The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 115 · 1 year ago

115. (Re)Humanizing Your Events, Content, and Community w/ Bo Brustkern


Every business is a relationship business. It's really important to humanize a brand, especially when the brand is financial because finance can be very complex and impersonal.

When it comes to recasting a large-scale event into a webinar, it turns out that video networking is really effective.

In this episode, I interview Bo Brustkern who is the co-founder and CEO at LendIt Fintech, about his love for and strategic use of video.

Bo talked with me about:

- Why entrepreneurs should feel optimistic about FinTech in 2021

- The strategy for transforming in-person events into personal virtual events

- The life-and-death pivot his company made in the last 12 months

- Why he always uses video to share bad news

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Every business is a relationship business.It's really important to humanize a brand when the brand is financial, because financecan be very complex. The single most important thing you can do today isto create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales,marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectationsin a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast.Here's your host, Ethan Butte, the careful calculus involved in moving from liveto virtual events while keeping it human. That's what today's guest to spent muchof two thousand and twenty focused on. For years he's worked to bring togetherbusinesses, entrepreneurs and investors to build the world's strongest network of Financial Service innovators. He's cofounder and CEO of lend it Fintech, the largest media and eventscompany dedicated to transformation in lending and digital banking. He's also right up theroad for me and Denver Colorado Bo Brust Kern. Welcome to the customer experiencepodcast. Thanks, Ethan. Is a tremendous pleasure to be here. Yeah, I'm really excited to have the conversation. Will probably talk a little bit ofvideo to I love to talk video when I can and I'm always curiousto know how other people are using it. But we'll start here, Bou,where I always start, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? What thoughts does it conjure? Acustomer experience to me is the comprehensive feel that a company has as it interactswith its primary commercial relationship and expanding them that a little bit. For us, we are we're digital media companies. So the customer experience for us isa consumer of our content. As a consumer of our content, how doesthe customer interact with us, feel about us as they're in acting with us, engage with us, respond to us and then move on in a ina better way, using the value that we've provided? That entire relationship,to me, is the customer experience. I like it very much. Yousaid the word feel twice and ended there with relationship. I think that isreally the heart of it as well. You know, I've had that questionanswered a variety of different ways, but there are a lot of themes thatare consistent and that feeling that we leave people with as they interact, asthey engage, as they respond. Really is the thing. I mean thatthat feeling is what begets the conscious thoughts, which then begets the behaviors, whetherit's writing positive online reviews or making a referral or something not as attractive. So for so, for folks who aren't familiar, tell us about lendit fintach like, who's your ideal customer? What do you solve for them?And perhaps you have more than one customer. We do. In thissense, there we're be to be company and again a media company. Sowhat we provide is news and Information and analysis, commentary, and we don'tprovide that all ourselves. We're not necessarily just journalists by any stretch, andwe're not necessarily cheerleaders for this world of financial service innovation. And I'll justtake a step back and say Fintech is an important concept. It's it's financialtechnology. Fintech is where you imagined your bank, which used to be aplace where you'd go into the branch and conduct business, is now very muchin your pocket, and there are certain things that enable that to happen.Then that's all technology. So fintech is the part of banking that leads usinto the future and a you know, let's take a step further and sayit is also the thing that rescues a great deal of people that are rightnow suffering. So the one measure of financial services efficiency is the financial capabilitiesof the poorest among us. And there's a lot of poor around the worldwho can be lifted by better financial technology. So isn't this is not just afirst world problem we're dealing with. This is a global phenomenon. Okay, so that's all preamble for a while.

