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 with otherhumans, a lot of it is about how that other party makes you feelabout yourself or how you are able to see yourself via that other and sayparty. The single most important thing you can do today is to create anddeliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customersuccess experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in apersonal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Creativity, strategy and productivity to deliver remarkable experiences for ourcustomers. Creativity, strategy and productivity should have a much closer relationship and amore seamless relationship 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 likePepsiCo and Samsung with strategy, messaging and design through her own studio. Priorto starting her studio, she built a career in business consulting in brand strategywithin an agency setting. She's a sculpture artist who did a double major inart history and Italian literature at Dartmouth, who had a residency at the schoolof Visual Arts in New York and who earned an MBA from Harvard business school. So she embodies the balance of creativity and strategy for greater productivity and impact. Susan Meyer, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thank you so muchfor having me. Yeah, I'm really excited about this conversation. I loveyour state admission and we'll get into that probably halfway through the conversation, orso I see. This is a conversation in two parts, but before wekind of get into either of those parts, I like to start where I startwith everyone, which is customer experience. When I say customer experience to Susan, what does that mean? You know, I think the customer experienceis very much about the relationship that you're building with your customer. In fact, I often define the brand as the actual relationship and the experience is animportant part of that. And that experience can be on many platforms in manyformats, but it's that feeling that you have when you're connecting to the brand, the product, to the people that are involved, and I think that'sthe most important thing about your company and your brand is that relationship that you'rebuilding. I love a lot of the language that you use there. Inyou covered a lot of really important ground. You started with relationship, which isour number one core value at bombomb and it in traditionally, of course, we think about it with the people, which you did mention, but youanchored it in the feeling that we get by the interactions with product,people and other touch points. So what is just one step deeper there whenyou say relationship, because you led with it, like what is relationship?Kind of conjure for you, like what is that word? Chore Voice?How did you make it so I do. I think it's really interesting how itgoes beyond what we traditionally as humans, think of as relationships between person andperson. and think what really drew me into branding, actually coming outof pure strategy background, was seeing how people had these really intimate personal relationshipswith brands where they didn't have connections with people. You know, it wasn'ta retail situation. It was cornflakes, right, or it was it wasa product where they had never met any of the people that worked for thatcompany personally, interacted with any of those people. They had an actual relationshipwith that product. That made them feel a certain way, that made thatloyal to that product, that made them, you know, when social media becamemore vibrant, that made them want to engage with that product and Iremember thinking in the early days of facebook how poetic it was that people werefriending brands on facebook and I thought that was such a nice metaphor for thatrelationship that people have between themselves and their products, before you even get tothe people and the customer service or the retail environment. I love it.What are would in your experience? What are some of the key drivers ofthat feeling? Obviously it's a positive feeling generally. It could go in avariety of directions. It could be I feel cared for, I feel likethey entertain me, I feel necessary, dologic, it could be a varietyof feelings. But what do you think drives that? You know, Ithink, much like in our relationships with other humans, a lot of itis about how that other party makes you feel about yourself or how you wereable to see yourself via that other and say party, because this applies toyour best friend or your partner and also your box of corn flakes, strangelyenough, but it's how that thing makes you feel about yourself. And Iguess I start with corn flakes because I did a lot of early in mycareer to a lot of food consumer goods work and worked quite a bit withcereal and, you know, I think...'s an easy example to wrap yourmind around where you know, if you're marketing serial part of what you're marketingis what's in the box, and that's important. You know the the ingredientsand the health benefits and the taste, but really what you're marketing in alot of cases to the mom who's going to serve it is the way thatshe's going to feel about herself. So she's going to feel like, youknow, a good mom. And what does that mean to her? Andthat probably means different things for different segments, which then choose different cereals. Right, you want to be the mom that brings joy and fun to thebreakfast table. You want to be the mom that feels like you're giving yourchild the very best, most most healthful organic food, you know. Soit's a really convenient way of thinking about it when you use a simple examplelike that. Yeah, I love it. That's really well done and I thinkwe're going to get deeper into it. It's interesting. I did I dida short self episode on this podcast where I was trying to capture theessence for the purpose of a presentation I was giving of all the feedback I'vereceived when I ask people this question of you know, define customer experience essentially, and I boiled it down to it's how it's about how you make peoplefeel and how you make them feel about themselves, how you make them feelabout you, your logo, your people, your product, et Cetera. It'sit's all this feeling basis. So where I want to go from that, because you've wrapped some of that in brand type language. Let's talk aboutbrand versus customer experience, brand experience versus customer experience. I've had a coupledifferent schools of thought in these conversations. One of them is that they're