The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

105. From Cornflakes to Customer Experience, It’s All About Brand w/ Susan Meier


It’s not just a box of cornflakes. It reflects something about you as a parent far beyond ingredients, taste, and health benefits. 


How does your breakfast cereal make you feel about yourself?


In this episode, I interview Susan Meier, Founder and Principal at Susan Meier Studio, about creativity and brand strategy:


Susan & I discuss:


- The relationship between brand and customer experience


- What people are really afraid of about creativity


- The pervasive contempt of design as a waste of time


- The Venn diagram of customer research and customer needs


Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:




- Patagonia


- Doximity


- Tony Petito, Singapore Repertory Theatre (& the email)


Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

Much like in our relationships withother humans, a lot of it is about how that other party makes you feel aboutyourself or how youere able to see yourself Bya that other ANA party, the single most important thing you cando today, is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers,learn how sales marketing and customer success experts create internalalignment, achieve desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in apersonal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here'syour host, ethen bute creativity, strategy and productivity to deliverremarkable experiences for our customers. Creativity, strategy andproductivity should have a much closer relationship and a more seanlessrelationship with one another. Today's guest brings a Creator's mindset to thecraft of strategy over the past decade. She's helped all kinds of clients likePepsi, Co and Sam Sung, with strategy messaging and design throuh her ownstudio, priors starting her studio. She built a career in business, consultingin brand strategy within an agency setting she's a SCULPTURA artist, whodid a double major in ourt history in Italian literature at Dartmouth, whohad a residency at the school of Visual Arts in New York and who earned an MBAfrom Harvard business school. So she embodies the balance of creativity andstrategy for greater productivity and impact Susan Bayer. Welcome to thecustomer experience podcast. Thank you so much for Havi me yeah. I'm reallyexcited about this conversation. I love your state admission and we'll get intothat. Probably halfway through the conversation or so I see this is aconversation in two parts, but before we kind of get into either of thoseparts, I like to start where I start with everyone which is customerexperience. When I say customer experience to you Susan, what does thatmean? You know, I think the customer experience is very much about therelationship that you're building with your customer. In fact, I often definethe brand as the actual relationship and the experience is an important partof that and that experience can be on many platforms. In many formats, butit's that feeling that you have when you're, connecting to the brand theproduct to the people that are involved- and I think that's the most importantthing about your company and your brand- is that relationship that you'rebuilding? I love a lot of the language that you use there an, and you covereda lot of really important ground. You started with relationship which is ournumber one core value at Bombam and in traditionally, of course, we thinkabout it with the people which you didt mention, but you inchored it in thefeeling that we get by the interactions with product people and othertouchpoints. So what dis just one step deeper there when you say relationship,because you led with it like what dos relationship kind of conjure for youlike what is that word choice? How did you make it so I do. I think it's reallyinteresting how it goes beyond what we traditionally as humans. Think of isrelationship is between person and person and think what really drew meinto branding actually coming out of a pure strategy background was seeing howpeople had these really intimate personal relationships with brandswhere they didn't have connections with people. You know it wasn't a retailsituation, it was corflix right or it was. It was aproduct where they had never met any of the people that worked for that companypersonally interacted with any of those people. They had an actual relationshipwith that product that made them feel a certain way that made that loyal tothat product that made them. You know when social media became more vibrant,that made them ont to engage with that product, and I remember thinking in theearly days of facebook how poetic it was that people were friending Brans onFacebook, and I thought that was such a nice metaphor for that relationshipthat people have between themselves and their products before you even get tothe people in the customer service or the retail environment. I love it. Whatare Woald in your experience? What are some of the key drivers of that feeling?Obviously it's a positive feeling. Generally, it could go in to variety ofdirections. It could be, I feel cared for. I feel like they entertain me. Ifeel nostalgic. It could be a variety of feelings, but what do you thinkdrives that you know I think much like in ourrelationships with other humans? A lot of it is about how that other partymakes you feel about yourself or how you're able to see yourself via thatother ANDSA party, because this applies to your best friend or your partner,and also your box ofcort places strangely enough, but it's how thatthing makes you feel about yourself, and I guess I start with porn place,because I did a lot of an early in my careor. Did A lot of food consumergoods work and worked quite a bit with...

