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Jason Seiden on Finding The Right Story For Your Business: The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 97

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Is your company struggling with getting a consistent message across to your employees, prospects, and investors? Having everyone on the same page can really change the game for your brand.

In this Feature Friday episode of the ROI Online Podcast, Steve talks with Jason Seiden, consultant and chief of BRNSTRM about helping businesses find the right story for right now, brand audits, messaging, and positioning strategy.

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Jason has 20 years of experience working across industries, he is a leadership & executive communications consultant and chief of BRNDSTRM–a straightforward, effective methodology that gets everyone in an organization  delivering a clear, consistent answer to the question, “So, what does the company do?”

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Sometimes as entrepreneurs we have an idea of what the company is and means but we have a hard time figuring out what we're trying to say and do while putting it into a clear message that everyone understands. Luckily we don’t have to do it all by ourselves.

Among other things, Jason and Steve discussed:

  • Jasons’ backstory
  • All about Jason’s company BRNDSTRM
  • What a brand audit is
  • The meaning of brand messaging 
  • Brand positioning and how to craft a brand positioning statement and write a brand positioning strategy


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You can learn more about Jason here:

Follow Jason on LinkedIn

 

Learn more about BRNDSTRM here:

https://www.brndstrm.com/

 

Read the books mentioned in this podcast:

The Golden Toilet by Steve Brown

 

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Topics: Small Business Marketing, Podcast, Business Tips

Jason Seiden 0:00
If I could give one piece of advice for leaders out there who are, we're trying to do this for their companies, it's to make sure you're not bringing your own stuff to the table. You know, if, if you tend to be a little bit more engineering like and it's, you know, black and white and nuts and bolts, it doesn't mean that your customers are like that. So you got to make sure that you're not trying to force your team to act in nuts and bolts kind of way and come up with this black and white messaging. When your your audience may want something different.

Steve Brown 0:32
Jason Seiden, welcome to the ROI online podcast.

Unknown Speaker 0:35
Amazing.

Steve Brown 0:50
So Jason, you you have a, you have a great name for your company, BRNDSTRM. And I love them. Because it really makes sense to me brainstorms and we're gonna brainstorm around your brand. And you've been doing this for a while, tell us a little bit about how you got started and why you decided to plant your flag here.

Jason Seiden 1:12
Yeah, it's a long and sordid tale with many twists and turns. And, you know, most folks have a pretty linear career path, and I have more of a story. You know, so a collection of experiences that all kind of anchor on the same theme. And the first one was, I worked my first job out of college, I was the executive producer of Rollingstone.com. And this was early days of the internet. And it's fascinating to see how, how much competition there was, and why some companies would rise and some would fall and, you know, my job was to try you know, at a micro level, my job was to try and get 20 million people a month, you know, to kind of shepherd them to one click, or a different, you know, one link or another. But then at a macro level to I was watching these companies come and go. And oftentimes, the the strength of the company was the story of told, and it's discipline around that story. And so over the course of my career, like I turned, I went into executive coaching and development looking sort of the individual communication issues. And then social media pulled me back out into tech, because all of a sudden, what I had done on the marketing side, and now what I've done for 10 years with individuals, social media really blended those two things together, whereas an individual speech and and company's branding speech, beginner, I don't know, yeah. LinkedIn found me, tapped me on the shoulder said, we want you to be our first certified LinkedIn trainer in North America, that kind of took me on another ride, where I was figuring out how to apply this to recruiting an employer branding. And then by building my own company, and needing to drive user adoption of my own technology, I found my way back to marketing. So this whole notion of brandstorming and my background and how I got here, you know, after looking at this from a pure marketing standpoint, and a change management standpoint, and individual standpoint, recruiting standpoint, growth stamp, I'm realizing the same foundational skills are used in so many different areas, if we can master those, we can really drive some significant efficiencies across the organization.

Steve Brown 3:19
You know, LinkedIn, that's a significant thing for LinkedIn to approach you, number one, but I think the one of the biggest struggles that any leader has is to take what's in their head, and package it in a way that people can quickly understand.

