John and I discuss Brain Surfing the Greatest Marketing Strategy Professionals  in the World by Heather LeFevre – I think it’s inspiring, John thinks it’s too random, we’d love to hear what YOU think!

Listen Here:

Transcript –  Book Club Discussion – Brainsurfing Marketing Strategy


Announcer: You’re listening to Aviation Marketing Hangar Flying, the community for the best sales and marketing professionals in the aviation industry. You can’t learn to fly just from a book. You learn from other pilots who know the tools, the skills, and the territory. Your hosts, John and Paula Williams, are your sales and marketing test pilots.
They take the risks for you and share strategies, relevant examples, hacks and how-tos. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, so you won’t miss a thing. [SOUND]

Paula Williams: Welcome to this month’s book club discussion. Today we are talking about Brain Surfing The Top marketing Strategy Minds in the world by Heather LeFevre.
So I’m Paula Williams.

John Williams: And I’m John Williams.

Paula Williams: And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is:

John Williams: To help all you ladies and gentlemen out there in the aviation world sell more products and services.

Paula Williams: Absolutely. So every month, we read a different sales or marketing book.

And this one was suggested by somebody in a group, I have no idea who. [LAUGH] And honestly, I was kind of skeptical of this one if only because of the cover and title. I thought that was kind of a little bit of a turn off for me, because I was thinking this is gonna be a kind of a pop psychology.

I don’t know, the pink and orange brain on the cover just didn’t really do it for me. What do you think?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Uh-huh.

Paula Williams: Uh-huh, [LAUGH] but it was actually really kind of interesting, because the premise of the book. I mean, this turned out to be kind of a marketing book plus a travel log.

Both of which, we love travel, and we love marketing. So it turned out to be much better than I had expected. So the theory behind the book. Heather LeFevre, she’s an American that has been working in Amsterdam for a while, and she was feeling kind of burnt-out. Being a creative person that’s feeling kind of burnt out is death, right?

John Williams: I don’t know, she presents this as all brand new. Let’s go get them stuff, but some of it’s so old. I mean, I’ve experienced a lot of this stuff growing up, so.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: I’m not sure why.

Paula Williams: Well, speaking of old, in the days before universities, a person learned a trade by being an apprentice for seven years.

And then being a journeyman and traveling to study with various different masters or people who are really the best in their trade, and learning different methods for another seven years. And then they could call themselves a master goldsmith or cobbler or whatever the profession or the guild or the trade was, right?

John Williams: Yeah, but you know what? In the days after universities, using myself as an example, I did the same thing. My dad told me, and he didn’t say it like that, but what he told me was to go out there and learn from each company for a couple years.
Change companies and continue to do that using each one as a stepping stone for the next level.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And I did that for seven years.

Paula Williams: Right.

John Williams: And then I became a consultant.

Paula Williams: So you got a master’s degree in life.

John Williams: Well, according to her.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm, exactly. So, another thing that she mentions is Stefan Sagmeister’s Ted Talk, where he takes a one year sabbatical every seven years. And I think rather than taking a bunch of years of retirement, it makes some sense to do something different every seven years or so. And to really kind of fuel the whole creativity by learning something different or trying something new and not doing the same thing over and over again.

You and I both feel the same way about universities, I think. They teach you some interesting stuff, but some of it is not really relevant to the real world.

John Williams: Yes, it’s hopefully educating your brain but do not necessarily relevant to any particular vocation or application you wanna chase.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: If it is, much better. But I think Corporate America has used that as a discriminator rather than-

Paula Williams: Yeah, that’s true, and that’s fair. So, the theory behind the book, Brain Surfing, is not using psychotropic drugs or anything like that. It’s on the same theory as couch surfing.

So basically, she becomes a guest in the home of each of these great marketers, and she gets to snoop around. What books are they reading? What do they talk about around the kitchen table? How many hours do they put in at work? How do they run meetings? Who are the most important people in their company?

Who they spend the most time with? All of those kinds of things that we wouldn’t think to ask unless you’re kind of embedded in this situation, right?

John Williams: Well, I don’t know. I mean, as far back as third grade, and my teacher said that when you grow up, when you are looking for a job, one of the things you got to ask is, what books have you read?

He said it almost like that. What books have you read? And then they were gonna go in, talk about these different books and wanna find out where your brain is. Do they do that in reality? They did it for a while as I was growing up, but they don’t any more or rarely do.

Paula Williams: I was gonna say I don’t think I have ever been asked in a job interview, or at a date, or anything else.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: What books have you read? But I ask our kid that all the time, but anyway. So, her thought for this was to make a top ten list, just like we do, of the people that she really wanted to learn from and send them letters.