What are we doing? That's good, it's super interesting. It is it's a fascinating place to be andand so our customers are those people that are innovating in financial services. Theycould be the chief innovation officer at a large US based bank. They couldbe a entrepreneur who's starting a business to do better digital identity verification out ofTel Aviv are. They could be XYZ service provider out of out of another, let's say, venue or country. But the thing that's unifying them isthis idea that we can improve our current engagement with financial services. Now that'sour core customer. Who pays us are the companies that want to get infront of their buyers. Yeah, and that's the media business aspect of itthen. Right. Yeah, how do you manage those two different types?I mean, obviously, essentially, I don't want to minimize it in anyway, but you know, you're building audience and then, in order tobuild and serve and advance the mission, you know, of connecting people inorder to enhance transformation, enhance innovation, etc. You then also have thiscustomer that you used to monetize that audience and attention in order to support themission. That basically fair. That is so fair, it is exactly right. So we think of ourselves as being a an important part of the community, and the community exists with or without out us. I mean to beperfectly fair, we are. But we're trying to do is be a pointof like a nexus for the conversation to take place, and building the audienceand nurturing the audience is a part of that. And now there are thevariety of different ways you could do that. You could throw a party, right, that is one way to gather an audience. Another way is tochallenge a way of thinking, and that's another way to gather an audience.WHO's listening to that challenging remark and who wants to hear the answer to it, right the defense of it. So we play in as many different waysas we can gather and energize an audience. We try to engage there and theanalogy for the party is a conference, right, a large scale live event, which we used to do back when that was legal, but alongcomes covid and our business model had to change. So so that but thatthat's one of the ways in which media companies, even companies like the WallStreet Journal or Gartner or, you know Bloomberg, they all run events andevents were big part of their business, and so that's that's sort of oneof the ways that we try to engage the Guardian audience and then monetize it. So we'll get into that transformation that you have those forced upon you bythe Pye, the pandemic, because you're holding huge events in the United States, in Europe, Latin America China every year. So we'll get to thatin a minute, but I want to go back approximately eight years or so. You know, you cofounded lend it and I'm curious to know you knowyou said this community exists with us or without us, but there's obviously somekind of a hole there that you identified and look to fill. kind ofwhat were your thoughts, your thoughts and your cofounders thoughts at the time,like what what was the need or the opportunity in that community that you stepdidn't fulfilled? It was really in need for information and analysis and relationship,and it turns out relationship turns is a huge part of that puzzle. Butwe were really just looking for information. We wanted to go to conference tolearn more about the business we had gotten into. We were all entrepreneurs andwe had started a Fintach, which is to say a company that was itwas in the asset management space that was going to apply technology to the ideaof wealth management and make it make it easier, sort of a wealth frontfor complex securities, and it was a really interesting idea and involved a lotof the players in the space that we're making a lot of well at weat the time we felt like it was a lot of noise and little didwe know, we're the very early end of this whole phenomenon. But butthere are companies like lending club and prosper...

...and so far, and funding circleand companies that that you may or may not have heard of, and weneeded to gather them in one place that we could learn more about their businessmodels and how we could interact with them. There was no conference that did that. So we decided, well, let's send out some invitations and getthese people to come. How are they get why are they going to wantto come? Well, we'll put them on stage. Well, who's goingto watch him? I don't know. We'll market it, will send outan email, will find somebody who has a big email list, and that'sthat's literally that was how it germinated. Now, interestingly, about two weeksbefore our quote unquote, kickoff conference, we had maybe fifty registrations for thisthing and we are like the this is going to be an embarrassment and ifwe can get if we can she us find a way to scrape together ahundred and fifty people. Well, by the time the conference world around,we had three hundred twenty five, another fifty standing outside the door. We'rebreaking fire code. It was a hot, sweaty mess in this in this tinylittle room we had rented a midtown Manhattan, and it was awesome.The information flow was amazing relationships that meetings that we had first time, facetofacemeetings among a lot of these people who came around this idea of we gotto learn more about this new thing. If takes been around for decades,but it really it's moment is is still ahead of us, but it was, it was building back here in two thousand and thirteen or so. Soso that's how it started. We're just we had an idea, we hadit in need ourselves and then once we had successfully put on that show,we had everybody coming back to us saying, oh, would you please do thatagain, and Oh, by the way, I'd like to sponsor it. So we had a business. Yeah, fantastic. So let's go to theto the hard pivot. I've had a couple conversations with some folks.You've had to make a hard pivots, including Corey McCarthy, who works ata software company called socio. She's CMO and they produce events for organizations likeyours and they provided tools and equipment for associations and membership groups generally to todo in person stuff. So you know, this isn't a completely new conversation onthis show and certainly everyone's business has been affected or transformed in some way. But you know, let's go to because the relationships are a big deal. Tell me where to tell me where you diverge if you do relationships ora big deal. Their best built facetoface. There are so many unexpected, unknownpositive benefits downstream. Like I just think about the years that you've beendoing this from that initial fire code breaking experience and how much positive impact there'sbeen that you probably are completely unaware of, you know, given all the positivestuff that you are aware of. So in any case, obviously inperson is the thing, and so you got up to a point where youwere doing multiple major conferences around the globe. Talk about the you know, talkabout that first thirty, two, sixty days or so where you realized, okay, we're gonna have to pull up the stakes on the first one, because that's the nearest term scenario. Like what was that experience like andand what considerations did you have at the time? Obviously think first about yourteam members and the challenge that that puts on them. But you know,you obviously had some sponsors and that that relationship is obviously affected, and certainlythe community itself is probably looking for how does this whole get filled or whatever, but like go back to the degree that you can and maybe share someof the things that went better than you expected or surprises along the way.One of the things that occurred to US early was that there were two thingshappening. One is we couldn't gather so our business model of selling tickets andsponsorships and exhibition space, where people put up physical booth to attract their customersand have this big conference expo type event, was just very boating. We couldnot do it. Okay, the second thing that was happening is ourcustomers needed information fast. They couldn't wait...

