This week Ian Truscott thinks about customer relationships and reciprocity. He shares the example of his friend Demie Loizou, founder of performance marketing agency This Is Digital and quotes Ted Rubin and his return on relationships mantra:
"Relationships are like muscle tissue; the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become".
Our guest this week is Rebecca Biestman, the Chief Marketing Officer at Reputation. We discuss Rebecca's marketing career, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and she makes an excellent suggestion for the Rockstar CMO swimming pool.
Rebecca joined Reputation last year from Dialpad, a business communications SaaS platform. Before that Rebecca held various marketing leadership positions for RMS, a risk modelling software company, where shelaunched the company's inaugural Social Impact program. Before moving to B2B tech, Rebecca specialized in B2C marketing for CPG and retail, working for Earth Essentials and Gap, Inc.
Finally, we find Robert Rose Chief Trouble Maker at The Content Advisory in the Rockstar CMO virtual bar, who over a cocktail discusses creative briefs that are neither brief nor creative.
Mentioned in this week's episode
This transcript was automatically generated by a machine, and as it becomes sentient it may have its own ideas of what we said....
"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that"
Robert Rose 0:00
And unfortunately, you know the creative brief is neither in most cases, it is neither creative nor is it
Ian Truscott 0:18
Hello and welcome to episode 93 of Rockstar CMO, F. M M is a marketing and the F is well you decide as you're probably wondering, does the world need another effing Marketing podcast? I'm your host Ian Truscott and this weekly podcast that is my excuse to chat with my two friends, old and new that I've met through my career from techie to cmo and trusted advisor and hopefully share with you some marketing street signs that my guests that I've picked up along the way, I'll bring out the Rockstar cmo in you come say hello, we are Rockstar cmo on Twitter and LinkedIn. This episode was recorded on Friday the 17th of December thank you for joining us I've had a good week, and that you are well safe and staying as sane as you feel you need to be if you're a regular listener, you know that Jeff is away until the new year so I share a thought I chat with Rebecca beastman Chief Marketing Officer of reputation. And Robert Rose, my friend and content marketing guru is in the Rockstar cmo virtual bar. Alright, let's get started.
In my culture, this is a time of year of giving and receiving of gifts. And literally just now as I sat down to prepare this little thought the doorbell rang and a hamper arrived from a well known high end department store here in the UK. I haven't opened it yet. But I don't think I need to rummage around and find the car as I strongly suspect. It's from my friend me whose performance marketing agency this is digital. I've been a client of at the my last three gigs and who I recommend to everyone I think needs his team's expertise. Damian is a lovely bloke has grown a few businesses. He's a former Green Grocer and video store owner back in the day has grown and sold one agency to the big beast that is McCann, which is where we met is growing his agency. This is Digital from a few folks and to customers of which I was one to over 40 people. And a similar number of clients in around four years, and is now having to be selective of who is excellent and growing team gets to work with, you know from the number of cold email or spam messages in your email or LinkedIn inboxes that the category has agency is in SEO, PPC and performance marketing in general, is a crowded space. But I can guarantee you the damage team and not the spammers in your inbox. Because his company has grown organically as he is about the best customer relationship man, I know. Why am I sharing this damn, he doesn't know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about in this week, I really ought to have him on the show. And I wasn't intending to my thought for the week was inspired by an interview for this podcast I did around this time of year with Ted Rubin whose mantra is the return on relationship, which I thought was a good thing for this time of year when we are giving and receiving. And then the hunter arrived with a great example. If you follow Ted's work, you'll know that he evangelises that relationships are like muscle tissue, the more they are engaged, the stronger, more valuable they become, which is so true. And if you know Ted, you know he pays attention to the hundreds of relationships he has. The thing Damion Ted have in common is the best thing about this is it's authentic, something we bang on about here. And I hope the word authenticity is not going to go the way of empathy leading or innovation in the pantheon of words, that marketing has killed, but it's true meet me and you know, he's into you. And all of his clients meet Ted and he practices what he preaches. The last time I chatted with me his concern is serving his customers to the level he wants with the team he has with all this growth that they're experiencing. And that's why he's needing to turn some business away. It's something to think about if you run an agency or a marketing team. It's not just about new business, we need to invest in our customers and those relationships and use Ted's term, you'll get a return on those relationships. That's my thought for this week. I will include a link to damage agency, Ted's work and our interview in the shownotes. I might change for this week. Perhaps I should have gone for something for the holidays, maybe a bit of last Christmas by wham or something like that. But here's a bit of Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey from 2002 I know what you want
to bear baby if you give it to me, I'll give it to you. I know what you do. You know I got a baby if you give it to me, I'll give it to you. As long as you know I got it
Ian Truscott 4:58
a little snippet of bust Amariah there, let's leave them to it. But I thought that hook fitted the theme of reciprocity. If you give to your customers, they'll give it to you. Onto our guests. Rebecca beastman is the Chief Marketing Officer, leading the global marketing organisation at reputation. Rebecca has had a fabulous marketing career joining reputation from Dialpad, a business communication SaaS platform last year before dial pad, Rebecca held various marketing leadership positions for RMS a risk modelling software company servicing the world's largest insurers and financial institutions. While RMS Rebecca launched the company's inaugural social impact programme we'll talk about CRMs in a little while, before moving to b2b Tech, Rebecca specialises in b2c marketing for CPG and retail working for both Earth essentials and gap. Rebecca received both her undergraduate degree in political science from UC Berkeley and her MBA in marketing and corporate social responsibility from UC Berkeley's Walter a High School of Business. I was delighted to grab some time in Rebecca's busy schedule. I hope you enjoy it Rebecca, welcome to Rockstar, cmo FM how are you? Good. How
Rebecca Biestman 6:11
are you doing?
