Brands that develop and stick to their values always seem to end up with a purpose and direction, even during uncertain times. Find out how Arizona brands should handle COVID19 and maybe even come out stronger.

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

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

The show is recorded at the enviable MAC6 coworking space in ever-sunny Tempe, Arizona (the 48th – and best state of them all).

Show Transcript

Mike Jones:
This is the AZ Brandcast, where we explore Arizona’s brand and the brands that make Arizona I’m Mike Jones.

Chris Stadler:
And I’m Chris Stadler.

Mike Jones:
All right. Hey everybody. Wow. I can’t believe it’s April already. We are in the middle of perhaps one of the worst pandemics in the last 100 years. So this should be a fun conversation, Chris. I’m actually really excited for this episode because Chris and I are just going to sit and chat with Sam from our team, who normally is behind the board making this all sound really good. And today he’s going to-

Sam Pagel:
Still am.

Mike Jones:
I guess you still are.

Sam Pagel:
But now [crosstalk 00:00:45]-

Mike Jones:
Your voice is going to come out from behind.

Sam Pagel:
You’ve released me, you’ve uncaged me.

Mike Jones:
We’re going to release the Sam dragon.

Chris Stadler:
I think some people didn’t even believe he was real.

Mike Jones:
It’s a made up artificial voice.

Sam Pagel:
Well, now I am real.

Mike Jones:
So we’re going to have a fun conversation today, Chris, talk a little bit about our theme for today because I think it’s pretty relevant.

Chris Stadler:
So well, I thought it has to be about COVID-19 because that’s what everything’s about these days. Mike and I were like, “What do we talk about that would be a value? How else is he different? How are we handling things differently?” Instead, let’s talk about how brands should be thinking about this COVID-19 thing, how should brands navigate? And I thought, “Who better to talk about that Mike?” So, Mike surprise, you’re going to answer a lot of questions today.

Mike Jones:
I’ll do my best. We’ll try to make it more of a discussion, but yeah, we’ll be talking about… I love that. I’m really excited for this topic, because I think this is a fantastic opportunity for brands to step in and lean into their values or purpose. And I know I’m jumping ahead, Chris, but we’ll get there.

Chris Stadler:
Okay, well because we have an icebreaker question.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, let’s do the ice breaker.

Chris Stadler:
I changed the ice breaker.

Mike Jones:
Uh-Oh, crap.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. [crosstalk 00:02:07]. So you enjoy a good scotch, right? Occasionally?

Mike Jones:
Yes, I do.

Chris Stadler:
Once in a while. Maybe even right now.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, actually no. I think it was Sam and Chris, it was a joint gift. It was my birthday recently, and they got me an amazing bottle of scotch. So we’re all enjoying that right now.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. Mike decided to share.

Mike Jones:
I have to. It’s the whole point. I’m a social drinker.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. It’s 5:00 somewhere.

Mike Jones:
Definitely.

Chris Stadler:
So tell us about you guys, and Sam you’re included in this, worst drink alcoholic it drink, you’ve ever had. And if you’re uncomfortable with alcoholic drink, you can say a nonalcoholic drink.

Mike Jones:
But just any drink.

Chris Stadler:
But we prefer an alcoholic drink.

Mike Jones:
Alcoholic. Worst alcoholic drink.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. So there are certain people in my family, my extended family in particular who really enjoy beer, but their favorite beer is whatever’s on sale. So I have [crosstalk 00:03:26]-

Mike Jones:
They drink with their wallet. Their discerning wallets.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. So we’re talking, Natty Light, Keystone Light. I think those have to be up there.

Mike Jones:
Those are pretty bad. Those are pretty bad. Chris is just smiling. He’s like, “Yeah. That’s my Saturday afternoon drink. Going to the gun range with my Keystone Light.”

Sam Pagel:
It’s very hydrating because it’s mostly water.

Chris Stadler:
That’s true. Perfect for Arizona. So mine is probably… So I did some consulting work a long time ago and for a mead company.

Sam Pagel:
Oh, interesting.

Mike Jones:
Oh, Wow.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. Mead is really weird.

Chris Stadler:
So guess my partial payment was in mead, fermented honey. So now I know why mead kind of fell out of favor, I think, because it’s just not great.

Sam Pagel:
No. I’ve had it once and it was not the most appealing drink to me.

Chris Stadler:
I drank it out of principle. Most of it. But a lot of it I gave away as just kind of a novelty gift. Yeah. So I appreciated it, got to drink some mead, got to say… You’ve got to feel like a Viking for a little bit after that.

Sam Pagel:
It’s super sweet. It’s like way too sweet for me.

Chris Stadler:
And like oil, it feels oily. I’m sure it’s not, but it’s a little bit like drinking… A little bit like honey, but yeah.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. But not.

Chris Stadler:
Which makes sense.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah, it’s an interesting drink.

Chris Stadler:
Probably rather have tad honey flavored water.

Mike Jones:
I kind of feel like people were like, “Oh, this mead thing’s cool.” And then they had wine and were like, “Yeah, what are we doing? We’re switching to that.” Because when you look at like the ancient world, by the time people are making wine, everybody was out drinking wine. Nobody’s drinking mead anymore. Although, apparently I think, if I remember right, it could be wrong, so go fact check me on Wikipedia, because that’s the place to fact check. I’m pretty sure mead is one of the oldest fermented drinks in the world. I think it’s older than wine, at least according to whatever… Archeologists and those paleontologists think they know-

Chris Stadler:
The people who know.

Mike Jones:
People who think they know. This is a tough question. I have two that stand out, one for the actual drink itself and the other for the experience with the drink.

Chris Stadler:
I want to hear about the experience one.

Mike Jones:
We’re going to save that, because leave you in suspense. So the first one was I picked up a bottle of scotch from my local grocery store, like four years ago. And I had no idea what it was and I didn’t have a lot of money, so I didn’t want to spend a whole lot and I bought like a $20 bottle of scotch. And I’ve learned since then, the key to a good bottle of scotch is not to pay only 20 bucks. Because I bought it, and I took it home, and I looked it up, and I was like, “What is this?” And I tasted it and it was terrible. It was just like, “Who is buying this?” And part of it was like, “It’s scotch.” So there’s not a lot of drinks you can make with scotch that really taste great. And so most people when they buy scotch, drink it straight. Mostly because scotch is actually typically very good from a standpoint of whiskeys because it’s often aged for a long time. And this stuff was not.

Chris Stadler:
Did it say Glen in the name?

Sam Pagel:
No, but it said Macallan. It was Macallan, that was the brand.

Chris Stadler:
I would be tricked too.

Mike Jones:
So I looked it up and people were like, “Yeah, this is really new, don’t really know what to think of it.” And then a couple random reviews were like, “Yeah, not great.” So I’ve been trying for years to figure out how to use it up, because I can’t drink it. So I’ve done really weird stuff. I’ve used it to pickle things, throw a little bit of that in the pickle jar with the brine and add a little scotch flavor. I’ve used it in cooking with… I’ve made scotch beans kind of like baked beans, but with some scotch added.

Chris Stadler:
What about helping your kids fall asleep faster?

Mike Jones:
I haven’t tried that yet. I feel like there’s products on the market that do that really well already. Like little Robitussin or a little Benadryl.

