Ep. #1209 - What Winning Brands Look Like
Two of our most favorite podcast hosts delve into what winning brands look like in today’s Startup Hustle episode. Matt DeCoursey and Andrew Morgans, CEO and Founder of Marknology, decipher the essence of branding. They dissect the critical role of consistency in branding excellence and the essential components that distinguish a victorious brand. Gain valuable insights into the significance of readiness for triumphs and setbacks and mastering the art of narrating your brand’s story.
Covered In This Episode
Consistent branding can increase revenue between 10 and 20 percent. Andrew and Matt are experts in their own right in creating successful brands. They have an in-depth conversation about building a brand by building trust, quality, and consistency. Aside from providing peace of mind, it improves communication with the target audience.
They initially discuss how to create a winning brand by identifying and understanding your audience. It also involves determining the unique selling proposition, being consistent, and learning to tell your story. They advise preparing for both success and failure.
Building a winning brand is essential for business success. Find out what it looks like in this Startup Hustle episode now.
- What is branding? (1:48)
- Building a brand is building trust, quality, and consistency (4:45)
- Providing peace of mind (9:40)
- Communication through visuals and branding (14:24)
- Identify and understand your audience (16:08)
- What is your unique selling proposition (18:03)
- Prepare for both success and failure (19:42)
- Reputations and referrals (21:28)
- Be consistent (27:05)
- Learn to tell your story (31:59)
- Engagement and listening (37:03)
- Branding internally (45:08)
You have some brands that run side by side with quality or value, and then you have some that don’t. And I think once your brand gets that label and that tag hung around its neck, it’s kind of hard to get it off.– Matt DeCoursey
People just get used to doing things the saImages, content, and branding, what is that doing? It’s communicating trust. It’s communicating authenticity. It’s communicating quality. It’s communicating peace of mind.– Andrew Morgans
Some people forget they have been fulfilled before and the things that interest them the most. And then, you put on your sailor’s hat, jump on your ship, and start going on an expedition, trying to find that treasure. The only way to do that, A lot of times, artists are like they’ve built their social media following on content, or they can do visuals and content all day long. But they can’t understand how to build a back-end of a business that builds trust. So it’s, like, pick your poison. You know, it can be hard to be good at both. And I think that’s usually why if you’re good at one, you hire for the other.– Andrew Morgans
Part of that communication cycle and process is also engaging in listening. You know, no one will tell you the good stuff and the bad stuff about what you’re building or selling faster than the people who use it.– Matt DeCoursey
You can build a software development team without the fuss. Let Full Scale help you with it. Just define your technical needs in two minutes. Full Scale’s platform will automatically match you up with a fully vetted team of developers, testers, and leaders. The Inc. 5000 lister even has a client-friendly platform to help you manage your team efficiently.
Do you need other kinds of services aside from software development? We have Startup Hustle partners at your service.
Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 0:01
And we’re back, back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey, here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. So we’ve seen brands in general, some win, some lose. We’re going to talk a little bit today about what makes a winning brand. Now, before we get too far into that, I want to remind everyone that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is brought to you by FullScale.io. If you need to hire software engineers, testers, and leaders, Full Scale can help. Just go to FullScale.io. It takes about two minutes to fill out a form. Let us know what you need help with, and we will match you up with available service providers who are ready to go and help you be successful. And now, with me today, I’ve got a familiar face. I think so many of you probably are going to recognize who it is. It’s my one of my co-hosts, Andrew Morgan, the CEO and founder of Marknology and Amazon brand accelerator, out of Kansas City. Andrew, what’s up?
Andrew Morgans 0:58
What’s up? What’s up? Hopefully, they know my voice as well as they know my face. It’s gonna be an awesome show.
Matt DeCoursey 1:03
Yeah, well, they only know our voices. We’re like NFL players with helmets, like, you know, you might recognize the number, you might recognize the name, not so much the face. Well, actually, you can recognize the face. We’ve been publishing video highlights on pretty much all social media platforms. So maybe that’ll maybe we can maybe people will recognize who we are.
Andrew Morgans 1:26
Well, it’s good to see you, I can see you at least and it’s good to be back on the show. I’m excited to share some value with everybody today. We don’t get to chat that often. And I think 2023 has been an exciting year in E-commerce, the good, the bad, the ugly. And, you know, branding is not tied to just e-commerce, of course. But that’s the world I live in and happy to share anything, I think, might bring some value.
Matt DeCoursey 1:49
You know, when I think about, when you think about branding, I mean, what comes to mind?
Andrew Morgans 1:54
I think it is synonymous or likes with reputation and trust management, like, trust and reputation.
Matt DeCoursey 2:04
Yeah, I would say image, you know, the meaning not just like logo image, but like similar. The way you’re perceived, you know, you have some brands that run side by side with quality or value, and then you have some that don’t. And I think once your brand gets that label and that tag hung around its neck, kind of hard to get it off.
Andrew Morgans 2:30
Sure is. I think it’s just like you can build, you can spend a lifetime building a reputation as a person. And, you know, you can lose it in one, one instance, or one bad business decision or one bad moment, lapse of judgment. So I think of brand building a lot as reputation. And you know, whether that’s the way you appear, your visuals, it colors, your aesthetics, these are all things that say, Oh, I’ve seen that brand before. I’ve seen that font before. I’ve seen that face before. And feel like, you know.