Ian Truscott 6:12
I'm doing right. I'm a little flustered. As we just mentioned, I'm running around a bit this afternoon. But I'm here, which is excellent. And for folks that don't know you, Rebecca, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Rebecca Biestman 6:23
Sure. I'm Rebecca beastman. I'm the Chief Marketing Officer at a software platform company called reputation the last 10 years in high tech marketing and social impact leadership roles. And then before that, I spent the first 10 years of my career in marketing and social impact roles for retail and CPG companies. b2c lead,
Ian Truscott 6:46
they'll get to you, we'll get back to you and your your your career in a moment cuz you've had a great marketing career. But tell us a little bit about reputation first, it's got a great name for a start. So what is reputation?
Rebecca Biestman 7:00
Absolutely, yeah, as the name suggests, reputation is a software platform that takes all of the company's feedback that they're getting from public channels, like ratings and review sites and social media channels, and combines that with their private feedback that they get usually in the form of surveys. And our platform basically helps companies understand learn from and then grow from all the feedback that they're getting from their customers and their employees to provide a better experience.
Ian Truscott 7:26
Yeah, very, very important. And, and it's weird recently, I've had a run of guests that somehow have a connection to Drew nizer. I had him on the show myself. And it seems to be like everybody I meet now knows Drew. So because I was doing research this and I listened to his podcast pretty avidly anyway. And I heard I heard your episode where you were talking about how you'd rebranded the company, which is something a lot of our CMOS face, right. It's one of the first things we need to sometimes think about, I think, was it job number one for you when you started in the role?
Rebecca Biestman 7:53
It was basically job number one. Yeah, it was my rebrand. And so that was reason when I why I was brought in.
Ian Truscott 8:00
Yeah, yeah. Oh, cool. So they brought you in, because that was your specialism to do the rebrand?
Rebecca Biestman 8:06
Yeah, they wanted to basically build out a demand gen engine and to rebrand at the same time, and I had done both of those things before. So yeah, it's a big job.
Ian Truscott 8:15
Yeah, exactly. What tell us a bit about that process. How do you approach a rebrand? I mean, it's, it's something that I think CMOS get associated with it, you know, we come in, we've always got to change the website, we've always got a look at the brand and stuff like that. What was it? Why was it important reputation rebranded? And then how did you then go through that process?
Rebecca Biestman 8:33
Yeah, sure. I mean, I think the best rebrands are more than just a company deciding to update its logo or identity, or even its verbal identity. The best rebrands are really about defining company strategy and positioning within the market. Yeah, so that was really what I came in to do. And most of the work up front, it's really around alignment and figuring out what is the category positioning, what's the vision, what's the mission of the company and making sure that cross functionally within an organisation, you have alignment, and that it's really challenging to drive that kind of alignment. And then from there, a lot of the, the visual and verbal updates that you make to the brand, they kind of flow out of that company strategy piece. So that's where we spent a lot of time and it's, you know, it's a monumental effort, and it really does take a company in order to pull it off. Well,
Ian Truscott 9:26
right. I mean, what made you choose to go in this particular direction with the brand? Was it based on those internal stakeholders you talked about? Or was that with talking to the market and to your customers? How did you? How did you decide that this was the direction you take?
Rebecca Biestman 9:41
You know, reputation was a really interesting use case, in that they had sort of organically begun to pivot, the product roadmap and the direction because our customers are some of the biggest brands, biggest b2c brands in the world. They were really pulling us to a place where it was all about the customer and employee experience and you utilising the platform in a much more strategic way for our customers. And the brand hadn't really caught up to that. And even internally, there was, I would say, some discrepancy across the teams around how people were thinking about the goals and customer outcomes that we were looking to drive for them. And so it was really about the brand kind of catching up to where the product in the market was already going. That was the work we had to do.
Ian Truscott 10:27
Right. So so the way that you would view it is that the market recognised the new brand, almost before you did it. Really? Yeah. That's how they thought of you already.
Rebecca Biestman 10:37
Yes, and especially our most strategic customers, they were really pushing the envelope and the boundaries of the value that we could provide for them. And it really uncovered such a broad market opportunity for us. And we realised we weren't really positioned to go capture it in a meaningful way.
Ian Truscott 10:53
Right. So clearly for you brand is more than just the look and feel the colours, the website and stuff. It's all about that what the company stands for, and how you say it and all that stuff. Was that? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And then from a cultural perspective, was it a shift for you guys internally? Or was it quite again, quite a seamless, easy process? Because, I mean, I've been through a number of mergers and acquisitions, and I found that brand can be a really emotional topic. You know, I'm from martec. So tend to be around product names. And usually, people have been acquired, and they feel that they cling on to this brand or this product. And how did you move your actual people? Through the rebrand? Were they all very comfortable with it? Or did they feel that the they had an association with the old brand, or?