Chris Stadler:
Fair enough.

Mike Jones:
Knock your kids out.

Chris Stadler:
What’s your other one?

Mike Jones:
The other one? More recently I went to Cheesecake Factory, which I’m learning probably don’t order drinks at Cheesecake Factory. But I ordered, I can’t even remember what it was. It was, I think their version of an Old Fashioned or a Whiskey Sour or something. And I read it and it was like, they used honey instead of sugar and I’m like, “Okay, I’ll try that.” And they brought it out and I took a sip and it was like super sweet, which was like, “Okay, this is a little sweet for me, but I’ll drink it. It’s okay. It’s not bad.” It was in like a Martini glass, which was really weird. And I hate those really long Stem glasses because I do but I did that night, which is I knocked the bottom of the glass putting it down and I spilled like a third of the drink all over the table, which can be okay, except that it was full of honey. So now everything’s sticky. And I had honey all over my hands and like the table and everywhere.

Chris Stadler:
But you were tricked, because you were like, “This is an Old Fashion.” So you didn’t even think about it, you just like set it down like you would normally.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. I’m not good.

Chris Stadler:
Not your fault. I’m saying not your fault.

Mike Jones:
Not my fault. I’m sure I’ve had a worst drink sometime, but it’s a good question, Chris.

Chris Stadler:
Thanks man. So let’s talk about Sam. Guys, welcome Sam. Welcome officially.

Sam Pagel:
So great to be here.

Chris Stadler:
It’s great to have you here.

Mike Jones:
Sam has been on the show before. I want to make this clear. He’s actually been a guest last year. We talked all about video. So people should go check out that episode if you want to dig into Sam’s mind a little bit more around video stuff because Sam does a lot of things really well. At least soccer. Oh, you thought I was going to save video didn’t you?

Chris Stadler:
Yeah.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. But he plays soccer really well.

Chris Stadler:
It’s football, actually.

Mike Jones:
I don’t care about that.

Chris Stadler:
You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Mike Jones:
Our audience is Americans and they say soccer.

Chris Stadler:
So anybody listening to this podcast, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Facebook massage us, if you know what that means and you’ll win a thumbs up from Sam.

Mike Jones:
Big thumbs up.

Chris Stadler:
Big thumbs up.

Mike Jones:
It’s an animated GIF of Sam with a thumb.

Chris Stadler:
You’ll Never Walk Alone. Look it up. So Sam, you are a sound engineer and you’re also CD at Resound. What does CD stand for?

Sam Pagel:
CD, Compact Disc, popular media playback item-

Mike Jones:
Not anymore.

Sam Pagel:
… in the ’90s.

Mike Jones:
Well, not anymore.

Sam Pagel:
Super popular in the 90s man.

Mike Jones:
Early arts.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah, totally. No. I’m a creative through and through. So that’s what I do and it’s super fun to do what I love and have a ton of fun getting to work alongside you, Chris and you Mike and-

Chris Stadler:
You complete me.

Sam Pagel:
…the team at Resound.

Chris Stadler:
It’s kind of true though. Sam does complete us.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. Well, same with you guys. So yeah, I get to do a lot of creative things: video, photography. I’ve never been called a sound engineer though, that’s a new one.

Chris Stadler:
We have a skill.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. I guess so.

Chris Stadler:
I know you probably don’t want to pigeon hole yourself there, but-

Sam Pagel:
I don’t. But I think some of that comes from video.

Chris Stadler:
Well, then it’s your spot on the show.

Sam Pagel:
It is, yes. Yeah. I prefer maybe producer or director, yeah.

Mike Jones:
Chris and I [crosstalk 00:11:32].

Chris Stadler:
Changing that now. Can you hear me typing?

Sam Pagel:
I’ll fix it in post. I’ll put in [crosstalk 00:11:38]-

Mike Jones:
I remember when Karen produced our show last year and Chris would always call her the sound engineer on the show and I’d sit there and be like, “She’s a producer.”

Chris Stadler:
Honest mistake.

Sam Pagel:
Honest mistake

Mike Jones:
It’s all good. Sam what’s on your playlist right now? See, we used to ask what’s in your CD player, right?

Chris Stadler:
Oh, yeah. We can’t say that anymore, no.

Mike Jones:
What’s on your Spotify, or Amazon Music [crosstalk 00:12:05]. And/or Google Play, and/or blah blah blah.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. No. I use Spotify when I’m working on my computer because there’s a really… You can find anything pretty much on Spotify.

Mike Jones:
What’s the band name? What’s the band name?

Sam Pagel:
Man. So I have kind of a weird taste in music. I could listen to some punk rock one minute and then totally switch over to classical. It’s just whatever I like, I like. I’m not super picky on different genres or whatever. So I have a mix of a lot of things in my… I keep a playlist on Spotify, so when I just look around for random stuff, if I find a song that I like, I just throw it into that playlist, there’s currently 333 songs in that playlist which dates back to 2013.

Mike Jones:
I didn’t know it takes so long to answer this question.

Sam Pagel:
I didn’t know you were going to ask it so I’m not prepared.

Mike Jones:
He’s stalling so you can answer.

Sam Pagel:
Let me give you some fringe artists that you may never heard of that you’ll thank me for later.

Chris Stadler:
Do it.

Sam Pagel:
So one of them is Philter, P-H-I-L-T-E-R.

Mike Jones:
I’ve heard of Philter.

Sam Pagel:
You’ve heard of Philter? Okay.

Chris Stadler:
P-H.

Sam Pagel:
P-H-I-L-T-E-R.

Mike Jones:
Philter.

Sam Pagel:
They’re super fun to listen to. They are in and of themselves. Every song is just really different. You get some rap in there, you get some really cool instrumental symphonic type stuff.

Chris Stadler:
Okay. Final question. You have three kids, which is your favorite and why?

Sam Pagel:
And then I have… On my playlist, I have-

Chris Stadler:
No, do your thing, man.

Mike Jones:
There’s people just dropping off this episode right now. People are just like, “What the heck?”

Sam Pagel:
I’m never going to get on microphone again.

Mike Jones:
“Don’t ever bring that guy back.”

Chris Stadler:
Alright. So which of your three kids is your favorite? And why?

Sam Pagel:
That is-

Mike Jones:
Wait, let me make sure Ashley’s on speaker phone right now.

Sam Pagel:
No, I get the kids on.

Mike Jones:
Wait, she’s going to play it for the kids right now.

Chris Stadler:
Wait, at least tell us names of your kids.

Sam Pagel:
Okay.

Chris Stadler:
And go, go.

Sam Pagel:
Henry, four years old, Lincoln, two years old and Lexi, six months old.

Chris Stadler:
To the listening audience, what is your favorite of the names? Or should he change one of the names to something better?

Sam Pagel:
Oh, man.

Chris Stadler:
No. Seriously. Last question.

Sam Pagel:
I love my kids.

Mike Jones:
No, this is a question for the audience. Just stay on track with that question. Give us three new names for Sam’s children.

Chris Stadler:
Yes. Rename Sam’s children. And they are Henry, Lexi and Lincoln. What should they be named? Go.

Mike Jones:
Go.