Matt DeCoursey 2:58
Yeah, and you know, I’ve spent, you know, so my wife told me, I needed a hobby. And I found that my hobby was just watching videos and documentaries and master classes on entrepreneurship and business. But there’s a lot of stuff out there. And there’s been some, you know, very interesting, you know, the evolution of branding is is a real thing. And, you know, it’s anything that is going to evolve over time. But now you have the personal brand, you have a social media brand, you know, like there’s never has it, and the good news is, is never has it been more accessible to everyone. And you know, let’s let’s, let’s use an example of creating a brand out of nowhere. How about our buddies from Startup Hustle TV, the Perkins Brothers, out of a town of 3000 people in Bryson City, North Carolina, created a brand that, you know, in the construction industry is now known worldwide. You know that I’m actually going to see those guys this weekend.
Andrew Morgans 3:57
And it’s incredibly what you can do.
Matt DeCoursey 3:59
I do congratulate them in person on all the success but so much of that brand is built around the people and the identity, what do they do they build homes. Now sometimes that winning brand strategy win so much they actually quit taking orders for homes, they can’t even build homes. You know, and and part of the what’s associated with that brand is high quality. And I asked Erik said well, why don’t you hire more people? Well, we got to make sure the brand quality that the quality is is the same. But yeah, I mean, that’s an example. I mean, you’re literally talking about, you know, 30 years ago that wasn’t possible. You were just going to stay a home builder in western North Carolina. You weren’t going to be world famous. You weren’t going to get offered TV shows and we’re good. So if you’re out there listening and you want to build a brand, get to work.
Andrew Morgans 4:45
I think it has something to do with that trust piece I mentioned where I think if you’re showing people behind the scenes, your your bad days, your good days, your humor, your family. Like, they show you’re showing them like how you know the quality with which you do things. They’re just creating content but around what they do. And as far as the trust factor goes, it’s made 1000s of people, millions of people, you know, trust them as a team as a brand.
Matt DeCoursey 5:10
So if we go back to the definition of what we think of a brand, you could just almost say trust or distrust.
Andrew Morgans 5:17
Yeah, that’s really great.
Matt DeCoursey 5:19
What’s the brand that you trust?
Andrew Morgans 5:21
Matt DeCoursey 5:22
Okay, for those of you that aren’t in the area, Kwik Trip, a convenient store chain, maybe the I think it’s the best convenience store out there. They end it as a quick trip. You know, what I love about it is is the stamp you talk about some brands change the way you do things? At Kwik Trip, you have a cash register, and there’s an A and a B line. So you know how you normally get stuck behind that guy that’s like trying to pick up all the pennies off his counter, or maybe scratch the lottery ticket and turn it back in or down before you get a turn that doesn’t go on there. And it keeps it moving. But, you know, without you’ve also got certain like food products and different things, you know, you can go in and get something. I think I think consistency is another thing that you’re gonna run with it like do you know, you have a basic idea of what you’re gonna get when you go into WalMart, right?
Andrew Morgans 6:11
Matt DeCoursey 6:12
All right. You know a brand I trust? Apple. And I know not everyone agrees with that. Not everyone’s like a big apple person. But I have found a lot of reliability, a lot of success and a lot of consistency with the Apple brand. Everything from laptops, to phones to other equipment. And part of what I like about that is the backs of the consistency is that it connects well. Have you ever sat around and tried to get something one thing to enter, like, integrate or connect to something else and you end up just beating your head against the wall? Yeah, I see it. I see the look on your face, Andrew.
Andrew Morgans 6:49
I resisted Apple for a very long time. And as I started becoming more of a creator, and less of like a PC, you know, went to school for computer science, like avoid Apple like you know, you want to have the customizable PCs and Androids and stuff like that once I got over that. And I started thinking as a creator, wow, this Apple stuff is so much better. This connects with this instantly. And I have honestly never looked back. I’ve like replaced everything. I didn’t have Apple with Apple.
Matt DeCoursey 7:13
Yeah, that was that consistency. And then I think it was the trust. So you know, it did it. For me it was, man, at this point this was like 13 years ago. I had a you know what an Apple laptop. This is way back in the day, I went to clean it. And I was wiping it down with a cleaning cloth and a little bit of moisture may have gotten underneath the keys and it shorted out. It was technically out of warranty by a couple months. I took it up to the Apple store and they guess you know, this is out of warranty. I’m like, Yeah, I get it. And it’s all good. We’re gonna fix it anyway. They, and that one move at the store level right there got me buying that product for lifeguard and buying in my business. I mean, I’ve purchased hundreds of Apple products at this point, when you look at you know, so so, you know, like I said, consistency, I think we find that with our clients a lot at Full Scale, like, you know, the are using developers, as they’ll want their developers to have the exact same types of computers that they have in the Philippines, that they also have the United States, it makes it easier to troubleshoot. Okay, so
Andrew Morgans 8:20
You know, what I thought, Matt, I want to add one. One, they also got you to promote their to Apple on on a podcast. They didn’t know you’d be a podcast whenever they helped you with tech labs. Right. And, but I was thinking of something we both have in common, which is music gear. And I think one thing I really learned about the quality of things was when I was a musician, and there are certain brands that you just knew they were going to have a quality product, you know.
Matt DeCoursey 8:46
I used to work for one. Yeah, Roland, the world’s largest maker of electronic musical instruments is actually one of the industry standards for reliability and lack of failure rate is, as a term that you’ll you’ll run into that is the rate at which things either break or break within a warranty period and it was almost nothing you know, and that’s but that’s what you want. Now
Andrew Morgans 9:14
I’ve heard you talk about certain parts where you’re like these musicians have to bring you know these extra organs or extra keyboards or extra guitars along with them on tour because of how often things break and stuff right the spare parts so. Before I was even into E-commerce and brand building I was I was in a band touring and everything like that. And for me, that was really where I felt like even when I didn’t have money this thing was worth this price tag because I was gonna get this quality.