Jason Seiden 3:37
Yeah, as you know, the, a colleague of mine, one say, you can't read the label when you're the one in the jar. And that's, that's the truth. And so yeah, you know, I didn't mention the personal branding, but that that's where it came from, you know, I always saw LinkedIn and social media is communication tools, not as technologies, but as communication tools. And, and so this idea of having to project a clear identity was, it was always very obvious to me that there was a need, but when I would talk to people, it was very difficult for them to do, and it was hard for them to do is individuals, especially. Because the way that I the way that I see it is people in organizations, we're always at the edge of our abilities. You know, we're always terrified that someone's going to see all the warts that we have, you know, we're always afraid that from a company standpoint, people are going to see the Mickey Mouse operation that we live in, right? And but the reality is that most people don't see that most people see the core of what we're great at. You're we're living out at the edge building new skills, developing, growing, but behind that is this core of, of excellence. And that's really what people are interested in and what they what they want to hear about. And so what makes what makes it makes it hard to read the label when you're on the jar is we're so kind of pre occupied with the edge can we forget to write so with LinkedIn and the executives I work with, it was easy for me to kind of look in their jar, I came up with a formula for it. And it's it was adapted for an individual, but basically, they would apologize for not being more and you know, for having these gaps in their resume had one person As matter of fact, an Olympic athlete, they had been an Olympic cyclist, and they went into technology. And so they're like, you know, I, my peers have done this their whole lives, what am I dude, you're, you're an Olympian, what, like, people are gonna want to talk to you about that. So real simple, you understand discipline, you understand what it takes to excel, you understand what it takes to compete at the highest levels, and, you know, bring those skills to the technology field, done. He couldn't see that, but it was clear as day from the outside. So it was a fascinating, little couple years, I spent working with personal brands. And really, it's the same thing that organizations struggle with. It's just much more internet when when someone's trying to do it for themselves.

Steve Brown 6:00
I remember I had a Christmas party for my company and my customers, and invited people and so I'm sitting there watching people mingle and, and talk and stuff. And I overhear a conversation between two customers. And the way that they were talking about my company was future value. Sure, meaning that they were talking about it, they perceive the value that we were providing, and how it was going to help them in the future. And it really convicted me because I was hung up on all the warps. Right. And it really, it really moved me to get to start owning how my customers were seeing us. And it was a it was a transformational point. But, but everything I thought about every leader has to go through that there's this point where you have to give yourself permission to see your value as your customer see you.

Jason Seiden 7:08
You know, I think you just said something really key to which is giving yourself permission. And it's not really it's not particularly brand related or communications related, you know, we can get a little esoteric and say, well, it's the internal dialogue, for sure. But, but the notion of giving ourselves permission, it's so critical. We have to be okay with that. But we all have you have to be okay, living at the edge, being imperfect, having problems and being excellent, yet at the same time. And it's it's nuanced, and it's hard. And, and I think you're you're dead on with that it's really the secret to, to get to good a lot of things, you know, but certainly it's a good branding and good messaging.

Steve Brown 7:51
A lot when I work with people and we are discussing their brand, or or their personal brand. It's derived from the why you started this whole effort anyway. You have to go back because you know, two years into the battles, you're covered with mud. Right? You're you're you've experienced losses and train wrecks and messes. There's a lot of things that go on in, in this journey. But if you don't stop and go back to go, Why in the world, did you attempt this in the first place anyway? And it was this something happened. From your why that convinced you. Wait a minute, I'm I can do this better?

Jason Seiden 8:45
Yeah, well, it's your brand storm. It's why I named this company BRNDSTRM. Its this idea that the question is not what do you want to say? It means that people don't actually struggle with what. It's the question they asked themselves and it's the question they get hung up on. But the real question is, which message do I want to bring forward right now, of all the messages really in my head of how I can describe myself, current value, future value, foundational value specific benefit to one group or another? Those are all competing for attention. And the encounter, the realization I had in my journey was the truth is already out there. And if you ask yourself, what should I say? What should I do in this situation? You're, you're denying the fact that that truth is there and you set yourself up to go on a search for it. And then if you ask yourself, well, which story should I be telling? Then you actually allow for the truth to be present. It's more like, like going through the attic. Like, you know, it's up here somewhere. You just got to find, where's that darn story that I need to be telling right now. And it it changes things dramatically. When you go from what should I say to which should I say and it it ties together with with with what you're talking about with permission. Together with what you're saying now, and it's, it's, you know, clearly we are cut from the same cloth. Because these concepts you're talking about, these are the drivers of the company that I put together. And they're the they're also the lessons that I've picked up over the years of working on brand and messaging and all these different avenues. The marketing side, the personal side, the developmental side, the recruiting side, their universal truths.