Chris Stadler:
And then final question. What’s the worst birthday present you’ve ever gotten?

Sam Pagel:
Me? Oh man.

Chris Stadler:
A hard one, right?

Mike Jones:
Don’t say your least favorite child though.

Sam Pagel:
Oh, Man. That’s a tough question. Least favorite or worst birthday present I’ve ever received? I don’t know, man. I really don’t know.

Chris Stadler:
Give me like a donkey, just a dud. Have a birthday present.

Sam Pagel:
I think like Mike with his drinks, I think I’ve just erased them from my mind. Yeah. I don’t know. I’ve… I don’t know. That’s a really tough question.

Mike Jones:
I feel like there was one year that I got like socks or underwear when I was a kid, it was like a birthday present and it was just like, “Really? Come on mom.”

Chris Stadler:
It’s like the main one?

Mike Jones:
Thankfully it wasn’t the main one, but it was like, “Really? You wrapped this?”

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. Why bother?

Mike Jones:
Yeah.

Sam Pagel:
I think one time, maybe, one of my brothers, who I love dearly, got me a CD, we’re back on the CDs, they got me a CD that they were like super excited about, and I didn’t really like it, but I was like, “Oh, you totally got this from me because you wanted to listen to it.”

Chris Stadler:
That was our emo when we were kids, like for our parents. I just remember buying my parents like Michael Jackson CD or records. Because it was back in the day.

Mike Jones:
My kids get me candy that they also enjoy. Yeah. That’s what happens.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah, totally. So we are going to… Eventually they’ll talk about brands. So Mike, I have a couple of questions for you. First of all, you’re talking with a lot of people right now. You’re talking with a lot of people, you’ve opened up kind of an office hours kind of situation. So you your kind of in the ground. What I want to know is how… And also from media too, not just from those conversations, but also just what are you seeing? What are you hearing out there? How are businesses dealing with this COVID-19 crisis?

Mike Jones:
Well, I think like any crisis, you get a wide range of responses. I see a lot of businesses who are in… They’re in risk aversion mode. So I think that’s one extreme. Cut everything that you possibly can, drastic cuts to the bottom line. And that may look like laying people off, it may look like combination of that plus, everyone else needs to take a pay cut too. I know of pretty large businesses that are doing that across the board and they’re losing money on the front end, their customers are not buying. And so they’re anticipating like, “Well, this could be six months and we’re just going to do it now. We’re going to rip the bandaid off and really just take a big hit right now.” I see some people who are either in that boat or similarly in that boat who are kind of like, “Okay, I’ve just got to wait this out. Cut some costs, make sure we’re financially matching kind of where the new cashflow level is, and then just ride this out and we’ll see how long it takes.” But not necessarily doing a whole lot of new things.
And that’s, I think where the other end of the spectrum is, there’s a whole lot of people who are maybe less so, but I think there’s a fair amount of people who are like, “Okay, I have to change things. I can’t be doing things the same way I was six weeks ago. The demand isn’t there or my customers can’t get to me in the same way, or I can’t deliver my product or service in the same way. So I have to change what I’m doing, but I still want to deliver value. I still want to fulfill on my promise and my purpose as an organization and as a business. And so we’re thinking creatively about how to do that differently or how to continue to deliver value to the customers I do have.” I do see a lot of businesses and I think this is a really good approach, really doubling down on the customers they already have and really saying like, “Okay, let’s talk, let’s figure out what you need.”
I’m trying to think… I believe it was… I’m going to get this wrong. I think it was Harvest. So we use a software app called Harvest to do our time tracking and invoicing. It’s a great app. Definitely recommend it. But they sent out an email to all of their customers saying, “Hey, here’s some things we’re doing to try to help you financially get through this.” So one of them that they did was, so normally if you need to stop paying for your account for whatever reason. Like you just don’t have the money or the cashflow, or you’re just not using it, typically you have to close the account and if you want to reopen it, I think you can get some of that data back, but a lot of it’s not there and you can’t keep using it while you don’t have it open, which is pretty normal.
If you pay for software and you stop paying for it, probably shouldn’t be able to use it, especially in a subscription model. They came out with a new program where they said, “Look, if you need to put your account on pause, we’ve created a new way to do that for this specific time so that you can just put it on pause, we won’t bill you for it, you’re not going to lose any data, you’re not going to lose any history. So you can still go back in and get your history and stuff for reporting, but you don’t have to keep using it because you don’t have people who need to track time and you’re not doing any invoicing. And so we’ll just let you put it on pause and we’re not going to charge you for it during that time.”
So those are the kinds of things where I’m like, I see companies really doubling down on customers and say, “Look, the relationships we already have are the most important. Let’s really make sure we’re delivering value and serving those people well, in whatever context they’re in.” I think that’s just one example. There’s others I’m seeing do discounts for… Like there’s a coworking space that we know of that is doing discounts for paying on time. And then they’re also offering on ad hoc, like on a one-to-one basis. Like if you’re just really struggling and you need to get some kind of discount or you need some financial flexibility, they’re having conversations one-on-one with members to kind of figure that out.
I know another coworking space that just flat out like gave every member free coworking space for the whole month of April just saying like, “Hey, we don’t expect you to be in here so we’re not going to charge you for it. You’ll still be a member if you want to come in, you still need to use it because you have something you’d really need to get done. Or if you’re a necessary service or product that the government has said, ‘Hey, you need to continue to operate.’ Then great. We still have space that you can use here, some of the things we’ve done.” I’ve seen a lot of coworking spaces getting really creative around, cleaning supplies, upping how often their janitorial service is rolling through the building in order to just to make sure things are really clean, doing extra cleaning, making sure surfaces are like actually clean and sanitized. So just a lot of stuff where I see a lot of organizations really trying to say, “Look, we want to make this work for you as a customer. We want to serve you in whatever context you find yourself in, in this.”

Chris Stadler:
Do you see much of a difference between companies who kind of have their values and they’re doing values-based value ads versus people who are doing kind of a transactional base, kind of like, “Oh, here’s what people are doing so we better do it too?”

Mike Jones:
Yeah. I mean, it’s always hard to tell on the outside. So unless I have a direct conversation with somebody in the leadership, it’s hard to tell like, is this being driven by values or is this being driven by market trend or an external expectation, like, “Customers are demanding that we give discounts, so we have to give a discount” kind of thing. There’s obviously a difference. You can feel it as a customer when an organization that you work with, when a company you work with, you’re buying product or service from, is actually acting from a place of core values in those kinds of decisions. It may not come out in the actual decision itself. Like the discount or the added value or the added service at no additional charge kind of approach, those can feel transactional, but it’s in the way that they deliver it. Whether that’s through like the handholding, like you get a personal phone call, that I think is one of those things I’ve seen and experienced firsthand where that feels very different than a mass email or a very late email.
That’s another thing. It’s like, “How fast were they to roll something out?” Obviously you want to give people a chance to think it through and make sure it’s the right thing. But there’s definitely a… There’s a feeling you get when you’re like, “They were last to the party.” That doesn’t feel as value driven and higher purpose driven. It feels like, whether it was intended or not, it feels like you got cornered.

Chris Stadler:
And then you have to do it. So you’re like, “Okay, well, might as well.” Right?

