Jim Joseph has been awarded numerous accolades throughout his storied career, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Agency of the Year, Most Creative Agency, Social Media Icon, Hall of Fame.
He is a global leader in brand marketing and communications, with years of consumer marketing leadership, and If running an agency wasn't big enough, he's also an award-winning author, blogger, professor at New York University, and he’s been a regular contributor to Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post. He’s also a husband and a dad.
They say when you want to get something done, give it to someone who's busy!
In part one of this two-part series, we talk about Brand Marketing, Personal Marketing, and the social media landscape, where it started, and where it’s going.
Welcome to the unforgettable conversations podcast, where you'll meet people from all walks of life. Everyone from experts in their fields to ordinary folks leading extraordinary lives. We're pulling back the curtain every week on sometimes difficult, often hilarious, but always engaging conversations that promise to be unforgettable. My guest today has been awarded numerous accolades throughout his storied career, including entrepreneur of the year agency of the year, most creative agencies, social media icon hall of fame. He is a global leader in brand marketing and communications with years of consumer marketing leadership. And if running an agency wasn't big enough. He's also an award-winning author blogger professor at NYU, and he's been a regular contributor to entrepreneur and the Huffington post. He's also a husband and a dad. They say, when you want to get something done, give it to someone who's busy. Well, there's nobody as busy as Jim. .In part one of this two-part series. I talk with Jim Joseph about brands, marketing, personal marketing, and the social media landscape, where it started and where it's going. Now let's get this conversation startedJim:
Jim, how are ya? I'm good. It's wonderful to seesandi:
you. Oh, it's so good to see you too. I'm one of your biggest fans. I met you over a decade ago on Twitter. Back in the day before brands were even a thing before celebrities were even a thing on Twitter or social media in general. And you were really one of the early adapters on social media that actually talked about brands.Jim:
Yeah, that's so true. Actually, I hadn't thought about it, but when I started talking about brands, I got kind of an instant connection with so many people, including you, but so many people gravitated towards it. I think because it was so new, it was so fresh and there weren't a lot of people talking about it actually, now that I think about it. So that was kind of fun. It's a fun time, really fun time. It was
fun time. And it was a time when you could really connect with with people over brands, I should say,Jim:
and, and it's not kind of that way anymore. It's a lot of noise. At least I feel.Jim:
It's a lot of noise and it's, it's not a lot of interaction. Like we were really interacting back then, and then we're watching brands become more interactive and brands interacting with each other. I remember you were there. I remember my first Twitter party for the super bowl and for Superbowl advertising. And we had like 3.4 million. I remember to this day, 3.4 million, um, folks that had come in and out of the, out of the party, all just talking about brands during a football game. So much fun. You, you don't see that as much anymore. It's gotten, it's gotten diluted.sandi:
I think I agree. I agree. You're also a five books, right? You have fiveJim:
books, your first four are all about brand engagement or, um, something along those lines.Jim:
The first one was the experience effect, which was kind of the, the main book about, and I kind of laugh about it now because I wrote that in 2010, it's all about building a brand experience and making sure every touch point you have with your consumer is consistent and meaningful and relevant. And I do chuckle about it because now people are talking about CX and customer experience and how what's the new domain. I don't know you're calling it something different, but it's still kind of the same thing. I don't see how it's that different. Now we have a lot more data. We have a lot more methodology around it, that parts great and fascinating. And it's always nice to see the craft evolve. But yeah, that first book was really about a brand is more than just the product you consume. It's about everything that it delivers in totality.sandi:
And you had a book about personal.Jim:
Yeah. So then I did a SQL back small businesses that basically. Translated those big brand marketing theories about brand experience to small business, because I was getting so many questions from small business owners and entrepreneurs and consultants who said, well, how do I do that? So I translated it from big lofty budgets to, you know, um, small business. And then my third book, which you're actually featured in. It's about personal branding and about how you should think of yourself as a brand and how you want people to consume you and what you offer. And, uh, and you were a big feature in that book,sandi:
but once again, you were an early adapter when it came to that thinking, because that was before even anyone ever spoke of influencer, uh, that book was out before that. And so you really, you saw that coming.Jim:
Well, it's interesting too, because at the time it felt very natural to me because I, I think of myself as a brand, like, how do I want to show up at work? And how do I want to show up as a friend? And how do I want to show up as a spouse and a father? And, and that's about, you know, being very, very deliberate about who you are and what you give to people and, and what they should expect from me. That's a brand and I did get a fair amount of commentary. Maybe backlash would be too strong of a word, but that like how ridiculous it was to think of people as corporations. It's not a corporation. It's not a company, but you know, you look at, you look at a big celebrity, mobile, like a George Clooney or a Julia Roberts. I mean, those are brands. You look at politicians, those are brands, you know, they have very deliberate messaging. They have very deliberate values. They have a very deliberate way about how they show up in the marketplace. I mean, that's a personal brand. And I think that that applies to all of them.sandi:
And now everybody is a personal brand. Everybody approaches it online. Like they are a brand and yeah.Jim:
Yeah. And they have a platform that's, what's kind of incredible is they have a platform to speak from that makes them publicly available. They can grow that. Audience huge. They can keep it small. They can focus it, they can target their audiences. I mean, you actually hear people talking about, you know, as an influencer, how they, how they target their audience and how they speak to them and how they set themselves up. I mean, it really is quite fascinating how social media has made that. Much more viable.sandi:
Well, and so many people have really turned it in a career into, you know, social media, into a career for themselves. And they're making six figures being their own brain.Jim:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Getting endorsements and, and using their audience as a, as a way to reach people for sure.sandi:
Okay. Now book number four, the conscious marketer.Jim:
Yes. Yes. So interestingly. I wrote that book about a year and a half before it came out and it got stalled at the publisher just through production delays. In fact, I had to start getting very pushy about it because I was filled with examples and I'm like, by the time this book comes out, the examples are going to feel old. So I actually had to keep rewriting it and be writing a new, new examples. And then while I, when it finally came out, it came out in may of the pandemic.. So we all have locked down, you know, the first week of March and here comes my book in may. And all I thought was, of course, of course, I'm the guy that releases a book in the middle of a pandemic, a business book, no less in the middle of a, of a pandemic. But the irony of that in, in how it turned out was the book is about being conscious, the conscious marketer. And it's about as a brand or as a leader. You need to be very conscious about what's going on in the world. You need to be very conscious about how your target audience is feeling, how they feel about certain issues. What are their pain points in their life? Like you need to be very conscious of that. And then you don't have to take a stance. On a social issue. You don't have to take a stand on a political issue. You can, if you want, but you need to at least be conscious of it. You need to be conscious about how people feel about it and then adjust your behavior accordingly. So the irony of it was, it was perfect timing actually, because people were going through a. Let's call it a once in a lifetime paradigm shift of how everything we know about life changed, how we work, how we learn, how we shop, how we eat, how we socialize, and then this massive outcry for social justice and equality across, you know, across multiple dimensions. Me too ,black lives matter, trans rights, women's rights. Forcing brands to really think about, okay, what is going on in the world? And what's important to our target audiences. And, and should I take a stand on these issues and how do I help people navigate these issues? So it kind of in, in, um, how it all turned out, it was kind of perfect timing in a weird, weird kind of way.sandi:
How have you seen brands react to all of what is going on nowadays?Jim:
it's been absolutely fascinating. I mean, I've been in this business for a long time and I've always said it's constantly changing. And if you're not at least embracing that change or driving that change, you're going to get left behind. And in the last 18 months, All around the world. We're seeing how brands that, that were able to evolve and step up, um, have completely changed how they interact with their, their target audiences and unfortunately brands that didn't, they have fallen by the wayside. And I think in general, what's been pretty amazing as we've seen brands kind of stop selling and stop pushing products and starting to talk more about how they can give back to the. What's going on in the community that we serve. What's important to the community we serve and how can we give back and how can we make life better? And by doing that, you build loyalty. And people buy your products. So the net result is probably what they want to gain. Anyway. I mean, it's a for-profit business, but it's done in a very different way, a much more rewarding way, a way that includes employees in the mix, like never before. Uh, and we, we see example after example, after example of. Brands doing that. One of my favorites is I think it was two weeks into the pandemic. Louis Vuitton stopped making perfume and started making hand sanitizer, like perfect example, you know, just like stop selling your products, shift what you do, give back to your community and you'll build loyalty as a result.sandi:
Yeah. Now what about personal branding? How can or have you seen a shift in the way influences or talking about things and doing things or have they pretty much. Remain the same personal branding.Jim:
I think we've seen a shift there to, to more, more values based communications, more communications about what's important to them. Uh, more communications around what brands are doing. That they, that they are loyal to and what they're doing in the marketplace, less of a glitz and glamor and look how cool I am and more about here's what I'm doing in the community. I, I have been talking lately about how before the pandemic. The big buzzword was purpose marketing, you know, purpose marketing, and, and it usually would translate to these very lofty initiatives around sustainability or environmental ism or clean water, or very lofty issues around women's rights around the world, which great, awesome needs to be done. But we've seen a huge shift to purpose being much more. And much lower in the hierarchy of needs, much more about safety and shelter and food supply and access to healthcare and access to food. And. As a result, influencers, personal brands are talking about those topics as well. You know, how do we make sure that underserved communities are getting what they need, whether it's healthcare or food or, or access to basic services? Um, how do we go in and help in, in disaster relief? Yeah. That's purpose marketing. Now we still talk about sustainability. We still talk about clean air and clean water. The brand's purpose and, or an individual's purpose has become much more basic, I think.sandi:
And what do you see in the future? What do you see, um, brands doing? How, how do you see marketing going as we move forward and get through the pandemic? Do you think that it will have long lasting effects?Jim:
Oh, it will definitely have long lasting effects for sure, because the entire dynamic between a brand and a person has changed and it's become much more personal and it's become much more than just, I mentioned this a minute ago, much more than just the product you offer. Much more than the functional benefit, but the totality of the package that you deliver to your, your consumer, that's not going to change. In fact, if anything, I think that's going to get even deeper, more personalized, more localized, you know, the notion of a big, massive global campaign that's way above everything. I think that's gone. I think what, what is happening and will continue to happen as much more localized efforts, much more personalized efforts, much more of an emphasis on efforts that impact the individual household and what that individual household, no matter what the household is, is going through and a realization that the, the makeup of the world is extremely different than it was 20 years ago, five years ago. And our emphasis on it even just a year ago is very different. Yeah. The realization that identity is not monolith. People don't identify as one thing anymore. They identify multiple things and they relate to multiple characteristics of who they are. there's a stat that I just recently read that the average millennial identifies with four and a half identities. So they're not just white or just black or just female. They're multiple ethnicities, maybe, not necessarily, um, binary when it comes to gender, how they think about their family, that that's all built into their identity. So we're going to see the future of marketing, recognizing that and making things much more personal. You can't segment on traditional lines anymore.
Thank you, Jim. You're truly one of marketing's most engaging and entertaining commentators. Over the years I've learned so much about marketing and branding from Jim and his books or a staple on my library shelves. One of my favorite passages from the personal experience effect. Is as follows. Our life is a journey meant to be enjoyed along the way while being yourself at every step. I'd like to think I'm a work in progress, hopefully trying new things every year that enhanced my life and brand. And I hope you do that too. I know I do. In part two of my conversation with Jim, we get personal. He wrote a book. About his life called out and about dad, which Chronicles his personal journey as bother. Raising his two amazing kids. And what at the time was a very unconventional home. It's a raw and honest portrayal of life as a gay father. Back in the day, it's also named number 14 on a list of the 42 best fatherhood books of all time. Bravo. I love the book and gyms, honesty and sincerity. In the end, you'll learn all of our commonalities far outweigh any differences. I hope you'll join the conversation. I'll leave a link in the show notes below where you can find Jim's books and follow him on social media.