on a different audience than their competitors  - How Colin used patient feedback and focus groups to create a more effective message - Why geofencing played a significant role in communicating that message to BrightView’s target audience


13 Apr 2021

Rank #7

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47. How to build a strong brand with PR w/ Ashley Murphy (Brennan)

Marketing and PR are like fraternal twins that often get mistaken for identical twins. Despite being similar in purpose, they’re markedly different in approach, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together — in fact, they’re more powerful when they do. This week I sat down with Ashley Murphy (Brennan) to talk about her role in PR as Senior Vice President of Communications at Brown Harris Stevens and how she works with her company’s marketing department to communicate important messages about their brand. What we discussed: - What Ashley learned from her career in journalism that has helped shape her PR strategy - The biggest differences between PR and marketing, and how understanding these differences can help both departments work together better - Why it’s important for marketing and PR to have a functional relationship, and how to achieve it - Real-life examples of how Ashley has coordinated with the Brown Harris Stevens marketing department to promote important brand messages - The most important shifts in the world of PR that marketers should be aware of as they work with their PR teams


6 Apr 2021

Rank #8

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46. Take control of your stories, take control of your brand w/ Gabrielle Dolan

Marketing professionals know that storytelling is a powerful marketing tool, but how do you discover your brand’s most impactful stories, and how do you tell them?  Gabrielle Dolan is the founder of Jargon Free Fridays and the author of six books about storytelling in business. This week we sat down to talk about her most recent book, “Magnetic Stories,” which focuses on “how to connect customers and engage employees with brand storytelling.”   What we discussed: - Why Gabrielle founded Jargon Free Fridays and how it relates to her work teaching business executives about storytelling - The inspiration for “Magnetic Stories,” and why she feels that it covers a gap in the realm of business storytelling - How storytelling relates to brand, and why it’s an essential piece of good brand marketing - Real-life examples of highly impactful brand stories from both large and small companies - The 5 different types of stories that matter: how to create them, how to find them, and how to share them - Why it’s crucial to involve employees in creating, collecting and communicating stories


31 Mar 2021

Rank #9

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45. Empowering employees or policing them? How to build brand at scale w/ Tali Thomason

Every marketing professional dreams of being part of a company where everyone not only understands the purpose of marketing but also uses on-brand marketing tools appropriately and effectively with little to no assistance.  When Tali Thomason was faced with a bigger workload than her small marketing team could handle at the University of Denver’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, she realized that as the school’s Director of Marketing, Communications, and Events, she could empower faculty and staff — and even students — to join forces with her, essentially turning an entire school into an extension of her marketing department.  What we discussed: - The benefits of using a subtle, relationship-based approach to get non-marketing professionals into a marketing mindset - How to help employees understand the purpose of storytelling and identify the unique value in their brand - The importance of simplified, user-friendly brand tools to equip and empower employees for greater brand cohesion - How to avoid micromanagement and over-critiquing, and what to do when employees stray off-brand - Why it’s important for employees to have easy access to marketing resources — including you


23 Mar 2021

Rank #10