Rebecca Biestman 11:40
Yeah, it's such a good point. And that's part of the reason why I think that internal alignment early on, yeah, functionally in the rebirth process, making sure it's not a siloed marketing activity. So important, it's more work. So much influencing without direct authority, so much alignment, so much collaboration, that it's not the easy way to go. But it's worth it. Because to your point, internal stakeholders are tip of the spear, when it comes to your advocates, and your Angeles, they're the most important stakeholder group, especially early on in a rebrand. If you're not aligned internally, and your people aren't excited about it, and they're not willing to be advocates for the new brand. It's very difficult for that, to succeed in the market. We spent a lot of time not just in the strategy phase, but also in the production phase of getting out and including teams, like our people experience in HR to our product teams, of course, because the platform and products have to match the well. But also our customer success, our sales or implementation teams, all of those teams that are really customer facing, it wasn't just about the look and feel it was we were as a company, and they're the ones who are having those conversations. Yeah, that's more often than the marketing.
Ian Truscott 12:57
Yeah, yeah. And for people that don't know, reputation, and quite a large organisation to on you, I mean, how many folks have you got?
Rebecca Biestman 13:03
Yeah, I mean, we're, we're under 1000 employees, but we are growing so rapidly, kind of one of those late stage startups that's in a growth mode. Yeah. Interesting is you have kind of long standing employees, you have so many employees that are being brought in every year, to make sure that everybody's on the same page can be a real challenge when you're in that hyper.
Ian Truscott 13:25
Yeah, yes, it's clearly for you, then brand is also about attracting talent.
Rebecca Biestman 13:29
Yes, I mean, employer brand, especially now in this market. More important than ever, and just making sure that you have a brand that you can be proud of out there. And once your point that's going to attract the best talent that the market has to offer is so important.
Ian Truscott 13:44
Yeah. And you guys are based in San Francisco and you so it's a really hot place to try and hire people. Yeah, yeah, we're
Rebecca Biestman 13:51
based in the Bay Area, we have offices all over the US and the UK. And all of the markets where we operate are competitive, it's just so widespread today, everywhere you go, it's, it's really top of mind to try to find the best talent and the best cultural fit for your company.
Ian Truscott 14:08
And from, from our perspective, if we're looking at your brand, we're looking at the website, we're looking at the you know, the colours and all that kind of stuff. Did you actually talk about values of what the brand stands for internally as well? Because there are a lot of that kind of work about who you are as an organisation and how do you project that? How do you do that kind of stuff? Because I find with when when you're thinking about hiring, it's very important to be very clear about who you are as a company.
Rebecca Biestman 14:31
Yeah, I think being very clear and concise about who we are, what we do, how we do it better than anyone else in the market, and really distilling that to its core elements so that everyone in the company can have that elevator pitch. Yeah, it's much harder than it sounds and to have that be distilled in a way that also kind of drives enthusiasm. Rockley across the employee base was something that we spent a lot of time working on because you know when you're trying to be everything to everyone One, you end up being nothing to no one. It's a common trap and one that we really didn't want to fall into as
Ian Truscott 15:07
well along that path. Of course, if you're trying to be differentiated, then there are going to be people who don't agree with you. And I've worked in organisations where marketing is seen as a little bit separate and a little bit, you know, in their ivory tower. And, and folks on the ground, were a little bit cynical about how did you break some of that stuff down? How did you? I mean, because if you're going to be different, some people are not going to like that. So how did you? How did you break that kind of thing down?
Rebecca Biestman 15:31
Yeah, I mean, we're a very data driven marketing organisation. And I, I find that that takes a lot of emotion out of arguments when you just present data. And so for us, you know, interviewing customers, being on customer calls, really, not sitting in our ivory tower, but seeing how prospective customers current customers, how analysts within the market, view us and your landscape and view the market that really armed us with data to say, it's not just us talking, oh, this is really about what stakeholders internally and externally think about the future of our company, the future of the market. And let's let's really collaborate and get aligned around what we believe to make sure that that internal vision was really married to the external vision of where the market was going.
Ian Truscott 16:17
Right. Well, I mean, that's, I'm fascinated by branding. And I've seen that challenge many times my career, but let's move on just realising that we were quite a bit into the interview already. And all we talked about is branding. It's but and just as an aside, who do you think done a good job of rebranding? When you? I mean, it sounds like you've done it a number of times. So you've done a great job. But who, who do you think? Yeah,
Rebecca Biestman 16:40
I think b2c brands are just always cutting edge when it comes to that branding and rebranding, and I will say, as a marketer, they do such a better job than we do. You just really and it's such a, you know, when it comes to the brand side, it's much more interesting. In so there's just been so much I mean, Pfizer I think did a pretty good job this year. And they were absolutely under the spotlight. We huge in automotive, we've so many global auto OEMs is our customers and everything from Renault to Kia to GM was updating their brands this year, I think 2021 was a very busy time branding, because there were just so many fundamental shifts and pivot over the last couple years of the way that consumers interact with brands. Every industry was disrupted because of what's on the law. Yeah.
Ian Truscott 17:29
Yeah. And I mean, that the nature of the business that you're in, gives you that unique perspective, doesn't it? For that was like, I'm gonna move off the topic of branding. But did that actually, I'm just fascinated by the process you entered? Did that actually kind of put pressure on you? You're like, Well, we, you know, we know a lot about reputation. We know a lot about the importance of brand, we got the data here, the stuff that we've done with our own clients, did that then give you a huge amount of either insight or, or kind of like overwhelming amount of data about what you need to consider?
