Mike and Chris discuss the year’s guests and topics. Toward the end, we talk about what it all means for Arizona, conscious business and the branding concepts that tie it all together.

Contact: Mike mike@resoundcreative.com or Chris chris@resoundcreative.com

Discuss at https://www.facebook.com/azbrandcast/

AZ Brandcast is graciously sponsored by Conscious Capitalism Arizona – the global movement inspiring businesses to do good…because it’s just good business. Find out more about Conscious Capitalism and the many companies transforming our world for the better on their website: consciouscapitalismaz.com

And our show is produced by Phoenix Business RadioX and recorded at the enviable MAC6 coworking space in ever-sunny Tempe, Arizona (the 48th – and best state of them all). AZ Brandcast is a project of Resound – an Arizona brand agency.

Show Transcript

Chris Stadler: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s time for Phoenix Business Radio, spotlighting the city’s best businesses and the people who lead them.

Mike Jones: I always love that intro Chris, it’s so fun. I just want to get down.

Chris Stadler: Get down. In the season, it feels like who’s that, Orchestra Trans-Siberian?

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Something like that a little bit.

Mike Jones: Yup. A little bit. Yeah. Welcome to AZ Brandcast everybody. We’re here to talk to all sorts of awesome people, most of the time. Today’s a little different.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: About the power of brand and how to build great brands in our remarkable state of Arizona. We’re you’re host I’m Mike Jones and …

Chris Stadler: Chris Stadler.

Mike Jones: We love just talking about brand, branding, Arizona, business, conscious capitalism.

Chris Stadler: That’s right. Today is a little different than normal. Normally, we have a guest or a couple guests and today, we thought we would do a little year-end review, year-end perspective.

Mike Jones: Year-end review. Yup.

Chris Stadler: We’re going to take a look at all the guests that we’ve had over this last year. I was writing down the list and I was like, “Holy crap, there’s a lot.”

Mike Jones: Yeah, how do we get such good guests?

Chris Stadler: I don’t know. I think, serendipity, fortune has indeed smiled on AZ Brandcast.

Mike Jones: Fortune has smiled, providence has kicked in.

Chris Stadler: That’s right.

Mike Jones: Not Rhode Island, not to be confused with Rhode Island. Me and my random references. We’ll dig into that in a little bit. Yeah. We’re going to take a look at all the guests that we’ve had on this year. Maybe hit some highlights, some lowlights. What was of interest to Chris and I over the course of the year.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: Then also, we’re going to look at what are some of the themes that came out as we talk to different people and as we’ve thought about Arizona, we’ve thought about brands and how to build them. How to make them remarkable? What’s the interplay there with conscious business, conscious capitalism?

Chris Stadler: Yeah, very, very unscripted.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: Very much more like stream of consciousness, talking points about these topics.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I feel like we’re going back to our roots too.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. We are.

Mike Jones: It’s like how we started.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Except for I don’t have any whisky around, because it’s the middle of the day.

Mike Jones: There’s some. Go around here, go quick.

Chris Stadler: I’ll be okay with water for now.

Mike Jones: All right. Chris, we should probably plug our awesome sponsor.

Chris Stadler: Our awesome sponsor is CCAZ. To mention CCAZ, Conscious Capitalism Arizona, this local association is on a mission to share with the whole world how doing business for good is just good business. This local chapter of conscious capitalism incorporated host tons of local events and provide resources for business leaders to instill a higher purpose in their company and engage all their stakeholders. Be sure to check them out at consciouscapitalismaz.com.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Alongside that, I want to make sure we give a plug for the international conferences coming to Phoenix in April.

Chris Stadler: That’s right.

Mike Jones: Hit the website if you want more information about that. There’s going to be thousands of people joining the local chapter here for a big conference, multiday conference, in Phoenix.

Chris Stadler: It is the, the CCI conference for the whole world.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: People are going to be coming in …

Mike Jones: It’s the world.

Chris Stadler: … one per year.

Mike Jones: Yeah. It’s one per year.

Chris Stadler: It’s not like they have a bunch per year and they’re up around. The only one.

Mike Jones: We’re hosting it.

Chris Stadler: That’s right. People or anybody who’s interested in going, they go here.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: Like from Germany, from China wherever they are.

Mike Jones: Or Italy.

Chris Stadler: Or Italy.

Mike Jones: Yes. I met a woman from Italy last year. She was sitting next to me and I introduced myself. She was from Italy. It’s like, wow, this is like, they were not kidding when they said this is an international conference. It’s a really cool time. I got to go to the one in Dallas this last spring. You spend multiple days at the conference, lots of really, really great content. I think it’s honestly one of the better conferences I’ve been to in terms of the content that’s provided. Some of the speakers are just amazing presenters, some workshop-type material as well. Just great ways to dig in to your business and understand better of how can I be more conscious as I lead my business.

Mike Jones: This is a great event for anyone who’s already super plugged into consciousness capitalism. Also, for anyone who’s like, what is this? I want to find out more. I want to understand what the community around it is all about. You’ll get a chance to meet a lot of different people.

Chris Stadler: Or, if you want to meet us because it’ll be one of the rare times we don’t have our bodyguards, right, because we’re so famous and popular.

Mike Jones: Yeah. We’ll be doing free signings, normally we charge for those.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: You can get a signature on your broken arm cast.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. All people with cast and injuries come to the frontline.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Automatic front in line …

Chris Stadler: Access.

Mike Jones: Yeah. If your child does not have a cast on we don’t sign, you’re at the back of the line.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Should have found that out before you show up without an injury.

Mike Jones: Yeah. We will accept fake cast.

Chris Stadler: You put in the effort for a fake cast.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: We’re signing that.

Mike Jones: We should start a new podcast called the cast-cast. We’ll just talk about casts for broken arms and limbs.

Chris Stadler: I feel like we would have enough imagination to do that.

Mike Jones: I think so.

Chris Stadler: Who do we have as a guest? All right. We went down around the throat too much?

Mike Jones: A little bit. Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Because I can talk about this don’t tempt me.

Mike Jones: Yeah. My first thought was just, what’s an appendage that doesn’t typically have a cast that we should have a cast for.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. What is the smallest appendage that gets a cast?

Mike Jones: I don’t know.

Chris Stadler: That’s the kind of thing we could talk about.

Mike Jones: I don’t know, that’s a great question.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, or what’s the most comprehensive …

Mike Jones: I’m writing that down. We’re going to pencil that in for a later episode. I want to make sure that we get that question answered.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: What is the smallest appendage that requires a cast?

Chris Stadler: Like the smallest cast practical on an adult human. Then, what’s the largest most comprehensive cast?

Mike Jones: Oh, Chris man, you’re blowing my mind here.

Chris Stadler: Would you be just like full body with a snorkel and ear holes maybe?

Mike Jones: Ear holes. You [crosstalk 00:06:05].

Chris Stadler: These are serious questions, isn’t it?

Mike Jones: These are very serious questions that must be …

Chris Stadler: Requiring minds want to know.

Mike Jones: At a later date.

Chris Stadler: All right. All right. Enough [inaudible 00:06:13].

Mike Jones: All right. I thought we’d start today with just review the list of people that we’d have on the show this last year. I pulled it and I was like, how. I was really amazed. We started the year with an interview with Denis and Diane from Truce. They’ve got a cleaning product brand that they’ve got here. They’re locally based in Arizona. It was a great episode. I think a great opportunity to dig in to a brand that’s home grown, one. That’s plain in manufacturing, right. It’s a little bit more of the “traditional” product space and yet doing something really unique with it.