Steve Brown 10:26
Well, let's talk about yours. And in order for us to lead, we have to go to an experience and actually sit and evaluate it and derive some, some value from it some lesson that empowers us to help others when we recognize they're in that situation. So let's talk about yours.

Jason Seiden 10:47
My, my, my what my lesson my mic.

Steve Brown 10:50
Yeah, when you wish. Yeah. Well, you were obviously I get? Yeah, I would predict you were looking for the what? Yeah, and the light bulb went off for the which.

Jason Seiden 11:02
Yeah, you I'm in the jar, you know, it's always my, my witch. Right. So there's a there's a collection of stuff, you know, I have been, I'm a student, I'm a perpetual student, I love asking questions. I love learning about things, I'm blessed with a, with a mind that allows me to retain a lot of information. So, you know, the fact that I can go deep on different ways. It can go deep on topics, you know, and recall things. It's not lost on folks. And I practice it asking insightful questions, all of these things are, are true, and they all vie for attention. And, you know, I, my MBA is in organizational behavior in finance, I'm good with numbers, and I'm right, with and write, like, so, you know, my, my pool of potential which was kind of broad. And at the end of the day, I'm just good with words. That's the which I've always enjoyed writing, I have a keen ear for communication for what's being said, For subtext and context and pretext. And, you know, I'm, I'm fairly decent at figuring out the right way to put something to maximize your odds for success in a moment, I can't guarantee success. But if I can understand what you're trying to say, I can help provide the best way to save that. And all of the works. That's the which that has just come back time and time again. You know, whether it was creating copy for a website, ghost writing a presentation for a board presentation, when I was way too young to be doing something like that. Or, you know, what I'm doing now, that's, that's the, you know, that that's the bowl me over with a feather kind of moment, you know, when I, when I've called up the people who I've done work with? And I've said, All right, I'm thinking of a career career shift. I know what I sold you, right? Like, I know what I sold you, but what did you buy? And this is the this is the which that that tends to come back.

Steve Brown 13:18
And that goes back to I think, you think about the thought leaders that you really follow when you get a lot from, they really distilled down and have their messaging, what they want to say, is clear, it's obvious that they've tended it, that they've organized it, that they, they really practiced it. And yet most of us, we have to wing it on the fly. And so we struggle, but if if there was someone that could help us start to really get that dialed in, it's a major competitive advantage.

Jason Seiden 13:56
Yeah, it's, yeah, for individuals, you know, my skill is being good with words, what I do with that is help other people find and fine tune their voices. And, you know, what BRNDSTRM allows me to do is work with them to do it inside an organization. You know, it's, it's, it's interesting, you know, I've been doing the work for a long time, but the business is still fairly new. So part of it is matching how you're matching the truth to what the market is going to be receptive to. And, you know, and that's a whole other art. What I love about what I do is if, if you know that you're putting what you're, you're saying in the best possible words, now, you know, you can trust the feedback you get from the market. Right? So if you if you're not articulating something well, and you put it out to the market, and the market doesn't bite, what was it the wrong idea, or was it the right idea? poorly stated? If you know, it's well stated, and you know that okay, for people who relate to this concept, this message gets through. Now it's just a question of writer then have people out there in my in front of the right audiences or, or not? And so it's just it's interesting meta to be going through that for myself, helping others do this as well.

Steve Brown 15:12
I think for me, so my book comes from this. I realized, if I sat and really thought about all the people that came to us and asked for help with their challenge, right, they were all saying similar themes that if there was a similar request from them, but if you dug a little deeper and thought, what was the insecurity that they were trying to, to fix to feel more secure about? It became clear to me that there was an interpretation of this thing that they would ask everyone would put it in their best words, but if you took them and backed up a little bit in and started to figure out what was the internal security, insecurity, they're wanting to resolve, all of a sudden is like in those foreign films where their lips are doing this, but the English translation doesn't match, then it was like, the light bulb went off for me. And they were all saying, look, I have to get my act together online, my clients are expecting it. My customers are expecting it. I don't know where to start. And I'm insecure about it because I'm at risk. And if I don't accomplish this, I could go out of business. Yeah. And, and all that. So when they said, I think I need a new website, I think I need to show up in a search. And I think I need to do social media was was their lips doing this? Mm hmm. But the interpretation was way deeper. And that's when it became clear, oh, I need to help them. Figure out that this is a business challenge. They're overcoming not this little hurry. Let's get this little stupid marketing thing done so I can get back to real business.