Mike Jones:
Yeah. And I look at kind of like when you think back to the original topic, the question today, how can your brand influence how you deal with this crisis? From the health side of it, to the economic side, the shutdown of all these businesses, how do you deal with all this? And I do feel like the values driven kind of higher purpose companies and organizations are actually faster at pivoting and rolling out stakeholder-driven value. When they look at their stakeholders, they look at their customers, they look at their employees, look at their vendors and they say, “Hey, how can we help all these groups?”

Chris Stadler:
Because offering a discount it’s kind of a no duh, like that’s very… It could be transactional. It could be based on values, right?

Mike Jones:
Yeah. It could be both, but the speed at which you’re able to make that decision, I think can reveal the heart or where that’s coming from. Not always, I think if you’re just always thinking in a very transactional mode, you might get to that decision quickly, but then how do you roll it out? What is the message? What’s the tone? What’s the delivery method that you’re going to use in doing that? How many personal phone calls are you going to make? Who writes it and signs that letter? Those things, I think really showcase the heart of the company. Is it coming from a low level manager or did it come from like the CEO or the president or the owner? And then I also think, just how quickly can you be transparent with what’s going on? So I think those are some of the ways I think, that you can kind of tell what’s going on and obviously you can relate it.
You can see, is there a pattern? We don’t judge an organization or a brand on one experience, we judge it over multiple experiences. We don’t walk into a restaurant and have one terrible experience and never go back usually. Most people give them a second chance, “Oh, just opened,” Right?

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. Or if we’ve heard good things about it, we’re like, “Okay, well [crosstalk 00:26:57]-

Mike Jones:
“Let’s give it another chance. It was an anomaly or they just opened and they’re going to have issues when they first open. Let’s wait a couple months, let’s go back.” But by the third bad experience in a row with a restaurant, you’re like, “This is a pattern now. And I trust that they’re going to deliver a bad experience to me.” And so you don’t go back. And so I think the same thing is true to now where it’s like, okay, you have one experience where the company does something, and whether it’s a discount to their customers, or they talk about how they’re trying to work to keep everyone employed as best they can, maybe by doing like partial cuts to everybody rather than laying some people off and other people don’t see any difference in their salary kind of thing.
One experience doesn’t tell us much about the brand, but when we see a pattern of experiences, so now we’re what? Like six weeks into this, at least more overtly we’re six weeks in. We now have a pattern that we can look at and see which organizations are really operating from a sense of core values of really caring, not only for the bottom line, but for people. Did they have a higher purpose that’s driving what they’re doing beyond just making a buck? We were talking about this before the show. You can tell when decisions are being made because of financial or cashflow issues only because you don’t see a sense of like, “We’re still wanting to deliver value to people, even if they can’t pay at the same rate or the same level.”

Chris Stadler:
Interesting.

Mike Jones:
So like, is the organization extending its value to its customers or even the community at large despite the fact that people can’t pay for it?

Chris Stadler:
So you’re saying like Harvest ability to say, “Look, these are the people who have… They are our people, they’ve been paying us, they like our service, we need to prioritize that.” The ability to solve problems, at least take a step and just say, “Hey, we know we can do this and we know this will help a lot of people.” So that reinforces that relationship. And it also focuses on people you already have. So what’s the advantage of focusing on people you already have versus just trying to get out there and just get more hits on your website?

Mike Jones:
Yeah. One is literally like, well, if you say you care about people, you better care about the people you already know and who know you. That’d be like, “You know what? I love my family, but right now I really just need to go help all my neighbors first.” And if you spent all your time, excuse me, doing stuff with your neighbors and you’re not ever spending time with your family in the middle of this crisis, someone is probably going to start asking some questions like, “Really, what’s your priority here.” Right?

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. Well, and then your kids might start asking like, “Which one of us is getting the axe first? Getting laid off. Should I start working on my resume?”

Sam Pagel:
Is that why you asked me that question earlier?

Mike Jones:
I would just tell them, you should always be working on your resume. Your whole life is your resume.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. Kids, let this be a lesson.

Mike Jones:
So I mean, that’s a bit of a stretch. I don’t think most people would find themselves in that boat. But I think organizationally, if all of your marketing… so if we’re talking about from a marketing perspective, all the communication you’re putting out, if it’s all about how you can get new clients or get new customers, I think it raises some eyebrows and makes people kind of go, “Well, what about the people you already have? Maybe you are a little desperate because the cashflow isn’t there, you’ve lost customers, but why would that not cause you to double down on the ones who want to stick with you?” And there’s both, I think a values driven reason to do that. Like, “Hey, your value’s probably somewhere in them say, “We care about people, particularly our customers.”
What are you doing to deliver value for them in a moment where they are in crisis? At some level. So that’s the first thing. And then the other is, there’s a tactical level of strategy in that, in that it costs a lot more to go get a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. So when cashflow is tight and you don’t have a lot of room to operate and do different things, why would you not reinvest more in your current customers so that you can keep them? When we get through this, as the economy will eventually pick back up, don’t know when, three, six, 12, 24, 36. I don’t know how many months, years this is going to take. It’s going to take some kind of time, but it will come back.
And when it comes back, the demand is going to be there for you to get new customers. But the question will be, how many do you still have? Because you’re going to spend a lot more getting all those new customers when the economy does come back, than you will just keeping the ones you already have. And it may mean taking a hit, it may mean like, “Okay, we’ve got to flex, we’ve got to look at adjusting what they’re paying us and what we’re delivering for them.” We’re having that conversation with a lot of our clients. I think almost all of them over the last six weeks is like, “Look, whatever agreement we had before, let’s see what needs to change. Let’s have that conversation.” And a lot of them have had to change that agreement. Like, “We’ve got to shift what we’re doing.” Sometimes that’s meant stopping some things, sometimes it means starting new things with them. But I think it’s a conversation that you have to have, if you say you care about your customers at any level.

Chris Stadler:
So I have a question that wasn’t planning on asking, but is there still room for brands to kind of ask for the sale? Is there still room to sell or should we only be focusing on reaching out to people, empathizing, sending out encouraging messages, free help?

Mike Jones:
I think, this is my gut. This is a great question, Chris.

Chris Stadler:
Thanks, man.