She said, weirdly, some of them said yes, and not reluctantly. They really liked the idea, they liked her experiment, they liked the idea of her book, and they really got into it. So, anyway, that’s the theory behind the book, so it’s a little unconventional, and it took me a while to kind of get the hang of the book.

Just cuz it’s not a normal marketing book, or a normal even travel  book. It’s kind of a mix of both.

John Williams: It was kind of interesting here in there, and it had some good thoughts. But as far as buying at the marketing. Maybe to marketing to the old style Madison Avenue firms it might apply, but I’m not sure you could apply it across the board to the way marketing is accomplished these days.

Paula Williams: Okay, well, I found a lot of really cool stuff in the book, so I’m sure we will agree to disagree here a lot. [LAUGH]

John Williams: No.

Paula Williams: No.

John Williams: Heaven forbid.

Paula Williams: Okay, so first person she talked with was Jason Oke in Hong Kong, Young & Rubicam.

One thing I did notice about this, and I’ve noticed this before, but it really struck me when reading the book. All of the Madison Avenue-type, or all of the really cool marketing firms had terrible names that you would never remember. It’s like two guys’ last names, with a plus sign sometimes, or a bunch of initials or whatever.

But anyway, so Jason Oke of Young & Rubicam in Hong Kong. So this is Jason at the Red Fuse Conference, and a really cool guy, actually. This is when I started actually becoming a little bit more warmed up to the book. I was listening to some of their conversations about different things like the Checklist Manifesto is one of Jason’s favorite books.

And the check with manifest of course was written by doctor, he was a surgeon who was kind of disgusted at the number of bad outcomes. He was seeing in intensive care then the emergency rooms and he applied a principle from aviation, of course, to the medical profession and he got some really amazing results.

By just using a check list and so, Jason, put together a check list several checklists actually of his own he shares one in the book, but a plane, a checklist to a creative process I think is a really interesting idea. And I think that’s-

John Williams: So you think surgery is creative?[LAUGH]

Paula Williams: I think sometimes they do have to think around the box, think outside the box, because they get complex injuries where more than one thing is injured.

John Williams: I hear you.

Paula Williams: And they can’t just do a text book thing. They have to think of ways to make this work.

John Williams: Yeah, but we have set standardized procedures.

Paula Williams: But still.

John Williams: By in large.

Paula Williams: Yeah, exactly, and in marketing, we’ve got a lot of standardized procedures and if you want to solve x problem there are several ways of doing that, but there’s lots of things you need to do to make sure your details are covered.

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: Okay. No open wounds left unstitched. [LAUGH] In either case.

John Williams: No sponges left inside.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] No sponges left in patients, that’s true. So you know, there are some similarities there. Another thing that I really liked was their conversation about the tale of two robots.

NASA wanted to explore the moon and this was several years ago, so the robot that NASA came up with was the size of a truck and it had all of these things and it was able to do a lot of processing and a lot of samples and things and a lot of photography and a lot of different things.

John Williams: It’s gonna take three Mars missions to get it off the ground.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: So it’s super expensive, super complicated, very, very large, very, very expensive. And Colin the intern who was just an intern at NASA went to Radio Shack and spent a couple hundred bucks and bought a little remote control car, stuck a couple of things together, put a camera on it, put some way for it to communicate and things like that and suggested they not have it do everything.

That they wanted to do. Why can’t we do most of the stuff on earth? And all we really needed to do is take pictures.

John Williams: Be a probe.

Paula Williams: Be a probe, be a sensor. All it needs to do is be sensors, it doesn’t need to be a processor. f neat listening in on these conversations, don’t you think?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Well.

Paula Williams: Right, and we’ve noticed that too. When we’re traveling and we get talking to people, they tell us stuff that, you know, people just don’t talk about in real life. But when you’re a guest in someone’s home or when you’re a guest in someone’s country, we’ve gotten into some really interesting conversations with people, in the Louvre, remember that, with that couple from Eastern Europe?

John Williams: Yeah, and in Pakistan.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: With regard to various topics.

Paula Williams: So I do understand that this is a great way to get very quickly and deeply into someones thoughts, if you’re actually staying with them. So Jason Oke’s 50 Ways to Get Started. My favorite one was this one, you define a business problem or the opportunity.

And then you decide what audience can solve this? That’s an interesting way of looking at it, instead of how do I sell this.

John Williams: When I was working at RTP for IBM, that’s exactly what my job was. I was the audience.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: Their developer that come to us with the essence of a product and said how can we sell this?
And that was my job and Mike worked with me and that was all we had to do is to scratch our heads and say well give us this, give us that, give us the other thing and leave us alone for a week, and we would go work through it and try to find some way to hook it all together and make it work so we could sell it.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: And we ended up with a couple of really nice products for IBM that they sold.