...cereal, and you know I think it's aneasy example to wrap your mind around where you know, if your your marketingcereal part of what you're marketing is what's in the box and that's important,you know the the ingredients and the health benefits and the taste, butreally what you're marketing in a lot of keycases to the mom who's going toserve. It is the way that she's going to feel about herself, so she's goingto feel, like you know, a good mom, and what does that mean to her and thatprobably means different things for different segments, which then choosedifferent cereals right. You want to be the Mon that brings joy and fun to thebreakfast table. You want to be the mom that feels like you're, giving a childte the very best most most healthful organic food. You know so so it's areally convenient way of thinking about it. When you use a simple example likethat yeah, I love it. That's really well done and I think we're going toget deeper into it. It's interesting, I did. I did a short self episode on thispodcast, where I was trying to capture the essence for the purpose of apresentation I was giving of all the feedback I've received when I askdpeople. This question of you know defined customer experience essentially,and I boiled it down it's it's about how you make people feel and how d youmake them feel about themselves. How you make them feel about you, your logo,your people, your product, etceterait's, it's all this feeling basis so where Iwant to go from that, because you've wrapped some of that in brand typelanguage. Let's talk about brand versus customer experience, brand experienceversus customer experience. I've had a couple different schools of thought inthese conversations. One of them is that they're synonymous brandexperiences, customer experiences, brand experience and the otherconversation has been essentially brand- is the promise we're making to ourcustomers and when reality hits in the rubber meets the road that is thecustomer Experienceis, the fulfillment of or the meeting of or the exceedingof or the failure of the brand promise. I guess talk about brand. What doesbrand mean, and what do you think it's relationship is to customer experience? Yeah you framed up a couple F, interestingthoughts there for me, because I think my initial reaction is for me it's allof a piece. It's all one thing we can use different terms for it, but reallyit's all one whollistic thing and it's an experience. We can call it grand andcall it service whatever, but I think that's a really interesting notion thatthere and I use the work promise a lot when I talk about branding with myclients, because I do think that a brand is a promise and he the notionthat the experience then that you have is the delivery of that promise and youmeed to uphold that promise is an interesting one. So if you're thinkingabout it more branding from a more of a marketing perspective right that youknow if I iand my team ar writing the brand story and those are messagesthayre going to go up on the website or on the packaging or on social media,those are promises, but we have to deliver on those promises and thatbecomes the experience. That's actually a really nice way of thinking about itcool and I I hate going down these roads. If Itend to do it, it's like it is a little bit of his Samantics at some level weremaking promises over the phone or through website chat or in ourmarketing copy, we're making all these promises and we need to honor them ifwe're going to build trust with people generate positive, word of mouthgenerate, repeat: Purchasing etcet, etce, so ats, some level it's it gets alittle bit semantic. So I hate going down that road, but it's also how Ioperate so here we are so you've consulted all kinds of companies andfeel free to address the range of it in kind of sit this up for you. What doyou wish more people? You know? Typically, the people listening to thisshow are operators inside businesses. We primarily speak to marketing salesand customer success kind of across the customer life cycle across the revenuewith their. What do you wish? More of the more of those people knew orunderstood about brand or the brand strategy in general, like when you'restarting new with a client who's, maybe came by referral, they didn't do a tonof homework they're. Just like you need to talk to my friend Susan, and theycome a little bit cold like what are some of the notions that you reallyneed to kind of Suss out and or knock down early on whell. You know the firstone that came to mind is that intention is actually really important and that'snot something that you typically find into marketing hundred and one pastboog. It's really all about. Like you know. How can you execute perfectly oras close to perfectly on this promise? But in fact consumers are veryere.customerous humans are very forgiving and, and the authenticity and genuineintention of the folks that are delivering Wis Frand Promise IISactually meaningful to them, even when they don't get it perfectly right, andso, I think, of an example in an you...

