S. 2 Ep. 3 – Don’t Tinder Your Customers

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 3 - Dont Tinder Your Customers with SpeakerFlow and Massimo Zefferino

In today’s episode, we’re meeting with Massimo Zefferino to talk about how being more human is the secret sauce to branding.

We’re talking about how so many brands (especially personal ones) aren’t truly authentic.

Everything has this “have to be perfect” vibe to it and that’s not what encourages people to buy.

We also touch on the topic of how so many people “tinder” their customers. It’s a one and done approach rather than keeping that client around for life.

Jump into today’s episode to learn how to be more human and create lasting relationships with your clients.

See you in there!

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Show Notes 📓

✅   Check out Massimo’s podcast – The Angry Designer: https://www.theangrydesigner.com/episodes/

🎤  Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀   And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of technically speaking. We’re your hosts, Taylor and Austin and today we are talking about branding and how so many brands are inauthentic and have this have to be perfect vibe to them. You know those videos you watch, and it very much feels like corporate stiffness. We talk about how that’s not what causes people to buy, and it causes human to human interactions that cause people to buy. And the perfect person to come in for this is Massimo Zefferino. Now, aside from having an amazing name, he also has an incredible beard so welcome to the club, he has an amazing perspective about branding and design. He’s owned a branding and design agency for over 20 years is one of two other companies that are left in his area from 20 years ago that are still running creative agencies.

And he talks about how so many brands Tinder their customers, basically taking this one and done approach, never going more deep in the relationship with them and creating a lasting client for life. He has a podcast called the Angry Designer where he talks about all the BS out there about branding and design and how to actually create more authentic relationships in your business. And as you know, we’re all about removing the BS from business. So, let’s go ahead and get started and dive into today’s episode as always. We hope you enjoy this one, stick around until the end for some amazing resources. We’ll see in there. And we are live. What a cool show this is going to be today. Simo, it is amazing to have you here, man. I love the beard. I love that hat.

Massimo: Thanks guys.

Taylorr: Wow. What a…

Massimo: I feel like we’re long-lost brothers.

Taylorr: I know right?

Austin: It kind of feels like that. Yeah.

Taylorr: It does, right?

Massimo: Yeah, there was no awkwardness, there was no formality, it was just jump right in.

Taylorr: Jump right in.

Austin: Yeah. This is our first time meeting you just for all the listeners. We’re all meeting you for the first time to [cross-talk 02:04]. We’re so glad that you’re here…

Taylorr: Never done this before.

Massimo: [Cross-talk 02:07] right? Jeez. This is great.

Austin: It’s so fun. So, I got to point out though that I’m a little disappointed. We were just talking about how you guys at the office are doing Halloween today. At the time we’re celebrating or we’re recording this today, it’s about to be Halloween and you’re not dressed up, man and I was kind of hoping you’d be in this Superman outfit.

Massimo: Hold on, check this out.

Austin: Okay. He’s like I got this.

Taylorr: Listeners you’ve got to head to YouTube man. Check out the show, let me plug that real quick.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: Get some updates.

Austin: I know. I was going to say you’re missing out if you’re not checking out the video.

Taylorr: Oh my [cross-talk 02:35].

Massimo: Duck dynasty, right. I had to do this. This…

Taylorr: You look like the dude. Look at that. That is striking.

Massimo: This is my outfit. I had to figure something out with the beard, [cross-talk 02:48]

Taylorr: Yeah. I went to Paul Bunyan route this year. I’m being Paul Bunyan.

Austin: Oh man, I love it. I can’t believe how much you nailed that look, man. [Cross-talk 02:58]

Taylorr: Seriously. It was like he transformed when he put it on.

Massimo: Right? Right? Just give it a shot and [inaudible 03:02], we would have been good.

Taylorr: That’s right.

Massimo: You know what’s funny? Last year we had this and obviously again, when you got a beard like this, you’re limited to what you can do, so I did Rob Zombie. I found a good hat, I found an awesome wig, big cowboy hat, big glasses, leather, it was a great outfit. Fridays we do whiskey Fridays so I had to still go get whiskey like middle of the afternoon for Friday so I went dressed up. And I went dressed up and people thought I was actually that… not actually Rob zombie, but I was some dude with long hair, cowboy hot, this total crazy ass rocker lifestyle dude and they were so rude to me. These are people I see every single week when I go get alcohol up the street so they’re like, oh, what are you guys having today? Didn’t recognize me and they were rude as hell and I was hurt, man.