Paula Williams: Exactly and you look at this from the perspective of an aviation product or service. The person who can solve the problem might not be the people who can buy the product, it might be that they’re the FAA needs to create a rule saying it’s okay for people to do it this way.

Or flight instructors might need to start teaching the way they do weather differently, those kinds of things to make things better. So what audience can change. In fact, the next step is, what experience does the audience need in order to change their behavior? What do you need to do to convince them?

And it’s not, I like the way they phrased this. What experience do they need to have, not what data do they need to make a different decision. What experience do they need to have to change their behavior.

John Williams: And what we did to continue.

Paula Williams: Yeah.

John Williams: One particular instance, we ended up with a very complex.

But at this point, product that there wasn’t one in the IT game and we, Mike and I took it to a couple of IBM clients. And basically, implemented in a test mode in their situation. But what we did differently was, we didn’t just put it up as test behavior.

We actually, used real live data from them into the product. So the essence was we would do this, and then our intent was to get the CEO of these companies and the CFO and the President and those guys and say and whoever else wanted to be in there.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm

John Williams: And give them business presentation. And what we did in each of two cases about midway through the presentation, the screen, all the icons started flashing everything. And the guys would chuckle and say, well, it looks like your-

Paula Williams: Your software doesn’t work.

John Williams: Your software doesn’t work.

And I looked at Mike and I looked up I said, excuse me sir, but this is live data and you just had what I’m going to assume, because I don’t know how your played outside here, but your physical line has been cut probably a fiber cut by somebody digging outside.

He says no and I said yes, actually it is and they had a tech in the room and I said do you know about this. The guys said no. He called this guy and his first reaction, no there is no. Wait a minute, they’re just now confirming what this software told us five minutes ago.

Paula Williams: Mm-hm.

John Williams: And that’s the whole point. And the CEO looked at everybody in the room and said so. He said, I’ll talk to you later, and he went through.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH]

John Williams: And we’re lucky

Paula Williams: get out of here, cuz we’ve got problems to solve.

John Williams: That’s right.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right, so that was an experience they needed to have.

John Williams: That’s experience

Paula Williams: They changed their behavior based on that. You weren’t just presenting data, you actually made them have a visceral experience and grab their socks. But you know what? The software actually notified us before anybody else did.

John Williams: And what that did was, we did it twice, with two different Completely separate clients in geographical desperate locations. And then subsequent to that, any time we wanted to implement another one of the products, these clients had heard. [LAUGH] They didn’t want anybody else, they wanted us to go do it.

Paula Williams: Right, exactly, you couldn’t have planned that better.

John Williams: We didn’t plan it.

Paula Williams: I guess you could have hired somebody to go do a fiber cut. [LAUGH] While your sales presentation is going on. Yeah, there are things you can control and some things that you just take as opportunities, and that was a good one.

John Williams: That’s crazy.

Paula Williams: Yeah okay, and then how can the brands actions facilitate or create that experience short of hiring someone to go cut fiber?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Well I mean, typically we were hoping that maybe you’d have one or two small icons that, obviously, they could verify.

Paula Williams: Yeah, and there always is something.

John Williams: We really didn’t expect what happened. So if you wanna call that luck, whatever.

Paula Williams: Right, but I think this is a great way to look at marketing, to find the business problem or the opportunity, what audience can solve it? What experience does that audience need to have in order to change their behavior?

And then how can the brand’s actions facilitate that experience? This is different then the way people usually think about it. Because they usually think, if they knew all this data, they would buy my product. Right, it goes deeper than that. So it’s, especially with something where you want somebody to change their behavior, most people underestimate the amount of, [LAUGH] Effort it takes to overcome inertia especially nowadays, right?

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Okay so Simon Kemp in Singapore, with we are social, really like this guy also, I think he was a lot of fun. He has clients that come to him and say, we need a Facebook page with a million fans by next week, and his response is, really, why?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: What are you trying to accomplish? And we go back to that chart of Jason what is the business problem? What experience do we need to facilitate and so on? I also like Simon’s idea about social structures basically, you cannot create a social structure yourself. If you say I grew this network from this to that, that’s BS you know, quite frankly.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: It’s an organic structure. So just like, you can’t really say, “I grew this potato.”

John Williams: No, you planted the seed, you watered it, you gave it whatever.

Paula Williams: You provided an environment as good as you can, but there’s still some element of chance in terms of what direction is it gonna grow?