...ask about the range of work that I do.I mentioned cereal and it really ID my career that I did a lot of foodmarketing food branding and in the last ten years or so since, starting my owncompany, I have somehow organicly moved into health and wellness, then actuallydone a lot of work in the specifically healthcare space and if es Si andthat's a complicated space, is a complicated space to deliver on yourpromise. In particular, I worked with recently with a payer like a healthinsurance company which you know are notoriously sometimes have contangous relationshipswith their audiences and what was heartening and interesting for me, anddefinitely for them to find is that when they were able to deliver even ina universe where they had a lot of disgruntlemen the folks they wereserving when their customer service team was able to deliver moments ofwhat I call moments of delight. We interviewed a bunch of physicians toask about what their experience was with this insurance provider and others,and we are the usual grumbling about different things. But then we heardthese stories of, but there was this one time were this amazing serviceagent helped me speed through this approval, when I had this patient whoneeded surgery the next day- and I was so appreciative- or even you know,these guys denied my claim- they made a mistake and it was such a pain, andthen I called them. They were apologetic, it fixed it right away, andI came away having a good experience and I thought that was such a powerfullearning. You know, even in a worst case scenario where people arefrustrated, they don't have as much brand love as you would like them tohave, and they maybe even had an explicitly bad experience. You canstill deliver by being well intentioned. By being honest, you know takingresponsibility for if it's a mistake and come out with a delighted, customerand an really positive experience, and so I think that's something that peopledon't often think about going into a branding project or thinking about Branstralogy yeah. I really like that. I certainly a negative experience givesus an opportunity to do a dramatic recovery. The worst CAS is that peopleare completely indifferent and they don't feel anything at all and or thatthey maybe harbor some of these negative feelings and they don't engageyou directly and give you a chance to overcome it. That's why it's soimportant to look at some, like the softer signals of you, know,dissatisfied people you got to something there, I'm just curious. What your take is issomeone who has been in brand and brand strategy for years is something I'veobserved in part through these conversations on the show is that somany good qualities of a delivered experience and of a company and of abrand is our qualities, have just a good person, the kind of person youlike to have in your life, someone who shows up someone who pays attention,someone who does a nice job listening, someone who's there, maybe pick you upwhen you're feeling a little bit down someone stare to maybe give you alittle bit of a kick when you need a kick to get moving. You know there arehuman qualities in this which I guess ties me back to where we were when youdefied customer experience. But what do you think about human humanity? Humanqualities? Is this increasing? Is it something people want more of, or is itsomething that companies are waking up to, or is this not even a thing at all?In your perspective, yeah, it's funny I' actually written a lot about thisnotion of branc. As friends as I was saying, before par early on by thenotion of friending, a brandch which, at that time, felt a bit strange andand beautiful and of course now that's become very common, but, taking thatmetaphor further to say exactly, as you have said, what that relationship meansand what you expect as a customer of a brand and what you can and shoulddeliver as a branch to your customers are very much the same same rules applyof what you would want to do with your best friend or with your husband orwife Right. If you know you want to be consistent, you want to be trustworthy.You want to occasionally deliver some deligh or excitement you want to showup with quality and also be kind and compassionate and those things madedifferent things in different contexts and across different products. But Ithink those are y kind of universal principles and thinking about thatBrandan anthropomorphised way actually is really helpful to take it,especially when it's a product that you know, I work a lot nowadays and a BTBspace, and I think it's especially Howpol for Businessshi business. Folksto think about it in this way, because it's very easy to think that you're onestep removed from you know if you have a consumer good, it's easier to thinkabout that human, Compassionate Relationship U've at the sereals andthe MOMS. If you're selling, you know operational optunization software, it'sa little harder, but to I always remind... clients, the person there is adecision maker on the other end of that sales deal who's a human being. who hasaspirations and emotions and wants a connection in a relationship just likethe mom, bying sereal, and even though they're buying something on behalftheir organization, even though that thing that they're buying yes, they'relooking for technical spects and it may not seem as emotional it actually is.You know that person cares about their job. They care about how they're viewedin their organization they care about their purpose and their role at workand so tapping into those things can be extremely powerful for a Beuto Borganization. Who may not think that way already really really well said. Itreminds me of a great phrase that was in an episode here. I hate continuingto refer to the show, but it was described to e, irrational, buyingforces. This idea that, if you can allow me to feel whatever we want to feel connected,appreciated, understood cared for secure whatever that some of the someof the rationality just falls away, and I'm going to go with you for thatfeeling. Let's get really practical for a minute folks that are listening,they're like okay. This is really good. I like this language. This makes methink about my work and some of the things I like about it and what I tryto do in my day today, but Git me give me this will be a two layer. One giveme something practical that someone who wants to kind of revisit their brand orbrand strategy what' something they could do today or this week to kind ofthink about it differently or initiate a review or something like that. So one place, I often recommend peopleto start is with self reflection exercise, because Ithink that we're you know typically trained in strategy or in business ingeneral to take that approach of. Let's look at our competitors: Let's look atour context, regulatory whatever it is in our context, that's going on andthen look at our capabilities, and these things are all important but kindof going back to that notion of it being about relationships andauthenticity. It's important Ju and can be really enlightening and if nothingelse is quite fun to go back and just spend a couple of hours doing anexercise where you look at like what are r four values as a company or teamor an individual or whatever size organization you are and what does thatimply for what our Frand Hillars are going to be? We can use different wordsfor brandpillars, but you know what are those three to five things that we wantto say about ourselves like we believe we always. We will never those kinds ofthings, and you know a lot of organizations have those things. Itsounds like you have identified those things in your organization, but notall of them do and and those that do it's really easy, especially in a largeorganization for this to like floats so high up that their platitudes and so todo that exercise from time to time to revisit both. You know what is our ownperception of what ov our own beliefs and values, and then what are the kindof key elements of the brand, as we see them, words pictures whatever thosethings might be, and I have a little workbooks that I provide people with.You know: collaging poetry, kind of exercise to help them do that which isgain, makes it a little bit fun. But after you know a few hours of doingthat self refletion, you can then go and compare it to that. Traditionalstrategy work that you're doing like how does our commat messaging arpositioning compared to the others? What can we deliver on better? You know:Where can we leverage our capabilities with an overlay of that stuff whichwill help you get to that emotional connection? And also, you know ankory.You make sure that you're not doing something. That is at odds with your. You know your desire, culture and yourbeliefs really good. It's so difficult to take time to make time to do that,because it doesn't feel like I'm producing any kind of a piece of workor a deliverable or an outcome, but it's so important to do because itunderpins all the decisions that we're making day today at pretty much everylevel of the organization. Let's go one layer higher there. I said this was atwo parter, so if someone was to engage you or undertake it on their own orwhatever just sketch out at a very, very high level, what did the nextseveral weeks or several months look like if someone is to undertake a verythorough review and or restructuring of brand strategy like what are the bigbuilding black pieces like? What's the process look like yeah, and so probablythe stuff I just describe is probably step to step. One is get everybody allthe sjake holders involved, either in a room or in a series of interviewsdepending on the culture of the organization. But somehow here are thevoices that are involved internally and...