Matt DeCoursey 9:40
Well doesn’t Murphy’s Law dictate that these things will break at the worst possible moment, which in that particular case means when you’re out and you’re your biggest show of the of the tour, your biggest audience or Yeah, something along the way? So yeah, those petty little distractions in life really can get new whether you’re a music Shouldn’t or anything else can really knock you off track. And you know, it’s like, well, for example, we just had, we were on our second round of recording this because we had a little glitch in the, in the virtual studio and it, it didn’t fail, but it felt like it might. And that was enough of a distraction for me, should not be able to put my wrap my arms around it, so, okay, so if you’re gonna build a brand, you know, first off, I think, like, we talked about, like, where to start? I think you have to begin, let’s clarify, you know, what, what’s your, the purpose of your brand? You know, what’s the, what’s the purpose beyond making money? What problems do you solve? And problems can be as simple as like, Hey, make this easier. In fact, in most cases, that’s what people are buying a product for. It’s it’s to make life easier, sell more, spend less, and then my favorite one is intangible. And that’s peace of mind.
Andrew Morgans 11:05
That’s good. I wouldn’t
Matt DeCoursey 11:06
It’s really peace of mind. Well, if you can convince a potential buyer that there and that’s where the quality brand does it there’s peace of mind that goes with it. In like you’re in the Amazon business, I buy a ton of shit from Amazon because they back it up. And I feel that their delivery times will actually be what they say they are when I buy it. And you know, as some that follow me on social know, I’ve, I’ve, I am a hobby farmer now. And you know, here’s the thing is like, you know, this the farms. It’s not that far away. But it’s far enough that I don’t want to drive to the store and get every little thing and knowing that Amazon will reliably bring it the next day is good enough. In some cases, they bring it the same day. And that’s enough for me. So that I mean, that really is and that’s you know, but but what is your brand purpose? And what are the principles that guide your company like at Full Scale, we want to help you build a software team quickly and affordably.
Andrew Morgans 12:08
Yeah, with Marknology with Marknology. You know, we don’t work for Amazon direct, right? I’m actually flying out to Seattle this next week. I’m excited getting me with Amazon corporate. I don’t work for Amazon direct though I don’t work for Amazon corporate. I work for the brands that want to consistently keep selling on Amazon without problems because customers like you want to continue purchasing things for your farm through the Amazon platform. There’s a whole machine running behind the scenes from from the products you pick on the platform to how they get shipped out the door to them arriving in the way that you think you’re gonna get them. So Amazon holds brands accountable to those trust standards. We help brands keep those trust standards in line, or better, or improve them. So that’s our why or why is really there to help people navigate the Amazon platform. But I think one thing that you said is like yourself
Matt DeCoursey 12:57
peace of mind.
Andrew Morgans 12:58
So peace of mind.
Matt DeCoursey 12:59
That’s the number one thing the peace of mind of knowing that the setup the the act of selling and the follow through are on point. When you can go wrong within those boundaries, man. Like, you told me at one point that one of the one of the most basic things that so many people who are don’t seem to get right is photography. Like and I’m in that boat like I want to see if you can give me a good picture. All right, give me an example as the soundboard I’m using to record the show on. I went to buy one. I was looking at one on Amazon, just didn’t have that many pictures. I couldn’t see what I could plug in, it just wasn’t clear to me. A confused mind almost always says no and shitty pictures will make me sell no too. If you walk in so many of you listening might not know this, but Full Scale and Marknology have offices in the same building. And if you walk in the entrance, on many days, you get to you can put on you leave your sunglasses on. Because the photo studio at Marknology, which is a separate room is shining bright. Well let’s clear photographs of what you’re trying to sell. That shouldn’t be what gets in the way. But simple little things like that can ruin a brand identity. I look at a listing on for something for sale on Amazon. If you have a shit listing, I just assume that you’re a shit company with a shit product.
Andrew Morgans 14:24
People think visual and content but what we’re doing is communication. communication through visuals like photography and graphic design that says hey, this is exactly the soundboard you want. These are all the connections that you’re going to need. This is what it’s going to do for you. This is how it’s going to make your life easier. It’s going to give you peace of mind that you bought the right thing, right? Those are the what we’re trying to convey through the images. So everyone’s like, Oh, images and content and branding. What is that doing? It’s communicating trust. It’s communicating authenticity, it’s communicating quality. It’s communicating peace of mind. So I think people just don’t understand how to communicate in every medium. Um
Matt DeCoursey 15:00
Yeah. And or take a picture.
Andrew Morgans 15:03
Or take a picture with someone that can take a good picture.
Matt DeCoursey 15:07
Well, in some in some of that stuff that’s a blocker is I mean, in fairness to people with bad pictures, can you be fair about that about pictures about picture but in fairness it out is like, not everyone has a photo studio and lighting and good cameras and stuff like that. I think if you’re trying to build a brand you need to get yourself aligned with, with either the employees that will guide you through it. Or companies like Marknology or Full Scale, that, you know, I don’t have to have your brilliant idea to help you build a brilliant software platform. You know, like, we’re busy trying to be brilliant about how we hire people and get the right people. I sell peace of mind as well. You know, so, people ask me, what do you do? That’s a common question in life. And if I’m feeling a little snarky, I may sell peace of mind. You know, so but yeah, okay, so as we move down the line here. And if you want to build a winning a winning brand, I think you got to know and understand your audience.
