738: How Investing in Personal Brand Landed the Largest Client in Firm History w/ Josh Mangum

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Josh Mangum, Director of Strategy at Search Solution Group.

There's a ton of noise out there. So how do you get decision makers to pay attention to your brand? Start a podcast and invite your ideal clients to be guests on your show. Learn more at sweetfish MEDIACOM. You're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary Vander truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics. They're building the fastest growing BTB companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweetish media, a PODCAST agency for B Tob Brands, and I'm also one of the CO hosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business. Will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well, maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob ground show. We're here today with Josh Mangam, director of strategy at Search Solution Group. Josh, how are you doing today? Man, I'm great. There are you? I'm doing really well. Doing really well, Josh. Before we get into today's topic on and branding, I'd love for you to take a second to share with our listeners what you and the team at SSG or up to these days. Sure. So, search solition group were large broad based national recruitment firm. Pretty diversify. We've got a basically everything from directtire contingent search to executive search to contracts. Having so, doing a lot, trying to keep up with our clients needs. I think the demand for what we do is just increasing every day, so trying to keep up with that. Just got named the ink five thousand list for the fourth year in a...

...row, so we're one of the fastest growing companies in the country for four years backtobag. So again just keeping up with the growth, keeping up at the demand and trying to give our clients better and better service. So, in a nutshell, that's what we've been up yeah, I love it. And we definitely noticed that you guys have been on the ink fastest growing lists a few years in a row. So it's why we're really excited to hear from you guys and specifically today, to hear about a topic that I think is top of mine for a lot of our audience, and that's the the topic of brand and branding, both from a company perspective and from a personal perspective. So, if it's okay with you, Josh, I'd like to jump right in. We're going to get into some some great stories here in a little bit, but first off, you know, as we were talking offline, you mentioned having a little bit of a different take that that you've shared internally with your team or with folks that know you. You know, as far as what brand means to you. So let's open it up there and have you share with us a little bit on that point. Yeah, sure, and it kind of goes back to somebody I've worked for really early in my career. He told me this is kind of stuck with me. He said in a brand as a brand is brand, just a word and it's going to remain just a word until somebody makes an emotional connection with that particular word, that particular brand. So you know whether your brand is, you know, Chevy or Nike or whether it's brand new and you just get your here LLC signs, you know, a couple weeks ago. That brand and building that brand is just incredibly important to your business because it's the intrinsic value that somebody associates with what you do and in the services that you provide. So to me, branding efforts or paramount just about any other marketing or strategic initiative you're going to take. Yeah, I love this topic because, you know, it's something that I think some of the fastest growing companies are...

...really thinking about in you know, the growth that you guys have seen, you know, is is kind of a testament to that, because, you know, a lot of the the fast growing tech companies were other BB brands. Seem like they're really focused and double down on on building a brand and they see that long term play. So, getting into this little bit more, Josh, you mentioned that, you know, one of the areas that you've seen, as far as you know, company brand management that you've thought about in the past is, you know, thinking about short term marketing campaigns that might be a great idea, they might even generate a lot of engagement, but if they don't match up with your long term brand strategy, then it might be best to avoid those, you know. Can you talk to us a little bit about that? Yeah, and you hit the nail on the head. It's short term thinking versus long term thinking. And when you were just mentioning those tech companies and all the companies that there was hype of growth, you've got to understand that, especially now today, with the way things are the Internet, social media, you're constantly interacting with your audience, or potential audience, and so the potential to influence somebody's their opinion or there there. It's the way that they view your company is. It's magnified compared to what it used to be ten, twenty years ago. So you've got to really think constant. You've got to think turn there's a lot of ideas that we come up with in our internal marketing department that never get off the the treft table because they're great ideas and while they would get you know, they would garner a lot of engagement and likes, some comments and maybe some conversations, they don't ultimately align with our long term objective in the brand image that we're trying to portray, just we're trying to build that brand efficacy. You know, we can't sacrifice quality or we can't sacrifice to the end game through short term gains and in terms of engagement metrics and Likes and Commons. I think a lot of companies make that mistake and I feel like if they're...