...capture you know whereeverybody'scoming from and what their visions are and sometimes they're aligned. It'salways an illuminating exercise, sometimes they're misaligned and thenit's an extraordinarily important exercise, but as tore getting everybodyon the same page and capturing all that amazing resident knowledge, andsometimes it's Nowig someimes is just believs, then doing that sert of selfreflective peace and then I think the other critical portion is going out andtalking to your customers and organizations of different sizes havedifferent budgets. For that. To be sure you know, if you're a large billiondollar company, you can do this in a n, n amazing, thorough and fancy way, butyou also don't have to you can do this. As a you know, single shingle organization,with a quick survey monkey or a couple of well placed phone, calls toimportant custer emails. You know, but just the act of asking for feedback itdoesn't have to be more complicated than when you ask for testimonial foryour website, which is right, no big deal, but getting that the sixty viewof what are we doing well, wh? What do you think? Why did you hire us or whydid you buy our product? And what do you like about it? What don't you likeabout it? You know what do you think of the other people whoare doing the samething that I yau or how do you think I'm different, because how I think I'mdifferent might not be the same as how they think I'm different, even if Iknow them I mean have had this experience with my own business. Evenif I've been working with them for a year, I can't read their mind. I mightfeel that they're pretty happy with the relationship, but I can't articulatenecessarily why they're happy or what makes them continue to work with me orrecommend me so that experience is critical and it's one you know.Sometimes people are Tryin to skip either because they've done some, youknow. Oh, we did a big quantitative survey last year, so I think we knowwhat's going on or you know we don't have the budget ot the time for that,and I really encourage people to do in a really more qualitatede way, even ifit's very small to have those the words of your customer. Their actual words,which is different from a quantitaative survey in your ears, is extraordinarilypowerful and I don't think I've ever done. Customer Research where I didn'tlearn something that was a surprise to the client and that helps them movetheir grand positioning or their innovation strategy forward. So good. Icompletely agree it's you know it's one of the reasons I still like NPS a lotof people and it's easy to criticize it. But there is the number, but you knowsome Sharean spcypically, a pretty good share of people who give you the numberuse very specific language to justify it, and it's so interesting, because aseven isn't to seven isn't to seven. It could be a seven that could have shoulda would have been attend and you just read the language and their word choiceand like that blend, just wanted to reinforce hat. I completely agree thatthere's no substitute for the language people use and in a lot of cases, thepunctuation that they use. You know th, sometimes Peopleil, all cap, somethingin particular for good or for bad and there's just so much color and nuancein in that feedback. That is certainly missed when you go numbers only. Youreally teed up my kind of my last question in the zone of theconversation around Brandon brand strategy, which is I'm of the mind thatthe customer owns the brand. I'm of the mind that the customer gets to definecustomer experience and what it is the customers reality is the reality, andall we can do is try to understand that experience and influence thatexperience in those perceptions in those feelings so that we can move themkind of where we want them to go. It kind of brings up this other atension,I'm going to fold two other pieces and a give it back to you for whatevercomes to mind. There's first customer research, which you already did a nicejob addressing I'm but feel free to double back on that. So we need to. Weneed to talk to them. Listen to them give them means of feeding it back,because I think it's theirs to define right and then the other layer is youhave this tension between who we are or who we think we are who we want to beour own aspirations for ourselves, some of these pillars and we always and wenever and we believe and then there's also the customer and who they want tobe, how they want to feel about themselves and or our idealizedcustomer and who we want to attract and there's kind of this gap between them.So I guess what I'm talking around here and feel free to tie this all up in anice bow because IFM, I'm sure someone listening he's gonna like okay. Whatare we doing here? It's this tension between. I think and tell me if youagree or not, that the customer gets to define the brand, so we need tounderstand where they are perceptually and then there's also this gap betweenwho we want to be and who the customer needs or wants us to be and thinks weare, and we need to do that research so that we can create some activity andideally, some outcomes that move our brand perception. Ind, our customerexperience where we wanted to go yeah.