...for the pandemic to be over,for us to rent space, for us to put up boost, for usto put people on stage to talk about B which should we be doing rightnow? They need the conversations need to happen now and the relationships that matterto them still mattered, in fact mattered even more. What do we doin that context? We have to just completely throw out our old business modeland say look, at least for now, physical is just not going to happen. And I'll tell you, there was a lot of denial and angerand all the emotions that go along with that, with that kind of achange for me as a leader, because two thousand and twenty was going tobe our best year yet. We had everything dialed. We are going tocrush our big conference in two thousand and twenty, sorry, in USA,in New York, which is our may conference. We had a hundred andseventy sponsors lined up, we had thousands of tickets and everything was moving alongbrilliantly and the team was just performed arm so well. So yeah, therewas a lot. There was a lot of emotion going going through that,but luckily for me, I was able to to take my family and moveup to the mountains and just and we hold up there and I brought myvideo equiped, my camera equipment and I had my desktop and I started recordingvideos that were going out to the community saying, Hey, you know,we're here for you, we are going to produce content and we're going todo it in timely fashion and we're going to figure out how to make itof viable, so it make it a make land at Fintech a viable solutionfor you to get the same information you needed, but not on an annualcalendar. We're going to do this every day. From that decision came therealization that in two thousand and nineteen and eighteen before that and seventeen before that, if you look at our company from a from an accounting perspective, weare generating revenue six days a year. Three major events, typically two eventsto two days each. So it's a total of six days where we're actuallyperforming and that's when an accountant gets to recognize revenue. We're generating cash throughoutthe year and we're, you know, doing all the things. But butthat's a pretty fragile business model. It didn't have to take a pandemic toupset it. It could have been the queen of England passes away in ourmonth and all England shuts down and we can't have our England are UK conference. It could be that Signo US relations get kind of muddled, we haveto shut down our trying to conference, which did happen right. I meanlike little things like that, not little, big global things like that. Couldjust absolutely she lack a huge, partial portion of our business. Well, this new sort of not we're not a seven news organization, but weare a much more regular provider of information and analysis and commentary to our clientele. It turns out that we're making revenue almost every day of the year now. So that's a huge benefit to us and something we wouldn't have been ableto do without a pandemic. So we're very grateful for having gone been forcedinto that position, because now we have this fantastic business model that that justis, I would say, in a sense, anti fragile. Yeah,really good. I resilience was the word I was thinking of. You amore a more resilient model that can stand up to some of these regionalized thingsthat would have disrupted you before. Have you? Have you folded in?So talk to me now about some of the main touch points. And thenI'm by the way, you can't start talking about sending videos out, andyou know I'm going to double back on that because I want to know whyvideo. But but let's go to you know, the the way that thetouch points that produced, the feelings, that touch points that generate some senseof relationship, how those change? I assume you're you've probably done some arequoting here, like virtual events. Sounds like you've increased the cadence of someof the activity or communication and you are already doing. What are the touchpoints look like now compared to, say,... know, twelve months ago?Well, I'll tell you. It's it's it's a hundred percent video.Now. We used to produce a podcast that was just an audio podcast.Well, now we recorded on video and we post it in a variety ofplaces so that people can engage in the video. We then will take videosnippets that and post on Linkedin and we'll take the little nuggets and we'll say, okay, this was super interesting. If you only have fifteen seconds topay attention to fintech today, this is it. In two thousand and nineteen, we may have produced five or six webinars. We've already produced sixty,I think this year. We have a newly launched digital channel called lend it, Fintech digital that essentially takes the breaking news of this week and turns itinto a video discussion next week. So like in this moment, this iswhat day is it today? It's the ninth of November. Time is flyingright by, it's almost Christmas. So and financial pulled its Ipoh that's superinteresting. One of the clients and a longtime supporters in our space is asfiled and Ipoh. That's interesting. They've done it kind of quietly. Sonext week we hope to have experts on lend it, Fintech, digital whocan really break those issues down and say, okay, what really went on withan financial you know, did Jack My really get dressed down by thecentral banks, and presumably that the president? She I think so right, butwe're going to find out next week. So that kind of stuff is isjust so different from what we did last year. So last year cadence, you know, like I said, six days of actual activity with involvingmaybe six hundred speakers and hundreds of thousands of square footage. And and nowwe're doing flip it on its head and say, okay, a Webinar,a panel, a podcast, a this that, and they're all video andthey're all trying to be as relevant and timely as possible. It's completely differentmodel. Yeah, so this obviously was not plan B. It wasn't sittingon the shelf right to be pulled off in the case of something like this. Right. So, so I assume you know, you're and your teamgot together, you're trying to figure it out. You came up with somesome immediate, you know, solutions, are alternatives. What kind of feedbackwere you getting from the community? What were some of the positive signs thatthat had? You say, okay, this is good, okay, videois the thing. Okay, people do like this analysis, like just talkabout that. You know, the feedback from the customer in the community.That let you know that you were on the right track. Well, onething is we went out to our customers, the businesses that used to sponsor usfor the big shows, and we would say, look, we understand, you still have a problem, you still need to generate clients. Youneed those clients now, not in six or twelve or eighteen months. Sowe have these various different products that we've created. Would you be in studentsponsoring one of these? And let's say it's a Webinar, a sponsored Webinar. Now, I know everyone has zoom fatigue, but if we produce greatcontent, it doesn't matter if it's sponsored, it doesn't matter if it's at anawkward time of day. What matters is we put on great content andpeople learn from it and there's the interaction. When we do that, we canrepeat that. So one of the clear indications that we were doing well. We're number one. Are Clients were willing to pay for those and payhandsomely and number to the audience. Numbers were solid and stayed solid. Sowe have hundreds of people coming to these webinars couple times a week. That'svaluable for us and that's valuable for our clients and that's valuable for that forthose that continue to choose to attend those. So really the commercial response was theonly one that mattered, because it was life and death. Right,we're getting the PPP loan, we're cutting staff or cutting salaries, like youknow, we haven't mentioned all the hardship that go that went along with this. I mean I mentioned some angst in some emotional stuff, but ego aside, it was brutal and and so the commercial reality of yeah, we're right, the customers do care about this stuff, they do need this stuff and they'repaying for it. That was really...