Andrew Morgans 16:08
I think you got to know your audience 100%. And so this all comes down to communicating. Like, if I’m going out in the world, today, I’m a single guy going out there to date, to be able to communicate who I am, what I do, you know, I’m dressing myself in a certain way that say, visually to communicate. My individuality as a person are how I want to present myself and be seen to the world. And I have to communicate who I am and what I’m about. And I think any kind of brand is trying to create itself, whether it’s for social media, or or they don’t care, they just want a website, or they’re just going b2b. You still have to communicate your values, you have to communicate your mission, what you solve, and you have to communicate, you know, who you’re trying to reach, like you said, your, your, your ideal customer. And so if you don’t know what you’re selling, you don’t know why you’re selling it, or how you want to present that that gets hard as well. So I think it’s really, like you said, just making sure you know what you’re bringing to the world before you do that.
Matt DeCoursey 17:09
Is it fair to say that Bud Light might not have known their audience recently?
Andrew Morgans 17:13
It’s fair to say it. That is corret.
Matt DeCoursey 17:17
I support the try, you know, like, I’m all about fairness, and, and, you know, diversity and all this. But that said, that might have been a bad move. Because like, who is who is your existing audiences that you know, and like, hey, and what are the results you see? What What I didn’t realize it Bud Light was the best selling beer in America.
Andrew Morgans 17:42
Well, always like, is that tagline or is that real?
Matt DeCoursey 17:46
I know, it was real. They have like a double digit percentage of all beer soul. Wow, not really, I don’t doubt doubt right, there blows my mind. That’s a whole nother episode,
Andrew Morgans 18:00
We’re in the Midwest, and we like our beer around here.
Matt DeCoursey 18:02
You know, but yeah, but like not understanding your target market. I mean, it can be it can be disastrous in some regards. And I think that that too many brands, let let it slip through the net, what it what is the value proposition that we provide? Or what is our, you know, kind of continue to move on with building brand? Like, what’s my unique selling proposition here. And, you know, like, I’ll use Full Scale. As an example, as you know, back to that peace of mind, we want to help you not get caught up in hiring the wrong people, because hiring the wrong people that your business is just a is a setback, both financially and just for the overall progress, and it can just be disruptive, in many regards. So what’s unique about it? Well, we are we started as our own clients. We like to say we’re created by founders, for founders and have it and have a direct perspective about what it takes and what you need to make a software product and then to make it successful. So I can I can tell you, if you’re another software founder, I can say, hey, look, I’ve sat in your seat, I understand. I empathize with where you’re at. I understand the struggle and the fight of trying to get all this stuff done. And that’s helped us create, I want to get too far down that rabbit hole because this show isn’t about that. But you know, that’s unique, considering the fact that almost all of my competition is either a freelance marketplace somewhere or companies that are already overseas. So that unique selling proposition, people like to buy things from people that they feel are similar to themselves.
Andrew Morgans 19:42
Yeah, I think that’s what this show helps to is that helps communicate the values, the mind, the strategy behind the founders of the company. If you’re just looking at a website, you’re looking at pictures, visuals, reading about something. You’re only getting a certain level of trust with that company until you’ve tried the product until someone you No have tried the product until you’ve listened to, you know, hundreds of hours of someone on a podcast or YouTube, kind of like the Perkins Brothers and a lot of ways you feel like you know them, you know, by the time you do business with them. And I think that’s why, you know, we’re living in a world where it’s a little bit different because, you know, I know of a brand on TikTok, TikTok shops right now, that in the last like seven months became a six, seven figure brand strictly from tick tock, they now have a brand that if they weren’t ready, it can blow up overnight. And that wasn’t something that really could happen in the past, like it used to take years to build a good brand and reputation. And you had to if you were on tour, there wasn’t a Spotify and YouTube and TikTok to blow up and artists, if you were trying to make it as an artist, you had to get connected with a label or you had to tour for years on end to get seen, to get visibility, to get followers and you were able to develop your brand over time. And now, you know, you can do the right thing, get on Twitter, get on some brand new social media platform, get some exposure from from a big podcast or big artists like that. And tomorrow, you’re now a brand that everybody’s looking at. And do you have your your house in order so to speak? Do you know what you’re bringing to the table? Do you know your values? Is everyone on the same page on your team? You know, you you think like, Oh, I’m gonna have time to build this? Well, it’s 2023. And stuff can happen overnight. In the same way you can get millions of followers overnight, you can also get cancelled overnight, if you’re not being careful.
Matt DeCoursey 21:27
So well, as you are aware because you’ve been on the receiving end of this I often called and people want advice or input and you know, the I think it’s because I won’t bullshit people. But you know, I tell people this a lot I say, Look, everything I’m hearing about your plan is prevent is set up to prevent the sky from falling. What are you going to do if everything happens to go, right? Because if everything does go right, like you mentioned, like you can I mean, it look, it’s rare to be the overnight sensation. But you can destroy the brand as quickly as you can build in that regard. And that happens a lot. You know, like, I don’t think that there’s there’s not like a magazine called failed branding. Maybe we should start it because that’d be cool. Probably be kind of interesting. I would read that actually. But you get into this, like, you know, that’s a thing. And we’ve seen that that occur. Now, most of the time, you think someone’s an overnight sensation, they’ve probably been working on it for like eight frickin years. Right? I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that are like, yeah, I’m an overnight sensation, nine years in the making, but, but you gotta be ready for that. And that’s, that’s part of it. And you know, like, you mentioned that things, really, some things really do move at lightspeed these days, and you got to be ready to handle it. Because, you know, and I think part of it is also like, I’ve seen a lot of people that are really good at the brand building and then they suck at the delivery. Yeah, on the flip side, so and I, you know, I’ve given advice to people, I’m like, What’s the fucking point, like, if you’re gonna, like, you’re doing great at lead gen, and exposure, and getting views and building followers, but then when you actually get a revenue generating customer that wants to buy weather, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. If you can’t deliver, well, they ain’t gonna stick around, it’s so much easier to keep the clients you already have than it is to continue finding new ones. And that is going to catch up with you eventually. In some regard, it’s going to catch up with you, if anything, just in lack of referrals, you know, analytics tool to track how many people aren’t calling because someone else said I tried it, it kind of sucked.