Rebecca Biestman 18:03
Well, we use our own tool for our company. Platform is all about figuring out what people think about us what people want the market that we're in. So we have a tonne of data to go through just using our own products to figure out what do people think of that customer experience experience management market? What are people thinking about our core personas, what are they talking about? So yes, I'd say that there was a lot of pressure on us to get it right. And really, it's because to your point, we have the data at our fingertips, what our company does. And so it was all about like, how are we using the data that we have in our own products effectively destroy our company?
Ian Truscott 18:40
Yeah, let being your own best case study, isn't it? I mean, if you get it wrong, then how can you help us? Yeah, I see what you mean. But back to you, we did touch on you a little bit at the beginning. And it's really that's the thing I'm most interested in is other CMOS, your experience, what inspired you to, to get into marketing in the first place?
Rebecca Biestman 18:59
I think it was just the amount of impact that you can have on a consumers experience. And whether it's in b2b or b2c marketing, the what is so interesting to me about marketing as a function is that it requires so much, I would say quantitative discipline, and it's very analytical, but at the same time, it's also really creative, and you get to have a lot of fun, and you get to really think out of the box. And so there's not many functions within a company where you could be kind of political and strategic, but also really let those creative juices run free. And so for me, marketing was a great combination of both of those.
Ian Truscott 19:36
So did you study marketing, and is that that's where you started your career, or did you just fall into it?
Rebecca Biestman 19:41
No, it was totally on accident. I studied political science at UC Berkeley. I had a very different idea of what my career was going to look like. But as so many folks graduating from university, I had no idea what I really wanted to do and so I ended up going into a rotational management programme for gap corporate Got to do a lot of things finance, supply chain management, production. And marketing just was something that really appealed to me and sort of organically how it happened in my career there,
Ian Truscott 20:13
right and it's always been b2b.
Rebecca Biestman 20:15
No, my first 10 years was in b2c marketing for retail and for consumer packaged goods company. And then I went to business school and kind of made the pivot into technology b2b. I think having that b2c, I'm a little biassed, but I think a b2c training in thing serves you really well for b2b. I think EDC marketing is really the best marketing that there is out there. And the B has so much to learn from the C marketing. And so that's I think doing both has been really interesting. Yeah,
Ian Truscott 20:49
I was actually gonna ask you, what do you think the differences are and what we can learn? So you just feel that, I guess, because b2c marketing is sort of forged in a much in a much hotter place as it were than we do in b2b. Right. Is that Is that what you see is that you know, that people have have had to learn their craft really well in b2c?
Rebecca Biestman 21:09
Yeah, and I think b2b marketing is go, I think they're basically merging. I think where there used to be much more of a bifurcation between the two. I think that there's so many I mean, in b2c marketing, the margin for error across every function is just so razor thin, because you do is out literally in the market. Yeah. b2b marketing, you tend to get a little bit more leeway. I think that the best b2b brands are taking on so much of that kind of discipline. And also great at that b2c brands have exhibited because the b2b marketplace is becoming just as crowded. See, has been for decades. It's a forcing function of the market itself.
Ian Truscott 21:51
Yeah. Well, we I mean, we have an audience, I talk to a lot of b2b marketers, what's, what's the top thing? Do you think that b2b needs to learn from b2c and learn quick, you know, which is the thing you think that we really need to get on top of?
Rebecca Biestman 22:03
Yeah, I think it's all about empathy, and focusing on customer outcomes. And like I said, I think b2b is going there and going to really lead. But that's always been what b2c has been focused on, because that end consumer experience is so much more transparent, and the b2b Buying Cycle and kind of the b2b customer outcomes. And so it's, they're, they're coming together, and it's all it's all happening, that convergence point is happening really quickly in the market. And I, you know, I think the last couple years have speeded that up really for everybody having to be on your best kind of game and sharp skills. But
Ian Truscott 22:39
yeah, I mean, the the converging trends, and one of them being that people are consuming a lot more content for the make a decision. So you're it's a lot more of a digital play than it used to be. And as you say, the the markets become crowded and our consumers are educated on b2c marketing, and they're expecting that level of expertise of professionalism, engagement, whatever it is, slickness, whatever
Rebecca Biestman 23:05
it is, across all buyers, you know, we're b2b buyers are higher than ever. And it means that the marketing teams have to be their best selves every day, that's getting more and more competitive out there. Yeah,
Ian Truscott 23:16
absolutely. Absolutely. And also, you know, learning a little bit about your career, I know that CSR and Corporate Social Responsibility has been an important part of your work. And it's something I've worked on as a CMO, as an advisor before with with clients. From your perspective, why do you think that's so important? And how does it inform what you do as a CMO every day, I think
Rebecca Biestman 23:36
understanding your brand promise and how your company can impact not just your bottom line, but also kind of the greater communities out there. It's just essential for any company that wants to be built to last today, that is my perception. And there's such an overlap between brand business development, social impact, they're all kind of swarming around in the same pool. And the companies that do well are the companies where CSR and social impact isn't off to the side and kind of a segregated, siloed function. It's the company. It's the companies where that is really ingrained into the core mission values, activities of the company. And I think that's where, you know, we're gonna start to see more and more of a shift for CSR and knocking. There are companies that do really well today. And I think it's just going to become the expectation from consumers out there, especially in this next generation of consumers who don't see this as decoupled but as like a core component of businesses that they want to support. Yeah.
Ian Truscott 24:37
And, you know, that's, it's a delicate balance, though, isn't it? Because it can be seen as you know, you've had green washing and washing and all that kind of stuff, isn't it as it needs to be something that's done incredibly authentically, doesn't it?