Mike Jones: Their whole brand is positioned on being non-toxic. All their ingredients are non-toxic. I think there were some really interesting conversations around even just like how different audiences have gravitated towards their product. One thing I remember was they didn’t know this. They produced this product thinking like, “It’s great, people want to be safe, they want to have this non-toxic cleaning solution for cleaning their floors or cleaning their countertops or cleaning their windows.” Come to find out that there’s a certain segment that really gravitated towards it. It was cancer survivor patients, who just physically are a lot more susceptible to toxins in products and just in the environment. That’s been a really big component to their audience and developing the evangelism around their product and their brand. It was really cool.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. The part I remembered was just how someone, how they started. Wasn’t there that friend of theirs who was making, who was just like, “Hey, I’m just going to make some stuff out of stuff that isn’t harmful chemicals.” Just ended up just making stuff and packaging it. Then, what happened after that, do you remember? Was it like he was giving it away to friends or something?

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think he’s giving it away and selling it in local farmer’s markets. He wasn’t really, I think, intending for it to be this huge international brand of any kind. If I remember right, I think, Diane met her, I think it’s a friend of Diane’s. Diane was so smitten with the product. She’s like, “We have to do something with this.” Then, she brought Denis in and the three of them took it to that next level and really tried to … sales carved out a niche within the marketplace for this product line.

Mike Jones: They’ve, of course, since added more products since that original stuff. I like how it’s positioned really simply, right? It’s clean and it’s safe. It’s something that I remember Diane, she always uses this every time I talk to her. I love this tagline they use which is, it’s the kind of cleaning product your grandmother would have made. Just made at home, whipped it together. All right, now we scouring scrub powder for the tub. It’s clean and it’s effective and it’s really safe because it’s made from everyday products that you can find in your kitchen. They’re like, “Yeah, you could make this at home, but we do it for you.”

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: I think there’s something really cool and compelling about simple products.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Obviously, the safe aspect of it, I think, adds another level of purpose.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, yeah. It’s a very, very honest product. My favorite is, because we use it in the bathrooms here, right [inaudible 00:09:46]. My favorite is I love how my hands smell …

Mike Jones: Oh my gosh.

Chris Stadler: … after I use the peppermint.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s like a mint.

Mike Jones: I think it’s a basil mint. I can’t remember now.

Chris Stadler: It’s like a soap.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: It’s like in a little thing …

Mike Jones: The smell is amazing.

Chris Stadler: It’s like, I don’t want to use the normal stock bathroom stuff. This is right here and then I get to smell my hands and then I’m working and then I accidentally smell my hands and I’m like.

Mike Jones: Oh yeah.

Chris Stadler: Isn’t that nice?

Mike Jones: Yeah. That was a great conversation with them. Then, we had little insider conversation around the Super Bowl with Eric Myers and Kayla Izard from the Resound team. That was super fun.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: We got to rip apart a bunch of ads.

Chris Stadler: It was really great.

Mike Jones: Tell them how they should have done it because they did it all wrong and we’re experts.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, we know.

Mike Jones: We know.

Chris Stadler: It was so judgy. I loved it.

Mike Jones: It was very judgy. I think it was a good conversation even around at that deeper level like what’s going on with agencies right now. How is advertising working or not working? Really, getting back to this concept of this hardline to navigate around authenticity. When is it okay to jump on a cost as a brand, it’s like a cost larger than your brand and bring your brand in line with it. When is it just start to feel fake and forced?

Mike Jones: We even have a great conversation around that Jeep commercial. It was so compelling. I remember watching it and just being drawn in and like, I want a Jeep now. That looks amazing. It was so simple. Again, coming back to this concept of simplicity.

Chris Stadler: Was this driving down the waterfall?

Mike Jones: Yeah. The little wash thing.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Right. Not a fall but like …

Mike Jones: Yeah. I was like, it’s so simple.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: Then, you read the fine print and you’re like, “Oh, it was closed course.” I was like, oh. You had me Jeep. You had me.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: I’m sure people didn’t read the fine print, so it worked great.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. I bet. I bet they would have ticked off a lot of people if that would have been like a nature reserve.

Mike Jones: Or like a [crosstalk 00:11:58].

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Yeah. I know, they just went out some place and they were just driving around in this beautiful spot and they just transed all over with the Jeep and a film crew and …

Mike Jones: You know what I wish we’d had a chance to talk about, it hadn’t happened yet. We didn’t get to talk about it in that episode, but I would love a conversation around Nike and Colin Kaepernick.

Chris Stadler: Oh yeah.

Mike Jones: That would have been really interesting.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: I think that would have completed the circle for us.

Chris Stadler: Resound did write blog post about that.

Mike Jones: Hey, blog post plug, well done, Chris.

Chris Stadler: Just saying.

Mike Jones: Why don’t you go check that out, resoundcreative.com.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: We’re so terrible.

Chris Stadler: I don’t know.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I mean that was a really interesting case study of a brand getting political in taking a side and taking a stand.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Then, I think, in the blog post we talked about how do you stay in the course? Would you agree with what Nike did or not? Some of us tend to fall on not, but you look at that and you realized that okay, well, what’s Nike want to do? Does it apologize? I mean look at all the people, all the brands, personalities that are apologizing. A lot of people think, “No, no, don’t apologize for things that you didn’t do wrong, you need to stand up for that.”

Chris Stadler: A lot of it depends on, was it wrong? Maybe it was wrong. Who do you continue to live up those values even when it’s hard, when people don’t like it. The contention is that watch for Nike not to change its mind. It’s like no backtracks, [inaudible 00:13:51] apologize. It’s thought about this and look what it’s doing.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I’d argue and this is the argument I’ve had with people who came out it from more of a political angle and like do I agree or disagree with the action because I have a stance on this particular issue from a political standpoint, or from a social standpoint. It was interesting because I had people asking me about it. They’re saying, “Hey, you’re the brand expert, what do you think about it?” I’m like, “Yeah, from a brand perspective, I thought Nike, I mean, that’s true to their values.”

Mike Jones: It’s interesting that, I think, if you are true to your values, whatever those values are and you really think about them and you make decisions according to them in a thoughtful way, there are going to be times that you’re going to be tested. Those acting on behalf or in line with your values is actually going to cause some people to not align with you. I think there was a really interesting case study in that of like, I think they stuck to what they’re true about. I’m sure there’s a business case somewhere in there. They’re not idiots at Nike. I’m sure they ran it through some of kind of economic forecast as well.

Mike Jones: What’s going to be the challenge from an economic standpoint?

Chris Stadler: Even if it was brand and values led, it wasn’t done blindly, right?

Mike Jones: No, no [crosstalk 00:15:18].

Chris Stadler: Probably some thoughts like, well, let’s just make sure this is not going to be destroy Nike and their shareholder value, stakeholder.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Yup. It still cost them, I’m sure, with some consumers. They said, “We’re willing to accept that.”

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Yeah. It was funny because you looked on social media and people were like, “Oh, look their stock dropped.” Then, pretty soon, it was like, “Look their stock is rising and everything.” It’s like right and wrong. I mean I guess this is the next part of this discussion about brand is ultimately, you want your brand to be right and not wrong, not just popular. It’s like, “Hey, if it’s popular, okay, maybe you’ll do good business. If it’s treating your values, well, that’s another level of probably accountability.” If your values are wrong, that’s an issue too, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: The real question for me was, well, was it right or what is it wrong? Is it, should we be trying to unify our country around good ideas or are we just saying, “Hey, we’re going to take a stand and hopefully other people follow if what we’re doing is right.” You’re right, Nike has always been that way. The revolution, that’s iconic.

Mike Jones: Yeah. There’s this idea, I think, at the heart of Nike and obviously, this is from a very external perspective, so maybe I’m wrong, of this sense of going out and doing things that you … being challenged to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do but are afraid to do. At some level, that was originally athletic concepts. Like, go get fit and run that marathon, right? You can do it. Just do it.

Mike Jones: I think they’ve taken that and they’ve continued to push, okay, what does just do it mean? What arenas can we apply that too beyond athleticism?

