#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guest Greg Kavanagh
Our guest this episode is Greg Kavanagh from Branded Culture. He and Simone chat about the science of marketing, the value of stories, and the importance of consistency with your messaging.
Connect with Greg here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-kavanagh-b0b5285/
Check out our page for updates and teasers about upcoming episodes, links, and details about Simone’s best-selling books. https://socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast
Hosted by Simone Douglas
Videography by Marie Carbone
Audio by Chris Irving
Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence
This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.
Chris Irving 0:01
Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host, Simone Douglas. Today’s guest is Greg kavanah from branded culture. He and Simone chat about the science of marketing, the value of stories and the importance of consistency with your messaging.
Simone Douglas 0:19
All right, so welcome to this week’s episode of a seriously social podcast. Today I am joined by the lovely Greg Kavanagh from branded culture. Greg, thanks for joining me today. So maybe just to start off with if you can give our audience or our listeners, the Cliff’s notes version of how you find yourself in my office today.
Greg Kavanagh 0:40
Oh, wow. Okay. Well, I guess from a professional perspective, my background has been marketing oriented. So University marketing degree, the first 10 years was on client side. I worked in government with WorkCover, I worked at elders in sort of Agricultural Marketing and brand. And then when I was at work cover, I met Jim Robinson, who was Leo, Leo Burnett, Leo Burnett Robinson, and an opportunity opened up there. And I moved across to the advertising agency side and spent really the next 15 years working in advertising specifically with Leo Burnett, which became JM and then also with showpony. And probably the last few years of that time, always moving more into brand strategy and less of the count management project management, which has my side not being a creative person as such. And I was getting more and more interested in the way brand influences people, particularly the people within the organization. And I guess, you know, when you’re working in advertising, it’s all about the customer and it’s all about creativity and generating demand. But often there’s a disconnect between what the creative and what the agency and what the marketing department is saying versus what’s actually happening in the business itself. So So branded culture is really about trying to bring together those two parts of the marketing customer element but more so the people and culture piece. So yeah, it’s been exciting. It’s two and a half years in in now. Yeah, so you survive you and you survive you two, which is COVID. So yeah, so now it’s been it’s been fantastic. Best thing I’ve ever done.
Simone Douglas 2:34
Yeah, yeah, I think I’m broken. I couldn’t work someone
Greg Kavanagh 2:38
controls a wonderful thing. It’s just yeah, I didn’t know that until I knew it.
Simone Douglas 2:44
But, you know, speaking to, you know, branded culture and the people piece that sits within a business, how important is that? And why is it important that the people within your business and the business owner themselves have an understanding of their branded culture
Greg Kavanagh 3:04
it’s funny you will first person to describe brown and culture as a noun, rather than a business I’m and you know, you think I would have known there wouldn’t be a video just little things, you keep moving and keep evolving. And, and I guess, particularly within sort of medium to larger organizations is there’s silos developed within the companies. And there’s always been a separation between HR and marketing. And so to the point where you have someone HR looking after internal comms and marketing, looking after external, external comms, and which doesn’t really make sense when you think about it, because what you want to be doing is, you know, from a messaging perspective, delivering a consistent message that’s going to be realized when the customer comes in contact with the company. So there’s a great Elon Musk quote, which is brand is just a perception and perception will meet reality at some stage. Yeah, love. Yeah, and particularly in service oriented businesses, you’ve got a product, then there’s a formula, and it’s made in the factory, and you can replicate that 100% every time. But if it’s about your professional services, or your not for profit, or whatever, it might be any service oriented business. It’s really hard to consistently deliver as expected every time so that’s where the people and culture side is really interesting.
Simone Douglas 4:26
Do you think I’ve been having a few conversations with people about the new normal, which is the buzzword of 2021. I’m bit over the buzzword? Yeah, you know, in the environment we find ourselves in now. You know, and as business owners, where we’ve worked out that our businesses can be as quickly taken away from us, you know, with the snap of a lockdown as anything else. How do we define who we are now And moving forward versus, you know, who we are? Or who we were previously, like, is that a piece of work that needs to be done?
