B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2048 · 6 months ago

How to Have Fun with Your Brand w/ Steve Pockross

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Timmy Bauer talks with Steve Pockross, CEO of Verblio, about one of the most underrated B2B tactics: how to have fun with your brand. 

-----------

Vidyard makes it easy to record, host, embed and share videos to engage more deeply with your buyers. Sign up for free today at vidyard.com/b2bgrowth. No promo code needed!

Yeah. Hey everybody welcome back to be to begrowth. I'm timmy Bauer, content strategist. And my guest today is stevePark Rose. He is the ceo of verb leo a company with a team of over what is it?3000 writers. How many writers do you have? That's my right. Three over 3000riders uh do on demand, content creation to power, digital marketingand S. E. O. And steve. Welcome to the show. Thanks. It's good to be here. I'mexcited to talk to you the last time you and I were talking, I asked youwhat you think is the most underrated B2B marketing tactic and you had agreat answer. You said it's having fun with your brand. I love that answer.Why don't we just start there with like what do you mean that that's the mostunderrated B2B marketing tactic And what do you mean by having fun withyour brand? So a couple of things. So I think so, first of all the B2B space,there's something about it, it just feels like if your company is sellingto other companies that you need to be dry and professional the entire time.And I think that most people don't realize that there's people at the B2Bcompany, you are people at the B to B companies selling to people uh and youneed to bring that to life that those connections are more and more important,the deeper we get into living at home and the closer this mixture between ourwork and the life personalities become. And so if you have a choice of beingeducational or educational and entertaining in your authentic selves,people are going to want to work with you if you can get education andentertainment because they're spending their amount of time online too. Yeah,and I mean it's obvious I just poking around on your website, I'm like, thisis a company that is having fun with their brand. I mean it's it's the bigstuff which I'm going to want to get into you with you, but it's even littlestuff, like, so I'm on your website right now and your little Pop Up is ourghost writers won't ghost you, and then this picture of this cute little ghost,and then it's like one quality content from our pre qualified writers, andthis is not an ad for a verb leo, but...

...honestly steve if you sucked at content,we would be talking about something else. But yeah, I love it, and I'mexcited to get into some of the like, specific examples of like really biggerthings that you've done to have fun with your brand. But let me ask youthis, why do you think it's so common? Like why do you think it's so hard ForB two B companies to like let loose and just have fun. So, I think a couple ofthings, I think when you ask that question, it takes me back to businessschool, so I got a marketing degree at a business school 20 years ago and thewhole focus was how do you make your company successful and you're supposedto go in there and they teach these tools? None of it is about beingyourself forward. And I think that is all completely evolved with the growthof online businesses over the last 20 years. It's now about havingpersonality, it's now about actually having your personality in front ofyour company and merging those two things together. And so I think a lotof it for people of my generation who graduated 20 years ago, that's justdeeply uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable. Is posting somethingreally personal about yourself on linked in. We would never consideringit. Like, you know, half the people graduated with my class right thereprofile in the third person about themselves, It's their site. So I thinkpart of it is just like a, getting used to what the new business world is. AndI think the second is that just how do you have a, you have fun at yourcompany when you've decided that you're one of your company values is to havefun and to be fun and like you want this to be a place that you live and soit has to be a, you have to have that as one of your values and somethingthat you're doing at the company. I think a lot of companiescompartmentalize their marketing department and be like, ok, go telleverybody what you do. So it's more about like, here's our glory story andI have one of my, my favorite podcast episodes of all time is there's a, thisamerican life episode, kind of like one of the originals of the podcastinguniverse. Uh and it's all about there...

