A Creative Spark In Your Marketing & Video Production with Bill Neidlinger

Waverley Knobs presents the Branch-Out Podcast with your hosts, Evin Charles Anderson and Tatiana Ivan. We discuss all the exciting facets of digital media and marketing for businesses and professionals. Our goal is to empower you so you can increase your knowledge, engagement, and brand identity. Let's get ready to branch out.

BranchOut guest Bill Neidlinger

Find Bill here:

Bill on LinkedIn

Twitter: @Bilvox

Listen to the full interview or read the transcript below:


 

EVIN ANDERSON:
That's right, thank you for joining us today for Episode 38 of Branch-Out, the digital media and marketing podcast with Tatiana Ivan and Evin Charles Anderson. Now today we have a special guest joining us today, we have Bill Neidlinger, and of course I almost butchered that name, I was telling him before, actually before the interview, I said, do you know what, I have it in my head, I heard it, that's great, but I swear to God as soon as I said it I'm like, nope that doesn't sound right. I think I got it right, did I get it right on that one?

BILL NEIDLINGER:
You got it right. I've heard all sorts of versions, Needlefingers, everything.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Is that like the prequel to Edward scissorhands?

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Oh definitely.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Needlefingers.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Before it really grew out to scissors, just needles, yeah.

EVIN ANDERSON:
You've got to start somewhere, so Needlefingers. Now you have a very, very, very diverse background which we're going to dive into, but some of the things, just to run off a list would be digital and content marketing consultant for BVX Media, we have senior video producer and editor also for BVX Media, digital marketing manager for Zemcar, and as your alter ego with Bilvox as singer and musician.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Yes, so there's not much free time, but I love free time.

TATIANA IVAN:
You'll have to schedule it into your calendar, okay between 4:00 and 5:00 today...

BILL NEIDLINGER:
It's actually, it's come to that, it's come to that, when I'm going to stay in bed until then, I'm going to chill out then, but it's great, I think I've always been someone, just growing up who is a yes person, that which is either a good thing or sometimes my downfall, that hey can you, hey would you be interested, would you like to get involved in ... Yeah, sure I'd love to, that sounds great. I love it, I love it, I love being, I've always enjoyed doing many different things, I always feel there's a line that connects them all in some way or another, but it's good, I'm happy to do it.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Well I think that's one of the biggest things too, is to do things that you are passionate about, and that do drive you every single day, and you wake up going, okay great, I get to do this, rather than, oh God I have to do this.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
That's true, and I think we've all been there, I think we've been there, and actually, I was just talking to my friend yesterday, that about a year ago I just left the financial industry. I worked in the financial industry in in-house agencies in various roles for a professional career for about 15-16 years, and making the leap and trying to figure out my next steps after that was just, it was crazy right but ended up being awesome, and it was a very good thing. You get to that point in your career, and I think after 10 years experience, or 7-10 years experience, you're at the point where you're like, well can I do this, probably not.

Then getting to the point where you've done some managerial roles, you've done some really serious work, handled some big budgets, by then you have a good network and you've been able to key of light, bend without breaking, I didn't fully break and so really making that leap has been excellent. I mean I think despite what you might read on the internet, but the economy's doing great, Boston is a great city for a lot of small businesses, and I think I'll discuss this a little bit, and so I think this is a great time for especially marketers, people who may not be in big agencies or whatever but are still passionate about this. This is the time, there are people out there that need you.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Well, you've had a very interesting journey, talking about as you mentioned, transitioning out of financial services, but I mean originally you actually have a BA from Emerson College, and you had a focus in on media, communications, and production. I mean can you tell us a little bit about that, about how that transition was, going from something super creative to all of a sudden, and financial industry go.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Well exactly, and I have to tell you, I'd worked for a creative director in, the first company I'd worked in was State Street Global Advisors, and it was a very interesting time, I graduated in 2000 from Emerson, and my focus was a bit on new media, and so new media then is old media, so new media then, and it was really cool because the program I was involved with was digital culture, and really looked at the emerging technologies in media, and that could help us communicate better. My freshman year we set up a server, Seize See Me, which no one remembers this probably but me, but it was a video conferencing, video chat and I think it was out of, I can't remember, it may be Columbia University, I'm probably wrong about that, but they were developing, trying to create a virtual classroom.