I think Wel, there's so much in therethat you just said that I relate to and want to respond to so I'll. Just startwith there's two levels of fear deliverable from that customer insight,work and one is surely more of a functional like what do they need fromwhat we're you know like give us some feed back on the actual widgit thatwe're selling, and you know how can we make it better and different, but themost important part from a really long standing brand perspective is thatemotional layer and really understanding who they are, what theyneed? Who they would like to be? And you know we often do like a just so day,the life work walk through experience, walk through not even to do with theproduct to start. So I think those are some layers that are important in termsof getting and that's why not all research is created equal. Anotherthing that you brought to mind is: Yes: There are these two peces and I thinkof it as a ven diagram. Although really, I think two of the circles are the mostimportant in the ones that you're talking that we're talking about iskind of who we are who they are and if there's really a gap between those twothings, the implication to me there is that we haven't defined our audienceclearly enough. Yes, there's also probably a potential for innovation,but it shouldn't feel like a gap. It should feel like an overlap andeverything you do is going to do it for everyone out there. So part of it isimproving understanding them better. So we can ipprove how we serve them, butpart of it is also defining your audience. You don't you don't have to,and you can't be everything to ever want so figuring out what it is. Whoare those people for hom? You are really relevant anduseful and appealing and then working to find them and t serve them and todelight them. You know those are slightly different activities, so Ithink that's that's a big part of the game and then the other circle by theway and my imaginary Van Diagram is the kind ofhowword different piece thinking about what makes you what's your UNIC BOCcarn, you know like what t? What is it that you bring to this party? That'sthat's! No one else. Does I love it and do you feel like that? Unicorn Horn canbe perseptual and attitudinal and based in feeling, I think it can be yeah. I mean I think,listen we live in a saturated world, you know you buy a pen or a phone or anapple and there's a million choices for those things or pesus software. Whatyou name it so, yes, I think almost it has to be partly defined by that. Onthe other hand, I think that you know actual quality. Craftsmanship is stillimportant and there is still room for brand new novel breaks through ideasand those things aren't to be disapounted. I don't think we're justselling beliefs and ideas, but I think that a combination is very powerful, soI have a quality product and I have a set of beliefs and actions thatresonate with those folks who are interested in my quality product.That's a real home run, good love it let's shift a little bit and get to a mission of yours, which is to kind oferase the border between creativity and strategy. Speak to that a little bitlike. What's your motivation here, obviously you have you have a passionaround this. What's your motivation here? Why does the border exist in youknow what are some ways at that you're seeing to be effective to erase thatborder? So you know, I think why I feel that it's a passion- and you know evento the level of calling it a mission- is because I've seen it bothindividually, an organizationally, be something that really holds people back.So as individuals over the course of my life, I have sencerinly career. I haveseen way too many people who are either kind of under flourishing in their roleor frustrated, or maybe even just tape, shut themselves down and definethemselves in a certain way like I'll, never be that or I'm done, a' acreative bone in my body and yet of course, they do, and I think that youknow people have the opportunity to leverage all the different sides ofthourselves like what creattiity looks like in each of us can be very, verydifferent, but I can't imagine saying that anyone is not creative. They maynot be able to paint that's fine, but but that culd that creativity is whatmakes us human, and so I thin. It also makes us really happy. So when I hearpeople say they're, not creative, it makes me want to go kno. You are, let'stalk about it, so that's the individual perspective and then from anorganizational perspective, which is you know where my professional worklises. I see it all the time and orgsations that you know word doorganizations that furnish to find...