...the one very loud signal that wegot. Good. Now let's talk a little bit about video. So saidvideo several times now. I've also, you know, I do, evenwhen you're not, you know, on the other end of crown here.Well, of course, Urse as are as. Is Not everyone. Ithink just a lot of people are still slow to the party video and avariety of channels. But you know, you've obviously mentioned a relationship a lot. You've talked about humanizing some of these touch points and in even humanizing thebrand, which is something that we have talked about in a variety of differentways here. For you, was video just the default straight away, orwas any conscious thought about it or you know, you know what roll doesthe does video communication play for you? For example, and I guess youcan start here, you said as soon as this happened, I was fortunateenough to take my family up into the mountains, but I took my gearwith me and I started communicating with video. Like, why video in that moment? was that just instinct, and how does that play into the wayyou think about Your Business? It may be instinctive now, but or itmay be a kneejerk reaction now, because I'm a huge believer in video,and I'm not just saying that because you're listening. I am and have been, especially for complex topics, complex businesses, and we could apply to a lotof other things, relationship businesses, on and on and on, butevery every business is a relationship business. It's really important to humanize a brandwhen the brand is financial, because finance can be very complex. And thisis something I learned when we were building that Fintech that I mentioned earlier,where we would take these really complex ideas, which is investing in long term alternativeassets, using a robot on lending club to improve your returns and compoundinterest and on and on and and we put a person up there like meor one of my colleagues and we just explain it as simply as we couldand just be like, look, this is what we're going to try todo for you. And we were registered investment advisor. So there's real rulesaround this, what you can say, which promise, which you can't promise, all that stuff. So we just follow those rules and we get oncamera and and people responded to that. So when anything important ever has tohappen, if I'm fundraising, if I'm you know, if I have badnews to deliver my investors, you better believe I'm doing it on video.So yes, in the spring of two thousand, if I'm grabbing one pieceof equipment staying with me of the mountains, it's it's not my snow shoes,it's my camera right, and my mic and whatever, you know,whatever else. So so yeah, that that is crystal clear to me andI'm glad the world is climbed on board. You know, I could I couldsay I wish I had preserved some sort of competitive advantage when, youknow, being the only whatever person on video, but that's silly. Weare all humanized. Do you remember, back in the early part of thisthere were so many people who you'd go in a zoom call with and,knowing shared their camera right, the weird and so is all audio, andso I'd be that one guy down in the bottom corner who's like, youknow, has his kids walking in and in like there's there's books and there'sthree laundrying whatever. But that was that's just that. That was important tome to portray who I was in the full sense of it, it feelslike. And in some communities when we go on zoom, everybody's on videoand we get to see a little bit more about them and it humanizes them. It makes me want to do business with them more than if they're justa just a voice on the other end of the line. Yeah, we'rea plane flat email signature. You offered a couple good use cases there forvideo messages that that I've experienced myself and that a lot of people benefit from, which is one breaking down the complex and explaining things in lay person's termsin a way that the information is going to be so much you're going toexplain it so much better by speaking it, so I'm going to understand it somuch better because you spoke it. And the other one I really likeyou mentioned as bad news. I think...