Andrew Morgans 23:50
You know, what it makes me think of is like, so I have this thing where if I’m traveling to a new city, I will try a barbershop that like I look up online, or that I’ve never been to, or just like this nearby, in here in Kansas City, I pretty much go to my spot, right? But like when I’m traveling, it’s kind of a thing I take this risk. It is a risk to try a new barber or whatever. And if I go into the barber shop, and there’s no one in there, okay, like this is just like a thing. Like the good barbers are busy. They’re usually on like a schedule. They’re usually like you have to book them. And so if I go into a barber shop and there might be the one or two people guy or girl that are like there for walk ins, but the rest of the barbers are usually pretty busy. And you might even have to wait around a little bit to get into walk in. That’s what I want to do. Like I want to wait a little bit to get a spot at the barbershop. If I walk in and it’s empty, it’s not where I want to be. And I think that’s in my mind. It’s it’s at some point, this barber shop has been going a minute it’s probably not brand new. It’s probably been going a minute and people have stopped referring this barbershop. That’s why there’s no one in there.
Matt DeCoursey 24:52
I’ve been that way with the contractors that have come through at the farm because we’ve been in this like rapid fire building you’ve been I’ve been talking to you about it. Sending you pictures, and I’ve shared some of them. But you know it when it’s August and you have like a deck builder that can start on it right away in the midst of like a massive construction boom everywhere like that. I mean,
Andrew Morgans 25:16
that’s kind of like, why are you available?
Matt DeCoursey 25:18
Yeah. Yeah. So you know, and that’s, I mean, well to go back to Perkins, they don’t even take orders. They can’t, like, I remember when I first met Erik, he was still like, years out on building anything. And you know, now I think they build houses, just because if they don’t build houses, then they don’t have a place to record the show.
Andrew Morgans 25:37
people. Yeah, people want stuff like yesterday, you know, no one wants to wait for anything. Yeah. But what I’ve learned is that if you want the best, oftentimes, they are busy, therefore, they have their boundaries or whatever, like up you have to wait. Like, if I’m going to a tattoo artist. Yeah, exactly. I waited six months, I’m like, great, that’s the kind of timeline I want to wait to put something on my body permanently, like, you know. So I think that’s, that’s something to know, you’re gonna get those reputations, you’re not gonna get those referrals. You know, that kind of stuff. But you’re, you’re right, like, things can happen overnight, you gotta be ready for whatever that looks like. And it’s just, it’s a different time than it used to be. So I think these things are important right away, I was also going to say, when you talked about some people really struggling at the photography, I think I’ve almost found that it’s like 50-50, let’s say 50 of them struggle at communicating visually, and the others will be so good at communicating visually, but so bad on the back end of delivering, like through ops, or getting the packages out the door, or lead times or, or follow through, or the quality whenever they get it is not good. And a lot of times artists are like they’ve built their social media following on content, or they’ve built, they can do visuals and content all day long. But they can’t understand how to build a back end of a business that builds trust. So it’s like, pick your poison. You know, it can be hard to be good at both. And I think that’s usually why if you’re good at one, you hire for the other.
Matt DeCoursey 27:04
Yeah, if we, let’s keep moving down the line here and talk a little bit about the identity like building a brand identity and developing it. I mean, you need to name a logo consistency. So one of the very first things alright, so just to, to frame up. So when we first started Full Scale, I mean, I’m talking within the first couple months. I immediately started working on what would become a brand identity. So obviously, we got a name, we got a logo, those things are great. Now how consistent is like the colors that you use, the typography, the tone and voice of what you do. And if that’s all over the place, then it just I don’t know, it kind of starts to feel like you’re getting yelled out by a bunch of different people potentially. And this is as simple as creating like a one, like, just make a frickin decision. There are six numbers in a color code, pick one for green, and spread that around because anyone that’s gonna use it, whether it’s on your website, your print material, the free pencils that you hand out at the office, they should all be consistent. And then also talk about like that tone in the voice, like, are you playful? Are you Stern? Are you telling jokes? Are you, you know, like, I mean, a lot of it. And that should match up with the audience. And don’t
Andrew Morgans 28:25
Don’t be bipolar. Like, Don’t be funny online and then when people meet you, you’re like, stern and direct and have no sense of humor. You know, it’s about that consistency. One thing I noticed on social media is some social media content creators will wear the same outfit in all of their videos, they’ll always have the same green shirt or green hat or something like that. We’ll see them or gold. So when people see them online, they’re like, they they recognize them even faster because that person is not changing outfits every time which is almost a little weird. Like you’re gonna wear that same outfit for like years in order to be known, but but they are and I think,
in the closet.
Think about Zuckerberg
Matt DeCoursey 29:06
Because I own about 50 pairs. And if you catch me out in public these days, which is harder and harder to do, bro. But yeah, I always wear like sometimes like the shiniest metallic looking gold shoes you can have and it’s funny because it works. I mean, people will remember that. And that’s all point. I’m not and by the way, that’s kind of a hard habit to maintain. They don’t really make a lot of gold shoes for men. Now if you’re a woman, you can find all kinds of gold shoes, but not not so much for men.