...themselves as creative and those whovery much define themselves as analytical and both of them tend tohave a sort of look down through the nose at the other, and I think they'remissing something. You know I think they could really in each case benefitfrom. You know that that created hat MMUSIC or media or advertising agency,where you know the creative side is on the pedestal and everybody else is wellthey're, just a number pusher. Well, you know you might actually learnsomething from thinking about it from the outside and and you know, bringingthose two people into the same room with the same level of respect. Andlikewise you go to the you know: Strategy Consulting firm or themanufacturing plan or the SOTWARE engineering division. And you know theygo oh well. We don't make any spledge of pictures here. You know pictures arefor dummies. You actually someones pictures really help convey informationand it might be worth while to include some illustrations in the work thatyou're doing. Just as one example, so I think that you know those two thingsplaying together and I think this is really the foundation of the wholenotion of design, thinking and all of its cant just Ip offspring, that the two sides thatcreative analytical side playing together can really be a situationwhere oneof pus one. It was more than two, and so I you know that's Kird ofwhat I preach. It also happens to just be how I work because it's how I'mwired so I sort of have to work that way, but I do think that it's I've seenit be really helpful in organizations that I've worked with, where they'reable to unlock a different side of themselves to great benefit yeah. Itreminded me of so many different kind of these aren' pilarities, but you knowyou can draw them as distinct and separate and sometimes far away fromeach other, and yet all all the best solutions come from a both end,typically a both end perspective and that we really do need. We do need themto work together and I love the you opened up on somewhere. I actuallywanted to go, which is you know something we hear a lot or we, ourGoalis, to help people be face to face more often in their day to daycommunication through simple personal videos and what we wind up, seeing witha lot of people just getting started as that's not for me, I'm not a videoperson and- and just like your message is like there's Crea divity, all thisI's like no. This is not about hosting. You know a super popular YoutubeChannel. This is just about you being you to be more personal and human. Whatdo you do like when you find that a person or an organization is a littlebit scared of being creative? I think there's an element of finding yourvoice, which I think a lot of people struggle with is to like you know,because they're not used to exercising it. What do you think, first of all,did I use an appropriate word for some of the experiences you've had fear. Doyou find that people fear approaching the creative or starting to evenselfidentify, as partly creative, there's a fear around how they'll beperceived and there's a fear around eroting productivity, and I use theword credictivity varrier early on in this conversation, and I think that's a bigone- that people have this idea, that creativity is the enemy of productivityor, like there, two different sides of the coin, and we know which of coursecouldn't be further from the truth. I mean, I think, in the example of yourvideo product. The whole idea is not to waste time making a cute video. Thewhole idea is that you're doing something creative, which vastlyincreases your engagement, which is super productive, and so you know Ithink so. So your question was: How do I break through that barrier? You know a lot of it is in the process.So there's not like a Primar on you know here I'm going to teach you thesethings and then you're going to be a believer. It's the tools. I, as Iintentionally use tools that are, you know, get people off their screens, getpeople using their hands using pess paper pencils. And yes, this is alittle bit more challenging in our current online world, but okay, we'reon a screen, but I'm still not letting you use software instead of postednotes, you're going to sit in front of a white wall, we're going to do thesame exercise, the same way that we did when we were in a room together,because guess what using a Pencil and caring paper tearing pictures from apiece of paper and putting a piece of Cape on it, activates a different partof your brain. I mean there's actually research on that than simply movingyour mouse and you know allaying stuff out on your powerpoint right. So thatis a very big part of what I do when it's a particularly I've had a fewclients who you know the the person who engages me also has to be sort ofbought into this or it doesn't work.