What color is it gonna be? My grandpa and I used to grow potatoes. He had a big garden and that was one of the things I used to do when I was a little kid, is help him in the garden. And we grew potatoes that looked like every U.S. President, up to a certain point.

Potatoes don’t always look like this. And whenever you’re trying to do something that involves other people, you don’t have total control of it.

John Williams: No joke.

Paula Williams: And this is a great way, I think, to explain this to a client, or that he uses to explain to his clients.
We don’t just magically snap our fingers and create a network, if you do that it’s fake. And there’s a lot of fakeness on social media. But if you want something real, it could be ugly, [LAUGH]

Because it will be organic. And you have to be willing, and able, and prepared for any eventuality.

Either that the potato grows into the face of Abraham Lincoln, or that the potato grows really big, or that the potato stays small. There’s lots of things that can happen that are outside of your control.

John Williams: And you can’t watch it 24 hours in a day, so you don’t know what happens at night.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: An animal will come along and dig it it up, or worse.

Paula Williams: Right, that’s true, so you can practice good gardening, but you can not control. There is a certain amount of control that you have and a certain amount of control that you do not have.

Two other ideas that I really like from Simon’s were the theory of One Night Stand marketing, which is what most people are doing.

John Williams: Exactly.

Paula Williams: Meaning that you’re after a single transaction rather than after a relationship. It’s obvious and it’s creepy and it’s gross and that’s why a lot of people don’t like sales people and they don’t like marketing people.

Is because they’re after a one night stand. [LAUGH] But if you turn that around and say, if I’m after a relationship, and in aviation we have a small group of target customers. So almost all the time, we have to be in it for the relationship not for the transaction.

So that is an excellent resource in the book, and also The Broccoli Story. He is doing something with music where he is creating music on his own, and this is a side project of his that he using to do marketing experiments and things like that. But as it turns out, he ends up being friends with broccoli farmer in Tunisia.

And they end up talking music. So, do you exclude, and this is a thing that we run into all the time with our customers, I am looking for customers that look like this. Well, that’s fine, but are you going to exclude a broccoli farmer from Tunisia who actually does wanna buy your product?

If he’s got the means, the money, the authority, and the need.  There’s no reason not to do international aviation marketing these days- or at least take the opportunity when it comes up! .

John Williams: His money is green.

Paula Williams: Exactly.

John Williams: Or blue, depending if it’s Euros.

Paula Williams: Exactly, or he may have a partnership idea, or he may contribute to your network in some way. Or he may introduce you to somebody who’s going to turn your life around.

So you have to be open to the broccoli farmers from Tunisia that will show up in your network and not just ignore them or be rude to them or anything else.

John Williams: Yeah, what was that guy’s name, The Power of Intention, who said that people are like street cars, they come in and out of your life when they’re supposed to.

Paula Williams: When they’re supposed to not when you think they should.

John Williams: That’s right.

Paula Williams: That is Dr. Wayne Dyer, The Power of Intention, also a good book. Okay so rOobin Golestan, and not I did not typo that name.

John Williams: I know.

Paula Williams: This is personal branding, to start with, I think this is really interesting.

Everybody was mispronouncing his name so he changed the spelling and the capitalization to make it obvious that it’s rOobin not Robin.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And anyway he is Beijing, it’s probably.

John Williams: Well you could think is was Roobin, if you’ve got it capitalized like that, so.

Paula Williams: Yeah, whatever.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Yeah exactly. Maybe it has something to do with Beijing, maybe they do things differently there. Anyway DMG Global, they do a lot of movies, music, things like that. So he is probably the cool kid of the group.

John Williams: [LAUGH] One of them.

Paula Williams: One of them, exactly.

One thing that I did not know is that in China they allow, up until 2012 anyway, they only allowed 20 foreign films to be screened in China, and China is a huge market. So everybody wants all of those screens and all of those eyeballs. Especially if they’ve got a series like Marvel or Transformers, or something like that.

John Williams: As a matter of fact, that was discussed in a journal here a couple weeks ago.

Paula Williams: Was it?

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: What did they say?

John Williams: People scramble like crazy to corner the market for those 20 films.

Paula Williams: Yes they do. Or you could what he does.
And that is to step outside that 20 by having it filmed in China.

John Williams: That’s right, and that was exactly what they said in the journal article.

Paula Williams: Right, so there’s another quote in this book that, about you get famous because of the rules you break. But his take on that was, how can you comply with the rules in a way that they’re not expecting you to?

So for the Transformers movie, part of that was filmed in China, the movie Looper was filmed in China.

John Williams: In order to do that, though, one of the leading characters has gotta be Chinese.

Paula Williams: Yeah, there’s a bunch of rules-

John Williams: There is a bunch of rules that you have to comply with.