Austin: Oh man. You’d think that they would just be jaw-dropped.

Massimo: You would not believe this.

Taylorr: Jeez. I thought it look cool.

Austin: Oh man.

Taylorr: Yeah, don’t take it personally.

Austin: Don’t let that kill your creative spirit because I am so impressed by the costume there. Oh man.

Massimo: Oh, that’s amazing.

Austin: You’re a fascinating character, man. I just like you.

Massimo: Jeez, thanks dude. You rock. This is good.

Austin: I realized that this was going to be a really fun conversation. We were doing a little bit of digging about you obviously [cross-talk 04:23] show. Stumbled across your YouTube channel. Reasonable amount of creepiness.

Taylorr: It was on the internet so for what it’s worth.

Austin: Yeah right, [cross-talk 04:30] find it. I think it’s your fault really but we saw a YouTube thumbnail that was titled don’t Tinder your Customers and I didn’t even know what to do with that information and so maybe we can use this as sort of a segue, obviously the topic of today’s conversation is just this bringing humanity into the digital technology marketing room. How does that fit though?

Taylorr: How did the Tinder thing fit? That was all about trying to pretend that you’re being something that you’re not. So, you know Tinder, everybody puts their best picture, their best pro… it’s all fake.

Taylorr: [Inaudible 05:04] man. You got to show off. That’s a marketing channel.

Massimo: Right? And again, [inaudible 05:10].

Taylorr: It really is.

Massimo: But it’s just like your brand. The whole segue there is you can say whatever the hell you want to say, once people deal with you, they’re going to see through that crap so don’t Tinder your customers, don’t be that experience for your customers. Make sure you understand who you are, what you provide and then this way when they’re swiping over to you that they’re going actually stick around. This isn’t a one-night fling was what that episode was about. This is long-term. And a lot of our business, the past 23 years has been repeat customers jumping from one job to another, and as they’re going up in their careers, they’re bringing us along for the ride.

It’s this whole customer for life mentality that we go from. Our customers, of course we do great work but one thing that we do that we’re really proud of is this. This conversation, this is just the way we are and we treat our customers like this and they love it. We’re not for everybody and that’s okay for us, but for the ones that are cool with this, it doesn’t feel like work at all and you go even further for them and you’ll go as far as you can without killing yourself for them because there’s a genuine relationship, you enjoy that relationship. And again, it’s worked out to the point where they keep coming back over and over so yeah, believe it or not, we’ve been in business 23 years and I have two customers from when we first started. They’re now obviously into the next generation, the one is now third generation in who’s taken over. The other customer, she was young when she started and she’s, came back like, I don’t know, two years ago now. We started for the first eight years with them, they went off because her position changed but as soon as she came back up, she brought us along so it’s just really cool.

Taylorr: Oh yeah.

Austin: Love that.

Massimo: Yeah.

Austin: The authenticity is so important.

Massimo: Absolutely.

Austin: We had a Rich Mulholland on, Rich [cross-talk 06:58].

Taylorr: Yeah Rich, shout out.

Austin: Such a great guy. And he was talking about the similar thing that he really found that his company took off when he just drilled down into authenticity. And our last episode with Chris Gray, he was talking about this as well, because the reality is it’s not hard to make a sale once. You can convince somebody to do anything once, but if you’re going to create a customer for life, somebody that’s going to stick around and you’re going to build an actual relationship, there’s nothing you can do outside of just being yourself and just being service-oriented that’s going to lead to them [cross-talk 07:28].

Massimo: Absolutely.

Austin: That’s it.

Massimo: Yeah, absolutely. I think maybe that’s a growth thing, maybe it’s a maturity thing. People have got to come to terms with who they actually are. Early on in my career we used to do the suit thing, we would dress up, we had certain clientele and the expectation for those clients was to be that way. You know what really sucked? [Cross-talk 07:47]

Taylorr: Austin you remember those days? [Cross-talk 07:48] We were there, man.

Austin: We’ve been there. Not fun.

Taylorr: We’ve been there. We were there together. Suit and all and just who are we?