synonymousbrand experiences, customer experiences brand experience, and the other conversation has been essentiallybrand is the promise we're making to our customers and when reality hits in,the rubber meets the road, that is the customer experiences the fulfillment of orthe meeting of or the exceeding of or the failure of the brand promise.I guess talk about brand. What is brand mean and what do you thinkit's relationship is to customer experience? Yeah, he framed up a couple of interestingthoughts there for me because I think my initial reactions. For me it'sall of a piece, it's all one thing. We can use different termsfor it, but really it's all one hole of stick thing and it's anexperience. We can call it brand, call it service, whatever, butI think that's a really interesting notion that there. And I use the wordpromise a lot when I talk about branding with my clients because I do thinkthat a brand is a promise and the the notion that the experience then thatyou have is the delivery of that promise and you need to uphold that promiseis an interesting one. So if you're thinking about it more branding from amore of a marketing perspective, right that you know, if I've I andmy team are writing the brand story and those are messages. They're going togo up on the website or on the packaging or on social media. Thoseare promises, but we have to deliver on those promises and that becomes theexperience. That's actually really nice way of thinking about it. Cool and II hate going down these roads that I tend to do it. It's likeit is a little bit of his semantics at some level. We're making promisesover the phone or through website chat or in our marketing copy. We're makingall these promises and we need to honor them if we're going to build trustwith people, generate positive word of mouth, generate repeat purchasing, etcetera, etc. So it's some level it's it gets a little bit semantic. SoI hate going down that road, but it's also how I operate. Sohere we are. So you've consulted all kinds of companies and feel free toaddress the range of it in kind of as I t this up for you. What do you wish more people? You know, typically the people listeningto this show are operators inside businesses. We primarily speak to marketing, salesand customer success, kind of across the customer life cycle, across the revenuewith there. What do you wish more of? The more of those peopleknew or understood about brand or the brand strategy in general, like when you'restarting new with a client who's who maybe came by referral. They didn't doa ton of homework. They're just like you need to talk to my friendSusan, and they come a little bit cold, like what are some ofthe notions that you really need to kind of Suss out and or knock downearly on? Well, you know, the first one that came to mindis that intention is actually really important and that's not something that you typically findin a marketing one hundred and one text bug. It's really all about like, you know, how can you execute perfectly, or as close to perfectly, on this promise? But in fact consumers are very or customers. Humansare very forgiving and and the authenticity and Januine intension of the folks that aredelivering this brand promise is actually meaningful to them, even when they don't getit perfectly right. And so I think of an example and and you askabout the range of work that I do.

I mentioned cereal and early in mycareer that I did a lot of food marketing, food branding, andin the last ten years or so, since starting my own company, Ihave somehow organically moved into health and wellness than actually done a lot of workin those specifically healthcare space, and if he's the end, that's a complicatedspace, as a complicated space to deliver on your promise. And in particularI worked with recently with a payer like a health insurance company, which youknow, are notoriously sometimes have contentious relationships with their audiences. And what washeartening and interesting for me, as and definitely for them to find is thatwhen they were able to deliver, even a new universe where they had alot of disgruntlement among the folks they were serving, when their customer service teamwas able to deliver moments of what I call moments of delight. We intervieweda bunch of physicians to ask about what their experience was with this insurance providerand others, and we heard the usual grumbling about different things, but thenwe heard these stories of but there was this one time where this amazing serviceagent helped me speed through this approval when I had this patient who needed surgerythe next day and I was so appreciative. Or even you know, these guysdenied my claim. They made a mistake and it was such a painand then I called them. They were apologetic, they fixed it right awayand I came away having a good experience and I thought that was such apowerful learning you know, even in a worst case scenario where people are frustrated, they don't have as much brand love as you would like that to haveand they maybe even had an explicitly bad experience, you can still deliver bybeing well intentioned, by being honest, you know, taking responsibility for ifit's a mistake, and come out with a delighted customer and then a reallypositive experience, and so I think that's something that people don't often think aboutgoing into a branding project or thinking about brand strategy. Yeah, I reallylike that. I certainly a negative experience gives us an opportunity to do adramatic recovery. The worst cases that people are completely indifferent and they don't feelanything at all, and or that they may be harbor some of these negativefeelings and they don't engage you directly and give you a chance to overcome it. That's why it's so important to look at some like the softer signals of, you know, dissatisfied people. You got to something there and I'm justcurious what your take is is someone who has been in brand and brand strategyfor years. Is something I've observed in part through these conversations on the show, is that so many good qualities of a delivered experience and of a companyand of a brand is our qualities of just a good person, the kindof person you like to have in your life, someone who shows up,someone who pays attention, someone who does a nice job listening, someone who'sthere and maybe pick you up when you're feeling a little bit down, someone'sthere to maybe give you a little bit of a kick when you need akick to get moving. You know there are human qualities