...a lot of people overlook it.You know, there's just so much and I guess I would extend that tosay emotional charge. Any tend that there is a positive or negative emotional charge. Apology I would lump in with bad news as well. It just doesn'tcome through when you type it out and send it, and so this abilityto kind of like be yourself, as long as you're sincere, by theway. If you're not sincere about if you don't actually meet, it becauses. Yeah, we've seen that press conference and it's not it's just becomes animmediate joke and twitter has a field day with it. That that a notapology. Apology from a celebrity or something. So really, really good use casesthere and and I really it's interesting to me. Obviously you're deep,deep in Fintech and both the fin side of it and the tech side ofit. I can see how that at times perhaps minimize the human to degreewe're communicating about it and representing it. I can understand how was of immediatebenefit to you. The other thing I would add is that we're able tobridge the gap with relationships better than we thought. And I know many ofour clients when we presented them with an opportunity to have to join us forone of our virtual events, a large scale event, not the not theWebinars, but we did replicate the large scale events. I shouldn't say thatthey were not replicated. We made an effort to put great content on stageand let people network. Well, it turns out video networking is really effective. We chose our event platform based on networking as opposed to content delivery,and it's interesting. We've had, I think it's nineteen events since two thousandand thirteen, so large scale events where there's at least a thousand people,and you know, it's pretty pre sizeable things and we've measured MPs since twothousand and sixteen net promoter score and we had our third largest net promoter scoreever for our virtual event which we hosted in September, and a lot ofthat was based on the video networking that we provided and people felt like itwas. People were approachable, people were ready to do business, people wereopen. That was all communicated without a handshake, in a twodimensional surface,and so it is amazing what we can do on video. And we don'tneed three D we don't need holograms. Yes, somebody will get their fine, we don't need that right. What we need is a is a visualrepresentation. Tod is just fine of the counterpart we have and we can,we can convey a lot through that, and so that's that, I think, is one of those things that we've now discovered as a society, atleast I hope we have. Yeah, really good. It reminds me ofa conversation I had on this podcast with Dan Hill, who's a PhD withI think seven US patents in the analysis of facial coding data and sort oflike eight books on related topics, and he calls that the twenty five squareinches that include our eyes, nose and mouth as the richest visual territory onthe planet. So to the point of, you know, it's cool if wedo all this other stuff, but really I just need to see youreyes and your nose in your mouth. I can see your hands or yourupper body even better, but there's just so much rich communication there. Sothat's great. I'm glad that you got that positive feedback on that event aswell and I appreciate your qualification to on replicating it. But no, wedidn't replicate it. Are you did the next best available thing. Yeah,the the networking scenarios where you can. Was it one of those that whereyour kind of randomly paired up with someone else who raised their hand to benetwork? We did do that as well, and that we call networking roulette,and that was quite that was really successful as well. In fact,for our USA conference we had it was lit. It was at the tailend of the conference and it was sponsored by the Department for International Trade ofthe UK and we'd like thirty five fintech entrepreneurs from the UK generally, butlet's call it London, who are up at midnight participating in networking roulette.It was it was a phenomenal success. The cornerstone of our networking was wasmore of a aipowered matchmaking where's like,...