Andrew Morgans 29:37
Says the guy with 50 pairs.
Matt DeCoursey 29:38
But well, it took years to build those up, dude, you know, and the thing is, is people will remember that and I could even call I could follow some follow up. Well, here you go. I’ll show you here’s a stack of business cards from the last thing I went to. If I called all those people up, they’d remember me as the dude with a gold shoes. And honestly, it’s hard It starts a lot of conversations too. I’m alright with that.
Andrew Morgans 30:03
I think it’s also like the consistency is around that trust factor. You know, like, if, if I’m nice, nice, nice, nice, nice, I’m going on a date, I’m gonna keep using the same analogy. You’re going on a date, you’re nice, nice, nice. And then one time you’re like short and mean, and rude or harsh or not talking to anyone. That person that’s trying to get to know you is gonna be like, Whoa, I didn’t see this side of you. And it’s not to say we don’t have different dimensions. But it’s like the same way in your business. If you’re like, I’m blue, I’m blue, I’m blue. I’m yellow and green. They’re like, well, I’m if I see those colors, again, I’m not going to know if that’s Marknology or not like what is Marknology’s colors, what is your true character as a person? If you’re trying to get to know people? That’s what you’re that’s what a business is. We’re talking about it as a brand as a business. But you can think of it on the individual level as well. And you’re like, are you an Amazon brand accelerator? Are you a tick tock agency, or you’re a social media agency? Are you developers, what do you guys do? We’re an Amazon brand, accelerate, we build brands. And that can be harder, harder than it seems like at the beginning. But what I’ll say to any young founders or people just getting started is Marknology has evolved, like our mission and what we do and how we do it. You know, we’ve stayed consistent with our logo and our colors and things like that. But we definitely started here and nine years later, we’ve we’ve pivoted in a few different ways. We have a warehouse and fulfillment center. Now there’s different things that we do on top of that, but you definitely want to stay consistent throughout. And I think one thing me and you both have in common is a reputation for, you know, being a straight shooter. Speaking, speaking our mind how it is giving our opinions. I’m definitely known at conferences and events I go to. I’m sure some people don’t like me for the same things. But there’s a lot of people that just like, they’ll reference a podcast episode or, or something where I said something kind of crass, I guess, or from the hip and, and they liked that. And so that’s, that’s something that’s part of our individual brand.
Matt DeCoursey 31:59
Oh, usually, the most common feedback I’ve got about this show is I love that you guys keep it real. Just meaning like, it’s not just all talking about wins and Lambos and jets and shit like that. It’s like cuz you there’s not a lot to learn from that want those kinds of success, blueprints, once they’re run, like, I mean, they’ve those can only happen so many times before it’s just not that spectacular. All right, so next in line here is learn how to tell the story of your brand and your product, or perhaps the good that it creates. And this is, I think, where so many people honestly suck. You know, like brand storytelling, like it’s very predictable. We get the book, The Story brand, I think it’s Donald Miller that wrote it, and he teaches you how to tell a story with your own brand. And it’s essentially like at the very beginning of the book, he says, Don’t read this book, if you don’t want me to ruin every single movie you’re gonna see for the rest of your life. And then you read the book, and you’re like, holy shit, he’s right. You know, so there is a predictable path in which we as listeners, viewers, whatever it is, absorb a story. That’s why when occasionally you get that that weird movie, and I say weird, because it’s outside of the story brand kind of lineup that wins an Oscar and you go and you’re like, wow, this is gonna be great. You got to watch it. You’re like, What the fuck is this? This is terrible. It’s because it’s not in it’s not set up in the way that you wanted to digest it. And it’s also something that’s so different that maybe the people that vote on that stuff are, like, Thank God, something different. Let’s give it an Oscar.
Andrew Morgans 33:47
They were so outside the box.
Matt DeCoursey 33:48
Yeah, but but that happens. And you know, and that’s the thing, though, but that’s why a lot of those movies don’t actually become big blockbusters because it feels Yeah, like, I mean, it’s not even an 80-20 thing. It’s like a 95 and five thing. And that’s essentially, someone has a problem. There’s a guy that comes along and wants to help them fix it. They usually run in, they do some training, they run into adversity and fail, they go back, they skill up a little more, practice a little more, they come back again, they usually win at that point. And then there’s some kind of ritual or celebration at the end. And that’s the format. So like, I could tell that story. If I wanted to put it in the context of Full Scale, I’d say you know, Andrew, there’s this, there’s a startup and in the beginning, they felt that cheap was the way to go. And they ended up with cheap. And so we came in and we gave them some advice. We help them find the right people. It took a little bit we had a little bit of failure because the culture was built around bad practices or something and then we revised again, hit the market found some success. Woohoo, you’re on the Inc 5000 or something like that. And you know, there you go. Speaking of that, you see, we did that again.
Two for two, baby.
Andrew Morgans 35:08
I love it.