in this, whichI guess ties me back to where we were when you defied customer or experience. But what do you think about human humanity human qualities? Is this increasing? Is is something people want more of, or is it something that companies arewaking up to, or is this not even a thing at all inyour perspective? Yeah, it's funny. I actually written a lot about thisnotion of brands as friends, as I was saying before, sparked early onby the notion of friending a brand, which at that time felt a bitstrange and and beautiful, and of course now that's become very common. Buttaking that metaphor further to say exactly as you have said, what that relationshipmeans and what you expect as a customer of a brand and what you canand should deliver as a brand to your customers are very much the same.Same rules apply of what you would want to do with your best friend orwith your husband or wife right it. You know you want to be consistent, you want to be trustworthy, you want to occasionally deliver some delight orexcitement, you want to show up with quality and also be kind and compassionate, and those things mean different things in different contexts and across different products,but I think those are, you kind of universal principles and thinking about thatbrand and an anthropomorphized way actually is really helpful to take it out, especiallywhen it's a product that you know. I work a lot nowadays in abet be space and I think it's especially helpful for business to business folks tothink about it in this way, because it's very easy to think that you'reone step removed from you know, if you have a consumer good, it'seasier to think about that human, compassionate relationship about the serials and the MOMS. If you're selling, you know, operational optimization software, it's a littleharder. But to I always remind my...

...clients the person there is a decisionmakeron the other end of that sales deal who's a human being who has aspirationsand emotions and wants a connection in a relationship, just like the mom buyingcereal. And even though they're buying something on behalf of their organization and eventhough that thing that they're buying, yes, they're looking for technical spects and itmay not seem as emotional it actually is, you know that person caresabout their job, they care about how they're viewed in their organization, theycare about their purpose and their role at work, and so tapping into thosethings can be extremely powerful for a Bob Organization who may not think that wayalready. Really, really well said. It reminds me of a great phrasethat was in an episode here. He continued to refer to the show,but it is described as you irrational buying forces this idea that, if youcan allow me to feel whatever, we want to feel connected, appreciated,understood, cared for, secure, whatever. That some of the some of therationality just falls away and I'm going to go with you for that feeling. 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 makesme think about my work and some of the things I like about itand what I try to do in my day to day but give me,give me, this will be a two layer one. Give me something practicalthat someone who wants to kind of revisit their brand or brand strategy, what'ssomething they could do today or this week to kind of think about it differentlyor initiate a review or something like that. So one place that often recommend peopleto start is with self reflection exercise, because I think that we're, youknow, typically trained in strategy, are in business in general to takethat approach of let's look at our competitors, let's look at our contacts, regulatorywhatever it is in our context that's going on, and then look atour capabilities. And these things are all important. But kind of going backto that notion of it being about relationships and authenticity, it's important to spendcan be really enlightening and, if nothing else, is quite fun to goback and just spend a couple of hours doing an exercise where you look atlike what are our core values as a company or team or an individual orwhatever size organization you are, and what does that imply for what our brandhillers are going to be? And you can use different words for grand pillars, but you know, what are those three to five things that we wantto say about ourselves? Like we believe we always, we will never thosekinds of things. And you know, a lot of organizations have those things. It sounds like you have or identified those things in your organization, butnot all of them do, and and those that do, it's really easy, especially in a larger organization, for those two like floats so high upthat their platitudes, and so to do that exercise from time to time torevisit both, you know, what is our own perception or what our ownbeliefs and values, and then what are the kind of key elements of thebrand as we see them? Words, pictures, whatever those things might be. And I have a little workbook that I provide people with, you know, collaging, poetry, kind of exercise to help them do that, whichis again makes it a little bit fun. But after, you know, afew hours of doing that self reflection, you can then go and compare itto that traditional strategy work that you're doing, like how does our commitmessaging or our positioning compared to the others? What can we deliver on better?You know, where can we leverage our capabilities with an overlay of thatstuff which will help you get to that emotional connection and also, you know, anchor, you make sure that you're not doing something that is at oddswith your, you know, your desired culture and your beliefs. Really good. I it's so difficult to take time, to make time to to do thatbecause 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 were making day to day at pretty much every levelof the organization. Let's go one layer higher there. I said this wasa two part or so if someone was to engage you or undertake it ontheir own or whatever. Just sketch out at a very, very high level, what did the next several weeks or several months look like? If someoneis to undertake a very thorough review and or restructuring of brand strategy, likeone of the big building black pieces. Like what's a process look like?Yeah, so probably the step I just describe as probably step to step oneis get everybody, all the stakeholders involved, either in a room or in aseries of interviews, depending on the culture of the organization, but somehowhear the voices that are involved internally and...