Mike Jones:
I wish I had thought about this more before we got on. Oh, that’s a really interesting, and I think tough question. I think you have to individualize it a little bit to your customers and to your brand. For instance, the way I would think about that with a service-based brand versus a product-based brand, it does feel different to me. I think product-based brands already have a higher degree of… You can ask for the sale because it’s a product. And especially if you’re selling it directly to the consumer, probably through a digital platform, you have to, there’s no one else that’s going to do it. There’s no sales call. There’s no sales person in that relationship. And so your marketing has to ask for the sale. And that’s relevant anytime, whether in a crisis or not versus service-based brands, if your sale’s process and even products that maybe have a higher price point and they go through some kind of more one-to-one sales process, I would argue in those cases, in general anyway, your marketing probably shouldn’t be asking for the sale. That’s not the job of your marketing. The role of marketing for a service-based business or a high value ticket item, is to drive a lead, drive interest, who then asks for a deeper consultation, or a tour, or a test drive, or like, “I want to kind of check it out. I want to try it out.”
You don’t do that with a lot of, like Amazon products. We don’t get to try them out at a time. And so I think that’s, I think a little bit of the difference. But then in a crisis, I think that’s amplified. So I think every message you send out that is asking for the sale, or getting close to asking for the sale or asking for the tour, asking them to schedule an appointment, asking for the consult, I think you need to be really, really careful about when you do that and to whom you’re doing that.
So one thing is, have you already implemented like savvy marketing systems that allow you to know where in the funnel that person is? I don’t think so. It’s always the case. You shouldn’t probably be asking for the sale when they’ve never met you. You can kind of get away with that when times are good. You can kind of be like, “Discount.” You just hop on the website for the very first time, or you just saw an ad from this brand for the very first time and boom, there’s a discount, going to buy it. I think right now that feels cheap, that feels super salesy and it feels very, very self interested, that you only care about getting their money and not about delivering a solution to their problem, right? Because you haven’t even really educated them yet that you can do that. You’ve instead said, “Don’t worry about the solution or your problem, just go for the discount,” which tells me you don’t really care about that person. So you might not intend that but I think that’s where….
If we talk about the funnel there’s awareness at the top, there’s engagement in the middle there’s conversion at the bottom. Your kind of typical standard, most basic journey that people go through in discovering a brand and deciding to purchase from it for the first time. You typically don’t ask for the sale until they get through engagement and they get to conversion. Now some direct marketing would say, go through that entire funnel in one experience. And I think that’s still possible, but I think right now you have to be really thinking carefully about how have you created really strong branded awareness and engagement that shows that you’re going to deliver value to people before they ever have to click on something scheduled to click to buy-

Chris Stadler:
See I like this because you’re getting from brand to… We don’t always talk about the tactics, right? We don’t always talk about the funnel and just kind of the brass tacks of how all this works on this podcast. Because we’re talking about values, we’re talking about brand and offering that. But I love this because what you’re doing is you’re saying that these two things work hand in hand. It sounds like. What I’m wondering too is based on what you’re just saying. You said maybe you should never be asking for the sale if you’re doing that relationship marketing directly or the marketing. Please correct me where I’m wrong but it sound like you’re saying that I’m wondering if maybe that… so I learned awareness, interest, desire, action, which is-

Mike Jones:
That’s a more nuance. It’s [crosstalk 00:38:13].

Chris Stadler:
If we use desire, desire is the goal then all we’re doing when we ask for the sale is… asking for the sales shouldn’t do any work beyond just getting out of the way, right? So you don’t have to pressure someone to make the sale, all you have to do is just create that desire in them and say, “Hey, here’s the product,” and develop that understanding of what it can do for them.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. I mean, if you think about like pressuring the sale, I think the most common thing we think about is like discounts.

Chris Stadler:
Well, I think of a car salesman.

Mike Jones:
Yeah, well, yeah. Or [crosstalk 00:38:51]-

Chris Stadler:
Like not having developed my desire before they say, “You need this car, get into it.”

Mike Jones:
But let’s think about it from a discount standpoint because I think discounts act in the same way, right? Discounts are an incentive to get me to purchase now. Why is that important in that process? What about that discount and purchasing now versus tomorrow or next day or in three weeks, how does that help the customer?

Chris Stadler:
It doesn’t. It sounds like it’s based on the company’s needs.

Mike Jones:
It has nothing to do with the customer. It has to do with the business’s needs either they have too much inventory so they got to push it, or there’s some time constraint that they’re looking to hit, whether from a financials perspective or something else. It usually has very little to do with the customer, has everything to do with the brand or the business.

Chris Stadler:
It’s like a holiday sale but really they’re not really celebrating the holiday [crosstalk 00:39:46]-

Mike Jones:
Or there’s a lot of competition right now, which is a holiday sale. There’s a lot of brands who are offering all the same stuff. And our product is a little bit commoditized during the holidays because there’s so much competition. So how do we cut through the noise? Well, let’s give everybody a discount, probably more or equal to what our competitors are doing.
When we think about brand, what is brand doing for you when you do it right? I just had this conversation with somebody yesterday. They were asking me, “What are the metrics to measure good branding? Like if I’m working on my brand, how do I know it’s working?” And we talked through a lot of different, I think, metrics you can use, but one of them should be: your margin should go up and the effectiveness of your marketing and communications should be more effective, meaning it costs you less. And I think one of the ways it can cost you less is you have to be less discount driven because your brand is cutting through and saying we’re different, we can solve your problem and no one else can.

Chris Stadler:
So what is the discount? You said discount driven. What does that mean versus the-

Mike Jones:
It’s transactional-

Chris Stadler:
Is it-

Mike Jones:
It’s cost driven.

Chris Stadler:
Would you put that against like brand driven then?

Mike Jones:
Yes. Now I think there’s tactically times where in this moment we need to be cost driven. Like again, if you have too many cars on the lot and you’re paying for all of them, you’re holding the overhead on all those cars. You probably have loans taken out to be able to put them on your lot as a dealer. That’s actually how most of them finance… That’s how they get all those cars. They borrow the money. Usually from the manufacturer. It’s crazy, the scheme of-

Chris Stadler:
Even like at grocery store they buy the stuff and it sits there and they need to move it.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. And some of it’s going to expire. You don’t want too much of it to expire otherwise you lose a lot of money. Then you make it harder to deliver the next time. So there is a sense of like, I think you can look at the end game and kind of go, “We are doing this because we want to serve customers in the long term. We’ve got to move the milk right now. We’ve got to discount the milk in order to get it off the shelves, get inventory out and make sure people have milk.

Chris Stadler:
So you’re saying the brand driven is the reverse because brand driven treats the discount as a… just kind of a tactic to help with live out our brand.

Mike Jones:
It’s closer to a last resort.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. A little more of an operations kind of efficiency thing rather than a business driver.

Mike Jones:
Exactly.

Chris Stadler:
Okay. Gotcha.

Mike Jones:
So if you’re constantly operating on discounts, I think you need to start asking a lot of questions about your brand. Wow. Your brand is not working for you.

Chris Stadler:
Why do you need to run so many discounts? If you have people who respect you so much, you have people who like and trust you so much?

Mike Jones:
Now there might be an industry where that’s common, but I would even argue if you look at disruptors in most industries that are like that, where people only buy based on a sale or perceived discount, it’s interesting that the disruptor brands in that category often position themselves as the no sale brands. The no discount brands. Because they’re delivering so much more value that they’re just like, “We’re going to give you the price as it is.” The price is the price and we’re not going to sugarcoat it. We’re not going to fake you out by like lifting the retail price and then discounting it. When in fact, you know as a consumer, if everyone discounts their prices, the price is the discounted price. They’re still making money on that. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it. And it’s across the board so it must just actually be that price.

Chris Stadler:
When I think about Groupon as well because you always hear these stories about Groupon, the horror stories of how some restaurant bought Groupon. They got a bunch of people, they lost money on and those same people never came back because they were bargain hunters. They were there for the bargain, not for the experience of that restaurant. They weren’t looking for a new restaurant.