We would have class virtually sometimes, and so there were some of those things, that seeing how technology better-enabled communication, was really the seed that, the train which I hang out with now came from, still in some ways. That technology, which really goes, so much was so siloed and isolated a while ago, from film, if you studied film, you're in film and you do film and that's it, right. You studied television, you're in television and do television, you're writing, you're writing, writing. Now, especially had interns, or worked with interns from Emerson who do everything and it's awesome.

That is par for the course now, where back then, I'm like that, but I've had 16 years experience doing everything, and now it's par for the course, and I think back then it was an odd thing to be a digital media renaissance man or whatever the hell you'd want to call it. That journey, when I first graduated, I thought well I'll go to LA with everyone else. Go do films, my gin voice, and fantasies of doing film and being in a rock band, but I grew up and, but I thought I'd go out there and so I just saved up money and worked.

Then I really spent some time thinking, okay, well I studied new media and LA's not the place for that convergence of everything, that's really for film, television and a job was posted where this consultant was trying to staff for State Street Global Advisors, but this is 2000, the tech boom is still going, and really trying to find people was tough, everyone was jumping into all sorts of tech start-ups, and I interviewed for a bunch of those, and with that I said, well I'd like to start paying off my student loan, and healthcare, and things like that, and I was like, [crosstalk 00:07:26] and I have a deep love of traveling and exploring, and I thought I'd like to have money and vacation, and go do things and see the world, and so it just was a natural marriage.

It was very interesting joining there because it was very start-up for being a financial company. Starting to go from a phase where financial companies, who are typically very conservative, were starting to dip their toe in the internet, really looking at what is called now digital marketing and beyond the brochure website. When I was first out there was about 5, 6, 7 of us, I was coding, who would be coding in a financial website? It's so siloed and there's so many cogs for something like that, and so much security, I could never get into the like HTML now and touch the code of State Street's website.

That would never happen, and so it was very cool that way, it was very start-up, and so now I've been involved in start-ups, it's familiar in that way and it's great, that excitement of everyone wears many hats and bootstrap in a way.

TATIANA IVAN:
What is interesting too, because I feel like the job market has also changed in a similar manner, where back then people were siloed, people were looking for specialists, oh you've been doing this for 20 years, great you're an expert, and now I feel that people are looking for generalists. Okay, we want a digital marketer who can do graphic design, website design, social media, can do video, can talk to people, can do PR. Can you do PR? Great, that would be fantastic, come on in, and you're all doing it for the same salary and the same hours in the week.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
I've got to say, there's a whole other conversation you can have too about the value of our work, especially there's agencies and there's people who are freelancing or might work for themselves or incorporate themselves, and so the value of the work is still very valuable, and talent rules, but the way it is where people are willing to pay less and people are willing to work for less, it kind of, there's a whole, we can drink dirty martinis and have a philosophical conversation about that, but you know.

TATIANA IVAN:
The next episode.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
The next episode yeah.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Well it's interesting too, because whenever you came out of Emerson and was going into the tech world, it was very much like the Wild West, in the way it sounds, and what's interesting about technology is it evolves and as it adapts and changes, and new things are being introduced every single time, you're seeing these pockets of wilderness or Wild West aptness that you experienced, and that's really exciting and I think that's why it's so important too to have these kind of general positions, because you're not sure where some of this technology can go or what you can do with it, and so it's good just to have all these different hats that you can throw on and go, okay, great, we can get this up and running, let's test the water, let's see where we can go with it.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
That's a really good point, that sort of Wild West, and coming from that time point I'm comfortable in that. Which is great, being comfort in discomfort I guess. Yeah, I think that's a good thing to be, because I think if you seek out comfort, I mean we all do in some ways, but if you want to live in comfort, especially being in the digital marketing world, you should probably find something else to do in a couple of years, because you have to be hungry, you have to be willing to learn, you have to always be a student.