Rebecca Biestman 24:49
I think authenticity is the key to good impact programmes and you know, not every company is a social impact company. So, standing where your company is And can I make a meaningful impact again, organically with a lot of authenticity are those where it's not just a marketing flavour of the week where it's just to try to promote the social good. It's really about having meaningful impact. And so it takes sometimes it takes being really thoughtful about it.
Ian Truscott 25:20
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I could, I just realised the time, I could talk to you just about this particular topic, probably for 20 minutes on its own, because I think this is this has become so important to organisation. I think one of the other things is, I think, if you if you can't be authentic about it, and you don't have a position, don't do it. Right. Exactly. You know, it has it's either authentic or nothing. And if you don't believe in what you're saying, people find out, don't they so quickly?
Rebecca Biestman 25:43
I completely agree not every company has to be a mission driven social impact centred company. And that being said, there are a lot of companies that have an opportunity to do it well today, who really aren't doing it in a kind of programmatic, thoughtful way. And to your point, there's all there's all kinds of companies on that spectrum. And knowing where you fall and being consistent with that is going to mean that whatever you do becomes more meaningful out in the market.
Ian Truscott 26:10
Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you very much. I've got one more question for you. We have a regular feature the Rockstar sumo CMO, swimming pool, our portal to hell for all the snake oil, Bs and overhyped trends that plague the marketing craft we love. What would you throw into the Rockstar cmo pool?
Rebecca Biestman 26:26
I think it's CMOS as social influencers. And I think that I don't know, the expectation or the need for self promotion, especially across social channels, has just become kind of relentless. And it's really about the work that you do and shine. And I think, you know, there are some CMOS who do a great job at being social influencers, but the fact that that's sort of becoming an expectation of our job, right? Kind of accompanied with how well you're doing it your job, those things need to be like, severely decoupled. Yeah,
Ian Truscott 27:01
we can all be Gary Vee, right?
Rebecca Biestman 27:04
Yeah, we don't all have to be. And I think that there's just this. It's an interesting expectation that's coming out of
Ian Truscott 27:09
this. There's another topic, I could probably do 20 minutes of view on because I think that's fascinating, because you're absolutely right. I think senior marketers now believe they have to be seen on social as a part of their value. Yeah. To get hired almost, you know. So that's a that's really interesting. Yeah,
Rebecca Biestman 27:26
yeah. And I think for those, I don't want to say less educated, but for some of the kind of CEOs or boards that are out there looking for those, you're right, sometimes that is like one of the first things they look for when they're gonna hire. And while that's great, and there's some people who are great at it, the truth is like the work should speak for itself and be, I would say, like an ancillary activity that seems
Ian Truscott 27:51
well well, I can assure you that I'm not running Rockstar cmo to be famous. I'm not trying to be Gary Vee. But what I do want to say is, I'm grateful for your time, Rebecca, thank you very much for joining me on Rockstar CMO. And if people spin the dial on the interwebs, where they're gonna find you reputation.com Easy, X. Alpha is easy. And somebody rebranded that. That's amazing. Yeah. Thank you very much, Rebecca. I know that you're tight for time and I apologised to taking a couple of minutes extra of your time.
Rebecca Biestman 28:22
chatting with you.
Ian Truscott 28:23
Thank you very much. And I hope to speak to you soon. Thanks again.
Thank you, Rebecca. I love that last piece of advice for marketers and something we need to throw into the pool this idea that all senior marketers need to be social influences. Such a great point. We already have Rebecca sheduled to join us again in the new year to dive in some of those points like CSR that we just touched on briefly there. I'm really looking forward to that. Right. It's Friday evening time stop by the Rockstar cmo virtual bar, grab a cocktail my friend and content marketing guru and chief troublemaker the content advisory about rose and find out what's on his night this week.
Amy Mbits What are you drinking?
Robert Rose 29:25
Oh, hello, my friend. It's so nice to see you in the bar. And it's that holiday time. Right? You know, we were in the bar. There's i What was that Santa in the corner? Santa is in the corner there.
Unknown Speaker 29:39
Whoa, whoa, whoa, and Christmas. Oh,
Robert Rose 29:44
everybody sitting on his lap which I think is not so politically correct these days. But there we go. Right. It's all good here in the bar.
Ian Truscott 29:52
You don't say no. Thank you for that.
Robert Rose 29:56
I am very cognizant of the holiday Time and, you know, for me, it's all about how do you get to that? You know, do you know the, you know the the word? I think it's a it's not a Dutch word. It's a it's a Danish word. I believe it's Higa which is that cosiness? And it's that that to me is what Christmas is all about. And how do you get to that cosiness that feeling? Which is what's so wonderful about that word? Because it's not the cosy place. It's the feeling that you have when you're in the cosy place. Yeah.
Ian Truscott 30:35
And it does so to me. It's well I think Excel Yeah, something like that. Yeah. And it doesn't translate to English it's what I was always does not
Robert Rose 30:42
translating English very well at all. But, but it's it's just a lovely word. And I learned about it when I was in Copenhagen. And, and to me, there is no real other thing that to make you feel really cosy on a, you know, on a dark night than mulled wine. And are you a mulled wine fan? Do you know
Ian Truscott 31:01
that? Yes. And particularly if it's a glue vine and somebody splashing liquor in it, and it's on fire, and it's in a Munich Mark. Yeah. Well, that's
Robert Rose 31:10
the worst thing to do. That's the worst thing to do. I hate when people set stuff on fire. Okay, alcoholic drink. You're burning off all the alcohol. It's like the stupidest thing I've ever seen. I used to make waiters when they would come over and they would I would order a Sambuca or something like that. And they would bring it over on fire I'd say nope, take it back. You've just burned away everything I wanted about that. Yeah.