Mike Jones:
They weren’t bought into the brand. And they weren’t actually sold on the brand because they didn’t come back there. Which is another metric for your brand effectiveness is, do people come back? Do they love it? Did you delight them with your brand and the experience you built for them that they go, “Yep, I’m doing that again.”

Chris Stadler:
How often does a brand actually enjoy doing the work or delivering on a discounted price?

Mike Jones:
They hate it.

Chris Stadler:
They hate it.

Mike Jones:
Especially in services, right? I mean we know like when we’ve had to discount something with a client there’s a little bit of like, everybody’s a little like…

Sam Pagel:
You’re on edge. Because you’re like, I really hope this goes the way we planned it And if it doesn’T we’ll loose money.

Mike Jones:
I hope they let us be really creative.

Chris Stadler:
You said it, Sam we can lose money. As the project manager, I’m just like, I don’t want to do anything on this. I’m scared. I’m going to do too much. And we’ll lose money on that.

Sam Pagel:
I’ve bought Groupons in the past to restaurants and you pull that Groupon out and you can just see the look on the waitress’ face. She’s like, “Another one of these guys.”

Chris Stadler:
You’re going to need an awesome tipper.

Mike Jones:
Yup. Well, and there’s even, I think a question in a consumer’s mind, right? Like I think consumers are now savvy enough for the most part that when they see a deal, they might be enticed by it and they might still purchase because at the end of the day, like cost is still a function of right. And I want to get value and one way I can get values to think that I’m saving money. That if I were to purchase this somewhere else or from someone else I’d pay more and therefore, if I buy from you, I’m saving myself some money.
But it’s like, man, if you consistently are delivering products at a discounted price, I think customers are savvy enough to start going, “I know I’m not getting the highest quality and no, I’m not going to get the best service. I know there’s a trade off to this. I can’t expect to get a low price compared to everyone else and get everything else that I want.” So now it’s a trade off. And I think over time, if you do that long enough with your customers, you will develop a brand that people are like, they kind of settle for. I mean think about like, does anyone love Walmart? If Walmart was going under right now, would anybody be like, “Let’s go save Walmart.” I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Chris Stadler:
It’s hard to imagine that, yeah.

Mike Jones:
I don’t think people would be like bending over backwards to make sure that Walmart made it. I think some of that is because, when you think about what Walmart’s delivering, they’re delivering cheap product, cheaper than what I would get elsewhere or even on, I think in general, on average, they’re cheaper than Amazon on most products. I mean I’ve bought furniture there. I’ve bought all sorts of other stuff that I’m like, “I know I’m getting cheap product here and I don’t expect it to last.” If you continue to do that long enough, you’re essentially building your brand around this feeling of settling like, “Well, I would prefer something better, but I’ll settle for Walmart.” That’s now the brand. Their brand is really based on kind of people settling for them like, “Well, I’d rather go somewhere else, but they’re open at midnight.”

Chris Stadler:
So what happens if a brand, let’s say during like a recession or like an emergency type situation, what happens if a brand decides they flinch. Instead of sticking with their values, they decide to, “Man, well, we just got to pay the bills right now. And yeah, we all know there are some very real challenges with cash flow and stuff, but we got to pay the bills right now.” What’s the trade off if they suddenly decide to start going after the discount or trying to just make the quick sales, trying sort of looking for ways to just move cash?

Mike Jones:
Well, I don’t want to like throw everybody who’s looking at cashflow under the bus. I think looking at cashflow should be part of that process.

Chris Stadler:
Totally, yes.

Mike Jones:
Smart savvy stewards of a business would say, “Look, there’s less money coming in. Therefore we can’t do as much. We can’t spend as much.”

Chris Stadler:
And Resound is doing that too. I mean everybody [crosstalk 00:48:22] be responsible.

Mike Jones:
Everyone should at least consider that. That’s an operational thing though. And I think you should be really careful about how it extends into the brand. Because now you’re setting an expectation and a perception to your customers of when times get tough, we don’t care about you. So I think how you deliver that, it can be acceptable in a short term. Like again, we talked about discounts can play a part in your business tactics, but I don’t know that they’re your strategy. I think you should be really careful about how you do that. So for one, are you doing it for everyone? Maybe you only do it for your existing customers. Maybe you just say, “Hey, look, we love you. We want to keep you. We want you to be satisfied and continue to get the great value that you’ve already paid for over and over again so let’s continue to make that happen for you.”

Chris Stadler:
So have you seen very often lately brands that previously stood for one thing start to change in ways that don’t make sense to you, that could potentially ruin their brand a little bit, like starting to get into areas of business that they weren’t before? It was an agency somewhere in the States and they ended up… Now they’re advertising something a little different than what they’ve done before and it’s-

Mike Jones:
I mean, people are definitely-

Chris Stadler:
It felt weird. It felt like there was a little bit of like, “Oh, we’re going after different kinds of business now, no longer are we specialized. We are now… ” And it felt anxious to me.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. Well I think when you start… So again, this comes back to like if you’re scrambling right now, you’ve lost a majority of your customers… So there’s a few… Oh man, there’s so many thoughts here. One thought is literally, I think you have to ask why. Why did we just lose so many customers? Now you might be in an industry like if you were in events, the answer is pretty clear, there’s no more customers. At least for the foreseeable future, there are no customers because there’s no more events, like in-person real events. And I think your pivot at that point, you only have a few options. You figure out, is there some kind of skill set or experience or product or service we can deliver virtually? If the answer is no, you’re probably starting over at this point.
Your business, as you saw it was done in your brand is probably to some degree done. Now, if you did your branding right, going into this, your brand stood for more than a product or a service. And therefore the pivot to something new should feel somewhat more natural. I wonder, this agency you’re referring to, I wonder if their brand was too focused on a particular product or service or people they deliver to and so when that didn’t work anymore, they essentially are rebooting their brand, and rebooting a brand, especially in the middle of a crisis is going to be super awkward for your existing, people who either are your customers or following you. Because it’s going to feel like, man, the car just took a total U-turn. And men, that was super uncomfortable. When you’re in the car in the backseat, when you’re growing up and dad’s like, ‘Oh shoot, we’re going the wrong way,’ and he does like the quick U-turn across like-

Chris Stadler:
And he doesn’t tell you.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. He doesn’t tell you. No warning. Quick U-turn across like six lanes of traffic, you freak out. You’re like, not only physically are you being like jostled all over the place and it’s crazy, but you’re like, “Oh my goodness, there’s cars coming. What’s going on? I don’t know where we’re going.”

Chris Stadler:
And you’re like fighter pilots [crosstalk 00:52:12]-

Mike Jones:
Kids in the back are like, “Dad, what’s going on?” You know that’s what you do to your customers and to your audience who knows you, even if they’re not buying from you, they know you. When you make a hard left turn with your brand and you haven’t set up your brand in a way where that feels natural. Where you kind of go, “Oh yeah, it actually makes sense that you took this left turn, because it’s not really a left turn, it’s kind of more of we merged to the left.”

Chris Stadler:
So in other words-

Mike Jones:
Or merged to the right.