...putting out content it's not getting, you know, hundreds and thousands of likes and comments and going viral, that they're not doing, you know, good job. But that's not necessarily the case. Vice versa, they could be getting a lot of attention on social media and it doesn't really equate to building their brand long term. Yeah, yeah, and you know, as we were talking offline a little bit, Josh, you mentioned a specific example of where you guys kind of pivoted on some things that you guys were doing with some some videos that were, you know, internal recruitment, but they, you know, were externally facing and you guys had to had to kind of make a tough decision there. I think that's a great story, if you could tell us a little bit more about it. Well, it was when I when I first started working for the company and just doing a little doing my research before I even, you know, came in for the first day and doing some searching and seeing what comes up, and I see these videos and a lot of these videos. The first three or four that I saw were mainly focused on internal recruitment and they were fun videos and there were scavenger hunts and maybe some NERF gun battles and some silly kind of mock interviews that people were doing. And what I realized was that while this was good for internal recruitment or maybe just, you know, just sitting out, fun videos, and a lot of people in the company like them and a lot of people outside the company liked them, but if I were a client in the first impression I got when I did a search for for our company was those videos. It made the track a little bit, from my opinion, of the professionalism of the of the company. And it may it may, and in fact, although people liked it and it was getting a lot of likes and Commons and things, it may be degradating to the brand. So ultimately, you know, we decided not to do more videos like that and to replace some of those videos with a little bit more focused, professional type videos...

...and and let that be people's first impression of the company. We're always trying to control the narrative. You never can control it a hundred percent, but you can try to, you know, guide it in the right direction, and that was one thing that, again, we didn't want to sacrifice some short term engagement for the long term brand image. Yeah, and, you know, moving on from there, Josh, you we were talking a little bit offline about personal brand. So, you know, moving from the company level to your personal brand, and just those two words are kind of, you know, a sexy buzz word that everybody's talking about these days. But I loved your thoughts on, you know, how to approach that. So, you know, for folks listening to this that you know, are really trying to think strategically about their personal brand and really haven't invested in that a ton, you know, what are some of the thoughts that you would share with them on how they could do that the the right way? Yeah, I think there's there's two main things that I would would touch on. What that one is? You know, and it's pretty obvious, but you got to get out there. So you've got to join group so you've got a join groups on linked down or networking groups. You know where your facetoface with people. You've got to get out there if you want to really build your personal brand. The second piece of that is the is your message. And so you know, where I think a lot of people go wrong is if they feel like they need to opine on everything and in every area and be an expert on just about anything to do to you know, it's remotely related to what their profession is, and I don't think necessarily that's what you have to do. I think you know everybody's got their specialties and they have their areas of expertise and staying in that wheelhouse is really going to help you be is going to help you focus, but it's also going to help people see you as the authority in that area, as opposed to if you if you just go online and then common on everything and you get to every networking group,...

...when you try to be the expert and you know all things to all people. Well, they need to Loute your brand. So picking especially, figure out what it is that you're great at and you want to be known for, and then stay in that area at least the first. As you get more advanced in your career, you probably get exposed to more and more areas, but making sure that you're you're picking and choosing your battle, so to speak, with that. Yeah, so, you know what I hear you say in Josh, there's is kind of a two step process. First, you know, get out there, creates some visibility for yourself. You know, have a bias towards action and visibility. That's going to lead to opportunity. But as you start to do that, don't just go for every visibility opportunity. Think strategically about you know what, what do you want to be known for, and then kind of double down on that exactly, just being vocal and doing it in the right way, probably. Yeah. Yeah, and I love the story that you shared when we were chatting a little bit before the interview, Josh, of a young man on your team that that came on was really engaged in building his personal brand in, you know, taking a social selling approach, getting active on Linkedin and some other platforms and led to some some really great results. Yeah, I think, and that was a interesting scenario. You know, he came to him and he said, I want to grow my you know, my personal network. I want to grow. Oh, I want to get this thing going. And he was very young, he's probably twenty three, just got started, just got out of school and they wanted to take on the world, you know, yesterday. So it's interesting. He started out that he was posting just constantly all over, linkedin and just being very vocal. That are to vocal. You know what I told him? I said a scale of pack a little bit and maybe have some conversations, maybe ask some questions here and there to some of these more senior executives and people that are on these comment threads and things like that, and he also started going to some networking events.