But when I have particularly clans, whomight BA particularly resistant and the person who's hired me or the people,whohve hired me know that, and I explicitly want me to work on that.Well, even go one step further, O we'll do things like walking exercise you dow, you have togo outside for twenty minutes and think on this problem in your bare feet. Youknow, depending on the context or you know, we'll do an abstract colash,which has nothing to do with what you're working on, except give me thefeeling that you want to see this team have and Woney or or you know whatemotion do you want your customer to have, and you know you do this withsome bits of paper, some bits of wood and the people who resist this reallyhate it in the beginning, but but at the end, theyve actuallyloosened up and rewired and then, when we bring it by the way, we've actuallydone more than just play with bits of paper. We've actually done all theanalysis about all your competitors and hear all the charts and slides and goodstuff that you know t there's, financial and there's you know weilluminated your differenttiators a done all this stuff that you want tosee from traditional strategy analysis, but now you're thinking with adifferent part of your brain. Now, let's talk about what your positioningis going to be, and then they start to see how it all fits together. So manyinteresting ideas there, the first one that struck me, is just how obvious itis, and you just describing part of this process of unlocking or I'mthinking pattern interrupt a little bit. You know like, let's break from ournormal, automated processes, the intellectual processes and and thecontrast is a movement to the physical to the tangible to the real as opposedto guest. Real is not the antithesis of digital o. What digital is also real,but you know hat it's very tangible and specifically to activate a differentpart of the brain. Is So interesting- and I think about so much of the workthat certainly the types of listeners to a show like this are engaged in isvery mouse based in very screen based. I think it's so interesting and I canimagine the resistance that you get to that process from some people go hate to get back into definitionallyagain, but you know and thinking so many of us approach our work sostrategically I've been I'm creative teams before and I totally was on thereceiving end of that perception like. Oh, those are the creatives they justhang out all day and don't really do anything and of course we're like youknow, scrambling frantically to get all the work done and to do it the rightway and to make sure that it's effective in all of that we're doing alot of blended, creative and strategic work, but I mean Strategi is prettystraightforward. I think it's you know, figure out the right questions, definethe problem. Well, get the relevant information. Kick it around manipulateit. Try a couple stress tests on the working theory and you know, run somenumbers against it and collect some customer feedback, fill it out. Coloritcreativity when I think about creativity, I think about twocharacteristics in particular: novel and useful that there'is something newabout whatever is being produced and that it is also useful for folks whoare maybe still a little bit scared of creativity and being creative andidentifying themselve as creative or sending other people off out ofcreative mission for fear of lack of output or outcome or productivity. Howdo you think about creativity like when you use that word, especially among aset of likely resisters? How do you talk about it or walk it down like whatI, what dis creativity mean practically El? I love hat. You use my secretweapon right there, which is the standard definition of creativity beingnovel and useful, and I think when you break it down into those two bits, youimmediately just spell the conversation around frivolous and irrelevant and awaste of time, because if what you're saying my creativity, which is againthe standard definition of creativity and academia, it has to be brand new.What everybody wants brand new right, like everybody wants innovation. We allknow it's hard, so, okay, novel Im on board with novel and then Yuseful, okay,well useful, is good usefull, as productive usscoll means I'm going touse it. It's not going to be wasted or last so that's a great start to framingup a conversation about creativity, and you know what I think also the word.Innovation helps people, because even those you might misconstructecreativity know that they're, you know going to be rewarded for beinginnovative at work. So I think that also that also helps you know, and Ithink also another way to frame it up or talk about it. That makes itrelevant is. I think everybody knows that we're in a world where we've got alot of hipeline for content, and so we need a lot of good content and thatcontent is creative. You, you know,...

...strategist is not going to. You canmake all those frameworks and Wurn all those numbers and tell you where to putyour content ber, not sas. What e need bcaus someone needs to make somethingnew and make it use a yeah love. It is there anything that we haven't coveredhere, that you really think is important, based on where we have gonetoday, that you wish more people understood or maybe a big question oran elephant in the room. Is there anything that is there anything that wehaven't tackled here that you just really like to share, based on wherewe've been, when you kind of tackled a lot of the big elephants in the roomand miss that they like to talk about one thing that you asked me anformallybefore we started. This was a brand that I really admired, and I keptthinking about that brand. That immediately popped into my mind s. Itcame up so often in the context of what we were talking about, so it must havebeen a good briend to pick so I was thinking about Patagonia and I thoughtwell maybe there's other breads I admire. So maybe that's not the one I'mgoing to talk about, but I think it's worth mentioning that you know it tacks.So many of the boxes that we were talking about thes far in terms of youknow they really deliver a quality product. It's not just you know socialmanifesto, but it's also a social manifest sow and it's also not just asocial manifestue for the sake of having one it's, you know, really walkthe walk on what you're doing, and you see this tremendous it's such a greatbrand example. As you see this tremendous brand loyalty because ofthat deeply authentic mission, it is not jumping on the Badwagon yeahit's,not a Changeer, you know it's. They were doing that way before other peoplewere talking about it. Every single person in the organization is allignedto it. It's their DNA, their products express it and the way their productsare well constructed. Have good style have good functionality, their serviceis outstanding, so I just think that's a it tapped on so many of the thingsthat we talked about today. I love it. I love that you went there. I've notmentioned it on this show, but I have on several others. As a guest peopleoften ask about like source material things that inspire you and let mypeople go surfing. Specifically. The philosophy section of that book byAvaunch, Onard, founder founder of Patagonia is just outstanding and youcan see from this book which I believe was written years ago and of course itcalls back to the entire company history. You can see in the way they goto market today, the foundations that were laid decades ago. It's so good. Ilove you share that if you are listening to this conversation, you'veenjoyed it so far. I've got two more that I know you're going to enjoy wayback on episode, twelve with David Bryar, who is also a formerly trainedartist. He is also a brand strategist and we talked about branding as the artof differentiation. We spent a lot of time on. I guess that was your thirdcircle. Susan was was differentiation and then an episode. Twenty three withPaula Hayes who's founder President in CEO of Hu, nor she talked about showingup authentically to honor your brand promise, and we did a nice drive by onBrandis promise. We talked about it, a couple different ways, and so, if youwant to go deeper there from a woman who founded a really cool company,Paula Hayz on episode, twenty three before I let you go Susan- and this hasbeen so fun- it's been a joy. I'v enjoys very much good. I would love to give you twoopportunities to pad a couple: People or brands on the back here. First, thechance to thank or mention someone who's had a positive impact on yourlife or your career, and then, if you've got another one besidesPatagonia feel free to give a shout out or a mention to a brand or a companythat you respect for the way they deliver an experience for you as acustomer yeah. So there's so many people that I could mention to answer.Your first question, but the one that POPs first to mind happens to be. Iread a monthly newsletter for my people and it just so happened. I sat down towrite my newsletter without the intention of writing about thisparticular person and suddenly the entire ness letter became about it thatI was writing on the topic of possibility and how there are certainpeople who see, possibility where others don't or where others might see,failure or others might see difficulty, and so I started talking about this person who had been his name is TonyPotito and he was one of my first bosses and he has such a great impacton my life. He ran. He had been a management consultant and he hadtrained in theater. He had an Nafan directing from Goodman Hen. He went toAsia with Boos Allen, and so you can already tell fror my description thathe and I were kindred spirits, but he was about twenty years older than I was.I worked for him when I was like twenty three years old and he taught me he was very patient withme because I was young and dumb and didn't know anything about leading anorganization, and it was an amazing job...