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: They took it and they said, “Look, there’s a social issue and this one guy in particular has taken a big public hit because he took a stand/kneel on it. We’re going to support him in the way that he approached that,” right? In some sense, it was like, it’s not even about what the issue is at heart, it’s more about supporting someone who’s taken a stand.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. I would argue that that might have a limited shelf life depending on … because if your stance ultimately are executed in a shallow way, and I think that this particular issue, this is personally me and why I care about branding. You have an issue where the public could change. What am I trying to say? Because the idea is that if you’re right and the public changes, well at least, you’re still doing what’s right. What if you’re wrong?

Chris Stadler: Then the public changes, and now not only it changes against you, now not only are you unpopular but you also build your house on this bad foundation. For me, I think, there’s a space in the branding conversation for truth because truth is ultimately what does people good not agreeing with them. Ultimately, truth starts before love, right, maybe. I don’t know. That’s my contention.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think that’s the challenge that every brand has is how do you find that truth?

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: How do you decide where our values align with that truth and where are we willing to be full throttle behind that truth.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. It’s like finding what is the firmest kind of brand foundation I could have, then and only then, worrying about how whether everybody likes it or not kind of thing. It’s almost like personal values.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: First, be your self because you’re going to be the best you can be if you could just find who you are and then you’re going to find your real value.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Yup. I think we beat that one up pretty well.

Chris Stadler: Right on.

Mike Jones: Next on the podcast, we had Kyle McIntosh from MAC6, who is the very gracious host of our company, Resound. We house our company out of their co-working space and we do some really fun work with them over the last like year and a half. We had him on the talk about co-working and what does that landscape look like here in Arizona. I think we got a lot of plugs for Taftly in there somehow.

Chris Stadler: I remember that coming out of it, it’s Taftly I forgot, taftly.com. A apparel for the historically inclined. I have two shirts, classic political shirts from Taftly.

Mike Jones: Yes. I think, when I first gave you the first one, it was like …

Chris Stadler: I know.

Mike Jones: You’re like, I don’t know if I’m going to wear that one. I had to tell you the story [crosstalk 00:20:27]. Yeah.

Chris Stadler: I was hoping this would not come up. I was hoping this would not come up because it shows what an ungrateful …

Mike Jones: No. No, no.

Chris Stadler: … jerk I am, because here’s what I said. I was like, because I, being a little more of the libertarian persuasion, I look at the shirt and I see progressive and I’m like, “This isn’t really me.” Mike is like, “Oh, well, I gave you that one because I thought it was the best design.” I was like, “Oh, what did I just say.”

Mike Jones: It’s all good.

Chris Stadler: It is the most beautiful shirt. It’s the progressive. It’s the Bull Moose Party. It was kind of more classical probably values driven progressivism I guess, it always is.

Mike Jones: Yeah [crosstalk 00:21:05] progressivism rather than the newer strain. It’s interesting how that shift, that’s an interesting conversation around branding a word.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Progressive. It’s very interesting and how that changed political affiliation over, really, a very short amount of time. Early 1900’s you have the full throttle republican version of progressivism really led by Theater Roosevelt. It was a strain within Republican Party. It was not the mainstream version of the Republican Party. You saw that kind of come to a head in 1912 when he goes head to head against his own party in the election.

Mike Jones: Loses, and a lot of those voters who aligned with the progressive ideals within the Republican Party actually flipped over to the Democratic Party because the democrats understood and saw this movement happen. They really like adopted some of the policies very quickly with Woodrow Wilson. It’s very strategic. It was not necessarily very values driven. There wasn’t total alignment. Then, you saw that fully become aligned with FDR. It really took progressivism to an extreme maybe. I think that’s the right word. Probably to some places I don’t know that Theodore Roosevelt would have taken it.

Chris Stadler: What’s interesting to me is everybody is all for progress, I think most people are. There are some people who are just conservative by nature, right. I think most people are like, “Yeah, we want progress. It’s just we want progress …

Mike Jones: How do we want to do it?

Chris Stadler: … we want to get to.”

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think it really just comes on how. It’s interesting that now, if you say the word progressive, it’s now attached to a very far left ideology.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. To some people, it means progress toward natural evolution, like where we’re supposed to go as a people. Another people are like change for change’s sake. It’s like this.

Mike Jones: Yeah. If you say progress that’s what’s really interesting, if you use the word progress everyone nods their heads. If you say, we’re a progressive group, we use it as an adjective then you get a lot more like, “Wait, what? Tell me more before I buy into what [crosstalk 00:23:35].” Or, “Why would I wear that t-shirt?”

Mike Jones: It is the best. That’s the top selling t-shirt for Taftly. The Progressive Party Bull Moose. It’s got a nice fun Moose in the front.

Chris Stadler: It is a beautiful shirt.

Mike Jones: It did turn out well. There was a lesson learned.

Chris Stadler: It’s my dress up shirt.

Mike Jones: Good. That’s so funny. You wear it to all of your … anytime you hang out with your liberal friends you wear that shirt. Make them feel included.

Chris Stadler: Any place, I don’t really care if people know it.

Mike Jones: Yeah. There was a really interesting lesson learned, a design lesson that we learned through that t-shirt line. That shirt was the only shirt that we printed with two colors of ink, both gold and white. All of the other shirt designs were a single print color on a colored shirt. That one’s been by far the biggest seller, still I can’t totally figure out. I think it’s somewhat the image and the actual titling. I think we’ve attracted a little different demographic with it because it says Progressive Party.

Mike Jones: It’s not just history teachers who are buying it. It’s also people who affiliate with the Progressive Party. I also I think that it’s just that that second color just makes a big difference.

Chris Stadler: We need to find a way to get those shirts on Parks and Rec, Leslie Knope would totally wear it.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Too bad that show doesn’t run anymore.

Chris Stadler: Oh, darn it. They kind of went south a little bit in the last season.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Cool. Is there anything else from Kyle’s episode? I was trying to remember. That one is a little bit hard. That was a long time ago.

Chris Stadler: It was a really long time ago. I just remember the smart conversation and …

Mike Jones: It was very smart, you should go check it out, azbrandcast.com.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. He’s a lot of insight into business especially real estate, co-working, yeah.

Mike Jones: Yup. That was a good one. That was a smart one. Then, we had another smart guy on. Adam Pierno from Santy.

Chris Stadler: I like Adam Pierno.

Mike Jones: Great advertising guy. Great strategist. It’s his thing. We were all over the place. We got to hear a little bit about his history, how he came from New York the ad scene there and came to Arizona and some of the differences in the ecosystems.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. The speed. The speed in which people work in New York, it’s just … he characterized it better than this but it was the whole fast pace versus slow pace kind of thing.

Mike Jones: It’s come up a couple times in our episodes. I think Rob Leininger also mentioned that.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Just kind of East Coast versus West Coast style.

Chris Stadler: At some point, we need to getting one of those guys drunk and see what they really feel about the whole thing, because I feel like they’re always charitable. They’re like, “Oh yeah, it’s good in its own way.” I’m like, is it?

Mike Jones: Is it really?

Chris Stadler: Yeah. In that kind of thing, there must be trade off, right? At the same time, I don’t know, there might not be.

Mike Jones: I remember I had a boss once who, not from the East Coast, he come from Nashville. He worked for a company in Nashville that was very East Coast-driven, had a very East Coast culture, very fast paced, very quick, make quick decisions, move quickly, pack as much work in as possible a lot because a lot of their clients are on the East Coast. They adopted that culture. He came here. Working in a very similar industry, printing industry, and took over management of our marketing team that I was on.

Mike Jones: I remember like we got to about two months with him on the team leading us. He came to me and I remember him saying like, “I know things having been going well.” I said, “Yeah, it’s been rough.” He’s like, “Yeah, it’s been rough for me too and we’re trying to figure out what is it.” He said, “Yeah, I’ve been really thinking hard about this. I’ve been struggling to figure out why it is that I’m having such a hard time leading this team.”