Massimo: Yeah, exactly. And then in the end, what happened is, and again, the money was great, but you just miserable and it’s like you were literally a puppet on a string and they were okay, what do we do next? Or what do you want us to do next? So, it burnt out and I was just like, screw this. We dropped our clients, we got dropped by one… we had Blackberry way back when Blackberry was actually a big company.

Austin: Wow.

Massimo: And so of course they were spiraling down. They were like over half our business when they were spiraling down, they pulled back everything and we literally, within the course of like three weeks lost half our business, just because they were bringing everything internal and there was no way for us to get that back. And that led to just this whole, who the hell are we? I’ve been doing this for them and I’ve been miserable. So unfortunately, we had to let go some staff which really sucked because we’re such a family here tore down our website and I put up the most obnoxious website you’ve ever seen. We’re talking changed our logo to trucker flames, trucker girl, there was like [cross-talk 08:55].

Austin: Oh, my goodness, we need to get a show [inaudible 08:58].

Massimo: It was insane honestly. And it was basically a big F-you, I’m done with trying to fit your mold. This is what I’m going to do, let’s see how this fits, and customers would trickle in and they’re like, good on you. You’re totally not the norm. Let’s talk. And this is where that whole idea came, obviously the confidence factor kicked in where it’s like, I don’t have to play their game. I can just be myself and while we’re not going to be perfect for everybody, we are going to be perfect for some people. and let’s face it, this is a global economy now. Our customers we’re in Kitchener- Waterloo which is a huge tech hub, but only a third of our customers are actually here. Most of our customers are scattered across the US and across the seas. You don’t have to be perfect now for your little geographic rate, there’s somebody who’s going to love you just the way you are. And that’s what you do, you end up going further for those customers. It worked overly well, needless to say and so now it’s like, I’m proud to say, I can go into meetings with baseball caps, jeans, heck ripped jeans. As long as I smell good, I think I’m good.

Austin: That’s right and the beard [cross-talk 10:02].

Taylorr: And the beard obviously looks beautiful…

Massimo: Thank you.

Taylorr: I love all of this because you live by the phrase that’s on your hat right now, which is be more human. And it’s your whole brand is the whole idea about Z Factor, your branding agency. Was that like the moment that you realized that you needed to bring more humanity in when you lost that big client and you were doing the suit thing, or did you know that earlier on and you felt that [inaudible 10:25] like when did that kick it?

Massimo: That’s when things started becoming more real. That happened early on, about three years after that is when we started bringing in more authenticity and not being so scared to be who we were. And again, we ended up firing customers and finding new ones. The be more human was all about being more authentic, being who you are not being scared of. And this ended up transitioning into well, the second was critical part in this experience. When we started 23 years ago, we started as a niche agency, a hundred percent. Literally I was nobody, I was just out of school, I’d worked for another company, bad experience. I was like, okay, you know what, I’m going to do this for myself. And picked up the phone book. There was actually a phone book back then, remember that?

Taylorr: Yeah. I used to [cross-talk 11:11].

Massimo: Pages, look good. But there were 34 other advertising agencies in this little town which was insane. And this town was only back then about a quarter million people. So, it’s was like, how am I going to stand out? Right off the bat, it was like, I know the industrial space, we came from a blue-collar family so let’s just go into the trade industry, nobody wants that. There’re trade magazines out there, let’s find a niche, let’s be a B2B company that just services industrial companies. That worked out incredibly well for us. For the first five years, we just kept on growing, growing, growing, which was a really good thing because we found a niche and we own that niche and then through there, we started working with engineers, we started realizing engineers thought a little different than other people, they spoke a different language and this is where this started coming.

Because it was like, because of our blue-collar background, we knew how things got made but because we were designers, there was this whole awesome understanding of what is that meaningful relationship between what they were doing and the end user. And so, we carried that through now in the middle is when things got messy, as all companies you start growing, you start chasing opportunities, your brain starts changing and changing and this is where everybody starts fumbling. I kind of feel this is why people say, you know, most companies, if they can make it past their first year, they won’t make it past their seventh. Their fifth and seventh seems to be that second stretch and I think it’s because they’re trying to grow, but they’re not sure how or where. They started with something that was great, but then they’re chasing opportunities and that’s a big mistake.