Paula Williams: But sometimes it’s worth it.

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: So, anyway this is how to be a rebellious rule follower.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Which sometimes is a very cool thing. JAY-Z, he talks about JAY-Z is one of his. I am not sure if he does marketing for JAY-Z. I didn’t really get to the bottom of that from the book, but the things that he admires about Jay-z is that he is an outstanding businessman as well as a musician.

And if you are not really into this kind of, and our target market probably isn’t that really into Jay-z’s music, this is a guy that can talk with Warren Buffett or Bono. They call him the Frank Sinatra of rap, very literate and very business-like in the way that he does business and the way that he runs his enterprise like a business.

John Williams: Well, he’s got to. I mean, they all should be doing that..

Paula Williams: Right. But in a lot of cases their manager is the one that’s kinda reigning them in or whatever and stuff. In Jay-Z’s case, he’s the guy. He says, if you listen to Jay-Z’s music, you can listen to it ten times and get another meaning out of it because it’s so poetic and it’s so different.

So he thinks on many different levels at the same time. So it’s kind of the Renaissance thing. Leonardo Da Vinci, where he was an artist and a businessman and a designer and an engineer and this and that and the other thing. People tend to specialize nowadays, and get really, really, really good at just one thing.

And here is the other side of that argument of people who become really, really good at more than one thing and put those together in an interesting way. All right, so Rob Campbell in Shanghai. The Wieden and Kennedy, another one of those terrible names. Maybe it’s a cobbler’s shoes kind of thing.

Because these are people who specialize in branding but they have the least memorable names. He’s the, kind of the opposite of rOobin Goldstein. Goldstein, he’s a bald, queen-loving, Birkenstock wearing bloke from Nottingham that lives in Shanghai, right? Also very interesting character because he talks about the fact that people don’t buy skill in a vacuum.

People don’t care what you know till they know that you care. It doesn’t matter how good somebody is at what they do, unless you know that they are completely focused on your problem and can actually solve it for you, right? I also like cuz the difference between evil and devious.

Devious is good, evil is bad, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: So, it’s really about, sometimes you can think win win, but you still have to trick people to get their attention. And this happens a lot in marketing. People say, people come to us and say I need a brochure.

And their real problem is not that they need a brochure, they need a different approach to their marketing. But in order to get to the point where we can solve that problem for them-

John Williams: You got to get them a brochure.

Paula Williams: Yeah

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: We’ll say okay, let’s work on a brochure.

But in the process here is a couple of questions that we have, and we know we’re not working on a brochure, right? [LAUGH] And they may or may not know that we are not working on a brochure, the eventual product will be something that they are totally happy with, and it may be a brochure.

But they will absolutely get what they want, and we do have our clients’ best interests at heart. But there are some times when we disagree with them, and there are some times when our agenda and their agenda is not precisely the same, right? If it was, they wouldn’t need us.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Okay. So you need to give them what they want but also make sure that you’re giving them what they actually need.

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: That they may or may not know about. So an example he gives of this is Daniel Radcliffe was in New York for several months while acting in a play.

He found himself pestered by the paparazzi. He did not chew them out, he didn’t ask them to leave him alone. He didn’t run away, he didn’t do any of those things. He just started wearing the same clothes every day to and from the theater. Now, he knew that the paparazzi would be expecting new pictures every day.

That’s what their editors want and everything. And so they can’t just send the same pictures of the dude in the same clothes every day. So they stopped following him around and left him alone. So how can you get what you want while not being nasty or causing a conflict or getting into a tiff you don’t want to get into, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: I thought that was brilliant.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: Okay and here’s another one that he talks about, it’s cultivating informants. And the example he gives is, he was working with a car radio company that made this beautiful, stylish sound system, right? Rob had seen a show that had a, that featured a kid that steals stereos, that steals cars.

He thought, you know what? We’ve got a problem, because if we advertise this the way the client wants this advertised, this is going to be known for being the most stolen Item in cars that was ever invented, right? And that was not what we wanna be known for.

So he tracked this kid down, that had been in this program, and brought him to a meeting with his client. And actually worked with him as a consultant, of how can we make this attractive to legitimate customers, without making this illegitimate pawn shop item, or a highly desired [LAUGH] item of theft?

And so, how do they solve the problem? They bring in somebody who is maybe on the opposite side, or maybe somebody that they don’t want to be working with, and figure out, how can we use this person to get what we want, right?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: And he said, as an advertising guy, I could tell them that, but it would not have the same impact as coming from this kid who had boosted hundreds of cars over the last year.

John Williams: Well, we worked for a financial institution that hired hackers for the same reason.