Matt DeCoursey 35:08
You know, with self like that it’s so funny because in your early years, it’s so easy to be up like 1,000% Over a year one gets harder. As you get down the line I got, I got mad love for the companies that are like this was our 13th year in a row. I’m like, I’m listening. Okay, now you’ve gotten back to that storytelling thing. And you know, that’s what we kind of do on this podcast, amongst other things, but don’t, don’t downplay the importance of telling that story, you know, are
Andrew Morgans 35:41
Super, super important. I think as humans, that’s how I mean, in grade school in school, I pretty much only listen to the teachers that were telling stories. Like, I think I think there is a human. I don’t know, human DNA type of thing that makes us just like we simulate information, we take in information based on the way that it’s shared or communicated to us. And if it’s in his story, in his fits into story form, this is how we like pass on wisdom and education through the centuries. It was like elders are the wise people in the in the group and the tribe telling stories, youngers and we pass on those stories over and over and over, it’s in our DNA. And so I think you can, you can try to combat that or go around it or do things differently. But if you want success, I think the key is to communicate in a way that everybody else can take in the information in the best way. And if you’re doing that well, whether it’s visuals or audio or video, or whatever it is in the way that you’re telling your story. I think you’re going to be more successful. So if you if you already had no all these things, and you’re not, you’re not listening to us anyway. If you’re trying to figure these things out, you’re having an open mind, the story brand is a great way a great place to get started in figuring out, you know, kind of what that template is to bring your story to life. And then from there, you can tweak it. You can, you can change things around. But I think it’s very, very important.
Matt DeCoursey 37:03
Well, part of that communication cycle and process is also engaging in listening. You know, no one’s going to tell you the good stuff and the bad stuff about what you’re building or selling faster than the people that use it. Now, I think a lot of times as founders or managers or people involved, we let our ego get hurt. Because someone doesn’t, someone says something. So there are some people that legitimately don’t like me, but should probably thank me because I’m I went to another business owner who points out some of the flaws that might exist in my business, I take it very seriously. Because that, you know, look, people don’t anybody out there doesn’t have to take any time to give you feedback there. Trust me, there’s a million other things that they probably rather be doing. But you know, like, you know, no one’s going to tell if your business shows up and you do a shitty job, I’m probably gonna tell you about it. I’ll tell you, you need a good job too, though. You know, like, so all these service providers that have been doing everything from building playgrounds, to drilling wells, to pouring concrete, you know, like I when I, cuz I’ve been around a lot of these folks lately. And I’m like, hey, you know, this is where I found you online. This was clear, this wasn’t clear. I’ve even got one guy that actually started out by reaching out to me because he was a Startup Hustle fan. He told me he is a landscape architect and I ended up calling them and he did some bids for me. And I didn’t buy because the bids were not good. They weren’t clear. And and then he comes back to me says, dude, teach me? Where am I messing this up? And I said, all right. Sure. I’ll play so coached him up on it. And he’s got about $100,000 worth of from a sense out, yeah, farm, but it involves like, you know that that’s engagement and listening. You can’t be too proud to hear what people have to say. Now that said, try not to have ADHD and chase every single thing down. I like to say listen for the echo. When people are repeatedly telling you the same thing about you or your product or whatever, listen, there’s probably some merit to it at that point. So yeah, I was gonna say it this way and put the listening cap on and yeah,
Andrew Morgans 39:27
For me, it’s all about I think it’s important to be like, I will give credit where credit is due. And I will also try to critique or improve a process to it’s hard for me to take it in positively. If it’s let’s say it’s a competitor giving you feedback or and they’re only negative. You know, that client that doesn’t matter what you do, even if you’re hitting homeruns they’re just like going to find the negative. Those are hard to listen to, in my opinion. I usually am like, ah, that’s worth a grain of salt. If they’re consistently saying good job, when we do good and saying, Hey, this is where we can be better. I’m way be more apt to listen, active listening. So have some of those people around you that are gonna give the good and the bad. You know, if you only tore apart when I called you up for some advice or like some friendship to talk about stuff. If you only hammered everything I was doing all the time. I’m not sure I would be like, Man, is gonna give me great advice. I don’t know, it’s like,
Matt DeCoursey 40:21
A disclaimer, do you remember? I’m like, I won’t. I’m not gonna argue, okay, you can’t get mad at me if I don’t tell you what you want to hear. And I’m not going to spend any time arguing while you’re right and I’m wrong. You wanted the feedback? Here it is. Take it or don’t. And like that’s the whole thing is that there’s a reason I have to have those disclaimers when people call me for input or advice. It’s because I’ve had a ton of people get mad at me because I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. And also, I’ve spent a lot of time they’re like, Oh, well, you’ve got these objections. But I’m like, No, that’s not what I’m doing right now. Because that just goes on and on and on. And a lot of times, it’s just stubborn. You know how having your pride hurt
Andrew Morgans 41:08
On Amazon, specifically, to two quick things. Amazon had like, I think it was a Wall Street Journal, or New York Times or something, maybe five years ago came out with some third party data of like, they had done a report on all these people falsifying reviews on Amazon. So some, like really bad kind of feedback, it was like review gate. And Amazon took that very, very seriously. They took the feedback very, very seriously. And they brought in a third party firm that cleaned it all up and did all these investigations. People ended up in prison kind of wild stuff. Amazon took it very, very seriously because they cared about their service. I think that, you know, if you’re in the business of giving business advice, consulting, you know, you give as much of that as you take. And in some cases, I’m now even paying people to give me that advice, right, because in certain areas, you need it. But I think if you’re going to be a brand that people trust, you got to be a straight shooter, you also got to be able to take, you know, great feedback from people and implemented where you can.