Oh, you have these interests andyou're offering these things, usually with this person, and then the outreach ensuesand we had just a huge success with that. Nice. I love itand it's obviously just such a natural extension of what brought you to create andsustain lend it Fintech over the years. Okay, every single person listening andyou did a great job off the top offering like like drawing this picture outbig but obviously every single person listening is affected by Fintech. So for kindof like a mainstream type of audience, what are a couple things that thatyou're seeing and hearing that maybe haven't broken through yet that are going to bea real net positive for someone listening? So I mean, I think so. When I look at Fintach and to look at the the things that Ithink I'm most excited about hitting our economy are, they're a couple major themes. It's transparency and it's friction, and so increased transparency for the financial systemto understand what's happening, it's really happening with the private enterprise. Consider asmall business, a barbershop, a flower shop, a mechanic shop or anonline company that's selling on you know that it has mainly digital goods. Forthat company to be started and then financed and then refinanced and then grown.There's this really difficult opacity between what the Entreprenur knows and what the investor knows, and the high the harder it is for the investor to understand what's reallygoing on in that business, the higher the cost of capital. That's whyall these businesses are started on credit cards. No one believes the entrepreneur is goingto be successful. No banks are willing to take a risk. Banksare actually not in the risk capital business, and even venture capitalists, and Iused to be a vc out in Silicon Valley for a number of years, where we were very risk averse. Right, and that's the extreme ofthe capital providers. All the entrepreneurs in America and all over the world arebetting on themselves and Fintech can make it. This is there's a big claim hereand to hold on your seats. Findeck can make it so that it'smore transparent all the way through the through the capital chains so that the capitalproviders can understand the business is better faster and then provide capital on a cheaperbasis to entrepreneurs who deserve cheaper capital for those that don't, for those ataren't getting traction. Yet it's off. Maybe your idea didn't take off me. You do have to make more bets on yourself. But as we canimprove that transparency and efficiency of capital flow, the cost of starting a business goesdown and all of a sudden we'll see an absolute revival of main street. And no better time than now because we've we're going to have a desperateneed from main street to be reinvented. Now. This vision I have ofperfect transparency and and low cost of capital is not coming in time for thepostcovid reality. It's a long time away. We're talking many, many years,but we're on the path. It is extremely complex and it goes wellbeyond just number crunching in into a lot of other things. Like you said, the twenty five square inches of the face are are going to play arole as well. So that is something that I would just sort of putin a nutshell, is saying like, if there's one positive impact I'm lookingforward to it is that entrepreneurs can have an easier path to cheaper capital faster. I love it. It's so encouraging. I had not given any of thatany thought. It is consistent with other trends towards transparency throughout chains ofrelationships and activities, which obviously increases trust, which accelerates everything. So it makessense that you're seeing it from your seat as well. It's awesome.It reminds me of another conversation I had here. I think we called itthe end to end transparency trend, which rhymes, and so it's delightful.You know, if you're listening to a bow and I right now, youobviously enjoyed the topic. I've got a couple more that I know you'll enjoy. The first one is episode eighty five with Corey McCarthy, who I mentionedbefore. She's Cmo at socio events,...