Paula Williams: Exactly. So I’m basically getting along with people that might not fit into your definition of useful, actually are really useful and helpful and everything else. All right. So Phil Adams from Edinburgh, [LAUGH] Scotland.
I never did learn how to pronounce that right. You’ve been there, how do you pronounce it?

John Williams: Edinburgh.

Paula Williams: Edinburgh, okay.

John Williams: Not necessarily O, and it’s Edinburgh.

Paula Williams: Edinburgh.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: All right.

John Williams: Sort of a on the end.

Paula Williams: Right, from Digital Blonde, right? That actually is a good name.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] At least a memorable name. All right so don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions, all life is an experiment.

John Williams: Yeah.

Paula Williams: This guy is all about fast and weird, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And does a great job at it. So this is one of those paradoxes, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
So Ireland is known as a very conservative country, right? And people are very buttoned up and conservative in the way they dress-

John Williams: You said Ireland, this is Scotland.

Paula Williams: Scotland, okay. I’m sorry. Scotland is probably also known as a very buttoned-up conservative country. Is that true?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: 50 for sure.

John Williams: Depends on which part of it you’re talking about. They can certainly show you that. If you go to the castle and if you’re there the right time of year and watch a military tattoo, then it’s all British and very formal, and Prince steps out and opens things up, and they got this whole thing going.

It’s a great thing but the people you meet on the streets, no not so much.

Paula Williams: Okay.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: All right, well one of the things that these guys are famous for is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where any number of weird things could be happening at any given time.

And I think that’s actually kind of a cool thing. I actually work in Salt Lake City, which is also very conservative kind of a place, but people really get into Comic-Con here. And I think it’s just really neat to see all of the weirdos running around Main Street during Comic-Con.

We don’t necessarily go to the conference, but often we are down town doing one thing or another, during that. And it’s just really fun to people watch when the weirdness erupts, right? [LAUGH] It’s just so much more interesting. And this is something that Aviation could use a whole heck of a lot more of.

I keep using the example of C&L Aviation and the events that they have. They do videos leading up to when they present at shows. And they do fun things, like the spoof on Airplane that they did this year. And Otto, the inflatable pilot, you can get your picture taken with Otto.

Most of Aviation is just way too navy blue and buttoned up, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But if you can add a little element of weirdness without ruining your credibility, I think that’s a fantastic thing. And it’s a great way to get attention and stand out from the crowd.

Another really cool concept from Shawn Phil was the concept of duos, right? Most people that work together really well, and most people that are really talented in anything, you think about Batman and Robin, Kobe and Shaq, Kirk and Spock, Bonnie and Clyde. Lennon and McCartney, Stockton and Malone, any of those duos would not be half of what they are if you took them apart.

They’re more than the sum of their parts because of the way that they work together.

John Williams: You left out a couple.

Paula Williams: You and me. [LAUGH]

John Williams: That’s right – Gamonal + Williams from way back. I mean, before we got to really know each other, our client said that he would put us on a project now.

Cuz the first thing he put us both on the project because he got more out of the both of us working together than any other pair he put on. And we argued like cats and dogs, but we ultimately got the best for the client.

Paula Williams: Exactly, so you get complementary skills.

You get the creative and the critic. You get the art director and the copywriter. You get the detail oriented and the big thinker. However it is that you categorize that. A lot of folks are not half as talented on their own as they are in a pair. And so if you find somebody that you click with really well, or if you’ve got a pair of employees that click together really well, you wanna to keep them together.

And Phil’s idea was that people don’t graduate from college together, so as a company you almost have to hire in pairs. And look for good compatibility because people end up working that way more often than not, at least creative folks.

John Williams: Somebody could have hired our team from business school, and got a real deal if they could afford us.

Paula Williams: Yeah, absolutely.

John Williams: We were the A number one best they had seen, they had told us after graduation.

Paula Williams: Right, so in a lot of cases it’s kind of a matter of, people think in terms of hiring individuals, and that is not always the way it works.

Sometimes you’re looking to fill a place on your team, not necessarily the best individual. Or you’re looking for a pair of individuals, so we try to hire in pairs, at least with freelance books that we do and things like that. Okay so Suzanne Powers, Crispin Porter, and Bogusky in London.

At least this one has an elephant, that one is memorable, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH] So that’s the elephant in the room, right?

Paula Williams: Exactly [LAUGH] and you’ll never influence the world by trying to be like it. I like that quote, that’s Suzanne’s favorite quote. And the big thing with the elephant, and this is actually is a thing that their firm is really well known for, is for acknowledging the elephant in the room.

What is the tension or the friction in the sales process? What is it that is causing a customer to hesitate before they part with their money or whatever? And the example they give is the Domino’s turnaround, right? The Domino’s Pizza, their business model was 30 minutes or it’s free, right?