...being two types of storytellers andthere is one type of, all of their stories are the hero. They end withthemselves as the hero and they've done something magnificent and the way thatyou respond to that, as you say, wow, that's really impressive. And then youhave another kind that's all about humor, regardless if it's selfdeprecating, making fun of themselves. The goal is to entertain your audienceand to keep them. And I think about that all the time, if you really wantto break down the world into two types of storytellers and I think that be tobe in particular has a hard time thinking about, hey, let's poke fun ofourselves. It's okay we can have a world class product and still make itfun. Yes, I mean the simple reality is that as human beings, we keep goingback to the things that make us laugh, that is what we are constantlyreturning to. So if you're a marketer, like you've got to do that and then oneof the biggest ways that you can make people laugh is like one of the mostaccessible forms of humor, I think is self deprecating humor. How did youpersonally get past that? Like self barrier? Like of insecurity aroundgetting into self deprecating humor and then like how do you get othercompanies to get through that? For me, it's a pretty opposite problem mostpeople, I think because my, my sense of humor is let's just say at businessschool with all of the finance classes, My personality type was clearly not thestandard consulting investment banker type. So for me, I always found thecorporate kind of handcuffs is like, you can't really express yourself, youalways have to be a different self, showing up at work, felt veryconstraining to me. So I was really lucky. I came into this company, I washired by the founders four years ago to scale the company and the founders weresuper fun too. So the founding journalist, uh, Ceo, his, you know, hisbackground as a journalist and everything he wrote was fun and goofy.And basically it just gave me a platform to say, I can take this andrun with this. I don't have to be anyone stuff. Actually. I would offendthe founding Ceo who hired me uh, if I...

...was that type. So I was super lucky todo. So the question is like if you're a B two B market or how do you go to yourCFO? How do you go to your um you know to a Ceo who doesn't believe the samevalues you do and express it. And I think you have to look at all of themarketing trends of like authenticity and the power of it. I look atcompanies like whiskey as one of our founding lights of like companiesleading the way with fun personalities that totally changed B two B marketingand rand Fishkin and what they're right, you gotta find a way to stand out. Sowhiskey a story I think is a really interesting way to do this, which iswhen they were into their space. There are 15 companies that were doing B twoB video hosting. It is not a very sexy space. Uh and their way that they stoodout as they wrote a really goofy and funny viral video that just took offwith less funding than everybody else. People want to interact with that brandto make it human. So I think the first step is to gain the permission fromyour company in order to run with what you want to and just have those funbrainstorming sessions. If we could do anything we wanted and write anything,we could right now, what would we write about? What would, what video do we do?This is kind of how we got to are you might have seen our piece that we rightafter I just was going to ask you about it. Yeah, so hilarious video that youguys made, its um you're like dressed as a doctor. I loved how it starts,You're like got a lab coat on and you're like, I'm not a doctor, but I dohave an amazon prime account is where I got this lab coat and the place Ihaven't paused on right now is your listing different things that verballeo can help with? And one of them is like C. B. D. For dog anxiety, M. D. M.A. For human anxiety. I mean you really got edgy in this video. How did thevideo happen? And uh tell me the story behind it? So first of all, we have,our team is super creative and we're always brainstorming these ideas andour problem is always which ones do we pursue as opposed to how do we come upwith anything? Uh and then we have just an absolutely brilliant copywriter wholike you need to have somebody on your...

...team who can foster your good ideas. Soeveryone's got great brainstorming sessions. To me this is like your greatcopywriter is a combination of the product manager on your dev team, whoeverybody comes up with a great development ideas that your engineeringteam should do and then they all get lost in space. Unless there is anamazing person who can handle the vision side and also the organizationside. And for me, that's our brilliant copywriter, who can both capture allthose ideas. Um curate them, figure out which ones are good and then bring themto life. So how do you get a copywriter like that? What do you look for? Oh man!You find somebody that you completely gel with and like get to you and yousay your idea that you thought was funny and then they say it back to youand it's more funny and it's more accurate. Hi dan Sanchez here with aquick break from this episode, sponsor Vidyard. If you haven't started usingpersonal video yet to enhance your marketing campaigns, you're missing out.Having the ability to quickly capture video and record my computer screen orboth helps me not only create marketing assets faster, it makes them way morepersonable. I use personal videos in social media, email blast landing pagesand even on our website, Vidyard makes it easy to record host in bed and sharevideos to more deeply engaged with your ideal buyers prospects have told merepeatedly that they are blown away every time they get one for me. So signup for Vidyard free today by going to Vidyard dot com slash GDP growth andjust like you guys, the team at Vidyard can't keep up with all these promocodes on podcasts, so they are making signing up as easy as possible. So nopromo code needed. Just go to Vidyard dot com slash GDP growth. So startusing vidyard completely free and as a bonus, get their 2021 B two B videotrans guide. I like that. That's a really good just little tidbit. I alsowant to talk to you about this article...