You know, after a couple weeks, a couple months, he started meeting the right people. We started making an impression on the right people, especially online and down the road. Just a fast forward to the end of the story, he ended up having somebody reach out to him directly who he had never spoken to, but they had seen him commenting on different, different threads and they, I guess, at some point associated him with the area that he was it was actually recruiters he's recruiting for, and they ended up coming on as a client. They needed our help and it became one of our largest accounts that we have still to this day, and it all came from personal branding. Yeah, I love that story because it brings home the, you know, the real results from this, you know, kind of fluffy, squishy topic of personal brand that we all want to talk about, but you know, it really does lead to results. In stories like this just kind of drive that point home and I think you touched on a really good point. They're in that you know this, this young man for you're on your team, was not only just posting stuff and letting it sid he was engaging with other people's comment content and when he was engaging, you know, to your point, asking good questions. I think a lot of people think, you know, what they post affects their personal brand, but they don't think about what I comment on and whether I'm leaving, you know, negative comments or, you know, just thoughtless comments like great post and things like that are contributing to my personal brand out there in the market as well. And, you know, your point kind of drove that home in the story, looking at how he was leaving thoughtful comments that that people were even noticing, not just, you know, the stuff that he was posting. So I think it takes a number of different avenues to build that brand, but it's definitely worth it and, you know, being thoughtful in each piece of it. So going off of that point of, you know, leaving thoughtful...

...comments and and things to do, I know you had a couple things, Josh, that you're kind of passionate about in things not to do that can hurt your personal brand online. So why don't you expand on those a little bit for us? Yeah, and you know, having those conversations is vital. I always tell people they're not having those conversations, which is posting and it's all one way communications and they're really not growing that brand. But just like with you know, corporate branding, it's long term. So you're going to put a lot of effort, in a lot of effort over a long period of time into building that personal brand, which you can you can destroy that personal brand and heartbeat, and so you've really got to be conscious of that and cogress into the fact that one really bad day where you make some really snide comment or remark to somebody in a public way especially, that can really destroy your personal brand, that it doesn't even have to be online or digitally, can be at a networking event. You know, just having a poor way of going about a maybe a rough conversation or discreement or anything that you could do to paint yourself in a negative light is it's never going to help you and it always has the potential to, you know, to destroy what you've been working towards in that personal brand. So just staying away from really any kind of bad situations, any really controversial topics online. I don't think anybody's ever. I don't want to ever see never, ever, but it's career that somebody's really gonna build their personal brand in the right way by getting in to arguments on facebook or twitter, linkedin or anywhere else. Just something to stay away from. Just always protect that personal brand. Yeah, sounds like common sense, but a lot of people fall a prey to that right, right, and you made a comment earlier when we were chatting offline,...

Josh, about, you know, being negative on social and just having this conscious thought of, you know, how can I be positive in these online conversations and how can I, you know, add value to the conversation? It sounds like, you know, that was that was a big piece for the guy in your team that really was engaging with a lot of content. Any other, you know, points on on that that you'd like to leave our listeners with as they think about, you know, their personal brand strategy and engaging with content online? Yeah, just everything we were talking about for personal as applicable to corporate branding. You know, you don't as a if you're in charge of corporate branding, you probably want to stay away from taking hard stances on any kind of controversial topic because, no matter what, you're going to alienate certain percentage of your audience and potential client base. While some people might may say that that's worth it, really think that in business you want to turn away good business partners or you want to alienate a certain segment of the audience. So keeping it professional, keeping things positive and just always working to grow that the brand image in the right way, not going after anything negative or really again, taking hard stances on controversial topics as a pretty good start, right. Yeah, I mean taking a stance on something you know that's applicable to your market and in your industry is one thing, but then, you know, just taking a controversial stance on something unrelated to your target market is is probably not a good idea. So, Josh, I really appreciate you being on today. If folks want to stay connected with you, stay connected with SSG. What's the best way for them to go about doing that? Yeah, really easy to find on Linkedin, Josh Manggam, the websites, search solution Groupcom so good or website. Reach out to Linkedin. Happy to connect with anybody and it's I'm on the website with my email. If anybody wants to send me a message that way, feel free...

...to do so. Awesome, awesome. Well, Josh, thanks for being our guests today. We really appreciate it. I love the stories that you shared, especially driving home. You know the results that you guys saw firsthand from investment in personal brand. So, folks, before we let you go today, if you've been listening lately, you know that we're super excited about the flip my funnel conference happening August eight in Boston. And if you haven't heard, remember when you go to flip my funnelcom and go to the two thousand and eighteen conference and you're going to get your tickets, make sure you use the Promo Code be to be gross to get fifty percent off the price of admission, whichever level you're purchasing. So it's going to be a great conference. We're really looking forward to some phenomenal speakers that the folks over at put my funnel have lined up for that. So again, it's be the number to be growth all one word, no Hethens, no spaces. Use that Promo Code and get yourself fifty percent off. A great conference coming up and we look forward to seeing a lot of our listeners, and guess they're there are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the BEDB growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, will talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a be tob growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be to be growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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