You have to, so that we have to not always look over each other's shoulder to see what we're doing, but we have to though also. You don't want to do that and be influenced and help perpetuate that sea of sameness. You want to also then try to ideate, and think up well how can I do this? It's typically done this way here, who cares. This is a different world, we can do anything.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Well as you mentioned too, you started off with trying to figure out how to implement this, video live streaming and everything, especially for meetings and what have not, and education, and now we have it so readily available in our hands, in our smart phones, you can do YouTube live streams, Facebook live, Twitter now too, and through Periscope, and you used to be through Meerkat before they switched platforms, but there's so many options out there, which is really exciting, but you have to figure out, well okay, how can we adapt this, and how can we implement it as a business or as an individual if you're trying to get yourself out there with a service, product or what have you.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
I think that's a good point, it's about being willing to take those chances to be an early adopter. I think it's marketing in some ways, it's trying to tell your story and connect to your audience or your client. It's being willing to say, all right, well let's look at Snapchat, there's more users joining Snapchat I think, than most social media platforms right now. Kids are going on that, kids, kids, old man, younger people are going on to that, more than Facebook, to get their news, and so you see how Snapchat has seen that, so they have the news channel, and then other brands are saying, well how do we get there, because that's where the eyes are.

This is the thing, and I've met, and I won't say who, but there's a retail client that I did just a little stuff for, and one of the things we were talking about, I said, well take a look at your lifestyle right, you're selling a lifestyle, this product that you have, these products you have, you're selling a lifestyle of how people live, and your target audience are people who are on Snapchat, these young professionals who are just working and have some money to live and create that lifestyle that you sell.

That's where you should be, you should have a channel, you should create some content around your products because they were already starting to do that, but they didn't have, they were wrestling with, well how do I reach them? YouTube okay fine, because that's searchable, shareable, Facebook great, and then you can have partnerships with people on networks who might post or take you to the product, but get out there, be comfortable with exploring those emerging technologies.

It's funny, it's like, oh man, I mean I remember meeting with some of the business leads of RealVideo, RealPlayer, if anyone remembers that back then, which was how you streamed video, and you had to go through them, and it wasn't very secure, and then all this technology, as you see it's gotten more and more that I fully embrace it, and I'll go on Facebook Live, and I'll set up a Facebook Live as my band player kind of thing, and that's something that hasn't really sat back and said, wow that's amazing.

TATIANA IVAN:
In the future ...

BILL NEIDLINGER:
It's the future, I'm still waiting for hoverboards and flying cars, but they'll be pretty much in the future, and I'm not really amazed, but I'm more like, of course, of course, that's there of course, you see the history and how we are all standing on the shoulders of giants, in a way, be it technology, be it anyone who's tried to do something before us. Seeing these trends, it's being comfortable with that, embracing it and saying yeah let's do this, it's natural.

EVIN ANDERSON:
There are a lot of people out there that still don't have that curiosity, or are very afraid of video and incorporating it, because if we really look at the whole, and go, and think about all the companies that exist, whether small or large, and we really look at all of the videos coming out, it's probably a quarter of all those businesses if that, so there's a lot of people who are being held back on this idea of implementing video [inaudible 00:15:18] What are your thoughts on what's keeping them back, or what do you think is restricting them from just jumping in and saying, let's do this?

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Yeah, that's a really good question, and one of the things that as I've met with people, be it a start-up or a financial company or another company, about I have a strong background, really growing up doing, managing a video team and understanding video communications, and having studios and stuff. Video is so important, it's a great way for a small brand to elevate their brand. It's really when you crunch the numbers, I would meet with someone and say, well this is what it costs to do this. Oh gosh, wow. That people aren't quite comfortable in some ways, and I think this why it's not implemented more.

To do, what it costs to get some video production, really it's very affordable, if there was, and this is very funny, I was approached by a PR company say about, a little under a year ago, about doing a YouTube series for a meat distributor. As a vegetarian, turned pescatarian, it was an interesting, at first I was oh gosh, they're going to invite me over and feed me a steak, and I'm going to be, oh I'm feeling so peckish, no thank you I'd say. They wanted to build their brand, they'd got to this point where they're successful, and they wanted to take it to the next level.

I said, well here's a couple of tiers of how we can approach this, you can do it guerrilla style where it's very low budget, but still we need to throw money into this, and time, just money and time. Then here's how to really build your brand, this is something that's going to look amazing. This is something that you could probably take to a local news or something like that, this is what I suggested, don't be about the actual product you're selling, be about who's using it, and highlight chefs, restaurants, and just be that byline, sponsored by whatever.