Mike Jones: He’s like, “I haven’t hand this challenge before in my past organization.” He’s like, “I finally figured it out.” He’s like, “Let me know what you think.” He said, “I feel like there’s a very different culture in the West Coast when it comes to how to do business,” and he didn’t use the word relationship-driven, but I think that’s part of it. There’s more of a relationship first mentality which intrinsically means I think you move a little bit slower, because you have to care more about the relationship before you make a decision.

Mike Jones: I’ve noticed that all throughout my career. I mean I think that kind of brought it to light with that one manager. I remember he had to really … he’s like, “From this day forward, I’m changing my management style and I’m going to … I know I need to flex to really be effective here,” and he did. I think it was a good learning process for all of us. Okay. We’ve got to get better at making decisions and moving things forward. We also need to understand that we do have a little different culture.

Chris Stadler: I like that because it makes me think that you’re trading off speed of decision by taking just a little bit longer and making sure it’s the right decision and hopefully you could be even more competitive by valuing those relationships.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I hope so. I think it’s just a different methodology. We can dig in sometime around I think why that is. I think some of it is just inherent to smaller communities in the West Coast for the most part. If you’re in New York City, it’s very competitive because so many people live there and so many people are vying for jobs. The companies that are there are paying significant amount of money to be in New York City.

Mike Jones: The pressure is there to move quickly and make decisions and make money and the talent is there. You don’t have to worry about like, “If we really piss off our creative director, he’s going to leave and man, it’s going to really hurt.” It’s like, nope, there’s like 80 other creative directors who are begging for a job. It’s okay. If we make some decisions and just railroad stuff and make it happen at the cause of relationships versus like I know here especially in the agency world, everybody knows everybody. There’s a limited pool of people to draw from. You burn a bridge, you’re burning a bridge and there’s not a lot of other people to keep backfilling that, right?

Chris Stadler: Right. Yeah.

Mike Jones: I can’t tell you how many people I know who worked for most of the major agencies, right? Throughout their career, I end up working with all of them here. That means that every single owner and manager at those agencies has worked with all the same people. They’re sharing back and forth those stories and it’s like the relationships just have a higher value, I think.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. That’s awesome. The other thing, so he came from being art director I think …

Mike Jones: Adam Pierno.

Chris Stadler: Yes.

Mike Jones: Adam Pierno.

Chris Stadler: Sorry. Yeah

Mike Jones: True [inaudible 00:30:52].

Chris Stadler: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah right. Yeah, so Adam came from being an art director. Man, I follow him on Twitter, very short tweets, very awesome tweets.

Mike Jones: He’s a smart dude.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: We got to talk a little bit about his book that he published called …

Chris Stadler: “Under Think It.”

Mike Jones: “Under Think It.” I was going to get it confused with this next book, which I wanted to give a little plug for.

Chris Stadler: Okay.

Mike Jones: He’s working on another book right now. I’ve been privileged, I was able to join his beta reading group. We are reading his book as he writes it.

Chris Stadler: Nice.

Mike Jones: I give in some comments and for the most part I do is spell check it. Everything I read I’m like, “Oh yeah, that’s great. That’s great.” I’m excited for his next book.

Chris Stadler: Do you remember the name?

Mike Jones: It is eluding me, it is …

Chris Stadler: It’s brilliant. Is what it’s going to be.

Mike Jones: It’s brilliant.

Chris Stadler: If it’s anything like his first one.

Mike Jones: Why I’m having such a hard time? If he was listening right now, he’d be all over me about how I can’t remember it.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, sorry to put you on the spot.

Mike Jones: I should remember it.

Chris Stadler: I’m a bad co-host. I probably should …

Mike Jones: For all I know, it will change before he publishes, you know, so.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. He can’t bother remembering names when it’s published.

Mike Jones: I’m going to look it up right now while we keep going.

Chris Stadler: Adam is more of that pure, I don’t know too many people in Phoenix who are like him because he’s a very pure strategist. Kind of along the lines of like kind of the Got Milk campaign Jon Steele, people like that are in his circles.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: That’s the circles of people that I didn’t run in at Oregon but whenever we have strategists visit as executive in residence at the university, it was always those types of people.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: Not, to be honest, not quite as good. When I hear Adam talk, he’s a lot more sophisticated in the ways of strategy than a lot of the strategists who are kind of high profile but definitely fits in with the best with the Jon Steele, Gareth Case and guys like that.

Mike Jones: He is absolutely worth following on Twitter.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: I love his tweets. They are privy and brilliant.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Just judging enough to where like he’s doing something, he’s saying something. He’s being politically correct, right?

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: Which is one of the things about being a strategist is like you’re really trying to like make sense of things. Things annoy you a little bit. You can get a little cranky and it’s okay because you’re a planner.

Mike Jones: Yeah. That was a fun one with Adam. I had, because you were out. I don’t remember what was going on, on vacation or something.

Chris Stadler: Probably traveling the world.

Mike Jones: You’re probably traveling the world like Iceland or Greenland or something like that.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Mike Jones: I had Joe Ray on. Joe Ray is a designer, an artist, a creative professional here in Arizona and been doing it for, I think, 30 plus years. He’s just done some amazing artwork. He’s supper plugged in with the art scene here. We got to talk a little bit about how that’s played into some of the more native art and other kind of sub genres of art, even like Chicano Art. How these different cultural groups have come together and creating these different strains of really cool art that really is very Arizona and defining Arizona from an artistic perspective.

Mike Jones: We had a great conversation just around creatively and the power of creatively to produce ideas and get a message out into the world in a way that sticks with people.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Yeah. That’s so true. When you’re trying to get an idea across, sometimes in business you’re like, “It just has to be right, it doesn’t have to be beautiful,” right?

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: In reality, it just depends on what you’re trying to deal. Are you trying to persuade someone of something? Are you trying to inspire someone? Then, it kind of needs to be beautiful then, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: It kind of needs to have some design. You need to communicate some things that you don’t want to … you don’t want to make them read a paragraph about how they should be thinking about athletics or whatever …

Mike Jones: Show, don’t tell.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, you show, right? The design is, I think, a big part of that communication.

Mike Jones: Yeah. It sounds a really fun podcast. I enjoyed it. Joe and I just had a great conversation. I remember he emailed me right after and he was like, “This was far better than I expect it to be. It was a real conversation.”

Chris Stadler: Nice.

Mike Jones: It was like we’re hanging out and having coffee. I remember he coming in and he was a little nervous about that. He’s like, “I’ve never been on a podcast before,” and “I don’t know how this works.” I’m like, “If I do my job right, it should feel like we’re just hanging out, having a cup of coffee in a coffee shop and we’re just going to talk. We’re going to find common interests and we’re going to pursue those and see where they lead in the conversation. We’re going to talk about brand. We’re going to talk about Arizona, because those are the things I care about.

Mike Jones: I think, for the most part, all of our guests have had that. Somewhere in the next, it’s been really cool to see how every guest, really, I was like, “Listen, like every guest this year is passionate about those two things in some way or another,” everyone brings a little different flavor to it.

Chris Stadler: I just like how people are so conversant about their topics. We just haven’t had a lot of people show up and just be like, yeah, you know, yeah, brand is good, Arizona is great. Yeah. You have people talking deeply about things like mentioned Adam and Rod Lenniger with the startup movement and just being able to just kind of relax and just share these insights in a way that they really make sense and takes things a little deeper, elevates the conversation.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Then, we had Shelly Chaney from DollarDays come on. That was a really, I think, interesting kind of case study in how a local brand has tried to really expand their reach into community and really take that stakeholder group. The community at large, not necessarily customers, although some of them might be but really to say, “Hey, we’re in a location, we’re going to give back to the community that we’re a part of and really invest in it. Really, be a piece of that chain,” a link in that chain. That was really cool.