...because I ham just come out of workingfor the Bosy consulting group and a very you know, strategy classic joblearned a ton, but this was a a line, jobs, a general manager of a Panasian Theater, which is basicallySingapore, and he really took me under his Wan taught me this interasection,creative and analytical that I definitely didn't understand. Yet,although I kind of had both pieces but didn't understand how they playedtogether and most of all a was a person that reallyly saw possibility whereothers sandom, which is something I greatly admire so yeah. So I've justbeen writing about him. So you tought to mind. Awesome. You have anotherbrand of company that you really appreciate. Oh there's, so many I don'tknow where to start I've been. Can I get a shout out to one of myclants? Actually that be ait happened. That has happened before and it's righial've be working with themfor many years and actually one one of the climants who has been my clientince before this company, but I've just been really impressed with whatdoksimity has been doing that you know, particularly in the last six months. SoI don't know if you're familiar with them, but they're. The short way of saying it is thatthey're lanked ing for doctors, that's really their history. They started asthis registry for work. Doctors who typically don't go on places like wentden, could put their information but h, really what they grew into was a verypowerful marketing vehicle for Farma, where and also a really powerful toolfor physicians where they could learn relevant news and information, and thenthey also had how had always had this set of tools where we could in a hipasecure way, communicate share information about patients with otherdoctors and, as you can imagine, the world of Tela how kind of exploded inthe last six months- and it's just been really exciting for me, as so. I workedwith them on and off for the last. Several years and it's so exciting,when you see a client ihave like grow up and Trom into this, really excitingplace where they, you know always Hava. Since I started working with them, theywere already on an extinential growth trajectory, but they took it from aplace of like yeah. We can help farmer marketers, communicate with positionsto this whole other place, where they're really saving lives with thispowerful tool that doctors are using to communicate with each other and theyturned on a die ramped that up so quickly and that's been really excitingto see, and I think they also really benefited from the notion of seeingtheir customer not just as this be to be. You know, person who is buyingmedia time, but really thinking about them as human beings who genuily caredabout being innovative, genuinely cared about, helping physicians, help,patience and we're able to you know I think, grow successfully because of aso good a great button. On a great conversation, as I said, Susan has beena joy if people want to follow up on this and if they're listening at thismoment of the conversation, I'm sure that they do. Where would you sendpeople to connect with you or learn more about you or the work that you doso my website is Susan Myer Studio, myname is pelt. MPEIER, sometimes names felling can get tricky. So if it'seasier, you can go to electrify your workcom, and I did a lot take you thereawesome. I will drop both of those links for folks who are listening. Wealways add video clips. We do a short, writeup and I'll add links to to someof the things that we drove by here in the conversation at Bombomcom podcast.Thank you so much for listening an Susan. Thank you against so much forsharing your time and your insights with us. Even thank you so much. Thisis great, clear communication, Human Connection, higher conversion. Theseare just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages Youre sendingevery day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance. So pick up theofficial book rehumanize Your Business, how personal videos, accelerate salesand improve customer experience learn more in order today at Bombamcom Fuck,that's Bo, mb, bombcom fuck, thanks for listening to the customer experience.podcast remember the single most important thing you can do today is tocreate and deliver a better experience for your customers, continue learningthe latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favoritepodcast player, or visit Bombomcom podcast.

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