...capture, you know, where everybodyis coming from and what their visions are. And sometimes they're aligned. It's alwaysan illuminating exercise. Sometimes they're misaligned and then it's an extraordinarily important exercise. But you're getting everybody on the same page and capturing all of that amazingresident knowledge. And sometimes it's knowledge, sometimes it's just believes. Then doingthat sort of self reflective piece. And then I think the other critical portionis going out and talking to your customers. And organizations of different sizes have differentbudgets for that. To be sure. You know, if you're a largebillion dollar company, you can do this then a in an amazing thoroughand fancy way, but you also don't have to. You can do thisas a, you know, single shingle organization with a quick survey monkey ora couple of well placed phone calls to important customer emails, you know,but just the act of asking for feedback. It doesn't have to be more complicatedthan when you ask for testimonials for your website, which is right,no big deal, but getting that three hundred and sixty view of what arewe doing? Well, what do you think? Why did you hire usor why did you buy our product, and what do you like about it? What don't you like about it? You know, what do you thinkof the other people who are doing the same thing that? I mean,how do you think I'm different? Because how I think I'm different might notbe the same as how they think I'm different, even if I know them, I mean have had this experience with my own business, even if I'vebeen working with them for a year, I can't read their mind. Imight feel that they're pretty happy with the relationship, but I can articulate necessarilywhy they're happy or what makes them continue to work with me or recommend me. So that experience is a critical and it's one that, you know,sometimes people are try to skip either because they've done some you know, wedid a big quantitative survey last year, so I think we know what's goingon. Or, you know, we don't have the budget of the timefor that. And and I really encourage people to do in a a reallymore qualitative way, even if it's very small. To have those the wordsof your customer, their actual words, which is different from a quantitative surveyin your ears, is extraordinarily powerful and I don't think I've ever done customerresearch where I didn't learn something that was a surprise to the client and thathelps them move their brand positioning or their innovation strategy forward. So good.I completely agree. It's you know, it's one of the reasons I stilllike NPS. A lot of people and it's easy to criticize it. Butthere is the number. But you know, some share, and typically a prettygood share of people who give you the number use very specific language tojustify it. And it's so interesting because a seven isn't to seven, isn'ttoo seven. It could be a seven that could have shot a little bitof ten and used read the language and their word choice and like that blend. And just wanted to reinforce that. I completely agree that there's no substitutefor the language people use and in a lot of cases the punctuation that theyuse. You know, sometimes people will all cap something in particular, forgood or for bad, and there's just so much color and nuance in inthat feedback that is certainly missed when you go numbers only. You really teatup my kind of my last question in this zone of the conversation around Brandonbrand strategy, which is I'm of the mind that the customer owns the brand. I'm of the mind that the customer gets to define customer experience and whatit is. It's the customers reality is the reality and all we can dois try to understand that experience and influence that experience, in those perceptions andthose feelings so that we can move them kind of where we want them togo. It kind of brings up this other tension. I'm going to foldto other pieces in and give it back to you for whatever comes to mind. Their first customer research, which you already did a nice job addressing,but feel free to double back on that. So we need to we need totalk to them, listen to them, give them means of feeding it back, because I think it's theirs to define, right and then the otherlayer is you have this tension between who we are, or who we thinkwe are, who we want to be, our own aspirations for ourselves, someof these pillars, and we always and we never and we believe.And then there's also the customer and who they want to be, how theywant to feel about themselves, and or our idealized customer and who we wantto attract, and there's kind of this gap between them. So I guesswhat I'm talking around here, and feel free to tie this all up ina nice bow, because I'm sure someone listening is going like, okay,what are we doing here? It's this tension between I think, and tellme if you agree or not, that the customer gets to define the brand. So we need to understand where they are perceptually, and then there's alsothis gap between who we want to be and who the customer needs or wantsus to be and thinks we are. And we need to do that researchso that we can create some activity and, ideally, some outcomes that move ourbrand perception and our customer experience where we want it to go. Yeah, I think whether there's so much in...