Yeah, well, I guess you know, the question of whether it’s a new normal or whatever. I suppose First up, previous recessions have had, you know, every every thing’s been pretty flat. Yeah, this one’s had winners and losers, even working for Bunnings. It’s the busiest they’ve ever been. And if you’re running a hospitality business or an events business, yeah, it’s, you know, disaster. So to have this, you know, environment of winners and losers means that for some, the new normal is the same as you know, it’s better than the old normal. But I think, you know, you need to work out who you are, and what you’re about. And whether you’re referring to it as the elevator pitch, or any of that sort of stuff. You know, from the from the leader on down, you need to be able to articulate who you are, what you’re about, and bring that to life in everything you do. Because, as we know, it’s the words and deeds. anyone’s love. I love that words and deeds. But it’s the deeds that really matter. Yeah, it’s the thing. It’s, you know, whether it’s word of mouth referral, or whatever, ultimately, that’s based on delivering as promised, yeah. So I think it’s really useful for organizations to be able to answer that question, Who am I? What makes us uniquely us? Because there is only one, even if we’re in a category where everyone kind of appears basically the same? Still any one of us? Yeah, exactly. So you know, what is it about us that makes us uniquely us? Yeah, that’s going to be of appeal to customers and appeal to talented people. And, you know, one of the things that we want to be famous for, and I don’t mean that, you know, Kim Kardashian, way I just made in terms of, although that would be fine too. But, you know, in terms of just being recognized out in the market for something, yeah. Because that’s all brands really are, is it’s what exists in the mind of a customer. And for most of us, it’s only a small repertoire of words and thoughts may be the emotion if we’re incredibly lucky. But you know, within the workshops that I run, I often ask questions about what people think, when you put up a Volvo logo or an Ikea logo. And there are two massive global brands. One of them is famous for safety. And that’s really unique. And the other one is an incredibly unique experience of IKEA. There’s no one like it.
Flat packs and excess bolts, that’s what I associate.
And what we get is is old get cheap. Pack allen keys, annoying divorce and maples but you know, here is this huge behemoth that is unlike any other and yet, I’ve just been spoken to 1000s of people over the years and just cannot get the same little repertoire, yeah, three or four things. And, you know, they want to be probably clever, and style, and affordable. That would be a beautiful little set for them, and unique and unexpected, or whatever it might be. But, you know, so I think it’s really important to be able to work out, what are those things that you want to be recognized for? So that you can plug that mental gap between what people are actually thinking? And what you want them to think? Because most of us don’t really know what to think. And we’ll create little stories in our own minds. So as a business, if you can sort of try and manage that narrative. Yeah. And know that it’s only going to be a few little things and be disciplined about it then you’ve actually got a chance of being successful.
How do you think we support so I encounter a lot of business owners and I have these conversations with because I’m very big on emotional connection. And I think that in this, you know, post COVID economy, the businesses that are gonna have longevity and success, are the ones that can connect to their customers emotionally in a way that their customers invest in their success. Yes. Yeah. that terrifies most business owners that I speak to in terms of No, no, I sell this I do this. Yeah. So they’re very trend like transactional in nature. transactional in their marketing messaging? Yeah. What would you say to a business owner that’s kind of on the precipice of that and is going No, no, I live here and that seems very fluffy over there. Yes. How do they How do they take half a step because that’s really usually all it takes to start off with.
Greg Kavanagh 9:41
And I think you know, it’s a really good question because when you invested in your business and you’ve built it and you become successful as a result of it, it’s hard to hard to adjust and adapt because your way is worked. Yeah. But I find and the thing too, with, you know, emotional can action and all of those things is it feels so wishy washy and people get you know a nice one marketing person yeah get out of the coloring in here’s the marketing team you know let’s get out the little golden books and tell stories yeah but the fact is a you know a huge amount of hard science that sits behind that and it’s you know, from my learning perspective, it’s been really eye opening just to see the the science that lives behind you know, the way our brains work you know, the part of the brain that manages emotion and memory are interconnected and they are older parts of the brain and this logical language part so it makes sense that it’s more evident from an evolutionary perspective it’s actually faster it’s more efficient. So unless you know some of the some of the findings around 90 95% of purchase decision is occurring in the subconscious mind. And we don’t like to think that we like to think that we’re rational when we’re making control decisions all the time but another great quote which is that we’re not rational animals were rationalizing so so we feel you know, we get we trust our gut You know, there’s an instinct we feel that this or like something about them? Yeah, then we’ll go searching for the logical decision now so I would say to the business owners that focus on the logic it’s it’s emotion leads logic follows. So you’ve got to have it it’s got to be there. Yeah, but it’s not the thing that’s going to connect and even at a very scientific level it’s it’s harder for the brain system one and system two and all this stuff tied for the brain to duck it’s a lazy organ that doesn’t want to do the work. So make me feel a certain way is gonna be more likely to appeal to the species.
Simone Douglas 11:59
Greg Kavanagh 12:00
And then give me the logic, give me the details, give me your specs. So it’s there when I need it and then I’ll back it up and that’s where you know review sites and all of these sorts of things are so important it’s not that they’re necessarily driving the sale but they’re reinforcing
Simone Douglas 12:19
the decision on what’s already kind of yeah so it’s quite it’s really funny so you know, obviously I’ve got the jig Brunswick hotel and in you know generally we’re a five star review kind of a Google place yes very happy Yeah. Got a one star review the other day and like one of the team had answered it on automatic pilot to a degree so they got on there I really sorry that was your experiences my contact details blah blah. Whereas I got on there and like grabbed the person’s name, put it into Facebook and went okay, they live in Victoria, they’re in Melbourne there’s a Duke of Brunswick in Brunswick Okay, they’ve reviewed the wrong hotel clearly okay,
Greg Kavanagh 13:01
because we just got in the troll.