Chris Stadler:
They can tell your brand is still real, those values weren’t just words on a wall but you’re pivoting in accordance with those values. And what you just said something interesting in creativity research, I’ve read a little bit on that. Like Albert Einstein’s quote: “If I had 10 hours save the world, I would spend nine hours discovering the problem and one hour solving it.” That’s one of the most important things in creativity. And what you just said was, you need to ask why you’re losing all this business. That’s something that I think people skip over because they’re like, “All right, well, how do we get more business?” Well, wait a second, you don’t know why you lost business. Figure that out. You can figure that out. Figure it out.

Mike Jones:
We were just talking about candour this morning with our team. I think you have to be really candid with yourself. This is really hard. I’ve had to ask myself this question when things get tough and a client says, “I don’t really want to spend with you anymore.” It might be just literally like their business is in a tough spot and they’ve got to cut stuff. I kind of hope that’s where most of our clients are, but there’s another part of me that goes, there’s something about what we delivered that they don’t see value in anymore. I think every business has to be soul searching, if they’re seeing a lot of their business going away from existing customers and go, “what was it I wasn’t delivering value on?” Why was it that even when times get tough, they’re not like, “Hey is there some way we can make this work? I really need you.”

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. You said something interesting too, before in a previous conversation, that there’s a difference between someone just reducing their spend a little bit, but keeping the same things going, because they believe they work and they believe you’re the ones to do it. Then them saying, “Well, we need to completely uproot this budget item,” because it’s like, wait a second if they are uprooting, if they’re fully pulling it out, maybe that’s a sign that we need to look closer at the value we’re offering.

Sam Pagel:
Well, and this is such a unique thing with, with physical proximity, being a big deal right now there’s a lot of businesses that are hurting because of that aspect of what’s going on. If we were able to be close to each other, physically like proximitywise, this wouldn’t be an issue. Any business that is reliant on that aspect of society is hurting right now. That’s not because their service or their product was bad, it’s because there is a literal restriction on that from the government or just from people not wanting to get sick or whatever it is. So this is a unique time where that’s a big factor.

Mike Jones:
I think a good test for this is going to be what restaurants come back. Some of them will come back just because like the coffers were full and they were able to kind of just ride this out. But I think there’s going to be others where their brand still drove traffic. Like if they were still offering like curbside or delivery or some kind of pickup type thing, that their brand drove traffic because they built the loyalty to the brand, not to the particular or, the way that we deliver this one thing.
Well, if I can’t go into the restaurant, I’m not going there anymore. If that’s, I think, part of the response here, now there’s going to be other extenuating circumstances. If you have a large dining restaurant, you’ve got 5,000, 10,000 square feet of real estate and your delivery and pickup may just not be enough traffic to really sustain that. But I think there should still be like, look, if you, if you’re just watching all of your customers walk away right now, I think you have to be asking yourself like, “What beyond the circumstances that my customers find themselves in, makes them say, ‘I don’t even want to try.'” Right. I think that’s hard and that’s a very critical viewpoint. That’s something that you take with a grain of salt. There’s like you just said, Sam, there’s a lot of other extenuating circumstances, but-

Sam Pagel:
In the particular like restaurant example, have you positioned your restaurant to only be like convenient for like a certain part of town? Like I’m putting my restaurant here because there’s a lot of office buildings and I just want traffic. I just want foot traffic. I know I’m not the greatest restaurant, my food’s not the best, but I’m convenient for people. Then something like this happens, nobody’s at their office and nobody’s coming in.

Mike Jones:
Convenience doesn’t cut it anymore.

Sam Pagel:
Yeah. I think one really interesting like kind of case study here locally is Fox Restaurants. I think they’ve done actually a really good job of not being like pushy from a standpoint of like, Hey, we’re still open. We’re still making food, come get some of our food. But they’ve gotten really creative with how they’ve delivered. That message of like, “Hey, here’s some pre-made packages for your family.”
We’ve taken advantage of that and I’ve gone to pick it up and like, “How are you guys doing?” And overwhelmingly, they like at the different Fox Restaurants they’re like, “We’re actually doing pretty good.” “I’m like, great. That’s cool. That’s good to hear.” So creativity, I think is a big part of like how you address this.
I think Chris, you and I were talking a little bit earlier this week in a different setting about like, if you have your values and your purpose set, when stuff like this comes around, you’re not scrambling. You’re not panicking, you’re just going back to those and saying, “All right, this is who we are. We’re not changing. The world’s changing. So how are we going to address this with what we know we already are, and we’re not changing?”

Chris Stadler:
And what a contrast, I remember what you’re talking about it was a call with a bunch of people on it. What a contrast that is with a lot of businesses out there that are they’re worried they’re talking about how things are tough and looking for a shoulder to cry on, we’re sympathetic to that for sure. There’s a big difference between those brands and brands that know what they’re about because your path is clear. It seems like. That’s what I took away from what you said during that call and I was like, ‘Go Sam’. People need to hear this hope. They need to hear that if you know what you’re about, then the pathway is a lot more clear and you know what you’re supposed to do, which is half the time.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. What you’re about beyond the product or service. I think like we’re writing this book right now and we spend like a lot of time talking about how one of the big dangers in branding is to brand around the tactics of your business. Product and service is actually a tactic. It’s one way to deliver to your customers, but it’s not the only way. If you have a purpose or a brand, like a set of values, a purpose and a story that’s really only grounded in that one thing you do, or those couple of things you do. When the world changes on you, you don’t have a point of foundation and solidity to stand on anymore.

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. It was arbitrary.

Mike Jones:
It was arbitrary.

Chris Stadler:
Arbitrary [crosstalk 01:00:05]-

Mike Jones:
It was contextual. It only mattered within the context of the world around you. When that context changes, you’re left without any foundation for your brand anymore. Versus like, I think what you guys are talking about is like brands that feel rooted, that feel solid and like are going to really not just withstand this, but are going to like thrive in some ways through this, are ones that are built on something much deeper and more foundational than just a product or service. So like for instance, there’s a consultant I follow his name’s Mark Horseman. He’s got a fantastic book called The Effective Manager. He consults with fortune 500 companies, Fortune 1000 all the way down to small businesses on how to manage people. We actually use some of his methodology and we find it’s fantastic. A lot of his money is made through in-person two, three day seminars that he puts on across the country.
All of that’s gone for him, at least in the short term. He’s doing daily emails right now of just things he’s thinking about. The dude just oozes confidence. Some of that might be that he’s financially sound. They, as a business have done the right things, they’ve maintained a savings account, they really have money in the bank and they can withstand it and they’re pivoting. They just released a new virtual seminar for the first time in the history of their company. It’s something they’ve actually fought, not fought, but they’ve, they’ve really shyed away from doing in the past. They’re kind of acquiescing and say, “We go to do it right now. We don’t know if we’re going to keep doing it when things get back to a little bit more of a normal type of way of doing things.”
I think because his brand is not rooted in the delivery, he has all these different ways that he delivers value to people. He’s not at a point where he and his company, there’s I think 15 of them, they don’t feel like they have to freak out. They maintain a fantastically strong brand through all of this. His brand has been really interesting to watch through this because he is so transparent and so clear about what he’s thinking about almost any issue right now and he’s very opinionated, so it’s come through very clear. So I think that kind of illustrates that point of like, look when you know, what you stand for beyond just a product or service or how you deliver a product or service, it just makes everything that much easier when you know, the world just throws an earthquake at you.