They were back and forth, back and forth, and I gave them a very good price, and they were no, they're just not comfortable with that, and I'm okay, good luck then. It's like I'm sorry, to that earlier point, is our services equal our time, which also equal our brands which equal our healthcare and all this other stuff that we have to pay for, but also there's, you're going to get this product because I've got this experience and worked with these amazing people, and you're going to get something that your brand deserves, is going to elevate you and take you to that next level you want to, but if you're not comfortable with paying that, well then you're going to miss out.

It's really an important thing, everything even start-ups, there are a lot of start-ups in Boston, that's one of the most exciting things I think here, right now, it's really become the hub in the east coast for, even people from overseas come here for incubators and whatever, and they're finding their way, they have this great idea, and they're not too sure how to communicate it, so video is one of those things, that as they connect to investors, people who are willing to put seed money, if they have a video, that it just elevates the brand immediately.

They really need to be comfortable to pay that or find the money for that, they're going to stand out in that sea of sameness, and I think it's really important, it's one of those things that, our time is becoming shorter and shorter of what we can spend listening to people, especially, I mean how many times do you just feel like no, I'm being sold to, leave me alone, I'm being sold to.

This is why content marketing is huge, because you provide content, you sell your brand, you show your expertise, and to try to get people's attention is something, especially whatever industry you're in, in the financial industry you have clients who you want to connect to, provide a benefit of your leadership, your direction of, hey how can I make your financial instruments work for you? How can I give you a better lifestyle through my services, in providing you whatever, mutual funds and stuff like that?

How do you connect to those people who are so busy? These are, especially in my past, these are very busy millionaires or whatever, who they're trying to connect to. They have no time for you, so what can you do? You can show them a three-minute video on some financial trend from your thought leader, saying, hey this is where we see volatility in the market in the next quarter. That's something that they care about, because they're thinking of their investment, and that's when you start to have a better business relationship, that's how you get your next sale.

If you just think that, oh I'll send them an email, I'll do this, I'll cold call them, whatever, that might work, but something like video, because we consume, with our technology device, I'm holding my iPhone in my hand, this is one of the most powerful marketing tools there is. If you can get there, if you can get into someone's iPhone, if you can get connected to them via that, you've got them.

TATIANA IVAN:
To just take your point about the financial industry using videos, for example, I actually saw something, it was about, almost I think 10 years ago, and I thought it was very clever. It was just a thing, a commercial that came up online or somewhere, I was clicking around and the video started playing, and it was on a financial investment, wealth management firm, and I was looking at it and it's showing this guy who's getting ready to go on a boat, and they're showing him tying the rope, and he's talking something about my money's ... I wasn't really listening to what he's saying, but he's taking his time and then he's steering the boat, and he went out there.

At the very end they show him in a suit and he's in his office, and he's talking to a client, and he says, I steer my ship correctly, or something like that, he said, I can do the same for your investment, and I was just blown away, I'm like oh man yeah, I want to hire this guy, this is amazing, I ... And I don't even know what he was saying throughout the whole video, but he sold me, I'm done, take my money.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Right, I think one of the biggest things be it music, be it product, be it financial instruments, all that stuff, the most effective marketing about VOC is when you're a lifestyle, and being comfortable with saying, understanding who your clients are, and saying, what is their aspirational lifestyle? How are we going to make their life better, or what is something that we can say, hey we're a part of that? People might say, Apple is a brilliant marketing company that also makes good products. Right, and it's to say oh great, I guess ... But that is one of those things that you look at, and I think people [inaudible 00:22:25] onto that a lot, but I think a lot of people still don't understand that.

You think everyone really understands and gets these things, but there's always education. If I meet with someone there's first a little bit of an educate, and one is listening, what do you need, where are you? Then it's saying, well let's think about, I'm not going to oversell something to you, I've had a client come to me, well we want to do video, and it's, wow that's great, that's cool, I'd love to do some video for you. I'm like, well where are you? Where's this going to be? Do you want to develop some content?

Great, let's, whatever it is, video or not, but where is it going? How are you going to connect it to your client? Oh, your website is from 1986.