Simone Douglas 13:04
Well that might have been another option but it was just the way that it worked out but yeah, so it was the whole thing is like you know, the emotional or the felt sense was smaller hang on No, we’ve had a good week there hasn’t been any bumps in so we’re you know like I’m like something’s not right and then like I said you go find the things and go okay something’s not right yeah, now we can send them a private message agree teach you mean to review the pub in Adelaide? Or were you in Melbourne?
And of course they went Oh, sorry. Yeah.
But you know, I it took me a long time I think to come to grips with the emotional body being at the front. Yeah, I’m a very logic driven human being and I like I like to back up my gut instinct. But yeah, I’m just I’m always really surprised because business owners live and die by their instincts by their gut. Again, you go find the reasons and the things to either go Yes, I will take that risk or No, that’s too risky or but yeah, it’s maybe it’s a language issue.
Greg Kavanagh 14:12
I don’t I it’s I think what it is, is because we all live operate in our own little bubbles. And you know, we’re spending 4050 hours a week just as an employee, we’re in that bubble, and it becomes our lives and we think assume will not even think that others find it as interesting and as important as we do. So I think we know when it comes to these business owners that have you know, whatever it is a product or service is so invested in it. And they’re in that bubble, thinking that everyone else shares that interest that same level as they do and we just die because everyone else is busy in their own bubbles or busy just hanging in there. You know, with two kids pulling your pants and and all that sort of stuff. So we don’t have a lot of time to be investing in the date. style that the business owner wants people to invest in, because it’s so important to them. Now maybe you’re a nice supplier and you’re an aficionado and you’re targeting a group of fellow aficionados who love that detail. But and that’s great. Yeah, but most of the time we’re too busy doing other stuff to invest the energy.
Simone Douglas 15:20
Yeah, well and story story will carry you there so much faster. So I think you know, I mean, it’s a good way to wrap things up in in. I think, personally, if, as a business owner, you have been in that really transactional close, working with someone like yourself to work out what is this? Who am I to all of my people, including my staff? What is that environment look like? You know, and having gone through some of your workshop process previously, it’s painless.
Greg Kavanagh 16:01
It is it’s, it’s it’s, it’s it is painless, it’s kind of challenging to think these think about things like what drives us because you’re so busy, most are so busy just doing the doing to actually stop and think and go What’s the next five years look like and how, and to be kind of challenged on some of the thinking or whatever can can be you have to use your brain Yeah, but different parts of it too. But it’s worth it and it’s you know, I find that most people are really exhilarated by that to have something presented back to them in a way that you know, can give you the response where you go you know, this is more than I thought our place is yeah and can be so and that you know, the storytelling side of it. I’ve always been nervous about you know, working with companies where there’s a marketing department and the CFO looks at marketing as just being an expense line and all the rest and you know, let’s get out of the coloring Yeah, get out the crayons he comes marketing and and I’ve always been nervous with storytelling that the CFO is going to love the bloody storytime style as well but so again, I kind of looked into it and you know, they’ve done some neurological testing and when you when you present people with facts and data, or stories, or more parts of the brain light up when you show stories and you go you know, again, just from a from a scientific perspective, isn’t that interesting that the more parts of the brain are engaged and and lighting up when you tell a story but I think the most important part of storytelling is to be memorable. Yeah,
Simone Douglas 17:37
Greg Kavanagh 17:39
Really, that’s what it’s about isn’t it?
Simone Douglas 17:40
Yes. I think it’s it’s that thing of stories take you on a journey and I access older memories so they take you on on a deeper journey Yes. So which allows you to remember the story so so I guess for the business owners out there who are maybe you know three to five years in that tends to be you know, I call it the exhaustion mark. We’ve been doing this for a while.. It’s you have to kind of come to Jesus moment. Why am I doing this? Do I want to keep doing this? Do I want to sell it don’t put someone into run it all those kinds of things pop up. Maybe it’s time that you get in touch with Greg and get some goosebumps. So you back into the This is why I’m doing this. This is what I’m doing. You find all of his details in the comments below all of the places where we post this podcast. Greg, thanks very much for joining me.
Greg Kavanagh 18:37
You’re most welcome. Thank you for having me.
Chris Irving 18:41
We hope you enjoyed this episode of seriously social. Check our website for the latest news show notes and for details about Simone’s latest book, confident networker.