...there that you just said that Irelate to and want to respond to. So I'll just start with there's twolevels of your deliverable from that customer insight work, and one is surely amore of a functional like what do they need from what we're you know,like give us some feedback on the actual widget that were selling and, youknow, how can we make it better and different? But the most importantpart from a really long standing brand perspective is that emotional layer and really understandingwho they are, what they need, who they would like to be.And you know we often do like a just so day in the life work, walk through, experience, walk through, not even to do with the productto start. So I think those are some layers that are important interms of getting and that's why not all researchers created equal. Another thing thatyou've brought to mind is, yes, there are these two pieces and Ithink of it as a ven diagram, although really I think two of thecircles are the most important, the ones that you're talking that we're talking about. It's kind of who we are, who they are, and if there'sreally a gap between those two things, the implication to me there is thatwe haven't to find our audience, clearly enough. Yes, there's also probablypotential for innovation, but it shouldn't feel like a gap, it should feellike an overlap and not everything you do is going to do it for everyoneout there. So part of it is improving understanding them better so we canimprove how we serve them. But part of it is also defining your audience. You don't, you don't have to and you can't be everything to everyone. So figuring out what it is, who are those people for whom youare really relevant and useful and appealing, and then working to find them andto serve them and to delight them. You know, those are slightly differentactivities. So I think that's that's a big part of the game. Andthen the other circle, by the way, and my imaginary ban diagram, isthe kind of how we're different piece, thinking about what makes you. What'syour Unicorn Horn, you know, like what it? What is itthat you bring to this party? That's that's no one else does. Ilove it. And do you feel like that Unicorn Horn can be perceptual andattitudinal and based in feeling? I think it can be. Yeah, Imean I think. Listen, we live in a saturated world. You know, you buy a pen or a phone or an apple and there's a millionchoices for those things or piece of software. What do you name it? Soyes, I think almost it has to be partly defined by that.On the other hand, I think that, you know, actual quality craftsmanship isstill important and there is still room for brand new, novel breakthrough ideas, and those things aren't to be discounted. I don't think we're just selling beliefsand ideas, but I think that the 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 realhome run. Good love it. Let's shift a little bit and get toa mission of yours, which is to kind of erase the border between creativityand strategy. Speak to that a little bit, like what's your motivation here? Obviously you have a you have a passion around this. What's your motivationhere? Why does the border exist and you know, what are some waysthat you're seeing to be effective to erase that border? So I 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 and organizationally, be something that really holds people back. So as individuals, over the course of my life I have seen, certainly career, Ihave seen way too many people who are either kind of under flourishing in theirrole or frustrated or maybe even just have shut themselves down and to find themselvesin a certain way like I'll never be that or I'm done have create abone in my body. And yet of course they do, and I thinkthat, you know, people have of the opportunity to leverage all the differentsides of themselves and what creativity looks like in each of us can be very, very different. But I can't imagine saying that anyone is not creative.They may not be able to paint, that's fine, but but that couldthat creativity is what makes us human and so I think and it is alsomakes us really happy. So when I hear people say they're not creative,it makes me want to go know you are, let's talk about it.So that's the individual perspective and then from an organizational perspective, which is,you know, where my professional work lies, I see it all the time andorganizations that you know, I've worked...