Chris Stadler: They have an interesting challenge because they’re called DollarDays.

Mike Jones: Yes.

Chris Stadler: I mean, it makes me seem like I’m going to big Big Lots or something first, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah. Yup. Yeah.

Chris Stadler: She went into some of the things they’re doing in the community. Definitely, man, I’d love to know a little more about their brand. I know there are some really cool specific things that could come out.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think they were good. I don’t think we got super in it, but I know some of the story of like their CEO who’s a little bit newer in the organization and some of the transition that he’s brought to the organization. I know that one of that big kind of push to be more community-centric and more invested in the local Phoenix community was something that he really brought to the table for them. I’m hopeful maybe we can have him come on. That’d be a really sweet conversation to have, a little different level than a marketing level.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Then, the other thing too is you and I talk about be who you are, like find your strength. Your brand to be also your strength. It’s cool to see an organization that’s like, yeah, let’s. Maybe we’re not going to start talking, maybe we’ll figure ourselves out first a little bit.

Mike Jones: Yeah.

Chris Stadler: Maybe we’ll just kind of figure out who we’re going to be and let our actions come first maybe a little bit.

Mike Jones: Yup. Then, we had Greg Head from Scaling Point.

Chris Stadler: Yes.

Mike Jones: Gregslist.com.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: Great conversation. That was super fun having Greg on.

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: Man, that guy has got some deep experience and knowledge in the SaaS world, software as a service, for those who are not familiar with SaaS.

Chris Stadler: He’s not sassy.

Mike Jones: No. I would say, sassy. He’s just very SaaS.

Chris Stadler: Yes.

Mike Jones: Full of SaaS.

Chris Stadler: Yes.

Mike Jones: S-A-A-S.

Chris Stadler: The people he knows, oh my gosh.

Mike Jones: Oh my goodness.

Chris Stadler: Is there anybody he doesn’t know who’s anybody?

Mike Jones: Here, he’s super tapped into the SaaS software scene. I mean, one of the cool things just about Greg is his passion for the ecosystem here. Few years ago, he developed this list. He went and just said, “Hey, I want to capture every software company in Arizona and put them on a list.”

Chris Stadler: Yup.

Mike Jones: That has now grown. I think, he started with like 100 and 150. It’s now over 400 companies that are a part of this list. These are not agencies, they’re not dev shops, these are like actual companies producing a software product here in Arizona. They are locally based. They are locally owned. He knows all of them. He knows the CEO at every single one of them because of work that he’s done over the last 10 years here in the valley.

Chris Stadler: Everybody knows him. He comes up in a lot of conversations, other podcast guests have mentioned his name.

Mike Jones: Greg gets around.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: Greg gets around.

Chris Stadler: I didn’t even know if they knew he was on the podcast they’re just like, Greg Head and whatever.

Mike Jones: I loved his story about how … I think, in each organization he’s been at, I think so, if I’m remembering right. Really, almost every organization he’s been at or worked with, he has a super high passion for helping them brand around a term and creating that industry term for their product.

Mike Jones: Which means that he’s often working with these forerunners in industry, like, “Hey, we’re going to create a new thing, something that doesn’t really exist in our industry yet.” That’s a lot of work. I think we talked about that with him of just how much work it is to be that forerunner in your industry and create the term and brand the term and know that you’re going to put a lot of work into branding it and other people are going to use it.

Chris Stadler: They’re going to swoop in and just … yeah.

Mike Jones: That’s part of the process, right? If you’re first and you’ve established the brand equity around that term, other people are going to use it but they can’t hold it like you can hold it. I think it provides that level of leadership in your industry that really puts you out ahead of everyone else. It was really cool to chat with him about that, kind of that … instead of, we’re going to make something that’s for everybody, it’s more like, no, we’re going to make something that, yeah, everyone could use but we know we’re positioning it for those early adopters.

Mike Jones: We’re going to create the terms for them so they can go, “Yeah, we’re ahead of the rest of our industry.”

Chris Stadler: Yeah. That’s incredibly powerful in branding, right? Because if you know who you’re talking to, especially at a copywriter level, like me, being a copywriter, if I knew exactly who I was talking to, and it was a tight enough niche, I could really know them. I wasn’t talking to a big demographic now. I’m talking to a person I know and I can talk to them in a conversational way, in a way that I feel would be clever or they would think would be clever.

Chris Stadler: Whereas it would be too risky if I were talking to a bigger audience and therefore more boring. If you take that to the brand level, it’s just relevant.

Mike Jones: Yeah. The challenge though becomes when the term becomes passé. If enough people adopt it, and your market shifts a little bit, you’ll lose that linchpin to everything you’re doing. It’s interesting, I’ve been watching HubSpot and they’re having to reinvent themselves a little bit from the inside out in terms of how they message. Because for a long time, it was like they were all about inbound marketing because they coined the term, and they built all these brand equity around it and really pushed that term out into the marketplace and everyone was using it.

Mike Jones: Now, that term has become a little bit passé. It doesn’t hold that same power that it used to. I’m watching them, a lot of that inbound marketing philosophy was around this idea of a funnel, a linear path for the customer journey. They’re now having to move to a different visualization, that’s a circle. It’s really interesting as they’re trying to then create this new concept and put it out in the marketplace. I’m like, “Wow, to do that twice as an organization is really hard, really hard.”

Chris Stadler: You must think, maybe you should double down on the initial thing that you’re good at and …

Mike Jones: Maybe. Yeah. I’d love to be on the inside of some of those conversations. How did you get to that deciding factor? You never know, is it strategic or is it more reactive? Who knows?

Chris Stadler: Hopefully, it’s strategic.

Mike Jones: Hopefully, I don’t know. Then we had, we shifted gears quite a bit. We went from Greg Head SaaS, Mr. SaaS himself to Dr. Jeff Watson from ASU, also, co-founder of Resound Creative.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, don’t tell anybody.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Don’t tell anybody. Just to make sure, full transparency, he’s one of my partners in business, which is why I know Jeff. I know him a lot longer than that. He’s a great friend. Just a really smart guy. We had a really, really deep conversation around like the philosophy of brand. That was so, so fun.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. We talked about what identity really was, so there’s a philosophical principle where, say, I think it is illustrated by the ship of Theseus, right? Where some people think it’s … You have a ship, you have a crew and as soon as it leaves port, it leaves port and it comes back a year later or whatever with some of the same crew members and some of the same planks and they’ve done repairs and everything and it’s the same ship.

Chris Stadler: Whereas other people might say, “As soon as it leaves port, something has changed about that ship. It is a different ship. It no longer has the same identity.” We’re trying to apply that to brand and just figure out, what is the essence of a brand? We talked about accidental properties of a brand and we talked about essential properties. I don’t want to hug all the conversation.

Mike Jones: No, you’re doing a great job than I would have done.

Chris Stadler: The ship of Theseus, so if it leaves and it comes back a car on land or something with a different crew, it’s lost an essential quality of being a ship, right, for example. If it leaves and it comes back and it has some different planks maybe a couple of crew members fell in or they got picked up whatever, they got a new sail in, I don’t know where you get a new sail, like a tire or [inaudible 00:46:04].

Mike Jones: I don’t know probably, who knows.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Cypher is good.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I’ve heard that they make really good sails, Cypher sails, have you heard them? They’re really good. They’re really good. They don’t tear.

Chris Stadler: They have the ripstop, I think, right?

Mike Jones: They’re far better than those Alexandrian sails. Those guys make cheap sails. I’ll tell you what, I know you got the big library thing going on over there and all the book smarts and all that crap, but man, you’d make terrible sails.

Chris Stadler: It’s the brand. Be good at what you’re good at. Be good at the library.

Mike Jones: Just do the library.

Chris Stadler: Forget about the sails.