Jason Seiden 17:02
Isn't it remarkable how many people mistake communications as a tactic? And it's just not it's, it's I think what makes communications issues, and I'm using that term broadly, to encompass branding and marketing. Communication is how we convey what's in our heads, and we convert what's in our heads to something tangible, to an action to a thing to a view, something that people can see in the real world. So when the communications unclear, that translation from thought to reality is unclear, and you end up creating the wrong thing, or not creating anything at all. And because of that, communication has to be treated as something strategic, it has to be treated as something more meaningful. Your, your story makes a ton of sense to me. Because, you know, if they were to if they were allowed, if these folks were allowed to treat the website is just check the box, I have a website. Well, unless the website tells the world what it's supposed to tell them, it's not gonna work. Kids right away. So you know, here's a universal experience. I'm hungry. Okay, what would you like to eat? I don't care. I just want lunch. Okay, great. And then you make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And here's why I didn't want that. Right. like, Well, I'm glad you wanted, you know, a hotdog but you didn't say I wanted a hotdog. You said you want lunch. So you got my interpretation of lunch and it was a pb&j. Yeah. If you wanted a hotdog, you should have said I want to write. And that's that. I mean, it's funny. But in business, it's tragic if we don't get it, right. That is that strategy. like figuring out up here, I want a hot dog and saying I need a website to communicate. That's what I want. I want to connect with the hotdog makers of the world's they shipped me free stuff. And by the way, please don't because I don't like hot dogs. But the point is, is it's it's not tactical, like your, your realization. And in the work that you do for companies, I think it's so important. The fact that you can read through what they're saying, to hear the underlying message, and then pull that out, work through whatever fear is keeping them from pulling out in the first place, giving them permission to be okay with it. help them find that voice. I mean, you and I are in similar lines of work. And it's just it's exciting to hear how you how you put it because I think it's it's just so important.

Steve Brown 19:30
Well, they don't know, they can ask for hotdog. Oftentimes, I realized they didn't know exist. They knew they intuitively felt. Yeah. But they didn't have the words to describe what they needed. And so it's our job to help do that translation. And that's where they settle in and feel alright, you get me and now I feel safe.

Jason Seiden 19:56
So I had a I had a formative experience in high school talking about getting somebody and feeling safe. I did, I did model UN in high school. And we would go to New York didn't What? Model United Nations, okay. And so we went to New York, and one year we were representing, I forget exactly which country but it was a country where they spoke French. And I was fortunate enough to meet the ambassadors from the country. And there is an interpreter. And these guys, they tried speaking English, and I'm in high school, and their English was was passable. But I'm listening. And I'm thinking, if I just close my eyes, and listen to what they're saying, they don't sound very intelligent, as soon as they use, but I know they are their ambassadors from a continent, jeeze, guys, you know, and then when they spoke in their natural language, and it came through the interpreter is night and day, right? Like, they're speaking fast, the interpreters presenting these concepts that are over my head, and I'm like, Okay, I gotta, I'm taking notes, when they went to English, all of a sudden, they're slowed down and waiting for. And the point I'm making is, your inability to communicate a thought, people jump to all kinds of conclusions, when you're not clear for any reason, you're either not your native tongue, or you haven't had taken the time to actually think through what it is you're trying to say, or you haven't matched it to the audience. If it's not clear, it's not just that people might bring you the wrong sandwich, they might actually come to conclusions about you that are simply not true. And, you know, so there's, there's a lot of simpatico Steven between what you're saying and, and what I see. And that experience just came up. And I wanted to share it to kind of reinforce your point of how important it is to find a way never stop finding a way to articulate that thought that's on the tip of your tongue that you intuitively know. But you can't put your finger on, do whatever you can to find a way to get it out. Because until you do, you what you're communicating to the world, is that you're confused. You don't know how to articulate the thought in your head.