...that you wrote. I'm going to read someof it and once again like this is not what I would normally do on a podcastepisode, but you guys did this article attending burning man or inbound. Weare more alike than we are different. 36 of our team attended inbound. In 21of our team attended burning man this year. We were, this is funny, we weregoing to make a Venn diagram comparing the two, but then we realized it wouldlook more like a solar eclipse than a Venn diagram. And then just you scrolldown and there's um, it's like Burning Man or inbound one. Strange deafeningclub music at all hours of the day to strangers, keep approaching you andtrying to give you things three, you're in a constant detox re tox cycle fourafter 10 minutes of talking to someone, you're still not sure what they'retalking about. Oh man, this is good. How did this happen? So first of all,the concept of this one was mine. I will not say the majority are mine, butthis one was just like, I just felt the cult spirit from both sides because I'mobsessed with cults and I like read all sorts of history of culture all thetime. Anyway, I'm like, we are both in cults were a business cult. And so whenit comes back, the first thing we do is it's not just like a one on one process.We have a slack channel that's all about brainstorm. And so creating a funbrand is not just about what the marketing team does, its about. Youwere reading off some of the things that we have fun copy even on our salesemails, we have an automated sales email that had a poem on it as a thirdautomated message which was basically you've dropped off. We want to win youback. I can read that one too. But like the way you get that is you have tohire with that, that has to be one of your hiring criteria. So before youbuild a brand that you can turn into fund, you have to create your visionand then you have to hire the team that believes in the vision and lives it.And so like the step three where you get to have fun with the brand, you hadto do a lot of work up front to really define how to get there. And so thestory behind the Burning Man post was, we came back then we've created achannel that was pure brainstorming of everybody in our company, of everybodythrowing out their ideas and because of...

...that, you know, probably three quartersof them came from everybody else in the company and only a quarter of them,maybe it came from the copywriter herself, but she, she pulls it alltogether and then we get to edit them. I love it. What I want to do withpodcast episodes is try to make them as practical as I can. So the idea here ishow to have fun with your brand, What would you tell listeners as like,here's the process, here's how you have fun with your brand. Step one, step two,wow, I don't really think of it as a step by step process. I will say thatone of the key steps that we haven't included is the same key is to all goodcontent, which is all good content is not just uh first is understanding youraudience. The second is to what do you want to write about, But one of themost critical piece, if not the most critical, is consistency and makingsure that you write something consistently produced videoconsistently, post on linkedin consistently, wherever is your mainchannel. And so what I'd recommend is you. So what we've started to do withmy linkedin post, I try to post three times a week. One is my podcast shareone is, you know, something on the hero story side and then my friday post isalways going to be fun. And so we try to plan that out in our planning cycle,which is like if we haven't done something that's entertaining to us,that makes us smile and we want to share it with all of our friends everymonth and a half, then that needs to be part of our cycle. So I would say putit into your content calendar is the only way you'll ever make it a priority.What are some key ways that you try to vet the ideas that your team comes upwith to figure out what you're going to go with and what you're not going to gowith, especially for the too edgy stuff, which, which comes up too often. Iwould say that Well, that's probably one thing right? There is. So you'vegot a whole bunch of stuff coming your way that is too edgy. I mean, I wouldsay that there's probably plenty of companies where they don't have thatproblem because they haven't encouraged...