So had we stuck with our original plan, it would have been fine. So, for those next 10 years, we basically spent trying to be a generalist type of agency. We took every customer. We service everything from spas to web companies, we did low costs. We tried what every agency would do and you’d always shoot for big jobs, big clients, but not only did that get tiresome and of course we were the whole puppet show idea, but you could see it really took its toll because we were just like soulless It was mindless. We didn’t know anything. So, I was about six years ago, I sat down with some of the people who are still here and it was like, we got to do something because I’m miserable, none of us are happy again, it was cool to hang out all the time, but we needed to change this up again. And it was we’re in a tech town, google was dropping like a billion dollars in this town back then we’ve got Shopify and this and that so it was like, look, we know what engineers think the engineers that we were dealing with before are the exact same engineers that are now in technology companies.

They think the same, they act the same, it’s just now it’s tech. And it’s like, what we brought was understanding how those two worlds collided so that’s where the whole, we speak human came. It was after the burnout, after the big F-you, after trying to say like, let’s just be who we are, we understand what these people really want, we understand what these people are delivering, let’s make that connection. We literally put it all in and decided to niche back in technology.

Taylorr: Nice.

Massimo: And so, we let go of some companies, we became a technology focused agency, a B2B technology focused agency and that was probably the best thing we ever did. So, we’ve had a lot of fun throughout the years, but by re-niching, rediscovering that whole niche and becoming an expert in that place was probably the biggest thing and then that’s where the we speak human came from, so right now we tell everybody that we help B2B technology companies be more human and look more global. Those are the two kinds of silos that everything seems to fall into.

Taylorr: Wow. I love that story because it tells the quintessential story of how to be successful in business, which is get a niche, provide a ton of value, be highly relevant to people. But you did that, the first five to seven years, it was pretty successful and then we said, okay, let’s go more general now that we built something. So even doing that halfway through your business life cycle, that’s a mistake. No matter what, losing [cross-talk 15:03].

Massimo: Absolutely.

Taylorr: It can be very challenging to be more general so you went back to the niche or the evolved version of that niche, I would say with this technology stuff. And then kind of regrew from there.

Massimo: And it was the smartest thing that we ever did really. And again, it kind of played into… so our industry has changed so much over the past 20 plus years. When we started 99% of this industry was print and we saw transition from print, digital kind of came in and half those companies that were in the phone book back then didn’t make that jump. They weren’t able to take what was offline and put it online. We were young enough, we adapted to and evolved, of course, to the technology, figured out how to use it kept growing. Now of those original 34 companies, there’s three of them and we’re one of them that are left, which is pretty cool. I’m kind of happy about that, but the spaces have evolved so much, it’s natural to try to grab a little bit of it. I think that’s the entrepreneurial spirit to keep growing and keep going bigger and bigger and bigger but the funny thing is, we’re bigger than we ever were right now, but we feel the tightest, the more clear… clarity is, I think what everybody needs, and it’s scary as hell to commit to a niche. And it is… some people might think is limiting, but man, if you get rid of that whole notion about it being limiting because you’ve just got this little market, dude, it’s a global economy. That little market, you know, is hundreds of millions of opportunities.

Austin: The pie is huge. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.

Massimo: Even if it’s like half of a percent from a global scale, we’re talking about a hundred million different opportunities.

Taylorr: This is the number one issue we hear in speakers, experts. They don’t want to niche down because they might be like a motivational type let’s say, well, I can motivate anybody. Well, okay. Who’s going to buy that. Who’s actually going to be lining up for it if it’s not relevant to one specific group of people. Where does that messaging going to fall into play?

Massimo: So true.

Taylorr: It’s so short-sighted and people don’t think about how deep they can go with a particular niche to solve their problems. Rather, I have this one thing to sell, and I have to do it to everybody. They don’t think about the depth. It’s just so broad.

Massimo: And it’s true. It’s funny you say that because through this journey for me, there was a point, every other week a business coach would call me up and be like, I can transform your business. I can do this. And I must have met like with 20 of them because I was like help me. I want to know. But they didn’t know this space, but they knew operations, they knew OPEX, they knew this and I’m like, dude, that’s not going to help me. Yeah, you might be able to help me trim off a little fat here and there. I need to [inaudible 17:42]. We’re all spewing the same shit. So, for a little while I ran a website, it was called Screw the Business Coach and it really worked. It was legitimate. You already know, you know, what you have to do to be successful so just look within yourself. And that whole thing was just blog posts about just, you’ve got it in you, you know what the right answer is, you don’t need somebody because they were all generalists.