Mike Jones: Don’t let the Romans burn it down.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. There are so many lessons in that, Mike, so many lessons. Yeah. The ship comes back and has a couple of things different. It hasn’t lost its essential quality of being that ship, right? Yeah.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think for brands, that means … one takeaway I had from that conversation was the deeper level you can get to in defining your brand, right, getting beyond some of those accidental attributes and getting to those deeper intrinsic attributes. I was trying to think, I was like, what’s the deepest you can go. I was using that analogy of the Ship of Theseus of well, okay, the ship can totally change, right?

Mike Jones: Someone could still argue, well, the crew is mostly the same and for sure, if Theseus is still commanding the ship, you could argue it’s still the same identity. If Theseus leaves, and the crew leaves, and all the boards on the ship are different, it might not be the same ship anymore. Even if it looks similar.

Chris Stadler: Right. Right. There’s a whole conversation with the business, where if a business goes bankrupt, it can be worth a lot less because the assets are not the value of the company. It’s the leadership. It’s the culture that’s there. If you just liquidate a business, it’s not worth nearly as much as it was when it was a business, right?

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: Because of the essential qualities, like a lot of the essential qualities are just disappearing and maybe you only have accidental qualities left.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think that’s why I like getting to your purpose and your values really help get you at that … they help to define that brand at a deeper level than just like, well, our colors are blue and red and our logo is a flying sail and we sell widgets.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, right.

Mike Jones: It’s like, well, as long as those three stay the same, how likely is that, right? It’s pretty likely those are going to change at some point. They don’t help you really define yourself at a more intrinsic true level, truth of yourself.

Chris Stadler: Then, the next question is what’s the value of that? Let’s say, Theseus is still the captain of the ship and comes back a different ship but like all the planks, everything, there’s nothing original about that, the actual ship itself, but you have Theseus and you have the culture that he’s maintained. Even if you’ve interchanged a few crew members, it comes back and essentially, it’s maybe even better than it was before as far as a functioning crew.

Chris Stadler: Then, you actually may have preserved that essential quality of the ship’s identity, because Theseus stayed there and he was a strong enough leader and some of those values were actually expressed.

Mike Jones: Here are some ideas too. I’m riffing on this metaphor. You have it figured out. Theseus is leading well. There’s some intrinsic benefits right off the bat. One is Theseus can make really quick decisions and know he’s going to be right because it’s so clear what their purpose and values are.

Chris Stadler: Okay, yeah.

Mike Jones: Trading out boards on the ship doesn’t become this big design by committee thing.

Chris Stadler: Tell me more about that.

Mike Jones: Can you imagine a ship that has unclear leadership, unclear purpose, unclear values and you decided like, “Okay, we got to flip out the sail.” What are we going to put on the sail? What color is it going to be? Now, we’re going to spend six weeks discussing the color. Or, you have a very decisive commander who makes a decision based on his personal preference and says, “It’s going to be black because I like black.”

Chris Stadler: Or maybe he’s smart enough to have a brand guide.

Mike Jones: Then, for the next six weeks, he has a grumbling from his crew because none of them like black. They don’t understand, well why is it black? It’s hot. It makes the sail hotter or whatever.

Chris Stadler: Would it become some kind of a pirate ship or something?

Mike Jones: Yeah. It just produces all this friction. Then, beyond that you have like … when you have a solid culture, you have a singular purpose, everyone knows what they’re doing. They’re all rowing in the same direction. Yeah, so now you’re a more efficient ship. We know where we’re going. We know how to get there. We know how fast we can go. We’re all working together. We’re all rowing simultaneously. Guess what? We don’t even need that guy who cracks the whip to keep us going. We just saved ourselves some money.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Even yesterday, I think, you and I were talking about Resound isn’t about Resound, it’s about the people. Really, maybe those essential elements are like, it’s the leadership and to some degree, the interaction between people and just the quality of how well they work together, how well they understand each other, but then also how different they are as far as their styles and they can therefore contribute and question what’s going on in different, important and useful ways, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah. That was a great conversation with Jeff. Then we had, not last and not least, we had Rod Lenniger.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: That was a great conversation.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: I really enjoyed Rod, getting to know him.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. He actually hired me at Local Motors and he was the interim chief operations officer for essentially what was called Open IO at first and it became Launch Forth. He has been around a long time. He was in Vietnam. He was a long range reconnaissance guy, army ranger, 75th ranger regimen. We go way back. He’s an operations guy. I am now an operations guy because we just kind of think similarly, so it was great working with him at Local Motors. He remains a personal friend, but I respect that guy a lot.

Chris Stadler: He’s in New York, told us about the … have you talked about the pizza? No, we talked about the Italian food.

Mike Jones: Yup. Yeah, we talked about Italian food. He’s got a really interesting backstory or just experience where he’s been in house with brands. He’s been at the start up level. He’s been more at the enterprise level. He’s been on the agency side as well. He’s kind of seen all the different sides of operating a brand. It’s really interesting to dig into that experience that he’s had. Obviously, we got into that East Cost versus West Coast conversation. We already talked a little bit about.

Chris Stadler: He’s really into the business model canvass. He’s really good at talking people through that because of his experience. Right now, he’s at … what’s that … there’s a college within …

Mike Jones: I think he’s at Thunderbird school of global at ASU. No, no, no. I’m sorry. He’s at GCU, Grand Canyon University.

Chris Stadler: There’s a college within GCU, I think, that’s like a school of something and with some name, I don’t know, named after somebody. Anyways, he’s involved in that. He talked about entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur within a large organization, but trying to find ways to do that without needing too much permission so that you’re frozen and can’t move, you’re paralyzed.

Chris Stadler: Also talked about just … he talked about hiring from ASU, hiring …

Mike Jones: Yeah, we did talk about that. I forgot about that. Just some of the challenges of tech companies in particular looking for talent and not quite getting what they need from the schools.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. He was saying that these companies are, “Hey, we can’t find good talent”. He’s saying, “Here’s where they are.” In some ways, he’s thinking, “Hey, there’s just this untapped market here.” People don’t necessarily want to move away from Arizona to work as an engineer, but there’s something missing in that exchange.

Mike Jones: Yeah and it was almost a call to arms to businesses like you need to up your game. You need to come and help partner with the schools to help them know like what do you need? How can we connect these students in with you sooner than later? Then, how can we provide curriculum that actually moves the needle and makes for a better, long term setup for the businesses. That was really good.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. Yeah. I mean it’s something super needed in that relationship between academia and professional life because in academia, it’s a very different world and so it’s very hard, for some reason, that that’s never been a good transition. You have job fairs and everything but I mean it hasn’t been a strong transition. I know at Iowa, the engineers were constantly getting phone calls from Rockwell Collins and people like that, but that’s because it was a very strong engineering school.

Chris Stadler: They knew exactly what they were studying. Then, in my lab there were human factors researchers. Something that well-branded, something that branded and specific, it’s an obvious place to go for talent. In a more general, probably general engineering, it’s probably more challenging to know for companies to know where to go for talent. Then, you’re starting further from where you need to get to as far as like are you a good fit? Starting way back here and you haven’t had a lot … probably a lot more conversations and so, yeah.

Mike Jones: Then finally, last but definitely not least, we had Heidi Jannenga from WebPT.

Chris Stadler: Heidi Jannenga kind of fun to say.

Mike Jones: It’s very fun. She’s got a fun name, Dr. Heidi Jannenga, just had to make that clear.

Chris Stadler: Dr. Jannenga to me.

Mike Jones: Yeah, you’ve got a little treatment plan so to speak through that conversation.

Chris Stadler: I shared my injuries with Dr. Jannenga and my past transgressions against physical therapists who wanted to help me.