Ian Truscott 31:35
Oh, I'd love it. Yeah, we've never had some bucur on this show and I and I think it's like a guilty pleasure now it's it's not a cool drink. He said I like a black Sambuca sometimes or a nice sambucus for dinner like
Robert Rose 31:46
because oh my gosh, black bouquets are one of my favourite all time drinks. Yeah. Only good after a great meal, right? Yeah, absolutely. You haven't missed him Buka at some,
Ian Truscott 31:56
because you get brought up on well, you get put up on the night
Robert Rose 32:00
we have the mulled wine and, and mulled wine, you know, so the key of a great mould wine is that you don't go too expensive and you don't go too cheap, right. So you have to have the wine that you use is absolutely the critical part of it. You know, so you want a full bodied or low or a Zinfandel, it's one of the only uses former load quite frankly. And so Zinfandel or ganache. You know, that's, that's where you want it and you don't want too expensive because you don't want that deep okie big flavour, you want something in the middle that will hold the spices, but not overwhelm the spices and so and you heat it gently, we've just warmed it up, you know, just again, not burning away any of the alcohol here and just just you know, once it starts to get to steam is exactly where you want to go. And then of course, the oranges, the cloves, cinnamon, if you like that, you know and sort of, you know just mould it up and cook it for a little bit. And then I like to add a little brandy to it. Just a splash of brandy just to bring it up and amp it up just a little bit. And you pour that into a lovely glass and it's just the way to spend a cosy Christmas Eve.
Ian Truscott 33:21
i Yes, and like you say there's an end of term feeling that this this Friday is just getting getting ready for the holidays. And that just sounds so nice. And I feel terrible about the fact that I don't have anything to warm any wine rooms on my desktop bar. Well, or anyone. I'm going to go with something that's going to that yours didn't have any ice in it for sure. I'm going to go decidedly a little bit more summery with I think that wine and gin have very little in common although gin has got botanicals in it which he likes spices Yes Can I say that is that?
Robert Rose 34:08
Yeah, I think it's it's it's neither brandy nor wine or really anything we're talking about but it's but that seems to be the theme for the year so that's
Ian Truscott 34:20
I know and I do try and oh if I carry on with my bucket with botanicals things and then I do have some cucumber tonic which is lovely and summery and fresh and not
Robert Rose 34:34
just the opposite of spice but that's the most English of spices I think is cucumber.
Ian Truscott 34:39
Most English spices Yeah cuz it basically tastes of nothing Well, there we go. Let me give this a go. I don't know I'm gonna get the warming feeling but oh, that's delicious robots. That's absolutely I could drink one of these like that. Yeah. I'm What did you call this?
Robert Rose 35:00
That would be mulled wine. Wine. I'm not kidding. When not made with Hendrick's gin and quinoa. Yes.
Ian Truscott 35:08
Very nice. Thank you very much and where it will experience I'm getting that Dutch Dutch word completely wrong. And I hope somebody shouts at me over the internet's and tells me how I should have pronounced it. Oh, the Danish word. But we're feeling that cosiness that we can't translate. We're drinking these mulled wines. Where would we be?
Robert Rose 35:28
Well, I think there's only one place we can be this week. And that's at one of the Christmas markets somewhere in Europe somewhere. I don't you know, it almost doesn't matter where because they're all wonderful. Yeah. Some of my favourites are. There's one in Stockholm that I absolutely love. You know, of course, there are many in London. You know, and just really any, any of the wonderful. You know, Amsterdam, any of the Christmas markets, I think you have to walk around. Enjoy all of the different kinds of food and things and sip on a mulled wine as you as you as you walk around. And hopefully it's lightly snowing. Oh,
Ian Truscott 36:13
that sounds lovely. Yeah, I've done I've I think I've done it in Stockholm. But I've certainly spent time in Bavaria Munich in there, drinking quite a lot of mulled wine, glue fine in that environment. And just going from one stall to the next that was serving that. And then being set on fire by somebody having flaming roof. I'm but that's a different story for another day. So what would we be? So we're wandering around this Christmas market admiring the marketing that these people are doing what? What part of marketing? Would we be talking about? What is our? Well,
Robert Rose 36:46
you know, one of the things that I have been thinking about up late, and it's only because it's come up a couple of times with clients. In the last, oh, call it 60 days, I would like to use 2021, to the end of 2021, really, to kill off the creative brief. I think the cloud brief is the most arcane, stupid, ridiculous document that still exists. It wasn't certainly, you know, in its time. But it has become something of a problem, I would say for most organisations, and especially for those that are in content. You know, and what I mean by that is, is that, you know, so so many times, what I see is content teams, in companies are acting as if they are the internal agency for the company when it comes to content. And we could rant and rave about why that's not right, and what the structure should actually be. But let's just assume that for all pragmatic purposes, that's going to be the way it is for many for many organisations is that they are this team, the internal agency producing content, thought leadership assets, other kinds of content, ebooks, PDFs, all those kinds of things, for the broader organisation. And the way that they get requests, is usually going to arrive in a container called a creative brief and content brief. And unfortunately, you know, the creative brief is neither in most cases, it is neither creative. Nor is