Had one of those been actually a specialist. I would have paid five times their rate because the information that would have given it would have been relevant, it would have been targeted and I would have got something out of it other than these [inaudible 18:18]. Again, value in the niche, I am so obli… I feel like I lost12 years in the middle there by abandoning the niche. And [inaudible 18:29] a good thing to do.

Austin: Well, speaking to the point of like humanity too, outside of the need to niche because you’re able to better solve specific problems, because problems exist across the board. For us at Speaker Flow, like solve this problem, which is structure and systems a lot of businesses don’t have the ability to do that, any business can do that. But the ability for us to nail down into this expert, niche, coaches, consultants, speakers, we’re able to draw things that are specific to this industry that helps us solve the problem in a more specific way so that’s important. But on the other side of it, and I think maybe this is the more important side of it, when you’re connecting with somebody, when you’re a service provider and you’re trying to do a good job, a real relationship is predicated on feeling understood. And the benefit to niching down is that people feel safe because you get it, and even outside of the problem solving the solution side of it, it’s just being able to have an actual, authentic relationship with somebody because there’s some inherent trust already that’s built there is immeasurable useful.

Massimo: It’s massive. And it’s great when you’re able to change their perceptions. A lot of times they’re weary. They’re like, do you really know our space? You start talking tech, you start pointing out issues and the funny thing about the tech spaces is regardless if they’re enterprise technology companies or just like startups, they suffer from the same thing and I guess you could argue that almost any business suffers from this, but their brand gets lost as they start growing because they’re chasing opportunities. Their brand becomes fragmented. If they’re chasing a healthcare opportunity, they all of a sudden gear it towards there and then all of a sudden, if that doesn’t work out, they quickly pivot and go into a completely opposite direction, supply chain. And that message keeps changing over and over, their brand suffers, they make all these knee jerk decisions along the way. And next thing you know, you’ve got this company with great people and great tech, but their brand is just a mess.

So then when you’re going in as designers or brand strategist, whatever you want to call us, and right off the bat, people chuckle designers, especially in the engineering space because we’re generally pain in the type of people. and rightfully so, the stereotypical designer can be a little pretentious, ego-driven…

Taylorr: Lets acknowledge the engineer out there though. [Inaudible 20:43] no designer is like here’s a wireframe; this is a social post. Oh right.

Massimo: It’s so much so you got to break down those barriers and then start meeting them on their level and of course, a lot of people will just start going on about them, them, them. Wow. We’re great. You need to… I think I’ve had first meetings where I couldn’t even tell them anything about my company we’ve walked in and I’m just like a kid in a candy store. I’m finding out about their business, I’m asking them how their business operates, how they make the machines, what their competitors are doing that they’re… and I start digging and digging and digging in. And then it’s like, at the end of the meeting as we’re leaving, they’re like, oh yeah, what is it that you guys do again? Because they were already sold on the fact that we were so engaged with… because we knew their space. And that’s where that whole realizing the authenticity, number one. And with the authenticity comes humility. And I think too many people don’t give that enough. I’m going into somebody else’s business, they’re experts, I just love asking questions.

But I’m asking questions, I want to know how their business operates. I’m not going in with all the answers. That’s not what this is about. It’s about digging deep, finding out what works, what doesn’t work for them and often they just can’t see what’s wrong because they’re right in it. So, we’re humble, we’re going in, we’re like, hey, I don’t have the answers. I just want to know everything. I can piece it together because I’ve got outside perspective and some experience that can come along here, and I think that breaks down those barriers right off the bat. And again, the whole, we speak human. There’s nothing wrong with being authentic, it’s just I can’t stand those people who try to pretend that there’s something that they’re not, they get caught. They get caught. And like you said…

Taylorr: It’s like [inaudible 22:23].

Massimo: Best sales guy. First time around the block.

Taylorr: Yeah. That’s right.

Austin: That’s true. A hundred percent. In the world that we’re in today here in 2021, obviously technology has never been more important and any business that’s operating has to have an element of technology or the digital realm built into what they’re doing. However, I’ve noticed that like there’s a poll that I think technology can have to remove the humanity from the conversation, especially with today’s world of automation, for example. People want to automate the entire process of taking somebody that we don’t know to becoming a customer and we can’t do that. I’m curious, from your angle, especially somebody who works with tech companies, what are some of the ways that we can bring humanity into the digital technology realm so that we still can show up authentic and build a relationship and yet still take advantage of the benefits that technology gives us?