Steve Brown 22:13
Wow. So you're watching or you're listening to great conversation with Jason Seiden. He's his company has BRNDSTRM, get your story straight. If you're listening on Vurbl V U R B L be sure to subscribe to our station. And if you're watching on YouTube, be sure to subscribe. This is a great channel with great conversations like with Jason. So, Jason. So this is where I like to ask, I get asked these questions all the time in different ways like we're discussing. But I want to hear your answer to these, so bear with me. We got some kind of a little lightning round, just give us like a minute to minute answer. Sure. Okay, so first of all, what is the brand audit?

Jason Seiden 23:03
I'm sure. So what's the brand audit? as the as the fire truck goes back on my site isn't important question. I'm bringing in reinforcements. What's a brand audit? A brand audit is is a look at how you're presenting yourself to the market to make sure it matches the expectations, the market has of you. That's the simple way of framing. If I were to take it one level deeper, there's a great line a lot of people in business know it, it comes from Sun Tzu, The Art of War. And it's basically if you know the other guy, and you know yourself, you never need to fear battle. And while your prospects are not exactly enemies, the idea of understanding the market understanding yourself and the relationship between those two is a competitive advantage and a brand audit is to is just checking the alignment between where you are and what the market expects of you.

Steve Brown 23:56
And that application would be similar with a personal brand, as it is a corporate brand.

Jason Seiden 24:01
Absolutely.

Steve Brown 24:03
Excellent. Alright, so what is a brand message?

Jason Seiden 24:08
Brand message is how you convey your value to the market. And the complexity of the brand message is that although it's about you, you don't control it, you only get to influence it. Ultimately, it's what other people perceive to be true. You know, it's like that old show Family Feud, you know, top 100 answers from people we talk to on the street doesn't matter if if you get asked a question, you know, the answer to what matters is what 100 other people think the right answer is. So you know, the brand message is ultimately that perception that you're able to leave in somebody else's mind about what you do.

Steve Brown 24:51
Well, excellent. So what is brand positioning?

Jason Seiden 24:57
Brand positioning is where you start developing your brand message. So, how do you develop a brand message? How do you come up with a slogan a tagline and perception Well, you need to know who you are and who the market is. So, you need to know what value you provide to what group of people so that they can go do what thing or solve what problem and the brand positioning is, the is all the stuff that goes into conveying that you solve this problem for that particular group of people. So they can go do some other thing. And your positioning is the constant reinforcement of that, that idea. And, you know, again, our use just a quick analogy, but I don't know. Bear aspirin. It sounds headaches, you know, actually, NyQuil, right? Like the nighttime sniffly, sneezy, you know, so you can rest medicine, NyQuil helps people with colds and flu, get a good night's sleep, so that they can be healthy the next day. That's it. That's what they do. Doesn't matter what else is going on their brand position is you need a night's sleep and you have the flu, you need a NyQuil?

Steve Brown 26:16
Well, excellent. So what is a brand positioning statement?

Jason Seiden 26:22
Where that all starts, right. So you want to own that particular real estate in somebody else's mind, you want them to have a particular perception of you, you have all the competitors trying to do all their stuff, you're trying to carve that one little area out for yourself. So your brand positioning starts with a statement. But you literally write out, I solve x, I solve this thing for this group of people. So moving into this other stuff. And then that statement just exists, you know, it's the kind of thing that you print out on a sheet of paper, stick it to your wall, stapled to your forehead, whatever you need to do, so that anytime you come up with a message, you can come back and say, does this message reinforce some part of that brand positioning statement? You know, does it reinforce either that we solve this problem, or that we work with this particular group of people? Or that we let them go do this new thing, or some component of it? But you know, from a discipline standpoint, if you're not getting back to one of those three things, doesn't matter how good the message is, it's out? It's not right.

Steve Brown 27:21
This is how you can eliminate confusion about your brand about what your employees are. it aligns a lot of things.

Jason Seiden 27:30
Yeah, as a matter of fact, I think on my website, I call it an anchor statement. You know, I have way too much business school and where's like positioning and they get kind of tough to follow. But it's an anchor statement. It's your, you know, with clients that also call it a true north statement it is, it's the thing that sits depending on where you are in your business, it could it could be why you do what you do. It could be how it could be white, it probably has elements of all of those things. Simon Sinek does a great job of saying, Hey, you know, the right way to do it is start with why. So your why might be part of your your positioning statement. But but it is what I call an anchor statement because it does exactly what you're what you're doing. It anchors everybody on the same idea gets them on the same page. And no matter what direction people are going to, they should be able to remain tethered to this core idea at all times.