it you know, a lot of it. And the whole thing was it was about, you know, the, the origin of the creative brief, of course, comes from the 1960s, when account planning from agencies was, you know, in back in the madman days, was how do you plan for the clients account to account for things like, you know, the strategy, the value propositions, the other elements and put it all into one document, and then summarise those things into a creative brief to serve as some summary that offers inspiration or guidelines to the advertising creatives who are going to have to create all those wonderful communications. But of course, as things have become more complex, more channels, more content types, and all those kinds of things, what we haven't really done is evolved the creative brief in any meaningful way. And so what it's become is sort of a bureaucratic Frankenstein, right? Where, you know, first of all, as a tool, it has become relatively useless, because now I see all the times from client to agency, an agency to client, the creative brief sort of goes back and forth, right. And when I say client, I mean, like, the, you know, sales and brand team, for example, sending things into the content team, or, in many cases, an agency sending things to a client. So the client sends in a brief that says, Okay, well, this content shouldn't be blue. And then the agency or the internal agency, or the content team sends back an edited version of that brief going, No, it should be purple. And so they basically just argue back and forth using This creative brief is kind of a justification, almost like the Supreme Court sending a justification for some opinion. And as soon as you get a majority opinion, well, that's what ends up being sort of, you know, set in stone. And in other cases, and this is often one of the outputs of that is, you know, it's a product of so many stakeholders, and so many different content types, you know, so you've got product marketing, weighing in brand teams weighing in the CMO weighing in. And it becomes this book of corporate guidelines and brand rules and previous examples. In other words, it basically prevents and mitigates any shred of creativity for something new, because it's basically just a giant recipe book for what it is you're supposed to produce. And I was this is, you know, one of what I was mentioning at the beginning was, you know, 30, or 45 days ago, I was talking with a client, and who showed me their creative brief that they get. And basically, it both of those things that I just talked about were true, because Because basically, product marketing and sales teams, they would submit their requests for a thought leadership content asset. And in this document that they would get would be all the related products and value propositions all the competitive research and analysis of the requested keywords for SEO, required sales messaging, every creative brief was, like 15 pages long. And big surprise, nobody read it. And the interesting thing is, is that coming to the second point, there was nothing in there to read, because most of those elements were either copied and pasted from some previous brief, right, because you have to have all those fields filled out in order to get it a quote unquote, approved as a content project. And so what clients would do to sales and product teams, is they would just copy and paste stuff into the text in the form to make sure it meant the letter of the law of what needed to be in a creative brief, the content team then use that, and they found any mistake, and they would send it back. And the reason they would now would manage their workflow, right? They would be able to say, Nope, this doesn't meet the letter of the law, you need to resubmit it, because that helps them balance their workflow. So they're both gaming the system as to what they want. And the creative brief was, you know, it's basically this weapon of mass delusion, right? And so So what's the answer? Well, my answer is retire the creative brief, full stop. Yeah. Now I know, that's not terribly possible, right in most organisations. And so I want to think about if we can start to evolve the creative brief into something different, right, a messaging architecture, and moving to a more proactive content strategy is certainly where I'd like to see things go. But in the meantime, how about we make the creative, brief, meaningful, right, so transform some of all of this stuff, this input from a form into a conversation into, you know, into something that is part of a process, but that is part of a, a wonderful conversation that determines what the real value and what we're really trying to do with these assets are, what I find is, is that those conversations rather than those forums are way more creative, and quite frankly, much more brief. So that's, you know, that's where I'm thinking about these days, as we sip our mulled wine,
Ian Truscott 43:14
I like it. And the other thing about them as well is, I've found in my is that they can become about tactics. And so to your point about them not being creative is that somebody is writing this document with the view that they have a tactic in mind or a document in mind and a format and a thing they want made to order. Whereas if you're briefing your creatives, you want their ideas for how to best achieve the thing you're trying to achieve. So the creative, that's right, this is what I'm trying to get done. I want to engage this particular audience. What do you think that's a far better approach.
Robert Rose 43:51
It's It was exactly right. I mean, what ends up happening as the creative brief becomes, I want a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, hold the cheese, you know, hold the pickles, and I want fries with that. And, you know, and that gets to be like this, you know, order to go idea. And it's all about a cya. Sort of, you know, I told you that this is what I wanted. And you know, you didn't deliver against what I wanted. And instead, what you're saying is, that should basically be give me the tastiest meal that you you have, and I'd like it to contain beef and bread, right? Yeah. So now you get to create something interesting, that is new and different. That meets the objectives of what is trying to get done, but does so in a way that is truly empowering the creative team or the content team in this case. Yeah. To be creative and full of content.
Ian Truscott 44:45
Yeah. And also it makes their lives nicer right. Nobody wants to be the short order cook. Like I love the way that you used to write Yeah, as the burgers is because then your tenure Constantine in short order cooks and that that that's soul crushing.
Robert Rose 44:58
Yes. That's exactly right. And, you know, the, the reason I want to retire it, you know, entirely is because I think rather if we can switch the relationship with the content team and the rest of the organisation and move it out of that sort of agency client idea, and instead make content and or the creative team, a strategic leading organisation, in other words, they're the ones creating a quote unquote, creative brief that says, Here are the objectives as we see them from sales, from marketing, from brand from, you know, all the different areas. And here's what we believe would be the creative expression of those stories. Well, now we've now we're doing something different. Right now we're doing now we're creating foundational stories on which we can get creative, we don't need to create a brief for every single asset because we can create an architecture that says, here's, you know, four initiatives that we want to do for the year. Let's architect those things out. And now let's create all the assets underneath them. And other than capturing the absolute, you know, metadata structures that we just need. You don't need a creative brief to sort of instruct, you know, on what kind of hamburger to make.