Chris Stadler:
So let me ask you one final question. As we’re kind of running out of time here, how does this crisis, this disruption offer an opportunity for good brands, big brands, small brands, in between brands to change and potentially influence the brand of a state like Arizona?

Mike Jones:
Kind of want to hear what you think, Chris?

Sam Pagel:
Are you asking-

Mike Jones:
I’ve done so much talking.

Sam Pagel:
Are you asking how they can become stronger through this or-

Chris Stadler:
How could Arizona change through this? How could this turn into a benefit for Arizona? How does this become a chance for brands to actually change the way Arizona’s perceived and contribute to Arizona’s brand?

Sam Pagel:
It’s an interesting question, because I think economically, I don’t know if I’ve seen this, but this thing hit during Arizona’s like, most prosperous time of the year in March. In the boon of spring, when we have spring training, we have golf tournaments, we have car shows like everything is happening in Arizona right now.

Mike Jones:
Because the summer is too hot.

Sam Pagel:
Summer’s too hot. And this is like, our weather from February to April is beautiful. And-

Mike Jones:
And especially compared to like most of the rest of the country too. So there’s no competition.

Sam Pagel:
Everything went to a screeching halt. I think that’s interesting. Maybe there’s another sister state, like Florida where that happens too. I think they have a lot of spring training there as well, but I think that’s interesting. I know a lot of other States, I think have been hit harder than Arizona but that’s an interesting question for Arizona specifically.

Chris Stadler:
What would happen if half the companies, half the dollar value, I don’t know, big company, small company, half the companies in Arizona, that are Arizona based companies decided to say, “We’re going to focus on our brand. We’re going to live, but we’re going to start living and we’re going to find a way to live out our values. We’re going to discover them and we’re going to go through them and we’re going to find a way to live them out. We’re going to talk with people in our company. We’re going to have this discussion. We’re going to figure out how we live out these values.”

Mike Jones:
I think I can think of two things off the top of my head that would happen to Arizona’s brand or people’s perception. First would just be, this is a place where brands think about themselves and work on themselves. That’s a natural-

Chris Stadler:
Is that authenticity then or is that a-

Mike Jones:
Yeah, I think that’s a-

Chris Stadler:
Like an honesty.

Mike Jones:
I thought authenticity or honesty to the truth of who the brands are, little more introspective, but in a good way. I think introspection can have kind of a negative connotation [crosstalk 01:05:53]. Not navel-gazing, right? Because navel-gazing says, “I’m going to look internally, but I’m never going to do anything with it. I’m never going to impact other people through that navel-gazing. That’s why it’s navel-gazing.”

Sam Pagel:
That’s why it’s made fun of.

Mike Jones:
Because you’re constantly staring at your navel and you’re never looking out. I think as long as brands look in and then look out and act outwardly from that center. I think the other thing you’ll find is that as you find commonality of those values, so wherever, if you had the giant Venn diagram of all the company values across Arizona-

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. I see where you’re going.

Mike Jones:
… where do you see like the most overlap? Well, those are the places where Arizona’s brands going to be built. The arid identity is going to be most seen through the lens of those particular values.

Chris Stadler:
Then Arizona becomes like a company that says either here are our values and they’re specific enough that they’re not just the values that everybody has, that we’ve thought about these so then people look at it and believe them. Also, even if there are other States that have those values, we’re the ones who own them because we’re the ones who-

Mike Jones:
Put them on display.

Chris Stadler:
This is, yeah We were clients who-

Mike Jones:
Name and claim it Chris.

Chris Stadler:
… who made ourselves vulnerable enough to say, “Hey, here’s what we stand for. But then also enjoy the benefit of being the first to take the stand.” Name and claim it, I heard that. Yeah. I’m all about-

Mike Jones:
You just went-

Chris Stadler:
I’m the Joel O’steen of… Wait, is he a name and claim it guy? I don’t know. He seems like a…

Mike Jones:
I don’t know.

Chris Stadler:
[crosstalk 01:07:37].

Mike Jones:
Speak it into existence.

Chris Stadler:
Speak it into existence,.

Mike Jones:
Say it and it will be…

Chris Stadler:
Yeah. Very glass, half full kind of guy. Let’s just say,.

Sam Pagel:
I think to wrap up this conversation about Arizona if you had more organizations if their goals and their end products were based on their vision, which was based on their values, which was scaling up this tree of branding of your purpose and then your underlying, why are we even doing this? Why are we even in business in the first place? You’d start to see better products. You’d start to see more clearcut expertise. You’d see Arizona as a whole become kind of this like, for lack of a better term, I don’t like the whole Silicon Valley thing, this geographical place where people know, and they kind of trust that area, that geographical area of like, I know good stuff comes out of there.

Chris Stadler:
There’d be like a handful of things where it’s like, if you want X, you need an Arizona company.

Mike Jones:
Yeah. Or it’s just like this kind of this geographical, when you hear that term, that Silicone Valley Phoenix like, “Oh, that’s a place where good stuff comes out of there.” Interesting stuff comes out of there, stuff that I have comes out of there. If somebody is there, it means they’re this.

Sam Pagel:
You know what word keeps popping in my head related to the word authentic? But a better word. I think, real.

Mike Jones:
Fewer syllables. Love it. More efficient.

Sam Pagel:
I wonder if like if more brands here, and a lot do but if even more brands here really did that hard work of understanding themselves, their purpose, and really did a better job continuing to do a better job, like constantly getting better at communicating that and delivering on that purpose. I wonder if it wouldn’t actually create a perception of, and not a perception, but an actual in reality brands here are real. They are real with how they communicate, they’re real in how they produce, they create real products and real services that deliver real value, actual value. Man, that would get me excited.

Chris Stadler:
Some substance behind all those claims. [crosstalk 01:10:08]. Real. Let’s do it.

Sam Pagel:
Plus real estate. Oh geez.

Chris Stadler:
Well Mike Jones, I want to thank you for being my guest. I feel like on the podcast, but then also Sam as well the producer.

Mike Jones:
This was great. We had some really good conversations.

Chris Stadler:
The producer. Did I say that right? Producer. [crosstalk 01:10:30]. And his voice, radio voice. I don’t hate it.

Mike Jones:
Can we hear it one more time, Sam? Let’s hear it.

Sam Pagel:
Guys. I just wanted to say thank you. It was a pleasure, a real pleasure.

Chris Stadler:
And that’s what I was hoping for.

Mike Jones:
We’ve got to start another show to see if you can use that voice.

Chris Stadler:
All right. Well, this is it for another episode of the AZ Brandcast, where we delve into the makings of remarkable brands here in the state of Arizona. Thank you so much for joining

Speaker 4:
The AZ Brandcast is a project of Resound and is recorded in Tempe, Arizona with hosts Mike Jones and Chris Stadler. It’s produced and edited by Sam Pagel. Music is produced and provided by [Pabrid 01:11:09] an Arizona based music group. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and at azbrandcast.com. If you’d like more episodes, subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google play or wherever you prefer to get your podcasts. To contact the show find out more about AZ Brandcast or to join our newsletter list to make sure you never miss another episode, check out our website at azbrandcast.com. Copyright Resound, Creative Media, LLC, 2020.