...their writers to really swing for it. Ithink we so, first of all, did it entertain us? And if it entertained usa lot, then it's going to take a lot for us to take it away, even if it istoo edgy. And then I think we just have our basic these are the people, eachone of us has somebody that we trust, like our circle of like five peoplethat we run it by. So it's pretty damn and formal Because we're we're 3000writers, but we're like 30 people at our headquarters. We don't have to gothrough this bureaucracy. We don't have a legal department reviewing our copyany of the stuff that I would have had to do it. Some of the bigger companiesthat have worked at before. So I think right now, we don't have it veryformalized. And until I get into trouble, we'll probably keep it thatway. I don't know what your answer would be with this, but this is thequestion that's bubbling up to my mind. And that is how could you encouragesomebody with a much smaller team, uh, with a very small team, maybe they gotjust a couple of writers to try to emulate the kinds of things that you'redoing. I would say one of the things that we've been doing kind ofinformally is once we really kind of latched onto this idea is we started totry to write down things that we said in informal meetings. Like it doesn'tall have to be a brainstorming meeting. Our best ideas are probably going to bewith us, like in a normal, like a, you know, a product planning meeting.Somebody says something off the cuff. Oh my God, shouldn't we have a planthat just takes all of those clients and puts them into outer space andyou're like, oh yeah, that's funny. But now we're trying to write them down, soit's really to uh make sure that we're thinking about them. My so I was arandom history major and I threw out random history references generallyabout the Mongolian empire all the time. Okay, my marketing guy loves them, butI never do anything with them, and he's like, I'm writing them all down and I'mgiving him back to you and those will be your linkedin post on friday. And soI think the key to great content is to take the stuff you've already done andput it out there, as opposed to think so hard about how do you createsomething that's never been done before? And then follow up question like it is,how do you think a smaller company...

...could be trying to emulate what youguys are doing and get it wrong? Um way number one that comes up to me is like,if you're trying to say, we're trying to have fun with our customer servicesmessaging to, which is the time that, you know, your clients are most tense,they've got a piece of content back that they didn't love or they've beenwaiting one day extra for it. And like there, you know, at high, high anxietymode with your company and you're trying to re win, that becomes thefriendliest content creation platform in the business as we want as we striveto be. There are moments where you could really screw that up by trying tohave too much fun while they're not having fun. And so how do youpersonally navigate it? We work on that tone multiple times. So what we try todo is we empower everybody in the company to have as much fun as with thebrand as possible. So if you're gonna make I give you full license on my teamto make the mistakes as possible. If you're trying to live the brand valuesand have fun and if it's received the wrong way, this is going to happen, butI'd rather have it, be received the wrong way and have somebody to rememberus for something that we're doing that was unique than just be to corporateand not not the fun company they want to work with on their free time. And sothe way we try to navigate that is to answer the question first, make sureyou resolve the clients issue before you, you know, make it more more funand are taking, Could you give me an example? I know I'm really putting youon the spot here, but do you think you could give me an example of somethingthat you did to make it more fun? I mean, I know we're dealing with likesensitive information so you don't have to tell me like who it was and whomessed it up and what they did. But I'm just curious uh as specific as youcould get with, like what was the method or what, what did they do to behumorous at the same time as they were trying to make it better. I'm going togive you an example because I don't have one right off the bat, but I dohave one of my favorite ones from wisteria that I was just sharing withthe company. So they have a, your...

...credits are about to expire, which is,you know, just as painful and B two B as a message can be. And it ends withwhen you have a moment, could you please visit our building page toupdate your payment information? It would be much appreciated by the walrusin our building department. Nice. Great. It's just so clever. It's so easy. It'sstill on target. You're pushing the customer, but you're still like, werealize you're a person and we thought this was funny. Yeah, I love it. Steve,it's been really fun talking to you. How can listeners connect with you afew ways so you can see our site at virgilio dot com. E R E L O dot com. Uh,make sure to check out the publisher's page in the cannabis page if you'relooking for most fun, copied, uh, and you can check out my um my podcastverbally O'shea, which comes out at the Wednesday. Love it. Thanks for being on.Thanks so much is your buyer at BB marketer. If so youshould think about sponsoring this podcast. BtB Growth gets downloadedover one 130,000 times each month. And our listeners are marketing decisionmakers. If it sounds interesting, send Logan and email Logan at sweet FishMedia dot com. Yeah.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1621)