Massimo: You are seeing this, and it’s interesting you say that because we’re seeing a surge back in humanity, it’s kind of like a pendulum swinging from far right to far left, now it’s kind of coming back, the idea of AI does worry me a little bit. AI chatbots, like, no, we’re not dumb. We know what’s a bot. At least when they’re off the bat saying, hey, this is a bot, but we’re here to help you. Not, hi, this is Jim. I’m trying to humanize this third-party bot, that’s not being authentic. That’s bullshit and people are smarter than this. The human connection is more important now than ever and I think that’s what companies need to realize. Even social space, people aren’t believing social anymore, we’re kind of in a really place because you can’t believe the news, you can’t believe social, you can’t believe the internet, we’re not sure what to believe anymore. We’re seeing a resurgence in, you know, human touching, that sounds really creepy. Don’t read into that people, don’t read into that.

Taylorr: [Inaudible 24:22] the title. The Resurgence of Human Touching.

Massimo: Last week, believe it or not, we were in Vegas for a customers’ convention, this is fresh out of COVID and it was their best one yet because everybody needed that human contact. We’re seeing all of our customers ramp up again trade shows, which is crazy to see because everybody went so digital for a while that now it’s like this resurgence of trade shows because people need to reach back out. People aren’t dumb, they know what the funnels are. And again, the more people try to hide themselves behind a funnel, I think is where you start seeing click rates drop less and less and less. It’s interesting to see how inside sales are succeeding far more than these top of funnel campaigns because again, you can actually become more personable, you can go on LinkedIn, find out what they like and actually add that in an introductory email, you can send them a little video along so it actually makes them feel like this message is for them. It’s not a blanket message.

And I think that’s where we’re seeing that there’s a lot of opportunity and we’re seeing it with apps, we’re seeing it with email programs, but it’s that human touch point. People need to feel like… again, we’re humans. Humans buy from humans. Very rarely is it completely blank. I get the Amazon purchase but at the same time we’ve had to learn from that somewhere another and there’s a good chance. It was a person who kind of gave us that referral for a stop some way.

Austin: Yeah, it’s true. There’re instances where you can find the technology has totally taken over. For example, you can go buy a soda from the vending machine. That’s no human there, but look like you’re buying a soda…

Taylorr: Commodity.

Austin: Not buying a service and expertise, and especially for B2B type businesses, our clients, your clients, you’re not going to be able to automate because you’re not just buying a soda, there are complex problems that usually need to be solved.

Massimo: Exactly.

Austin: And then there’s humans involved. You don’t want to take the humanity out of it because humans are still going to come into the equation at some point and then there’s going to be a lot of catch-up to do if we don’t have that along the way to begin with.

Massimo: And even more so in a service-based industry, that human touch is just so important. They think that people want more tech, more tech, more tech, but the reality is people they need that human interaction. They absolutely. And there’s going to come a point where we’re going to end up with a society of… there’s this business and it’s a hugging business. You can go in and get a hug for half an hour, not even a sexual hug we’re talking literally in a comforting way.

Taylorr: It’s an embrace, [inaudible 26:46] embrace.

Massimo: Exactly. And it’s scary as hell that there’s going to be a generation where everybody assumed everybody want to be tech but the reality is those touch points are coming back and so the more human your businesses, and the funny thing is, that’s what we do for our customers. We bring humanity back to their tech. Our two silos are we help technology companies be more human, look, more global. The be more human part is almost every tech company talks about their tech. They’re generally founded by technology, people who are passionate about tech, engineers, and these, these people, they suffer from the curse of knowledge. They’re just too smart about what it is they do and they talk about it in a sense that they’re assuming you understand, but you have no clue. They’re not even speaking human at that point, so we go in and we try to understand what is it that you’re trying to say? What is that meaningful connection? And then we look at their bigger brand and realize, what are all the touch points? What are the messages you’re telling people?