Mike Jones: Yeah. As interesting as physical therapy is, and the practice of physical therapy, it was really interesting to talk about what she’s done as a co-founder of WebPT, which is a software company,, which is interesting, right. She has applied her practical knowledge within physical therapy as a trained physical therapist and applied it to business of running physical therapy in a piece of software that actually really helps you maintain and grow your physical therapy practice.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. It was interesting because she did the 37 signals basecamp thing in where’s that? Rework?

Mike Jones: Rework, yeah.

Chris Stadler: They talk about, “Hey, make something that you’re already doing that already helps you, package it and then sell it to other people,” right.

Mike Jones: Yup. It’s exactly what they did.

Chris Stadler: That’s how WebPT started.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I really enjoyed hearing some of the story of how they’ve merged in other businesses. I think they’ve had four mergers over the course of their business lifespan and just how they’ve navigated that from a brand perspective, from a culture perspective. There’s really unique and interesting challenges. I love Heidi’s perspective on being culture first in all their decision making.

Mike Jones: They’re all looking at like, okay this is going to be a strategic benefit to us from a marketing standpoint and from a product standpoint but does it also work in a culture level? Making sure that as they integrate a new company, they’re really buying into the culture. They’re absorbing in the talent in a way that’s healthy and long term.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. It’s one thing to say. Yeah, we’re all about culture, right? That’s a total buzz word, awesome but it’s another thing that have processes that actually say, okay, when we’re acquiring a company, here are the things that we do, and here are the things we look for. It’s not silly to say but unless you’re going to do it, but that’s not you. The way you do defines your beliefs to some degree.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think just a good conversation too of like, there right there is a great example of a tech company, a software company that’s home grown, kind of birth here in Arizona, born here, raised here and is now like growing significantly. I mean they’ve got offices now all over the United States. They’ve got teams spread out all over and yet the home is still here. They’re doing some really cool things.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. They’re hiring.

Mike Jones: Go jump on their website at webpt.com and do check out their career opportunities. It sounds like a great place to work.

Chris Stadler: Totally.

Mike Jones: Totally. Chris, that was everybody we’ve talked to this year.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: That’s crazy.

Chris Stadler: It took longer than I thought.

Mike Jones: I did take longer than I thought. I was hoping actually we could get to some other themes but I don’t actually know if we’ve got a whole lot of time left. Maybe we take maybe one theme we can talk about a little bit, maybe what’s one big overarching theme from the year that really stuck out for you?

Chris Stadler: For me, I feel like probably the thing that ties in everything that we care about the most. Arizona branding and pretty much of the idea of conscious capitalism theme, the underlying values of conscious capitalism. I feel like to tie it all together, I’m not sure if you have this idea that, I think, maybe Arizona is a place where we value … we like to do what we want. We value our freedom. Then, the problem is that if we’re not doing the right thing as businesses, people are going to start managing us. The government is going to say, “Hey, you’re not doing things right. The people are demanding that we help you.”

Chris Stadler: I put help in air quotes because it doesn’t always work out for the benefit of everybody. If we like our freedom, will we embrace conscious capitalism? How does that help?

Mike Jones: Before the show, we were talking about this idea of you have two roads you can go down as an ecosystem of businesses, as an economy, you can either operate without rules and find yourself in trouble at some point, because you’re going to do something that’s going to harm someone else, probably a group of people. The outcry is going to be large, Uber.

Chris Stadler: You’re saying doing what you want without values?

Mike Jones: Yeah, do what you want without values. Just operate. Just grow.

Chris Stadler: Transact.

Mike Jones: Transact. Make money.

Chris Stadler: Don’t care about people.

Mike Jones: Yes and not really worry about having core intrinsic values to your business. What’s going to happen is society is going to force those values on to you.

Chris Stadler: Right. One way or another, right?

Mike Jones: One way or another. They’re going to do it through couple things. One, obviously, they’re going to stop dealing. They’re going to stop purchasing from you. That may not always be the case because you’ve done such a good job making a cheap product.

Chris Stadler: Or you have a monopoly maybe?

Mike Jones: Or you have a monopoly.

Chris Stadler: Yes. Yeah.

Mike Jones: Then, secondly, you’re going to get a public backlash that’s going to result in government regulation. Which we’ve talked about is probably going to be an overreaction. It’s going to be drastic measures. It’s going to be heavy handed. It’s going to be less flexible than it probably needs to be in order for businesses to operate within a regulation. It hurts to some degree, “hurts” businesses across the spectrum. Not just yours but it impacts everyone in your industry.

Chris Stadler: You can argue that if you’re one of the big players, you might want a regulation because that’s for dishonest reasons and I wouldn’t be consistent with this …

Mike Jones: Yeah, crony capitalism, exactly. The alternative is you can instill a sense of self regulation. How do you do that? How do you self regulate? You have to have a code of conduct that’s based on values. Some set of beliefs and ideals of how the world should work and how you as an organization want to operate together and say, “Look, these are the things we’re going to do. This is how we’re going to make decisions. We’re going to make sure that we hold to these ideals in everything we do.”

Mike Jones: What I like about conscious capitalism is it provides a baseline set, not a deep set. It’s not like all your values are figured out if you adopt conscious capitalism but it provides a framework for you to start thinking and working towards that.

Chris Stadler: It puts you in a conversation with other people who are doing the same thing. Can I play devil’s advocate?

Mike Jones: Play devil’s advocate. Shoot me down.

Chris Stadler: What does a devil sound like? Mike. I don’t know if that’s a good devil …

Mike Jones: Devil shows up in sheep’s clothing so I doubt your low key voice.

Chris Stadler: Mike. The buying sheep devil. All right. All right. That was an experiment gone awry. All right. Devil’s advocate, wouldn’t a company that doesn’t have values just be able to do whatever they want and whatever is expedient and make more money? Wouldn’t …

Mike Jones: In the short term, sure.

Chris Stadler: … immediately have …

Mike Jones: Yeah. I mean, let’s take Uber for example, right. They’ve done that for several years. What’s happened, right? One, they got kicked out of their R and D lab, which was the Phoenix area, Phoenix metro area. They can no longer do autonomous driving here. They still selected out but it was coming. There was going to be a regulation that basically would rule them out of being able to do R and D in Arizona. They shut down that entire department. That’s, what, 300 jobs lost, who knows how many R and D dollars down the drain, how much loss time against competitors like Lift. Let’s not even, I mean, we can talk about Google. that’s really their competitor in that space. Google’s Waymo program is light year than everybody else.

Mike Jones: It’s not all that’s caught up with them. They got other issues like cultural issues at the leadership level. They have a CEO who left. They got a new CEO who’s onboarding, how inefficient is that? In the midst of all these …

Chris Stadler: It’s no longer the ship of Theseus because you lost Theseus.

Mike Jones: Yeah. Exactly. Now they’re trying to figure out their identity again. This new CEO is putting forward a vision but is it in alignment with the rest of the culture, they certainly haven’t hired for because it’s not new leadership across the company. You can’t just wipe the slate clean and start over. There are some major hot water that may not be reflected yet in stock price per se. In the long term, that’s what I would argue, I think this is what conscious capitalist would argue is that when you do good business, you take care of all of your stakeholders, you make it a win-win situation for everybody as best you can.

Mike Jones: When you operate by a set of values in your culture, when you have a higher purpose for which you operate, a goal to which you are trying to work towards that is beyond just making a buck, but actually provides value to people. You can define how deep that goes. There are some variance there. When you have leadership who buys into that, what does that do for your organization from a pure business standpoint? Provide sustainability for your business in a long term. You can now better navigate these challenges, these speed bumps and big waves that come out of nowhere. The storm that approaches as you sail your ship because you have a long term framework that guides you through it.

Mike Jones: Versus Uber who’s going to be reactive at every moment. They’re going to make money because you can do that in the short term, but what is the cost in the long term. Organization, pure organization is lost. Institutional knowledge is lost because your turnover is going to be high. Eventually, customers are going to go, “I don’t understand what you’re doing and I’m not onboard anymore, because I’ve seen the new shiny thing.”