Steve Brown 28:25
That's cool. I like that name anchor statement. It really conveys a lot of different things, but an example and great communication. How to Write How do you write a brand positioning strategy?

Jason Seiden 28:44
If I only knew the so there's a lot of ways to write it right? And there's a there's a, I'm not going to give you the correct answer. And that's why I'm laughing. The correct answer is it's like, hey, there's a lot of different ways to think about positioning. And there's nine different ways that you can kind of consider your value versus the market. And you can anchor yourself against a competitor in B or C anti that guy or you can be price oriented or you can have a value that you attach to there's all these different ways. The way that I write it is a little bit different. I believe the truth is out there. You know it. We all talk about gut feelings, right? Well, if you're having a gut feeling, and we all want to trust our gut, the idea is that can't be real unless your gut is reacting to something that already exists. So what is that thing? And in apropos of what we were talking about before, usually when I get into an organization, there's already messaging. It's probably not disciplined. It's a little all over the map, but it exists. There's stuff that's out there. And what that means is the truth is out there and the truth is going to be buried in those documents. And these folks are probably too close to it to see, they can't tell the difference between, you know, some of their messaging was probably written for their current value, some was written for future value, some is different benefits, right? It's all out there. But I guarantee that the truth, their gut has been pushing them in a particular direction. And there's a thread that ties a lot of those materials together, they can't see it, because they're too close to it. But how do I write a brand positioning message? I start with what exists, and I go look for those threads. And then I come back and I say, Hey, here's some threads that I have discovered in your messaging. Let's talk about this. And we start with that. And usually, that elicits those light bulb moments, where it's like, Yeah, I would love to, but I'm afraid, you know, of leaving this other group out, or I'm afraid of, or I'm afraid of, or I'm afraid of. Right. And, and all of the noise is basically them trying to allay their fears. So I know you asked for a one minute answer, and that was a little bit longer. To summarize, you have a soundbite for it, how do I write it? I look at existing messaging, I look for the common thread the truth, that is straining to find its way out. And I try and carve away as much of the stuff that was added because of fear. And I look at that that's not right. Then we go back and we start doing more traditional marketing things to assess what is the market looking for? Where are you misaligned? And how do we align with the very first thing I do is I start with what exists to see if we can leverage that.

Steve Brown 31:29
Along that so at you actually have a framework in place that you follow? And so I would, I would boil down to what you said, is that how to write a brand positioning strategy. Jason has a framework to do that.

Jason Seiden 31:48
Thank You make it sound so simple. You know, there's, you know, Yes, I do. My framework is a little bit different than others, and that I start with existing material. But yeah, it comes down to like everybody, you know what, I'm like a snowflake. I, I am unique in my own ways. And from four feet away, I have exactly the same as everybody else.

Steve Brown 32:08
Yeah. But that's right, there is the essence of the challenge of positioning your brand, to convey your unique expertise and value, right? Because when you backup everybody looks the same. So the challenge is, how do you make your brand really convey the essence of your expertise, your perspectives, not everyone else's?

Jason Seiden 32:37
So the way that I do that is I do this show, and I pull marketing value from you for my own business. having a conversation to help others, but learning never stops. I so appreciate it.

Steve Brown 32:53
Excellent. So you're listening to or you're watching a great conversation on the ROI online podcast with Jason, Seiden, S E I D E N. If you're listening on Vurbl V UR B L I'm spelling a bunch in this episode here. Check out Vurbl if you're not on Vurbl you need to be but be sure to subscribe to our channel. And then if you're watching on YouTube, be sure to subscribe as well. So Jason always like to ask this question. So you love talking about what you do. But what's one question? I haven't asked that you love the answer?

Jason Seiden 33:31
A question? You know, curse you? Absolutely. I asked the same darn question of almost everybody. And I do think that I'd be prepared, it came back to me, and I'm not <laugh> a question that I wish you would ask would be interesting, the most challenging, you know, sure. Why can't people do this for themselves? What is the hardest thing? How does that manifest? The So what? So let's ask that. You know, it's interesting, I see a lot of overlap between people's personalities and our personal ability and what happens in a business. I find a lot of decisions. We like to say they're rational, we do the ROI analysis. Nope, they're rationalized, we go find the right numbers to match what we wanted them to say in the first place. And it's a little cliche to say fear is what gets in the way of a lot of people. But it's, it's it's something personally, it's fear. It's usually something very Yeah, very, I don't want to say broken but we all have, we all have gaps. We all have needs, and those tend to show up and how we how we manage them, and it creates blind spots for a team. So you know, if I could give one piece of advice for leaders out there who are we're trying to do this for their companies, it's to make sure you're not bringing your own stuff to the table. You know, if, if you tend to be a little bit more engineering like, and it's, you know, black and white and nuts and bolts, it doesn't mean that your customers are like that. So you got to make sure that you're not trying to force your team to act in nuts and bolts kind of way and come up with this black and white messaging, when your your audience may want something different.