You’re talking about high-end tech features where really people want to find out what is it going to do for me? It’s that whole… that’s is the one thing I know [cross-talk 27:50] constantly overused, but it’s one thing to do well is, they don’t talk about how fast their machines are or this or that, they talk about what that’s going to do for you in the end. And it is proven that design led companies outperform their competitors, almost like a three to one basis. We try to bring a human element back to their technology first and foremost and then the other part we do, the look more global, as we kind of mentioned before, technology companies, chase opportunities, the brands are fragmented, when you’ve got one sales guy going out and he’s showing you a pitch that he created because he thought it was cool and then you see their website it’s saying something else, you see a social media posts, all of a sudden this fragmented brand is making this giant company otherwise look like it’s just like a hacked up little startup.

And we’ve got some companies, they’re pushing that half billion mark and they’re still just a mess. All these touch points are different. So, the whole look more global, regardless if you’re giant or you’re just a tiny shop. If you bring all that messaging, all those visuals, you understand what you’re actually doing, what you’re providing, that human element and you start bringing all that messaging together, you’re going to take this what could be just a small basement shop and make it look like a global enterprise. These are the two things that we actually help companies with and it’s all about being human. Again, we believe that people buy from people and almost every purchase over a hundred bucks is researched online so you’ve got to make sure that you understand what that value prop is and what the benefit is that you’re actually delivering.

Taylorr: Yeah. It all boils down to clarity. Once you have focus, you can just nail that down and then be relevant to people you’re communicating what they need, you can take it to the next level, it makes perfect sense. It’s amazing how little practice it is though, it’s almost like we don’t think it intrinsically about what we want out of an interaction with somebody. When I sit down and think about what makes me buy from a larger company, maybe a service, a high-ticket item, let’s say, because it’s generally the world we all operate in. I’m making a very informed decision. I’m doing research, I’m talking to past clients, potentially, I might send a few LinkedIn messages out. I need this to be highly relevant to me. And it needs to have that personal approach before I’m going to feel comfortable and have enough trust apply from something. There’s something you said earlier that I really want to touch on because I know, man, I feel like we could have like another two hours together here.

Massimo: I warned you. I talk a lot.

Taylorr: Oh, my goodness. There’s just so much I want to unpack, but there’s something you said earlier that when we remove the human touch point, it’s going to prevent people from wanting to buy more from us, right? There’re very rarely things that removed the full human interaction. Austin, you mentioned like buying a pop. For the listeners who want to automate everything in their business, because we hear this so much. And to be honest, you guys who’s listening. I’m sick of hearing it. So, here’s my soap box. If you want to automate your business, you are commoditizing yourself and if you somehow find a way to automate everything, to get somebody to buy from you which should not be the goal, you have now created a pathway for hundreds of thousands of other people to do the exact same thing. Don’t commoditize yourself. It needs to have the human component in it otherwise we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot.

Massimo: Well, and again, because commodities are going to be just based on just a bottom dollar figure. We’re not the cheapest people out there, [cross-talk 31:02] want to be the cheapest people out there, but if you start commoditizing your service and putting prices online are, are basically we beat the best price, what you’re operating your business on margins? That sucks, dude, that would suck. No, you need that human element. You know, it’s funny, run yourself a test, go out, next time you start scrolling through websites and visiting, how many of them actually include a contact phone number or a place to reach somebody. Sometimes it’s a mission. It seems like they’re almost intentionally avoiding that whole process. I will not buy anything. If there isn’t email, if there isn’t some sort of brick-and-mortar address, it could be a PO box for all I care, but I need to feel that there’s this there’s credibility there, there’s a concrete location, and that’s going to give me the confidence to buy, for these companies where half the time and just finding that phone number is the hardest. You just can’t.

Austin: Yeah, it’s true. 100%. I can’t believe that we’re already half hour into this conversation. We’re going to have to like start closing this…

Taylorr: Round two.

Austin: Well, I really like concrete things that our listeners can be taking away from this and we’ve talked about a million good ideas. I’m not saying that there are not concrete things up until this point, but from your angle as the expert in this area, is there low hanging fruit that you tend to look for in organizations where maybe somebody can be identifying some of these problems for themselves, if they’re not quite ready to take the leap and hire somebody like you to help them solve their problems?

Massimo: Interesting. Yeah. Interesting, interesting. From a brand standpoint, brand now is more important than ever for any company, because again, people think that a brand is a logo, people think that brand is your colors and it’s what you say you are but the reality is it’s not what you say about yourself. It’s what other people say about you and its what other people say about you that’s based on all the touch points that they’ve had with your company, your product, your experience. This is when we talk about when the message is fragmented, they don’t know what the hell kind of brand that they’re dealing with because one website says this one review says this, your social media says this so some of the low hanging fruit that I would recommend is actually commit to some sort of brand promise that you want to try to attain. And that’s the key that you want to try to attain.