EVIN ANDERSON:
You've built on Angelfire, GeoCities, that's great.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Of course, well I'd love to, but I'm a bit holistic, and how does it fit into your, where you are and what you're doing? That's just video, but that's all content, it's the kind of thing, well let's take a look at your website. Well, your website shows how it's confusing, how are people getting any content or get any value from this? What are you doing on your social channels? Have you engaged anyone? Are you able to? Are you at that phase, we all want to make money and sell our products, but I'm not going to sell something to someone they don't need, and so especially videos.

Okay, so let me tell you what I think you can take advantage of, and this is I think you need to do this, this, this, and then when you're ready for a video, if you want to come talk to me about this, or if you want to get going on your website, I have some people we can work with, and there we do something great, so ...

TATIANA IVAN:
Yeah, just to two of your points actually, I often compare video to a car, so it's an investment that some people can't afford, but it does, it can elevate your life.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Definitely.

TATIANA IVAN:
If you are in a crowded urban city, and you don't have anywhere to park your car, and you have to pay extra for where to park it, you have to now have extra insurance, but you can just walk to work, no you don't need a car.

EVIN ANDERSON:
No, you need a Vespa.

TATIANA IVAN:
That's definitely, and I think yeah, listening is definitely key. I think a lot of people, especially in the freelancer entrepreneur circle sometimes forget that just because somebody wants something, doesn't mean that it's right for them, and you have to really listen and tailor your services to them, because that'll also bring them back for the future and it's not just a one-off project that you're working on also.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Yeah, you also mentioned too, the issue of people not realizing the value of video, and it's interesting because I feel like video, at least how we view it, to many people it is an investment, and it is something where back in the day, your clothes, you would take them to a tailor and you'd get them refitted, or whatever else, but now ...

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Get your boots resoled, all that kind of funny stuff.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Exactly yeah, and you had people to fix things up, but you kept with the same foundation, or the same structure of this, because you knew it would last you for a long time. Now we're in the day and age where it's, oh you've got a ripped button on your shirt, okay just go buy a new shirt, go down to the mall and go to Forever 21, or wherever else, you can find something cheap, and I think it's jarring for some people to try to then put this old mentality of this is an investment, and this will last you long time, and you can repurpose it and reuse it in so many different functionalities.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
The disposable, it's like the disposable world we live in, and I think, and especially when if I talk to people who, or clients who, they have limited resources, they have limited time and limited staff, so you can create let's say XYZ content once. Well, that's great, use that, because a lot of people will create content, but then not use it properly. Let's say you have a client who has a service or has, they're value add, they have a white paper or a case study. Brilliant, that is so much content right there.

You could basically take that mine it, create their whole communication platform for the next quarter or two, around that. You could do small little video snippets, you could do a video abstract from maybe the head of the company or whoever wrote that, or bringing out one point, that there's things you can have them Tweet sections. You can frame it like those, I love those Twitter graphics that are longer quotes, it's a way to sneak in longer, and then you have a little supporting Tweet image.

There's so much you can do, one piece of content, you can give it so much legs. For a company with limited money and resources, mine that one piece. Create video, video and if you do an advert or some sort of anthem video, that's going to last a couple of years. It fits your values, it fits that lifestyle you're selling, throw thousands of dollars in there, and you don't have to go necessarily through an agency, you can save yourself the money.

EVIN ANDERSON:
As viral as videos can become too, you could gain so much more traction and easily get your money back and then some, because as soon as you out that video out on Facebook or on Instagram or what have you, now obviously you've got people rebranding it, you've got people retweeting it, and sharing it out there, and now your network just grew exponentially, and you're hitting so many new people now, and so many eyes are on to you and your content, and at least if anything know your name which is huge.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Yeah, exactly, and I think that's one of those things where it really is worth the investment, so for example, working with Zemcar, which is a brilliant start-up, they took a look at the ride-share market, like an Uber or Lyft, and they saw that even Uber's technically not legal to use under 18. If you're under 18, technically, and I don't know if this is, these are view of myself, not Zemcar, but I don't know if Uber does that as a way to showing the 18's you shouldn't be doing that, for safety and probably insurance reasons, they're probably not insured to do that.