...with, the organizations that very muchto find themselves as creative and those who very much to find themselves as analytical, and both of them tend to have a sort of look down through thenose at the other and I think they're missing something. You know, Ithink they could really, in each case, benefit from you know, that thatcreative that music or media or advertising agency, where, you know,the creative side is on the pedestal and everybody else as well, they're justa number pusher. Well, you know, you might actually learn something from thinkingabout it from the outside in and, you know, bringing those two peopleinto the same room with the same level of respect. And likewise,you go to the you know, strategy consulting firm or the manufacturing plants orthe Software Engineering Division, and you know, they go, oh well, wedon't make any splads with pictures here. You know, pictures are for dummies. You know what, actually, sometimes pictures really help convey information andit might be worthwhile to include some illustrations in the work that you're doing,just as one example. So I think that, you know, those twothings playing together and I think this is really the foundation of the whole notionof design thinking and all of its and to offspring. But the two sidesthat creative in a little side playing together can really be a situation where oneplus one equals more than two, and so I you know, that's partof what I preach. It also happens to just be how I work becauseit's how I'm wired, so I sort of have to work that way.But I do think that it's I've seen it be really helpful and organizations thatI've worked with where they're able to unlock a different side of themselves to greatbenefit. Yeah, it reminded me of so many different kind of these aren'tpolarities, but you know, you can draw them as distinct and separate andsometimes far away from each other, and yet all the best solutions come froma both and typically a both and perspective, and that we really do need.We do need them to work together and I love the you opened upon somewhere I actually wanted to go, which is, you know, somethingwe hear a lot. Are we are goal is to help people be facetofacemore often in their day to day communication through simple personal videos, and whatwe wind up seeing with a lot of people just getting started, is that'snot for me. I'm not a video person in and in it, justlike your message is like with there's creativity. All of us is like, no, this is not about hosting, you know, a super popular YoutubeChannel. This is just about you being you, to be more personal andhuman. What do you do like when you find that a person or anorganization is a little bit scared of being creative? I think there's an elementof finding your voice which I think a lot of people struggle with, isto like, you know, because they're not used to exercising it. Whatdo you think? First of all, did I use an appropriate word forsome of the experiences you've had? Feared? Do you find that people fear approachingthe creative or starting to even self identify as partly creative? There's afear around how they'll be perceived and there's a fear around eroding productivity, andI use the word productivity verrier early on and this conversation, and I thinkthat's a big one, that people have this idea that creativity is the enemyof productivity, or like they're two different sides of the coin and we knowwhich of course, couldn't be further from the truth. I mean, Ithink in the example of your video products, the whole idea is not to wastetime making a cute video. The whole ideas that you're doing something creativewhich vastly increases your engagement, which is super productive, and so, youknow, I think so. Your question was, how do I break throughthat barrier? You know, a lot of it is in the process.So there's not like a primer on you know, here I'm going to teachyou these things and then you're going to be a believer. It's the toolsI SPEC I intentionally use tools that are, you know, get people off theirscreens, get people using their hands, using pens, paper, pencils,and yes, this is a little bit more challenging in our current onlineworld. But okay, we're on a screen, but I'm still not lettingyou use software instead of post it notes. You're going to sit in front ofa white wall and we're going to do the same exercise the same waythat we did when we were in a room together. Because, guess what, using a pencil and tearing paper, tearing pictures from a piece of paperand putting a piece of tape on it activates a different part of your brain. I mean there is actually research on that. Then simply moving your mouthand, do you know, a laying stuff out on your powerpoint right.So that is a very big part of what I do. When it's aparticularly I've had a few clients who, you know, the person who engagesme also has to be sort of bought...

...into this or it doesn't work.But when I have particularly clients who might be particularly resistant and the person who'shired me, or the people who've hired me know that and explicitly want meto work on that, will even go one step further where we'll do thingslike walking exercise. You know, you have to go outside for twenty minutesand think on this problem in your bare feet, you know, depending onthe context, or you know, will do an abstract collage which has nothingto do with what you're working on except give me the feeling that you wantto see this team have in one year. Or, you know, what emotiondo you want your customer to have? And you know, you do thiswith some bits of paper, some bits of wood, and the peoplewho resist this really hate it in the beginning. But but in the endthey've actually loosened up and rewired. And then when we bring in, bythe way, we've actually done more than just play with bits of paper.We've actually done all the analysis about all your competitors, and here all thecharts and slides and good stuff that you know with. There's financial and there'syou know, we illuminated your differentiators and done all the stuff that you wantto see from traditional strategy analysis. But now you're thinking with a different partof your brain. Now let's talk about what you're positioning is going to be, and then they start to see how it all fits together. So manyinteresting ideas through. 