Matt DeCoursey 42:10
Well, and that’s the hard part is like, you know, implement it where you can, when you can, and I always thank people for that kind of stuff. I look back years ago, there was a CTO and founder at a company that had had an exit and moved on to another place. And on his way out, he sent me one of those founder to founder emails and alerted me to something that was going on in our sales department. And I could have read that email. I’ve been like this too, just being a dick. I, he was I thanked him profusely, because it lent it. I had a problem that I knew existed, but I wasn’t really sure where it was coming from, like, I didn’t, but when I. The moment I got inside network, that dude had a million other things to do. Besides send me that, and man, I will never forget that I remember those parts about my business a lot. I mean, just a lot when it comes up. And you know, it is what it is. All right. So look, this is what builds brand loyalty, and also can help you protect your brand. I think that we would be remiss if we if I didn’t mention a couple of those. Here we are at the end of yet another episode of Startup Hustle brought to you by FullScale.io and we’ll say Marknology.com, right. Like, if you want to build your brand on Amazon, reach out to Andrew. Go to Marknology.com. There’s a link for that in the show notes. If you want to build a team of software experts that work only for you, go to FullScale.io. You know, you talk about like, you know, there’s so many dimensions. So we probably this could have been like a four part.
Andrew Morgans 43:46
We should bring it back, we might need to bring it back. And I’ll host this time. But I think that branding is a topic that a lot of people just hear it as a buzzword and don’t really understand. So I like trying to break it down into the different elements that it is and the things that people should think about. When you’re like, hey, your branding sucks. People just think visually.
Matt DeCoursey 44:03
That should be title of the next episode,
Andrew Morgans 44:05
Your branding sucks, I think you should do
Matt DeCoursey 44:09
branding, we could
Andrew Morgans 44:11
pull up an example. And just tear it apart a little bit and then show how to build it back up. But
Matt DeCoursey 44:18
I mean, some of this, I’ve even got stuff in like my book, Million Dollar Bedroom, like for like, little basics, like not having a hyphen in your web domain. You know, like, just little things that you find you’re always going to have to explain or mention. You know, and there’s and these are. Yeah, so little thing.
Andrew Morgans 44:41
Yeah, yeah. And, and you have to worry about your branding on different platforms. So something about Marknology that just as a little thing is we’ve expanded into Target. And you know, we’re doing a lot of content for brands on Target. Well, there’s a lot of different elements to the branding, in on the technical side of things we can do, can’t do. And so sometimes times you have to work with pros that can understand that particular market or that medium in which you’re trying to present your brand. There can be nuance to it as well.
Matt DeCoursey 45:08
Yeah. And then, you know, as we get into, here’s the thing to your brand isn’t always about your consumers or your buyers. It can also be about your existing and future employees. We have spent a tremendous amount of time, focus, and energy in the Philippines building a brand because we had no presence there five years ago. And now, when we do onboarding, you know, bring in a new employee, and we ask them, Well, what made you want to come here? I mean, more often than not, there’s man, there’s a lot of hype and buzz around this company, man. Like, I knew it couldn’t all be bullshit. And, you know, it takes it that that doesn’t happen overnight. Yeah, it doesn’t happen overnight. But you know, it’s, it’s about like, here’s it. Here’s another thing, too no one wants to come work at the industry’s worst performer. There’s not a lot of pride or joy or anything there. So, if you want to get the best people, you have to have a great brand that goes around it. You know, the main thing that we get as people as over there is, I really heard this company cares about its employees. Thank you for noticing.
Andrew Morgans 46:16
What better thing to do?
Matt DeCoursey 46:18
Whether you notice or not. Right. But thank you for noticing that goes a long way. And that you mean that that matters. Certainly
Andrew Morgans 46:24
Make a small plug here. Let me make a small plug because some people might not know this. And it’s weird to say about your own company. But you know, during I think there was a tsunami or a hurricane there in the typhoon, Typhoon. Sorry. Yeah, yeah. I’ve never I’ve never been in a typhoon but you know, little things. People say, well, what is branding, and people are thinking of the visuals and communication and the whys. And but what you guys did internally there in the Philippines, or for your team, supporting them during that time, whether it was water, whether it was places to stay, whether it was housing, you know, you guys spent money on a thing that didn’t return direct ROI. But putting it in context, as you know, years, years later, you’ve got people like, Oh, my God, I’ve heard this company treats its employees really great.
Matt DeCoursey 47:10
I think it did pay a return because of 2022. We’re the night 93% plus an employee retention rate. In a year that was very well known as the year of the resignation. Yep. Where 40% of Americans quit their job and went to work somewhere else. And that wasn’t unique to the United States. So yeah, I think it does pay dividends and benefits. And you know, Andrew, that was nothing more than just doing the right thing. That wasn’t intended to have like a PR twist to, uh, you know.
Andrew Morgans 47:43
Correct, but that was an action taken that internally built branding. Yeah, like, that’s what I’m getting at as an internal thing. Those people are then telling their co-workers, their neighbors, their family, their friends, whatever when asked about Full Scale, what’s it like to work there? They’re like, wow, this company is really great, treats people, they took care of us, things like that. So it’s actions you do even behind the scenes that people don’t see. That can end up being something that can lead to.
Matt DeCoursey 48:07
I can fires and clients and customers too, though, you know, and, you know. That said, like, the socially and cost-conscious company wants to do business with other companies that aren’t just treating people like shit. Yeah. And that’s, that’s, I don’t know, that’s part of why we’re so picky about what clients we bring in too. Because if you’re going to treat our people like crap, I just, I got other things to do. Yep. It’s just not what people sign up for. But that’s what matters, though. Do those employees have the trust in you to not march them into certain death or misery? And then, dude, I’ll tell you what data is a hard thing to build. Because I think most people are, you know, they’re used to hearing it, but not seen it. And there’s a big difference. So I think that’s a good place to end, and we can chat off-air about our 19-part series about fixing everyone else’s shitty branding. That’s what it’s gonna take, folks, for us to get to the bottom of this because there’s so much of it out there. Please don’t be that company. Andrew, I’ll catch up with you soon.
Andrew Morgans 49:13
See you, guys.