The head of Zemcar, this brilliant man, Bilal, he was, he led the internet of things at Verizon, where he really helped, solved the problem of connectivity. Okay, everything from soda machines to cars, and he as a parent and with a family, and understands that lives are crazy, trying to get your kid to 8 million things is so tough, and so he really saw the need of this, before anyone really even said, well the whole disruptive innovation thing, right, you come out with something that's lesser, a product, cheaper, whatever. Uber, bam, did it.

It solved the problem in the taxi industry. You'd call 800 times just to get one to show up, hopefully within an hour, you already missed your movie, so it doesn't matter. Taking advantage of technology, Uber was able to use your geolocation and digital payment and stuff. With Zemcar he took a look at how can we make things safer? You hear in the news all the time what goes on, especially with locally, people get in the wrong cars, people get into cars with weird people, so he used not only technology but then personality.

That's a lifestyle, Zemcar's a lifestyle, and that's one of the things, and we're working on, as we're getting situated, and we're rolling out in Boston, it's getting that base level of the marketing materials. It's a great brand for a lover of good design, the design is great, the app is fantastic, everything works really well, and so now it's for us to, I think we're moving into the portion of selling the lifestyle. It's looking at, we're starting to, in pre-production of a video that really sells that, and I think that's something, that when we have it, we're going to put the money into it, and that's something that we can build or brand with, and repurpose that stuff for as long as we, until our brand changes or something changes.

I think that's something that's really going to give you not only the warm fuzzy, build a case for, but then elevate our brand, and say, oh these guys are real players, look at this. This is fabulous what they're doing, and get people to understand the product. Here's the problem, here's the solution, there it is.

TATIANA IVAN:
I think Lyft was trying to something a little bit like that when they were competing with Uber, because you go to their app and the first thing you see is just a smiling young, women and men, [crosstalk 00:31:07] getting into cars and having fun.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Yeah, they thought about their brand very well, it's something where with that you don't want to always be looking over your competitor's shoulder, but if you take a look at what they do and how they try to connect, in some ways we are similar, but we're very different. Because we're family focused, we want to give rides to kids Uber has this very cool, cold living in the city, alone, which is perfect for me, I was like, yes that's me, it's like I have and Edward Hopper painting on the wall, showing how, what modern life is all about, and we need some yoga and listen to Joy Division and Uber.

I mean Lyft is like that goofy friend of yours, who's like, yeah man, I'm going there too, come on, come on in. Yeah, awesome. Who's going to be there? Cool. Then so they definitely sound like they're trying to do, they do the same things, but in a different niche. Something like Apple and Windows, if you look at their stores, one is very playful, the other one is very, just sterile, and streamlined. Yeah, it has that tone too, so absolutely I can see that, to go into selling a lifestyle, that's what you think about when you think of your brand.

As you build your brand what are you selling there? Everything from what is the color, what are the codes or the colors you use, to how you do you talk about yourself? What is your tone on your social media? What are your posts on Facebook? What are, how do you interact with people? How do you talk about yourselves being a member of that? Those are things that people who don't do marketing, don't think anyone thinks about these things, they just naturally do it.

You want them to do that, oh, that's just them, that's who the are. It's no, people actually think about these things. Other than probably cat videos, viral videos, and sometimes come from millions of dollars in investment. When you say, oh I want, I've had clients come to me and be like, I want to do a viral video. I'm great, is this with kitty cats? If you have kitty cats, this could go very viral, very quick, otherwise, we have to really think about this and make it, it's that whole smoke and mirrors thing, you have to make it look like you didn't think about it.

Or that you're very clever, the Dollar Shave Club is a brilliant example of creating something where it's just being brazen about it, because what do you have to lose, and you're going after the market of probably young bros who are in college or older, who are like, oh man, $14 for one razor is expensive. What do I care, my financial obligation is elsewhere, I don't care if it's disposable or what, Dollar Shave, well great. It's still those things, a brand image, it hits everything.

EVIN ANDERSON:
It's interesting, because I work with a lot of actors, and I tell them you've got to start treating yourself like a business, but I think also that businesses have to start treating themselves like actors, and what I mean by this is we see actors play a specific character on television and in commercials and everything else, and so when we go to say meet in person, that's what our expectation is, this is you, and there's been so many stories of people going, oh yeah, they're going to be nice to meet with, and so talkative, and this person often is this complete jerk, just an absolute jerk.