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 in the contrast, is amovement to the physical, to the tangible, to the real, as opposed toguess. Real is not the antithesis of digital. What's digital is alsoreal, but you know, it's that it's that's very tangible and specifically toactivate a different part of the brain is so interesting and I think about somuch of the work that certainly the types of listeners to a show like thisare engaged in is is very mouse based, in very screen based. I thinkit's so interesting and I can imagine the resistance that you get to thatprocess from some people. Go Heat to get back to definitionally again. Butyou know, I'm thinking so many of us approach our work so strategically.I've been in on creative teams before and I totally was on the receiving endof that perception of like, oh, those are the creatives, they justhang out all day and then't really do anything. And of course we're like, you know, scrambling frantically to get all the work done and to doit the right way and to make sure that it's effective and all of that. We're doing a lot of blended creative and strategic work. But I meanstrategies pretty straightforward. I think it's, you know, figure out the rightquestions, define the problem well, get the relevant information, kick it around, manipulate it, try couple stress tests on the working theory and, youknow, run some numbers against it and collect some customer feedback, fill itout color it creativity. When I think about creativity, I think about twocharacteristics in particular, novel and useful, that there's something new about whatever isbeing produced and that it is also useful for folks who are maybe still alittle bit scared of creativity and being creative and identifying themselves as creative or sendingother people off out of creative mission for fear of lack of output or outcomeor productivity. How do you think about creativity like when you use that word, especially among a set of likely resistors? How do you talk about it orwalk it down, like? What is it? What is creativity meanpractically? Well, I love that you used my secret weapon right there,which is the standard definition of creativity being novel and useful, and I thinkwhen you break it down into those two bits, you immediately just spell theconversation around frivolous and irrelevant and a waste of time. Because if what you'resaying by creativity, which is again the standard definition of creativity and academia,it has to be brand new. What everybody wants brand new, right,like everybody wants innovation. We all know it's hard. So okay, novel. On board with novel and then useful. Okay, well, useful as good, useful as productive. Useful means I'm going to use it. It'snot going to be wasted or last. So that's a great start to framingup a conversation about creativity. And you know, and I think also theword innovation helps people, because even those who might misconstrue creativity know that they're, you know, going to be rewarded for being innovative at work. SoI think that also, that also helped. You know, and I think alsoanother way to frame it up or talk about it that makes it relevantis, I think everybody knows that we're in a world where we've got alot of pipeline for content and so we need a lot of good content andthat content is creative. You can, you know, strategists is not goingto you can make all those frameworks and... all those numbers and tell youwhere to put your content, but you're notice, is what we need,but someone needs to make something new and make it used. That yeah,love it. Is there anything that we haven't covered here that you really thinkis important, based on where we have gone today, that you wish morepeople understood? Or maybe a big question or an elephant in the room?Is there anything that? Is there anything that we haven't tackled here that youjust really like to share based on where we've been? Well, you kindof tackled a lot of the big elephants in the room and myths that I'dlike to talk about one thing that you asked me informally before we started.This was a brand that I really admired and I kept thinking about that brand. That immediately popped into my mind as it came up so often in thecontext of what we were talking about. So it must have been a goodbrand to pick. So I was thinking about Patagonian. I thought well,maybe there's other breads I admire. So maybe that's not the one I'm goingto talk about, but I think it's worth mentioning that. You know,it tooks so many of the boxes that we were talking about thus far interms of, you know, they really deliver a quality product. It's notjust, you know, social manifesto, but it's also a social manifest Joand it's also not just a social manifesto for the sake of having one.It's, you know, really walk the walk on what you're doing and yousee this tremendous. It's such a great brand example, as you see,this tremendous brand loyalty because of that deeply authentic mission. It is not jumpingon the bandwagon. Yeah, it's kind of change, or you know,it's they were doing that way before other people were talking about it. Everysingle person in the organization is a line to it. It's their DNA.Their products express it and, by the way, their products are well constructed, have good style, have good functionality, their services outstanding. So I justthink that's a it tapped on so many of the things that we talkedabout today. I love it. I love that you went there. I'venot mentioned it on this show, but I have on several others as aguest. People often ask about like source material, things that inspire you inlet my people go surfing. Specifically, the philosophy section of that book byEvan Chownard, founder founder of a Patagonia, is just outstanding and you can seefrom this book, which I believe was written years ago, and ofcourse it calls back to the entire company history, you can see in theway they go to market today the foundations that were laid decades ago. It'sso good. I love you shared that. If you are listening to this conversationstation even enjoyed it so far. I've got two more that I knowyou're going to enjoy. Way Back on episode twelve with David Bryer, whois also a formally trained artist, he is also a brand strategist, andwe talked about branding as the art of differentiation. We spend a lot oftime on I guess that was your third circle, Susan, was