...and that one was called how topivot successfully to a virtual event. She had a very unique situation where notonly did they have to pivot a lot of the activity they were doing asa marketing organization, they also need to help their customers do the same.So that's really a good one. Too, and if you're interested in the communityaspect of what we talked about today, bringing people together, oftentimes including competitorsor what might seem on paper like strange bedfellows, episode eighty four withsang gramvage, a Co founder and chief of angelistic terminus in the founder ofa couple communities. That's episode eighty four. We called that ten rules for buildinga category and a community both. This has been really interesting and Ilove that hopeful note that you left us with there, with that last responseis better than I could have asked for. But before I let you go,I'm going to have you think or mention someone who's had a positive impacton your life, for your career and and then maybe give a shout outor a mention to a brand or a company you appreciate for the experience thatthey deliver for you as a customer. All Colorado People here Ethan. First, I think my family. They have stood by me through thick and thin, and it is been a pleasure to serve them and to learn from them, as they provide me all the lessons I need to become successful. Ioften say like look, I'm a better entrepreneur because I've learned how to managemy family a little bit better, and by manager I don't mean like gettingthem to take out the trash, I just mean like understand that this isa complex relationship and I need to develop it and and show up as mybest self to get them to be there their best selves. So that's slamdunk family, my wife Amy and my five kids. Company that's also aColorado one. That is super inspiring. And this is a company had aboulder called hop tea. Have you come across hop tea? I know hoptea very well. My longtime friend and CMO AND CO author of Rehumanize YourBusiness, Steve, passed. Ellie turn me on to hop tea. Theydo awesome work and the subscription around it, the limited releases, tell me,tell me your experience with them. Dean ever heart is a is adear friend of mine and one of the CO founders of hop tea. Iwas in a room with him several years ago when he was struggling with thisidea of like he had all these little pockets of inspiration where he's like Icould do this and I could do that, and in one of these pockets ofinspiration was this hop tea that he had created and we all thought waspretty dog on good, because he'd bring us like a forget if it wasin a bottle or a can or whatever, but he had this little lab inhis garage where he would brew this stuff. He made the decision togo all in and from that moment everything became clear and, as you've beenwatching, I'm sure, the innovation and the genius that goes on inside thosefour walls, with the what twenty or so people that they have, isimpacting thousands of people and it's, yes, just a beverage, but it isincredible and it's life changing and I especially love this one story that Deantold where he got an email from a I think it was an email froma consumer who was an alcoholic and really missed the taste of beer and shewas in whole foods and looking at this endcapper hop tea was being marketed andher boyfriend was like to give it a shot. How bad can it be? Like it says, it tastes like a beer, non alcohol, nocalories. That like it's completely sin free. Give it a shot. She boughtit and she drank it and she started crying. And I'm like,Dean, you have moved mountains. So I want to give Dean shout outand just say that is as brilliant work. Yeah, it's awesome. We're weare beer nerds and you know, obvious the thing that just turned meon completely to beer years ago was a single hop flight. And so it'sjust this movement from you know, Pine and Resin on one end to thebright floral on the other end, just like this little journey of you know, Short Pores, and so you know,...

...what we're talking about here is likea carbonated beverage, but it's brewed with some of the most flavorful andinteresting hops available, completely not alcoholic, for a variety of benefits. Ofcourse, the not alcoholic move from it's gotten really good in general, andcertainly hot tea is one of the more interesting I don't know if we callthem pioneers or not, but certainly one of the more interesting products and companiesin the space. In the subscription model and again the limited releases, it'slike it's got all the appeal of this kind of like you know that theeven the most hardcore craft beer nerd can be turned on by the dynamics thatthey've created an addition to the product that they've created. It's I love thatyou went there. It's really good. Yeah, truly, it's in backto the back to why they inspire. I mean it is that moment ofgoing all in. It's an important moment, but not saying okay, this isthe one product, but then pouring all your energy into that vision ofwe are creating a category, like you mentioned before, and now we're goingto create our community around it. So boy, that just ties it alltogether, does yeah, it really does. So well done. This has beenan absolute pleasure. Bow and obviously, if someone's listening now, they feltthe same way. So how can someone connect with you or with lendit Fintech, or where? Would you send someone to follow up on thisconversation? Sure, I'm easy to find if you know how to spell mylast name. I'm one of a few breast currents in America. The othersare related to me in some way. They're very closely or distantly. We'reall cousins. So my email address boat landacom. Feel free to reach outto me. Happy to help, especially if you're in the Colorado area.But you know what, there's not a lot of boundaries anywhere. So we'lljump on a video and we'll have we'll have a chat and lend. Itis just at Landacom, alien dicom. Awesome innovation eating in transforming the lendingspace in all of its forms. Really Great Conversation with you. Enjoyed itvery much. For folks who want to see some video clips from this,they want to a link to hop tea, in case you can't remember it,remember bombombcom slash podcast. We link up a variety of things that wementioned in the conversation, as well as dropping some video clips. In shortwrite up and of course, all the embedded audio as well. Both thankyou so much and thank you to you for listening to this episode of thecustomer experience podcast. Thanks you, then. Clear Communication, human connection, higherconversion. These are just some of the benefits of adding video to themessages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book. Rehumanize Your Business. How personal videosaccelerate sales and improve customer experience. 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 important thing you can do today is to create and delivera better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics bysubscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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