Then they're going, oh my God, can you believe that, and this and this and this, and they said this, and they wouldn't even give us the time of day. Now all of a sudden that person's branding is ruined, because the expectation was up here, and now all of a sudden it just dived down, it just dipped so low. I think it's the same thing with businesses and it's something you've got to think about, you have to put yourself out there as this star persona, but then you have to hold onto it and keep it, and keep it consistent, whether it's like you said, whether it's through a Tweet or a post, or on your website, or in a video. You've got to be consistent.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
I agree this is like get out the scotch, and let's talk about this, let's talk about brands. Let's talk about brands for a second. Your brand is not just your adverts, and your social media and stuff like that, it's also who you are, talking to those people. It's something that I learned and I've always implemented, and it's funny, I've been in bands, I've been the frontman for bands for 15 years, my current band, we did a single, with Converse Rubber Tracks, which was really awesome, it's a great tune, we're totally British indie influenced stuff, like a new order Verve, Stone Roses, and then a little bit of they hate it, but a little U2 thrown in there.

They hate it, in fact we had a jar that every time I played a U2 riff I had to put a dollar in, because that's show I taught myself guitar off of, like a Johnny Marr, the Edge, and actually the Doors and then some folky stuff, but so I love Edge's riffs, they're just like eating the most saccharine sweet deliciousness, and when you riff into those and you have three delay pedals going, it's like "ah" it feel so good, but what I've learned throughout the years of being in that, of being in a band, and then also in doing marketing and communications for financial companies, that it's much, and this is why I think it's much closer than people think.

It is marketing, it's brand building, and then also it's being, understanding your own personal brand, because there's the whole, give a man a mask and he'll show you who he truly is, so there's, which is a brilliant, our friend Oscar Wilde said that so, or it was something to the fact, and so if you think about marketing as somewhat like that, if you think about your personal brand as something like that, you have to be a steward to your company's brand, to your own brand, and to your own brand as that that representative to the company.

I think about it too, if you're someone who is social, and you have obligations, you have to be aware of those things, and so if you are a CEO of a company that's very friendly, and has this great look, and then you're a complete beep.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Oh is it safe to go?

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Then someone should be on you for that, if you understand that you might be a gruff person, I get it, right, people don't like me, but you run a business well, and all this other fun stuff. Try to have someone sort you out with that, and it's really important that let's say you are a CEO of a company that sells a certain product, and you're a brilliant man in that field, you should own that, and be a thought leader. Build your own brand and that can help the company's brand, and I've been in companies where they try to keep it anonymous, we're just a company, there's no human element, and they fight with that. I was in a financial company and they didn't know if they should even market themselves.

They were having a crisis of culture, because they have widely successful, a lot of brilliant people in there, I enjoyed working there because so many of these guys were so brilliant, and just a cut above the rest with that, but they did nothing with it other than internal interesting discussions and of course did very well financially. I'm like, oh my God, this guy needs to have his own show or podcast or, we need to get him out there.

These people are doing fascinating research, and these guys can actually communicate it, which is always another thing, and so I think always market. Always market, always sell to the audience, and you see it now, that people are okay, I have to always sell, I have to continually be in contact, remind you who you are.

TATIANA IVAN:
I think John Legere does a really good job of that, because I saw pictures of him before he started working for T-Mobile, he's the CEO of T-Mobile, and he'd got short hair, a suit on, this and that, he looks and acts I feel completely different now, and I can't tell if this is the real him or if he's getting paid to act like that, but he keeps that persona up, even just in his own personal life, so talking about personal brand, he's definitely, he's all about T-Mobile I mean.

EVIN ANDERSON:
I think a lot of companies, and I don't know if it was something like when Steve Jobs really that cult of personality, that might be an extreme that, where he really built that idea that Apple is Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is Apple, there's no separation. Which can be good and bad for a company. Because people leave, people are on a 35 year long bus ride, in one company, and very few, that doesn't happen. You're lucky to get, Ernest Hemingway said, life is a series of seven year bus rides, and so you can be anywhere of seven years, I mean that's great experience, but and when you hit that seventh year, it's probably ready to get on a different bus, go somewhere else.