was differentiation. And then on episode twenty three with Paula Hayes, whose founder, presidentand CEO of Hugh No are, she talked about showing up authentically to honoryour brand promise and we did a nice drive by on brand as promise.We talked about it a couple different ways and so, if you want togo deeper, they're from a woman who found it a really cool company,Paula Hayes, on episode twenty three. Before I let you go, Susan, and this has been so fun. It's been a joy. I enjoysvery much. Good. I would love to give you two opportunities to pata couple people are brands on the back here. First, the chance tothink or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or your career. And then, if you've got another one besides Patagonia, feel free togive a shout out or mention to a brand or a company that you respectfor the way they deliver an experience for you as a customer. Yeah,so there's also many people that I could mentioned to answer your first question,but the one that POPs first to mind happens to be and I read amonthly newsletter for my people and it just so happened I sat down to writemy newsletter without the intention of writing about this particular person, and suddenly theentire news letter became about it, that I was writing on the top ofa possibility and how there are certain people who see possibility where others don't orwhere others might see failure or others might see difficulty, and so I startedtalking about this person who had been his name is Tony Potito and he wasone of my first bosses and he has such a great impact on my life. He Ran, he had been a management consultant and he had trained intheater. He had an MFA and directing from Goodman. Then he went toAsia with Booze Allen, and so you can already tell from my description thathe and I were kindred spirits, but he was about twenty years older thanI was. I worked round when I was like twenty three years old andhe taught me. He was very patient with me because I was young anddumb and didn't know anything about leading an organization. And it was an amazingjob because I had just come out of...

...working for the Boston Consulting Group anda very strategy classic job. Learned a ton, but this was a lyingjobs at general manager of a Pan Asian theater, which is basically Singapore,and he really took me under his waying, taught me this intersection of creative andanalytical that I definitely didn't understand yet, although I kind of had both piecesbut didn't understand how they played together. And most of all, was aperson that really saw possibility where others saw none, which is something Igreatly admire. So yeah, so I've just been writing about him. Soyou talked to mind. Awesome. Do you have another brander company that youreally appreciate? Oh, there's so many I don't know where to start.I've been can I get a shout out to one of my clients. Actuallyhappened. That has happened before and it's right working with them for many yearsand actually one of the clients who has been my clients since before this company. But I've just been really impressed with what doximity has been doing, youknow, particularly in the last six months. So I don't know if you're familiarwith them, but they're the short way of saying it is that they'relinkedin for doctors. That's really their history. They started as this registry for work. Doctors who typically don't go on places like went and could put theirinformation. But really what they grew into is a very powerful marketing vehicle forPharma where and also a really powerful tool for physicians where they could learn relevantnews and information. And then they also had how. It had always hadthis set of tools where you could, in a hip a secure way,communicate share information about patients with other doctors and, as you can imagine,the world of tell a how kind of exploded in the last six months andit's just been really exciting for me. I so I worked with them onand off for the last several years and it's so exciting when you see aclient kind of like grow up and coming into this really exciting place where they, you know, always had and since I started working with them, theywere already on an exponential growth trajectory. But they took it from a placeof like yeah, we can help farmer marketers communicate with positions to this wholeother place where they're really saving lives with this powerful tool that doctors are usingto communicate with each other. And they turn on a dime, ramped thatup so quickly and that's been really exciting to see. And I think theyalso really benefited from the notion of seeing their customer not just as this beto be, you know, person who's buying media time, but really thinkingabout them as human beings who genuinely cared about being innovative, genuinely cared abouthelping physicians help patients, and we're able to, you know, I think, grow successfully because of it. So good a great button on a greatconversation. As I said, Susan, has been a joy. If peoplewant to follow up on this, and if they're listening at this moment ofthe conversation, I'm sure that they do. Where would you send people to connectwith you? Or learn more about you or the work that you do. So my website is Susan Myer Studio. My name is spelled empty the IEER. Sometimes names spelling can get tricky, so if it's easier, you cango to electrify your workcom and it'll all take you there. Awesome.I will drop both of those links for folks who are listening. We alwaysadd video clips. We do a short write up and I'll add links toto some of the things that we drove by here in the conversation at Bombombcompodcast. Thank you so much for listening and Susan, thank you against somuch for sharing your time and your insights with us even thank you so much. This is great clear communication, Human Connection, higher conversion. These arejust some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance. So pick up theofficial book. Rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customerexperience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most importantthing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for yourcustomers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in yourfavorite podcast player, or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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