Ian Truscott 46:12
Yeah, yeah. But I mean, the problem is, is a lot of large organisations are kind of fed on a on a, I don't want to use your analogy. They're fed on a diet of hamburgers, they're expecting hamburgers, it's like, exactly, you know, I exact because
Robert Rose 46:28
it's just easier, right? Yeah, it's easier, it's easier to think about lots of small things than it is about big things. Right. And, and, you know, I've just watched this happen so many times in businesses where, because it's easier to think about lots of small things that I need instead of one big thing. Because one it mitigates risk, right? You know, because, whoo, if I'm wrong about that one big thing that I'm really wrong. Yeah, you know, rather than being wrong about one small thing. And so there's that tendency for teams to think about, I just need a lot of small things. And I'll and help me, and small things that you have, you know, all these small things, is ultimately somebody goes, well, let's try and paste them all together and make something big out of it. And then it's, you know, crap, right? You know, instead of saying, hey, let's make one big thing and pull lots of small things apart from it, which doesn't end up being crap and ends up being much better. It's just easier to make lots of small things out of a big thing than it is to try and make a big thing. Small things.
Ian Truscott 47:27
Absolutely. I mean, no. Yeah. I mean, when you're creating content, the research, right, even if it's a bit of googling is, is, is where the effort is, isn't it's not writing the content. That's yeah, that's exactly right. It's the inspiration. And that's, that's excellent. That's excellent. As usual, I very much enjoy that. But oh, one question on that is the alternative. Your suggestion is a conversation where have you seen that work? Well, have you seen content teams have that modular? Is it? Are we are we stuck with this creative brief until somebody throws it in? I don't know how Rockstar CMOS.
Robert Rose 48:02
Ultimately, what I find is that it comes to a balance. And, you know, so if you in the simplest sense, most content teams are, let's call it 9010, reactive versus proactive, right? So 90% of the stuff that they're doing on a day to day basis is reactive to requests coming in from the broader organisation. And the creative brief ends up being the mechanism to do that, you know, whether it's electronic, or it's in a PowerPoint, or whether it's in a word, Doc, or whatever it is. And if you can start to shift that balance a bit where maybe it's 8020, in the early days, or maybe it's 6040, or maybe it's 5050, or maybe you can switch it all the way around, where you start to develop the kind of skill and empowerment in the content team, where 60 or 70%, of what you're creating is proactive and meets the needs of all of the strategic needs of all of those different groups. And, yes, we still need some reactive because we just, you know, you can't predict everything of what's going to be needed. So yeah, 20 or 30% of it is still driven by requests of a creative brief of some kind. And then hopefully, what you have is sort of a remainder, let's say it's 6030 10, right? 60% proactive content being created strategically 30% being that which is, you know, reactive or you know, triage or updates or those kinds of things. And then 10% is saved for those weird innovative you know, sort of ideas that we've got that are crazy that we want to news jack or real time those kinds of ideas that are that are available to us that nobody has time to do when they when those opportunities arise because we're too busy trying to serve up more burgers as in the drive thru
Ian Truscott 49:58
and and Yeah, we've I think you and I talked about this stuff before. I don't know whether we recorded the conversation, but I'm completely with you on this stuff. And I'd love it. If people want to learn more about some of your thoughts, and I noticed that you've had some new content on your website where they're gonna find.
Robert Rose 50:18
Well, they'll find it at our little hobble on the web, which of course, is content advisory dotnet
Ian Truscott 50:25
standard, and when they spin the dial on the interwebs, and they want to find new of it, where will they find you?
Robert Rose 50:30
Well, coming up for the next couple of weeks, they are just not going to find out for a little bit. But normally when they would, they would look at me I would love to connect with people on LinkedIn and Twitter are my two primary channels.
Ian Truscott 50:45
Excellent. And I'm usually at this point ask you if I'm gonna see you in about next week. And I know I will, because I'm really looking forward to it because we can do something a little bit special for Christmas. And all the holidays I should say.
Robert Rose 50:58
Yeah, we we have a fun thing planned for sure. Yeah,
Ian Truscott 51:01
absolutely. I'm looking forward to recording that with you have it and until then. Have a great weekend. And I'll speak to you there cheers. Cheers Thank you Baba, killing the creative brief and a hint something special for next week.
That's a wrap on episode 93 of the Rockstar cmo effing Marketing podcast. Thank you for dropping a dime into your podcasting jukebox, selecting our track and driving along with us. I've been your host Ian Truscott. Thanks again to Rebecca and Robert for joining me for sharing their insight. Please follow them say hello, check out their work. And I'll include all their links in the show notes, which you can find on your favourite podcast app, or at Rockstar cmo.fm, where you can also find all our previous episodes. So does the world need another epic Marketing podcast? Let us know with a nice rating or review in your favourite podcast app. Or share your thoughts with us rock star cmo on Twitter or LinkedIn or just keep listening. Next week we spend the whole show in the Rockstar cmo virtual bar as we learn more about this bloke makes me drink gin every week with a special show as I interview my friend content marketing guru, Robert Brown. Until then, have a great week. Stay safe and I hope you'll join us for that on Christmas Eve here at Rockstar cmo
Unknown Speaker 52:38
Transcribed by https://otter.ai