TATIANA IVAN:
Is that something about ourselves, is that something about ourselves, every seventh year so yeah, I know that's it.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Yeah, no I think I've heard that, yeah that's a good point, yeah.

TATIANA IVAN:
I guess I make 10.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Well you're a different person in seven years, so it makes sense to be somewhere else yeah.

EVIN ANDERSON:
Where science and art move. Branch-Out, the digital media marketing podcast, we'll be talking to you in seven years from now, we'll see how the conversation changes.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Hopefully you'll look just as young.

EVIN ANDERSON:
They'll never know because they can't see us. No wrinkles whatsoever. We've talked about basically the business and how to incorporate, be creative, and we also went through your journey of going from the creative and trying to incorporate the business aspect, so we're down to our WOW segment, which is our words of wisdom, and I'm curious, for those graduating with a creative degree like yourself, whether Emerson or Northeastern, or anywhere for that matter, and they're looking to go into marketing.

What is your advice to them, on how they can implement their current knowledge, what they've learned and gathered from four or five or six, however many years of schooling, into them going into marketing, and just really hit the ground running?

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Yeah, and I had such a weird journey as I said, and I think we talked about a lot of things with that. I think being comfortable with both, the business and the creative side is important in this process. I don't have that much to tell you, though, I was very balanced, I have always been a nerd for thing like [inaudible 00:42:10] and history, and so there was a bit of the business organizational side too.

Being in the financial industry for so long, had taught me how to, one of the good things is it taught me how to be professional, how to talk to, see sweet people, like these CEO's or whatever and I just make them comfortable, talk to them, find out what they want to talk about, how to communicate better. Then it also taught me to be more structured. I think creativity is amazing, and I think marketing and being creative in marketing is exciting. Having the budget to do that is even better right, it's you want to be creative, but is there money to do it?

Being comfortable with brand guidelines, right, or company budget, or company brand itself, what is the vision? What are they comfortable with? Then you might have a foot to balance in between, but you can run very fast in between those guidelines, and do something interesting, and so I think a lot of times there might be a sense of someone who's creative saying, oh but I've got to be me, and do my own thing, and whatever. Sometimes it's easier getting your borders written for you, that's something that even in music, let's do a country song, all right I've got to do a country song, bam, I'll nail it.

It's like if I go to a friends house and they have a good time, and oh play a song, and I'm like, I don't know what do you want to hear? The Beatles, Hey Jude, do you want to hear, do you want me to play something like punk, or like what? I think being comfortable with taking someone else's vision, adding your own filter, because you're a problem solver, you're someone who's not just solving problems, but hopefully being creative as you do it, and always taking ideas from elsewhere.

Saying okay, well this is where I have to run, this is what we could do, how's that? I think being able to be comfortable with trying to get someone else's creative vision of reality is important and then also communicating.

TATIANA IVAN:
All right, well Bill thank you so much for joining us today, we had a lot of fun talking to you.

BILL NEIDLINGER:
Thank you so much for enduring my pedantic rants.

TATIANA IVAN:
To our listeners, thank you for listening to episode 38 of Branch-Out. I hope you found us on IP, on Stitcher, Player FM, wherever you found us, subscribe, like us, leave us your comments, let us know what you want to hear, and we may talk about it. This is Tatiana Ivan with Evin Charles Anderson we'll see you next week.

 

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Branch-Out: THE Digital Media & Marketing Podcast

Everything you need to tell your and your company's story in order to engage, empower & educate! Evin and Tatiana dive into all subjects that will assist you telling your story and increasing your audience engagement. They also bring in thought-leaders, entrepreneurs and trailblazers that are changing how we market and use digital media.

Guests include Dave Gerhardt (Tech in Boston and Drift), Dan Shure (EvolvingSEO, MOZ, Experts On The Wire), Kaite Rosa (VentureFizz), Shawn LaVana (TempAlert), Chris Kavakian (CK Realty Group) and David Pakman (The David Pakman Show).

Branch-Out Podcast

Hosted by Evin Charles Anderson & Tatiana Ivan

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