And in order to do that, their pizza was really, really, really terrible, right? It was awful [LAUGH] and they acknowledged that, and they said you know what, our pizza really stinks. [LAUGH] We’re gonna change the recipe and we’re gonna fix this and it’s still gonna be 30 minutes or less.

And in some markets, they actually sacrificed the 30 minutes or less for quality.

John Williams: That’s right.

Paula Williams: So it’s just like okay, we don’t care how fast it is if it’s inedible when it gets there.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: So they cut their primary market value, but then they fixed the elephant in the room, which is that their pizza really was awful.
Okay, Kevin May Sticks of Seattle. They have a formula for attractiveness. I bet you didn’t know there was a formula for attractiveness, at least in a product, right?

John Williams: I actually didn’t know their formula.

Paula Williams: Okay, so if you apply this formula which is utility, aesthetics, and values, and you apply it to any given product or service, you some up with some really interesting questions.

The author, Heather, was able to sit in on what they called a salon, which is basically a brainstorming session, about how the client wanted to. The client was Microsoft in China, basically. How do we make legal software more attractive than pirated software to buyers in China? And this brainstorming exercise that they went through was actually really interesting.
They went through things like status. Unfortunately you can’t wear an operating system on your sleeve or carry it around in your pocket. So it’s not like a legit iPhone that you can do that with. They talked about support, they talked about ease of use, they talked about ethics.

Can we apply Confucianism, which is the ethics in China, as an ethical framework for getting people to shell out money for software? I don’t know if they ever came up with a solution, but it was an interesting exercise the way that they went through this.

John Williams: It’s not just China, it’s a lot of those countries outside the US that have this issue.

Paula Williams: But again, you’re looking at that formula of attractiveness. How can you make It more attractive by using either utility or aesthetics or values. It all comes down to one of those three, right?

John Williams: Right.

Paula Williams: Cool. I like his definition of success as well. To have built a financially viable business that has totally eliminated any a**holes from our purview, either as clients or colleagues.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: We’ve done that.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Right now I really like every single one of our clients. I can say that with a straight face and absolutely mean it. We really like them and we don’t work with anybody we don’t like which is fabulous. That really frees up the creative process a whole heck of a lot, right?

All right, okay Saher Sidhom and I have no idea whether I’m saying that right. AMVBBDO and the Forge Factory, well actually the Forge Factory is part of AMVBBDO. Another one of those terrible names in London. And this is your favorite quote from the book right?

John Williams: Yeah, well, one of them.

Yeah, but it’s absolutely a fact. The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty. Because you see people everyday that either say well, I’m not technical. Or, I don’t want to do that. And I mean when I ask people they say what I’d like to do A, B, C or D, they say really?

And what are you willing to do to obtain that? And if their answer isn’t whatever it takes, I just ignore them and go on because that’s what you have to have. If you’re not willing to do what it takes, you’re not gonna get there. Wherever there is.

Paula Williams: Right, we had a conversation with a former client just recently and asked him, what is your favorite sales or marketing activity, and he said writing a check to you guys.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: He really wanted to wash his hands of the whole scenario, and we ended up going separate ways. He is a great guy, and we like him a lot, but it was not going to work because he wasn’t willing to get his hands dirty. So it’s definitely a cool quote, and I really like that.

This is something he referred to in their conversation, was the Gartner Hype Cycle. Did you see this?

John Williams: Mm-hm.

Paula Williams: This is something that I had heard of, but I’d never seen it. So I went and looked it up to see a picture of it. I’m a visual person.

I don’t care if somebody describes something to me all day long. It means a lot more to me if I can see it. And if you’re listening to this as a podcast, I have to apologize. But basically it’s a big long up slope with a Technology Trigger. Then it comes to a Peak of Inflated Expectations.

And then it drops off into a Trough of Disillusionment, and then a Slope of Enlightenment, and then the Plateau of Productivity. So, you think about like smartphones, they were going to save the world, and then they were the bane of everybody’s existence, and then they became kind of necessary and everybody understood that, was a good thing.

But it wasn’t going to solve all our problems. And now they are on a plateau of productivity right? And this their latest Gartner Hype Cycle and and you can see where they have different things on it. Virtual reality right now is in their Plateau of Productivity. It’s starting to actually have some useful uses in training and other kinds of things.

So it kind of went through the whole epileptic synapse or epileptic phase of craziness and unrealism and came back to where it’s actually being useful. So this is the hype cycle for emerging technologies in 2017. You can think of this, there’s a similar curve in the marketing life cycle or the product life cycle.