Steve Brown 35:32
That's excellent. When you think about the fear that you're talking about. Why is it so hard for us to come up with really clear messaging of what we do, you know, when you study story, you meet the hero that's in this status quo, they're really like, in the zone, they're comfortable, and then all sudden, they learn something, that their status quo is not going to remain this thing. And so now we get to observe how they deal with that, and how they make the change to get back to a status quo that they're comfortable with. So that means they're in their comfort zone. But then they get pushed into an uncomfort zone, which introduces internal and securities.

Jason Seiden 36:15
Yeah, well, so I am free tax pyramid, I like to think of the the, the end, the baseline will be a little bit better than the beginning baseline, or just to make the story worth it. That's, that's my audition. But yeah, I find in business in particular, it's a really good framework, because most people want things to be very linear. They want their careers to be linear, they want the message to market to be linear. And the reality is, is that as human creatures, we are built for stories. So we if you strip the conflict out of a marketing message, it's not compelling. If you strip the conflict out of internal dialogue, career path is just a series of jobs. If there's nothing to do, they don't mean anything. So staying with marketing for a second, I've had a number of companies I've worked with, where, you know, they just, hey, we want to we want to put our value out there. You know, and that should be enough. But it's really not, I mean, I'm going through my day. Okay, thank you for sharing with me your value what's, uh, to me, unless you give me the conflict, unless you say, hey, you probably have this problem. Let's you're willing to step in. And the conflict could be like, yeah, we solve one thing, we don't solve this other thing. We just don't do it. You know, unless you introduce conflict into the messaging and into your conversations, there's, there's nothing for people to grab onto. Because they're, they're looking for that story. They're looking for that inciting moment, you know, you got to break them out of exposition and get them into that rising tension. And unless you do that you cannot engage them. So it's, it's a really powerful framework I find for thinking about communications. You know, it's, it's a fear of that desire to control things. It's kind of scrub all the conflict out of them. It's not going to work.

Steve Brown 38:06
Well, if you go back to your NyQuil example. If, if that message is like, here's the night Say that again, what was it was...

Jason Seiden 38:17
Try remember the the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, achy head, so you can rest medicine.

Steve Brown 38:23
There you go. Yeah. So if when you read that, in your mind, you're gonna go, Oh, they understand what I'm dealing with. It's right at get me, I feel better about the solution. And so therefore, that's where the the connection is made emotionally. Oh, they get me. And I feel safe with these guys, because they've spent a lot of time on trying to resolve what I'm struggling with. And that's trying to get a good night's sleep.

Jason Seiden 38:53
It's it. Yeah, it's a simple story. But it's a story. It's got a little conflict.

Steve Brown 38:59
Great conversation, Jason. But yeah, thank you so much. So if folks are kind of connecting with you here, they want to go through your framework, your exercise that helps them explore what their personal brand is, or maybe their corporate brand. How do they connect with you?

Jason Seiden 39:17
Sure, I made it real easy. They can come to the website, BRNDSTRM.com, no vowels, B R N D S T R M.com. And, you know, give me a call, there's buttons all over the place to set up a discovery call. I'll say 15 minutes. And the first thing that I like to do with folks is make sure that the framework is the right framework for what they're doing. So I don't want to take on a business. It's not right, there's life is too short. So I would definitely encourage people hit the website, sign up for you know, set up a call. We'll talk for a few minutes, and we can talk through what's there. And if somebody is looking just to connect, more down and dirty, they can find me on LinkedIn. I'm at Seiden, S E I D E N

Steve Brown 40:01
Excellent, Jason, you've been a great guest on the ROI online podcast.

Jason Seiden 40:06
Thanks, Steve.

Steve Brown 40:07
All right. That's a wrap.

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