That brand promise, everybody internally should live by. And then all of that material externally that you post should benefit or should play that up, should [cross-talk 33:25] specifically that. Six months ago, we launched a company and again, they were amazing tech company. Really cool, super tech, super B2B, but they service like Google, they service apple, they served a really cool stuff, they were just too technical for their own good. And so, everything has something else, they’ve put a website up for this product, a website up for this product and it was, really cool to go in there with the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life work at this company and we were treated like equals, they appreciated everything we said, because we were very humble going in saying, you’re experts at what you do, this is how we can help. And when we finally brought back their vision, so we launched their website six months ago and they said that they’ve already had, and it was a short year, but they already had a record-breaking year and they still have their two busiest months ahead of them traditionally.

And again, it was because everybody was able to rally around the same promise and that’s what I think companies struggle with. We’re dealing with another company right now where internally there’s struggles because some people think that they stand for this, some people think they… so your brand is bigger than you can think but again, if everybody rallies together, that energy, that focus, if everybody knows this is what we stand for so start representing yourself this way. Everybody takes that ownership. So, the low hanging fruit, in my opinion, other than the whole be more human look, more global is bring that all together, commit to a brand promise of a sort. Whether it’s you’re going to be the fastest company at this, you’re going to help the best of this, you’re going to deliver an experience unlike anything else and get everybody committing rallying behind that and then make sure all your external messages are promoting the exact same thing so people are hearing it, they’re experiencing it and then your brand will grow. And then organically even better, you want to talk about authenticity, that’s how you do it. You can’t pretend to be something you’re not.

Taylorr: Wow. What a golden nugget man? This entire episode, again, I got to get the notebook out. I’m going have to re-listen to this a bunch of times. Oh man, we’re going have to do round two and three and four so thank you so much for [cross-talk 35:29] blast. As you know, we’re all about creating value for our audience. What are some of the things you’re working on right now that our listeners can benefit from?

Massimo: Jeez. Well, depending on the listeners. I do want to say that it is hard to give back in this space sometimes when you’re in business. You’re constantly feeling like you’re helping a company do this, you’re helping company do this, but ultimately, it’s paying your bills. We want to try to figure out what kind of outreach in a sense we could do and we’re passionate graphic artists here so I took my senior designer and we actually created this podcast called The Angry Designer podcast. It’s The Angry Designer, theangrydesigner.com. And it started because there’s a lot of bullshit in our space. Designers are atrocious when it comes to ego and how they’re stereotyped and this and that and there’s a lot of people in this space that they bail early. You see designers at the age of 40 and up and I mean, the drop-off rate is incredible and being in this space, you see that.

Our whole mission is to cut through all the industry bull that everybody’s dealing with. And we want to help designers survive and thrive through all of this. Some of the best designers in the world have 50, 60 years of experience behind them and that’s what’s everybody should [inaudible 36:45]. You should strive. If you can get that, you’re never going to work a day in your life. Our podcast is literally… we just celebrate our 50th episode, woo-ho, which is fun. And literally it’s not an interview podcast, it’s two of us, we’re getting feedback from some of the designers that we reach out to on a regular basis and we’re just hitting topics and making fun and just calling bull on all the stuff that the industry is telling you, you have to do, but the reality is you don’t have to do even a fraction of this. You don’t have to pretend that you’re ego driven, you can be humble in this space, you can be a designer who’s 40 years old and still be competitive against designers who are 20 years old. This is our mission right now, and this feels good because it feels like after gaining all this experience, we’re giving back to our peeps, the people that we know and who we are it’s kind of our mission right now.

Taylorr: Yeah. Well, hey, we’ll put that in the show link, definitely scroll down below, hit the description, the link will be there to listen to the podcast. Especially for those of you speakers, coaches, consultants, where you don’t feel like your brand is quite there yet, you want to get the low hanging fruit out of the way to take your brand to the next level, definitely go check that podcast out and hey, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it like it, subscribe to it and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all-in-one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcasts simple; it makes recording podcasts simple; it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus. And if you are interested checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbus.com/speakerflow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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