Any new product that you’re introducing to the market you have to understand where it is on the product life cycle. Are you fighting disillusionment? Has it become boring? Wherever it sits on this curve is a thing that you need to think about when you are talking about sales and marketing, right?

John Williams: And how to move it forward on the curve.

Paula Williams: Exactly. That’s absolutely true. So you have talk some people down from unrealistic expectations and talk people up from.

John Williams: Disillusionment.

Twitter-is-stupidPaula Williams: Disillusionment. We’ve got an article on Twitter that goes through a conversation I had with somebody at a trade show about Twitter is stupid.[LAUGH] No, yeah okay yes Twitter is stupid in the way that a lot of people use it, and no nobody wants to know what you had for breakfast and all of that stuff. And we kind of went through this whole curve, while we were standing there, and I was showing him some things that you can do with Twitter, right?

So any new technology goes through that phase, and knowing what you’re fighting is really helpful. All right, Brian Millar, Sense Worldwide, London, right? Sense Worldwide is known as the Hogwarts of Strategy, I love that. This is where wizards go to become better wizards. That’s what they wanna be known for, I like that.

One thing that they did in the book with Heather and Brian is they went to a conference. They playful conference which is the world of games, and talked about game theory, and what is fun to people and how can you make whatever it is that you sell, more fun, right?

And how can you use game theory to influence their behavior? In fact, we just talked about this with the client-to-sale software, how can we solve the, some of the issues in the aviation industry by making it more fun or by resolving some of these really, really horrible things that people have to do, right?

John Williams: Yep.

Paula Williams: And more about that later we’ll probably include a link to that when we publish an article about that. All right also Strategists Wanted! He talks about how everybody has become kind of reflexive to the market and being a strategist is something that is very unusual now a days but definitely needed.

Not everything can be done by AI, right?

John Williams: Somebody needs to sit back, relax and think.

Paula Williams: Yeah. So I went into this thinking that Heather LeFevre, the person that wrote the book was kind of a lightweight, and was doing this exercise to kind of built her own credibility and everything else.

Came out of it understanding that she actually had the ability to participate really well in a lot of these conversations, and she also is a really good marketer in her own right. One of the things that she did was the “Whopper Virgin” campaign. Watch this person take their first bite of a Whopper.

It had really, really good results. And also she has worked for Emirates Airline so that’s the strawberry frog that’s one of the connections to aviation world. So respect her a whole lot more than I did when I started reading the book thinking there’s a pink brain on the cover, can’t possibly take this seriously, right?

John Williams: [LAUGH] Well I don’t know, I was not impressed with the cover of the book other than the way it feels.

Paula Williams: Yeah, okay it is made out of really neat material. The people that do materials for iPhones, they make metal feel good, the person that made this book, made the cover feel good.

And I don’t know if it’s some kind of cardboard or whatever it is.

John Williams: No no no, it almost feels like a combination of leather and vinyl or something I don’t.

Paula Williams: Yeah it’s almost kind of suedey, suedey cardboard [LAUGH]

John Williams: But it’s not.

Paula Williams: Exactly. So interesting materials on that and probably part of the appeal of it but anyway.
Conclusion from the book, what do you think?

John Williams: I don’t know that there were any real revelations to me. There was some reiteration of things that I had experienced in the in some cases and just reiterated some things.

Paula Williams: Cool, I thought it was kind of inspiring. It was definitely not a concrete or a how to or anything like that, but it was definitely more inspiring than I was expecting it to be.

Looking forward next month to something that is much more concrete. [LAUGH]

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: And informational and probably useful and that is Everybody Writes by Ann Handley. I have read this before. And it is definitely worth the read. So there’s no ambiguity here, I’m actually looking forward to this one with some enthusiasm.

What do you think?

John Williams: Well good for you.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] All right, but of course, I am a writing nerd and I think anybody could benefit from being able to express themselves better and think more clearly, that really comes across in writing, right?

John Williams: And reading.

Paula Williams: And reading.
So thank you for joining us for our book club discussion and go forth and sell more stuff.

John Williams: Actually, it is go sell more stuff. America needs the business by Zig Ziglar.

Paula Williams: [LAUGH] Go buy more stuff.

John Williams: [LAUGH]

Paula Williams: But do go sell more stuff because America does needs the business, and we are the people that move the economy, right?

John Williams: And nothing happens until somebody sells something.

Paula Williams: Absolutely. We’ll see you next week.

Announcer: Thanks for joining us for aviation marketing Hangar Flying. The best place to learn what really works in sales and marketing in the aviation industry. Remember to subscribe on iTunes and leave a rating.[MUSIC]

0/5 (0 Reviews)