Chris Stadler: What you’re saying is if your freedom loving organization and you like the free market, you like free markets, what does conscious capitalism say that more free market capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than any other some conceived.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: If that’s true, what you’re saying is that we take regulation, we make regulation obsolete for those businesses because we, and instead of letting somebody else choose how we’re regulated, we take control. We say, “Hey, here’s our brand. Here’s where we’re good at. We’re going to make sure that we’re obeying basic morals.” We answer to Arizona. We had that with Arizona, what does brand have to do with that then?

Chris Stadler: Mike Jones I think that’s like that next layer. You’re figuring out your culture and your brand is in essence your identity. It’s like, what is our culture? What is this higher purpose for which we’re shooting for? What are the values by which we’re going to operate? Brand says, here’s a framework to figure that out and define it and communicate it clearly. Hopefully, even in a creative way, a compelling way that people go, “Ah, not only do I know what you do but I’m excited about it.”

Chris Stadler: Is there a chance then that other companies who share your values would want to work with you because just having a portfolio of companies you do business with share your values.

Mike Jones: Yup.

Chris Stadler: You’re associated with these, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think that happens with the customer level too. We talk all the time about you want to do business with people you like. What’s one of the aspects of likability? It’s shared values and shared purpose. At a more shallow level, it’s a shared interest. If I’m a company and I’m all about environmental sustainability and I sell products that are environmentally sound and sustainable and provide back to the environment. I’m going to be attractive to people who also really care about that.

Mike Jones: If I’m not, if I’m just doing it as a marketing gimmick, I’m green washing my business, maybe at first I’m still attractive. Eventually, your customer base goes, they don’t actually really buy into this. This is fake. What do we do in normal one on one relationships when we discover that someone who’s been talking the talk but doesn’t walk the walk?

Chris Stadler: Yeah. We don’t just think they’re white noise, we actually don’t like them.

Mike Jones: Yeah. We don’t like them.

Chris Stadler: We actively don’t like them. Yeah.

Mike Jones: Yeah. We don’t reach out to them when we need help. We don’t bring them into our inner circle. We don’t rely on them for information. We don’t ask them for their opinion.

Chris Stadler: We’d almost rather trust someone we don’t know than someone we know as like that.

Mike Jones: Yes. We want to do business with people we like. I think the same thing happens at the brand level. We want to buy from brands that we like, obviously got to like the product. These functional things, I got to like it. I think there’s a deeper level at which you can like the brand and go, yeah, they care about things I care about. I like that. That’s attractive to me. Will that make you decide to buy the shoes or not? I don’t know, but it gets you closer.

Chris Stadler: It doesn’t hurt things.

Mike Jones: All things being equal.

Chris Stadler: Yeah.

Mike Jones: If the shoes are the same and let’s be honest, on Amazon, all the shoes really looks the same. It’s really hard to tell them apart. Outside of like, well, there’s a different logo on them, but are they intrinsically different? I don’t think so, they all look the same to me. Amazon is just a digital version of a grocery store, right? Going to the grocery store, all the cereals are on the wall and I go, “I’ll set a price and flavor preference, what else do I choose on?” That’s about it.

Chris Stadler: You had a Patagonia earlier, right? That’s a great example. I want to buy Patagonia because they help me live on my values. If something helps me live out my values and it gives me more vocabulary, maybe the vocabulary takes a form of a jacket, it helps me express how really my values internally.

Mike Jones: Yeah. I think ideally, you get to a point where your brand is actually now a community. When you wear the Patagonia gear the brand is on it. When I run into somebody else on the trail wearing Patagonia gear, we have this little moment of eye contact and we go, you’re cool. I already like you and I’ve not even said a single word.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, like Seth Godin talks about in Tribes, he talks about the dead heads. He talks about …

Mike Jones: Dead heads, that’s a great example.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. If they will find out they’re dead heads, like hugging, they’re not just like …

Mike Jones: We’re just like, cool. Next time you’re driving around at town driving around, watch motorcyclists. When they past each other and they’re going opposite directions. Watch them make eye contacts and do a head nod.

Chris Stadler: Yeah, okay.

Mike Jones: Have you ever done that while driving in your car?

Chris Stadler: Negative. I have not.

Mike Jones: I don’t see another Honda Civic and go, yeah. I just don’t. Granted, I think, the actual product itself doesn’t allow for that, it’s hard to see in tinted windows, a lot of stuff. Also, you just don’t really care. I would assume you’ve got the historic car you restored and you show up at the show, the car show, you and all the other guys with the Ford whatever, I’m not a historic car guy, clearly. You all show up and you’re like, yeah. That’s cool. I’m going to come over. I’m going to talk to you. I want to know about your car.

Mike Jones: You might have totally different interests in the rest of your life but on this one thing, we can connect. I can say, yeah, I like what you’re doing. I think we do that with brands too. We go, you’re into the same things I’m into. I think it’s one of the reasons why niche brands work so well is because they narrow down to … you can get really passionate.

Chris Stadler: I think that’s what’s interesting because it’s not the simple things that really get us excited, it’s the deeper things. A couple people have BMW 2002 and they’re parked next to each other outside, they’re going to talk and they’re going to share their point of view probably.

Mike Jones: If they’re driving Mini Coopers they’re going to talk.

Chris Stadler: Sure.

Mike Jones: That one is a great example of that community aspect.

Chris Stadler: There you go. When they talk, especially the more obscure the better. I’m going to share with you my perspective, you’re going to share with me your perspective and now we’re both enriched. It’s very interesting. It makes me more and helps me discover new ways of looking at something, a deeper way of looking at something. That’s very fulfilling.

Mike Jones: Now we both appreciate BMW more, if we were those two people and we had BMWs.

Chris Stadler: Yeah. It’s not only community, but also interpretation, you have a meaning.

Mike Jones: Yup. That’s awesome. Chris, we’ve had a great show. This has been awesome.

Chris Stadler: This is fun. Yeah.

Mike Jones: We had a great recap of the year. I think we really hit all the highlights. I’m trying to think of anything that we didn’t cover. I think we did it. I don’t know how but we did it.

Chris Stadler: We did it. It’s a year.

Mike Jones: It’s been a whole year.

Chris Stadler: We’ve done more than a year, but this is the first full year. This is the full year.

Mike Jones: First full year of AZ Brandcast. Yeah. Congrats to us. Clink our glasses later and we’ve got some great episodes coming up. I know our next episode that we’ll be recording at the end of this month is with Thomas Barr from Local First Arizona. I’m really excited to have him on. We’ve got some other great guests getting lined up for next year. We’re really excited for 2019 and all the future guests and conversations that we’re going to have and really deepen our understanding of what it means to build brands in Arizona.

Mike Jones: For anyone listening, if you want to check us out and find out about all these episodes that we’ve reviewed as well as past ones from last year, check us out, azbrandcast.com. Get signed up for our newsletter there. That’s a great way to keep tabs in what we’re doing and what’s going on with the podcast. Obviously, check us out on Twitter. That’s a great place. Facebook, we’re on there. We’re not on Instagram yet, still working on that. We’ll get on there soon. If you want to get a hold of Chris or I, you can find all of our contact information in the website as well azbrandcast.com.

Mike Jones: Of course, of course, subscribe on iTunes or Google Play or wherever it is that you like to listen to podcast on all those places. Check us out and then give us a nice five star review.

Chris Stadler: Five stars, the most star possible.

Mike Jones: Yes, because we like five stars and it helps other people find us too.

Chris Stadler: Yup, exactly.

Mike Jones: We would appreciate that. This is Mike.

Chris Stadler: Chris.

Mike Jones: We’re signing off with AZ Brandcast. Talk to you later. Thanks all for a great year.

Mike Jones: Yup.